Beginners Guide to Starting a Blog
We created a step by step guide (with pictures) that will teach you how to setup a blog in under 15 minutes. Regardless of whether you want to start a Mommy Blog or a Real Estate Website, this guide will teach you everything you need to know to get launched.
- Get a domain name & sign up for website hosting
- Install Wordpress with step by step instructions
- Start blogging and building your blog!
The idea of leaving the 9 to 5 grind for destinations unknown sounds, for some, like a pipe dream. Who has the capability to just up and quit their job to go globetrotting? It sounds almost irresponsible. How do people survive? How do they find a reliable income?
If you want to learn how to start a travel blog, you need to believe in yourself.
Can anyone that hasn’t already “made it” truly expect to go about such an endeavor? Well, let us be the first to tell you, it does take some effort. But it is not impossible. Not by any stretch. If you want to be paid to travel and write about your experiences…
You can do it.
In fact, I did it.
“But how?” You are probably asking the computer screen. “Where would I even begin?” Well to start, we should warn you. This is not the easiest of professions to chase down. You can absolutely be paid to travel the world, but a lot of effort has to be made to make this life of adventure a reality. That being said, we will walk you through it. Allow us to commence the first step of your world-spanning project.
I’ve traveled the world for free, from my own travel blog.
How to Start a Travel Blog Step by Step
Creating a blog is a fairly simple process. If you are aching to start immediately, simply following this step-by-step guide while have you able to start writing as early as today. Before you begin, we want to make you aware that this guide is meant only for those that have a serious desire to make travel blogging more than just a hobby. Many of the steps found on this guide require a degree of financial investment. If you aren’t ready to take the plunge, you may want to reconsider.
For those that want to ease into the transition of writing about traveling, or just want a bit of practice first, you can start a travel blog for friends and followers for free at WordPress.com.
1. Be Particular About Your Travel Blog’s Name
A general problem many website creators face, regardless of the intended content, is coming up with a name that will stand the test of time. Often times, creators will find that they might desire to change their site’s name completely, as their previous name does not reflect the direction and intent that they are currently moving in. For instance, if one were to start an art portfolio blog, and named it allmyprettypictures.com, they might find that name to be fairly limiting if they decided to expand into article writing as well. Coming up with an appropriate name is a fairly common setback. How do you come up with a name that might not lead to issues down the road?
Keep it Short and Sweet
When coming up with your travel blog’s name, you’ll want to to make sure of a few things for optimum web traffic capability.
The name should be short and easy to type. It should be easy to spell and easy to remember. And finally, it should be as easy to share as possible.
Start by considering slant you want your travel blog to take.
What particular aspects of travel are you going to want to cover?
- Are you going to be writing about food?
- About culture?
- Will you be blogging about places off of the beaten path?
- Perhaps you’ll be writing about your accommodations exclusively.
- What’s your point of view and what is your passion?
- Take a moment to think about all of that, and then write down your thoughts.
Try playing with word arrangement.
Crack open that thesaurus that hasn’t been used since college. If all else fails, you might consider asking your friends and family for their advice and thoughts.
Hyphens and Numbers Are a No-No
It may seem difficult now, as so many domain names have already been taken up, but avoid hyphens and numbers like the plague if at all possible. The main reason for avoidance being that hyphens and numbers make it harder to tell people about your site. It also makes it harder to spell, and it stunts the word-of-mouth capacity of your blog.
Do Not Start a Travel Blog with Another Overused Word
As mentioned previously, many domain names have already been taken, and many of those same names have become memorable institutions of their own. You could go the easy route and name your site something like Traveling Travis, Vacationing Vicky, or even Adventurous Adventurer. Keep in mind, however, that domain names such as these simply will not stand out as much as you might like them to in the world of travel blogs. Those names have very probably been taken up by others, and are more than likely established and recognizable blogs. You’ll want to stand out, and you can better ensure that by coming up with something a bit more unique.
Thinking about the Long-Game
By now, you may believe you have a good idea of what you want to call your travel blog, but before you jump the gun give it a second and third thought. Try not to come up with something that limits you.
