1 Mar 2017
In the gold rushes of the mid-Nineteenth Century, many got rich from the gold dug out of the ground or panned from streams. The wealth flowed freely, but most worked hard and never made it big, and only a few struck it rich.
Luck of the draw, they said, thinking of whether one managed to stake a claim to a rich lode, or just an area of dirt and rock.
Some got reliably rich. They were the ones who didn’t do any mining, instead choosing to sell shovels and supplies to the miners at whatever the market would bear. The hotel-keepers, the washers of laundry, the suppliers of love by the hour – they all cleaned up very well, and at the end of the day, those who did the work most likely had little to show for their toil.
Travel blogging seems to be like that. Most slave away, taking photographs, noting down the facts and figures, formatting their websites, cranking out a post a day, and they do great work. I love reading their blog posts, making comments, sharing the better ones.
But very few are getting rich. We can all name those hitting the big time. They have the affiliate deals, they offer courses on how to travel blog like a pro, they have a massive load of followers.
They are selling the shovels.
Some are always advertising this tour company or that, spruiking for a hotel or an airline, always offering photographs of champagne by the pool on their latest freebie. Guess what their role is.
And of course, there are those selling web hosting, premium themes, premium plugins. Not to mention the cameras, the flights, the luggage, the hotels, the meals we consume in order to report on them.
I’ve been doing a little research. There are sites that can check a website, offer a guesstimate of its worth, track the number of users, the likely advertising income.
What the hell?
Guess what. Nobody’s getting rich off Google Adwords but Google. Very few bloggers are hitting a thousand visitors a day. We’re all much of a muchness down in the ruck. And there are hundreds, thousands of us. Anyone doing the social media rounds will notice the same names cropping up again and again. Over a hundred dedicated travel bloggers in Australia alone.
So, what the hell am I doing wasting my time here?
There are two answers. I can try to find a way to stand out, but there are so many bloggers with their own distinctive voice.
Or I can make a business out of it, be serious and focused on my audience, my affiliates, my merchandise.
Or I can muddle along, as I’m doing, telling stories, putting up photographs, reading other bloggers’ posts, and when I do get to travel a bit, spend all my free time hunched over my laptop in a wifi hotspot that is expensive and slow.
That’s fun, I guess.
If you are a travel blogger with more than a few months under your belt, what are your views? Worth continuing?