This How to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide is designed for people, who would love to share their voice, but don’t have a clue how to begin (just like me). When I first started travel blogging, I didn’t know anything. Seriously, I didn’t even know what a blog really is, I had no writing skills, I didn’t know that you need a hosting and I have never heard of WordPress in my life. But the biggest promlem was, that I literally neither had technical knowledge nor any IT skills at all!
Having no technical knowledge is one of the major problems for people, who want to start their own travel blog. Everything about starting a travel blog seems so complicated, but the truth is, it’s really not, if you just follow this Beginner’s Guide. I tried to make it as comprehensible as possible, so that you can have your own website online today!
With this post I don’t want to praise myself, like you can see on many other travel blogs, and I certainly don’t want to tell you about my income, lifestyle or success story, just to make this article more appealing to you. Quite the contrary, I always try to seperate myself from other websites, which is why I simply want to focus on guiding you through the following 9 essential steps.
Nevertheless I still want to give you a couple reasons why you should or shouldn’t start travel blogging. As you can read here, I created this travel blog, because I have an enormous passion for travel adventures and I want to show how much you can learn from travelling. This is my motivation, what keeps me going and what makes me work on passion project almost every day. Because starting a travel blog is one thing, but consistently working on it, is a completely different story.
If you don’t have the desire to make it a long term project, I would not recommend you to even start a travel blog, unless you just want to try out. But if you’re really passionate about it, then this how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide is the best way to get going.
How to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide – 9 essential Steps
Before I guide you through the 9 essential steps of how to start a travel blog, I want to name an option for those people, who see travel blogging as a casual hobby. In this case you can just start your blog at WordPress.com. It’s totally free!
For those, who take things a little more serious, I want to say upfront, that running a travel blog will include regular as well as onetime costs. But I included a cost section at the end of this post and I will tell you anyway, what costs to avoid and show you the best offers instead.
Step 1: Choose a suitable Travel Blog name
Creating a name is the first and one of the most relevant poinst from the how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide. Why?
Because it’s one of the main aspects that your future audience will keep in mind. There are no “wrong names”, but there are some points you have to consider when choosing the right name for your travel blog. Before I started Volle on Tour, it took me days to come up with a suitable name. I read many articles about it on the internet and brainstormed over and over again. I recommend you to take this first step very seriously, because it’s a huge pain in the ass to change the name afterwards.
Think long term
You don’t want a name for your travel blog that doesn’t make any sense a couple years from now. There are many travel blogs out there, which look like this: ThirtySomethingTravel.com, LuxuryTravelBlog.com, PeterTravelsAustralia.com and so on. What if you’re not in your thirties anymore? What if you not only want to travel Australia? Or what if you also want to try out low budget instead of luxury travelling? I guess you can see the obvious problem.
Rather try to think about it this way: What is a long lasting name? What do I want to be associated with? What will stick in people’s minds? What’s my passion?
Keep searching. You’ll know when you have found the right one!
Avoid overused names
Just like your content, the name of your travel blog also needs to be unique. You want to be remembered, instead of known as “just another travel blog”. This is why you should avoid names, which have already been used a million times. Don’t choose words like nomad, backpacker, wandering, adventurous or anything similar. It’s complete nonsense and not unique at all.
And it’s not just the fact that these word are overused, there is also the question of if you would have any chance to compete with other very successful travel blogs like Nomadic Matt or Adventurous Kate. Would your voice ever be heard? Probably not.
Make it memorable
It’s way better to come up with a unique name. Maybe there is something about your blog, which is extremly different. Maybe it’s your character, that’s very special. Or maybe you just have a unique nickname, just like me. This is how I came up with the name for my travel blog – Volle on Tour. My nickname is so weird, that it just keep sticking in people’s minds. And that’s what you need to create as well.
Keep it short
Why would you want the name of your travel blog to be short? Simply, because noone likes to type in something like AroundTheWorldBackpackerFromBangkokCity. This is a bit exaggerated, but I want you to get the point. These kind of travel blog names are not very memorable. I recommend to only use 3 – 5 words.
Make it simple
Making the name of your very first travel website simple, is also an important factor. If someone is confused, just by reading the name of your travel blog, you have probably lost them already. Don’t use slang or any kind of jargon. Also try to avoid numbers, hyphens or special symbols. All these things just make it more complicated for your potential audience.
Check the availability
The last point from Step 1 of the how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide is to check the availability of the domain you have in mind. The last thing you want, is to come up with a great name and realize afterwards, that it’s already blocked or taken. You can check the availability here.
Additionally quickly check the Social Media availability as well to make sure that you can always appear with the same name on every channel.
Step 2: Get a solid Blog Hosting Package
Step 2 from the how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide is a premise. Without setting up a hosting, you wouldn’t be able to publish your travel blog. But what is hosting? It’s basically a shared or private server space, where all your data will be stored. You could run your own hosting by setting up a server, but that’s really complicated and way more expensive.
