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Last Updated on 02/06/2021
From the outside, travel blogging 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?
As a rule, I don’t tend to write about travel blogging, but I’m going to make an exception because despite it all I’ve had my best blogging year yet!
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.
Why you should invest in a blogging course
There are tons of free resources on the internet but a lot of them are outdated or plain wrong.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.
I don’t know about you, but I also have zero accountability when trying to follow through on free resources. Investing puts skin in the game and I’m more likely to take action and see results.
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.
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!
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The difference travel blogging courses have made on my blog
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 no one was reading my posts.
At the end of 2019, I decided to take the plunge and enrol in Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging course. It gave me the confidence to take my blog to the next level without getting overwhelmed by the tech and what keyword research meant.
I also bought the SEO Handbook by Make Traffic Happen to finally get an understanding of SEO. Soon after implementing the strategies I was excited to see my traffic gradually start to rise.
These two investments realigned my focus and made me think seriously about turning my passion into a business. I was able to qualify for Ezoic and could finally monetise my blog through ads. Not quite enough to become a full time blogger yet but not far off!
I knew if I wanted to keep the momentum and growth going, I needed to keep learning. Blogging is an ever-growing industry and the best way to succeed is to learn from the bloggers who know how to keep up with it.
So which courses should you invest in?
I’ve personally enrolled in all the courses for all the online blogging courses below so all opinions are my own. Let’s dive in.
My top recommended travel blogging courses for 2021
Travel Blog Prosperity
$79/month or $599/year
Pinterest With Ell
SEO the Easy Way
$200 or $75 for eBook
Travel Blog Prosperity
Travel Blog Prosperity is a membership course run by Jessie Festa from the popular blogs Jessie on a Journey and Epicure & Culture. Jessie has a six figure blogging business and a community of avid readers who love her energy and content.
Her course is very much focused on cultivating your own community rather than getting caught in the vanity metrics trap.
A big reason why I was drawn to her membership is because she shares a lot of the same values that led me to start my sustainable travel blog.
Responsible tourism and sustainable living are a huge part of her blogging business and brand. She frequently partners with non-profits and ethical brands that she believes in.
The course structure runs on a month-to-month basis and builds as you go. There’s already a lot to cover so you might not notice this in the beginning. Module collections range from affiliate marketing to SEO and everything in between! Highlights include:
- Understanding Instagram for Blog Biz Growth – if you’ve ever wanted to grow a successful Instagram account for your blog, this course collection will set you on the right path. You’ll learn how to find hashtags that make sense and strategies that will captivate your audience.
- Crafting a Highly Profitable Affiliate Strategy – affiliate marketing is a great way to create a passive income on your blog but it requires hard work and a careful strategy if you want it to pull its weight. This course collection makes sure you don’t learn the hard way and gives you all the tools you need for affiliate marketing success.
- The Great 31 Day Link Building Challenge – link building is sometimes last on the list of blogging things to do, but it’s vital for growing your blog’s authority. This module makes sure you get a head start and teaches you how to build links that do your blog a favour, not a hindrance!
This is just a tip of the iceberg. There are 49 months worth of content and counting!
You’ll also get:
- An onboarding coaching call to help you identify your goals for the course
- Opportunity to join mastermind groups for accountability
- Coaching calls where you can ask questions
- Access to goal setting workshops
- A VIP opportunity newsletter every Monday at 8am featuring an exciting range of partnerships and paying opportunities
- Private Facebook group
- The chance to write a guest post for Jessie On A Journey
- Opportunities to earn rewards
- Loads of bonuses!
Why I love this blogging course:
Every blogger is at a different stage in their blogging journey. Travel Blog Prosperity allows you to build your own course at your own pace with the module collections provided. For example, if you think you have branding down but want to get better at social media, you can skip to that module collection. If you’re unsure what to focus on in the course, there’s also a guide for that to help you build a roadmap.
There’s no linear path in this course so you can do it in your own way. It’s also a pretty affordable price per month for what you get!
I love that the course is interactive too. You’re encouraged to apply what you’ve learnt to your blogging business and get involved with the active community through the Facebook group, workshops and live coaching calls.
If you have a skill that could help other travel bloggers, you can share your expertise with the group. This is a great little addition that makes your blogging journey feel like a community.
What I don’t like:
Travel Blog Prosperity has a lot on offer and new content is added every month. If you’re new to blogging or courses you might get a little overwhelmed and not know where to start.
It’s also a monthly membership, which you can of course cancel anytime, but it doesn’t have a set beginning and end. If you like courses with a set number of modules, it might not be for you.
Travel Blog Prosperity is for you if:
You want to learn how to work smart to create a profitable blog and a sustainable business. You’re already a little familiar with blogging but want to take it to the next level.
Travel Blog Prosperity covers all aspects of blogging so you can tackle the topics you struggle most with or strengthen the skills you have.
It’s a flexible membership with an active community of like-minded bloggers so you feel supported whatever stage you’re at. You can go at your own pace or follow each new module as it comes. It’s completely up to you!
Editor’s note: doors are technically closed at the moment but if you want to get a taster you can sign up to Profitable Travel Blog Makeover, a completely FREE 4-day travel blogging course. At the end of the course, you will be invited to try Travel Blog Prosperity for just $9 for your first month and then $49 a month after that! Click here to find out more.
Superstar Blogging Course
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. 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 blogging training 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.
Pinterest With Ell
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.
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.
SEO the easy way eBook
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.
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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