You’ve come to the right place peeps! I’ve had a ton of questions from people asking me how to start a travel blog or even just a regular blog, so I’ve decided to create a post for you all and HOPEFULLY make this easy peasy. Just remember that blogs will take a lot of time, but they are fun and you can be creative with them— I personally LOVE it. Many people are worried there are too many travel blogs out there in 2019, but don’t you worry, there is room for all your creativeness—just be YOU! So without further ado, here are the easy steps to follow to get a blog up and running in no time.
This is where some people get tripped up because they don’t know what blog platform to go with. There are a ton out there and even more now!
Most of the travel bloggers that I know use WordPress because of it’s flexibility and ease of use. You can customize your pages with plugins, make money from your site and use great design themes. Most engineers and developers know how to use WordPress in case you ever needed to hire someone.
My advice would be to use WordPress (it’s free), but I’ve also been using it since 2015 and have heard great things about SquareSpace, Weebly and Wix.
If you decide to use WordPress, note that there are two different types of WordPress. One is WordPress.com and the other is WordPress.org. If you are trying to become a serious blogger, I recommend going with WordPress.org. This allows you to create your own domain name and offers you more flexibility. You’ll also be able to customize your site a lot more easily and it’s better for online search in the long run. Read more about the WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org comparison here.
Now, before you actually install WordPress, you’ll want to pick a domain AND get a host, so determine which WordPress you want to use first and then we’ll move on to the next step.
Picking a blog name can be the hardest part for a travel blogger! It was hard for me and it definitely took a bit of time before I actually bit the bullet with The Traveling Spud. Many blogs and many people will tell you to pick a niche for your blog and stick to that. I disagree. If you want to have a blog and you want to write about whatever your heart desires, you can still be successful. I haven’t had a tried and true niche since I started my blog and I’m still loving it AND making money.
Try and pick a name that is unique and not too long. Read this for some more help with pick your blog name. You also have to make sure that the name is located within your new hosting and that no one has taken it yet. You might also want to check to see if the social channels have been taken for the name you’re choosing and if you need to change this around in any way. Spend some time on this and make a list of potentials, but go with your gut on your favorite one! You’ll be needing this when you sign up for your web hosting provider in the next step.
STEP 2: Sign Up for a WebHosting Provider
Let’s sign you up for a webhost!
WebHosting basically means “a home for your website”. This is where your website is actually going to live on the internet and you need this in order to use WordPress.org. There are a lot of different platforms out there, but if you’re just starting out and want costs to be low, I recommend using BlueHost because it easily integrates within WordPress.
This is what I did and it made it really affordable. I’ve been using them for 5+ years and haven’t had a problem yet. If you end up making your travel blog your sole income and start getting a lot more traffic, you might want to consider switching to something really trustworthy and reliable like SiteGround or GoDaddy.
With this link, BlueHost only costs about $3.95/month and you get an SSL (security certificate), a free domain (meaning you can pick your domain and you don’t have to buy it somewhere else), and you get web-hosted. This is all a steal in my opinion and like I said before, I’ve been using it a long time with no issues. Use this link if you want to sign up for BlueHost for your blog to get the free domain.
If you decide to go with BlueHost, here are the steps to get you started. Do this before you download WordPress.
Click on this BlueHost link and then click on the green button that says: Get Started Now
Next, select the plan that you want. I chose basic. Basic and plus are the most popular ones they have.
You’ll then get asked to enter the domain name for your travel blog, so make sure to have this ready and enter it in.
It will then ask you for your account information. Fill this out and choose your package information. I chose the 36 month plan because it was the best deal.
Extras. It will then ask you if you want any extras. I opted out of these because you can always come back and buy them if you need them in the future.
Enter in your final payment info and click submit and there you go, you’re hosted on the web!
You’ll then get an email with your login info to your BlueHost portal. You can manage everything from here including emails, and support. This backend is where you’re going to install WordPress.
Step 3: Install WordPress
It’s now time to set up your actual WordPress account!
Within the BlueHost cPanel, you’re going to see a lot of different features. You don’t need to worry about most of these, in fact, I never login to my BlueHost account, only if I need support.
Within your BlueHost account, scroll down to the website section and click on the WordPress image.
Once you get to the quick install screen for WordPress, click the ‘Get Started’ button.
Next, select your domain name from the dropdown box and click Next.
You then will enter in your site name, username, and a password to log into your site. Check all the boxes and submit. Remember the site name you choose is what is going to appear to the outside public. You can change this if you’d like later on.
