How to Start a Disney Travel Blog
So you want to start a Disney blog?
Here’s what I have learned over the past 10 years of blogging about Disney travel
Tips to follow and traps to avoid as you get started on your magical journey of running a Disney travel blog
I have been writing, blogging and speaking about Disney travel for most of my life. But it wasn’t until 2009 that I decided to start blogging about Disney travel. Over the past 10 years or so, my Disney travel blog has gone through quite a few changes. Through the years I tweaked and honed my unique POV (point of view) and got tighter on what I wanted to write about.
Who should start a Disney blog?
Anyone who loves Disney and loves to write can launch his or her own blog. As long as you have something to say that someone wants to read, you’ll be on your way to finding an audience.
In particular, Disney travel blogs (or general Disney blogs) can work very well for
- Disney travel agents,
- people who run an online Disney-themed shop (Etsy, eBay, Shopify etc.) and
- writers who aspire to break into journalism or make a name for themselves.
For travel agents or shop owners, a blog is a great way to create engaging content within the site where your shop or business is housed. This works particularly well when your blog can be integrated within the same domain as your business site.
Choosing a name for your travel blog is also an important part of the process.
The technical aspects of setting up a website
This post is not about the technical aspects of setting up a blog, nor does it cover search engine optimization, writing effective blog titles, keyword placement and so on. That would be too much all at once and I will cover more about that in other posts.
Choosing a name, registering your domain, finding a host and so on are basic steps for any website of any kind, not just for blogs. There are many excellent guides online for how to do this. So whether you decide to go with WordPress, Wix, Weebly or any other similar service, it really doesn’t matter (for the record, my blog is a self-hosted WordPress blog).
What’s most important is that you have a focused editorial and content strategy and some realistic expectations about running a blog. After all, content is king and if your plan is just to rehash the same old general Disney news and information that can be found on thousands of other (more established) Disney travel blogs, then you need to have some realistic expectations about how successful your blog will be.
Which brings me to the first question that most people ask.
What Disney travel subject should you write about?
The short answer is: write about what you know.
The long answer is this….
It’s pretty common for the most devout Disney travelers to think about starting a Disney travel blog at some point.
Is there a more opinionated or passionate group of travelers in the world than Disney travelers?!
The burning desire to share your personal views and advice with the Disney travel universe is a good start for creating a blog, but choosing what to write about is very important (and not as easy as it may seem).
Think of how you use the web and which blogs you like to read. Why do you read them? The most successful blogs usually have a common theme that guides what they do and they most likely have a good editorial policy. As a reader, you know that you will get a consistent type of content that you value and so you return often, or better still, subscribe to their posts.
So what Disney topics will you write about?
The good part about Disney travel is that there is so much to write about! And most Disney travelers actually want to read several different opinions in order to form an opinion of their own.
A good place to start is to write about what you know best when it comes to Disney travel. Don’t try to position yourself as an expert in an area where you really are not. It won’t take long for you to get tripped up and that can have a negative impact on your blog and self esteem. This is especially true when you’re just starting out and trying to gain some ground.
Be original and write primarily original content.
There’s little value in creating yet another blog that offers the same Disney travel news updates that a thousand other (more established) Disney travel blogs offer. If your blog consists of nothing more that Disney Parks news releases, then you’re unlikely to get a lot of traction because you are not offering anything original that a reader can only get from you.
A news blog with no added value brings no value.
So when people ask what should I write about, I always answer that you should write about what you know and what you’re most passionate about. Do you love Disney food? Then start a blog dedicated to that. Are you a Disney traveler or couple without kids? There’s a blooming niche for content in that area. Whatever it is, find something that you can hang your hat on and that is also your passion.
Whatever it is, make sure that your Disney travel topic is something that you know a lot about and that you are not just reposting Disney travel news releases or generic Disney travel news. There are hundreds of authoritative sources out there with that POV already, so trying to make a mark in that space is not a great use of your time, energy or Disney passion.
And if you were to go the route of Disney travel news, then one unique approach would be to ensure that you post your own personal commentary and input as it relates to the Disney travel news of each post. Put your own spin on the story based on your experience. That way, you’re adding value and a perspective to the otherwise generic news that will already be on many other sites.
What can you offer the Disney travel universe that’s different?
No matter what you choose to write about, think about what you can offer readers that’s different than what’s already out there. There aren’t many (if any) Disney travel blogs that have an exclusive claim on a particular aspect of Disney travel. But readers will gravitate to those blogs where they feel that they get value.
Value in a Disney travel blog can come in many shapes and forms.
Do you have an alternative voice about Disney food? Disney family travel? Disney park strategies? What can you offer to your readers that’s different than other existing blogs?
If you can’t answer that question, you need to dig deeper.
