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Starting a travel blog is one of the best things you can do if
In my opinion, reaching hundreds of people every day and sharing my experiences and knowledge with readers while doing what I love is an amazing feeling. I love traveling, and I figured why not blog about it and share my experiences with others while funding my trips with my own travel blog. You can do the same! I am not going to lie, it takes time and effort, but it will sure be worth in the long run.
You don’t even need to do what everyone else is doing, in fact, the more unique and the more real you are the better. In a space so crowded as the travel blogging world, you should really stand out and that’s why you should follow my guide. It’s based around what will give you the best chances of success in 2018.
These are the necessary steps to start a blog:
- Find the perfect name for your blog that suits your personality.
- Set up hosting for your blog.
- Install WordPress.
- Get familiar with your blog’s dashboard.
- Find the perfect theme that suits your style.
- Design your logo.
- Install the essential plugins.
- Start building an audience and monetizing your blog
Now let’s go over all of this step by step!
Step One: Coming Up With a Name for Your Blog
Finding the perfect name for your blog might be challenging as you want to be unique and find the perfect name that suits your personality. You need to remember that the name you choose is exactly what you are looking for because changing names later is a real pain in the neck. Some things I recommend to keep in mind when choosing a name for your blog:
Find something that stands out: Try to find a name that is unique and stands out from the rest.
Think long-term: Try to keep it broad, don’t call your blog something that will not be relevant in future years. Try to avoid a very specific name because you don’t know what other subjects you will want to write about in the future.
Keep it classy and formal: Remember that your blog is your business, is the name that people are going to know you by.
Make the URL as easy as possible to remember: Avoid URL’s with hyphens or with very confusing spelling. Make it as simple as possible.
Check out the social media options before buying the domain: Before purchasing your domain, make sure that the name of your sites is available throughout the social media networks that you will be using to promote your blog.
Step Two: Setting Up Hosting
Setting up your hosting might be a bit confusing at first. When I first started I had no idea where to start when it came to hosting my site. Fortunately, it’s quick and easy to set it all up, and I will guide you all the way! When you use this link, you’ll pay just $3.95 a month for your hosting, rather than $7.99.
I have looked into several hosting companies and Bluehost is by far the one I recommend.
Bluehost is one of the cheapest options, their live chat support team are helpful and can usually fix issues within minutes, and you will receive your domain name completely free! Setting it up should take you less than ten minutes.
Hit the green button that says “get started now” and you’ll be redirected to a page that will show their different hosting plans:
Since you are just starting out, I recommend going with the cheapest plan, for $3.95 per month. You can always upgrade at any point when your site starts to take off. Hit select on the starter plan and you’ll be sent to the following page:
Unless you’ve already bought a domain name before, type your chosen blog name into the box on the left and click next.
On the next screen, fill in your name and address, and then your package information. Here’s what you should choose for your new site:
I recommend starting out with the 36 months plan. It works out to be $3.95 per month rather than $5.95 a month for the 12 months plan. Sure, investing in your blog is a big commitment, but if you’re aiming to build a successful blog from the beginning, it’s important to get into the right mindset. If you get into this blogging thing thinking you’ll still be running your site in three years, you’ll be more likely to make it happen.
Finally, fill in your payment information and you’re good to go!
Boom! You have successfully set up your hosting and domain name.
Step Three: Installing WordPress
Now that you have set up your hosting and domain name, it’s time to install WordPress. After completing your Bluehost purchase, you will be asked to choose your password for WordPress.
At this point, Bluehost will ask you to pick a theme for your site. Don’t put too much thought into this. It’s not permanent, you will upload your kickass theme that most appeal to you later.
After you’ve chosen a theme, click the button that says start building.
Now you are going to be asked whether your site is business or personal. You’re going to want to eventually have a travel blogging business, so of course, you should click on business!
Fill in your blog’s name and slogan in the boxes that appear on the screen. Again, don’t worry too much about the slogan because you will be able to change that as you play around with different ideas for your blog.
And now the complicated part is done! You are now the proud owner of a WordPress travel blog. Exciting isn’t it?
Step Four: Logging In to Your Site
Nothing too complicated here. Head over to yourdomainname.com/wp-admin and then enter your username and password.
Then you will find your WordPress dashboard and that’s where you’ll be running your business.
You will find all of the important stuff on the
- Posts (This is where you will write your articles)
- Pages (for static pages on your site, like an about me or contact page. These will be shown on the navigation bar of your site at all times and will be easily accessible to your readers)
- Comments (where you’ll approve, spam, or reply to comments on your articles)
- Appearance (where you’ll alter the look of your site by installing a new theme and adding sections to your sidebar)
- Plugins (for adding additional features to your site)
- Settings (where you can alter your site settings).
Now follow the next steps to start customizing your site.
Step Five: Finding Your Perfect Theme
It’s time to make your blog look awesome. Here are a couple of options for finding a theme:
Elegant Themes: For $89 a year, you’ll gain access to 87 professional-looking themes. Elegant Themes offers great value for money, it gives you the opportunity to choose from a wide selection of themes, meaning you can play around with different designs, and the support team is great. You can browse all of the designs before signing up too.
