Starting a travel blog doesn’t have to be difficult. With a few skills, some hard work, and a small investment, you can learn how to create a travel blog that makes you money while you travel (and partner with travel companies all around the world!). Just follow these five simple steps.
Before we get started, if you’re just looking for advice on how to start a travel blog for your family and friends, there’s an easy solution–you can set up a free blog on WordPress.com to keep everybody back home updated on your travels.
But if you’re serious about making a travel blog, and if you want to become successful at it, there’s a little bit more to it. To be perfectly honest, building a successful travel blog is hard work and it does require a small investment up front (about $100 to get started). But if you hope to make money from it someday, or even travel for free, I guarantee you it’s well worth it.
Ready to get started? Here’s are five essential steps on how to start a travel blog:
- Name your blog and buy the domain name
- Find a reliable web host
- Install and setup WordPress
- Style your new blog with the perfect theme
- Start building your audience and making money!
A travel blog is nothing without a name, and a name is nothing without first an idea. Try to pick something unique, memorable and easy to spell. You want a name that you can use as a brand without having to explain.
Imagine you’re on a talk show and you have 5 seconds to plug your blog—could you do it? Avoid hyphens or strange spellings—this makes your name more confusing to people when you tell them how to find you.
I picked travelFREAK because its short, brandable, and it’s memorable. It should mean something to you, and should bring depth to your style and your niche.
Here’s a handy tool to check if your blog name is available:
Getting creative with your name can be tough these days. Words like Wandering, Adventurous, Nomadic, and Vagabond have all been well-used, so try to think outside the box. If you have an idea for a name but aren’t totally sure, feel free to send me a message and we can bounce some ideas around! I love that kind of stuff.
When you’re done brainstorming, and once you’ve come up with a catchy name, the next step is to get some web hosting. If your domain name is the address, your web host is the actual apartment that you rent.
You’ll want to start with an affordable hosting plan that offers one-click WordPress installation. I recommend Bluehost for beginners and WP Engine for blogs that are receiving more than 1,000 page views per day.
As someone who used to work in IT, I stand by Bluehost and have no qualms about recommending them. They’re affordable, reliable, have 24/7 customer support, and they make it very easy to set up WordPress. Click here to sign up with Bluehost for as low as $3.95/mo (plus you get a free domain name!).
Your travel blog awaits!
Here’s how to get started with Bluehost:
First, pick a plan. I recommend the basic plan which is the least expensive and has everything you need to get you started.
Then, pick your term. You’ll have to pay for at least a year up front—the longer the term, the cheaper the monthly price. Don’t worry, if you’re ever not happy, Bluehost will send you a refund for your unused time, no questions asked. They’re good like that.
Lastly, choose your add-ons. The only one I’d recommend is Domain Privacy Protection which will keep your data safe and hidden from public record. Otherwise, marketers can find your information and send you unsolicited emails.
After you’ve registered with Bluehost, you should get an email with details on logging into your control panel. Now it’s time to set up WordPress!
WordPress is the number one blogging and website platform on the Internet today, and it’s the only framework I recommend. The wide variety of themes and plugins that are available make it the most versatile and easy-to-use blogging solution on the web.
Luckily, Bluehost has a fully functional control panel which makes it incredibly easy to set up and install WordPress. Select WordPress from their control panel and install everything in just one click.
For more detailed instructions, follow their tutorial here.
When the install is complete, you should receive an email with all of your site login information. They’ll tell you where to go to login so you can start designing your site and publishing blog posts!
Okay, you’re getting close! With WordPress installed, you officially have the foundation of a travel blog. Now comes the fun part—deciding how you want your blog to look.
This will determine the feel of your site, so make sure you do your due diligence and pick a good theme.
WordPress has a huge database of free themes, which you can look through here, and they make a great starting point. If you really want to spruce things up a little, I recommend picking a premium theme. It will likely cost $50-$100, and it will give you a unique design, more advanced options, and greater control over how your new travel blog looks.
