It is my thorough belief that everyone should blog, and I do not mean just to earn money. If you approach it as a cynical exercise in generating revenue, then you’ll likely fail. To succeed at blogging (and, incidentally, earn money), you need to be truly passionate about it.
And the kicker? It’s never been easier to make your own website than it is in 2020. Websites can be as simple or complicated as you like and can be put together with zero technical knowledge whatsoever.
Here’s our guide on how to start a travel blog.
1. Think of an idea
This article might be called “how to start a travel blog”, but the world is already full of travel bloggers – or worse, wannabe travel bloggers. You’re probably ten years too late if you wanna be a Wandering Earl type. But niches know no bounds; there are too many examples to cite here, but food blogs and more esoteric ones (Soviet travel blogs, for instance) can do very well. I personally went down the route of street food. Why? Because I’m passionate about it! As previously noted: it’s important to be passionate about your subject matter.
2. It’s all about the domain name
The domain name is essential, so let’s go through some real do’s and don’ts!
A proper domain name will set you back around $10 or less, so don’t be cheap and get something as generic as happyvegan.wordpress.com – this is the 21st-century equivalent of having an Angelfire account (been there).
There are also a lot of new TLDs (top-level domains, or the suffixes you see after the website name): .life, .site, .party, .xyz and so on and so forth. These are not awful but should generally be avoided. .com and .net are still kings, with .info useful at a push. Most of the best .coms have long been taken, of course, but if you’re creative you can still find something. I got streetfoodguy.com in 2019.
Final point on domains: keep them simple. It’s easy enough to tell someone “streetfoodguy.com, all one word” and have them remember it. If I had something like “gaz4food.top”, I have to explain how to spell ‘gaz’ and whether or not it’s the numeral or the word for ‘4’ etc. etc.
3. You need a host
The host is where you park your website – the land, as it were. You might own the house but you’re just renting the land. If you’re a first-time blogger, I’d go with an established player like Siteground. They’re fast, cheap and have great customer service.
They’re not really built for sites with huge traffic, but walk before you run, baby! You can move to a private server later.
4. Build your website
Ten years ago this step wasn’t so easy, but now it really is. There are various platforms out there like Joomla and Wix, which are not too bad (the best I can say). There’s also the industry standard: WordPress.
Go onto Siteground, install WordPress onto your new domain (Siteground can walk you through this), and then either use a theme they provide, find a free one online, or even buy a premium one. There are literally thousands of WordPress themes available to download.
After this, research on how to use WP and start playing around with it. Don’t index your site off the bat, and maybe set up a subdomain to practise on. Remember: content beats glitz!
5. It’s all about social media
It really is up to you how much social media you embrace, but in reality, you need at least Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can easily link these to your site using widgets and plugins.
6. Install the WordPress App
There’s a great app for both iOS and Android that gives you site stats and will even let you add blogs on the fly. I really couldn’t recommend this app more!
7. Write – share – write (eat sleep rave repeat)
As blindingly obvious as this sounds: you won’t get anywhere without writing stuff. Write as much as you can, try to optimise your blogs (which we’ll talk about in another post), proofread everything you do, make it interesting (duh) and start sharing.
The sky really is the limit, but it’s not as simple as A-B-C. If you don’t love your subject matter, people aren’t gonna love reading it. This brings us back to the Golden Rule of blogging: be passionate about your topic!
I personally love to help any aspiring blogger, so feel free to get in touch if you want to geek out on blogging and SEO.
Street Food Guy drops the mic….