So, you’d like to learn to blog?
Oh yeah, and you love traveling. Me too. Well, the second one. There’s a lot of so-so advice online on travel blogging these days but it always seems “experts” want us to buy something of theirs. So in this post I’ll show you the DIY way to start a travel blog, and at the end you’ll meet some other travel bloggers already dominating the web. I hope this inspires you – let us know in the comments!
Prerequisite: Take this travel blogger quiz
First and foremost, welcome! You’re at the right place if you want to start a travel blog. My guides here and on The Tube have helped hundreds maybe even thousands of people start blogs, but this isn’t about me.
This is about you.
You’ve seen travel blogs and read big sites have journeyed the world too, and darnit it’s your turn to have some fame.
To start off, how about a quiz to make sure we’re on the same page?
I mean really – can you blog? Blogging is a way more curious, interactive form of writing than you might think and if you’re going to be spending time with me in this post I want to make sure you’re serious. Are you going to make something memorable?
I’ll give you a few seconds to post your answer down below in the comments.
Done? Ok, let’s continue with why travel blogs are so awesome.
The blogosphere is crowded these days, but I want you to crush it!
4 reasons you need a travel blog today
A travel blog is where your adventures – at least how the world reads them – will begin. But blogging is about even more than adventures…
Career expansion. Your blog is proof you’ve been there, done that. Do it right and people will listen in the corporate setting.
Personal development. Learn about Google Analytics, coding, SEO, traffic and other topics you’ve heard others mastering.
Storytelling. Love sharing your stories? You can craft a blog however you want and your audience is unlimited.
Earn money. The golden age of online advertising is here. Can you imagine traveling the globe while your blog pays the bills? If so, I think the video at the bottom can help.
The list goes on and on and at the end of the day, if he or she can do it, why can’t you?
Travel blog roadmap
Let’s do this!!
Okay, so our goal is to start the best travel blog this side of the Mississippi. Here are the 5 steps we’ll be taking today:
☑ Pick a sexy domain name
☁ Stake out your WordPress web hosting
♕ Install WordPress, the software you own *
☰ Write 3 posts (I’ll help you get started with your content)
$$$ Monetize – make money with a travel blog
* In this guide I’m gonna show you how to easily setup a complete WordPress blog, the #1 CMS (content management system) and the same platform used by like Jay-Z, FORBES, Paris Hilton, Time Inc, Ariana Grande and more. Unlike a free blog, you will own your travel blog 100%.
Difference between “free blogging” and WordPress
Free blog hosting sites (Blogger, Tumblr, etc) are sort of like Facebook. You login to their site and use their features. It’s fun – try it out! The downside is you get a domain name they control and you cannot earn money. WordPress, on the other hand, is also free software but you must pay about as much as a cup of coffee per month to use your domain name and WordPress web hosting.
Whichever route you go, I hope the tactics here really help!
Step 1: Chose your domain name
The first step is actually really exciting!
You’ve got to choose your very first .com, .net, .org or whatever else you want!
(Note: A URL and a domain name and a website address all refer to the same thing)
Domain name tips for your new travel blog:
- Include at least 1 keyword. This largely improves your chance of ranking in Google.
- Try to be clever. But, be meaningful and brief too. Think about how beautiful “Twitter” or “Instagram” sounds.
- Don’t use hyphens or numbers unless you have to.
Your first name or a nickname can work well – I own both gregorynarayan.com, my portfolio site, and narayguy.com, which is a travel blog! I also own some “exact match” sites like beginnerwordpresstutorial.com, which is good for SEO but not so hot for branding.
An exact match domain name explains exactly what the site is, like if “Google.com” were “SearchEngine.com”.
Bounce some ideas around in the comments and we’ll throw you a Roman Empire thumbs up or down.
Step 2: Stake out your WordPress web hosting
A domain name is your own branded website address online.
Domain name idea: ✓
Web hosting, however is the plot of land in virtual reality space where your site will live. With these two things under your belt you can install WordPress and basically do anything you want.
The hosting is where your blog lives, as such it’s important not to leave this space up to a free site where you have little say in proceedings.
WordPress is also gaining market share – which means real companies will hire you for your WordPress website and blogging skills.
Where to get your domain and hosting
In the olden days we had to connect a bunch of wires in our living rooms and run the dial-up to get a blog going. (I actually found it fun, but I’m a nerd!)
Nowadays, companies like HostGator make it much easier to setup a domain and hosting.
As such, I’m recommending HostGator in this guide. You can get a domain and hosting for dirt cheap, they have 24/7 support, and they just plain work. All my blogs and sites live at HostGator.
And yes, you do need a host of some sort to use WordPress.
Note: There are several good hosts on the interwebs so please do your homework. If you choose HostGator and use my links/coupons to sign up, I earn a small commission at no cost to you, which helps me keep teaching and blogging. In other words there is a material connection between this site and HostGator, and you should know I receive compensation for reviewing their services. Thanks! If we ever meet up, beers on me!!
Step 3: Install WordPress like the pros
Domain name idea: ✓
Where to host: ✓
You have a domain name ready, a clear roadmap and HostGator can help. So, how do we make a WordPress blog for our new travel blog?
I present to you…
The quickest and most travelled route to setup WordPress. Period.
Stay with me – we’re gonna go quick and you’ll be blogging soon!
Note: click images to englarge
First and foremost, visit www.hostgator.com and click on the yellow “View Web Hosting Plans” button in the center of your screen.
Next, choose a Hatchling plan for 1 year as we’re doing here. This is the most chosen option, but choosing just 1 month is fine too.
Now, tell HostGator your domain name and they’ll see if it’s available or not…
Next, create a basic account. Make sure your info is accurate and secure. You can pay via PayPal or credit card.
Uncheck the hosting addons – you don’t need those.
Okay, now it’s time to purchase our domain and hosting package, then we’ll install WordPress.
But wait, there are coupons!
And you can use them to get a darn good deal.
HostGator coupon codes
Here’s how to use a coupon when signing up for your new WordPress hosting package:
If you are setting everything up for 1 year, use coupon “take30off” to save 30% on the package. This is in fact the largest discount available. However if you are just trying this all out for 1 month, use coupon “coffeemoney” to get the hosting part of it for 1 penny.
Check out these screenshots for full information on what your prices will look like:
Scenario 1: Register for 1 year, save 30% using “take30off”
Scenario 2: Register for 1 month, get the hosting portion for 1 penny using “coffeemoney”
Great, once you triple check that the numbers look good, click Create Account and pay.
Next, you’ll get a confirmation page from HostGator followed by an email call “Your Account Info”. This is what the email looks like:
Open the email, and using your assigned username and password within the email login to your Control Panel.
We can take a full adventure through the cPanel later but let’s stay on track for now. Now, we can scroll down to the QuickInstall icon, which looks like this. Click it!
Welcome to QuickInstall!
Next, we can click WordPress in the left navigation, and the click continue.
Select your domain name, then fill in the blanks appropriately, leaving the box beneath your domain name blank.
Okay, ready? We’re going to click Install Now! and watch as WordPress rather magically gets put onto our new domain name and hosting.
You’ll get a congratulations message (congrats!) accompanied by a WordPress username, temporary password, and login link. Save that password, bookmark the link, and let’s go on in!
Welcome to WordPress!
So here you are, on your new blog, and you feel totally lost. Or maybe you’re just going to caveman it and destroy it until you learn everything. I actually like plan B!
Either way, time to watch this WordPress theme tutorial I made for you:
Step 4: Time to start writing, bucko
Firstly, I’ve got a couple words for the old folk-lore you’ve probably heard that Content is King.
You have (it’s proven) about 5 seconds to show readers your content is worth it so you had been put some sweat and tears into this beast.
Mini-roadmap for early content
☆ Write a welcome to the blog type post
– Explain who you are, your background experience, your goals and include a mission statement.
☆ Your next post is goofy; it needs to show character
– Open up a little. This will help you stand out.
☆ Your next post is cornerstone; it needs to show expertise
– Time to really write. Create a guide to fishing or a tutorial on basket weaving in Alaska. Either way, prove you are an authority in the making.
There’s a million paths to success (and failure) in blogging so having this initial direction will help you stay tied down and focused going forward.
Once the time is right, launch! Focus on one social media outlet, instead of three or four. You only get one chance at a first impression, so make it special! Shoot me an email if you have any questions no how to launch a blog with some pop!
Step 5: Monetize! Travel blogging for money
I’m embedding a video for you below that shows not only the WordPress blog setup we just did, but how to make money on ANY sort of blog. Have a peep:
For those not keen on monetization (most of us) here’s how it goes:
- You start a blog
- You sign up for Amazon Associates
- You sign up for Google Adsense
- You sign up for an affiliate program of your choosing
- Then it’s all on you
Now I know there are guides out there that will claim to make you profits and the king of this and that but I really think it comes down to your own smarts and wits. The good news is it’s incredibly easy to join online programs that do pay out real money each month.
The bad news is, and I’m telling you this, is no one’s going to make the money but you.
How to make money travel blogging? First learn from the pros
When it comes to making money with a travel blog, the skies the limit (it honestly is, unlike of salary based earnings, you can earn as much as you want). But it may help to know who’s really killing it out there in terms of growth, audience, and earnings:
Here are some global blogging presences who are absolutely annihilating it!
☞ Chris Gillebeau – Critically acclaimed travel hacker – writes ChrisGuillebeau.com
☞ Tsh Oxenreider – Works remotely with husband and 3 kids – writes TheArtofSimpleTravel.net
☞ Glen Allsop: Blogging nomad based in Asia writing on SEO – writes ViperChill.com
And it’s really no surprise they all use their own uniquely, heavily customized version of WordPress.
The End (but not really)
When it comes to travel blogging, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t competition.
And I bet they’re terrified now 🙂
Note: As this is an early version of a long-form blogging guide, I’ll be adding new sections! Let me know what information you think might be missing here and I’ll try my best to fit it in, with due credit to you of course. Thanks again as usual.