It's just another Friday. You are sitting in your dreadful office, stuck in a quite sticky and one-sided staring contest with the clock on your screensaver, waiting for it to hit 5, so that you can grab your bag and head on to your next weekend getaway trip. Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to wait for weekends to make it happen? Still, without your daily job, you probably wouldn't be able to fund your adventures. You have considered having a traveling blog, but do you know how to start a travel blog?
What you should know, though, if it is your passion, go for it. There may be one too many, but all it takes is a special and unique twist to it, to make your blog succeed. There are numerous benefits and reasons to start – apart from helping others decide on their future 'round the world experiences, you could get a bit more than you bargained for, especially when it comes to your pocket. And if your pocket is full, you might well go ahead and book your next traveling location on Monday!
How do I make it happen?
There are several steps to take, and quite an amount of decisions to make. The biggest problem is not doubting your choices, and not pushing to perfection. You should remain focused on your goal and handle every obstacle as it comes.
If you are postponing it because you realize there is a huge learning curve, that is understandable. There are several things to learn about and figure out, which you probably did not need before. Starting a website is all about picking the right hosting, choosing the name and theme, among other things – not everybody's cup of tea.
Still, as an adventurer, you should not be afraid to try new things, so it could be that you don't know where to start or how to get there. Here is a step by step tutorial on how to start your blog to help you out with your first steps, and get your travel blog online in no time.
Step 1: Pick up a unique name for your blog
Take time with this step, as this decision is about to last for a lifetime of your blog. You want it to be memorable as well, so all those “Nomad” titles are out of the question. There are enough NomadJohns already.
Another thing to consider is that changing the name later, once everything is set up, would be as heavy as carrying excessive luggage up Mt Everest. Don't rush it, and consider another thing – you might want to switch from traveling sometime in the future, but your blog name will stay, and it should still fit like a glove.
The golden rule to follow now: Keep it unique, classy, timeless, and easy to remember. You should also make sure to check Social Media for available options: you don't want to share the blog title with a grocery store once you start promoting your blog.
Step 2: Pick your hosting
Probably the scariest part of starting is dealing with the techie stuff that is required to set up your website. Hosting is one of them. While it doesn't sound fundamental, picking the right hosting provider is half the battle and can bring so much to the table if its the right match.
Make sure to go for the best hosting option possible, and don't try to save a buck or two on this even if you don't understand why you need it in the first place. Saving money on hosting will cost you much more in the long run.
To start with, you are looking for the most effortless one as possible, since you want to be live in no time. Especially if you don't want to think about it too much – go with BlueHost. With it, you don't have to worry about domains, how to install WordPress, or setting anything up, and it is rather affordable. You also get the domain name for free.
Step 3: Install WP and set up your website
If you went with Bluehost, setting up your WordPress site is going to be a single click of a button. You don't have to think about software or anything non-related to your writing or planning your next trip – follow the set-up wizard provided, and add your domain name. You can also check there if the domain you have chosen is available or not, and much more, which would take too much of your time if you did it elsewhere.
WordPress would be the platform to chose for many reasons if you frowned when you read that. You shouldn't worry too much if WordPress is the platform to go with, as it is almost an industry standard when it comes to blogging.
Once you are logged in, you will be able to see your WordPress dashboard. Now it is time to start winging it and putting some effort into creating the most beautiful website you could. It is not going to be easy, and there are quite some traps for you to handle, but since you are an adventurer, this challenge should be right up your alley!
The simplest way to overcome this step is to go ahead and buy a premium theme. There is quite a number of them – you will have struggles picking the right one when every single one seems to be the right one.
Once you have the theme, the rest will come rather easy. You don't have to customize it too much when you are just starting; only the bare necessities should do to personalize it enough. Think of things like pictures, logo, and color scheme of your pleasing.
Step 4: Design your logo
While not mandatory, and not something you should waste ages on, a logo is still one of the best assets you can have, apart from your blog's name, that will make you stand out in the sea of do-it-yourself travel blogs. It will add a touch of professionalism to it, which will be highly appreciated, even if you don't notice the results straight away.
You could almost effortlessly outsource this step – with numerous freelancers looking for gigs on an impressive amount of job posting sites. You will easily find someone to deliver an excellent logo you will be happy to use.
Step 5: Create About me page
Another way to make yourself trustworthy and memorable is by creating the perfect about me page. Here, it is all about the content – you want your readers to read your story, understand why and how you are doing what you are doing, and how they can do the same. Since you are working on a travel blog, your audience will be the people that are looking to travel and explore more. Let them know that it is possible and that they can do it too!