Where to find WordPress themes:
ElegantThemes – ElegantThemes make beautiful WordPress themes, which are perfect for starting a travel blog. They’re a very reputable brand and they make beautiful themes which are perfect for a travel blog. Plus they have great documentation and support. Divi, their flagship theme, is insanely easy to use, it’s beautiful out-of-the-box (but highly-customizable), and it includes a visual page builder so you never have to touch a piece of code.
ThemeForest – ThemeForest is a huge database of premium WordPress themes which I always reference if I’m designing a new site. There are a lot of styles to choose from, so if you’re looking for something with a built-in design right out of the box, this is a good place to start looking.
StudioPress – StudioPress makes professional WordPress themes which are well known for being highly-optimized for usability and SEO. StudioPress themes are the obvious choice for people who are serious about taking their travel blog to the next level. This is the one I personally recommend, with themes starting at just $60.
When you’re ready to install your fancy new theme, log into WordPress, go to Appearance > Themes and upload the new theme files. Your theme documentation should lead you through the steps on how to go about customizing your specific theme further.Once everything is to your liking, you’re ready to start publishing blog posts and spreading the word!
Once everything is to your liking, you’re ready to start publishing blog posts and spreading the word!
So, now you’ve got a beautiful new travel blog, you’ve got some articles written, and you’re wondering what’s next. If you want to get serious, you need more readers than just your family and friends, and getting your articles in front of new readers can be a real challenge.
Making money, too, and partnering with travel companies is another big step. I know from personal experience that it can be scary and daunting. I am entirely self-taught, and I utilized this very course when I first started blogging.
It’s probably the thing that made the most difference to me in my blogging career.
What is Travel Blog Success?
Created by a group of travel blogging experts, Travel Blog Success provides new travel bloggers with learning modules, expert advice, and insider secrets from people who have been blogging for years. It covers everything about the best practices for building and maintaining a successful travel blog like:
- How to Write Great Content – Whether its long-form travel narrative, photographic essay, or punchy video blogging, Travel Blog Success can help you find your content niche and perfect it.
- Search Engine Optimization – SEO is one of the most important aspects of a successful blog, and it should not be overlooked. TBS’s modules on the topic will help Google find you and send you traffic every single day.
- Social Media and Content Marketing – Travel Blog Success can help you to understand the importance of each social network and how it works, turning you into a more effective content marketer.
- Build a Long-Term Plan – From organizing milestones to measuring your success with analytics, Travel Blog Success can help you build a steady audience and improve your website’s traffic regularly.
- Working On The Road – Not everyone is a natural digital nomad, but Travel Blog Success helps you to become an effective mobile worker that makes the best of their environment everywhere.
- Monetizing Your Travel Blog – Travel Blog Success has the resources to teach you all about turning your website into a profitable business.
Is Travel Blog Success really worth it?
Travel Blog Success isn’t just a program, it’s an exclusive membership to the world of travel blogging. Along with lifetime access to 27 lessons grouped into six modules, Travel Blog Success offers members a private forum to get advice from other professionals—you get access to a secret Facebook group that simplifies interaction and networking with other professional travel bloggers.
You also get a range of discounts and perks enjoyed only by members of Travel Blog Success.
I am an active member of Travel Blog Success and I owe much of what I have done to my membership with them. The learning modules (and especially the secret Facebook community) have helped to guide me and provide advice. They’ve shaped me into a more professional, well-rounded, and successful blogger.
Staying inspired and making money are as simple as using the materials and opportunities that life presents. I chose not to make excuses and, instead, to live the life that I dreamed of. Now, I get to wake up on tropical beaches, the edge of volcanoes, and the middle of mountain ranges.
I don’t know about you, but that that’s the life for me.
READ NEXT: How I Can Afford to Travel
Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you sign up, at absolutely no extra cost to you. I have used all of the products above and I never recommend a company or product I don’t trust.