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 browsing the other sections instead.
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 latest social media gizmo, 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: find one blogger whose work you love and see who they recommend and work with.
In the old days (ie about five years ago in blogging terms, bloggers used to post a link roll of their favourite blogs in the sidebar.) Sadly, Google frowned upon that so things have changed a little.
Bloggers share plenty of work across their social networks. So if you follow me on Twitter or Pinterest or Facebook, for example, you will see me share work from other bloggers I respect. It’s like a visual word of mouth recommendation. Plus, the algorithms behind these social media behemoths will then auto suggest other blogs for you to follow.
Sometimes these are somewhat, er, hit and miss, but they’re not usually too bad.
Another good place to go is Bloglovin’ This is a nice, sleek way to read blogs in general – and again it gives you suggested blogs to follow. Unfortunately, it’s based more on blogger subscriber numbers rather than finely matched interests but it is a) a good place to start and b) bloggers can create lists of other bloggers there.
A similar, though less pretty, program is called Feedly. You can find a list of great travel blogs here, for example.
Instagram is a gorgeous place to hang out but it’s seen as a.bad.thing to share other people’s work as your own on instagram. So that won’t help much.
Finally, check out the Lonely Planet Pathfinders team (disclosure, I’m one of their featured bloggers.) And if your idea of Lonely Planet is cheap backpacking for students then it’s time to move on. They have ;-) They now span luxury to budget and solo to family travel. In a sense, the company has grown up along with the founders.
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 attempts to measure a blogger’s “influence” in social media (principally on Twitter and Facebook.) It’s not perfect but it’s a start.
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!
If you haven’t gathered already, it can be a lot of work to find the best travel blog for your brand. And that’s where hiring someone can make sense. While blogger agents are prolific for other niches, for travel blogs, they are not so well established.
Instead, you’ll find groups of blogger collectives or companies that put together projects involving travel bloggers.
iAmbassador, for example, is global and covers all niches whereas Captivate focuses on high quality travel blogs for the over 30s.
1) Forget searching on Google
2) Follow personal recommendations from travel bloggers you respect
3) Use statistic-based lists
4) Hire someone with the necessary expertise