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SO YOU HAVE started a travel blog.

Fantastic.

Chances are, you’ve also emailed your blog URL to your friends and family, in the hopes of sharing your experiences while you wander the globe for a few weeks, a few months, or if you’re lucky enough, a few years.

Your family and friends are big fans of your blog. Of course they are. But perhaps you wish…just a little bit…that you had more readers.

You wish your visitor counter was a little bit higher every time you visit an internet cafe to post your latest dispatch. You hope for a few appreciative emails in your inbox, from strangers who stumbled onto your blog and were compelled to keep reading.

Sadly, those unsolicited fans never seem to emerge. What could be wrong?

The Problem With Too Much Information

For starters, the blogosphere is expanding faster everyday, which equals an exponential amount of other bloggers competing for eyeballs and attention.

If you’re part of a travel blogs community, you’re generally guaranteed a bit of traffic from other members surfing the latest updates. If you’re travel blogging on your own platform, perhaps you’re getting the visitors, but they never stick around long enough to read more than a single post.

Brian Clark, the prolific writer behind Copyblogger, wrote a valuable post last year called “10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work.

He believes your headline is the most important aspect of any blog entry, even more important than the content of the post itself. After all, in an information over-loaded world, you only have once chance to grab a reader by the throat and hurl them into your words.

A quick scan of a local travel blogs community revealed the following headlines:

  • Surfing the West-Coast
  • More ruins in San Ignacio
  • Pack up and Travel to Auckland
  • Arrived in Bangkok

Ouch. Not much there to pique my curiousity. I’m betting most readers would rather pass than delve deeper when confronted with such bland declarations, never to return.

To stem the tide of headline mediocrity, I’ve taken the liberty of applying Brian’s surefire formula to attempt a few travel blog headlines that scream out for attention.

Or at the very least, entice the reader of things to come.

1. Pose A Question

Whenever someone is asked an open-ended question, it’s human nature to desire the answer. Call it the need for closure. There’s no other alternative but to read on and find the answer.

  • Will Mexico City Ever Be The Same?
  • Why Are Europeans The Best Kissers?
  • Who Decided Insects Were A Delicacy?

2. Offer A Secret

Sharing insider knowledge about a specific destination is exactly what travel blogging is all about. After falling for a suit scam in Bangkok, you can bet I would have clicked on the first of these headlines:

  • The Secret To Avoiding Bangkok Scams
  • The Secret To Finding Cheap Hostels In Paris
  • The Secret To Stunning Travel Photos

3. Make a statement or exclamation

While nothing in life is black or white, a definitive statement begs to be rebutted. Nobody thinks exactly the same way, which is why readers will enjoy reading your take and forming their own opinion.

  • Greatest. Banana Pancakes. Ever.
  • Phnom Penh: Paris of the East
  • Never Trust An Overly Helpful Local

4. How To

Everyone wants to know how to do something better. The ‘How To’ post is the most magnetic way for getting readers to dive further into your travel blog. Even if the reader has no intention of ever using their newfound knowledge, they’re glad to have picked it up.

  • How To Become An Australian Surf Bum In 2 Weeks
  • How Not To Bargain In Istanbul
  • How To Survive A Train Ride From Hell

5. Make A List

There’s something about lists. Maybe it’s the promise of definitive information, arranged artfully in easily digestible chunks that compels us to read further. Whatever the reason, they work.

  • 8 Ways To Order Indian Food In Goa
  • 10 Reasons You Must Ride An Elephant At Least Once
  • 5 Things You’ll Never Hear From A Buddhist Monk

So there you have it.

Five ways to energize your travel blog headlines and score dedicated readers. But remember, while the headline is the most important part of any compelling blog entry, you have to follow it up with a bang.

(And yes, I did use one of these techniques for this very post. I’m sneaky like that).

*MatadorU’s curriculum goes beyond the typical travel writing class to help you progress in every aspect of your career as a travel journalist.

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