So, you too are passionate about traveling the world and sharing your travel stories. You love taking photographs and receive ample appreciations from your friends and family. You heard that blogs can help you reach a larger community, but how to start a travel blog? This is a simple 9-steps guide to for starting a travel blog by yourself.
For many, traveling around the world while earning some good income is like a dream job. True, there are many travel bloggers who get paid to travel the world. Of course, it is a cool thing.
While the numbers and stories inspire many, the fact is that, travel blogging is not as easy as it seems. It take years of dedication and hard work to make it possible. You may have to work at least 40 hours every week, in addition to your travel, for making your blog successful.
To me, success is not all about money. It is also not about the limelight you may enjoy as a blogger and a travel writer. For me, I am living my passion and that’s my success. If travel is your passion and if sharing your travel stories give you tremendous pleasure, do not hesitate but start your travel blog today. Here’s a useful guide for how to start a travel blog from scratch.
Our 9-steps guide for how to start a travel blog goes like this:
- Select A Perfect Name For Your Travel Blog
- Select Your Travel Blog’s Host
- Install WordPress Or Any Other Content Management System
- Understand Your Blog’s Dashboard
- Install And Activate A Professional Theme
- Use Some Of The Essential Plugins
- Take Care Of The Basics
- Create Content For Your Readers, and
- Make Money From Your Blog
1. Select A Perfect Name For Your Travel Blog
Most probably the primary and the most significant step in this guide for how to start a travel blog from scratch is selecting a perfect domain name for your travel blog. When I started my first travel blog, www.outonroads.com, it took almost 2 days to finalize the name. When I decided to start a new travel blog (I will explain the reason why I temporarily left outonroads.com in another post) www.jauntmonkey.com, I expected the selection of the name a bit easier than the first one. To my surprise I took a week for settling with this name.
Let’s answer the question – how to select a perfect name for my blog?
There are no specific rules when it comes to the selection of a blog’s name. However, it is good for a blogger to consider a few points.
Make it short and meaningful
Try remembering a name that is too long? I am sure, it is difficult for you and so for others.
A simple thing that you should do here is trying different options that match very well with your niche and your blog.
So, start screening from the niche you wish to write about. Is it food, adventure, underwater, bike rides, Asia, culture, or history? What do you wish to write about? Write all possible names and things before you start trying out different combinations. Use thesaurus for useful synonyms. And, search for the availability of domain names with domain registrars like GoDaddy.
Make it unique
Do not follow the crowd. There are many travel blogs with nomad, backpack, and adventure in their names. Though not impossible, standing high against the popular NomadicMatt with a name NomadicJey is pretty close to something like impossible.
While selecting a name that stands out from the crowd, you must also be cautious that the name must match with your blog’s niche. Travel is a very broad sector, but you need to focus on certain things that you wish to write about. If you are looking at my friend Mark Wiens, he writes primarily about food in his travel blog Migrationology.
Make it simple and easy to remember
Well, we have already mentioned about selecting a shorter name. In addition to the length of your domain name, you should also consider avoiding hyphens and numbers in your blog’s domain name. Imagine telling someone about your blog as well hyphen planned hyphen travels dot com instead of wellplannedtravels dot com. It would be the same if you are using a number in between your domain name.
Try to get .com domains
Though many do not agree with this, I must say that there is a psychological factor behind it. People are so acquainted with .com domains and involuntarily they prefer to see a domain name with .com rather than .net, .co or something else.
2. Select Your Travel Blog’s Host
Before even you think about hosting, you must decide whether it has to be a free hosting or a self hosting. But first of all, what is this hosting? Your travel blog require space on the Internet. The space on the Internet is nothing but some place on a server. Web hosting or hosting is a service that lets individuals and organizations to make their website or blog available on the Internet.
So, one thing is clear that we need a web hosting service to go online with our travel blog. Now that we are thinking of how to start a travel bog, we should also think whether to go for a free hosting service or a self hosting service. While free hosting service has an advantage of being free, self hosting or paid hosting service has upper hand in many other aspects. If you are serious about starting a travel blog and make a living out of it, I suggest you to go for self hosting. However, you can read a detailed comparison between free hosting and self hosting services before you take your final decision.
Once if you are sure that you need a paid hosting service, there are many paid hosts available on the Internet. What are the things that you must consider while you select a paid hosting service? If you are new to blogging and web hosting, I would suggest you to give emphasis on support services provided by the hosts. However, it is important to know how to choose the right web host. I am currently using BlueHost, which I feel good for the money that I am spending for. Below mentioned are the three most commonly used web hosting services by the starters, especially while you are learning how to start a travel blog.
Most of these web hosting providers will have different packages and you need to select the best for you. During the initial stages of your blog, you can’t expect a huge traffic. Hence, it is wise to go for a basic plan first, and then move on to some advanced plans as your blog grows bigger.
3. Install WordPress Or Any Other Content Management System
Now that you have decided to go for paid hosting service, you need to know how to install and configure your selected Content Management System. What is a content management system (CMS)? Content management system is a software application or a set of interrelated programs that help you to create and manage content in different digital formats – say images, videos, text, and so on.
There are different content management systems available in the market, and WordPress is the most popular among them. I am using WordPress for my blog. Many popular sites like that of BBC America, Sony Music, MTV News, and NomadicMatt are also using WordPress.
WordPress is easy to learn and cozy to use. However, you better compare at least the most popular 3 (WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal) content management systems before you take your final decision.
In this 9-step guide for how to start a travel blog, we will be discussing only about WordPress Installation and Configuration.
Installing WordPress on your BlueHost account is pretty simple. Just click through the guided installation process on your BlueHost cPannel. When asked where you would like to install WordPress, select your new domain. That’s it. Simple and cool!