For instance, don’t have your domain name revolve around your age, because you won’t always be twenty-five. Think long term.
Is the name you’ve selected something that you can grow with?
It’s important to ask yourself this now, as changing it later is more trouble than you‘ll want to deal with in the future.
Never mind having to settle into a new identity, but you’ll also be leaving behind the identity you’ve been working so hard to create. It’s better to consider this now than later.
2. Find the Best Web host for your Travel Blog
If you’ve given any amount of thought to creating a blog, or you’ve already started one as a hobby, you probably have a pretty decent idea of what hosting is. For those that don’t have a clear idea of what hosting is, don’t worry. It isn’t complicated. Web hosting is essentially a means of renting space from a hosting provider so that you have a place to store all of your website’s data, files, and photos so people can access it on the net when they enter your domain name into their browser.
All three offer quality hosting at low prices, and all but HostMetro includes a free domain name in their price. They also offer unlimited disk space, and feature constant support.
When you get to a point where you think you may have outgrown the capabilities of your hosting service, it’s easy to switch to a new provider that can better suit your needs as a growing travel blogger.
With all that in mind…
Most, if not all, of the hosting services available offer a remarkably easy-to use interface that will walk you through the registration process. They cater to new bloggers, and have practice in making things as clear as possible for you.
Choose a Plan That is Right for You
Hosting sites offer plans based on the amount of space, server power, subdomains, marketing, and email capabilities you might need. Look them over, and decide which one is right for you.
If you just want to test the water for a bit, that’s just fine. Most hosting sites allow for you to upgrade the terms of service with very little hassle.
Find out if Your Desired Blog/Domain Name is Available
You’ll have an opportunity to enter your desired domain name to see if it has already been taken. You’ll also be able, in most cases, to transfer a previous domain name over to the hosting provider.
In all likelihood, you probably won’t need many of the extra services provided by your new hosting service. they warrant a good look-over anyway, as something may catch your eye. One thing you may want to consider, however, is Domain Privacy Protection.
DPP blocks random blog visitors from looking up who owns your site, and keeps them from finding your phone number, address, and email. A Few extra bucks spent can mean a bit of piece of mind.
3. How to Install WordPress
When setting up your WordPress account, you’ll want to make sure you set up a self-hosted account.
This will allow the WordPress software to be on your hosting company’s servers as opposed to being a free WordPress account.
This will ensure a few things.
You’ll have full control over your site and your own data. You be able to sell advertising space on your blog. You’ll be able to install plugins and customized themes. You’ll be able to use google analytics to track web traffic and site performance. Finally, and this is also important, you won’t have WordPress.com attached to your web address. You’ve already spent a ton of time figuring out the perfect name for your blog. The last thing you need is for it to read as myperfecttravelblog.wordpress.com. That doesn’t exactly roll off of the tongue, does it?
In case you were wondering whether you might want to use any of the other blogging sites available such as Blogspot or Blogger, we would recommend against it. WordPress is the go-to bogging site for a number of professionals, and it is endlessly customizable.
4. How to Buy a Professional Theme
WordPress has a number of free themes to choose from, allowing you to spruce up the look of your site. That’s fine to start with, but it will be in your best interest to spend some money on a professional design that better suites your professional travel blogging aspirations. After you purchase your new theme, you can further tweak it to suit your tastes .
We’ve made it easy for you by assembling the 50 fastest wordpress themes.
5. The Best Plugins for Travel Glogs
WordPress plugins give allow your site to have new features. Most are free, but some will require payment. Check out the plugin section of the WordPress Dashboard for a look at some of the options available. Some recommended plugins are:
- WPtouch allows for you site to be mobile compatible, which is of great importance in this day and age of mobile media.
- WordPress SEO allows you to optimize your travel blogs for Google search, and allows for tracking your site via Google Sitemaps and Analytics.
- Easy Social Share Buttons make it easy for your blogs to be share via social media.
- Akismet keeps pesky spammers from leaving comments on your blogs.
