I’m off travelling next week, so today I was rummaging about inside my blog performing a little blog maintenance. Updating this, backing up that. It’s the blog equivalent of cancelling the milkman and handing your neighbour a spare key before you leave.
A post-it note reminded me that I’d promised to say a few words about how to find the best travel blogs, so here you go. If you’re not interested in any other travel blogs because you’re already head over heels in love with mine (smooch!) then forget about this and try Time Travel: The Transcantabrico Train instead. Or Can You Score A Country on Ethics? Or browse your way around the Adventure section and enjoy!
Otherwise, read on.
On the surface, finding great travel blogs to read should be easy. With the help of the mighty Google, not to mention the new, fandangled twitter thing, tracking down a great travel blog should only take a few seconds.
Alas, not so.
A quick google (yes, it’s become a verb) on “the best travel blogs” reveals the following top three results:
1) An article written in 2005
2) An article from 2008 that doesn’t seem to know what a travel blog is and includes the review site TripAdvisor
3) An article written in 2003 proclaiming that most travel blogs run out of material within about a year
An even quicker twitter search throws up lots of tweets from people asking others to vote for them in a “best travel blog” contest. Searches for “good travel writing,” “top travel blogs” and “recommended travel blogs” reveal the same kind of thing.
If you’re looking for a great travel blog to read (rather than trying to find a travel blogger to work with) then here’s how to do it.
1) Think about the kind of travel blog you want to read (eg luxury, backpacker, family based or photography led.)
2) Head over to the resource section on this site and look for the category that best suits your tastes.
3) Check out the travel blogs listed for your category.
4) Repeat the procedure on their blogs (almost all travel blogs have a blogroll or “links” section. Just like when it comes to making friends, the chances are that if you enjoy one blog, you’ll enjoy the sites that blog recommends.)
5) Read and enjoy!
In a sense, the procedure is pretty much the same. I’ve seen far too many companies get over-excited at lists and statistics to the point where they are desperate to work with bloggers on projects that have nothing to do with the kind of thing the blogger writes about. Backpackers in Michelin restaurants, independent travellers on rigidly fixed tours.
That said, if money’s involved, then you do need to look at the numbers.
These days you’ll find several different scoring systems, each with their benefits and each with their flaws. Don’t get too despondent, though. These indicators still give you far more information than the old “column inches” approach.
Google Analytics is generally regarded as the industry standard, although many other metrics are used. Google Analytics statistics are private, however, a special secret between the almighty G and the humble travel blogger. Alexa and Compete provide the next best public measure of website traffic.
The number of email, RSS and Facebook subscribers reflect to some extent the loyalty of readers.
Klout and Peer Index measure a blogger’s “influence” in social media (principally on Twitter and Facebook.)
Yet, it’s time consuming to go through each of those metrics yourself. Which brings me on to the next method…
There are probably as many, if not more, lists ranking travel blogs than there are travel blogs themselves. Each with their own generous helping of “magic dust,” otherwise known as “I like them, so you should too (see above method.)”
While not perfect, lists based on statistics do give you a clearer idea of where a travel blog stands in relation to its peers. Here are the most respected statistic-based lists:
The Top 150 General Travel Blogs – Compete, Alexa, RSS Subscribers, Google PageRank, Yahoo & Google Indexed Pages
100 Top Travel Blogs by Traffic – Compete & Google Ad Planner
Top 50 Travel Blogs from Travelocafe – Combining site visitors and social media presence
That’s it! I’d be happy to add any others to the list as long as they’re based on objective metrics. Thanks for stopping by – and happy reading!
1) Forget searching on Google and Twitter
2) Follow personal recommendations from travel bloggers you respect
3) Use statistic-based lists
Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on www.insidethetravellab.com