How To Start a Travel Blog – A Guide for Beginners
This article is for anyone who wants to learn how to start travel a blog from scratch. In just 10 minutes, your new blog could be up and running. In that time, you’ll choose a blog name, set-up a hosting package, install WordPress and customize the look of your blog. We’ll even show you the basics of post creation and traffic building strategies.
This guide is so simply written that you don’t need to know anything about web design or computers to follow it.
Learning how to start a travel blog can be intimidating at first. Choosing the right host, a good name and the perfect theme can be confusing. But I’ve done it numerous times and I will make it easy for you by walking you through the process, step-by-step.
We decided to start a travel blog in 2012 and it took a while, but today it earns between $6000 – $10,000 USD per month, after tax and we only “work” around 15 hours / week. To start your blog today, you won’t spend more than $3.95 / month. That’s less than $50 for the year… a pretty good investment if you ask me!
Are you tired of working at a job you don’t enjoy so that you can save for limited travel? Do you want to get paid to travel the world instead?
Ask any successful travel blogger, the best way to do this is to start a travel blog.
Don’t wait another day to start your blog. It only takes 10 minutes and it can change your life. I’m not trying to sell you anything in this post, I just know that a post like this one changed my life 5 years ago and I’d like to pay it forward.
Let’s get started!
STEP 1 – Choose Your Domain
I’m going to walk you through every step of this very easy procedure, and it will probably only take around 10 minutes to get your blog online, so let’s get started. Click the blue button below and a new tab will open. This is the SiteGround hosting service page where you will essentially chose your blog name and get it online.
When you click the button, a new screen will open. Return to this screen to follow more step-by-step instructions.
Click the above button and automatically receive 60% off your blog StartUp cost for a limited time!
From the SiteGround hosting page (pictured below), Click the “Get Started” button under StartUp. This is the cheapest SiteGround plan and it’s perfect for beginners and right now, they’re offering 60% off their usual rates.
Once you click “Get Started” on the SiteGround page, you’ll be brought to a domain registration page like the one below:
The domain name is the part of your website that goes between the “www.” and the “.com” in your web address (URL) and it will also be your blog name, your company and your brand, so choose wisely.
Consider choosing a name that is relevant to what your blog will be about (not like Goats On The Road! Oops…). If you’re a family travel blog, consider having the word “family” in your name. Backpacking? Perhaps use the word “backpacker” somewhere in the name.
Enter your new blog name / domain name into the field between “www.” and “.com” and hit proceed.
Having trouble thinking of a name? Email nick(at)goatsontheroad(dot)com and I can help you!
Step 2 – Your Hosting Package
What is Site Hosting? Basically, companies like SiteGround have massive servers (computers) set up all around the world. When you pay for hosting, you’re essentially paying for your space on those servers so that people can access your blog online. Every blog must have a host.
If you ever have a problem with your website, contact your hosting service (in this case, SiteGround) and they will help you fix any issue. It’s important to choose a reliable hosting service because they will be the beating heart of your blog and you must be able to rely on them.
Another great thing about SiteGround is that when you pay for 12 months or more of hosting, you get your domain registration (the part in Step 1) for free. They’ll also install WordPress for you (free of charge) and help you every step of the way. Make sure you have pop-up and ad blockers turned off as they can mess up the chat screens.
Okay, back to creating your blog. After you choose your domain name and hit “proceed”, you’ll arrive at a purchase page like the one below. Fill out all of your info. For “Password”, choose a secure password and write it down because we’ll need it in step 3.
Enter in all of your information, including your credit card info. Sign up for 12 months at first so that you get the free domain registration and set-up help from SiteGround. You can decide to cancel or renew after a year if you’d like.
Under “Extra Services” keep the box ticked that says “Domain Registration” but uncheck the other two boxes for now. We’re trying to start a travel blog for as little money as possible today. You can pay to add these later if you’d like.
Make sure the box at the bottom of the page that says “I confirm that I have read and agree to the SiteGround Terms of Service.” is ticked and then hit the button that says Pay Now.
As soon as you hit that “Pay Now” button, you are eligible for Our Free eBook. We put a lot of time into collecting our best posts from Goats On The Road and giving you some never before published traffic boosting and money-making tips. Click the button below, enter your email and get your free copy!
