How to Start an Outdoor Travel Blog & the Pitfalls to Avoid
Have you considered starting an outdoor travel blog? You have probably seen all of the promises of striking it rich so you can hike, camp, or bike the world, right?
But if you’re overwhelmed with the noise, the FOMO, and the endless sales pitches, keep reading. We want to share some of the tactics that influencers are using these days and why they work for them but not for you.
Then we want to show you the ones that are truly there to help you to succeed in starting a travel blog. You can start a successful outdoor blog. You just need to know the pitfalls to avoid.
**As an Amazon Associate I earn commissions from qualifying purchases.
One thing the readers of this blog all have in common is that they love the outdoors. Hikers, campers, kayakers…canoers? (I don’t know if that’s a word. But it didn’t autocorrect…)
If you are one of the explorers, trekkers, paddlers, splashers, sloggers, wanderers or rovers always looking for an outdoor adventure you are in the right place. So welcome!
You also have likely wondered how you can do this more often. Actually, all of the time. Could you make a living outside, doing what you love?
When we were kids, the options were limited. In fact, when you were a kid and they asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what outdoor choices were there?
Besides being a park ranger, not much else comes to mind.
Fortunately, there are other options. Many people make a living by being outdoors! Or at least exploring more often.
For example, lots of people have given up on society and just tramped around on the railroads. Jumping a boxcar on the way to who-knows-where. Running from bulls, spending weeks in jail. Getting beat up and eating beans out of a can. Ah, the life.
Admittedly, there are some downsides to tramping.
But, there is a way to make extra money without sacrificing society or your teeth: You could write about it.
How to Make a Living Writing About the Outdoors
Ok, there are a lot more acceptable ways to make extra money without resorting to crime or vagrancy.
Consider how many magazines, tv shows, and books are all about exploring the natural world. How many people have to contribute to keeping them going?
Perhaps you have considered going that route.
The only problem is, that’s still a job. There is someone you have to answer to and arbitrary deadlines to publish. It could impede your wanderlust and creative freedom if you don’t choose where and when to go somewhere.
What is the best option if you want to have more control over your time, your schedule, and follow the whims of adventure?
Hint: you’re reading one right now.
That’s right! You could start an outdoor travel blog.
QUOTE “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – F. Bueller
I next want to present the problem with starting an outdoor travel blog followed by the solution. What you are about to read is brutally honest, but I think it will help you navigate the Travel Blog Urchins selling whatever course, class, or walk-through.
Ready? Here is goes…
Why Most Outdoor Travel Blogs Fail
In case you didn’t guess by the subheading…most outdoor travel blogs don’t make it.
In fact, most blogs of any kind don’t make it. Every year there are hundreds of thousands of people who start a website, only to abandon it within the first couple of years.
Some statistics state up to 80% of them won’t last 2 years.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s go over a couple of reasons we have observed for the glut of defunct websites. Then we can show you what to look for to make sure you get started on the right foot.
Ok, this may be kind of harsh. But the truth is, there are lots of dishonest people. Somehow they seem to have control of a large part of the internet.
You have probably noticed some websites that promote products incessantly. But when you try to find out more information, it’s just shallow drivel that tells you nothing about the product. Just a “buy now” button.
Unfortunately, it is all too easy to make unsubstantiated claims or to exaggerate expertise. Which is one end of the spectrum.
The other side of this are some very successful bloggers that have been around the block a time or two. And their promise is that you can repeat the success they have had, without making all of the mistakes they made.
After all, they figured it out on their own so they know what’s up, right?
Here is something I think we all intuitively know but refuse to acknowledge when something sounds too good to be true: It probably is.
In the case of the experienced guides, they have definitely been around awhile. And they have made a success out of their blog.
But here’s the kicker: the rules change almost every day in SEO. What worked last year, won’t work as well this year. And what worked 10 years ago doesn’t work at all.
As competition grows, people find ways to loopholes in the Search Engine algorithm. As Google and others discover these breaches, they adjust the code to close the gap.
Soon enough, another work-around is found and shortly after the rules change again.
The bottom line: What worked for the pioneers of outdoor travel writing even 5 years ago no longer works as a viable strategy. Unless they change their courses, they are giving you outdated information.
And most don’t update that often. So if you sign up with one of them, you will be left behind and find yourself frustrated and lost. Not a good place to be.
So you see a big reason why so many travel blogs fail? You need up to date information.
Next, we’ll explain why the OG’s aren’t the best teachers:
They Have Forgotten What it’s Like to Get Started
That may seem like a small deal, but it’s not.
Look at any successful company. How many of them are just one person by themselves?
Sure, you will find some startups that can’t yet afford to hire anyone. But any established company has people working for them.
They have established systems and delegations to hand off to other people so that they can continue to grow their business.
There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, that’s just good business sense.
So, think about how that applies to someone teaching you to start your own outside travel blog. How long do you think these intelligent men and women keep doing all of the tedious tasks themselves?
They are too smart for that! If you were in their shoes, you would do the same thing. It’s a good investment to hire someone to do the heavy lifting so that you can scale your profits.
Here’s the point: The Old-School bloggers started hiring people a long time ago. First they hire content writers and tech support. Then they hire marketing agents and social media managers.
They started doing this early in their careers. And at this point, it’s been so long since they did it themselves, they really aren’t the expert at each and every detail.
It is completely different running an established business than starting a blog you hope to turn into a business.
That makes these guys a little out of touch with what it was like to start out. They aren’t hungry and haven’t been for a while.
The solution? Getting training from someone who more recently found success, but is not too divided to care for their students.
That sounds like a needle in the haystack, but we’re going to address that in the next article.
Come back later this week and we will cover what to look for in a starter course for outdoor travel bloggers and I’ll give you some more pitfalls to avoid.
But if you want a sneak peak and jump to the best course for starting a travel blog, sign up Mike & Laura’s Travel course on Teachable. You can take their Travel Blogging Success course for free.
They offer the most comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to travel blogging.
I think their free webinar is a great introduction to their teaching style.
If you have any questions about it, feel free to reach out to us. We keep everyone up to speed on our newsletter. And we answer all of our emails promptly. (We may even have a discount code to many of our special offers)
Want To Know How to Make Money With an Outdoor Travel Blog?
If you want to understand how to make money with a travel blog, check out one of the best ways: Affiliate Marketing.
We were privileged to have our guest author Jordan Smith introduce us to How to Make Money Through Affiliate Marketing.
If you feel like you don’t have enough experience to start a blog, we answer some basic questions on getting started as an amateur blogger.
There are a number of other ways to make money with your website. We will cover those in future articles.
In the meantime, if you want an example of affiliate marketing that is meant to be helpful, check out some of our buying guides.
Take The Best Camping Fridges buying guide that we published earlier this summer. Inside we will explore 16 different fridges for camping, and why we think Dometic makes the best choice.