Not too long ago, I did not know much about how to start a travel blog. Like most of us wanderlusters, I was looking for an outlet which would enable me to share my travel experiences with the world.
Many travellers dream of starting their own travel blog but don’t know where to start or feel like they don’t know enough ‘tech stuff’ to actually do it.
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Years ago, it would have been great to have someone to guide me and walk me through how things should be done. Instead, on a day similar to this one I’ve decided that I’m done waiting. And that’s when my travel blogging adventure started.
I wanted to create this post, to show you how easy you can start a travel blog, even if you are not a techy person and why that should not hold you back from sharing your travel experiences with the world.
This post will take you through the entire process of starting a travel blog. It’s a step by step guide that will walk you through both the technical and fun aspects of starting your own travel blog.
If you have always wanted to start your own travel blog, today is the day when you’re actually doing it. No more excuses! Excuses kept me back from doing this years ago. Don’t let them do the same thing to you.
Own it! Let’s do this!
The 6 steps breakdown to Travel Blogdom:
1. Choosing your domain name
2. Hosting your blog
3. Installing WordPress
4. Themes and customization
6. Creating your first post
Step 1 – Choosing your domain name
This is the name of your blog. You can go for something creative, related to what you love to do, related to travel, or just go for something a bit more specific or even personal, like your own name. There is no right or wrong with domain names, really. If you look at popular blogs, some of the bloggers went for their own names or names that you would never have given a chance to succeed (‘what kind of name is TheBlondeSalad?’ some would say. But there is Chiara, making a fortune out of her blog and image).
Keep your blog name short and meaningful. You don’t want reporters to twist their tongue too much when they interview you a year from now, do you?
Choosing your domain name should be a fun exercise, even a self-discovery journey, I might say. So grab a coffee or tea and start brainstorming. Remember the rule of brainstorming: there’s no such thing as a bad idea. 🙂
Once you’ve chosen your domain name, make sure you register it so that no one will do it before you do. With an approximate number or 12 million domain names added to the internet in the first quarter of 2016, more of the world is going online. And you should as well.
I have purchased my domain name from GoDaddy a few years back, but now there are so many options to go for. Bluehost, for example, is offering a bundle offer, where you get your domain name free with your hosting package.
If you already have a domain name in mind, you can check its availability below:
Step 2 – Hosting Your Blog (7 sub-steps)
There are many hosting options out there. For the beginning, I would not recommend going for an expensive package, just start with a ‘starter/basic’ plan. You can change your plan later, with pretty much any hosting provider, as your blog grows.
You will want to go for a trustworthy host, as that’s the ‘home’ of your blog and your site’s speed and accessibility relies on it. Make sure that you also check their level of support. You want to be able to call/chat when any problem arises to avoid any downtime/lack of accessibility on your website.
There are many hosting recommendations out there, from really cheap ones to very expensive, but if you want to keep things simple and start right away, you can’t go wrong with Bluehost.
That’s why I’m going to walk you through the steps of hosting your blog with Bluehost, and you’ll get the hang of it in no time!
Step 1: Go over to Bluehost and click on the Green button that says Get Started now.
Step 2: Choose your package. As I’ve mentioned, you should not go for the most ‘complete and expensive’ package at this point, as you will be able to scale it later.
Choose either the basic or the plus plan. If you already have over 100 posts, sitting there, waiting to be posted, go for the plus package, but if you’re just starting, go for the basic.
Step 3: At this point, you’ve already picked a great domain name, and you will get it for free, from Bluehost.
All that you have to do is add the domain name in the first box (new domain) and click next.
Step 4: Create your account. Enter all your details (make sure you enter your main email address as that’s how you’ll have access to your hosting and that’s where they’ll send your receipt).
If you have a Google account, it’s even easier as you can use their single sign-on option.
Step 5: Choose your package and payment plan. While it’s cheaper to pay for 36 months ahead, don’t forget that this is on one go. You can go for a 12-month plan if that’s in your budget right now.
For an extra 0.99$/month, you can select a domain privacy protection, if you don’t want (nosy) people to know who registered the domain. I would suggest going for the backup pro as well, as backing up your website is really important. You will thank me for this later! 🙂
You will also get some additional package suggestions, but I would skip them for now, you can always go back to them later if you need them.
All that you have to do now is enter your payment details and congrats – you’ve got your hosting sorted. Now let’s move on to the more ‘techy’ things. Exiciting, right? 😀
Step 6: Choose your password. Make sure that you are using a strong password – we don’t want any hacking around.
Prior to seeing your dashboard, you will get a welcome message.
Choose ‘I can do it’, because yes, you can do it!
Step 7 – Install WordPress. Find the ‘Install WordPress icon under ‘Website Builder’ and click it.
Click install. Insert your domain name and before clicking on install now click on ‘Show Advanced Options’. Choose your site name (you can always change it later), your admin username and password (again, don’t go for something generic like admin,admin).
Make sure that the option ‘Automatically create a new database for this installation’ is also checked. Agree with the terms and conditions, click install now and you’re all set.
Not too techy, was it?
Now, you will get your website URL, admin URL, admin username and password. Click on the Admin URL which will take you to a page similar to the one below. Insert your username and password and welcome to WordPress!
You officially have a travel blog! And you’ve done it, all by yourself!
Step 3 – Choosing Your Theme
Now, you’ve officially created your travel blog! Woo-hoo! Welcome to the travel bloggers tribe!
Before telling us all about that amazing trip you recently came back from, or give us travel packing advice (oh, how I need that!) you need to make this blog look neat! So, choose your theme.
Again, I would suggest starting with a free theme, before you get the hang of how WordPress works and how things can be customized. You can find free themes if you go from your WordPress Dashboard to Appearance -> Themes.
When choosing your theme (even if it’s a free one) make sure that it represents you and the content that you plan to write. Don’t worry about having everything perfect from the beginning. Changing and editing your theme later is quite an easy process.
For more details into customizing your travel blog you can read:
Learn how to create pages in WordPress
Learn how to create a menu in WordPress
Step 4 – Install Plugins
There are a few great and free plugins out there, which will make your blogging life easier and will fast-track you through some processes.
You can find plugins by going to ‘Plugins’, from your WordPress Dashboard and to ‘Add New’.
- YoastSEO – one of the best plugins out there for blog and post optimization (this means that search engines, like Google, will find and index your blog easier). It will help you optimize your titles, meta and post. It also comes with a readability option, which will help you with how you formulate your posts as well.
- Akismet – this plugin keeps the spam comments away and it has pretty much the same function that the spam folder has for emails. So instead of you looking over every comment to decide what’s spam and what’s not, Akismet is going to do all that for you.
- Easy Share Social Buttons – there are many social share plugins out there, I have tested a few myself. Don’t forget that this makes it easier for your readers to share your content across social media or with friends.
Step 5 – Write your first post
Here we are. Everything is set up and all that you have to do now is start writing. As a good practice, your posts should be longer than 350 words, your title descriptive and your meta should give people an onverview on what your post is about.
When you use images, make sure that you optimize them for web (aka resize). Don’t just upload images directly from your camera/phone as this will increase your loading time.
You’re all set!
If you have any questions (technical or not), ask away in the comments section and I will do my best to help! Now go out there and rock the travel blogging world!
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