How to Start a Travel Blog
We’ve been blogging about our travels for around eight years, since we returned from a life-changing trip to Africa in 2008.
We were relatively early to the travel blogging scene and it looked nothing like it does today, but seeing how the industry has exploded and evolved has given us incredible perspective and experience on how to run a successful travel blog for so many years.
Today there is amazing new technology and processes that make creating, hosting and running a travel blog incredibly easy – don’t let that fool you though, having a successful travel blog isn’t easy.
Setting it up is just the start. The rest of it is going to take hard work, perseverance and innovation; every second person dreams of having getting paid to travel the world while they write and take photos and this has created an over-saturated market that is now pretty hard to get noticed in.
However, if you truly are passionate about travel and feel like you have a story that people need or would want to hear – then it’s about time you get to it.
We often get emails and messages from people that follow our blog, asking how they can start their own one and so we thought the best solution would be to do a short tutorial blog for you all to make it a little easier.
In this tutorial, we’re going to walk you through how to make an easy, self-hosted WordPress site that is super simple for beginners.
So, let’s get right to it!
Always Start With A Plan
Before you even get into starting your travel blog, you first need to have a plan.
As I said earlier, the market is incredibly saturated at the moment and most people have access to the tools and the small amount of cash needed to get into travel blogging.
Find a Niche
This is why it is so crucial that you pick something that you aren’t just passionate about, but that will interest followers and set you apart from the millions of other aesthetically pleasing blogs that all say the same thing.
You really need to sit and think about an angle that you can take, which will truly resonate with a large audience that isn’t being done on a large scale.
For example, if you are a scuba diver that wants to blog about diving, why not take it one step further? Narrow down and focus your blog on a specific aspect of diving you are particular about.
It could be Nudibranchs, sharks, coral or even an instructional diving blog on how divers can help in the field of marine conservation.
This is known as the purpose of your blog and it’s incredibly important to understand what it is before you start creating it.
Pick A Name
Okay, so now you know what you want to write about – you have to find a name for your blog.
There are a couple of tips we’d like to give you about choosing the right name for your blog:
- Make sure it can last the years: Try and avoid picking a name that is limited to the specific time of your life that you’re in, for example, travel20something is going to be a bit awkward once you get to your thirties or 1couple1world is also going to tank if you decide to part ways. Think carefully about a name that is evergreen.
- Short and sweet: Try and pick a name that is short, sweet and memorable. Something like ‘tinytintuktuksintimbuktu’ is going to be a bit of a mouthful, even if it does sound catchy.
- Available: Make sure that the name you choose for your blog is available and not taken by someone else. If your domain name is taken, not to worry, hosts like Bust a Name will help you find a name of different combinations of your blog’s name that haven’t been taken.
Buying and Registering your Domain Name
Most sites will require you to choose, register and buy your domain name from a hosting platform.
However, for this tutorial we are going to take you through the process of starting your blog through Bluehost and this means that you will get your very own free domain name when you host through them.
Blogging at 30,000 in the Early Days
When people talk about hosting, they are referring to the actual place that your blog will live online – where your content and images will be stored.
There are literally thousands of different hosting companies out there and the one you choose is entirely dependent on you and your needs.
Personally, we’ve found that hosting through Bluehost is the easiest and most cost-effecting hosting solution for beginner bloggers.
For as little as $3.95 a month you could have your blog up and running on Bluehost.
It’s super reliable and comes with a whole heap of awesome extras like a free domain and email address.
Registering with Bluehost
It’s super simple to register with Bluehost. Here is a step-by-step guide for signing up.
- Getting started: All you need to do is shimmy on over to the Bluehost homepage and click on the “Get Started Now” button that you can see in green.
- Choose a Package: The second thing that you need to do is decide on the best package for your needs. Bluehost will give you a number of options and you’ll be able to see the most popular packages, but if you want something cost effective and for a simple site, then the basic plan is a perfect choice.
- Your domain name: Enter the name that you chose in the first part of this tutorial in the left hand box. If you already have a domain name that you would like to transfer then put that name in the box on the right.
- Supply the account information: This is the personal information that will be attached to the blog.
- Choose your package and enter payment details: This is the stage where you can decide on your package and how long you would like Bluehost to host your site for.We found that the 36 month, upfront basic package was the best value for money.
- Choose Add-ons: This is entirely necessary, but you can choose add-ons for your domain names for a bit more money.
Time for WordPress
Once you have completed all the above steps, it is time for you to install WordPress.
The great thing about Bluehost, is that they have a step-by-step WordPress installation guide that ensures you seamlessly get everything right.
The process can seem a little overwhelming at times, but keep at it and you’ll get there in no time at all.
Simply login into your Bluehost account with your details given in the process above; click on the WordPress icon in your dashboard and then click the green start button as seen below.
This will begin installing WordPress for you.
Login to WordPress
Once the installation of WordPress is complete you will see the following image on your screen.
You’ll then receive an email from Mojo Marketplace that will give you all the details for your blog.
You can then click on the Admin URL and use the password and username that you created to login to your WordPress account.
Once you’ve successfully logged into your WordPress account through the steps above, you’ll then be taken to your WordPress Dashboard and this is where the magic (and sometimes panic) really sets in.
Learn All About WordPress
Many people are overwhelmed by the amount of seemingly scary information that they are presented with when they first start to use WordPress and we found one of the easiest ways to learn our way around was through the free lessons offered by the platform on the WordPress For Beginners Page.
The most essential things to start off with are learning how to create, publish and edit pages and posts, create menus and add categories.
Choose a Theme
The next thing you need to do is choose a theme for your blog; this is going to dictate what your site looks like and how it functions.
There are literally hundreds of different themes to choose from and Bluehost will send you directly to a page where you can choose from their favourite themes.
You can choose a free theme, but in our experience, buying a theme gives you a much better level of customisation and functionality that simply isn’t possible on a free theme.
Don’t worry too much, as the price of the themes range drastically and you can choose from the most budget-friendly to the most expensive depending on how much you can spend.
It’s easy to get sucked into choosing a theme for weeks, but our advice is to not linger on it for too long.
Spend a bit looking at the themes and then choose which one is going to suit your needs best – the sooner you choose – the sooner you can get started.
WordPress comes with a host of amazing plugins that will make your blogging experience easier and give you a wider reach.
The plugins range from things that will change the appearance of your blog, to social media sharing buttons and a whole heap of other cool options.
The essentials that we believe everyone should have are:
- Yoast SEO
- SumoMe, and
Create Incredible Content
Now it’s time to get creating your content. We advise that you have at least five posts already written for your blog that you can upload and share as soon as you go live – you blog will look empty if you just have one.
You should also have populated your Home Page, About Me section and other important parts of your website before you go live.
More than anything, this is an opportunity for you to learn, enjoy yourself and create content that you are passionate about and that hopefully others are passionate about too.
Learning how to use WordPress and get your blog where you want it to be will take patience and dedication, but once you get it right – you’ll never look back!
We hope that this simple guide has helped you set up your own blog and given you an avenue to express yourself and wow your followers all over the world.
If you have any questions, queries or simply need advice, then feel free to drop us a message or email and we’re more than happy to help out.
Happy blogging and hope that we get to see some of your amazing work.