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Last Updated on 23/12/2020
From the outside, starting a travel blog in 2021 seems like a gamble. We’re in the midst of a pandemic and travel has suffered huge blows. But what if I told you 2021 is actually the best year to start or even level up your blog from a hobby to a business?
I’ve had my best blogging year yet for traffic and a friend of mine’s ad revenues are paying higher than ever before. The secret? Innovation and a watertight strategy. But here’s the thing, I wouldn’t have been half as successful if I hadn’t invested in travel blogging courses.
Sure, there is a tonne of free resources on the internet but a lot of them are outdated or plain wrong. You don’t want to put all your effort into following the advice of someone who can’t back it up with proven results or worse, get your blog into hot water. Your time is valuable and you deserve to have the right tools to help your blog flourish.
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I had a blog for two years before I invested in my first course. I thought I could go it alone, but I barely understood how to appear on search engines and I had no traffic. I only wish I had invested sooner.
To be successful at blogging, you need to find people who are the best in the industry and learn everything you can from them. Study their tactics, develop their mindsets, figure out what sets them apart from the rest. Most important of all, see how they pivot and innovate in times of crisis.
Although this isn’t a blog about blogging, I get asked about the best travel blogging courses a lot so I thought I would share my favourites that I’ve personally enrolled in.
Oh and the reason why you should start now? Plenty of bloggers will give up as a result of the pandemic. This leaves more opportunities for the rest. Those that have staying power succeed.
Head’s up, this blog post may contain affiliate links. By purchasing through these links I earn a small commission which allows me to run my blog. There’s no extra cost for you.
My top recommended travel blogging courses for 2021
$79/month or $599/year
Travel Blog Accelerator
Pinterest With Ell
SEO the Easy Way
$200 or $75 for eBook
By Nomadic Matt
Photo credit: Bram Naus
The Superstar Blogging course was created by Matt Kepnes from the hit travel blog, Nomadic Matt. Blogging since 2008, Matt has been over 10 years in the business. His blog is one of the most successful travel blogs in the world with up to 1.3 million visitors per month.
He’s also written a New York Times bestseller and has been featured in the likes of the Washington Post, BBC, Lonely Planet and National Geographic. It’s safe to say that he knows what he’s talking about. He’s one of the best out there.
The Superstar Blogging course is a mentorship rather than a course. You have modules to work through but you also have ongoing resources available to you. That’s why you have continued payment plans.
What’s included in the course:
The Superstar Blogging course syllabus is divided into eight modules and includes a total of 70 lessons. Here’s a quick overview below:
- Section 1: Setting Up and Getting Started – you’ll learn the basics of running a self-hosted website. You’ll get guidance on hosting, themes, which plugins to use and how to set up your blog for SEO.
- Section 2: Building a Brand – this step will teach you the importance of choosing your own niche. You’ll develop branding skills and learn how to optimise the user experience on your blog.
- Section 3: Writing Content – you’ll learn the tools you need to write amazing content that succeeds online. If you want more then Matt also has a dedicated Superstar Travel Writing course (something I have my eye on next!).
- Section 4: Mastering Social Media & Networking – getting seen online is a crucial step in becoming a successful blogger. This module teaches you social media strategies to implement and how to connect with other bloggers. You’ll also learn why guest posting on other blogs in your niche is important and how you can do it.
- Section 5: SEO – this module is all about simplifying search engine optimization (SEO) so you can get traffic to your blog. There is a mixture of beginner-friendly and more advanced lessons here.
- Section 6: Newsletters – you’ll learn how to choose the best email provider and how to build a thriving list of subscribers. The module will also teach you what to write in your emails and how to set up an engaging email funnel.
- Section 7: Monetising Your Blog – the journey to monetising your blog can be a slow process, but once you get there this module will help you navigate those first steps. This section is all about affiliate marketing and making your own products.
- Section 8: Partnering With Brands, PR Agencies, & More – the holy grail of travel blogging, right? You’ll learn the basics of creating your own media kit, pitching brands and PR agencies, and choosing the right ad network for your blog.
On top of all that you also get:
- Live Q&As on various blogging topics
- Access to forums
- Valuable writing feedback from Matt himself (one 1500-word blog post a month)
- 20 webinar recordings
- Tech and blogging support from a dedicated team
Why I love this blogging course:
The course teaches you absolutely everything you need to know about how to get your professional blog off the ground. Blogging can be lonely and full of trial and error but the Superstar Blogging course is here to guide you and set you on the right track.
This course was my first real investment in my blog. It helped me get serious about it and see value in my work. In particular, access to tech advice is such a big asset. I had been blogging for a few years on WordPress.com but I wanted to move to a self-hosted website. The tech team helped me make the switch as quickly and as pain-free as possible.
