8 Steps To Your Own Cruise Blog
First you need a name that is going to be easy to remember and describes what your blog is about. It is a good idea to have the word cruise in it, to help Google find you. Buy your domain name at a website like Go Daddy and type in the name you want. Do this before you go any further, as the name you want may not be available. It is always best to get a .com address as people tend to trust them more and if you are writing a travel site, why limit yourself to the UK? Having said that, it’s a good idea to buy the .co.uk site aswell and you can redirect it to the .com site when you are up and running. Or at least it ensures no one else copies your idea and creates a website with the same name.
Setting Up Your Cruise Blog
You can go to sites such as WordPress or Wix to start building your blog. They are both really easy to use if you allow some time and patience to learn them. There are plenty of tutorial videos on their support pages and on YouTube. This is going to be the most stressful part if you lack patience (like me), or are not very good at picking up this kind of stuff. You can hire a Web Developer to do it all for you and you can get these fairly cheap at Fiverr.com If you want to go down that route. I suggest you write up 20 blog posts with high resolution images and a plan of how you want your blog to look. Then get the developer to do it all in one go, rather than keep reverting back every time you need another post added. Once you are set up, you will probably find it a lot easier to just add a post yourself.
Cruise Blog Writing Tips
Firstly, always write your draft post in a word document backed up by a virtual folder. I have seen many posts from frustrated bloggers who have somehow lost hours of work due to the website or internet crashing.
If you want Google to rank your site as a good source of information, you need to make sure you write in a specific way. This is called SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). It’s not something to get too hung up on, but it’s worth learning to write in such a way to increase your chances of being seen. You can get plug ins that give you a traffic light indicator as to how readable your text is. I use Yoast as it also gives you tips on where you are going wrong. Sometimes it can be the formatting where you just need to split a large body of text up with a new heading. All of this adds up to making it a better read for your audience, so it’s going to benefit you in the long run.
Some bloggers are also contributors to cruise publications. If this is something that appeals to you, it is imperative that you get your punctuation, spelling and terminology correct. Always read over it. If you took heed of my first writing tip and started in an external word document, use the spell checker!
Sharing Your Cruise Blog on Social Media
Chose a blog theme that has social media share buttons on each post. This will make it easy for readers to share your content. You also want to encourage readers to follow you on social media, so ensure you have follow buttons somewhere on every page.
When you share a post on social media ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS tag the cruise line. That way they can see that you are supporting them. It’s also a good idea to use their hashtags.
Timing is everything. There are various ways to find out the best times to post. You can Google ‘best times to post on social media’ for insights. If you find you are not able to post at the recommended times, you can use a scheduling website such as Hootsuite, which give you additional benefits such as insights and reports.
Organising Your Cruise Blog
Just because you know where to find your posts, it doesn’t mean your reader will. It’s a good idea to enlist a few friends and family members to look around your site to see if it is easy to navigate. If not, tweak it until it does. The best way to do this is to categorise topics using the menu bar at the top of the page. Look at what other bloggers have done and take the ideas from the ones you like best.
Cruise Blog Mailing List
You will want to give people the option to sign up to your mailing list. This will help grow your audience as you can notify them every time you have a new post. Some people prefer to put a sign up box somewhere discreet and others like to use a pop up (like me). It’s up to you. This is a bit of a minefield as there are many options available. If you prefer, just get the one that comes with your website theme and fine tune it when you are more familiar with the workings.
You will grow a much steadier audience if you are consistent. It is useful to have a content calendar to help you plan what you will blog about each week for the next 4 – 6 weeks. This doesn’t have to be rigid, but having a basic plan is always good.
You might want to blog more than once a week, but you will have press releases from the cruise lines you may want to publish in between times. Some bloggers simply copy and paste these, others change them slightly. Ideally, you should rewrite it in your own words, but in reality our busy lives don’t always allow time for this. My opinion is that it’s better to get it out quick, than be sending out a well written piece of ‘old news’. The more you do it, the easier it becomes and the seasoned journalists can turn a press release around in about 15 minutes!
Making Money From Your Cruise Blog
There are a number of ways to make money from your cruise blog. Some are more lucrative than others, but ultimately how much you earn depends on you.
Once your blog has been up and running for a while, you can apply to Google Adsense for a publisher account. You see the ads on my blog? They are Adsense ads. Some people like them and some people don’t. You won’t earn a lot of money from these unless you are driving hundreds of thousands of people to your blog each month. However it’s quite nice when you get that little bit of extra cash just for adding a bit of code onto each post.
Affiliate schemes are where you sign up to the brands you feel fit well with your blog. I have Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Florida Tix. If someone makes a booking using one of these links, the publisher (you) earn commission. This is the second best way for bloggers and influences to earn an income.
You can also sign up to Amazon Associates and when you buy something from Amazon for your cruise, just write up a review with a link to the website. If someone clicks onto your Amazon link and makes a purchase, whether it’s the product you linked to or something else, you will get paid commission.
This is where the money is. Once you have created your audience, you may be approached by brands to write a review about their product. This is one of the reasons bloggers get free cruises. It is instead of payment from the cruise line. However other brands may be willing to pay you for working with them. I have had posts from £60 to £600, just for writing 300 – 500 words with a link to their website to book. Obviously don’t work with brands you don’t like, because your audience will see through this. I have turned down offers purely for that reason. Don’t sell yourself out.
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