How to start a travel blog?
I started this blog almost a year ago. I thought it was hard at the beginning since I know very little to nothing about HTML, PHP and CSS codes to create a website. The good thing is that creating websites and blogs nowadays does not require all this technical skills anymore. Thanks to WordPress, blogging is now as easy as writing a post in your Facebook’s timeline.
If you found this page, you are also that person who is looking for some guides and tips to kick off your own travel blog and share your stories to the world like I used to be. So let me give you the7 easy to follow steps on how to start a travel blog.
1. Choose A Name For Your Blog
This may sound easy but it is actually one of the toughest steps in starting a blog. Branding yourself or your blog is even harder that writing a 2,000-word article.
Create A Name That Can Last
If you choose a name similar to ‘Teen Wanderlust’, your blog will look very funny if you are posting your photos when you reach your 20s. Make sure that you pick a name that is not focus to your age, marital status and location so you can keep your branding for a long period of time.
Go For Something Unique
If you could avoid the words nomads, adventure, wanderlust, backpacker, travel then please do so as they can be found even in the outer space. Get something that will really reflect your personality. Being a fan of Superman who is the Man Of Steel, I chose Man Of Wanders since I am also a man full of wander-ful stories and experiences.
Make It Short and Striking
Use maximum of 3 words for easy recall. You don’t need to write your entire biography in you blog title. The shorter the better.
2. Set-up The Hosting
Most of the bloggers use WordPress because it is user friendly. However, you need to get a reliable hosting to set-up a WordPress blog. I suffered for almost a year because I did a huge mistake choosing the wrong hosting company when I set-up/. I did my own research and finally found Bluehost. This company builds and designs their servers to run WordPress superbly. That is why they are the most recommended hosting company by WordPress.org.
Aside to its proven performance, reliability and functionality, it also offers affordable hosting price starting at $3.95/month which includes a free domain as well.
To start, go to Bluehost’s website and follow the steps below:
#1 Click ‘Get Started Now’
#2 Choose a plan
As a beginner, it is always recommended to get the cheapest plan since you don’t know yet what is going to happen with your blog down the road. If your site requirement increases over the period of time due to overwhelming traffic, you can always upgrade to a higher plan anytime.
#3 Select your domain
Type your chosen blog name into the left box and click next to claim your free domain address.
#5 Finalize your package information
For the account plan, you can choose the term of the hosting plan foe 12, 24 or 36 months. By choosing the longest term, you can get the cheapest price at $3.95. However, if want to play safe since you are not sure on what could happen within a year or so; then you may opt to get the 12-month plan at $5.45 which is just $1.50 more per month. Anyway, you can just renew the plan before it expires.
You can also select for some add-ons before finalizing your order. Selecting the Domain Privacy Protection option is recommended to avoid other people to look up the owner of the domain and giving them the access of your personal details like address and phone number.
Once you have confirmed your account information, package details and billing information, you can just submit it then you are good to go.
3. Install WordPress
Setting-up WordPress with Bluehost is as easy as ABCs as they offer an easy one-click WordPress installation. On the cPanel of Bluehost’s home screen, you’ll see the WordPress Icon under Website Builders.
Click the WordPress icon and hit the Start button to install WordPress.
Next, select your domain name and click “check domain”.
Here’s a sample on how to fill in your details on the next page.
You’ll see the following screen while WordPress is installing.
After the installation, you can already login to WordPress by simply typing http://yourdomainname.com/wp-admin and you’ll be directed to the login screen where you can just input your username and password and you’re in!
Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a WordPress travel blog!
4. Choose A Theme
WordPress offers some pretty good free themes but if you really want your blog to stand out among others, then I highly recommend you to use a premium theme. I got mine in Themeforest and I am very happy with my purchase. Premium theme can be fully customized and that allows you to have a very unique and professional design for your blog. Premium themes in Themeforest range from $25 to $100 depending on the styles and functions. Checkout their page to find the theme that suits your style.
5. Install Some Plugins
Now that you already have your own beautiful blog. It is time now to add some plugins to have additional functionality in your WordPress-powered site. There are over 40,000 different plugins available in WordPress but here are some essential plugins for travel blogs.
- Akismet: It filters all the spammy comments and deletes them automatically. Though you need to check out your filtered spam comments once in a while as some nice comments are recognized spammy some unknown reasons.
- Yoast SEO: This is one of the most essential plugin that every blogger MUST have. Yoast SEO helps you to improve your rankings in Google and other search engines.
- AddToAny Share Buttons: There are many reliable sharing plugins in WordPress but this is my favorite. It allows you to add some simple yet awesome share buttons in your page.
- Contact Form 7: This one allows you to install a simple contact form so people can email you through your site.
- W3 Total Cache: This plugin has plenty of good functions like minify, page, browser, object and database caching that will surely improve the speed and user experience of your blog.
- WP Smush: It reduces the image file sizes, improve performance and also boost your SEO.
6. Create Your Pages
Here are the basic pages that you should have when starting your blog:
About Page – This is where you write something interesting about yourself, your blog, your travel timeline, why are you blogging and how your blog can influence your readers.
Contact Page – People who visit your blog should have a way to contact you. This is where your Contact Form 7 plugin goes in.
These 3 pages are also the essential pages that you must have if you are planning to apply in Adsense. Having these three will give you a higher chance of getting approve by Google Adsense.
7. Get Social!
Once you have done all of the above, you can start securing your social media handles. Try to use the same username, page name or URLs in different social media platforms. Since my blog title is ‘Man Of Wanders’, I am using manofwanders across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Instagram, Google+ and Flipboard. Social media platforms are very essential to boost the traffic of your blog. You just need to know each of their pros and cons and learn how maximize those to be successful in every platform.
So now what?
Now that you finally have a blog with a beautiful theme, awesome plugins, basic pages and social media handles, you can start posting your articles. I recommend to have at least 5 blog posts when starting a blog since you do not want your first readers to see an empty site.
Once you have posted your very first set of blog posts, you can start to share it and spread the words to the world. Share your blog post links in your social media handles, join and engage to different travel bloggers group pages in Facebook to get started.
Nothing comes easy in blogging. It takes time, patience and hard work to become a successful travel blogger. And I am still working hard to keep my blog running and hopefully, be on the top list. Quality content, consistency in posting and connecting to other bloggers are some of the important keys to increase readership, gain valuable audience and create followers along the way. But once you have done that, the opportunities in travel blogging will come easy and without stint.
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase any products, I will receive an affiliate commission without extra cost to you. And you’ll help me to reduce the ongoing expenses running this blog. Anyway, I only recommend products or services that I have personally tested with great satisfaction.
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