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How to start a travel blog

There’s no better way to satisfy a travel bug than starting a travel blog!

There’s no better way to satisfy a travel bug than starting a travel blog! Travel blogging is a hugely popular subject that can generate a lot of traffic and potential revenue. It’s also a great way to showcase your journeys, connect with like-minded nomads and discover new and exciting destinations.

You only need to take a quick look around some of the best travel bloggers in the world to know that anyone can start a travel blog, but it takes special effort to make it a great blog. You should aim to inspire people with content they want to read. If that’s your aim, great, but know that it takes a lot of work before you can get your blog looking like Migrationology, BlackVoyageurs, BeMyTravelMuse, or yTravelBlog.

If you think the blog life’s for you, though, you might just do it anyway. If you think you’re up for the challenge, here’s how to start a travel blog - we’re going to guide you through it, one step at a time!

How to start a travel blog - pick a name

Picking a name for your travel blog may not sound like the most important job, and you’d be right. A name is something that you can pick any time, but it may help you to choose it first to give context, definition, and direction to your new blog project.

Remember your blogging audience

What is your tribe? Who are your people? Not all travel blogs aim for the same audience, and not all audiences will respond to the same things. What’s elegant for one audience can be pretentious to another, so you need to understand yours well and aim for a name that will keep them hooked.

Look at a blog name generator

Most of the names that come from a blog name generator like this will be way off the mark, but they may just be the elbow you need for a fresh idea. Remember to note the names down - even if they seem ridiculous right now, they could come in useful later.

Consider travel longevity

It can be tempting to start a blog in the face of a big trip and give it a related name as a result. If you’re hoping that your travel blog has legs, however, think beyond the immediate future and pick a name that will make sense no matter where you are. Remember the famous blogs we roll called above? None of them have a location-related name, and all of them are very successful.

Make it unique

This goes without saying, but while you’re trying to keep everything else in mind, it’s easy to fall on a great name, only to find that someone else has beaten you to it. It will take time and effort to come up with a great, unique blog name, but once you have it, search to make sure someone else didn’t get there first. That stands for URLs as well as social media platforms. There are tools that can help you.

How to start a travel blog - pick a platform

Picking a blogging platform is another one of those jobs that takes lots of effort, but is worth it in the long term. Bear this in mind: many travel bloggers will recommend the same platform as they’re on since that’s what they know, but it may no longer be the most user-friendly, and it may not be right for your travel blog.

In general, you can divide up the blogging platforms according to the following criteria:

  • Needs coding knowledge
  • Zero coding knowledge
  • Has a ready-made audience
  • Strong on e-commerce
  • Strong on visuals
  • Blog monetization options

Ultimately, you’ll make a decision based on these considerations, plus the price. Blog platforms can be free, cheap, or downright expensive. Thinking about all these aspects should help you make a decision about which platform is right for you.

How to start a travel blog - buy hosting

We’ve noticed that other people mention web hosting in their articles about starting a travel blog. There’s something important you need to remember here - depending on the platform you choose this may or may not be necessary.

The reason so many articles mention it is that Wordpress.org is a popular platform for bloggers but it’s self-hosted, so you will need to pay someone else to host (or “house”) your blog.

If you opt for a different platform, however, like Squarespace or Wix, you don’t need any hosting. You might choose to buy a domain name (so that the URL to your blog doesn’t contain the name of the platform in it - www.travelblog.com vs. www.travelblog.wix.com), but the blog won’t need a separate place to live. Avoiding self-hosted blogs does make life easier, but if you’re set on Wordpress.org, you’ll have to do it anyway.

How to start a travel blog - decide the purpose

Many famous travel blogs will offer discounts on the hosting they use, so check out your favorites to see if you get lucky. Also remember that hosting companies differ, depending on where you live, so check out local recommendations to really get the best deal.

In times gone by, many people started blogs as a kind of journal, but these days, it’s all about monetization. Whether or not you monetize is up to you: think about the following points before you make a decision.

The case for monetizing your blog

It’s simple. People like to monetize their travel blogs because, if you do it right, you can make a lot of money! That said, even though the reasoning behind it is easy, the process is not. It takes consistency, talent, and above all, time to make a profitable blog. There’s also an outside chance that you could even go beyond just making money, and the travel blog could lead to fame or even travel - just look at DontForgetToMove.

The case against monetizing a travel blog

If blogging is, for you, just a modern type of journal, or you only want to share your travels with a small group of friends or family, there’s absolutely no need to monetize your blog. Apart from anything, making any significant money from a blog (even just pocket change) is stressful and requires real work. If you have a day job, family, or any serious hobbies, it can be almost impossible to harmonize the two.

How to start a travel blog - understand your dashboard

Before you even think about beginning to actually write your blog, it’s a really good idea to spend some time getting to know your dashboard and the ins and outs of your blogging platform. Some are much simpler than others, but all of them require a period of getting used to to get the most from their features and abilities.

How to start a travel blog - pick a theme

Luckily for your, blogging is very well established. There are hundreds of resources for a variety of platforms. Big ones, like Wordpress, have literally thousands of educational videos, articles, and courses, but even smaller, more niche ones, like Wix, will have plenty.

To get started, make sure you understand the basic security requirements, how to update the platform (if necessary), how to choose a theme and, finally, how to actually write and publish a post.

A word to the wise - from this list, writing and publishing a post is the least complicated, so start on it last!

Picking a theme is another one of those tasks that depends very much on the blogging platform you have chosen. On some, like Squarespace, it’s just a matter of browsing the galleries and choosing your favorite layouts. On others, it’s more complicated and a theme must be purchased, downloaded, and re-uploaded to your blog.

How to start a travel blog - create your main pages

Either way, put some thought into how your travel blog is going to look and - importantly - age. It can be tempting to pick something very cute or topical (palm trees and cartoon boats, anyone?), but if you’re intending to blog about travel for some time to come, it may be worth looking at something more classical. There’s a very good chance your travel blog will be heavy on images, so you can narrow your search by filtering or shortlisting the themes that deal with images best.

Alternatively, if you see a blog with visuals that you really like, use a tool like this to find out what theme it’s running.

Today, when people talk about a blog, they’re actually talking about a mini-website. Most bloggers will aim to have a little more than a blog online, usually including an about page, a contact page (so they know where to send the free stuff!), a privacy page (especially important if you’re collecting email addresses), and perhaps a shop or member’s area.

About your blog

This is where you’ll give your backstory, tell people why you’re a travel blogger and generally introduce yourself. For many people, it’s the first place they look on a website, so think of it as a first impression. Adding personality works here, not verbiage. Keep things short, in line with the overall vibe you want to project on the blog and, above all, don’t use it as a space to tell everyone your life story!

Contact the travel blogger

At the very least, you might put a contact form here, or even just an email address. It’s probably a good idea not to use your usual email address for this, since you can never really tell what kind of contact people will make. If you want to collect email addresses, use a form, but don’t make it too long. Finally, if you’re happy to accept free gifts on your blog or even to encourage brands to send you stuff, you may want to spell out your swag policy.

You can also link to any other social media or other accounts you want people to know about here, but usually these will also appear in a footer or on blog posts too, so it’s not essential.

Travel Blog Privacy

We live in the era of GDPR, so you’ll almost certainly want a privacy page, especially if you’re considering collecting email addresses, creating a shop, or selling something else. You can get privacy policy templates from various places on the internet and fill in the details that are specific to you. It goes without saying that you should always do the things you promise in your privacy policy, and try your hardest to keep people’s data secure.

Shop/Members Area

Depending on whether you decided to monetize your blog or not, you may be thinking about how best to do this. Most bloggers start with a shop, but as a travel blogger, something like a members’ area where you can share members-only content, etc. might be more appropriate. Either way, laying out the foundations of this section in advance will make the job easier later on, even if you don’t actually make the section live at this point.

Collecting email addresses from your travel blog

You can obviously add as many more sections as you want, but bear in mind that less is often more. Your travel blog itself will probably be divided up by topics and tags and that, plus the basics, may be enough for you to begin with.

Collecting email addresses from your travel blog

You may have read here and in other articles that it’s a great idea to collect email addresses from your readers from day one. If you’re planning on monetizing your blog, or you might do in the future, it is a great idea. Why? If you ever decide to sell, promote, or do business with your readers, you’ll have a ready-made audience who have already decided you’re of interest to them. In the sales process, this semi-warm audience is invaluable.

A word to the wise: people don’t give away their email address for free these days. You’re likely to have to encourage them to hand them over in exchange for some free offer or piece of content that is of use to them, like a travel guide or advice about something that’s hard to get information about. This is a whole area of marketing into itself, so get some specialist advice, and once you have those addresses, treat them like gold.

How to start a travel blog - make a blog calendar

If you’re serious about the blog, especially if you view it as an income source, you’ll need to be focussed and consistent. You’ll also need to make sure that as many people as possible are reading your blog and one of the best ways to ensure this is to create a blogging strategy.

This a big job in itself and if you’re eager to get started writing, we can understand how you might be driven to skip it completely - but don’t!

Without direction, a schedule, and plan, you’ll forget to prepare, run out of topics, fail to promote your posts properly, and ultimately, get a bit burnt out.

How to start a travel blog - start writing

A good blogging strategy will incorporate

  • A goal for your travel blog
  • Blog content calendar
  • System for promoting your blog posts
  • Maybe a social media strategy

Finally! You’re ready to start writing blog posts!! This is probably the easiest part of the travel blogging process, especially if you’ve tackled all of the other parts we’ve mentioned. Working to a calendar should ensure you always have ideas and a reasonable schedule to produce them, and some of the many writing tools available should make the process as painless as possible.

It will take you some time to get into your stride and set the standard you want for your writing and the look you want for your blog. Don’t lose hope, and keep looking back to see where you started - you’ll be surprised at what progress you make over relatively little time.

Summing up - start your travel blog

So, there you have it. Starting a travel blog can be intimidating, especially when you have so many greats to look up to, but there are clearly defined steps you can follow, and following them will get you to your goal.

Many people are deterred from starting a blog because there are just so many blogs out there. It’s true, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to start. You have a new reason to blog, a fresh perspective on travel, and new stories to tell. Share them with the world, and see where they bring you!

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