How to Start a Travel Blog?
For anyone who has had the opportunity to travel around the world or even within your own country, sometimes you are struck by how great it would be to share or blog about your adventures. Whether you are taking time out for yourself to travel and want to blog about, or whether you want to earn money as a travel blogger/writer, I have some excellent information here for you.
Below you can learn tips on how to start a travel blog, what to put into one, what platform to use, what information to include as well as how to connect with your readers. Blogging is a popular thing today. There are all kinds of types of blog, from recipes, lifestyle, photography to fashion, sports and travel. Some people do it for fun, some do it to bring in customers to a business and some do it as a profession to earn an income.
Whatever reason you want to start a travel blog I can help guide you through what you need to think about and getting started. The world of blogging is not just for the young and technically minded. Anyone can blog. So whether it is a hobby you want to develop, a way to connect with family and friends or a potential career, here is the ultimate guide on travel blogging.
Before Start Your Travel Blog
Sometimes understandably new people who want to start a travel blog are caught up in the adventure and beauty of it. Who wouldn’t want a dream job, to travel and to get paid doing it? I have seen those blogs too, travelers globetrotting and sharing their tales and photos.
But make sure you hear me when I say, this is not as simple as it might appear. When you start out you will not be bringing in large figures of money. There is a lot of detail and work behind the scenes of these travel blogs. While actually starting the blog itself is easy, the work to get it to become successful is not.
1. Choosing a Good Name for Your Blog
Do not make your domain name overly long, people will not remember it and it is harder to share. Keep it somewhat short, interesting and possibly descriptive.
Avoid setting a time limit, for example do not call it A year of Mighty Mountains, because what happens when you decide to do more than a year. Or Traveling in my Twenties, but then you turn thirty! Changing a domain name is not easy so think long term.
Take time to brainstorm potential ideas. Write everything down, make sure it is easy to spell too! Play around with words linked to what you are writing about, where you are going, what your passion is. Use your friends as sounding boards.
Try hard not to use numbers or hyphens in the name as it makes them harder to pass on word of mouth, and harder to remember. Also avoid words that already over used – WanderingWendy, EmmaExplores for example are already common and will not make your blog stand out from the rest.
2. Learn How to Become Better in Travel Blogging
Consider taking a course, while it is not necessary to start a travel a blog, it would help make you more successful. Sometimes to become better at doing something you need to put in some homework, in this case, quite literally. Consider the cost of the course an investment.
There are a number of options and it helps prepare you especially if you want to be a professional blogger. It can help you build up your visitors and regular readers, how to use social media for marketing, the important of SEO and how to earn an income working with different companies. Look also at various professional bloggers work and learn from them.
3. Travel Blogging is Work
It might look like successful bloggers have got the easy high life. Traveling to places they want to go, getting paid to do it all, staying in great accommodations. In fact those bloggers have to go through possibly years of not much income, and there is a lot of work behind the scenes.
The fact is you are not the only travel blogger, or person thinking of becoming one. There is a lot of competition and you need to work it at several angles to be successful. When you start out it is most likely going to be just you doing all the different jobs from writer to photographer, editor to stylist, marketer to planner.
There will be deadlines to be met and content to be made, even when you are too tired or in a place where it is not easy. If you are doing this for an income it will not be fixed. If you are traveling alone it can get lonely and there is danger in certain places.
4. Building Your Brand
Part of being a successful blogger is finding a way to brand yourself. Part of that is about the style of blog you choose, the things you blog about, where you go, but it is also about your voice and connection with your readers.
Choose the Right Web Host for Your Travel Blog
So let’s look at how I would suggest you get started with a travel blog. There are three technical elements to take care of to start. Create or use a domain name, select a hosting platform and choosing a blogging service.
While there are a number of perfectly acceptable options with hosting platforms, I do recommend BlueHost when I am asked for blogging advice. It is extremely user friendly, so even those that are less IT confident or literate can use it. It is very competitive in terms of the costs of the plans it offers and it has a variety of hosting options.
Whether you are new to blogging completely, or just wanting to start a travel blog BlueHost is a great option. In particular I will go over the Shared Hosting options, which are the ones I recommend for this purpose. It does have other hosting though, Dedicated Server, Cloud and VPS.
- The Dedicated Hosting plan starts at $119.99 monthly and increases to $209.99 for Premium.
- The VPS begins at $29.99 monthly and goes up to $119.99 for the higher enhanced plan.
- The Cloud Hosting begins at $9.99 monthly then increases to $25.99 for Pro.
