One of the most frustrating things about starting a travel blog (apart from just trying to pick a good travel blog name) is trying to come up with travel blog ideas for posts that people will actually read. After all, the best travel blog post idea is totally pointless if no one ever views it!
So in this guide, I’m going to tell you exactly how to find travel blog ideas that will actually draw viewers to your blog.
When I first started blogging as a beginner, one of the most frustrating things was spending days writing a post only to post it and watch almost nobody read it. My first 10 posts got fewer than single digits in views after being posted (and most of those were family and friends).
Over time, I’ve learned that a travel blog post idea can be the most brilliant piece of writing in the world, but it’s going to fall into the dark abyss if you don’t have a strategy for getting views. So in the guide, I’m going to quickly go over the most popular and proven strategies for actually writing travel blog posts that get viewers.
First, I’ll walk you through the two primary sources of traffic for travel blogs – and note some of the post ideas that do best for each source. Then I’ll explain to you the exact steps I now use to find my own search-optimized travel blog post ideas.
There is a lot of information in this guide, so feel free to use this Table of Contents to jump around:
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Before you dive into picking a travel blog idea, you need to have a strategy for how to generate traffic. Although there are other important options for generating traffic (such as email lists or getting referral traffic from larger sites), most travel blog posts are going to generate most of their views from one or both of two sources: social media and SEO.
Although there are some travel blog ideas that will do well both on social and on SEO, many times it’s best to gear your post towards one or the other, as there are unique factors that make a post perform well on each platform.
First, a post can generate views from being heavily shared on social media. The most effective social media platforms for driving traffic are Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and StumbleUpon. Things like Instagram and Snapchat may be great for engaging with your followers, but they aren’t really designed to send loads of traffic to most sites.
There are certain types of travel blog posts that seem to do especially well on social media, such as:
A note about that last one: The sort of travel blog ideas that tend NOT to work well are diary-type posts like “Yesterday I went here, then I ate here, then I did this thing.” That might be fine for your family and friends, but to expand your viewership you need to talk about your personal experiences in a way that viewers can actually connect with themselves. Be relatable. That’s easier said than done, I know. Candidly, this is something I still personally struggle with all the time.
The key to generating traffic from social media-geared blog posts is to get people to share the content, that way you are expanding your audience. Catchy headlines and intriguing topics are important here when choosing your travel blog idea.
One problem with travel blog post ideas that rely on social media is that even a viral social media post usually fades at some point. So, while you get an initial burst of traffic, being reliant on social media means you have to keep generating content perpetually to maintain traffic. That’s why for most travel blogs, the holy grail is travel blog ideas that are search engine optimized. The potential for traffic is huge because there are 6.5 BILLION searches done per day!
If you can get your travel blog idea to rank for a high-volume search on a search engine (which I’ll tell you how to do in the next section), you’ll get traffic coming your way passively every day. Sounds great right?
Just like there are certain types of posts that do well on social, there tend to be certain types of post that do well for SEO purposes:
Now, let’s stop for a minute and reflect on the above: what do all of these types of travel blog post ideas have in common?
Answer: they all provide practical and useful information that helps solve a problem people are actually having.
Unfortunately, finding a travel blog idea that can generate search traffic isn’t quite as simple as just writing information and useful posts (although that’s important!). Why? Well, there are two other questions that go into whether a travel blog post idea is actually a good one from an SEO perspective:
You can write the most useful guide in the world for a destination, but if only a handful of people are searching for that topic, it’s just not going to generate traffic.
On the other hand, you can write a great post on a travel blog idea that people DO search for, but it won’t matter if you have no realistic shot of getting onto the front page of Google results. A thousand people per day search for “What to do in New York City.” And though I’ve spent months of my life in New York and could write a quality blog post on that topic, it’d be a waste of my time because I’d have no chance of ranking against the much larger and more authoritative sites that rank for that term.
So, as you can see, in order to get search traffic it takes three things: quality content + search volume + keyword opportunity. I’ll walk through how to find out those second two things in the next section.
So how do you find travel blog ideas that have both good search volume and not too much competition? I’ve tried a bunch of different methods, but there are basically two that I recommend: the first has the advantage of being free and the second, though it costs a small monthly fee, has the advantage of working better.
If you’re looking to do SEO research on a budget, start by downloading the free browser extension “Keywords Everywhere.”
Once it’s installed, it will essentially overlay search volume data when you Google a keyword. Let’s say I’m looking for a travel blog idea about Peru. I might start by typing “Things to do in Peru” into Google. With Keywords Everywhere installed, the search will now look like this:
As you can see, the extension now displays that 5,400 people search for our keyword monthly. This is a popular keyword!
Another thing you can do with this extension is to scroll to the bottom of the search page, where Google lists related searches. It will overlay search data for those as well:
So now we have a free and easy way to see the search volume for our travel blog post ideas. Pretty cool right?
But volume is only half the story – we also need to know the difficulty of ranking for that keyword. If there is too much high-ranking competition out there for this keyword, we’ll be wasting our time chasing this traffic. And while Keywords Everywhere does provide a little info off to the right about “competition,” I definitely wouldn’t recommend writing a post based on those competition numbers, as there is a good chance they are off by quite a bit.
