travel blog tips guidesLet’s face it: travel blogging isn’t exactly an original idea.

Thousands of people write about their travels for a wider audience. Some never even think about monetizing their content; others are born naturals.

Whether you find yourself in the former or latter category, or (more likely) somewhere in between, your travel blog or website (or legit, aboveboard publication) can almost certainly be better. Follow these six tips to improve your site’s appearance, content and reach — without taking too much time away from life on the road, which is after all what matters most.

Include Original Photos

This shouldn’t be hard, at least when you’re producing content about places you’ve actually visited in person. And don’t worry about the expense: contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a super-fancy camera to take amazing travel pics. A basic digital camera, or (in a pinch) a standard-issue cameraphone, will do just fine.

Tie in Financial Products That Make Your Life Better

Don’t force these promotions — yes, they’re one of your best opportunities to monetize your content, but you don’t want to come off as sketchy or salesy. Stick to playing up financial products that actually, truly make your travels better, like the best airline credit card in your wallet or the no-foreign-transaction-fee travel card that earns an eye-popping return on spending.

Use Eye-Catching Themes

Make sure your site actually looks like a travel property. There’s of course an element of subjectivity in any site’s theme selection, but you use your judgment and you’re sure to land on a choice that screams “bon voyage!”

Offer Actionable Tips for Aspiring Travelers

Travel content is aspirational, even when it’s written for a pragmatic audience. Your readers want to know how it’s done — how you’re able to spend a substantial amount of time on the road or in the air without selling all your worldly possessions. (Or, if you did sell all your worldly possessions to finance your continent-hopping life, how and why you did it.) Always remember that actionable tips sell. Everything else is just noise, no matter how pretty the pictures appear.

Focus on Dollars and Cents

In the same vein, readers respond well to “dollars and cents” content: personal finance angles on common itineraries, travel choices, and on-the-road issues. How do you find the best last-minute flight or hotel deal? Rent the right car in a foreign country? Stay well-fed in pricey European capitals?

Invite Influential Guest Contributors

You haven’t been everywhere, but your extended network probably has. (Collectively, that is.) Invite fellow travelers to contribute to your site in whatever fashion they choose: retrospectives, how-tos, destination guides. Guest contributions offer wins all around: more actionable content for readers, greater visibility for contributors, higher credibility for admins.

Where to Next?

Ultimately, your travel site will sink or swim on the strength of its content. This isn’t a revolutionary idea — it’s true of all websites, to some extent. But it’s especially important for sites that rely to a greater degree on personal narratives, experiences and observations, as your travel site no doubt does.

So, as you plan your next vacation or business trip, think carefully about what your readers want to hear from you, based on the subjective feedback you’ve received and the quantitative metrics you review on an ongoing basis. Your site’s success depends on it.