4. Understand Your Blog’s Dashboard
Once the WordPress installation is done, you can login to your blog or website. For logging in to your blog, there are two simple steps.
Step 1: Go to http://yourblogdomain.com/wp-admin in your preferred browser(change yourblogdomain with the actual domain name of your blog).
Step 2: Type your username and password that you have selected while installing WordPress.
Once logged in, you will have your WordPress dashboard and that’s your playground. There are a lot many things that you need to learn about the dashboard and its contents. While you can get some sort of help from the articles like Your WordPress Dashboard Explained, a lot of things you will be learning by experiencing WordPress.
5. Install And Activate A Professional Theme
What should be the look and feel of your travel blog? While your WordPress installation includes a few themes by default, I would suggest you to select a more professional theme that matches to your niche.
WordPress has a large collection of free and premium themes. When free themes can be useful to certain extend, sometimes you may find it difficult to deal with them in advanced stages of blogging. This is where you think for a premium theme which usually costs between $30 to $100.
A premium professional theme has an advantage of unlimited support while free themes lack this. Most free themes also lack functional superiority. For buying premium themes, the most popular market places are ThemeForest and Themify.
In addition to installing and activating a professional theme, you may also need to have a well designed logo. You can design your logo by yourself or you can take the help of a professional service like 99 Designs.
6. Use Some Of The Essential Plugins
Now that you have your travel blog almost ready to takeoff, we must also consider using some essential plugins. Plugins are like extensions to your core WordPress system that helps your blog to have certain additional functionalities. While there are thousands of plugins (free and paid) available for a WordPress blogger, a few of them are really useful. As part of my 9-steps guide for how to start a travel blog, I recommend the following essential plugins during the start up.
- Yoast SEO – This is a very useful plugin for optimizing your blog posts for Search Engines including Google. The plugin also helps you in integrating Google Sitemaps and Analytics. Most interestingly, the plugin has a free version which is good enough for beginners like you and me.
- Jetpack by WordPress.com – Jetpack is another useful plugin that does a lot of tasks including design, security, and your blog growth activities. It comes in a convenient all-in-one bundle.
- Loginizer – Are you worried about bruteforce attacks and want to save your blog from such brutal events? Loginizer helps you prevent such attacks by blocking login for the IP after it reaches maximum retries allowed.
- Lightweight Social Icons – Another simple yet very useful plugin to add social media buttons to your blog.
7. Take Care Of The Basics
Now that your blog is ready for content, what content must be included first? Before even you think about the contents, start thinking about the arrangement of your contents. So, let’s take care of the basics.
You are almost there. Just a few more steps to go from our 9-steps guide for how to start a travel blog.
- Plan your content and design your menu – You may have a lot of things to share with your friends and family, but when it comes to professional blogging, you need to screen them and categorize them. This is the right time to think about topic buckets. Select 3 to 5 main topic areas that you wish to include in your blog. Each of this topic area is a topic bucket and that makes your menu items for your blog. Later you need to post contents related to each topic bucket and populate them.
- An about page for your blog – An about page for your blog is something vital and should be done immediately after you install and customize your blog. Make this page your identity, because it helps others to understand your background. It also tells them what they can expect from your blog.
In short, your blog’s about page should be able to market your blog and inspire someone to follow you. Do not forget to add a couple of photographs that project you on an expedition.
- Make social media your friend – I know that your very serious about your travel blog. And that’s why you need to post regularly on social media. Social media is a very vast topic to learn, explore, and dominate. A very useful resource for your social media basics can be found at QuickSprout.com
My suggestion is to select a few social media platforms that you can manage easily. Sign up with a common username so that it is easy for people to follow you. Be regular on social media as much as you are on your own blog, or even more.
YouTube | FaceBook | Instagram | Twitter
- Contact page – A contact page with a contact form looks professional. Social media is not the right choice for communications by many, even today. Respecting others feelings, you may also need to follow the norm of creating a contact page.
8. Create Content For Your Readers
Now that you know how to create a travel blog and you have decided to go for it, what’s next? You need to get traffic for your blog. How can you pull traffic to your blog? How to gain traffic to your blog is another vast topic to discuss, but the essence is obviously ‘give them what they want‘. Internet has plenty of contents and people do not have time to waste behind some useless junk. If you can give what they are looking for, your content will have demand and your blog will attract traffic. The basic thing is know what your readers love to read.
Don’t be in a hurry. Quality matters! Spare some good amount of time and write the best content you can for your followers. Share what you have really enjoyed from a trip or a place. What else you could do in a country? Why you had to avoid a particular activity at a destination? What were your challenges? You can write any of these or all of these things, but make sure that the information you give out has value for others. Content planning is the essence.
9. Make Money From Your Blog
Of course, money is important. For survival and for future travels we need money. As we discussed earlier, your blog can be one of the sources of making money as you travel and share your stories. There are several ways of making money using your travel blog. While advertisement revenue is considered the most popular, is it really the best source of income from a blog? Some say that affiliate programs are better, but some others disagree with this.
The good news is that there are a few lessons developed to understand how to make money from your travel blog.
Well… That’s all!
You now know how to start a travel blog by yourself. Though travel blogging is not as easy as it sounds, you can do it. Do not start a travel blog and expect a huge lot of money overnight. It can take an year or even much longer to generate some sort of income.
Many have started their own blogs with very high expectations, but failed to stand the competition and pressure. You need to be dedicated and persistent. Kill the enemy in you – the procrastination. Plan yourself, set your goals, and work for it.
I enjoy traveling and sharing my stories, and I am sure that you too will. Do you think you have a few questions which require answers? Do not hesitate, but write your questions in the comments below, and you can expect a response as early as possible. Good Luck, and Happy Traveling!