Starting a travel blog has never been easier. All you need is a little bit of initial investment, some amazing travel stories and couple of hours per week to manage the whole thing. Unlike before, when creating a website involved some degree of programming skills, blog platforms seem to be doing most work for you. All you really need to do is learn how to manage content, add pictures, respond to comments and share your writing. So let’s look at the process step by step and some travel blog tips to successfully market your content.
Travel blog tips – starting from scratch
This blog was created on WordPress platform. There are 2 options, so you need to decide first if you are going to monetize your blog or not. I would suggest going with the monetized version, even if it’s not your first priority, you would still get a better access to modify your blog the way you want it.
WordPress.com – allows you to create a free blog with their extension ( e.g. yourblogname.wordpress.com) or with you own domain name, which you can purchase here (Products -> Domains). Remember, that you will have to pay WordPress around 14$ one time fee to move your existing blog to new domain name (your custom address). It’s certainly a good option to start and in case you are not looking to make any money off your blog with ads. If it is in your plans, however, my travel blog tips would suggest the second option:
WordPress.org – essentially free collection of themes. To use wordpress.org you would need a good hosting. I recommend using Bluehost – they are super easy and have great support. Plus, they offer the best prices I’ve seen on the market.
So here is how you do it:
- Sign up for Bluehost and pick the best package to suit your requirements. For starters, a 1-year contract may be enough, but you can save significantly by choosing 3-year deal.
- Pick a domain name that you like. Remember to create a catchy name related to your blog content. That will help to rank better with search engines.
- You will be offered a few extra service. Make your own decision whether or not to go for them. For a starting blog it might be good to have a search engine jump start package. However, it’s not going to be the end of the world if you skip all of them altogether. Creating a successful blog takes time and the readers will come from different sources, most of them are free.
4. Once you have completed the order, it’s time to install WordPress. Here is a step-by-step guide what you need to do.
Login to your Bluehost account. Here is what you will see:
Click on the Install WordPress in the website builders section and start button as per below.
Add domain name
Now fill the information required:
Once the installation has been completed, you will be prompted to enter username and password to access admin view of your website.
Congratulations! you have successfully created a website. Now it’s time to make it pretty! To add a theme, go to Appearance tab on the left side bar and chose Themes. Pick the Theme that you like, taking into account your blog topic and possible layout of content. Try different themes. Don’t worry – if you don’t like it, you can always change it later, even if you already have some posts published.
The theme that I used in this blog is Nisarg. I have selected this theme because it has clear structure, very easy to manage (add/modify widgets – sections on the right side), has great looks (the header picture was part of the theme, but it can easily be replaced). There are other good themes out there, and I have had 3 other themes before, but so far this has been the best of all. It’s important to remember that travel blog is read as a journal so it should look like one. Therefore, blog posts should come like stories. I like the idea of having different categories both on the upper menu as well as on the right. This helps my readers navigate to the topic and find more stories. It’s important to have good navigation, when your blog is getting bigger.
Creating and managing quality content is highly important, especially for a new blogger. In the end of the day it’s your blog content that will bring you visitors. In other words – you need to create value for your readers. Give them something they won’t get anywhere else. In my experience, the best thing to blog about in a travel blog are personal stories and experiences. Your readers will be looking for unique stories, insider tips and recommendations. That’s what makes a good blogger. If you have something to say that hasn’t been on every second travel blog already, your audience will find you eventually.
Still, you don’t need to be constantly on the road. The best travel blog tips I got included writing about your home town – as long as it is an attractive destination. In fact, the remoter it is – the better. Some highly visited destinations have been covered in much depth already. What people need are fresh stories and insider tips.
To add a new post, navigate the side panel and choose Posts – Add new. Make sure to pick a catchy title (check with Adwords if needed). I recommend using Yoast SEO plugin – it will give you some good recommendation how to improve your post to have a higher SEO ranking with search engines. Once installed (Plugins-Add new-search for Yoast SEO), you will find the window looking like this one:
Try to make both SEO and Readability turn green, then your post will have better chances to stand out.
It’s also important to place new post in a proper category, add tags and featured image. When adding images, make sure to add alt tag (alternative text that will be displayed in case the pictures can’t be shown). Remember that you can only add your own images, o those allowed for publication. I recommend using Pixabay.com for good looking free images.
Marketing and collaborating with other bloggers
There are many different ways how to market your blog. The easiest is simply to pay someone else t do it. For example, you can pay Google to have your blog coming up high in the search results. Basically this can be achieved with good SEO and a bit of time. Facebook ads could be useful too.
However, if paying for ads is not in your plans, you may consider a few other ways and travel blog tips to promote your blog:
Quora is an Questions & Answers type of website, where you can post or answer questions you have expertise in. For example, there are quite many travel related topics. If you are good at answering questions there, you can attract quite a lot of visitors to your own blog. This is how it works: you post an answer to a question (“Things to do in Spain”) and as a source/to get more info on the topic you can add a reference to your blog. This way people who are interested will follow the link and land on your amazing new blog.
Facebook page is another way to attract visitors. You should think about setting up a Facebook fan page as well as like button on your blog. However, you’ll also need followers. So how to attract people to like your Fb page? I found it quite useful joining Travel blogger groups – there are a few out there. You will get a chance to meet fellow bloggers, exchange ideas, show your blog to others and ask for page likes (in return you should like their pages). If you commit yourself to this, I promise, you will see amazing results. Sometimes it only takes a little bit of luck and getting to know the right people. You might even get featured on other people’s blogs. This leads us to next recommendation –
Guest blogging In order to expand your network and get a good amount of views, I recommend guest blogging. You can easily do that via Facebook travel blogger groups. Sometimes there are other bloggers looking for people like you. Grab that chance and try to guest blog a few times. You will get very useful backlinks that will raise your ranking with search engines and attract visitors from those blogs. Also, allow others to guest blog for you. It’s a win-win situation!
Good luck, young travel bloggers! Let’s stick together and help each other! You can contact me via my facebook page (like box in the upper right corner) for possible guest blogging.