The easiest way is to get hosting with Bluehost or Hostgator. I prefer Bluehost, since I find the customer service to be better. Plus they are very cheap.
On top that, they offer a free domain, a free site builder AND a 30-day money-back guarantee!
So, here is a short walk through on how to register for Bluehost:
First of all, go to their homepage. This is where you’ll have to hit the green button to get started.
Choose a plan. It says exactly what’s included.
Check, if your preferred domain is available. Type it in and hit “next”, but make sure, that you don’t have any spelling mistakes!
Now it’s time to fill out your personal data.
Choose the package and the extras you want.
The 3,95$ per month plan is the probably a good choice for beginners. But as I said in the beginning, if this travel blog is a longterm project for you, I would reccommend the Prime plan, because of the domain pricacy protection. With this plan other people won’t be able to see, who owns the website and you have an additional back up system. It’s the better option in the long run.
Step 3: Install WordPress
Once you have sorted out the hosting, it’s time for the 3rd step from the how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide, which is the installation of WordPress. The only thing you need to do, is following the upcoming process, which is very simple. But to make it even easier, I guide you through that as well.
Click on “Create your Password”.
Type in a password you can remember. In order to protect your account, it should not be to easy. I once got hacked, so I can speak from experience 😉 Also make sure that you don’t loose it, because resetting your password might be easy, but it’s annoying.
The next step is to choose a theme. Don’t worry, it’s just temporary. You can easily change it later on. Anyway, this is the first time you see what a theme actually is. It gives you a feeling of what your future travel blog might look like.
Once you’ve chosen a theme, it’s time to start building, so hit the button.
Now you need to decide whether your travel blog is a personal or business blog. I recommend to choose business, because this also allows you to sell advertising in the future and you want to think long term, right?
Here you have to type in your website’s name and a short description. This can also be changed in the future, just like the theme.
Please hit “yes”.
Now you can choose between a static or news/ update homepage. Almost all travel bloggers have a static homepage. In my opinion you should choose that, unless you want it to look quite different for visitors, every time they enter the website.
With this step you can add your adress. If your business adress is your home adress, you might not want to go public with that. So hit “Not now”.
WooCommerce is a system which you can create an online store with. You can do that in the future, but for now this is not your business. So click “Not now”.
Congratulations! This screen means that your website is running. You belong to the travel blogging family now 🙂
Step 4: Log in
Step 4 of the how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide is the Log In. Simply go to http://thedomainyoujustcreated.com/wp-admin and the screen below will come up. Now type in the username and password you have just created before.
The next site you’ll see is the WordPress Dashboard. This is your new playground from now on. On the left you have all the different sections you need to build your website. From Posts, Pages and Media to Comments, Plug-Ins, Settings and so on. But before getting used to the interface, you should proceed with step 5.
Step 5: Get a Travel Blog Theme
This step of the how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide is all about finding the right travel blog theme. It’s an important factor, because it’s the basis for your whole blog design. It defines how your travel blog will look like in the future. But not only that, it’s also highly significant for customers. Besides good content and a smoothly running website, people want eye candy. Potential readers will decide within the first few seconds, if they like your website or not.
In terms they don’t, they’ll leave very fast and probably never come back. This is why you have to have a great design, which is where an elegant theme comes into play.
Besides a custom theme, which is very expensive, you have two main options to choose from:
Free Blog Themes
You can find free travel blog themes in WordPress or on the internet. WordPress already comes with a couple standard themes, which are good to play around with in the beginning. For people, who only want this travel blog to be for their family and friends, the free themes are good, but for people with a long term and more passionate view, these standard themes are not enough. They just lack in design, functionality and usability.
This is where premium themes come into play. All of them include some additional features and look more professional/ appealing for your future audience. A good website to search for premium blog themes is Theme Forest. It’s a great market place, where you can find the perfect fit. Premium themes come with good customer support and an installation manual as well. It’s super easy. Once you’ve purchased it, you get a ZIP file. Go onto your WordPress dashboard, click “Appearance” (left side), then click “Themes” and just upload the file. That’s it. Super easy, right? 🙂
You’ll notice, that the bar on the left will now have one or two additional sections, where you can customize and use the features of your theme.
I also use a premium theme. Mine is from Indieground Design, because I just love the modern look, combined with the easy to navigate structure. The customer support is improvable, but overall it’s a good theme with a lot of good features.
Step 6: Install essential Plug-Ins
This step of the how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide is about installing essential Plug-Ins. When a friend told me about Plug-Ins, the first question that I had was: What is a Plug-In?