6. How to Maximize Social Media for Your Travel Blog
If you are the digital equivalent of a hermit, now is the time to break that habit. Social media allows you to broaden your reach on the internet, and acts as a form of advertisement or publicity, bringing traffic to your blog. The sooner you can get familiar with it, the better. Here are some quick tips from Chamel. There are various other informative articles to get some information from. Check them out when you get the chance. In the meantime, some social media accounts to consider getting…..
- Facebook – The king of social media so far
- Instagram – A place to share your pretty pictures and generate interest
- Twitter – Think of it as a smaller blog that can link to your bigger blog
- Google+ – What some consider to be a more professional version of Facebook
- Youtube – A place to share videos of your adventures
- Pinterest – Think of it as a digital scrapbook that can be shared by other people
7. Consider Joining Travel Blog Success
There are two truths about careers. You should surround yourself with the people that you want to one day consider your peers, and you should put yourself in a position where you can learn all that you can about your chosen profession. This is certainly true of travel blogging. Once again, making money as someone that travels and writes about it is much more difficult than it might seem.
You’ll need to figure out how to build your audience and how to optimize your use of social media. You’ll have to market yourself while appealing to and working with brands. SEO, which is of some importance, probably remains a mystery to you. There are tons of things to learn if you want to make a career as a traveller. So You may want to join Travel Blog Success.
Expedite The Learning Process
Yes, it is possible to learn everything on your own. Many trailblazers have done it. But if you want to save yourself from possible years of aggravation and stumbles along the way, learning from people who have done this whole thing already is a great way know what to expect and how to handle it all.
The courses they offer are not cheap, often going between $200 to $400 dollars per course, but the experience pays off in spades. The money you spend now will very much ensure you don’t lose even more money later.
8. Commence the Blogging
With all of the less-fun stuff out of the way, now you get to write!
You are, no doubt, full of excitement over your new career path. Before you start attacking this project head-on, you should ask yourself a realistic question though. How often do you plan on writing? Don’t overexert yourself. It’s probably best to start with one or two blogs a week. Pick a regular day to release your content, and stick with it. Make sure your work is quality stuff, and keep that standard consistent in all of your writing.
What should you write about in particular? Write about planning the trip. Write about the experience of the travelling itself. Write lists of your favorite destinations. Write about anything pertaining to the type of travel bog you have chosen to create, and always do it in your own voice. You don’t have to leave your town to write, either. In between trips, you can write about the local spots in your town to act as a buffer until you step on the next plane. But always remember…
Building an audience takes time.
It won’t happen overnight. You should expect your blog to take a year or more before you actually start seeing all of your hard work pay off, so you should start sooner rather than later. But if you stay true to your focus, you write as yourself, and you do it all diligently, you’ll get to where you want to be. Being a paid travel blogger takes time to achieve, just as with any other coveted career goal.
9. Turning a Blog into Free Trips
After some time and practice, your blog should start seeing some payoff. At some point you should have…
- An established, well-written and attractive blog that targets a specific demographic
- A presence in social media
- An audience that trusts you and enjoys what you have to say
- The possibility of writing articles for well-known publications on occasion
This guide will get you free stays at hotels around the world.
If you can accomplish these things, the world will start opening up to you, and the perks of being a travel blogger will become more and more apparent. For instance, at this point in your travelling career, you can start getting free accommodations at a number travel destinations with little or no strings attached. This can be considered a business transaction of sorts, as you’ll be providing coverage of your stay via your blog in exchange for free rooming for a night or two.
Obviously, this provides a number of perks. This can lessen your travel expenses, which is nothing to scoff at. You may even be able to stay in places that are otherwise more expensive than what you can typically afford. This can also give you greater access to the staff at your place of stay, and allow you into places you might not normally get to experience. If you plan ahead, there are a number of accommodation options available.
This all might be a bit down the road, but it is something to consider and it might be best to start implementing certain practices into your blogging routines.
What Does Your Travel Blog Offer?
You need to formulate a clear vision in your own head of exactly what you have to offer hotels and other destinations so that providing free accommodations in return for excellent publicity is an absolute no-brainer.
