Like many other industry blogs, travel blogging is a hard slog. For one, it’s an incredibly competitive space that’s flooded with bloggers trying to make a living from their dream career. It’s also difficult to successfully execute the right SEO, social media, email marketing, and content strategies, to attract people to your blog primarily, and to also keep them there. But travel blogging can be made a whole lot easier with the right WordPress plugins.
The number one objective for any travel blogger is to create and maintain a compelling blog that readers want to keep coming back to. In order to achieve this, your blog needs to stand out and have the edge over competitors. Customization and innovation are key components in successfully achieving this and WordPress has a plethora of plugins for travel bloggers to help them on this journey.
WordPress is used by over 75 million websites worldwide. It’s the leading CMS system for blogging, that offers thousands of plugins and themes for bloggers and businesses. These can help to accelerate innovation and growth, according to Gartner’s pace-layered application strategy.
How Do Plugins Allow Me to Customise My Travel Blog?
Whilst there is an array of off-the-shelf plugins available to all, it’s how you apply them to customize and innovate your blog that’s important. The talent, of course, will always remain in creating an outstanding copy and taking and editing top quality images, but plugins can help you to improve things like layout, media quality, content linking, awareness on social channels, functionality, spam filtering, and subscriber growth. Each is designed to make your blog more accessible to users, more engaging and more useful.
From an SEO perspective, how well optimized your blog is, how easy it is to use and how user advocate your blog (through shares, comments, and links), all affect how likely to perform well in Google’s search page results. Something every travel blogger desires.
Which Are the Recommended Plugins to Use
This really does depend on what your blog is trying to achieve. If you want to showcase where you have visited on a visual level, then interactive map plugins are ideal. If you want more followers, you can add subscriber functionality.
We have listed some of the best plugins to use for your travel blog, sectioned by what is most important to you:
Social Media Awareness
Social media activity helps you to build online communities for your blog. Which social network is right, depends on your targeted audience and where they hang out, but generally, Facebook and twitter send the most blog traffic. Here are some helpful plugins to help with your social media:
This plugin helps you to get more social media shares, with attractive social buttons added to your page. It includes attractive icons for all the top social media sites, without slowing down your website.
With Social Counter, you display your number of social accounts fans, subscribers and followers on your website, to encourage more of the same. This is probably best used when you have a decent level of each.
Search Engine Optimisation should be a priority for all businesses. If your blog is not adequately optimised for search, you could be missing out on a significant volume of natural search traffic looking for a decent travel blog. Understanding SEO can be a minefield, so WordPress has designed some helpful plugins.
This is the original WordPress SEO plugin that helps you to improve your sites SEO with a traffic light system. It looks at elements such as content, keywords, meta data, URLs and sitemaps to please both users and search engines.
Redirection enables you to manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and improve your site, with no knowledge of Apache or Nginx needed.
Photos are a fundamental part of a travel blog. your images of fabulous locations that are likely to draw readers in, in the first place, so you want to make sure they are optimized and compressed properly to avoid poor load times or SEO problems. The following plugins can help with this:
Create a range of different galleries to enhance the visual experience for your users. It offers customized designs across a range of modes, including photo, image, Polaroid, lightbox, portfolio responsive.
Compress and optimize image files, improve performance and boost your SEO rank using Smush WordPress image compression and optimization.
Building an email list for your blog is important. When you write and publish each new blog, you don’t want to just hope that previous readers will stumble across it. You want to establish a loyal following who are familiar with your work and come to expect your blogs landing in their mailbox. They are likely to be the ones advocating your work to others via shares.
This plugin helps you grow your MailChimp lists and write better newsletters through various methods. You can create good looking opt-in forms or integrate with any existing form on your site, like your comment, contact or checkout form.
Check out more newsletter plugins for WordPress.
This plugin scans your comments and contact form submissions against a spam database to ensure you’re not publishing malicious content. Anything it picks up can be viewed to make sure you’re happy for it to be removed.
Links are an important way to network your information. Whether you are referencing information from an external site or linking internally to your other blog posts, links enhance the user experience. There are plugins to make linking and sharing much more functional on your travel blog, as follows:
This handy plugin enables you to shorten links using your own domain name rather than having to use bit.ly or tinyurl.com. It also tracks hits on each link and provides a detailed breakdown on the origin, operating system used, browser and host, Great plugin for cleaning up affiliate links.
This plugin prevents search engines from following broken links. It is designed to check your posts, comments and blog content for broken links as well as any missing images, and then notifies you if any are found.
It goes without saying that maps are an essential part of a travel blog. They provide visual stimulation and a reference to the area you are blogging about. The following plugins help to enhance map functionality on your blog:
The Google Maps widget plugin enables you to upload a chosen mapin minutes and includes a handy thumbnail and lightbox. This plugin works well if you want to create something in a hurry.
The simplest Google maps plugin. You can create a custom Google map with high quality markers containing categories, descriptions, images and links.
So, there you have it, a selection of the best travel plugins per category. Pick the right combination of plugins that work for you and you could find the right formula to create a travel blog that’s a cut above the rest. A word of advice though; too many plugins on your blog can seriously slow down your website load speed, which could earn you a black mark against your SEO.
Author Bio: Chris Surridge has over 10 years’ experience and knowledge on search marketing strategies and conversion analysis. He is the marketing director for Whitefish Marketing, a Kent web agency, comprising a team of highly experienced digital professionals.