The course is jam-packed with information and it’s completely beginner-friendly. If you’re stuck on any subject you can reach out to Matt or the tech team. This kind of personal attention is vital – and it’s all included in the membership!
What I don’t like:
A lot of information is covered in each module which means it doesn’t always go very in-depth on certain topics. You may need to invest in additional courses if you want more advanced guidance.
Superstar Blogging is for you if:
You want to turbocharge your blog from a hobby to a business and you want to learn from the best. The Superstar blogging course will give you the tools step by step to set up a successful blog. It’s fantastic for beginners but the advanced modules, forums and ongoing mentorship makes it a valuable resource for bloggers at every stage.
Photo credit: Nick Morrison
Be My Travel Muse is a leading solo female travel blog by Kristin Addis. Since starting her blog in 2012, it’s become a resource for millions of users each year. Her success has seen her gain thousands of social media followers and reach a mid-6-figure salary.
The Travel Blog Accelerator program is an ongoing coaching program for travel bloggers at all levels. The price for this coaching program is a significant jump in comparison to other blogging courses but Kristin is a top travel blogger and she never fails to provide value.
As a member of the program myself I’ve learnt a great deal of insider secrets about blogging that I wouldn’t have got anywhere else.
The course structure runs on a month-to-month basis and builds as you go. All sessions are live over Zoom and you have access to them as well as an accountability journal in Teachable. It’s usually about 3-4 small group calls a month and they’re packed with actionable value. Here are some of the topics you cover:
- Branding – you’ll learn the importance of having a ‘why’ behind your blog and you’ll work on branding best practices to reflect that. The module will teach you how to make your website and social media look seamless and you’ll be guided into finding your own inspiring brand message.
- Get Seen – Kristin shows you proven SEO strategies that work and the tools she uses to build her audience. You’ll also learn successful networking tips and how to get featured on other blogs. A key component of this month is that you get to learn how to pitch media.
- Monetisation Strategies – you’ll learn strategies that work for you and your brand. You’ll get an understanding of affiliate marketing and how to get paid work as a blogger. This module will also teach you how to navigate ad networks.
- Social Media Mastery – this module will show you how to choose the right social media platforms for your brand and how to grow with proven tips and tactics to implement.
- Supercharge Your Audience Growth – Kristin will teach you how to grow your email list and create personalised funnels that speak to your subscribers.
- Creating Products – you’ll learn how to become an expert in your niche so you can create a product that sells. You’ll also get an introduction to marketing your first products whether it’s a course, ebook or retreat.
This is only a few of the topics you cover. You also get:
- Access to the Mastermind Slack Group where you can chat with Kristin and other members
- A monthly accountability journal to keep you on track of your goals
- The opportunity to be considered BMTM writer and get exclusive access to some of Kristin’s projects she passes on if you stay for 6 months
Why I love this travel blogging program:
The Travel Blog Accelerator gives you the keys to carve out your own blogging success rather than the exact strategies to copy. Sadly, there’s no cookie-cutter method to success in blogging, only best practices.
Kristin encourages you to stand on your own two feet which is a sustainable approach to building your business.
The program is a more holistic approach to becoming a professional travel blogger and entrepreneur. You’re given a monthly journal to help you stay accountable and keep on track of your goals. You have access to a slack mastermind group and monthly group coaching calls which are also available to watch on Teachable whenever you like (vital if you miss a few – guilty!).
My favourite thing about this course is that you get live Q&As with top travel bloggers in Kristin’s network. So far we’ve had calls with Kristen Bor of Bearfoot Theory, Liz Carlson of Young Adventuress and Alex Baackes of Alex in Wonderland – just to name a few. As a bonus, we even got insider tips on how to qualify for Mediavine!
What I don’t like:
If you’re in the very early stages of your blogging journey, you may struggle with the lack of guidance on the technical side to setting up a website. You don’t have free technical support either, but you do get a discount for Kristin’s go-to tech guy.
The course is more of a mentorship with each month dedicated to a particular blogging topic. If you like courses with a set number of modules, a definite end and worksheets then it might not be right for you.
This blogging training is for you if:
You’ve set up your blog and you want to start implementing some advanced strategies. Travel Blog Accelerator covers more than just how to succeed in travel blogging. It dives deep into the entrepreneurial mindset so you can start thinking about your blog as a real business. If you’re serious then this step is vital.
The mentorship program is for you if you want accountability and a strong network of like-minded bloggers. You can go at your own pace or follow each new module as it comes. It’s completely up to you.
Photo credit: Andrew Neel
Before I invested in this course, I found Pinterest a nightmare. I couldn’t give up on it because it’s the second-highest traffic source after search engines. If you get Pinterest right then you’re onto a goldmine.
After spending a lot of time fumbling around in the dark, I made the decision to get serious about my Pinterest strategy.
