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7 crucial mistakes travel bloggers make

7 crucial mistakes travel bloggers make

This blog is primarily about using travel as a way of enriching your life without the requirement of bathing in money first. However, I realise that many of you lovely readers are also bloggers, and as I do rather enjoy blogging I’d like to share the occasional post on the experiences I have and the best practices I’ve learned as I become better at it.

Many bloggers (myself included) are guilty of making some the following mistakes. Blogging is a skill that is often self-taught and many of us struggle with it in the beginning, but we’re all here to learn and slowly improve over time.

Here are some of the common mistakes I’ve come across through my short but intense blogging career, and how to overcome them!


1. failing to display your name

Failing to display your name on your blog

My name makes an appearance on every page of my site – in the sidebar on the home screen and pages, and in the author bio on each of my posts. I want everyone to know that it’s me writing these posts.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve tried to look up someone’s name on their site or Facebook page to thank them for a comment, only to find that it is nowhere to be found. Nowhere! Not even on their about me page.

Your content becomes much more relatable when your readers can see that there is a physical human being behind it. You want people to know who you are, so display it proudly to ensure your site doesn’t look like it’s been compiled by a robot.

2. Ignoring precious readers

Show some love to your readers

So people are commenting on your posts and liking your Facebook page? That’s great – now the last thing you should do is nothing! Say thanks, respond to their comment, and let them know you appreciate them stopping by because if it wasn’t for them, your site would be a lonely book on a dusty shelf that everyone forgets about reading.

Think about it – would you want to comment on a site if you knew the person behind it didn’t give a crap about you reading it?

3. an Overcrowded site

Sidebar

Have you noticed that all of my posts (including this one) don’t have a sidebar? This is so that you can easily scan through my site and concentrate on what’s important – my content. If my posts are enticing, then it’s simple enough to find your way to my social media in my author bio, or to other parts of my site in the navigation menu or home page.

I know it’s tempting to include 3 different Facebook plug-ins and add a massive tag cloud in the sidebar or footer, but seriously – they might look cool but they create useless clutter. If people are confused by the massive amounts of pop-ups and sidebar rubbish, they won’t know what to click on and will therefore leave your site without looking at any other pages. I will usually close a page when a pop-up makes an immediate appearance rather than stay on the site.

What do you want people to do when they visit your site? My bet is you want them to read the posts that you’ve spent countless hours putting together, so get rid of anything that doesn’t need to be there and make your content the centre of attention.

4. Not having a responsive design

Responsive site for bloggers

It’s fine to use a free WordPress theme for your blog – I know plenty of successful bloggers who do, but please, please, please make sure it’s responsive!

My fiancé is in web development so I’ve had the benefit of having ‘responsive sites’ clearly explained. It basically means the site design shrinks and adapts depending on what size screen the person is viewing it. A smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop monitor are all different sizes, so your site needs to look good on ALL of them.

Approximately 50% of blog posts are read on mobile phones, so if your site isn’t responsive you are therefore giving the shift to 50% of your readers. Google has this great tool for testing whether your site is mobile friendly.

I don’t know about you, but if I open a site on my smart phone and I have to zoom in constantly to view the content, I’m not going to stay there long.

5. using boring post titles

Boring post titles

If your content is good but your post titles are boring, no one is going to look at them. Above is an example of some of my first posts which have some fairly mediocre titles. I know, I know, I can edit them – but all my time is spent on my new posts at the moment.

Would you click on a post titled My visit to the Eiffel Tower? I didn’t think so. How about 10 reasons the Eiffel Tower is overrated or Why the Eiffel Tower is the best thing about Paris? You’ve got to make your titles enticing for your reader and make them feel as though they have to click on your post.

It’s challenging, but try thinking up 5-10 different engaging post titles before you decide on the best one, and use power words (here’s a list!) to grab people’s attention.

6. Copying everyone else

It’s easy to read posts from your favourite blogs and think ooh I could write about that, then go on to write a similar post. It might even be a decent post, but do you really think people want to read posts that are pretty much the same as every other blog out there? I’ve actually scrapped great post ideas once I find that someone else has already written one just like it.

For the love of god, be unique! Think about what you have to offer that no one else can, and write about it. Be an expert on something that no one else has written about. Embrace the fact that you are you, and let the world know why they should join you! Your personality and point of difference is the reason people will come to your site and love it.

Want to know how to stand out from the crowd? Check out my guide to being unique!

