Sponsored post| When I started BritVoyage, now a travel and lifestyle blog, in January 2019, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was a hobby blogger, but as time progressed I realised that I wanted to grow from an insignificant voice on the internet. For some people, blogging seems a breeze, but for others, the journey can be full of setbacks and hiccups.
Growing a travel and lifestyle blog is a slow process for me. There are five aspects that I have found particularly difficult, which I was absolutely not prepared for. Hopefully, sharing them today will give you a better idea of what to expect when you start your own!
Choosing a niche
Initially, BritVoyage was a travel blog, and most of my content was travel related. We hit a slight hiccup in April of 2020 which had the potential to completely stall my growth. Instead of being able to explore the UK, we were locked down and forced to stay indoors, so I expanded my niche to be both a travel and lifestyle blog.
The difficulty with ‘lifestyle’ blogs is that the word ‘lifestyle’ is so broad! Generally everything you read about successful blogging says you should have a focused niche, but how is that possible with ‘lifestyle’ as a topic?
Instead of thinking about niche content, perhaps we need to think about ourselves as the unique selling point.
Developing your website
Developing your website takes a long time. I started out on a free ‘WordPress’ account but after six months, I found the customization limiting. A clunky website is off-putting. Shifting to a self-hosted blog provided me great opportunities for growth. The positives of a self-hosted site seem endless, with the ability to customise the appearance of the site way you want, add e-commerce, and install plug-ins. Without a doubt, my website is much slicker than it was in 2019.
However, the major difficulty here is the technical aspect. Many of us – lifestyle bloggers that is – are not experts in website creation. I have found trying to improve the speed of my site to be the most tricky job, knowing full well that there are other things that I also need to do to optimize. A top tip is to ask for advice from other bloggers and influencers – they can point you in the direction of useful courses or offer some suggestions as to why things aren’t working the way they should.
It’s only in 2021 that I realised the importance of SEO in my content. My growth completely stagnated in 2020 and early 2021 I was pulling my hair out to work out why. My traffic wasn’t growing; my Domain Authority (which keeps being asked for by brands) was stuck; I was becoming disillusioned.
After a bit of investment, and networking with other bloggers, I started to focus on keywords within my content to start driving organic traffic to my website. I also decided to replace images and create ALT-text. In just a month, I’m starting to see the seeds of change.
Getting your head around SEO when you don’t have an IT background is really difficult. It’s something You should definitely try to do a little bit of research on it before you publish your first posts, or you’ll end up like me, having to edit over a hundred posts a few years down the line.
Getting influencer work
The number one thing that I find difficult about growing my travel and lifestyle blog is getting consistent work. Brands are now using influencers within their marketing strategies more than ever. I first started applying to blogger opportunities in mid 2019 with little luck – I couldn’t even get consistent gifted opportunities. As BritVoyage has started growing (albeit slowly) I’ve been able to secure some sponsored work, which is fantastic.
Try not to be disheartened when you see that other blogger, who started blogging later than you, securing sponsored content. Pitching is incredibly difficult, especially when you are pitching an idea to a brand out of the blue.
Accepting you have a lot to learn
Chasing growth is a relentless beast. It’s easy for us to do a course, or buy a website template and think we’ve done enough. Blogging is like anything – the parameters are always changing and you need to continue to educate yourself to be successful. However, something you find difficult in the first month of blogging will become a breeze by your twenty-first.
I’m no blogging expert, and I don’t have all the answers, but hopefully one day, I can say otherwise! Best of luck for growing your own travel and lifestyle blog.