How to start a Travel Blog – The Ultimate Guide (2018)
Asking for tipps about how to start a travel blog.
At a glance:
How to Start A Travel Blog
It might surprise you, but starting your own travel blog is actually pretty easy.
With this guide you will have your blog up and running within the day.
Pick a memorable travel blog name
Your blog name will be your figurehead and the first thing users will (hopefully) remember.
Thus picking a travel blog name will be the first major challenge you face.
However, if you keep those 5 guidelines in mind, you will have it in no time :)
Before you even think about a blog name…
Brainstorm & write down which topics you want to cover with your blog.
Is it luxury travel? Travelling as a (gay) couple? Travelling by Van? Eco travelling? Or do you want to document your diving experience – to name a few possibilities.
Additionally think about the benefit you want to give your users.
So for example you chose “Eco Travelling” – the benefit you want to give your users might be “With my blog I do want to help users find awesome eco accommodations, destinations and show them ways on how to travel eco-friendly”. (this could also be a good starting point for your About Me page)
Don’t be too specific…
Based on the findings of your brainstorming sessions play around with the terms you used.
It really helps to use a thesaurus if you are stuck with the same words over and over again.
Or invite your friends over for some beers and discuss names with them.
Either way, do not be too specific.
If you want to start a blog about travelling by railway and your first experience will be the TransSib do not name your blog TranSibExperience.com.
Because what happens when you arrive at your final destination and continue your journeys?
The blog name will not correspond with the ever growing content anymore.
Short and memorable is the way to go…
Avoid numbers & special characters…
Simply put, avoid anything you might need to explain when telling somebody your blog name.
Because if you need to explain it, your counterpart will most likely already be bored/annoyed and you missed an awesome opportunity to promote your blog.
Just avoid them.
Make sure it’s available…
As an .com URL
On Social media
Get your URL
Choose hosting for your travel blog
You might ask yourself ‘What the heck is hosting?’.
We did it the first time anyways.
It sounded incredible difficult, a lot like programming and an over the top technical internet thingy.
However, it is actually pretty easy to describe and to set up.
If you set up your blog, you will need a place where you can put all your files, images and stuff you want to show your users.
This is what a ‘Host’ will provide – space to store your files.
There are a tons of hosting providers, some good, some bad, some just ‘meh’.
It is important that you choose one that is reliable (so your page will be online all the time) and fast (in order to get your page loaded very fast).
We actually switched from a previous provider to Siteground, as it is one of the most reliable and very fast services with an incredible chat support (which helped us out a couple of times already) + with $3.95/month their starter plan is pretty cheap.
Currently they offer 3 Plans
Step 1: Head over to Siteground, you will land on a page that looks like this:
Step 3: Either Register a New Domain, or transfer you existing one. (Siteground offers a nifty free website transfer, if you have an existing WordPress page on a different hosting provider)
Step 5: Dance around your chair, you are one step closer to becoming a travel blogger. ;)
Install WordPress for free
To run your blog you need a framework that is easy to use and maintain.
That’s where self-hosted WordPress comes in.
Self-hosted means, that you can decide on which host your WordPress runs not needing to rely on a free WordPress Account.
Why, you may ask – that’s why:
- Your self-hosted WordPress will have the URL you decided to have. So instead of yourtravelblogurl.wordpress.com (free WordPress Account) you will have yourtravelblogurl.com (self hosted)
- With self-hosted you will have all the control over the content and data
- If you like, you can incorporate advertising on your self-hosted WordPress
- You can install the plugins and themes you need
- On self-hosted you are able to integrate the tracking services you prefer (like Google Analytics)
Not sure if WordPress is for you? Have different blog providers? Just shoot as a message or comment, and we will help you to decide which to choose.
Keep in mind though that WordPress is powering more than 25% of all websites worldwide. National Geographic, Sony or Jay-Z being some of the prominent names out there that are using it.
If you went with Siteground hosting, setting up a WordPress is so damn easy.
After you signed up for a hosting plan you will get an email with your login credentials.
Step 1: Login to your Customer Area
Step 2: In the pop up that asks you if you want to start a new website select WordPress
Step 3: Enter your preferred WordPress login credentials and click ‘Confirm’
Step 4: Choose if you like enhancement (optional) and then click ‘Complete Setup’.
