Have you ever asked yourself how to start a travel blog?You may have been hearing that starting a blog is so complicated but I’m here to convince you that creating a successful blog is not as daunting as many people think. In fact, by following the step-by-step instructions in this guide, you will be able to set up and make your own blog pretty easy. Ready? Let’s get to it.
How to start a travel blog
- Find a perfect name for your blog.
- Get a web hosting account.
- Install Free WordPress Software.
- Select a blog design and layout.
- Install Useful Plugins.
- What Should You Write About?
- How To Make Money With Your Blog.
Let’s get into each of the above steps in detail.
Step 1 : Find a perfect name for your blog
The blog name also known as the domain name will be the name by which you will be known online, irrespective of whatever niche you choose. There will an annual fee that you would need to pay to retain your domain name. (around $9 per year for a .com domain).
Lets now discuss some of the points to consider while choosing a domain name.
- Short and Memorable : A short domain name is a good choice which are easy to type and easy to remember. At the same time keep in mind that your domain name will best describe your blog. If you cant find a good travel blog name then the next approach will be to have your name as domain name like my blog KrishAyyan. I recommend starting with a brainstorm, check for suggestion from friends or try googling and write down few names and decide on one.
- Thinking Long Term : While its good to choose a short and memorable name, its also important that you take time to think it for a long term. It’s really painful if you have to change the name at a later point of time. For example, a name like My2018TravelJournal.com will be a problem when its 2019.
- Avoid Hyphens and Numbers : In today’s world this can be challenging, but it helps if you can have a domain name without hyphens or numbers in your domain name.
- Avoid Adjacently Double/Triple Letters : Avoid domains like greatesttravel.com and bestadddomain.com as they are confusing and we forget to add those repeating letters.
Step 2 : Get a web hosting account
If you haven’t heard it before, then you must be wondering what is web hosting. Web hosting is a centralised storage where all website and blogs store their data’s and photos which can then be easily accessed from anywhere. In order to host the blog you will need to buy some space either on a monthly or yearly basis. Before you get worried and thinking it must be costly, let me tell you that hosting these days are really cheap. There are many hosting services in the market but I personally recommend BlueHost because its a successful host provider of high standards and offers the best combination of speed, reliability and price. It also provides you with a free domain name.
Lets head to the BlueHost Homepage and show you how to get a web hosting account. Click on the green button “get started now” as shown below.
Once you click on the green button it will take you to a different page which will show the different types of hosting plans as shown below.
Select Plan :
For beginners and starters, I would recommend going with the cheapest monthly plan of $3.95. I don’t think at this point of time you should be investing much but in future when your blog grows bigger and starts getting huge traffic then you can chose another plan or even look at dedicated server hosting. Click the “select” green button under the basic plan ($3.95 per month) and it will send you the following page as show below.
Select Domain Name:
If you haven’t already bought a domain name then here is the place (screenshot above) where you can type your chosen blog name into the box and click “next”. The next screen will be as shown below and you need to fill in your name, address and package information. Like i said earlier if you are a beginner then choose the basic plan as shown below. I would suggest going for a 36 month plan because there will be a saving of $145 also don’t have to worry about renewal for sometime.
Once you have done the above then type the payment and submit.
Your hosting and domain name is all set now. Wasn’t that easy?
Step 3 : Install Free WordPress Software
Now that you have set your hosting and domain name, its time to install WordPress. Always use WordPress not Blogger, not anything else. WordPress is the king of blogging and always will be. But before doing that you’ll asked to create a password for WordPress.
Once the password is set then it will ask you to select a theme that inspires you. Don’t worry you can select any of them as its not permanent and can be changed later.
Once you have selected a theme, click the “Start Building” button and have fun building your blog.
In the next step you will be asked if your travel blog is business in nature or personal. For example mine is of personal in nature and don’t intend to do any business as of it stands today. Click which ever is suitable for you as shown below and proceed to next.
Fill in your blog name and tagline and proceed to next step. Please note that these settings can be edited later if you want to so don’t worry much. Your blog is now ready to be launched. Hurray!!!
There are also many other tools available in BlueHost that will help you manage the blog.
Step 4 : Select a blog design and layout
Once you have installed the WordPress and the blog is launched, its now time to make the blog look pretty and professional. This is normally done using various free and paid themes available online. I would recommend not to shell money initially on themes and go with the free ones unless you have some extra money. For free themes you can go to the WordPress Themes site. I am personally using the Hueman Theme for my blog which is free. However if you have some extra cash then there are few excellent sites from where you can get paid themes like Theme Trust, Elegant Themes and Theme Forest.
The next thing you might want to considered is to have a logo or banner for your blog. If you know to make on your own then good and can save some money but if you don’t know how to do one then don’t worry. There are couple sites and freelancers who can help you make one with cost as low as $5. One of the site is called Fiverr where you can outsource any task for just $5 which is great.
Step 5 : Install Some Useful Plugins for your Blog
Akismet : Protects your blog from spammers leaving comments on your posts. Not perfect, but probably the best one out there.
Jetpack : Jetpack enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users.
Yoast SEO : Very important plugin for optimizing your articles for Google search, plus integrating Google Sitemaps and Analytics.
Contact Form 7 : This will add a form to your contact page so that people can email you.
Easy Social Share Buttons : Nice social media sharing buttons for your articles/posts.
WP-Optimize : Helps you to keep your WordPress database clean and healthy.
Google Analytics : The google tool that tracks the visitors to your blog along with other useful data.
Step 6 : Start Writing about your Travels
Once you have done the above steps, its now time that you start writing about your travel in the form of blog posts. I suggest that you write and publish at least 2 post every week. While you write posts please bear in mind that QUALITY OF CONTENT is very important and key for success. This will motivate your blog readers to come back again to your blog. In your posts share what you know about the places visited! Help the people out there to have a great trip, which will in turn get you regular readers.
If you are struggling to find a topic to write then go to TripAdvisor which has thousands of reviews and posts about various hotels, places and travel experiences. You can read through them and get inspiration to write something similar in your own words. I also write reviews about my travel in TripAdvisor.
While writing quality content is very important, its also necessary that you connect with other bloggers either directly or joining different travel blogging forums. Also follow other travel bloggers for inspiration and ideas. Some of them I follow are Shivya Nath, Matthew Karsten, Rachel Jones, Darren Rowse and Anuradha Goyal among many others.
Step 7 : How To Make Money With Your Blog
Making money from Advertisement
This is where many bloggers usually start. This model is very similar to how a newspaper sell ads. As your brand and traffic grows there will be more advertisers willing to pay to get their product visible to your audience. For your blogs there are ad networks like Google AdSense that act as a mediator and enable bloggers to run ads on their blogs and earn money.
Making money from Affiliate Program
In affiliate program, income is when you provide a link to a product that is for sale on another site (Clickbank for example) and if someone follows your link and ends up buying that product then you earn a commission on that sale.
Best of Luck!
Please note that setting up a blog is very easy but its very challenging to grow readers for your blog. In order to grow readers or traffic for your travel blog, you need to keep writing on a regular basis (at least 2 post every week) and spend around 8 to 10 hours every week.
I know its fun to be a travel blogger but like any other job it requires time and effort to make your travel blog successful.