7. Not having a publishing schedule

Bloggers Publishing Schedule

A publishing schedule probably isn’t necessary if you’re blogging to show your parents and friends what you’re doing on your travels, but if you want your blog to be a little more serious then sporadic posts once a fortnight aren’t going to get anyone excited about your upcoming content. Why would anyone follow you if they have no idea when your next post will be?

I use Google calendar to plan a month of posts in advance. The above screenshot for November shows that I post three times a week (normally consisting of a photo post, a destination post, and a travel planning post). I compose them during the week before they’re scheduled to be published, then once they’re live I market them on social media. This method ensures my blog will consistently have three posts going up with varying content, and I can plan future posts accordingly.

The schedule doesn’t have to be set in stone. This post, for example, came to mind last week and I excitedly wrote it all down while I was inspired, then moved what I had planned for today to next week instead. Flexibility is fine, as long as you have a plan.


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Ashlea Wheeler

Blogger & Photographer at A Globe Well Travelled
I'm Ashlea, an excitable Australian who loves photography and exploring the world. Find out more about me.

60 Responses to “7 crucial mistakes travel bloggers make”

  1. Danielle

    These tips are great! Thanks for sharing! BTW I’m a big fan of your blog 🙂 Keep it up.

    Reply
  2. Petra @ The Global Couple

    Thanks for these tips Ashlea! I’m rather guilty of the boring titles and the overcrowded site – whoops! Love your site, and your graphic design is awesome! 🙂
    Petra

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I was actually checking out your site this morning – some of your posts definitely pulled me in so they couldn’t have been too boring! I also don’t think your site is too overcrowded, there’s a fine line between just busy enough and way too busy, you haven’t crossed it 😉

      Reply
  3. Kozue

    Hello, Ashlea,
    Thank you very much for a helpful post! I found a lot to develop my blog from these tips. Especially About Me page and post titles. I’m following you!

    Reply
  4. Jennifer Stevens

    New to this site and really enjoyed this post. It’s amazing the things we don’t think about when it’s our own blog, right?? Thanks for the great info.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I know what you mean Jennifer – It can be so important to have a second pair of eyes look over it and give us feedback (I use my fiancé for this!) as we often miss or skip over things on our own blog.

      Reply
  5. Eden

    Awesome tips! I really like the tip about having a schedule. That’s really important.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Eden! It’s definitely an important tool and it’s not something that everyone uses. I think consistency is a huge part of being a successful blogger!

      Reply
  6. Iida-Emilia

    These are some great tips for every blogger, not only travel bloggers. I especially hate when every blogger is writing about same topic. Really there was a day when my feed was full of Christmas gif guides that were exactly the same. I read the firrs post and ignored the rest of them. So being unique is important 😀

    I’ve tried to do some publishing calendar but I almost never do what it says. Usually I end up writing about something that’s not on that calendar at all 😀

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      The tips can definitely be used by more than just travel bloggers (I just like to have my posts travel related to keep my blog consistent!). I couldn’t agree more about being unique, and it’s great that you noticed that and steered yourself away from it! One of the most important things we can do as bloggers is learn what others are doing well or badly, and set ourselves apart.

      The calendar is a good tool to use even if you don’t stick to it – I find it’s helpful to have so that when the time comes to write a post, I can easily gauge whether I’m inspired to write about the subject I chose, and if I’m not I’ll change it to something more interesting! Thanks Iida-Emilia!

      Reply
  7. Emiko

    This post was just what I needed! (Definitely not a boring title:) I am guilty of a few of these, especially a regular schedule. I’m curious, do you have any thoughts on the word count for posts? I know I write a lot and I’m working on paring down my post to under 1000 words, but I wonder if even that is too much? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      All of us are guilty of these at some stage or another Emiko 😉

      I don’t think there are any set rules with blog post lengths – my average post is probably 300-800 words but I have written a few lately (see my Zurich post earlier this week!) that have been over 1500 words. I often read blogs that have both very short posts or very long ones, it really depends on how engaging the content is to whether I’ll read it. I’m also a fan of great photography and images, so if a post has little text but great images I’ll still go through it!

      Reply
  8. Nina Travels

    Very cool and informative post! I definitely agree with everything you say – I have not got my bio at the end of each post, but I might just do this soon. I guess showing your name has more benefits than negatives. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Nina! You don’t necessarily need your bio at the end of each post, but I think it would be important to have it somewhere on the page – in the sidebar would be a good option!

