Is Anybody Out There? Hang in There, Travel Bloggers

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Recently I've noticed more than a few travel bloggers becoming frustrated. Frustrated about being passed over for blogging opportunities. Frustrated at being left off lists of “top” travel bloggers. Frustrated over feeling left out of the clique of “cool” travel bloggers who seem to be so much more successful than everyone else.

Someone said that travel blogging feels a lot like being back in high school. The kids who are deemed cool remain so, and it's difficult for any newcomers to reach that same level of coolness.

I've felt frustrated, too. It's not easy to always feel left out, or feel like you're lagging behind with no chance of catching up. I think it's especially bad when I put a blog post out there that I'm really proud of, and then it flops. Some days, I wonder who I'm even blogging for; I wonder if anyone is even out there, paying attention.

But I think this feeling of frustration is only natural.

The “cool kids” of travel blogging started in the exact same place that I am now. True, there wasn't as much competition in the travel blogging market a decade ago as there is now. But everyone has to start somewhere.

So, on those days when I start feeling frustrated, I try to remind myself of a few things:

  • It's not the end of the world if no one leaves a comment, or retweets my new post. Sure, it's disheartening. But, in the grand scheme of things, one off day shouldn't ruin my whole week. If anything, it should just inspire me to try harder next time.
  • Sometimes, it's just dumb luck. I can write what I think is a brilliant post, but maybe I just post it on the wrong day. Maybe the people who would also view it as brilliant just aren't around. And maybe the next day, when I post some silly Top 10 list, that's the day someone like Lonely Planet decides to retweet my post. Often, I think it's just one of those things that's very hard to predict, and impossible to control.
  • There can be no success without failure. I'm really just a baby blogger when it comes to the travel blogging universe. I haven't been doing it for that long, and yet I'm slowly crawling my way up in the ranks. The little successes — the RTs from Lonely Planet, the occasional big boosts in traffic — feel even better due to the little failures. If I keep at it and don't let the frustrations ruin the experience, eventually those successes will come more and more frequently.
  • It's not anyone's “fault.” I cannot blame everything on the successful bloggers. I can be jealous that they continually get opportunities I would kill for, but I can't blame them for being successful. They've worked hard to get where they are, and what I should be doing is taking note of how they made it happen for themselves.

Obviously I'm not going to become one of the “cool kids” overnight. Contrary to popular belief outside of blogging circles, travel blogging is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, and even more dedication. It's not something you can just half-ass and expect to be successful at.

I know that, in the end, I'm the only one who can make my blog as successful as I want it to be.

And no amount of whining or feeling sorry for myself is going to change that fact.

Are you feeling like this too? Are there days when you feel like you're just screaming into a void, begging to know if anybody is even out there?

Well, you're not alone. Believe me.

Giving advice on handling this sort of frustration is near impossible. But here are the best tips I can come up with to try and break into that “cool kids” clique. It's my plan of attack, at least:

  • Post a variety of quality things. Some insightful, some silly, some practical. You don't want to pigeon hole yourself into one specific sort of advice or writing. (Or maybe you do?) Especially when first starting out, I think a bit of experimentation with your writing can help you figure out what works and what doesn't for your blog. But, no matter what, focus on quality. Proofread your stuff. Make people believe that you know what you're talking about.
  • Stay true to yourself. Even though you want to try and hone in on what people want to read by trying a variety of approaches, you also want to stay true to yourself. Don't write about something you don't enjoy. And certainly don't write about something you don't believe in, just because it's what you think people want to hear. Stay true to your own convictions; your voice will shine through.
  • Don't make comparisons. No two blogs are the same, because no two bloggers are the same. You shouldn't be comparing yourself to others, or feeling bad because you don't feel like you stack up. If all bloggers were the same, what would be the point? Be who you are, and others will undoubtedly appreciate it.
  • Read and comment on other blogs. If you remain in your own little blogging bubble, it's going to be much more difficult for people to find you, and — more importantly — relate to you. Read other travel blogs. Leave comments and share your insights. After all, how can you expect others to do the same on your blog if you're not doing it yourself? Plus, reading other blogs can give you a sense of different styles, and perhaps help you figure out the sorts of things you do and do not want to write about yourself.
  • Be active in social networking. Start a Twitter account. Utilize StumbleUpon. Create a Facebook page. Engage with your potential readers, and forge some online relationships with other travel bloggers. Not only will you make some friends, but it's likely that you can help each other out by driving new traffic to one another's sites.
  • Be open to guest blogging. A good way to gain some free exposure when you're just starting out is to write a guest post for another (perhaps even more successful) blog. Save something good for your guest posts, and you'll likely be rewarded with some new readers.
  • Try new things. Never tried your hand at video editing? Not sure if travel photography is really your thing? Try it out anyway. Who knows, you may discover a new talent. And adding things like strong images and video to your blog will only make it more appealing.

