How To Start A Travel Blog
Globetrotting adventurers often have a lot to say about where they go and what they experience and blogging your voyages can be a great way of actually making travel into a job. Learn how to start a travel blog with this step-by-step guide so you can live your dream of being a professional adventurer.
Setting Up The Basics
The hard work starts here by finding your niche. Starting a travel blog with interesting blog posts involves a bit of a learning curve up front, especially if you’ve never started your own website before. After you get over the initial hump, though, it can be fairly easy. You’ll want to start by looking through other successful blogs of like-minded people then choose the best travel blog platform and domain name for your needs. Building the site yourself can be a good option, but if you’d rather not worry about coding, you can choose a website hosting and content platform that will do all the heavy lifting for you. WordPress is the most popular option, with a number of plugins for the paid and free themes available to get you started on your successful blog.
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Beware of free blogging platforms!
There are other options out there too, including some free platforms. However, the tradeoff for using these free domain names and platforms is usually that your blog’s URL will have the platform’s domain name in it and there will be a lot of branding for the platform included on your site. Plus, any ad revenue will likely go to the blogging platform rather than to you. If you really want to start a prestigious blog with lots of future money-making potential, it’s best to go with a platform that lets you use your own web address and doesn’t include much—if any—advertisement for the platform itself. It doesn’t exactly look polished and professional to have a blogging service logo on all of your posts.
Still, if you need to start with a free site, that’s fine. You might want to reserve the URL for your blog’s name anyway. Once you start really gathering a following, you’ll want to make the leap to an independent site so you can start getting ad revenue and getting the bandwidth you need to support a lot of traffic.
As far as which platform you choose for an independent site, the two options mentioned above are popular in part because they offer a wide range of options. You can set up a store on either site, which can be a great way of generating a little bit of extra income from your travel blog. As you select a platform, think carefully about what features you might want to be able to take advantage of in the future. You might not be ready for a store or memberships now, but you might not want to rule it out entirely as an option when you really start getting successful.
The hostess with the mostest
Although WordPress is free, you'll still need somewhere to host your website. It's just like if you hosted a guest in your house – the words and images that appear on your blog "live" on your website server, so that people can come visit it on the internet. I have a whole review of the best hosts for WordPress. I recommend Hostgator because they are fast, cheap, and easy to setup.
Coming Up With Content
As a travel blogger, in most cases your content should be focused on your own travels, but if you’re currently tied to a day job and want to figure out how to make a travel blog so you can blog full time, you aren’t necessarily stuck. Figuring out how to be a travel blogger with a full-time job and no travel budget is going to be challenging, but it’s actually not impossible. This is especially true if you have a backlog of travel experiences and photos to share or if you have some insider knowledge about a popular destination. In fact, if you strategize your content in the right way, you can even run a successful travel blog by talking about places you’ve never visited. You shouldn’t lie and pretend you’ve had experiences you haven’t had. All it takes is one person realizing your dishonesty and calling you out to bring your travel blogging empire crashing down. Instead, you can leave personal experience out of it and provide useful insight.
Useful insight does usually come from firsthand experience, so it’s best to share that firsthand experience when you have it and aim to gather as much of it as you can. However, you can also reach out to others and ask them to provide guest posts or participate in interviews with you about specific destinations. You can even ask your readers to get in touch with you and share their experiences.
The benefit of starting your travel blog on a foundation of solid firsthand information is that it gives you the opportunity to make your blog very search friendly. Use smart post titles, learn the basics of SEO keyword research via a search engine and provide information that’s truly useful for people who are trying to plan vacations. You could conduct interviews with locals in a busy tourist town and ask them for recommendations for good off-the-beaten-path attractions and restaurants, for example. That’s unique information that is instantly going to make your blog more valuable and shareable. Ideally, you’d be able to source this information yourself and write about it, but if that’s not possible, you can seek out others to provide the info for you.
Search engine traffic is a particularly great way of marketing a travel blog since so many people planning vacations are looking for any kind of information they can find to make the right decisions about places they’ve never gone before. Social media can also be a great way to get traffic to your site, though, so don’t neglect the importance of things like good photography and frequent posts each month to create more shareable content for your blog with like-minded people.
Making a blog profitable is no easy feat, but it’s also not as hard as some may assume. I've got a whole list of ways to make money blogging here. You just really need to stick with it. If you build a good foundation by taking the steps above, you’ll be in good shape, but there’s more you can do. Make sure to provide clear a clear email contact address business inquiries and be thoughtful about how you’ll handle it when brands come to you with offers. You can also try being proactive by getting in touch with hotels, travel agencies, and other companies relating to your subject area. Try to aim for smaller brands at first, ones that aren’t part of a large conglomerate, and be willing to promote them in exchange for services to start.
Here are a few examples of successful travel blogs for inspiration: