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Have you always wanted to start a blog but don’t know where to begin or thought it would cost too much? Well, you’ve come to the right place because we’ll walk you through how to get started correctly!
Ensuring that you’ll have everything you need to get up and running for the best price!.
So grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine) and let’s dive right into starting your own blog.
Hey there, I’m Carl, the Co-Founder & Editor of this travel blog Adventures You Dream.
In this step-by-step article, I will walk you through the exact steps of how to start a travel blog.
We’ll cover everything from how to choose a travel blog name, how to get blog hosting, and how to set up WordPress.
Before traveling fulltime, I was a freelance web developer. I’ve created everything from personal blogs, landing pages, to full-on e-commerce sites. What I’m trying to say is you’re in good hands!
Are you excited yet? You should be. So with that coffee (or wine) in hand let’s get started!
First things first, lets clear this up…
Why Create a Travel Blog?
Follow this guide and it will show you exactly how to create your own travel blog.
There are many reasons for starting a travel blog. Here are a few popular ones:
- You can make money while traveling; essentially getting paid to travel.
- You can get more exposure to your existing businesses. A blog gives you the ability to reach a large number of people for a very little cost.
- You can document your travel stories and adventures. Allowing you to share with friends and family. In addition, it gives you something you can look back on later in life.
How to Start a Travel Blog
Step One: Picking a Good Travel Blog Name
Deciding what to call your travel blog is one of the most important decisions that you have to make so definitely take your time on this. Before I dish out tips on how to choose a travel blog name, if you’re feeling stuck and just want to get started, the hosting provider that we recommend has this awesome feature which lets you choose a name later on.
We know some people who spend ages trying to think of the perfect name but in the end, loses motivation. So if you’re really committed to starting a blog, you can skip over this step, get your hosting set up and come back to it later.
Our recommended hosting provider is Bluehost also gives you a FREE domain name so you don’t have to purchases it separately?
Listed below are a few tips on how to choose a good travel blog name.
Decide What You Want Your Blog to Focus On
One of the most important things when setting up a blog is deciding on a niche. By deciding early on what you want to focus and blog about, you’re essentially coming up with keywords that you want your blog to be about.
For us, we were interested in Adventure Travel and wanted to find a way to incorporate that in our name. So before you begin thinking of travel blog names, I suggest making a list of five things you’re interested in blogging about and what you want to focus on.
Is it budget travel? Luxury travel? Weekend Getaways? By deciding on a niche and a focus, you’re essentially coming up with a theme for your blog which will help you choose a name.
Avoid Putting Yourself in a Box
The blogging world is already saturated enough as it is which is why we recommend people to stay away from cliches when choosing their names. Although it sounds catchy to have a blog called The Broke Wanderer or The Single Backpacker, what happens when you start making five figures a month from your blog?
What happens when you grow tired of hostels or if you even end up getting married? Choose adjectives that won’t put you in a box as your travel style will change and grow with you. You also have to think long-term as you envision what type of brands you eventually want to work with. Do you think you can partner up with a luxury hotel when you have the word budget or backpacker in your name?
At the moment, there are already too many blogs which have the words Wandering, Nomadic, Adventurous in it. Although they scream “I am a travel blog”, you’re shooting yourself in the foot as there are already so many established bloggers with those names that will dominate the search results.
Keep it Memorable
The catchier your name is, the better. This means that you should avoid names that have hyphens, misspellings, or numbers in them.
A branding mentor told me when choosing a brand name, you have to do the radio test. Imagine you’re driving down the road. Over the radio, you hear an advertisement that catches your attention. You’re driving and don’t have a pen handy. If someone hears your name, will they easily remember it?
If your name has to be spelled out or is not easily rememberable; keep searching.
Avoid travel blog names that have misspellings, special characters, words that are not in people’s everyday vocabulary, or jargon that isn’t easy to understand.
Travel Blog Name Widget
Do you have a few blog name ideas now? Here is a widget to check if the blog name you’re considering is still available.