A Plug-In is basically an additonal software component, which adds a specific value to your website. You’ll find all sorts of Plug-Ins in WordPress or on the internet. Think of something valuable you want to add to your travel blog and I guarantee, you’ll find something. If a feature is useful, really depends on the Plug-In itself, but there are just some Must Haves that you’ll definitely need:
- Anti Spam Bee: This Plug-In basically protects your website from spam mails. You’d be surprised how many spammy mails and comments you get, if you don’t have this Plug-In
- Yoast SEO: It’s a little bit off topic right now, but you want your future articles to be entertaining, informative, exciting and optimized for Google, so that people can find them, right? This is the ultimate SEO Plug-In and your best friend when writing articles. Trust me!
- Cache Enabler: You’ll find many Cache Plug-Ins out there. Most of them are pretty much the same, but after researching I found that the Cache Enabler is the most effective. It basically creates copies of your website’s pages. As a consequence WordPress doesn’t have to run through that process over and over again, which saves your server a lot of work and makes your travel blog perform better.
- UpdraftPlus: You can never have enough back-ups. In case of a break down, hack or anything similar, this Plug-In ensures, that your data will be save. It does regular updates and saves your data on a cloud storage service of your choice (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.). If the worst case scenario happens, you can easily upload your data to WordPress again and continue from where you’ve stopped.
- Google Analytics: This is the best and most known tracking system, provided by the Google monster. This Plug-In informs you about all the important things you need to know: Where does your audience come from, what is your most popular content, how many visitors do you have per day/ week/ month, and much more. To activate it, you have to insert a snippet of code into your website. Luckily there is Google Analytics for WordPress, because for many new travel bloggers the insertion is quite hard to do.
- Autoptimize: Use this Plug-In to optimize your website and shrink its code. It’s a good complement to the Cache Enabler.
- WP-Smush: Photos can be a big problem when it comes to page speed. When I started my blog I didn’t know that you need to edit them, so my travel blog was such a slowcoach. To prevent that from happening, use an additional Plug-In like WP-Smush to reduce the file size of your photos.
Step 7: Create some main Blog pages
The next step from the how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide is to create your main pages. There are a couple ones you should have and some that are just essential. To set them up, go to “Pages” on the left sidebar and click “Add New”
What would a personal travel blog be without an about page, right? Have you ever seen any blog without one? I don’t think so…
This is your chance to show your audience, who you really are. Tell them about you. Be an open book. Show them why you started this travel blog, where your passion comes from, what you want to achieve with it and much much more. People want to look behind the curtain. Your future audience wants to know why they should follow YOU and not someone else. So fascinate them!
Your audience wants to get in contact with you, not only via Social Media, but also through your website. This is why a contact page is so important. Whenever I try to contact any business, website owner or travel blogger, I use their contact page.
Make sure, that you also tell people, which e-mails you will and won’t respond to. Make a clear statement, otherwise you get a lot more spam.
A privacy page informs your audience about the applicable laws of your travel blog. You’ll will find countless good standardized versions on the internet, which you can just copy and paste.
I guess, you don’t want anyone to steal your content, correct? With a copyright page you inform visitors about the fact that you own the content and that misuse gets fined.
This is a page you don’t necessarily need. I just find to be useful. The travel blogging community is very helpful. You’ll realise that pretty quickly. A contribution page is a great way to get in contact with other travel bloggers.
Additionally companies also want to publish content on your website sometimes, which is a good way to make a little money in the beginning. But only allow that, if the content is good.
Step 8: Learn how to use WordPress
This step is an essential one. If you can’t handle WordPress, then you can’t really run a travel blog. But don’t worry! It’s pretty easy…
At the very start it all might be a bit overwhelming. At least that’s how it was for me, because, as said, I didn’t have any IT knowledge in the beginning at all. But after using WordPress a couple times, it got way better. And I promise, it will be the same for you.
WordPress is the industry leader of blogging platforms, which is why there are countless of free tutorials out there. To give you some help:
You can also search for some videos on Youtube, if that’s the better way for you to learn.
Step 9: Write your first Post
Before I give you some extra tips, I want to tell you about the last step of the how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide. It’s writing your very first post. So exciting! 🙂
For me, writing my first article was a phenominal feeling. I was able to express myself in a completely new way and shout it out into the world. I mean, how cool is that? And you can do it too. Just make sure, that you have a couple things in mind.
At the start noone will really see what you do, besides friends and family. Furthermore, noone will really care. Your travel blog will most likely not look like you imagine it to be. Aaaand your first posts will probably not be very good either. But that’s totally fine!
Believe me, everyone who has ever started a travel blog, has been there. Your project is in its baby steps, so don’t worry to much. You will learn quickly, how to do it and what to watch out for.
Notice this: Your writing skills and knowledge about travel blogging will go through a constant evolution. But you have to stay tuned!
You now have successfully mastered the 9 steps of how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide. Nevertheless I still want to give you some extra tips to sky rocket your passion project right from the beginning.
Create a logo
My first tip is to create an appealing logo. You probably won’t be able to do it on your own, so ask friends or a designer to do it for you. A good site to find a designer is 99Designs. In my opinion, it’s very important to have a logo, because on the one hand it shows that you take your travel blog very seriously and on the other hand it makes your website stand out from other travel blogs.
Set up Social Media
Social Media is a big factor for your travel blogging success and the brand building. This is another huge topic to talk about, but for now you should just set up accounts on all important platforms:
Use the same name on each and every one of them. Otherwise people might get confused.
Try to focus on one or two channels. Focusing on all of them is just way to much effort, especially at the start. Once you have a solid following on one channel, you can build up another one, but I can tell you from experience, that this takes a lot of effort and work.
Nevertheless make posting great content a regular task.
Network with other travel bloggers
Networking with others travel bloggers is an important thing to do. It gives you a better insight about travel blogging in general, maybe you get promoted and it will definitely help you to make a new friends.
A good way to network, is to join Facebook groups and write personal messages to other travel bloggers via the contact page on their website. This is almost always a promising start to get to know someone you can share your ideas with and learn from.
This is one of the most important parts, which is why it has to be mentioned in this how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide. I already touched on this topic in the About Page part, but I want to enlarge upon it, because it’s a significant factor for any travel blog.
There are thousands and thousands of travel blogs out there, so why should any person in the world follow a website, which is not unique? You can have the coolest name, a well designed logo, solid hosting, all pages in place and a great theme, but if you don’t stand out from the crowd, nobody really gives a damn about you. It’s as easy as that. This might sound a little harsh, but it’s the truth.
There are many factors coming into play for running an awesome travel blog, that people actually want to read. And being unique is a big one of them.
It doesn’t even really matter what the one thing is about you, which stands out from all the others. But there is at least one thing, which makes you special and you should use that as an advantage.
People don’t want to read another travel website, which only talks about the “10 best places to visit in xxx”. They want to hear real stories and see the real you. I highly recommend you to let your personality shine through all the time. People will follow you eventually. Guaranteed!
Join a professional travel blogging course
In my opinion, joining a professional travel blogging course is a good idea. Superstar Blogging is a great tool for people, who want to learn from someone, who is constantly ranked under the top 5 most successful travel bloggers in the world – Matthew Kapnes – from Nomadic Matt. As I said, this how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide is for both, people who take travel blogging more serious and people who do it as a hobby. Both ways are good.
But you never know how this project is going to develop, right? So for people, who want to blog for a longer term, doesn’t matter if it’s a hobby or professional, this course is a great investment for the future.
It consists of all kind of lessons on how to set up your travel blog in the best way possible, how to write killer content, how to build an awesome newsletter, how to optimize your travel blog for SEO and much much more. The course also includes interviews with other non travel blogging experts, who focus on topics like SEO, Social Media or Affiliate Marketing. On top of that you get invited in a special Facebook group, where you can ask Matt and others for advice.
Do I think it is a Must Have after all? No, it’s not. But, if you want to be smart and don’t make all the mistakes that I have made so far (and still make sometimes), then you should definitely join Superstar Blogging.
Costs for running a Travel Blog
As promised, I also include a cost section in this how to start a Travel Blog Beginner’s Guide. This is an overview for average costs for running any website, unless you use the free version – WordPress.com:
- Server: 3,95$ – 5,95$ per month –> future upgrade necessary
- Premium Theme: 50$+
- Premium Newsletter: 50$+
- Social Media Tools: 20$+
Point 2, 3 and 4 are not 100% necessary in the beginning, but you’ll will need them eventually. Always have in mind, that the costs will increase the more traffic you’ll have. Overall you can calculate with about 125$ – 200$ per month for a really professional blog, but beginners will only have to pay for a server and for the domain as well as SiteLock after a year or two. So you’ll roughly have to pay about 10$ – 15$ per month.
Again, I can only recommend Bluehost in order to have a solid hosting for a low price!
Travel blogging sounds like an easy thing to do, but there is so much more to it, if you want you voice to be heard by the world. In case you just want to write articles for friends and family, keep it simple. Initially I had the same plan, but since I made my first $ and since I have more fun with it every single day, I keep it as professional as I can. Why?
Because you can actually make a living out of travel blogging!
But it’s hard work and definitely not for everyone, as appealing as it might seem. Many travel bloggers easily work 30+ hours per week. In the beginning you have to do it on the side, at least 10 – 20 hours per week. And don’t expect success to come over night either. It will at least take 2 years, until money starts coming in.
All this only leads me to telling you what’s the most important thing out of everything I have mentioned: Stay passionate, keep going and always have fun! 🙂
I wish you all the best! Happy travel blogging and welcome to the family!
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. I’ll be happy to answer them!
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