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Internet Travel Writing

If you want to try travel writing online, there are a few important points you need to be aware of. Naturally, just like in print magazines, books and newspapers, readers want the facts about a location, perhaps an interesting angle, and some useful tips. But this does not mean you can just write the same article for both a magazine and a web page.

One difference has to do with how the readers find your article. In a magazine, they will simply see it in the table of contents. Online, people find articles using search engines. Suppose a man types in "hiking rocky mountains." Your article may be about exactly that, but if it is called "Our Weekend Wilderness Trek," he'll never find it. In other words, you have to learn how to optimize your articles for the keywords that people are using when they search. That is a whole topic in itself, and it's crucial.

The above is true whether you're building a page for your website, or writing an article for free distribution. However, for the latter there are other requirements. Not only do they have to find what you have written, but then they have to take the next step: visit your website. Without that, you get little value from giving away your articles.

When you post an article in an online directory, then, or have it displayed on another site, you need to have a working link to your own website, and a reason for the reader to click on it and visit. Usually this link will be in the "author's resource box" at the end of the article. This section, sometimes titled, "About the Author," is where you get to "advertise" your web site.

You need to sell the reader on visiting your site, because even the best travel writing may not do this automatically. For example, if you have a free ebook, you might use that: "Click here to get the free ebook, '10 Tips For Traveling To India.'" Otherwise, you have to at least make the web site sound interesting: "Learn the insider secrets of budget travel at www..." Building your reputation with readers of your articles is worth something, but for maximum value you need to get that click.

The Benefits of Travel Writing Online

You'll notice that the examples above are not about selling your travel writing. This is a big difference between print and internet writing. Although you can sell your articles online, the pay is generally poor. On the internet, writing is normally all about promoting a website and/or product.

Here is a typical scenario: I write an article about traveling in South America. I submit it to fifteen article directories, where it is taken and used on other websites as well. Soon it's in a few dozen places. Readers finish the article, are promised something useful or interesting, and so click on the link at the end to visit my website. Once there, they buy my ebook, or click on the advertising I get paid for, or visit one of the affiliates that pay me a commission when I send a buyer their way.

What are the benefits of putting your travel writing online? Here are five:

1. No buyer necessary. You don't need to find a magazine or newspaper to buy your articles. You can build a website and sell your own ebooks, or sell ad space, or make money with affiliate products. No editor can reject your writing, and you can start making money with it in a few weeks.

2. Little or no investment. You don't even have to spend money sending out manuscripts. In fact, you can start making money with your travel writing this week by creating a free blog where you post tips and promote affiliate products - no investment required.

3. Articles are short. The attention spans of internet users are typically short. Also, directories and websites want shorter articles to keep web page loading times fast. This means that your articles will usually be between 400 and 1000 words. You can probably write a few today.

4. You can work from anywhere. I have written articles while sitting in a hotel in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and in an internet cafe in South America. Once you know how, you can even put your new pages online from any computer connected to the internet.

5. Links help readers. In a magazine, you can tell readers about other resources, but online you can link to them directly One click and they are at The National Park Service site, or the Department of State's page on the specific requirements for entering each country.

There is another benefit which is common to travel writing online or off: the tax deductions for travel expenses. Vacations can become deductible (but talk to your accountant about the specific rules). Start a free blog with the aim of making money, and you're in business.

To learn how to make money with travel writing, use the lessons in my new ebook: You Can Make Money Writing. Details here...

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