Step Two: Set Up Your Domain and Hosting
Before I go any further, you might be thinking why do I have to set up and pay for hosting when there are free options like Squarespace, Blogger etc? Well, the answer is simple. If you have decided you want to make money from travel blogging or at some point you think you might, you should go with a self-hosted travel blog. WordPress.Org is generally the best self-hosted platform out there and it’s totally free. All you need to do is to purchase hosting (which is essentially where your blog will live.) In this section, we will show you exactly how to get your hosting sorted in under 10 minutes.
We Recommend Bluehost for Hosting and this is why…
Bluehost is the #1 most used and trusted hosting network on the internet and it’s also cheaper than you’ll find anywhere else so it is perfect for beginner bloggers especially for what you get.
The first time we wrote about starting a blog, we actually had our hosting with Netfirms but after some terrible customer service experiences and site crashes, we moved to Bluehost.
We don’t recommend companies we don’t personally use so we made sure Bluehost was as good as everyone says and now couldn’t be happier to recommend them.
Perks of Starting a Blog with Bluehost
- FREE Domain
- 24/7 Support
- FREE 30-day Money Back Guarantee
- FREE Branded Email Hosting
- One Click WordPress Install
Step-by-Step Hosting Instructions
Once you’ve landed on this page, click on the green “Get Started Now” button.
There are 3 Choices for Packages: Basic, Plus, and Prime
If you are limited on budget, the Basic plan will suit your needs just fine. You can upgrade at any time if you need to and just pay the difference.
Click “Select” on your preferred plan to move to the next step.
Now it’s time to choose your domain name, which can be hard at first but have some fun with it. If you are still stuck on choosing a name, don’t worry, Bluehost has an awesome feature which allows you to pick a name later on!
Also as mentioned, you won’t be charged extra for your travel blog domain name as it comes free with your Bluehost package.
Editor’s Note: As mentioned, if you don’t have a name yet, hover your mouse as if you were going to leave the screen and this pop up will appear. Then you can come up with a name later!
Already have a blog name? Then you don’t need to use the pop-up above. From the “Sign Up Now” screen (shown below), simply type in your new domain in the left box. I strongly suggest selecting a “.com” name from the drop-down menu.
After you’re done with all this, click “next”.
Almost done! It’s now time to create your account and pay.
I always create accounts or sign in with Google but if you rather just fill in your details in the fields that are below the google button.
Further down the page, you’ll have to confirm the package that you chose and select if you want extras.
As I said before, if you are limited on budget, the Basic plan will suit your needs just fine. If you have a little bit of extra budget that you can commit, the Prime plan probably has the best value for the 36-month package.
If you want to start by just paying for 12 months at first, feel free. It’s up to you, but you’ll spend more per month if you choose a shorter plan.
Also, taxes depend entirely on what country you start your blog in. If you see taxes added to the total amount, it’s the local government tax and can’t be avoided. Some countries don’t charge tax on hosting and some do. That is just the way it is but if it’s there it is not usually more than $25.
Now enter your credit card information, tick the “I confirm” box and then click “submit”.
Boom, that’s the hard part all done!
Step Three: Set Up Your Bluehost Account & Installing WordPress
You will now be prompted by Bluehost to create a password for your account. After you create your password, WordPress will begin installing on your account automatically which is another great thing about Bluehost. After you create your password and sign in, you will be prompted to select a theme so you can start designing your new travel blog. Finally, you will receive emails from Bluehost with your account and WordPress information. After that, welcome to your new travel blog!! That wasn’t too hard, was it?
Step Four: Setting Up WordPress
As soon as you have everything configured, it’s now time to learn how to use WordPress. While it can seem daunting at first, I promise we will walk you through every step of the way. While WordPress has a steep learning curve, it is the most popular blogging platform for a reason. To help you with the initial set up here’s a quick video showing you how to navigate your way around your WordPress dashboard and how to make sure you have the right default settings.
Step Five: Picking a Theme and Designing Your Blog
You’ve got your domain name, you’ve got your hosting set up, you’ve installed WordPress, but now you need to choose a theme. What’s a theme I hear you ask? Well, that’s what your website looks like when people go to it. You no longer need to be great at computer coding to make your website look good. These days, you can get away with installing a theme with a few clicks.
- Go back to your WordPress dashboard.
- Hover over “Appearance” and click on themes.
- Activate the WordPress Twenty Seventeen theme if it isn’t already, and if you go to “YourDomainName.com” you will see it!
Free vs Premium Themes: What to Use?
Ok, now you are faced with another decision. To use a free theme or invest a bit more money to buy a premium theme. There are thousands of free themes out there so I would suggest googling “Free WordPress Theme” and have a look around first. Use “Live Demo” to preview how some look. Again the choice is yours but most bloggers start with a free theme and then, later on, end up buying one. The premium themes offer more customization, perform faster, and tend to look better. Adventure You Dream uses the Flatsome theme by Themeforest. We are really happy with it and love the look/feel of our blog. We hope you do too! If you are not a fan of our theme, that’s ok Themeforest has hundreds to choose from. Just head there and for your first time click the “View More Featured Items” or search “Blogs WordPress”. Click on each and preview the live demo versions to see what your blog could look like.
Step Six: Installing Required WordPress Plugins
A simple analogy I’ve used in the past is, think of Bluehost like your supercomputer, WordPress like your operating system (Windows or Mac), think of plugins like applications.
Chances are if there is something you’d like your WordPress site to do, there is a plugin already built for it.
Tip: To install a plugin, go into your WordPress dashboard, look on the side panel and click “Plugins” then click “Add New” on the page that opens up. Search for the ones listed below on this WordPress screen, click download, and activate.
Below is a list of plugins that we use and recommend you check out too.
- Yoast SEO: “SEO” or “search engine optimization”, is improving how Google ranks your blog posts in its search results. For example, search “Adventure Quotes” in Google right now. Hopefully (if not this is awkward), you should see an article of ours in the top results. Month on month this brings lovely people to our blog. If you want people to find your blog, install Yoast as it is the first crucial step to making this happen.
- WordFence We were late to install WordFence and man, do I wish we did it earlier on. You might not think it now but at some point, hackers will try to hack your website. Simply put WordFence will stop this from happening or at least do its best by adding a layer of security to your website. It’s super easy, just Install WordFence and that is it. It will do the rest.
- WP Fastest Cache: Caching can be pretty technical to explain. The beauty of caching is that it’ll speed up your site for your visitors!
- Google Analytics: If you want to accurately track your blog growth and how much traffic you get on a month to month basis, getting Google Analytics is essential! Installing this allows you to track how many visits you get, where your audience is coming from and what articles they land on.
The Next Steps After Starting a Travel Blog
Now, before you leave our travel blog to start working on your own, take 5 minutes to ask yourself, why do you want to write a travel blog?
Is it to make a bit of extra income on the side? Is it to eventually turn it into your main source of income?
A good tip that we’ve started applying in anything that we do is determining your WHY. Your why will largely affect the type of blog you’re going to run and how much work you’ll put into it. So think about it long and hard (yeah, I just said that).
Personally speaking, travel blogging has allowed us the freedom to live a lifestyle that I only used to dream about.
Never in my life did I think it was possible to travel the world or do temporary stints living in Bali, Ecuador, or Chiang Mai all while growing our online business.
Like I said earlier, it’s not easy to make money travel blogging….but all the things that are worth pursuing never are. My word of advice, if you’re passionate about something, go and pursue it.
So now you’re all set and ready to start travel blogging. Go to your favorite travel blogs out there and see what type of articles they write. Good travel blogging is a mix of being a great storyteller while still being informative.
The last tip that I have about starting a travel blog is to enjoy the whole process! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with all the information online but as soon as you put your head to it, things will fall into place. If you want more information on blogging tips and resources, keep an eye out for our blogging section.
P.S. Send us the link to your travel blog once you’ve finished setting it up!