Shared Hosting at BlueHost
BlueHost have 3 main plans for Shared Hosting that they offer though when you look closer in fact there are 4. These are:
- Basic plan – $3.95 a month with the special offer to new users or a $7.99 monthly regular price.
- Plus plan – $5.95 a month with the special offer to new users or a $10.99 monthly regular price.
- Choice Plus plan – $5.95 a month with the special offer to new users or a $14.99 monthly regular price. This is the one BlueHost themselves recommend.
- Pro plan – $13.95 a month with the special offer to new users or a $23.99 monthly regular price.
Here is a closer look at each package so you can see the differences in them and decide between them.
BlueHost Basic Plan
The less expensive plan also comes with more restrictions. You get just 50GB compared to all the other plans that are unmetered. You can only have a single website and the amount of email accounts is limited to 5, and the domains limited to 25 sub and 5 parked. You do not get a backup site, anything towards helping with spam or anything towards marketing. It is good though if you are completely new to blogging to see how it goes. You can always upgrade.
BlueHost Plus Plan
Now with this one you can get the limitless storage, domains and websites but still not any domain privacy or site backup. It is good if you are going to be working with WordPress or if you already have several websites.
BlueHost Choice Plus Plan
This plan is almost the best one so it has no limits too on things like the domains, websites and storage. Both Bluehost and I recommend this option for a travel blog. You get spam expert help, site back up and domain privacy too. That extra security is a good thing to have and you also have marketing help.
BlueHost Pro Plan
With this plan you get everything the Choice Plus plan offers along with top features that only come with the Pro plan. These include high performance rather than standard, a dedicated IP and this is the better option if you want to run an ecommerce site as well as a blog.
BlueHost really is a great choice if you are wondering how to start a travel blog. It has easy to follow step by step instructions, is a popular option for all kinds of bloggers and the affiliate program it offers is a nice bonus.
Choosing the Right Blogging Platform
Once you have a host chosen you then need to decide on what service you are going to use along with it, for example Tumblr, Blogger or WordPress. WordPress do recommend BlueHost and when you have made an account, and chosen a domain name you can get to WordPress right there and join them. It is also a good option if you are planning on earning an income from the blog.
WordPress is user friendly and there are many free options that allow you to customize the look of your blog. While it is free to use, there are options you can pay for and maintaining it can cost some money too. Make sure you opt for a self-hosted account with them for a number of reasons including;
- You will have control over your data and will own it
- Very importantly you can put in Google Analytics tracking
- Your address will be .com not .WordPress.com
- On your site you can sell and advertise, essential if you want to earn from your blog
- Customization, different themes and plugins to install
Themes, Customization and Plugins
These will change the look and feel of your blog. They are important as it is all part of your brand so think about what you want.
- There are paid and free themes to choose from but it is okay to experiment with them, it is easy enough to change your design later if you have a better idea, or if you change your blog focus. Free themes keep your initial costs down but of course they are not the best options.
Premium themes, the ones you pay for, tend to be more unique and are more functional and flexible. I recommend the latter for professional bloggers and the former for casual ones.
- Use the header at the top of the blog for either text or a logo. There are professional sites that can create a logo for you if you want to pay for something.
- Think about sticking to two or three colors only so there is not too much distraction.
- Again same with font styles, three at most say one for the main text, one for headings and one for the logo.
- Put in your best images from your travels.
- Download some handy plugins to add some extra features to your blog. In general they are free but there are some that will cost. Good choices include Imagify, gets you quicker loading pictures. Social media sharing buttons. Yoast SEO to help with optimizing Google searches. WP Rocket quickens the blog. Akismet offers some help with spam in the comment section.
Posting on Your Travel Blog
Congratulations on creating your travel blog! It is a good idea to get something posted to get your blog started right away. It can just be an introduction, plans for upcoming travel, or some photos from past travels. It helps you learn how to use it. After that initial post you should aim to post at regular times once or twice a week but keep it high quality.
You also need to really decide now on what your blog is about. Yes, I know it’s about travel but what niche within travel are you blogging about? Think about your passions and also what you think others want from a travel blog that makes yours stand out. Ideas include;
- Tips or how to in different parts of the country or world
- Most beautiful natural places
- Road trip guides
- Food recommendations
- Adventurous activities
- Family fun
- Best yoga retreats
- Region focused, city focused, country focused
- Traveling on a budget
- Traveling in a camper
- Aim it at certain types of people, those in their 20s, parents with children, over 60s
- Traveling with no budget
- Traveling on your own
Produce Good Blog Content
The content of your blog really is the most important thing to get right. This is not just what you write and your writing style though that is part of it, content also includes the photos, audios, graphics, videos and such you post with it.