I chose Pinterest With Ell because it was an affordable price and it had raving reviews. Ell Duclos, the course creator, owns two successful blogs (Boss Girl Boggers and Ell Duclos).
Within 6 months of starting her blog, the traffic she got from Pinterest made it possible for her to make it her full-time career – the dream really. She knows Pinterest inside and out and her strategies continue to bring over 100,000 monthly page views to her blog.
I won’t go into too many details here as the course covers quite a lot and content is regularly updated. Key topics include optimising your Pinterest account and proven pinning strategies. You’ll learn how to design pins that convert even if you’re a novice graphic designer. The course will even teach you how to do SEO specifically for Pinterest (yup, there’s strategies for that too).
The course has 7 modules and you can work through them at your own pace. You don’t have access to Q&A calls, but there are the Boss Girl Bloggers and Pinterest With Ell Facebook groups you can join where you can discuss Pinterest tips and strategies.
Why I love this Pinterest course:
Pinterest can be confusing to understand if you’re a beginner but this course makes it easy to follow. Ell reveals her best pinning strategies but she still encourages you to find your own strategy that works for you.
She consistently updates the course with new and improved tactics so you can stay on top of any Pinterest algorithm changes (there have been a few of those, believe me).
Before I made this small investment, my Pinterest traffic was pitiful. Since implementing her strategies I’ve seen continued referral traffic from Pinterest to my blog, I’ve had viral pins reach 2,000 saves and my impressions grew from 0 to nearly 300k and climbing!
What I don’t like:
The course isn’t specifically orientated towards travel blogs so the strategies are quite general. If you specifically want a course that’s focused on Pinterest for travel blogs then Pinterest With Ell won’t be for you.
The course is also aimed more at beginners so it might not be helpful for more advanced creators wanting to up their Pinterest game. Still, it’s pretty good value for the price!
It’s for you if:
You find Pinterest utterly bewildering but you don’t have the budget to spend on a big fancy course. You want simple, proven strategies but you don’t want to spend valuable time trying to figure them out on your own. You’ve never designed pins before and you’re not sure how to optimise your Pinterest account.
Photo credit: Avel Chuklanov
Make Traffic Happen is an invaluable resource for growing your blog’s organic traffic. Gemma and Laura, the brains behind it, go in-depth on topics such as site speed, SEO and updating old content. Make Traffic Happen do have a course you can enrol in called SEO the Easy Way which provides you with all the tools you need to master SEO for just $200.
If you want something more budget-friendly, they also have a series of eBooks for $75 each. Wanting to tackle SEO and take my blog to the next level, I invested in their SEO the Easy Way eBook. It comes with a workbook so you can put what you’ve learnt into practice.
So first, why should you entrust Make Traffic Happen with your SEO learning? Gemma and Laura have been in the blogging business for 6 years now and they’ve both grown successful blogs.
Gemma is the founder of the travel blog Two Scots Abroad. Laura has grown several top-performing food and travel blogs including Savored Journeys, Savored Sips, A Food Lover’s Kitchen and Delightfully Low Carb.
You get an in-depth breakdown of what SEO is and how you can use it to grow your blog. The ebook teaches you that here’s more to SEO than finding the right keywords to rank for. You’ll how to solve the reader’s problem and write flawless content.
It’s perfect for beginners but it does get technical at times so you can bring the strategies to life in the workbook that comes with it.
By the end of the ebook, you get the complete lowdown on keyword research, writing an optimised blog post, off-page SEO, link building and SEO best practices. You also get updated strategies that work with algorithm changes so you don’t have to worry about accidental black hat tactics.
Why I love this mini-course:
If you want to be successful at blogging then you need to get at least some understanding of SEO. For me, this ebook was a no-brainer. It took the guesswork out of ranking on search engines and it gave me a strategy I could work on to grow my audience – all for a decent price.
The ebook is packed with valuable tactics, all backed up with explanations. The workbook allows you to see it all in action so you can start transferring it to your blog.
I love the Make Traffic Happen Facebook community which you can join whether you’ve bought one of their products or not. You don’t need to have prior knowledge SEO to get the benefits of this course. Equally, it’s just as valuable for more advanced bloggers.
What I don’t like:
Some of the content in the ebook gets technical so it doesn’t always make easy reading. My advice? Chip away at it bit by bit so you don’t get completely swamped in SEO terminology.
This training is for you if:
You want a no-nonsense approach to SEO and proven strategies that actually work. You need something budget-friendly that gets the job done and you want to see your blog traffic explode without the guesswork.
Photo credit: Kat Stokes
If you’re thinking about taking your blog to the next level in 2021 then I hope this post has given you some insights into some of the best travel blogging courses out there (in my opinion).
I’m enrolled in each one of these courses so if you have any questions feel free to drop me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy blogging!
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