Travel Blogging
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How To Start A Travel Blog In 7 Easy Steps

Want to start a travel blog, but not sure how? This guide will help you start your own travel blog in a few easy steps. 

Before I start, let me warn you that travel blogging isn’t as easy as it looks. Bloggers like me rarely share the huge amount of behind-the-scenes disasters that go into making this lifestyle possible. My journey, too, has been a rollercoaster ride. But to tell you the truth, all the efforts were totally worth it.

Travelling is already an interesting profession, and blogging makes it a little more exciting and motivating. Moreover, when you want to make travelling a full-time career, you need to look for ways to make money out of it. For me, there was no better option, than blogging. It has taken me more than one year to become a professional travel blogger – professional in the sense that I’ve now started making money from blogging.

So today I want to share a useful guide about how to get started with blogging, including a few important tips I didn’t know when I had originally initiated the journey myself.

7 Steps to Start Your Travel Blog

  1. Pick A Blog Name As Per Your Personality
  2. Choose Hosting
  3. Install WordPress Software
  4. Install Plugins
  5. Install A WordPress Theme
  6. Your First Blogging Steps
  7. Making Money With Your Blog

How To Start A Travel Blog

Some people get confused between the word ‘blog’ and ‘website’. So before we start, let’s understand that having a blog is no different than having a website. I would call Footloosedev a blog only because it looks like a magazine and helps people understand — before they even check it for themselves — that it might contain articles and stories about a topic. But even if I called Footloosedev a website, I won’t be wrong. All self-hosted blogs are apparently websites.

Now, starting your very first travel blog is actually pretty easy. If you follow this guide and reciprocate everything that is told here, you can establish your own professional travel blog in less than a couple of hours.

A lot of people start a travel blog just to keep their family and friends updated. If that’s all you want, go for a free WordPress.com blog. But, if you want more people than just your friends and family reading about your journeys, and if you want to make money out of your travel blog, like I do, then keep reading.

What Defines Your Blog?

1. Decide A Blog Name

I accept that I ended up being lucky about choosing FootlooseDev as my blog name. It represents my personality; it is short, memorable and long-term; and it perfectly syncs with the kind of travelling I am into — that is freestyle backpacking, motorbiking, adventure travel, and other niches.

But I’ve seen people making a complete disaster choosing something like A20SomethingNomad or HimalayanTraveller. Now both the blog names sound interesting, but they’ve their limitations. What after you turn 30? Or you decided to travel beyond the Himalayas?

Choose a name that has no expiry date. Or something that can still be used tomorrow even if you shifted your focus from being a backpacker to a luxury traveller.

Secondly, avoid using popular worlds like Nomad, or Wanderlust, or Wanderer – for two reasons. One, because you don’t want to confuse your future readers with an established blogger having a similar name. And two, because you don’t want to come in the last position in search engines, as other blogs (with a similar name) would otherwise appear on top, due to their better and established SEO.

Thirdly, keep the name simple and memorable. Your travel blog domain name should be relatively short, and easy to remember. Do some brainstorming, write everything down and start playing with different combinations of words. Use thesaurus on the web to find better synonyms.

Avoid Hyphens, number, and abbreviations. I never understood the fascination using abbreviations or numbers in the blog name. When you use numbers like ‘2’ or ‘4’ instead of ‘to’ and ‘for’; or use abbreviations to long words, you only make it risky for your business. A blog called “Footloose hyphen Dev the number 100 dot com” can never be effective for word-of-mouth marketing, which, in fact, is the best kind of promotion – particularly during the early days of blogging. So avoid hyphens. And avoid numbers.

Your Blog Is Hosted On Servers

2. Choose Hosting

I remember that setting up Hosting was the scariest part for me because when I started I had no idea what it was. If you too are confused about what I mean by hosting, understand it this way… by choosing a hosting, you ‘rent’ space on the internet. Almost like having a space for your email account or buying a memory card for your phone to store images and data.

If you want to create a free Wordress.com website, you don’t need to buy hosting, but then again, with a free WordPress account, you will only get something like ABC.wordpress.com as your domain name. However, if you choose a domain name and buy hosting you can have whatever blog name you like and an impressive ‘.com’, ‘.in’, or ‘.co.in’ etc.

There are a lot of basic hosting companies out there, with Hostgator, Godaddy, and Bluehost being some of the biggest and popular ones. I personally prefer Bluehost for their cheaper deals and better customer service. I am currently using Bluehost for this blog.

Moreover, if you are just starting out, BlueHost is a good option because they’re not only one of the cheapest among the best, but their customer service is good too. So if I were to suggest anything, let’s start with Bluehost, and here’s how to buy their hosting…

Part 1 – Click on the green button that says “get started now.”

 

Part 2 – Pick a plan.

 

Part 3 – Check to see if your blog name (domain name) is available.

Part 4 – Add Extra Features

To tell you the truth, you don’t need any add-on features (except for Domain Privacy Protection), at least not during the first year of your blogging stint. So skip it.

Domain Privacy Protection, however, is something you SHOULD consider opting for. Why? Because if you don’t pay for Domain Privacy Protection, anyone can see your name and mailing address on your site. So it’s worth the extra few bucks to stop that from happening.

3. Install WordPress Software

Though there are a few other software to establish your website, I particularly recommend WordPress for its ease of use. Unlike other software, like Drupal, etc. anyone can work on WordPress, without having any prior computer knowledge. Just invest a few hours to understand its basic functionalities, and you’re good to go. It’s as simple as understanding Microsoft Word.

WordPress is the king of blogging, and probably always will be. Most professionals use WordPress. Even major newspaper websites like BBC & TimesOfIndia are WordPress hosted. Installing WordPress with your BlueHost Account is super easy, and allows you to start your website, without having a need to hire a developer.

Click through the simple installation process on your Bluehost cPanel. When it asks you where you’d like to install it, choose your new domain (ex: http://YourTravelBlogName.com).

Once you install WordPress, it will tell you where to log in (usually http://YourTravelBlogName.com/wp-admin). Use your username and password. From that page, you’ll be able to log in to your WordPress dashboard.

And that’s it! Welcome to the club! You now own your personal travel blog! Only a few more steps and you will be practically equipped to write your first blog post and flaunt about it to friends.

Download Plugins That Best Cater Your Needs

4. Install Plugins

After you’ve installed WordPress, go to ‘http://YourTravelBlogName.com/wp-admin/’ and use the username and password you’ve created to log in.

From there, the first thing you want to do is install some useful plugins. Plugins are a great way to add additional functionality to your WordPress-powered site. There are thousands of premium options to choose from, but initially, choose only a few important, and free ones. Don’t get excited and pay unnecessary money at the start. You can always buy paid plugins later if you want.

A few important plugins to get basic functionalities and improve SEO are:

  • Jetpack – It offers you a spell-checker, contact forms, extra widgets, and a whole slew of more features
  • Google Analytics For WordPress – To allow Google to track your website traffic and use Google Analytics.
  • Akismet– To protect your blog from spammers leaving comments on your posts. Totally recommended for the first day.
  • Yoast SEO – For optimizing your articles for Google search, plus integrating Google Sitemaps and Analytics.
  • Easy Social Share Buttons – To add social media sharing buttons for your articles.

Design Your Website With An Elegant Theme

5. Install Your Website Theme

A Theme is how you want your website to look like. And your new WordPress blog comes with a few standard themes.

While this is ok for playing around and using free themes in the beginning, if you want to take blogging seriously and eventually make money from it, you should consider buying a premium design – unless of course you’ve it custom made, from a developer.

I’ve changed my theme a few times, but after a few months of endless confusion, I’ve finally found something that fits my need better.

You moreover, just like other professional paid themes, get a support forum with Elmastudios where you can ask questions about customization, and someone will help you with any CSS/HTML coding. This moreover saves money in hiring a developer to get small things done.

Getting Started With Blogging

6. Your First Blogging Steps

Create An ‘About Me’ Page, to help readers know who you are, and what you’re doing. An About me page is the most important page for you as a travel blogger, particularly if you’ve just started blogging, as 90% of the readers, who become your regular follower is going to read it, to know a little more about you. But make sure it lets your personality shine through. I remember, when I’d initially started blogging, I was so concerned with being professional that I ended up writing a bland introductory post that read no different than a Wikipedia page. Do not do that. Let people know who you actually are. Be frank!

Create Accounts On Different Social Media Networks, because it is by social networking only that you can engage with your followers on a day to day basis. Social media are engaging, and let you connect with your readers. Learning how to master Social Media is, however, another thing, and you’d only learn that with time. But for a start, and as a blogger, you must have your profile on different social media networks, particularly on Facebook (have a Facebook Page, not a profile), Twitter, Instagram, Google+ (very important for SEO), Pinterest and Youtube.

Start An Emailing List, and build your base. Why? Because people are more likely to see your content via email than any other network, and while social networks come and go, email is here to stay. Having a rich emailing list moreover helps bloggers, at a later stage, to get sponsors.

At the moment, I use MailChimp as my emailing newsletter service, as it allows you to shoot up to 2000 free emails every time, which is a pretty sweet gig for your initial blogging days. Once your subscribers reach a certain figure, you can always buy their premium plans and send more than 2000 emails in a month.

Network With Other Travel Bloggers, and read their blogs for more inspiration and ideas. Do not forget to leave thoughtful comments on their articles for some link building. Moreover, link to other people’s blog posts from your site whenever appropriate, and try to become an active member of the blogging community.

Blogging As A Full Time Career

7. Making Money With Your Blog

Different bloggers have different ways to monetize. Some bloggers make money by getting sponsors, while others, by placing ads on their blog. Some even use a mix of all, and you can count me among them.

Affiliate Programs: Affiliate marketing is when a customer buys a product online after getting redirected from your website. And you get a commission of the total sale, in the process. Affiliate marketing is an amazing source of your passive income. And as long as you don’t crowd your every page with a ton of affiliate links, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t join affiliate programs. Some popular affiliate programs that I currently use are Amazon, for the travel products I use; Booking.com, for linking back to the places I stay; and MakeMyTrip for whenever I talk about transportation or flight deals.