At first you should stick to a couple of options, but as you grow and become better at blogging be sure to use others too. More variety makes it more interesting. The content ideally should have an engaging style, something that is special about you.
Another part of making the content work for you is SEO or search engine optimization. When a random person types into their search engine like Google, ‘adventure travel blog’, those first page results that come up have got the best content and SEO. People are more likely to read through the results on the first, and possibly second page. You need your blog to be one of them.
While the specific details of SEO are broader than this article can contain some basic tips are;
- Use keywords, especially in headings
- Make sure you do use headings and sub headings
- Make those headings interesting and engaging too
- Write the titles the way a person would write a search query
- Put keywords in your URL slugs
- Name your files with keywords people search for
Get Active on Social Media
To be a successful travel blogger you need people reading your blog and talking about it elsewhere. Once you have it up and running set up an About page there. This is where you tell people about yourself and what your passions are. Make sure it draws the reader in as this will be one of the most visited pages on the blog.
I would also very strongly advise all bloggers to embrace all forms of social media if you are not already on them. Your user name on those needs to be the same as on your blog so people recognize you. At the least you should be on;
That does not mean having pages there and not having an actual blog. But you can use these platforms to boost your readership and promote your actual blog.
Promote Your Travel Blog
There are three key ways right now to promote your blog. Social media as mentioned above is a great way to network, promote, market and so on. You can also use traditional forms of media like magazines and papers. You should also have an email collection option in your blog so that you can collect your reader’s emails and send updates to your subscribers.
Make Money with Your Travel Blog
Do not expect the money to start rolling in straight away. If you want to make an income from this blog that part of it takes longer to develop. You need a bigger audience so really work hard on promoting it and improving the content.
There are some other options for income that can start earlier though. Affiliate programs are one way, where you recommend a company’s item or a hotel in your travels and they then pay you a small commission either for clicking on that link to visit that site, or when they actually make a purchase.
You can also have ads on your blog from other companies or sponsored posts where a company will pay you to do a certain post. Until you get more visitors and start making more money think about what jobs you can do while you are traveling and blogging. Freelance writing, online assistants and so on.
Equipment for Travel Blogging
- A good camera is almost a must, so just start with the best you can afford for now and then get a better one when you can. Your photos need to be excellent quality and good cameras also have more functionality. Make sure it is portable though and you know how to use it!
- A light, portable, easy to use writing device. That could be a tablet, a laptop or a netbook. It is best you have an actual keyboard to type on if you have a tablet, as typing larger amounts of text on a screen is not comfortable. Be sure to think about what software you may need to download as some things like the iPad have limits compared to a laptop. It does not have to be a super expensive one, not at first.
- Wi-fi or even better 4G mobile Without being connected you cannot post. It is okay though if you are traveling through less connected areas. But post when you can once more! Make sure you can put in a local SIM card when you visit other countries.
- A portable external hard drive so you can store all those photos.
How to start a travel blog FAQs
How do I get started, what should I do right now?
Go to BlueHost and get a domain and choose an account. Follow the easy step by step instructions and get WordPress too.
Is it really possible to earn money with a travel blog?
Yes it really is. Top bloggers can actually earn into the 6 figures! But that does not happen overnight.
Can I make my travel blog successful when there are so many already out there?
Yes you can. There are a lot of blogs, but many of them are not good. Try to find a way to stand out and make the content the best you can. Think about what people are typing in their search engines.
Does it have to cost a lot of money to have a good travel blog?
No it does not. In fact apart from the hosting platform it does not have to cost you anything more if you do not want it to. But if you are aiming to earn from it, and you want it to be a top travel blog one day, investing some money into it is a good idea.
Do you need a lot of fancy and expensive gear to travel blog?
No you do not. There are a few basics as explained above. Just get the best quality you can afford right now. As your skills develop and your blog increases in visitor numbers you can upgrade when you can afford it.
Really how to start a travel blog is the easiest part of being a travel blogger! Make sure you think about why you want to blog and what your niche is. Then use a platform like BlueHost and a service like WordPress and let them guide you through setting up accounts. If you are doing this for fun there is little need to worry about too much else. If you want large numbers coming to your blog posts it is crucial you have excellent content and you stand out.
It is never too late. You can do this at any age. Think about who your audience is going to be and make sure you appeal to them. Be ready to work, this is not the case of writing a few words and going on holiday all the time. Post consistently and keep of good quality. It may not be a success right away, and not everyone may be positive about it. Keep focused and learn from your mistakes.