Who is your blog’s target audience?
Whom are you trying to reach, and what does that offer potential travel sponsors in the future? what might you typically include in your blogs? Do you typically write about and offer images of the hotels you stay in? Do you have picture or video slideshows available for view on YouTube or Flickr? Can you offer coverage on social media? Do you typically provide links on your blog to the destinations and places you stay at? Do you offer to write exclusive articles on your accommodation provider’s websites? What are you doing to make hosting you more appealing?
You need to get your sales pitch down prior to pitching.
Before you approach, specific people, companies or local tourism boards, have your sales strategy down pat. Anticipate the questions they are going to have so that you can be ready with an answer. Being prepared will help you look as professional as possible and help reassure others that they will get a reasonable return on their investment.
How to Create a Media Kit for your travel blog
This is what our media kit looks like for Life, Tailored.
Feel free to copy the layout and style of our media kit for your own site, just make sure to change out the relevant introduction and statistics for your website.
Building a Travel Blog Media Kit
Prepare a PDF file you can send to brands and hotels that mention the following information.
- Who you are and your type of travel
- Your blog’s target demographic
- The sort of travel you cover
- Details on your blog’s unique visitors and pageviews in a month.
- Audience breakdowns by region.
- Social media stats
- Places you have been published at aside from your blog
- Awards your work has received
- Links to where you can be found online
- Links to previous article written for previous business transactions
Having this information at the ready is an invaluable resource for a number of situations, and will make you better prepared for professional blogging opportunities in the future.
Research Your Accommodations
If you know the areas you plan on visiting, there is no reason why you might not be able to look a bit further into the hotels and flats you might be staying at. Can you tell if they have a PR budget? Do they have rooms specifically set aside for the press? Are there major happenings going on in the area that might affect your rates or stay? Do the places you might want to stay match the needs of your blog? Do they have a presence on social media? Do they work with other bloggers on occasion?
Make sure, before planning your stay, that you can find the correct person to direct your inquiries to. They may have a press or media page that might lend a hand in figuring out whom to talk to.You may want to consider contacting them via private message if they have a facebook page. Also, it never hurts to find out if another blogger has spent time at your supposed place of stay, and then sending an email their way to discuss their experiences.
Again, this is a bit down the road, but you may as well get a little practice in while you can. Try putting together a proposal for future stays. This is essentially a sales letter that illustrates who you are, why you are attempting contact, the intended dates of your stay, and brief explanation of what you can offer, and some example of previous article. In essence, this won’t be too different different from your media pack. Try and write something unique for each planned accommodation, as the copy and paste method can be a bit informal and forgettable.
Take special care to stay in contact with your room provider before, during,and after your trip.
This keeps things open and clear, it emphasizes that they made a good decision making a deal with you, and it shows that you are professional that can be trusted. Be sure to thank them, and that you send them links to your articles after your stay.
If you’ve any issues during your stay, bring them up beforehand instead of announcing them without warning on your blog, doing otherwise might burn a few bridges, both foreseen and unforeseen. Make sure to always, without fail, keep your promises.
Your reputation is currency in the travel blogging world.
Deliver on Your Promises and Demonstrate a ROI
Make sure that everyone involved with your stay has very clear expectations about what you are going to deliver and when. You don’t want to be receiving angry emails two weeks after your stay because you have yet to publish your article.
While you don’t have to set a hard deadline, making sure that everyone is on the same page before your leave will help you deliver on your promises.
The other side of this coin involves following up and highlighting all the ways that they have benefited from providing you with accommodations. In addition to sending them relevant links to your articles, you may also want to put together a more detailed report that shows how the article performed on social media.
While it can be somewhat difficult to measure and track success with these types of marketing projects, any hard numbers you can provide will go a long way in establishing your reputation and perhaps helping to provide a more welcoming path for other travel bloggers.
Are You Ready to Launch Your Travel Blog?
We’ve covered a lot here, and with any luck, you feel better about your decision to be a travel blogger. Congratulations on your decision! It’s a long but rewarding road ahead! Happy travels!