In short, there has to be a reason why a reader would come to your blog over someone else’s. In order to build a following you have to be offering value to a certain subset of Disney travelers. You don’t have to appeal to the masses. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. The more specific you can be with blog’s Disney POV, the more of a targeted niche market you will have.
How I chose my Disney travel POV
In my blog, I focus on upscale Disney travel with the Luxury Disney Travel Blog. This is what I am most passionate about. It’s also what I know best and where I have a great deal of insight. My unique POV is that I have more than 50 years of onsite Disney vacation experience. During that time I have never stayed at a Value or Moderate Disney resort. I have spent well over 700 nights at Deluxe Disney resort hotels and villas. As a result, I consider myself to be an expert in this area, along with all other aspects of upscale Disney travel and beyond. My POV is different from those of Orlando area bloggers because they don’t visit Walt Disney World as someone on vacation. This is an important differentiator and unique perspective that my Disney readers appreciate.
So that is what I write about. I would never write a piece on a Disney moderate resort, because that is not my area of expertise. I have a very niche topic for my blog, so it is not geared towards the masses. I focus on readers who enjoy the very best in travel no matter where they go and who want to experience that same level of service on their Disney vacations.
So think about what you know and love, and something that can make you different in whatever Disney travel space you choose to cover. Then focus your Disney travel blog posts in that area. If you do this right from the beginning, your readers will know what to expect from you and you’ll begin to build a loyal group of followers who want to hear what you have to say.
But don’t forget, building up a new blog from scratch takes time and effort. There are no shortcuts. However, it is okay to tweak and adjust your blog as time goes by. You’ll get learnings from your blog statistics and reader feedback, so don’t be afraid to adjust your style or topic as your blog begins to mature.
How will you measure success?
People start blogs of all kinds for many reasons.
• They seek Internet fame and the idea of become an influencer.
• They have a story to tell and they want a way to tell it.
• They want to write for friends and family.
• They have a business and want to use the blog as a marketing machine, or
• They just feel the urge to get out there in the world with a voice of their own.
Your reason may be one of these, or something entirely different. It really doesn’t matter. As long as you know the reason.
Whatever your reason for wanting to start a Disney travel blog (or any blog for that matter), you need to think about why you want to do this in the first place and then think about how will you measure success. Will success be the number of leads or sales you make from your blog? Will success be the number of subscribers you get? Will success be how many page views you get for each post? Are you trying to monetize your blog and earn some sort of income from it?
Whatever you deem to be a success for your Disney travel blog, you should think about this before you begin. It’s important for setting expectations, sure, but it’s also important for how you may want to craft each blog post that you write. If you’re starting a blog to power your online Disney travel agent business or your Etsy shop that sells Mickey ears, then you need to have a sharp focus on your lead generation funnel and how your posts can become effective feeders for that.
So spend some time in advance to consider how you will measure the success of your blog so that you can measure your progress. Remember, pure numbers in terms of followers or readers are not, in and of themselves, a good measure of success. The important point is whether or not those readers are doing what you want or expect them to do as part of how you measure success.
A blog is a major commitment
Starting a Disney travel blog is a major commitment. Writing is hard work.
Writing is also a very independent effort (as compared to running a team podcast or YouTube channel, for example) and you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time crafting each post, editing each post and then uploading posts on some sort of regular schedule.
Search engines appreciate consistency, so bear that in mind. I post a minimum of once a week on my Luxury Disney Travel Blog and sometimes up to five posts per week. It all depends. I have more thoughts below on how often you should post, but in terms of commitment it’s all about ensuring that you have the time to write, the time to consider topics and the time to research topics.
A blog is a very interactive entity as well, so you’ll want to be sure that you’re up to the commitment of keeping alive this living breathing being that you’ve created. Answering reader enquiries or responding to comments is all part of the game.
By the way, the Disneyverse is very opinionated, so it’s going to help if you have a thick skin when it comes to unsolicited commentary on your work — particularly when you are just starting out. Even though the overwhelming majority of Disney travel readers tend to be supportive and good natured, there are a few in every bunch and eventually someone is going to get under your skin. So bear that in mind and try not to take it personally when it comes to your writing. Stand your ground and stand by your opinion, but I generally aim to avoid engaging with the Disney travel trolls.
Keep a regular publishing schedule
You’ll hear varying thoughts on this, but the most important point of all is to have some sort of regular posting schedule. So whether it’s weekly, every two weeks or once per month, make sure that you have enough time in your life to commit to keeping up that schedule.
There’s nothing worse than a blog that has a most recent post that’s several months old. Your readers (and Google) will begin to think that your blog is dead. So before you even begin to spend any time, money or effort on your Disney travel blog, ask yourself whether you have enough time and creative ideas for content to do this for the long haul. Can you write at least 25 or 50 articles in a year, every year? Typically I write well over 100 posts in any given year. It takes a lot of time, but I love doing it. Sometimes I’ll write two or three posts all in a row. This is great because I can then spread out that content in the coming weeks. So when the creative urge strikes you, get as much written down as you can every time.