And, most importantly:

  • Don't give up. If travel blogging is really what you want to pursue, then don't let those rough days get you down. Don't let anybody tell you that you'll never succeed. Because, if you're serious about it, I think you can make it happen. You have to be persistent.ย You have to actively go after what you want. Eventually, it will pay off.

The frustrating days suck. But, often, at the end of those days, I get an e-mail from someone who has just discovered my blog, or a great comment, or a kind retweet from someone I respect. And those make all the difference.

So hang in there, fellow travel bloggers.

Because, yes, it seems there is somebody out there, paying attention.

Do you sometimes get frustrated with blogging, too? How do you cope?

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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267 Comments on “Is Anybody Out There? Hang in There, Travel Bloggers

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  1. wow this post is obviously being read ๐Ÿ™‚ i’ve been blogging on and off for about 3 years now, never too seriously, but yea i do wonder if my stuff is being read… i’ve taken a few of the same steps you outlined here over the past couple of months and i can say with certainty that they work. cheers for sharing!

      Yup, it seems like this is one of those “timeless” posts! Still amazed that people are still finding and reading it on a regular basis. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am really a baby blogger, about two months now, but the wealth of information and advice I have found from travel bloggers like you has been so helpful! Seeing this post now was great timing for me to encourage me to just hang in there…I am not even certain where I want my blog focus to be yet, so I am doing exactly what you suggest, trying different things and I too get SO excited when someone comments or likes or even follows! ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you!

      Well best of luck to you, Lynne! Whatever direction you decide to take your blog, just be sure to have FUN with it!

        Thank you, your tips and serendipity inspired me to take a direction and go for it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yup well written ….content is king ๐Ÿ™‚ I started my travel blog a year back and still every time i see a comment on my post ,I still excited and read it numerous times ….it somehow makes me happy that atleast some one had time to read and write something on my blog …..

    Well, I very much agree with you and I also think that the one who set up his blog merely to raise money, without a true love and interest in traveling will be disclosed by his/her writing. This thing just cannot be done without passion …

      Exactly! You have to have passion to make this work.

    Thanks for the excellent tips! I love to write about my trips and take lots of amazing pictures as well. I’ve been thinking about having a travel blog for a long time. So far, I have a blog (written in portuguese) just to keep my family and friends posted when I travel. But I always dream about how to make it public and how to write for others! Thank you very much!


      Well hopefully this post has given you some ideas about how you can do that!

    Thanks for this great article too. It’s so easy to feel downhearted when you don’t think anyone is reading! But it’s good to know it’s not just me feeling like this! But hey, we’re all in it together and love writing so even if no-one reads, I’m still enjoying it!

    Thanks again!

    Helen x

      As long as you are enjoying it, that’s really all that matters!

    I love your analogy that blogging is like being back at high school – I feel like it is first week of grade 9 some days! Love that I get some great comments from my readers, and like you said…MUST NOT compare myself to others! Have been blogging for 1 1/2 years and am so passionate about travel…I just want to scream it from the mountain tops, even if no one is listening!
    Thanks for the reminder to keep my chin up! I am learning all the time. Happy travels.

      Comparing yourself to others is probably the WORST thing you can do – and not just when it comes to blogging!