To find difficulty for keywords, there are a few different tools you can use that will provide you with some free quality data:
Each of these services will give you 10 free searches per month. So if you are really on a budget, you can squeeze 30 free searches a month by using all three.
The downside to this free approach is that it is very time-consuming. Plus, you’ll have to learn each of their different metrics for ranking the competitiveness of keywords. And, more importantly, 30 searches a month goes very quickly, especially if you are new to travel blogging and can’t compete for anything but really easy keywords! I now frequently run through double that when trying to find just a single travel blog idea.
There is a much better way to find great travel blog ideas that will generate search traffic. It does require spending a small amount of cash (about the same as you would on a Netflix subscription with the special discount code I’ll give you later in this post). But this is the approach I personally use, and I think it’s worth every penny.
The key to this approach is purchasing a subscription to KeySearch.co. There are a number of different packages, but for most travel bloggers the cheapest “Starter” package is probably sufficient. It allows you to do 200 searches PER DAY, which means you could theoretically run over 6,000 searches per month.
And, best yet, once you pay for the premium subscription, KeySearch gives you a mind-blowing amount of SEO data about your travel blog ideas! I was shocked the first time I saw how much useful info it provides.
For example, let’s re-run our search for “Things to Do in Peru”:
There is a TON of information on this screen, including search trends over time in the middle box and the existing rankings for this keyword at the bottom. All of that and more will become very useful as you become an expert at SEO.
But for now, the most important information is what I’ve circled. First, we already know the volume is 5,400/month.
But, secondly, we now have information on how easy it would be to rank our travel blog idea for this keyword. Specifically, Keysearch scores competition for this keyword at 47, which it defines as “moderate competition.” If you’re an established blog with a high Domain Authority you might be able to rank for this keyword, but for a new blog like me, this is simply too difficult. We’re really looking for a keyword that has a ranking in the 30s or below.
Thankfully, Keysearch can help us come up with some other travel blog ideas that might be easier to rank for. So let’s go over on the right side of the screen, which looks like this:
On the right side is a list of related keyword ideas, as well as basic info about them like search volume and difficulty. Some of these already show the difficulty score because some other user recently checked it but if we want to check another one, we just have to use one of our 200 daily credits to check that keyword. You can even run a search on the entire list in bulk, sort by volume, or use the filter to narrow down the list (for example, to only keywords with the word “Lima”).
Peru is a very competitive area for travel blog ideas, so it took me almost 100 credits of trying, but I was eventually able to sort through a couple good candidates for us:
It turns out that “Peru Itinerary” has much more manageable competition score of 34, and yet still has decent search volume (880/month). Better yet, there are a number of other keywords we can work into the post that are also easy to rank for.
So, using Keysearch, we’ve figured out a hypothetical travel blog post idea that can actually get us traffic! If we’d gone with our first instinct, “Things to do in Peru,” I can guarantee you no one would have ever found the article. But by using Keysearch, we now know how to write a post that solves a problem people actually have, gets decent search traffic, and can realistically find its way to page one of Google. Awesome right?
There is a lot more to Keysearch than I explained above, but even just this basic approach will dramatically increase your chances of ranking on Google, improve your traffic, and save you time by helping you to focus your travel blog ideas to things that can actually get traffic.
And all of this costs just the low price of $17/month. But, actually, you can get it even cheaper if you purchase through my link and use my special 20% discount code at purchase: KSDISC.
By using this code, you can buy Keysearch for just over $13/month! If you’re serious about travel blogging, I assure you that this is the best money you can spend. Keysearch is a powerful tool that costs a fraction of the other tools out there (which typically run close to $100 per month!). I happily give them my $13 every month, and it’s the best money I spend on my blog.
So if you’re interested in supercharging your travel blog traffic, sign up for Keysearch here now. And be sure to use the discount code KSDISC at checkout!
Using the above methods will help you find travel blog ideas from where you can actually get traffic. But you still need to execute in order to make that a reality, and that requires knowledge of other important SEO subjects like linking building and on-page search engine optimization. I don’t have to time to cover those topics in depth here, but here’s a pretty detailed guide that will get you started on the basics for free.
If you’re really serious about turning your blog into a business, however, I highly recommend investing in a travel blog course. I personally signed up for Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Business of Blogging course the same day I started my travel blog, and I think it was the best investment I made. The vast majority of new bloggers fail, and a major reason is that blogging is actually more difficult it seems from the outside. Taking this course really gave me a jumpstart on learning how to be a better blogger. I was originally a huge skeptic on the value of the course (it’s not cheap), but months later and with a blog that actually gets real traffic, I’m a convert. You can read my full review of the Superstar Blogging course here.
And, as always, if you have any questions about blogging or how to pick good travel blog ideas, just drop me a line in the comments – I’m happy to help anytime!
Nate Hake has traveled to 65+ countries across six continents around the world and blogs about his travels at TravelLemming.com. He is from Denver, Colorado, and recently concluded a six month stint living in Mexico.