ThemeForest: ThemeForest offers a more premium design and you’ll pay around $50 per theme, the themes have many options to customize your site, and their support team will get back to you in just a few hours if you happen to run into
Once you’ve bought a theme it’s time to install it on your site. Themes will usually include installation instructions, so this should be a very simple process.
Once you’ve done that, you can log in to WordPress, click on Appearance – Themes – Upload, upload the zip file you’ve just downloaded, and you’ll be on your way to having a kickass looking site.
Step Six: Getting a Header
Your logo and banner are what you’ll use to differentiate yourself from other bloggers, so it’s kind of a big deal. But don’t invest a huge amount of time or money into it for now. Instead, focus on creating great content, then once you’ve started to build a following, you can pay more attention to your site’s design. Of course, you want your site looking awesome, but don’t forget where your main focus should be!
Here’s what I recommend for designing your logo/header:
Canva: Canva is completely free to use, so if you’re starting your blog on a budget, this is a good option. Once you’ve created an account and signed in, click on create a design and play around with any of the banner-sized options. There you will find a list of pre-made templates that you can customize with your blog name.
Fiverr: If you rather have a professional help you with all your design needs, head over to Fiverr. There you will be able to find really awesome designers that will help your site look awesome and usually very cheap.
Step Seven: Install Essential Plugins
With your site almost ready to go, it’s time to start thinking about WordPress plugins. These will help improve the functionality of your site and give you access to a ton of features. These are some essential plugins you should install on your site:
Akismet: This plugin will automatically catch and delete all spammy comments on your site.
Comments Not Replied To: Building a community is important, and this plugin shows you a list of comments you haven’t replied to yet. If someone spends their time commenting on your blog, it’s worth taking a few minutes out of your day to reply. Plus, if your readers can see you reply to everyone, they’ll be more likely to leave a comment themselves.
Mash Share: You’ll want to provide an easy way for people to share your posts, so make sure that you include a plugin that adds social media buttons to every post on your site.
Yoast SEO: This is the most important plugin you will ever need. Yoast SEO makes it so easy to improve your rankings in Google and it is the best SEO plugin out there.
Step Eight: Start Blogging
Create an about page: Before publishing your first post, you should create an about page. You’ll be surprised how many people actually enter the about page, people want to know who the blogger is, what they’re currently doing, and why they should care about them. It tells potential readers why they should follow along on your journey. This is also the place to give your site that personal touch, tell people why you want to travel, show them you’re human and worth following. You want to be anything but boring here, as this is your chance to grab your readers and convince them to stick around.
Write your first post: After you’ve got your about page sorted, it’s time to start creating your first blog post!
Create a business plan:! If you want to find success, you need to treat your travel blog just like a business. How are you going to find success? How will you monetize your site? How will you build an audience? Which companies do you want to work with? Where do you want to be featured? Start thinking long-term, write down your goals, and start working towards them from the get-go.
Install Google Analytics: Google Analytics will allow you to track your traffic and find out more about your readers. Don’t get obsessive over it though! It’s far too easy to waste an entire day staring at your site’s analytics. Check every couple of days to see which posts are receiving traffic and whether it’s increasing or decreasing over time. You can also track where your traffic is coming from and where you should be putting your energy when it comes to traffic source.
How to monetize your blog?
Many bloggers would say is better to wait until you’ve built a large audience before you even start to think about monetizing your site, but I say it’s the contrary. Get started now and start familiarizing yourself with terms such as Ad Placement and Affiliate Marketing. There are plenty of ways to start earning money that won’t negatively affect your growth or disturb readers when entering your site. Here’s how I recommend getting started:
Google Adsense: The easiest way to start making money with your blog advertising is through Adsense. Sign up for an account, enter in the ad settings you want (I recommend you start by placing a 300×250 sized banner placed below the first paragraph of a post), and then you’re good to go. Download the Quick Adsense plugin, too, as it makes placing the ad code anywhere on your site straightforward. Experiment with different placements, too.
There are other ad networks out there, but Google Adsense is the best to start with, as it is easier to get approved as a new blogger.
Shareasale: Shareasale is one of the biggest ad networks out there. It has been around for over 18 years and works with over 3,900 merchants.
Booking.com: Booking.com affiliate program will pay you for suggesting hotels and directing people to book through their site.
Amazon: Amazon Associates is a great affiliate program. Any time you mention a product on your site, you can search for the product through Amazon Associates, and then use that link in your post. Whenever your readers click on that link and choose to buy anything, you’ll receive a commission on that sale. Packing lists, reviews, and gift guides are great for monetizing through Amazon. Not only that, once someone clicks on your tracking link, you will get a commission on whatever that person buys through Amazon during the next 24 hours.
At this point you want to start building an audience and bring readers to your blog. Keep these things in mind:
- Focus on creating quality content.
- Join Facebook Groups in order to promote your posts and connect with other bloggers.
- Sign up for a Pinterest business account and start promoting your content through Pinterest. This is a huge way to bring traffic.
- Start creating content with Search Engine Optimization and keywords in mind. I recommend you use Ubersuggest, which is a great and free tool for keyword researching.
- Lastly, if you are serious about making blogging your full-time job, I truly recommend you sign up for Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Course, it will cover everything you need to know about the next steps after following this guide and will go over about how to grow your site and monetize your brand!
Interested in learning other ways to make money while abroad? Check out the following articles: