I started this hobby 5 years ago to document my travel and fitness journey. This is also my way of sharing my personal life with family and friends since I seldom see them whenever I’m traveling. Because of this blog, I had the privilege of meeting new people, getting free meals from generous sponsors, and receiving sample products or moolah.
Some of my friends DM me asking for advice on how to start a blog of their own. Since I can’t claim to be an expert blogger, I usually refer them to Darren Rowse’s site. He is my online coach when it comes to writing.
But I realized instead of referring them to his site, maybe I should make a post of my own. I figured it might at least be helpful to share what I’ve learned in the past few years. Especially about SEO. (More on this topic later)
Anyhoo, let’s get down to business! This detailed guide will help you get started with a sparkling new blog of your own.
How to start a travel blog?
- Choose a niche and a memorable travel blog name
- Get a hosting service and install free WordPress
- Site design and content creation
- Learn social media marketing and SEO
- Start blogging!
Part 1: Choose a Niche and a Memorable Travel Blog Name
Choosing a niche can be pretty hard to fill out. To some people, it could take a while to make a decision. For others, it just comes naturally. You have to ask yourself what do you wanna blog about, are you passionate about writing that topic, think about your strength or interests, can you write about this niche for a long time?
Here are some examples of popular travel niches:
- budget travel
- family travel
- solo travel
- luxury travel
- adventure travel
- senior citizen travel
- work-related travel
Check how many existing audiences are there for your niche. You can do this by utilizing tools like Moz and Semrush. You can look up what’s the popular content in a particular niche by typing a specific topic like “Things to do in Tokyo”, then you’ll get an idea what other bloggers wrote about that topic.
For the blog name, you probably have a domain name on top of your head. If not, let me offer you some advice. Pick a domain name that’s easy to recall and easy to spell coz that’s how you gonna brand yourself. Branding is important because if you decided to sell some products and services, it’s going to be easier to market.
Pick a name that’s not too long and not complicated to spell. Say for example you met someone on your road trip and you want them to check out your blog. You say something like, “Hey, since you’re into travel, maybe you would want to check out my blog for travel guides.” Then she pulled out her phone and Googled it. She goes, “Okay sure! How do you spell it?” Then you say, “It’s 24seventravel.com; the number 24 not the word twenty-four. Then the word seven, s-e-v-e-n travel dot com.” Do you see what I mean? Complicated to spell and kinda hard to spell.
Part 2: Get a Hosting Service and Install Free WordPress
A new website needs a place or server space to host all of the blog posts and pictures so people around the world can see what you’re sharing on the internet. Think of it as renting a space to store your website’s files. Bluehost seems to be the popular choice for most bloggers. For only $3.95 for the first 30 days with a free domain name (an $11.99 value). After 30 days, it’s gonna be $7.99 per month for the basic plan.
Once your blog becomes bigger, you can always upgrade to get more storage space and bandwidth. Pick a reliable web hosting service that has an automatic backup and 24/7 technical support team. So when something happens to your blog (let’s say it got hacked), you can chat or call them right away.
Here’s how to get one:
Step 1. Go to Bluehost page and click on the green button that says “get started now”
Step 2. Select your plan
Step 3. Reserve your Domain Name
Step 4. Register and pay
How to Install WordPress?
1.) Log in then go to your Bluehost cpanel
2.) Look for the website section, then click “Install WordPress”
3.) Click “Install“
4.) Pick the domain name where you want to install it. Create a subfolder and name it or just leave it blank to make the blog your main page.
5.) You have an option to edit your email address, username, and password for WordPress you just installed. Go to “advanced options” to edit those items.
6.) Go through the license and service agreements and check the boxes.
7.) Select install now.
Part 3: Site Design and Content creation
After you install WordPress, you can pick a theme to set up your blog’s overall look and feel. There are a variety of themes you can choose from for WordPress. Don’t spend too much time about the theme just yet when you’re just getting started. Start with free ones then once you have enough content, you can change the theme later on.
Here are the best sites to get WordPress Themes:
- Themeforest – It’s probably the most popular site that any bloggers would go to whenever they want to update the look and feel of their blog. It won’t hurt your budget since you can buy a nice WordPress theme for as low as $5 to $50. ThemeForest has a wide range of selection that can fit any style; minimalist, classic, modern, retro, etc. If you’re a graphic designer or web developer, you can also sell your creative projects on this site.
- StudioPress – If you want a mobile-responsive theme and design framework for WordPress, StudioPress would be your best bet. You can purchase professionally designed themes at a very reasonable price. They provide a hosted version of the Genesis Framework that’s Search Engine Optimized. You would want to consider this when buying a theme so you can rank well in the search engines so readers, customers, and clients can find you.
- Elegant Themes – This site has a great reputation for selling WordPress themes that has useful tools that are essential for running a blog. Most of their themes are easy to use, can be customized, and has excellent quality. You’ll like the visual page builder that makes it possible to design beautiful sites without coding and without installing and configuring a number of incoherent plugins.
- WPZoom – Each of their themes is easy-to-use, you don’t have to be a techie to configure and customize your blog by touching a code. You can easily use the visual customization options to match your site’s branding. Select the color and font choices for your blog to match your style and express yourself through your creativity.
- Woocommerce – Woocommerce is perfect bloggers/entrepreneurs to create customizable online stores. If you want your blog or e-commerce shop to appear professional looking, then you should check out their themes. Some are free and some are paid. You can start from entry level and then once your blog gets enough traffic, then you can always upgrade.
Part 4: Learn social media marketing and SEO
Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing comes in handy when you want to get exposure for your blog. They are both important because they increase your website’s trust, site’s visibility, and improve the user experience. Social media is one of the most profitable digital marketing platforms that’s easy to use especially for this generation.
Almost every human being on this planet has a cellphone. By spending only a few hours per week, your effort will pay off to heightened brand awareness. On the other hand, learning good SEO practices can benefit you in the long run since you’ll get a good ranking in search engine results page when you know the right keywords to use for your travel blog.
Before I started my blog, I was working as an SEO assistant for a company in Brisbane, Australia. I learned a lot of SEO best practices there and used it for my online business. Learning SEO made me quit my 9-5 job and started the digital nomad lifestyle. Every now and then I would read articles about SMM and SEO because it helps me keep updated.
Here are free online courses if you want to learn about Social Media Marketing:
- Hubspot Academy’s Inbound Marketing Certification
- Google Analytics Academy
- Facebook Advertising Blueprint
- GenM’s Social Media and Digital Marketing Apprenticeships
- Video Storytelling For Social Media
Learning Social Media Marketing is kinda overwhelming, but if you really want to learn this skill and use it for your travel blog or online business then you need to sacrifice and focus. Digital marketing is one of the most in-demand jobs out there, take it from me because I’m doing it for 7 years now. Once you learn SMM, try to learn SEO next. Check out this list!
The best SEO Courses you can find online:
- SEMrush Academy
- Yoast SEO Training
- SEO Training Course by Moz
- HubSpot Free SEO Crash Course
- ClickMinded Google SEO Certification
Part 5: Start blogging!
Travel blogging has different ways of writing. You can adopt a journal way type of post, how to guides, or freestyle. Whichever way you like it, there’s no right or wrong way to write a blog. Your content could be articles, videos, podcast, infographics or photos.
Most people read travel blogs because they need information about a place. If you know how to deliver a mix of content types, then that would be great. Your unique voice of storytelling will draw readers to you. You probably read a lot of stuff about a specific place, like Tokyo. But if you use your creativity and add videos to your article post, chances are you’ll get more traffic to your blog.
After you set up your travel blog, decide what places to feature, what type of content you want to put up, and what angles to write about. You’ll want to have at least 10 articles saved in your draft folder before launching. This will allow you to have enough time to release your posts as you work on your next articles.
Having this travel and fitness blog (pinaynomad.com) is my way of documenting and sharing my passion for fitness and travel. I already made a few hundred dollars from this blog but I haven’t really monetized it yet. Maybe in the next few months, I will sell digital products or do affiliate marketing to make extra income for my 3 energetic dogs and 3 lazy cats. Anyhoo, hope these guidelines will help you in starting your first blog. If you have any questions, please leave a comment down below. Thanks! 😉