Starting your travel blog is easy and if you follow our guide, you can have your own blog up and running in no time. You can start your blog spending very little money, although if you want to take it seriously, it can be worth investing a little.
1: Pick A Great Travel Blog Name
Pick a travel blog name that will stand the test of time. Make it short and memorable, easy to type, easy to spell and easy to remember. To come up with The Passport Diaries, we sat down and brainstormed several words we felt described us and what we wanted to achieve with the travel blog. Write everything down and start playing with a different combinations of words. It’s worth taking as much time as needed.
Avoid overused words and ideas that have already been taken by others who are more established than you. Once you come up with a name, it’s worth doing a Google search to see if someone else is using it. Go with something original and people are more likely to remember it.
Thinking long term with your travel blog’s domain will save time and hassle in the future it you have to change it. We settled on The Passport Diaries because we wanted to tell our story but also record our own personal diary of our travels.
When you’re ready to buy your domain, head over to DreamHost. There you can enter your desired domain name and they’ll tell you if it’s available. If it is, you’ll be able to buy it for as little as $2.95 per year! DreamHost also offer affordable hosting & free WordPress installation.
Part 1 – Visit DreamHost and enter your desired domain name. Click the search icon.
Part 2 – If the domain is available, check the price and click ‘Buy now’.
2: Choose Hosting For Your Blog
Hosting is where you effectively rent space on the internet. It’s the space where your travel blog will reside. This space will store all your blog’s data, files, and photos for people to access when they visit your travel blog.
Hosting can be fairly cheap but it’s a very important cog in the wheel. Getting the right hosting enable your website to run smoothly, with fast page load times. This is really important if you want to have lots of visitors to your site. There’s nothing worse than a slow lagging website!
I’ve worked in IT and also built many websites for clients in the past. I always recommend new travel blogs get hosting with DreamHost. They offer quality hosting for a low price ($7.95 per month for 12 months) and their customer service is amazing too.
DreamHost also offer dedicated hosting if your website gets starts getting a huge amount of traffic. It’s not cheap but it’s totally worth it to ensure your visitors have the best user experience!
However if you are just starting out, DreamHost is more than suitable for all your needs.
Part 1 – Got to the DreamHost website and click WordPress Hosting in the top menu.
Part 2 – Pick a plan. Shared hosting will be suitable for most people’s needs.
3: Install Free WordPress Software
Once you’re in your Dreamhost dashboard, click ‘Goodies’ In the left hand column. The click ‘One-click installs’. You should arrive at this screen;
Click the WordPress option and you’ll be taken to the following screen;
Select the domain you want to install it on. The select ‘Automatically Create Database’. Deluxe install adds useful themes and plugins, so leave that ticked. You can always delete them at a later date if needed. Finally, click ‘Install it for me now!’.
You’ll receive and email within 10 minutes, with a link taking you to your WordPress dashboard, where you can set your username and password. You’ve now installed WordPress. It’s a simple as that! You now have a travel blog!
4: Learn How To Use WordPress
Feeling intimidated about WordPress? Don’t worry. Because WordPress is the industry standard when it comes to blogging platforms, and has been for years, there are lots of useful tutorials online that will teach you anything you need to know.
Here are a few of my favorite WordPress training resources:
Basically, spend some time learning how to use your dashboard, how to tweak your site’s settings, how to post an article, etc. You’ll get the hang of everything with practice.
If you have any questions about setting up your WordPress blog that aren’t covered in the tutorials, simply type your question into Google and you’re sure to find an answer because WordPress is such a popular platform for blogging!
5: Get A Professional WordPress Theme
Your new WordPress blog comes with a couple standard “themes”, or designs for your site. While this is ok for playing around in the beginning, if you want to take this seriously and eventually make money with your travel blog, you should buy a premium theme.
Professional blog themes cost between £15-£60, and they’ll greatly improve the look and functionality of your site.
I’ve changed themes a few times over the years, but the current one we’re using is called CheerUp from ThemeSphere. You can find this on my favourite place to buy blog theme designs; a marketplace called ThemeForest. They have literally hundreds of thousands of themes from free to top end premium designs. They have a great search functionality which makes it easy to find themes built for your website’s purpose.
Many professional themes provide a support forum where you can ask questions about customization, and someone will help you get the look you’re after using CSS/HTML coding. Or, you can hire a designer through Product London, a London based design agency I can recommend, to do custom design work on your site.
You may also want to have a cool logo created.Again, we use Product London for ours. A professional logo really makes your site and brand stand out from the thousands of other travel blogs online.
You can think of WordPress plugins as third-party apps for your website. They give your blog additional features. Most plugins are free, some you have to pay for. You can download new plugins in the “plugin” section of your WordPress Dashboard.