Sponsored Posts: Though a good source of income, sponsorships initially takes some time. But once you’ve gained certain traction, and people in the industry start noticing you, getting sponsors is no tough job. Read How to Get Your First Few Sponsors

Adsense: The easiest way to start making money with advertising is through Adsense. Sign up for an account approved by Google, enter the ad settings you want, and you’re good to go.

Read In Detail: Different Ways Of Making Money From Blogging 

Now that your blog is ready, and you’ve also learned how to make money out of it, What Next?

Well, nothing much really. But as I said earlier, blogging is not easy.  It will take a long time and a tremendous amount of effort before you gain a valuable audience interested in what you have to say. But once you start getting the exposure, the perks in this field are OVERWHELMING.

So Good luck, welcome aboard, and let’s shine through your amazing travel stories!

Filed under: Travel Blogging

by

After my couple of years of corporate career, I left that lifestyle behind, and with it, everything that didn't fit in a backpack. I've learned that this world is too big (and too interesting!) to spend your life working at one place, and that's what inspires me to remain footloose and fancy-free for the rest of my life!

30 Comments

  1. R Maheswari says

    Quite Useful. I have used most of them in my blog. Thanks.

  2. toorjoor says

    Hi Dev, I have started my travel blog and this article has helped me a lot, Thanks.

  3. Himanshu says

    great advice for new bloggers. really like the break down of your explanation step by step. As a young photographer, I found PIXPA a better platform to build blogging as WordPress require technical knowledge and plugin for all small tasks.

  4. Maniparna says

    Very informative and quite useful for those for budding travel bloggers. Wish you more travel and happy blogging… 🙂

  5. Dear Dev
    I loved your article. This is really cool post. I am a blogger and love the way explained. Thanks for sharing with us brother…

  6. jony jindal says

    Hey Dev!! Your blog is very informative. I read almost 75% of your articles. All provides good information about trips destinations and journey. I also followed you on all social networks. I am also a travel blogger (Newly Started). I am also from Delhi and I wanna meet you. Is it possible?
    if its possible please mail me on – jonyjindal2@gmail.com

  7. Dheeraj Joshi says

    Hi Dj , Cheers from a fellow DJ. Its been a while since I was sitting on the idea of doing what you are doing now. I’ve travelled extensively in India but never documented what I did as it acted as a distraction from me totally immersing myself with what any place had to offer. But this year I cross borders to Europe as well with no plan at all except to document my experiences. Your blog has been inspiring. Cheers!

    • Thanks man. And glad my blog helped. I also travelled across Europe for 2 months a while back this year, what a coincidence. Keep exploring man. And keep writing. Good luck!

  8. travel blog says

    Only a 7 Step to make a travel blog it’s very easy. Thanks for sharing this information with us. In any type of blog, your content plays a very important role and the picture that you add so write a meaningful content and be a successful blogger.

    • ofcourse it does. i think in my case… pictures are important. Call me a photographer, more than a blogger.
      Pictures always say a thousand words.

  9. Your blog is quite inspirational brother!
    Although I started blogging back in 2007 (when the market was so less saturated), I never gave it the commitment it deserved. In 2011 I experimented with a travel blog too. It was easy to get sponsors then. I had earned a little too. But as you said, travel blogging isn’t as easy as it looks! That blog suffered my indifference within a couple of years. Then I understood that I should take up a niche that I really enjoy. Though I love to travel, documenting it regularly in my blog is not something I really dig. Finally, in August 2014 I had set up my present blog. I’m still regularly irregular when it comes to blogging, but whenever I do, or whatever little I blog, I enjoy it.
    Safe traveling… Keep Clicking Photos on the go!

  10. This posy was really informatibe and interesting. Thanks for sharing all this with us. Being a full time travel blogger is awesome! I envy you 🙂

  11. good to know, have a few friend who wants to get one website, will share this with them.

  12. Niharika Verma says

    very helpful post dev, particularly the monetization part. I did not know about skimlinks. though i think you do not have much control over getting them, but you can always reach out to ppl to engage in a similar activity with you. thanks for the info.

  13. Ashwathy Manimala says

    Very useful post for beginners like me. This post is helpful to all bloggers. Thanks for sharing your blogging experience, will share it with all my friends 🙂

  14. Pospi O Otuson says

    I must say this awesome guide does not only relate to travel bloggers alone. It covers the entire Blogging Plannet. Thanks for sharing it Dev.

  15. Nice tips for beginners. The start is always a bit bumpy and we all have faced it at some stage of blogging or the other. I hope this article is helpful for a lot of people who wants to take up travel blogging as a profession. Good job!

  16. Temitope says

    This is a good guide to start a travel blog. Excellent article for intending travel bloggers.
    You have made the job easier

  17. Vidyasagar H says

    Excellent article for beginner. Everything explained in detail, thanks for such a wonderful information.

  18. I’m a blogger who has blue host and a self-hosted wordpress. It makes running your own site so much easier.

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