Step 5: Do your victory dance around your chair once more & invite others to join.
If you went with a different hosting provider check if they provide WordPress installations.
If not please follow theses steps (they are a little more advanced):
- Go to WordPress.org
- Download the latest WordPress Version
- Install WordPress on your Host in 5 minutes with this tutorial.
- Victory Dance!
Learn about your WordPress Dashboard
Get an awesome travel blog theme
Got your Name, got your host, got your WordPress in place?
Awesome – now it’s time for choosing a so called theme.
While WordPress is the framework for your blog, a ‘theme’ is what the user will.
There are millions of themes out there, some free, some paid, some easy to customize others not so much.
When you start out and want to try out if travel blogging is something for you, go with a free one.
After you want to get more serious get a professional looking one. We currently use Stockholm Themes for example.
However there are a lot of theme providers like Envato or XY or XY. Prices will start at $39.
When you decide for a theme make sure it’s ‘responsive’ so it looks also good on mobile, without you needing to tweak stuff.
Once you’ve decided on a theme download it as a zip file and on your WordPress Dashboard go to Appaerance > Themes > Uploads and Upload & Activate it.
Bonus Tip: Do read the documentation of your theme, it will help you a lot.
Insider Tip: If you do not know how to customize your theme yourself you’ll have some options.
Either lock yourself in for a weekend and complete those tutorials:
Download these essential plugins
Plugins are little apps for WordPress that come in various shapes and functionalities.
They can help you to keep your blog manageable, to improve the site speed or give you clues on how you can improve your SEO amongst other things.
Do not clutter your WordPress with too many of those pluginse, only choose the ones you will really use.
Here are the plugins we would recommend you:
This one is a must have. It helps you to optimize your blog and posts for Google Search and will generate a Sitemap and integrate Google Analytics (which will help you to see how your blog is performing).
If you want your site to load quickly and to appeal to google use this plugin.
There are plenty of free Caching Plugins out there, however, this one is actually the first one we bought, ever and it’s very easy to set up even for an first time WordPress user.
We definitely recommend it.
To make sure it’s properly set up check out this blog post.
This plugin is a nice speed optimization addition to WP Rocket and also helps with image compression.
We are so glad that we found that one.
It automatically inserts a Table of Content into your post & will save you a ton of time so you don’t have to insert anchors and stuff manually.
It’s also easy to customize and make it look like you want it to look.
When you allow comments on your blog (and you definitely should) than this one will help you to filter out spam comments and again save you a lot of time.
- Easy Social Sharing Buttons (Non GDPR Conform)
Writing content that nobody reads is a pain in the arse. This plugin will help your readers to easily share your content throughout the social media world and thus help you to gain traction.
- Shariff (GDPR Conform Social Button Plugins)
Create your personal logo
Don’t make these first timer mistakes
It sounds so easy, just get your WordPress and make money from the blog while travelling.
However, unfortunately it is not.
When we started out we made a lot of mistakes (heck we are still making new ones), which is in a way good as we now know how to improve our blog.
However it costed us a lot of time and nerves, so here’s a list of mistakes you should avoid doing.
Mistake #1 Not having an About Page
Mistake #2 Not having a Contact Page
Mistake #3 Not having Google Analytics or another tracking tool
Mistake #4 Only having a few posts online
Mistake #5 Having a slow page
Mistake #6 Not having any pics in a post / having too many pics a post
Start writing, building your audience & make money
GDPR – why it is important for European Bloggers
GDPR – or General Data Protection Regulation – will effect close to everybody that does business in Europe.
This means, that you need to comply with that regulation in order to avoid any legal actions against you.
If you are a non-european citizen you might not really be effect by it as it will be hard to enforce it, but if you have a European contact address in your imprint you definitely need to follow the regulation.
The GDPR will applicable as of 25 May 2018.
Already have a blog and don’t know if and how you should optimize it? Let us have a look at it.
Julia has more than 3 years of Testing & UX experience and Berni worked more than 4 years as a Growth Marketeer.
So we know knows a thing or two about Blog optimization. ;)