Here’s my recommended list of plugins to install with your travel blog.
- Akismet – Protects your blog from spammers leaving comments on your posts. Not perfect, but probably the best one out there.
- Yoast SEO – Very important plugin for optimizing your articles for Google search, plus integrating Google Sitemaps and Analytics.
- Easy Social Share Buttons – Nice social media sharing buttons for your articles.
- WPtouch – Makes your travel blog mobile friendly.
- WP-Optimize – Helps you to keep your WordPress database clean and healthy.
- Comet Cache – Caching plugin which updates any changes you make to visitor’s browsers
There are many other plugins and what you use will depend on your needs but these ones are free and get you started.
7: Important First Steps
Create An About Page
One of the first things you should do on your blog is create an about page. This is one of the most highly trafficked pages on any travel blog, because it tells people who you are, gives your background, and explains why someone should follow you. Keep it fun and personable. Let your readers know who you are!
Embrace Social Media
If you want to build a successful travel blog, social media is key to building your following. There are many social media platforms but sign up to the most popular ones to start with. You won’t go far wrong with a Facebook page, Twitter & Instagram.
Write Your First Post
This can be about anything really. For example, tell people why you are starting a travel blog. Maybe share what you’re packing for an upcoming trip. Or if you just returned from a vacation, share some of your best highlights from the journey!
Whatever the topic is, writing a post will help you understand how to publish images, headers, and all the other formatting that comes with publishing on WordPress.
8: Enroll In A Travel Blogging Course
No, this isn’t a requirement to building a travel blog. But like anything in life, if you want to get good at something, investing time & money to be trained by professionals works wonders.
When people ask me for travel blogging tips, my first recommendation is to join a specialized blogging course like one of these:
Why? Because becoming a professional travel blogger, as in someone who makes money with this, is far more difficult than it looks.
You need to learn how to build an audience. You need to learn how to use social media. You need to learn how to market yourself. You need to learn how to work with brands. You need to learn how to implement SEO.
Learn From The Best
Can you learn everything on your own? Sure. But let me tell you from personal experience, it takes a long, long time. As in years. With plenty of frustrations & wasted effort along the way.
Learning exactly what works, and what doesn’t, from professional travel bloggers who are making it work, is HUGELY helpful.
Each course also has a very helpful community where top travel bloggers chime in with answers to your questions every week. Investing in professional education up-front will save you so much time & money in the long-term.
9: What Should You Write About?
Now it’s time to begin creating content for your travel blog. When you first start out, I recommend publishing new articles at least 1-2 times per week. But remember, quality is more important than quantity!
Take your time to craft excellent, useful blog posts that have impact. You want your articles to inspire wanderlust, but they should include plenty of actionable tips too.
Share your favorite (or not so favorite) parts of a country. Give tips for fun things to do, share your crazy travel stories, show-off your beautiful images in photo essays, create a short video tour, or give food recommendations.
Try writing about different topics to find your voice, and see what kinds of posts actually resonate with readers. For example, road trip guides do really well on my site, but I didn’t discover that until later. You need to experiment!
What If You’re Not Traveling Now?
Are you still planning your travels? Well you can write about that too. Share different ways you are saving money for travel or maybe a bucket list of activities you want to try.
However my favorite strategy is to write about what you know.
As an example, let’s say you live in Brighton, UK. Maybe you don’t think it’s an interesting city to write about, yet there are thousands of people looking for travel tips about Brighton every day.
Share what you know with them! Help these people have a great trip, and they will become regular readers.
TripAdvisor recommends 404 things to do in Brighton. That’s easily a year’s worth of blog posts right there.
Network With Other Bloggers
Remember to read other travel blogs for inspiration and ideas, and leave thoughtful comments on their articles. Link to other people’s blog posts from your site when appropriate. Become an active member of the travel blogging community.
10: Making Money With Your Blog
At first your only readers will be family and friends. But that’s ok! We all started like that. To begin making money with your travel blog, you need to have a larger audience then just family and friends.
The more traffic your blog receives, the more money you can make with it. But it takes time to build an audience and grow traffic. Don’t focus on making money right away, focus on building your audience.
Remember, all of these income streams grow only when your audience grows. So that should be your first priority moving forward!
Travel blogging isn’t as easy as it looks, and you shouldn’t expect to see any large benefits from it for at least a year, probably longer.
That’s one full year of blogging on a regular basis, paying for everything yourself, and putting in at least 10 hours a week (most professional bloggers work 30+).
Yes it’s a dream job, but travel blogging is still a job that requires hard work. Creating a successful travel blog won’t happen overnight either.
But no risk, no reward! Good luck, and happy travel blogging.