      Reply
  9. Alex Conomos

    Some really refreshing tips here, thank you! I think 99% of bloggers start out as hobbyists and so you rarely apply the sort of critical eye you would with paid work to your creative side. Lots of food for thought here.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s a very good point Alex – when blogging is something you do for fun, these things aren’t normally at the forefront of your mind! I guess there’s probably a point in every serious bloggers career when they realise that their blog is more than just a hobby, and it’s at that stage when they should think about improvements they could be making.

      Reply
  10. Camila

    I’ve recently become aware of the ‘responsive design’ and I hate hate hate being on the free wordpress. Because if I like a theme there is always something wrong with it!

    And I have to say that I absolutely agree with the name – I just hate when I can’t find it easily!

    Which brings me to the sidebar issue – I have to respectfully disagree – and obviously that’s just a question of taste though. I personally like a sidebar (not 2 though), it becomes easy to check social medias and even a quick bio, or even to check archives quickly. It makes browsing easier to my eyes.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Responsive design is still something that bloggers are getting used to and it’s only become an essential part of web design in the last year or so, but with smartphones and tablets becoming such a popular way of browsing the internet, we just can’t ignore it anymore!

      It’s not that I think a sidebar is a bad idea, far from it – I just feel that if a site has a busy sidebar AND an author bio with links at the end of a post AND a footer with a million things in it, the whole site gets a bit messy. A sidebar that is minimal and just has the essential bio and links in it can work very well for a site. Thanks for your opinion Camila!

      Reply
  11. Leah of The Mochilera Diaries

    I have definitely made most of these mistakes at one point or another. For the most part I’ve rectified them now, though I’ll admit coming up with unique content in travel blogging can be a challenge! I don’t necessarily think writing about a topic that’s been extensively covered is a bad idea so long as you’re able to add a fresh perspective to the conversation. And everybody has a different audience too. Another mistake not to make is failing to be engaged in the blogging community! Huge mistake! Bloggers gotta support one another, we can’t go it alone!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I agree on adding a fresh perspective on common topics Leah, it is difficult to come up with original content in the travel blogging industry and at some stage or another we’ll all end up writing things similar to something else that’s been published, but if you can add something that no-one else can (personal stories or a different point of view) then it’s definitely still worth writing!

      Reply
  12. Annemarie

    Hi there! These are great tips, thank you! I actually thought I had my name mentioned in my bio but not really, so I need to change that. Wouldn’t have noticed if it wasn’t for you.^^

    Reply
  13. Darren

    Great tips, I’ve only been working on my blog for a few months. I do have sidebars, two actually 😉 but, that’s because I want to share other content I’ve written to increase pageviews – the mobile version doesn’t have a sidebar though to make sure that it is easy to read.

    Would be interested in any feedback! 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Darren! Sidebars aren’t a problem as long as they aren’t overcrowded with unnecessary information. If you’re using them to inform readers of your other content then that’s fine, the only thing I would question is whether you’re doubling up on the same information? If not, then keep the sidebars!

      Reply
  14. Olga

    Great post! I assume i am making each of these mistakes)))) but will work them out – i promise! The biggest issue for me is my mood! Say i planned to write a post on tuesday, but the day appeared to be horrible, my mood was spoiled and i started to postpone all my blog activities…did you have such at the beginning? How did you manage it?

    Olga
    http://feelthetraveling.blogspot.com

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Olga! Mood is a huge blocker for creativity – sometimes when I don’t feel inspired to write, I’ll just do something completely different for a day or two until I feel more creative. This usually works and if it doesn’t then I choose a more inspiring topic to write about. As for other blog tasks, I have to use self-discipline to get them done sometimes, but the reward of having readers and great blog makes it worth it 🙂

      Reply
  15. Andrea

    Definitely guilty of half of these! Especially the posting schedule…When I write something I get excited and want to share it immediately. nomoneywilltravel.com

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s totally ok though Andrea – I think the point of the schedule is to get you into the habit of writing regularly, so if you find something you’re inspired to write about it’s really no problem to get it all out straight away!

      Reply
  16. Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life)

    So helpful! I would have never imagined how much planning, thought, time, and action items there were to a blog before we started one. We’re still finding our rhythm, but these tips we needed to read. So thank you!!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Not a problem, I know exactly what you mean – the work behind a blog is something you could never predict until you’ve actually gone through with it!