After you’ve made your payment to SiteGround, you will receive a payment receipt and a confirmation email in your inbox. The first important steps of creating your blog are complete. You now officially own your domain and your site is ready to go online!
STEP 3 – Install WordPress (Put Your Blog Online)
Okay, so you’ve chosen your domain name (ie: www.YourNewBlog.com) and you’ve paid for 1 year of hosting, now you need WordPress so that you can add posts, pictures and pages to your site – without knowing a bunch of complex, geeky code! Don’t worry… it’s free and really easy to set up.
WordPress is by far the most popular and easy-to-use software for bloggers. It’s totally free and it’s an open platform so you have lots of freedom to grow and learn.
In your confirmation email from SiteGround, you’ll see your new User Name and Password which you created in Step 2 and which you can use to sign-in to your SiteGround User Area.
Click Here to go to the SiteGround page and enter your new username and password on the top right of the screen to log in.
This will bring you to the User Area where you can install WordPress. From the User Area, click the “My Accounts” tab at the top of the screen. Then click the button that says “Go To cPanel”.
You are now in your website’s backend or “Control Panel”. To install WordPress, scroll down and look for the button that says “Softaculous” (I have no idea why they call it this) under the “AUTOINSTALLERS” heading.
After you click “Softaculous”, you’ll be brought a screen with lots of different software you can install. For today, we’re just going to install WordPress. To do so, simply hover over the WordPress icon and click “Install”.
Now you’ll be taken to the final step of setting up WordPress with your new SiteGround account – the WordPress Setup screen. Here you’ll fill in all of the boxes to set up your WordPress account. Fill in the blanks as shown in the screenshot below and then click “Install”.
That’s it! Now you’ve installed WordPress and your blog is ready to go!
STEP 4 – Choose & Customize a WordPress Theme
Now comes the fun part – you get to choose what your new blog will look like! But first, you have to sign in to your new WordPress blog.
I know, there’s been a lot of signing into different areas today and some new passwords to remember. Don’t worry, from now on you’ll mostly just be signing into WordPress.
To do this, open a new browser window and type “yournewblog.com/admin” into the website field (of course, change “yournewblog” to the name of your actual blog).
You’ll then see the WordPress Login screen. Type in the username and password that you entered in the WordPress set-up screen from step 3.
The next screen will be your WordPress Dashboard. This is where all of the bloggy magic happens. If you want to play around in here for a bit, go for it! Get to know the many different sections of your WordPress blog.
The dashboard is where you’ll start new posts, change your website appearance, add plugins and make your website become an extension of YOU.
Now let’s get on with your blog customization and theme installation. In the WordPress Dashboard, look on the left-hand toolbar and hover over “Appearance”, then click “Themes”.
A screen will load like the one below. You can then click the button that says: “Add New Theme”.
This will take you to a screen that will allow you to choose from thousands of themes! Take your time. When you start a travel blog, you want to kick it off with a style and theme that suits you and your new brand.
To see what each theme looks like, just hover over it and click the “Preview” button. Once you’ve chosen a theme, hover over it and click the “Install” button.
Now that you’ve picked the perfect theme, you can go in and customize it by adding your own logos, colours, pictures, widgets and page elements. This is how you customize your theme to be just how you want it.
Make sure you’re in the “Themes” section of the Dashboard by hovering over “Appearance” and clicking “Themes” again.
You’ll now see your new theme on the screen ready to customize. Hover over your theme and click the “Customize” button. This will bring you to a screen that will allow you to change the colours and layout of your theme.
In the image below, you can see an example of the theme customization page. Going down the left hand side you can see which theme you’re editing and different parts of the theme that you can change.
The options to customize your theme that appear on the left-hand side are as follows:
- Site Identity: The title of your site and the tagline that will show up in Google searches
- Colours: Edit the different colours on your blog. From background colours to font colours.
- Header Image: Most themes will have a header image at the top. Here you can upload a picture of yourself to show on your home page.
- Background Image: Sometimes sites have an image as a background. This can look too busy though so be careful if you choose to upload a background image here.
- Menus: Here you can change what will appear in the menu bar at the top of the page. Write the structure of your blog on a piece of paper, then transfer it to your menu. Make sure your readers can easily navigate your site!