Keep your writing straightforward, sweet, and simple. It will help build a relationship with your readers, make them feel welcome, and most importantly, that they can relate to you. If they feel comfortable on your blog while learning what they want to know, they will likely return for more!
Step 6: Get the necessary plugins
WordPress has over 50.000 plugins available to help you create the perfect website and to make your life easier as you are managing it. By getting some of these plugins, your website will be a pleasure to work with, and they will help you get more out of your travel blog – for less effort or time.
You can start your site by having a perfect coming soon page with UnderConstructionPage or Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode. Yoast SEO is one of those plugins. It will help you incredibly with preparing and optimizing your writing for Google, so that it is easier for your targeted audience to find, and read your blog. Another useful plugin is Easy Social Share Buttons, that will add the needed, or almost mandatory, Social Media buttons to your blog posts. You want people to spread the word about you and your blog – make sure it is easy for them to do so.
There are also many plugins that you can use to improve the overall performance of your website. Plugins that will speed up the website can come in quite handy, and many plugins can help you detect any issues and bugs on your website. Don't worry if they are not perfect or you cannot get used to them – uninstall them as soon as you notice something is wrong, and try again with another one. You will find those that make you happy and your blogging easier in no time, and you can rely on them for future endeavors.
Step 7: Build your audience on Social Media.
The audience does not need to search for your website unless it is family and friends that know about its existence. You need to make sure that people can find you and that they get the chance to appreciate your content. This is where Social Media comes into play.
If you are unsure of what to do, then it is highly recommended that you take a course on social media marketing. If you buy an online course, in a couple of days you will already have a good grip on what you should do to drive traffic to your website. While this step might seem tedious, and you are wondering how many other things you will have to learn to start earning money, keep in mind that if it were easy, everybody and their dogs would be doing it.
Driving people to read your blog is essential for living the dream. If people can't find you and understand your blog, you won't earn anything – no one will pay you for your blog just to exist. No funds mean no further travel budgets, and before you know it, you will be back at your 9-5, waiting for the weekend trip to happen.
Step 8: Figure out what you will be writing about on your blog
Discovering this could be the hardest part. Finding your voice, your style, and your attitude on your travels, and turning that into blog posts could be a painful process. You will be comparing yourself to other bloggers and wondering whether you are doing it right or not. You will feel that no one would like to read what you have to say. The truth is, you can only get a grip on this once you start publishing your writings.
The optimal amount of blogging you should get out there is one or two blog posts per week, but always keep in mind that quality is much more important than quantity, though. Make sure your writing is informative, brings value to the table, and that it has enough tips and tricks that you have personally used and tested for your readers to implement. You want to inspire people to travel, but also give them good and already working advice on how to do it. All the other worries you might have been having are, for sure, less critical than that. Find your voice, and the audience will follow and listen.
Step 9: Write your first post
Don't dwell on this step too much, because you won't become a millionaire from your first blog post. This step is quite essential in another way, as it will have you put both of your hands on the wheel so that you get the grip of what blogging looks like from the blogger's side. In your first blog post, make sure to figure out how to place headings, work with meta titles, and how to add those beautiful pictures you took into the blog post.
As for the content itself, it could be anything. You could use this post to explain who you are and how or why you are doing what you are doing. If you are on a trip, write about where you are and what you are experiencing, or how much things cost. Planning the next trip? Write about preparation, what you are packing in your suitcase, or explain why you are going where you are going. Anything will do. Spend more time figuring out WordPress and all the tiny details, than on commas and adjectives – it will pay off in the long run.
Step 10: Start Earning from your blog
Earning from your blog is the last step. There are many ways you can do so, depending on how much time and effort you want to put into it. You might want to spend some time figuring out Google Adsense and earn money from displaying adds on your website. Affiliate marketing is another way to monetize your blog – you can sign up to receive a commission from sales made through your website.
While it doesn't sound very noble, it is, after all, the primary goal: get enough money so that you can keep doing what you love doing the most – traveling. Don't expect to earn as much as you would make if you kept up with your day job for quite some time. It will be worth it. While you might want to switch to budget traveling for a while, but you will never have to spend another minute in that cubicle once your blog takes off.
Living the dream
If you are still here, it means that you are willing to see this process through, which is fantastic! As any other business and ways to earn money, this one requires a lot of know-how, constant learning, and improving. Unlike any other job, though, this one is the one for you, and you would be doing what you love, which is, after all, the ultimate recipe for happiness. Take the first step, and go live your dream!