Nowadays, many people dabble on travel blogging to make a profession out of their love for traveling and to give them an outlet to share their adventures and experiences. No matter what your purpose is for wanting to start a blog, know that it’s not as hard as many make it to be. Below is a seven-step guide below on how to get your own travel blog up and running. With a little time, dedication and effort, you’ll be well on your way to monetize your passion for seeing new cities and discovering new things.
- Decide on a unique slant
As there are thousands of travel bloggers making a name for themselves on the Internet, you need to look for a niche that allows you to stand out. Ask yourself what you want to write about. Whether you want to focus on cheap eats, budget traveling or dating abroad, your answers are crucial in helping you get started.
Tip: Research the Internet for the most popular travel blogs out there. Think about what you can offer that hasn’t yet been written extensively about. It may require some work in the start, but it will surely pay off.
- Choose a good name
Now that you have your focus locked down, you need to decide on the name of your blog. It should be unique yet easy to type, easy to remember and easy to spell.
Tip: When selecting a name, avoid overused words in the industry such as “nomad”, “adventurous” or “wander.” While they are words to describe the seasoned traveler, they are not original. Be creative!
- Register your domain
A domain name allows you to take ownership for the name you have chosen for your travel blog. So, once you’re happy with the blog name you’ve coined, make sure to go to GoDaddy or any other domain seller to buy all the domain names relevant to your blog. The earlier you do this, the better. You don’t want someone else claiming ownership for your blog name!
Tip: Avoid having hyphens in your domain name (e.g. site-domain.com), as it makes it harder for people to remember. Also, if you can, make sure to buy a .com domain. Why? Not only does it make your blog easy to remember, it is also more legitimate than a blog that ends with .org, .co or .info!
- Buy a hosting plan
Now we’re getting to the more technical part! If you have no idea what hosting is, it’s best to look at it this way: Hosting is akin to buying real estate in the internet, where the domain is the address to your house and the blog becomes your house.
While it doesn’t matter where you purchase your domain name, you need to be very selective about your hosting provider to ensure that you have a decent site performance.
Tip: Many professional travel bloggers recommend BlueHost for beginners, as they make it very easy for you to get started. They provide great service and are extremely reliable and cheap.
- Install WordPress
If you already have purchased a hosting plan, it’s time for you to choose a blogging platform that allows you to get your articles published, without knowing how to code or set up your own server. WordPress remains the most popular platform until this day, as it offers thousands of plugins and themes that allows you to fully customize your blog.
Tip: If you are using BlueHost, it has a “one-click” button that makes it easy for you to integrate these two together.
- Invest in web site design
As WordPress remains the king of customization, you can easily choose from the free themes that are readily available for use on your site. Yet, if you really want your blog to stand out, you have to be willing to invest time and money in developing the look and feel of your site to match your aesthetics. You can either pay for a premium theme or hire a graphic designer to build your web design from scratch.
Tip: Work with a graphic designer who can come up with a design that matches your aesthetics and best speaks to our target audience. While it’ll set you back a few hundred dollars, it will pay off in the long run. Apart from making your blog look good, it also enhances the readability and accessibility of your blog. These two factors, along with good content (of course!), are very important in getting people to read your blog over and over again!
With this basic six-step guide, you can start your own blog and share your adventures to the world. But, if you really want to succeed in it professionally, here are some bonus tips to help you build your readership:
- Start an email list
Having a strong following is key to monetizing your blog. Ask any marketer or web guru and they will tell you that an email list is the single most valuable thing your site can have to attract repeat visitors and encourage people to come back to your website for some fresh, new content!
- Promote your blog via social media
You need to constantly drive traffic to your blog, and the best way to do it is use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Make sure to keep the same handle on all platforms for consistency. Also, use hashtags to drive people interested in #travel or #adventure to your pages.
- Register with Google Analytics
Having a clear understanding of where your traffic comes from and what keywords are successful in reeling them in is key to ensuring you write more of the same stuff that attracts visitors to your site. Knowing some stats on your traffic and their site behavior will not only help you target your users with the correct content, it will also tell you what works and what not for your site.
In the end, it’s all about authenticity. Be true to yourself and be honest about your experiences, and the rest will follow.