    Hi! You’ve got my attention now. I’m new, only 3 months of blogging under my belt, what started as a hobby has become an obsession and now I just can’t leave the blog alone. No, I don’t get frustrated, it’s all onward and upward and I’m learning as I go. Things can only get better! Nice post. Alyson

    I just recently joined the blogging world but love the experience to date regardless of the slow build up of an audience. It’s not really the numbers that excite me . It’s knowing that a blog really inspired someone or helped someone relate to. You write very well and I have just become a follower. I look forward to more posts from you ๐Ÿ™‚ natasha

      I love the same thing about blogging – knowing that my posts inspire people, or open their eyes up to places and experiences that they never knew about before. Thanks for following!

    Great post!! I just found your blog, and I love it! I’m a loyal follower of many different travel blogs and yours is definitely one of my new favorites ๐Ÿ™‚

    I agree though, everyone works their way from the ground up, and you can’t give up. I myself am the babiest (is that even a word?) of baby travel bloggers haha! I’m only in college and get hardly any traffic but I love writing and traveling and I know I won’t quit. Thanks for the optimism!

      Aww thanks, Anne! Glad you found your way to my blog, and that you like it!

      And, as for your own “baby” blog, as long as you love traveling and you love blogging, that’s all that matters right now!

    I just started creating some more public content for a travel blog that I have only ever shared with my friends before Monday. Suddenly I am wondering why am I doing it and does anybody care. I don’t know the answer to these and as of yet, I don’t know how much I care. I will continue to experiment for the next couple of weeks but whatever I find, I really enjoyed reading this post. It seems that you have come a very long way since this post was made. Congratulations and thank-you for this little boost. For the next little while, I’m still hanging ๐Ÿ™‚

      Well I hope your experimentation helps you figure out if this is something you want to be doing or not. If I’ve learned anything from blogging these past few years, it’s that you’re only as successful at it as you are passionate about it. Good luck!

    Hi there! I just realized you posted this in 2010. Social networks are never ending aren’t they? Is StumbleUpon still a big one for you? Seems like Pinterest is a big one now. It was encouraging to read this post!

      Haha, social networks are pretty amazing, aren’t they??

      StumbleUpon still sends me traffic, yes, but it’s definitely changed over the years!

    I love your approach and it is definetly one I try to follow with my travel blog. Finding your own voice is a challenge unto itself so I like to think that it takes sometime for others to find mine too. haha I don’t know if that makes sense. Just seeing that you have visitors on your site from all over the world is an amazing feeling! Even though the traffic isn’t huge yet and there aren’t a ton of comments, I like to think that there are people out there reading my stuff and that alone makes it rewarding. Patience is a virtue.

      Patience is indeed a virtue – and it’s essential for bloggers like us to have! Just concentrate on finding your voice, putting out great content, and having fun with it. The rest will come in time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I stumbled on to your blog by accident, but am loving what I’ve seen here so far. You’re post about blogging when not traveling and spreading out travel content was really helpful for me. I’m enjoying cruising around your site!
    Great writing ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. Is the name of your blog from The Lord of the Rings?

      Hi Liselle! Welcome! I’m glad you stumbled upon my blog and that you are enjoying it.

      And yes, the name of my blog was indeed inspired by a Lord of the Rings quote!

    I guess I can’t really call myself fashionably late to this particular comment-party…but in my defense, I just stumbled upon this blog post and the endless and fabulous comments. You clearly hit a true note with this one.

    I’ve been blogging for awhile now and have shifted from five-days a week to about three-four, but there are definitely, most assuredly (!) days when I wonder why I am still doing it.

    I swear that it’s precisely on those bad-hair days, a random email will show up and thank me for my writing. I know I shouldn’t need that little external validation, but sometimes I really do.

    As for the high-school stuff? I haven’t encountered anything but positive feedback from any other bloggers that I’ve connected with.

    That being said, I’ve been on some press trips where I wondered if I was going to have to push that one writer from the bus…you know the one? He’s the guy that persists in showing up late to every event because really, isn’t it all about him?

    But I digress!

    Thanks for a great post and a fun blog. I like your spirit and attitude. Wishing you all the very best.

    Take care,


      I love that people still stumble upon this post after all this time, and that’s it’s still relevant! I had no idea at all when I was writing it. Haha. Thanks for the great comment, and good luck!

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