      Reply
  17. Chalsie

    Great tips Ashlea! Never thought about ensuring your name can be found on every page. But definitely makes sense! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Chalsie | The Workshop Co. x

    Reply
  18. Anita Monson

    Great tips. I’m just starting out….I mean just published my first post and the thing I’m struggling with is fear. Will they like me? I’m my own worst critic. Also struggling with how to find the money to do thing I’m most passionate about…traveling. It’s a travel blog so there should be some traveling involved otherwise what’s the point. But that’s probably another issue (and post) altogether. Thanks for your wise advice. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Not many people go into blogging without a good dose of fear Anita! In the beginning it’s always going to be full of doubt, but it just takes persistence and the ability to look at the big picture rather than stress over the details. It might take a while but you’ll get there.

      As for money, you’d be surprised at how little you need to get on the road, and there are plenty of travel hacks you can use (that I’ll be sure to write about) to travel very cheaply. If there’s a will, there’s a way!

      Reply
  19. Charlie

    Very valuable advice! I’ve actually only just started having a posting schedule now that my blog posts are getting a little more traction and my audience is building (beyond just my mum ahaa).

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Charlie! We’ve all been there at some stage 😉 It sure is a nice feeling when your readership starts growing and you start getting more pageviews!

      Reply
  20. kelly

    Great tips and definitely the posting schedule is something that i will be using next year for my scheduled posts x

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Kelly! The power of the posting schedule is often overlooked but it’s seriously a good idea, definitely give it a try!

      Reply
  21. Pauline

    Oh my goodness, you just reminded me to update my About page! I did not have a name there.

    Reply
  22. Denise

    Thanks for the great post, Ashlea! As a beginner travel blogger, tips like these are invaluable to me.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      No problem Denise, I can definitely relate – starting off as a travel blogger is seriously hard work and it’s difficult to find this kind of information when you need it. I think learning from others mistakes is one of the best things we can do to get ahead. Best of luck with your blog!

      Reply
  23. Raizel

    Hi! Oh gosh I think your site is a necessity to new bloggers (me). But I wanted to ask a question.
    I’m a little afraid to have certain people knowing I am starting a blog. When my mom was close to finding it out, I told a lie. I was thinking maybe when my site becomes a little well known, I could tell everybody. It would be a mystery. But I’m starting to take photos of me & my friends to add more design & personality to my site… so I’m just wondering, is it a good idea to make a bio? & since I’m only 16, I don’t have a job or anything so should I say my goals?
    I just thought I’d get some advise from a pro blogger. C:

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Hi Raizel, thanks for stopping by my site! I don’t hesitate in telling everyone I know about my blog, as I’ll be putting myself in the online spotlight by blogging anyway. I think part of a bloggers success is being personable and relatable, so having a bio or about page (where you can include your goals) is essential. One question I might ask is why are you unsure about telling people about your blog? There are some people that may not understand why you are doing it but if you’re passionate about it – that’s all that matters!

      Reply
  24. Bibiana

    Thanks for the tips! I had been deliberately keeping a low profile. I don’t know why, just felt the need to be anonymous when I first started blogging and therefore would comment using my blog name of Travelling Omnomnivore, or my more common middle name. I first read this post about a week or so ago while I was travelling in Germany, and it’s given me the confidence to use my first name now, which is much less common and therefore more easily identifiable to people who know me personally. Nothing bad has happened as a result! Hah! Will update my blog page and fill my name in when I finally get back home, but in the meantime, thanks for rectifying my misconception about the need to maintain anonymity.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Not a problem Bibiana. It might take a while for you to get used to being in the public eye but once you do, you should be proud to display your name!

      Reply
  25. Matt

    I’m currently doing a complete design re-haul on my site and this was super inspiring. Thanks Ashlea!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Not a problem Matt! I hope the site redesign goes well for you, I know it will be a lot of work but hopefully you’ll be pleased with the end result!

      Reply
  26. kim & kip

    Helpful post! I was guilty of a few including the responsive design for mobile. I was able to quickly switch on a plugin through the wordpress jetpack but will have to look into a way to make it look nicer! Thanks Ashlea 😀

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      It’s a feature that’s commonly overlooked, but crucial for the future of the blogging world! Not a problem Kim 🙂

      Reply
  27. Naila Farhana

    Hi Ashlea,

    Thanks for the tips! I just started my 2 month old blog and reading these tips actually made me reconsider the things that I had planned for my blog.. for the better of course! Great posts btw 🙂

    Reply
  28. Andrea

    Thank you for this tips! I was glad to read something completely different (other than the typical SEO mistakes, etc). I now have some things to work on and improve my blog. Again, thank you for writing this! 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I know exactly what you mean, it can be hard to find actually useful tips on the internet 😛 Glad you found my post worthy of reading, Andrea!

      Reply

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