- Widgets: These are those cool things you find in the side bar of most blogs. Choose and customize them here.
Each theme is different and offers different things that you can customize. Play around for a while in here and try to find a layout that is fun, interesting and most importantly – easy to read and navigate.
STEP 5 – Start Travel Blogging!
Now that you’ve chosen your blog layout, theme and colours, it’s time to begin blogging. You have a lot of work and research ahead of you.
For now, let’s just start with the basics. Writing a blog post. To do this, head back to your WordPress Dashboard and at the top of the screen hover over the “+New” button and click “Post”.
You’ll then be brought to the Edit Post Screen. Here you can type away and create as many blog posts as you want. Get writing! The more content you create, the quicker your blog will grow. If you can write a post a day, or even just 3 posts / week, you’re doing a great job.
Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. If you can only write 1 article per week, always write just 1 and publish it at the same time of day. If you can publish every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4:00 pm, stick to that schedule.
Google loves it when a blog produces content on a reliable schedule… like a newspaper.
Try to write things that people will find useful. How-to’s, guides, hacks etc. Don’t just write a diary. These types of blogs hardly ever attract readers or make any money without some level of useful information.
Now you’ll want to set up your social media accounts for your blog. Don’t use your personal social media accounts for this. Set up an entirely new Facebook fan page, Twitter account, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest etc. Set up as many as you think you can handle and continuously post on each account.
After you’ve produced a lot of useful content (posts) on your blog and you’ve started your social media accounts, you’ll want to start with basic marketing of your blog so that you can grow your readership and eventually earn money.
To do this, you’ll want to share your articles on your social media accounts, and do A TON of guest posts.
Email all of your favourite bloggers and ask them if you can write an article on their site and link back to your new blog from it. If your blog is about budget travel, then the anchor text should be “budget travel”… like this: Budget Travel. In that link, the words “Budget Travel” link to GoatsOnTheRoad.com.
Those words are called “anchor text” and the more links you have with certain anchor texts, the more likely Google will show you in search results for those terms.
Be careful not to create hundreds of the exact same anchor texts in different guest posts because it can start to look spammy. Choose variations of your main anchor texts and link to specific articles with anchor texts that match the articles’ main point.
For example, if I wanted to write multiple guest posts and link back to this post I would use anchor texts like Start A Blog, Create a Blog, Start a Blog From Scratch etc.
Now you’re going to continue to write new content, add new pictures and posts to your social media accounts and write a ton of guest posts for months on end. This will be your routine. Recycle it over and over and watch your traffic grow.
It will be VERY slow for the first year, but suddenly things will speed up, Google will start to recognize you and you’ll start growing a loyal readership. Once you’ve grown some traffic, you’ll be able to start earning an income.
Note: To keep track of your traffic, you’ll want to set up Google Analytics. Click Here to learn how to do that.
Because this article is “How To Start a Travel Blog”, I won’t get into too much detail about creating posts, using WordPress, running social media and marketing your blog online. For now, we’ve covered the basics to start a blog that can one day earn you a full-time income.
You can check out our Travel Blogging Section for more about running a blog, plus, we’ll have more step-by-step tutorials like this coming soon. We’re going to cover everything from how to earn free travel, get flown around the world on press trips and get paid to travel.
If you bought your domain and built your blog through affiliate links in this post, thank-you so much for your support! Don’t forget to email me at nick(at)goatsontheroad(dot)com to get your free copy of my Travel Blogging eBook.
MORE POSTS TO GET YOU AMPED ABOUT TRAVEL BLOGGING:
- From Hobby To Career: The Complete Evolution Of Our Blog
- 5 Crucial Steps To Creating A Successful Travel Blog
- Interview With A Pro Blogger – Ryan Biddulph
- How Much Does This Blog Make?
- Is Travel Blogging a Reliable Source of Income?
- A Day In The Life of a Digital Nomad
- Answering Your Money Questions About Blogging
- Our Location Independent Lifestyle – How Much Does it Cost?
- How To Boost Your Blog Traffic
- 5 Easy Ways Blogging Can Support Your Lifestyle
- 5 Bloging Accomplishments That We’re Proud Of
If you have any questions about running a blog, or you run into any troubles while following the steps in this article, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.
Congratulations! You are now officially a blogger!
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