Don’t get discouraged
Another big lesson I learned — particularly in the early days — is don’t get discouraged. No matter what you read here or anywhere else, you’re going to have high expectations for your blog.
If you post it they will come, is not a likely scenario, at least not in the very beginning. Building a consistent audience takes time. If you’re lucky, you may have a very unique or compelling angle — or you may have a media outlet or large Disney travel influencer who picks up on something you wrote. Those are the good days and it can indeed result in a big bump in your readership stats. But occurrences like those, while always welcome, tend to be fleeting and your readership stats will soon level out to your baseline. So don’t get discouraged if things don’t grow as quickly as you’d hoped, or if you are not meeting your goals expectations that I covered above.
If you have a good Disney travel POV, a good niche, good writing, a good publishing schedule and a professional looking blog, then you will be doing all the right things for long-term success. Too many people quit too early because they had illusions of overnight success. That rarely happens. Stay motivated and keep doing what you’re doing.
If you truly love writing and you love Disney travel, then it shouldn’t be a chore to produce content. Every now and then in the early days I would get an email from a reader thanking me for helping them through one of my posts, or asking for some follow-up advice. Take those instances as proof that what you are doing is making a difference and that people do care about what you’re putting out there. Let that positive energy drive you to your next milestone.
Leverage social media
Social media is a powerful tool for helping to spread the word of your blog and Disney travel social media is a huge group of like-minded folks with whom to engage. The metaphor that I use most often is that social media outlets are the tentacles of the octopus. Imagine Ursula out there spreading her “arms’ to pull in prospective readers to your Disney blog.
Make use of your favorite social media channels to help promote each blog post and to engage with readers in a more broad way. I tend to favor Twitter and Instagram the most, but I also have a presence on Pinterest and Facebook. Disney travel is a very visual thing and Disney travelers love to look at photos of Disney destinations. So make use of that with every blog post, and in between posts as well.
The key is to be sure that your social media accounts match your blog. So if you have a specific name for your blog, then have social media channels that match the name. That lends consistency to your digital marketing efforts and is more powerful in terms of social media fuel. You want it to be clear that they are all part of the same family of digital Disney, with your blog at the center.
Social media is also where you can have a bit more fun sharing other aspects of Disney travel that you know or love, but that don’t necessarily align strictly to the editorial theme of your blog. For example, I would rarely, if ever, write about the latest Disney Parks cupcake or treat in my blog, because that’s not core to my upscale Disney travel POV. There are a thousand websites out there that cover Disney treats or Disney ears. But, I will occasionally have fun posting about those things on social media if I’m in a park or sharing an experience. So think strategically and try to keep your core focus on your blog, while having fun with more broad aspects of Disney travel when interacting with others in the Disneyverse on social media.
Photos are important (and be sure to tag them on your device)
In case it wasn’t obvious, good eye-catching and compelling photos are an essential element of any travel blog. Disney travelers love looking at Disney travel photos: who doesn’t? But the main thing to remember here is that your photos should support your storyline. You can have more fun with all kinds of Disney travel photos on your social media channels, but when it comes to your blog posts it’s important to make sure that your photos are compelling, original and that they support the story you are trying to tell.
If you write a lot (a good thing) you run the risk on running short on your photo supply. I travel to Walt Disney World and other Disney destinations at least three weeks each year, so when I am there, I make a point of taking a lot of different photos. I aim to stockpile as many images as possible of as many things that I can think of. That way when I am writing a blog post about something in between trips, I’ll be sure to have some original photography in my stock to support my story.
It didn’t take long for me to end up with tens of thousands of Disney travel photos on my Mac. Trying to sift through them can quickly become a chore if you don’t have a good tagging process in place. So each time you return from a Disney vacation, take the time to tag all of your photos so that you can search for what you need in the future. It won’t seem like a necessary thing to do if you’re just starting out. But as time goes by, it can become quite an effort to find that one specific photo if you haven’t tagged them (or categorized them in some other searchable way).
Be consistent in your Disney Travel writings
Consistency is the final thing I’ll cover in this post.
Consistency is important because it keeps your blog content focused. Sometimes there are things that I consider writing about, but then I have to ask myself “is this really related to upscale Disney travel?” If the answer is no, then I will pass on that idea and let other Disney travel blogs cover it. It’s all about being consistent.
Consistency can also mean posting consistency as I mentioned earlier.
What are your experiences with your travel blog and what topics would you like to see covered in future posts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thinking of Starting a Disney Travel Blog?
As a Luxury Travel Blogger, I write regularly about upscale Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook for the latest news and insights on luxury Disney travel.
Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Luxury Disney Travel Expert