How To Start A Travel Blog With 5 Easy Steps
So you've decided you want to start a travel blog? Hooray! The good news is that it's pretty easy to do. Whether you want to create your own business out of it or just use it as a platform to keep all your travel memories, starting a travel blog can be a really fun thing to do!
Some people out there will warn you that it is a waste of time or that there are already too many people in the market doing it. My opinion?? FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!! If you want to start a travel blog--THEN DO IT and don't listen to anyone else! Lucky for you, I've created 5 easy steps (with a few bonus tips at the end) on how to start your travel blog today! (*Note: This is a tutorial on starting a WordPress travel blog, which is how I started out. Click HERE for a comparison to WordPress vs Squarespace.)
Overview - How To Start A Travel Blog With 5 Easy Steps:
Choose A Name
3 Bonus Tips to Take Your Blog from Hobby to Career!
Step 1: How To Start A Travel Blog - Choose A Name
Probably the most important step of the blogging process: pick your name. This is going to be your identity as a blogger. If you already have an idea for one--that's great! If not, I suggest brainstorming or webbing out ideas for what feels right to you. It took me a few days to come up with a name that I really felt that I loved, so don't worry if it doesn't come right away.
(1) Check to see if your name is available on social media if you want to go that route.
(2) Don't pigeonhole yourself into something you might not be agreeable with later like "Becky Abroad For Six Months" or "Travel In Your Thirties." Think long term!
(3) Make sure it is something that is easy to search and find.
Step 2: How To Start A Travel Blog - Domain/Hosting
Once you have your fabulous name picked out, it is time to buy that domain name! I have been using Bluehost since I started blogging and am very happy with the service they provide (consistent support and pretty inexpensive). You can go to their website to register your new website name, or check to see if the one you want is available or not!
Once you know your name is available, it's time to set up your hosting. You can use this link to setup your account, check the current discounts or packages, and select a free domain: CLICK HERE. Follow the steps below to get your account setup. Please keep in mind that prices listed below may change depending on current promotions Bluehost has running.
Step 3: How To Start A Travel Blog - WordPress Install
So you've got your domain, your hosting, and you're ready to go! Next step is to do a simple install of WordPress on your Bluehost account. **FYI for everyone who is like me and not a techie person, this step is setting up a self-hosted WordPress.org account. If you want to be serious about your blog, this is better than the free WordPress.com account because you have more control over your site, the name, ads you want to put on, plugins, tracking, etc.**
Once you log in to your new Bluehost account, go to your main home panel and select "Install WordPress."
Once you select that icon, follow the steps to start installing WordPress onto your account. Select your new website domain when choosing which one to install it to. Once you've filled in your details and finished the install, you're ready to log in and get going!
Step 4: How To Start A Travel Blog - Theme/Modify
If you are into design and aesthetic, this is going to be your favorite part... Choosing the theme of your website is basically like choosing the outfit that your blog is going to wear. It is how your blog will look with all the content put together.
There are tons of themes to shop around and choose if you are serious about making your blog look great (I recommend doing this over settling for the free ones). You can filter them out by styles or categories through the MOJO Marketplace, which is on your Bluehost account. Once you select your theme, you can install it yourself or hire someone to do it. Sometimes the theme provider/creator will offer to install it for you at an additional cost if you don't know how to do it yourself (I had to do this because I had no clue what I was doing!).
After your theme is installed, it is time to start modifying and tweaking your blog. What are the fonts you want? The colors? The pictures and shapes? Social media icons? Play around with this until you feel happy with what is in front of you!
Step 5: How To Start A Travel Blog - Plugins
Plugins are the final step to setting up your blog before you are ready to write and roll. Think of plugins as the "accessories" to your blog's "outfit." They help make your blog a little more functional. But keep in mind, sometimes less is more. Too many plugins can slow down your site speed or make it look clunky, so don't go too crazy.
My 5 Favorite Plugins:
(1) WordPress SEO by Yoast: enables you to make sure your SEO is fully optimized on each blog post.
(2) Akismet: keeps your spam under control.
(3) Contact Form 7: allows people to directly contact you from your blog to your inbox.
(4) Google Analytics for WordPress: makes you be able to keep your website analytics on check.
(5) Easy Social Share Buttons: there are a ton of options for this, so make sure you choose what you like best.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT! You're ready to travel blog!
Now that you have your blog all setup, your theme looking fresh, and your plugins up and running, it's time to decide if you want to treat this new blog as a hobby or a career. If your blog is just meant to be a place to share photos and stories with family and friends--that's wonderful! But if you want to take it to the next level and turn it into a career, below are 3 BONUS TIPS to help take your travel blog to a professional level.
BONUS 1: How To Start A Travel Blog - Social Media
This should be an obvious step from the get-go, but just in case... Make sure you snag up your social media handles! Personally, I recommend being on all the main platforms--Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest--but let that be up to you! You should be checking for them at the same time you're picking your blog's name.
Once you've activated your social accounts, be sure to stay frequently engaged with your audience in order to grow your presence online. Respond to comments, reach out to other people in your niche, like other posts, etc. It is so important to do that so that people see who you are! Posting really solid content (and often) also helps growing those numbers... Practice makes perfect!
BONUS 2: How To Start A Travel Blog - Join Travel Blog Success
Want to start learning how to make money from your travel blog? Join this amazing group called Travel Blog Success. To be honest, I wish I had done it from the start, but I'm glad that I'm part of the community now.
Click HERE or on the TBS icon for access to Travel Blog Success.
The group offers exclusive content on how to build and monetize your site, a private Facebook group with top travel bloggers from all over the world contributing advice, private webinars, and so much more. I literally utilize this site and it's resources on a daily basis and it's been amazing.
BONUS 3: How To Start A Travel Blog - WRITE CONSTANTLY
This is a huge mistake I made in the beginning... Since I wasn't writing frequently from the get-go, I didn't develop my "blogging voice" until way further down the road. It really hurt me in the long run because I could be much farther along in my career if I had started writing constantly from the beginning. When I started treating my blog as a business, I quickly learned how important it was to write as much as possible in the beginning stages.
As you start blogging, you begin to cultivate a relationship with your audience and develop your voice as a writer. You'll discover who you are and how you want to come across to your readers. By blogging frequently in the beginning, you'll have time to decide what your writing style is and how much time you want to spend on posting. Practice makes perfect, so you'll also get all of the junk out of the way much faster.
If you commit to blogging frequently in the beginning (maybe around 3 posts per week), you'll be much happier a year from now when you're wayyy ahead of all the other people who weren't writing consistently. You'll have stronger content, higher traffic, and maybe even a loyal following!
Now it's time for you to get your travel blog up and running! YAY!
If you're looking for additional help to set up your blog or business, I offer all new clients a FREE 15-minute consultation! Please use the form below to get in contact with me with questions.
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