You’ll then start seeing WordPress being installed and you’ll see a popup to start looking at themes, but you don’t need to do that now. I’ll show you how I got themes later on.
Once WordPress is done installing you’ll see that the “installation is complete” at the top of the screen. Click on the link at the top bar.
You’ll then be taken to the screen with your WordPress login URL and password. Make sure to save these in a safe place.
Next, try going to your site. Your domain name will look like this: http://yoursite.com and the place you actually go to log-in to the backend of your site will look like this: http://yoursite.com/wp-admin (I recommend bookmarking this page). You’ll use your credentials to login in here every time you want to edit your site or post a blog post.
Step 4: Pick a Blog Theme
Now, this is the fun part in my opinion! I’ve gone through a bunch of different themes on my blog. I started with using a generic WordPress theme and then I upgraded to Solo Pine layouts, which I LOVE (especially for starting out) and now I’m on the Avada theme which is great for me now that I’ve learned more about the backend of WordPress.
Go to Appearance>Themes to change the theme of your site.
If you buy one of the above sites, you will be uploading the theme into this section and it will come with directions on how to do this.
Click on the ‘Add New’ button and you’ll be able to either scroll through thousands of different themes, or click on the ‘Upload New’ at the top to upload a theme you purchased. If you purchase your theme from either Solo Pine or Avada, they will provide you with instructions on how to install it into WordPress and it’s very simple.
Go for simplicity. When looking for a theme, make sure it’s pretty, has enough white space and is easy on the eyes. It will help keep things clean for your travel blog and be an easier experience for people visiting your site.
Click on the Theme you want and click “Install and Activate”
Once you’ve gotten your theme uploaded, click Appearance>Customize to adjust and edit your theme how you want it.
Step 5: Write Your First Travel Blog Post
Alright! It’s now time to write your first travel blog post. This is the exciting part.
Click on Posts>Add New on the dashboard
Start typing up your post. To save your post go on the right side panel and click “Save Draft”
Depending on your theme you’ll have different ways to edit your posts. You can always add photos, videos, and change text colors all within your blog editor.
Now it’s time to publish your first blog post. Click publish on the right hand side of the screen after you’ve clicked “Preview” and made sure everything looks good.
Yay! You’re a published blogger!
Step 6: Set Up Plugins
These are some of the most important plugins for Travel Bloggers. I’ve spent many years using different plug-ins and learning more about the backend of WordPress. You won’t be an expert at first, but I recommend fiddling around with the backend until you can get comfortable with how things look and how your posts are formatted.
Most themes will have guidance to help you navigate through set up and show you how things are looking.
Plugins are there to make your site work that much better for you. Here is a list of plugins that are my favorites for travel blogs here:
Go to Plugins>Add New
Here you’ll find tons of different plugins for your site to enhance the performance, tracking, and customization of your site. You can search for plugins in the upper search bar.
Here are some of the main plugins I use:
Yoast SEO – This helps me with my SEO and ranking on Google.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights – Eventually you’ll want to set up a Google Analytics account for your blog in order to have accurate tracking. There are a lot of resources on the web to help you set this up, but I recommend using this plug-in to integrate it with your site.
Jetpack – This is a great plugin that helps with site stats and a bunch of little but important things within your blog.
Akismet: Use this because you will probably start getting spammy comments. This catches them and deletes them automatically.
STEP 7: Promote Your Blog
There are really so many ways to promote your travel blog and I’m not even going to scratch the surface here! However, these are my favorite routes I’ve taken to get my blog out there and start to gain traffic.
Grab all of your social media handles – make sure to get ahold of the social handles for all different social media accounts. For travel blogging I mainly use instagram, facebook, twitter and pinterest.
Download a posting app like Buffer, HootSuite or dlvr.it. I mainly use Buffer because it auto posts for me.
And there ya have it folks! A full guide to start a travel blog! I really hope this helped some of you and even if you aren’t starting a travel blog, I hope this still helped. Please comment below if you have any other questions or suggestions for me and Happy Blogging!!
Welcome to the Traveling Spud! I’m Katie, a 30 something from Idaho who quit her marketing job in San Francisco, California to travel the world for a year. After a trip around the world, my heart chose Idaho. I'm addicted to outdoor adventures, photography, and inspiring others to get out of their comfort zones and cross experiences off of their bucket lists. Let's explore together! Read more here.