successA reader recently asked me what I thought was the most important thing to do in order to build a successful travel blog. While, I’m not – by far – the most successful travel blogger, I’d like to answer this question as best I can from my almost 3 years of experience. There is plenty of how to create a successful blog help on the Internet, mostly focused on monetizing.

Travel bloggers mostly agree that a successful travel blog is defined by readership and inspirational content. Let me start by saying there is no one single way to build a successful travel blog, but multiple facets.

Based on my personal experience, here is the first part of what you need to do to build a successful travel blog.

Allow Yourself to Shine

There are plenty of travel blogs out there and everyone has bland old advice about this and that destination. People don’t read travel blogs for photos, advice, and travel stories – they read travel blogs for YOUR photos, YOUR advice, and YOUR travel stories. If you don’t let yourself shine, you’re just another website with some words about traveling to Argentina.

Create A Unique Blog Persona

1. Use Your Real NameIf you’re not using your real name under your posts, social networking sites, or when you leave comments on other blogs, you are making it very difficult for other people to connect with you. I used to sign every post as ‘foXnoMad’ in the early days of this blog. I had people responding back to me as, Fox, F.Nomad, or Foxnomad – I realized that everyone was calling me something else, so it meant there was some confusion as to who I was. It’s simple, my name is Anil Polat – you should make it as easy as that for your readers too.

  • You don’t introduce yourself to people you meet as Mrs. Interior Designer or Mr. Software Engineer do you?

2. Make It Easy To Contact You – Your email address or a contact form needs to be prominent on your blog. Often times I want to get in touch with another blogger and I can’t find anyway other than the comment fields to shoot them a message. I, and most everyone else, give up after a minute or so. It’s a good idea to have auto responders in place to let people that your responses may be delayed when you are actively traveling (mention where you are going in the response).

3. Give Them Options – Offer your Facebook, Twitter, Skype, AIM, etc. screen names and let people decide how they want to get in touch with you. The more options, the more likely they’ll send you a message and get to know you better.

  • It’s important for most blogs to have easily accessible authors, but having a travel blog generally means you’re traveling often. Make it easier on yourself (and your readers) by leveraging several social networking tools, including some geared towards travelers specifically, like TripSay.

Your Personality and Personal Stories Are Important

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I can’t stress enough how important it is to let yourself shine through your travel blog (something I don’t always do). Nomadic Matt is looking for opinions on how to build a better website, and personal stories are a clear favorite. Posts like Erica’s 30 Travel Related Things About Me, One Giant Step’s around the world journey, and Christine’s Making and Breaking Friends in Caye Caulker put you in touch with the traveler and ultimately your blog.

As important as it is to bring your personality to your travel blog, you need to be able to focus your traveling into coherent thoughts and ultimately, effective posts that a wide audience can relate to and learn from. In How To Build A Successful Travel Blog Part 2, tomorrow I’ll share my thoughts on what to post, how to post it…and keep it all going.

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[photo by: martapiqs]