Hundreds of questions and confusions may pop up in your mind when you decide to start a travel blog.
But it’s normal.
Every travel blogger with a successful blog had them when they started.
Your reason to start a travel blog may be different, but your goal is one – A successful travel blog.
This guide helps you with the basics and some advanced tips to create and enhance your travel blog. It also includes some tips and tricks, things to know before you start a travel blog in 2019.
In a nutshell, here are the main steps to start a traveler blog.
- Planning for your travel blog
- Choosing the blogging platform
- What do you need for your travel blog?
- 5 simple steps to start your travel blog
- How to write a travel article?
- Promoting your travel blogs
- Monetizing your traveler blog
- Maintenance and Routines
- Best WordPress Plugins for your travel blog
- Some examples of travel blogs to inspire you
What kind of travel blog? Planning for your blog.
Before you start anything, there are several questions you must ask yourselves:
What kind of travel blog you want?
And what are the features that you want into your travel blog?
What is your target audience?
Define the goal of your traveller blog
Therefore, before you actually start with your travel blog, you must have your requirements and goals clear.
So clear up your mind and settle with a cup of coffee (or tea, or whatever you prefer) and think about what you want.
Study, research, watch other travel blogs and take notes.
Take all the time you want before you buckle up. Because it is very important to know what you want before you start so that you can make the required choices to achieve it.
Choose the best travel blogging platform
Creating websites/blogs is made easy with the help of multiple website building programmes.
But the challenge is to choose a blogging platform that works well for your niche.
One of the best alternatives for creating a travel blog is by using WordPress.
WordPress as your travel blog platform
There are several reasons to prefer WordPress for your travel blog website:
- WordPress is created especially for blogging. Therefore, it is a blogger’s best friend.
- This platform is already designed to be SEO friendly which increases your odds to be ranked amongst the best results on the search engines.
- WordPress is easy to maintain, you don’t need any technical expertise to use it.
- WordPress is free and opensource, therefore flexible.
- There are a lot of WordPress Themes, pre-designed and pre-programmed to choose from
- WordPress allows you all the chances to monetize your blog/websites
- You can extend the features of your blog using the WordPress Plugins
Besides the ones mentioned above, there are a lot more reasons why you should prefer WordPress for your blogs.
What do you need to start a travel blog?
Now that we have decided upon the blogging platform, here are a few other things that you will need to start a travel blog:
WordPress lets you create beautiful independent websites. So you will need a domain name and hosting for your blog.
The domain name is the permanent address of your blog on the internet. Make sure, you choose the domain name carefully because it should represent your blog online.
The domain name you choose for your travel blog should be
- unique and relevant to represent your blog
- short, easy to remember, that eliminates the chances of misspelling
- avoid hyphens, double lettered names, and numbers if you can
- include keywords if you can
- go for .com domains
But before you head to register your domain, read the next section before acquiring hosting. Because sometimes, there are chances to get a free domain with certain hosting plans.
Besides domain name, you will need hosting, the server space.
For hosting there are abundant options, abundant enough to confuse you. There are several types of hosting you can choose from – Shared hosting, dedicated hosting, WP optimized hosting, and there are different packages you can choose from.
However, you must always choose the host after proper consideration because an efficient host is a pre-requisite for a well-performing website.
Therefore, the host you choose should be fast, efficient, secure and offer the best uptime.
We recommend Bluehost for both – domain registration and hosting space. Our clients have always had a great experience with Bluehost and the plus point is their expert support to aid you when in need.
Bluehost has some of the best and affordable plans to choose from. Their WordPress optimized hosting is great for your WordPress travel blog site.
What makes WordPress one of the best choices for your travel blog is the availability of countless blogging themes.
A WordPress theme is, in fact, a pre-designed, a pre-programmed template that you can use to create your website.
…and there are thousands of them.
You can rely on a free or premium WordPress theme based as per your choice.
Even though using WordPress plugins is not mandatory, you can integrate them into your website to make it more interesting.
WordPress plugins are nothing but extra modules, that you can use to add more features to your existing websites.
Plugins are pluggable, so you can add them (or remove) at any point.
How to start a travel blog?
At this point, you should be sure about what you want, and how you want your travel blog to be. And you already know what you will need to start a successful travel blog from scratch.
Now is the time to act…
step 1: Starting with the domain name and the hosting
I always rely on Bluehost to get domain and hosting. Generally, they have good discount deals and a free domain name when you check out for a larger time period.
For hosting, I prefer WordPress optimized hosting – that is affordable, secure and optimized to host WordPress blog.
However, you are free to choose the host and domain name that works well for you.
Generally, the processes for hosting and domain registration are different on different websites, but they are pretty much the same as checking out for a product while online shopping.
You choose the domain name, hosting plan you like and then proceed to pay.
Once the payment is made, you will receive a mail, or allowed to create an account with username and password through which you can use the host and domain name.
step 2: Choosing a WordPress theme
Next step is to dive into the WordPress marketplace and look for a WordPress theme ideal for your travel website.
Below are the links of a few collections of the best WordPress travel blog theme to get started.
Free or premium theme?
You always have the option to choose from a free or premium theme.
Whatever you choose, there are going to be plenty of options for you to choose from.
Free themes are good for you if you want a very simple blog, to share your travel experiences. You can find a free blog theme with that looks good and comes with the features that you wish to be in your blog.
However, if you want a website with multiple features and a little bit more than just blog posts, you can look for premium themes.
Premium WordPress Blog themes are affordable, professionally designed, and should come with technical support of at least 4-5 months.
What to look for in a travel blog WordPress theme?
You can choose a personal travel blog WordPress theme as per your requirements.
Check the features that the theme has to offer and compare it to the type of features you need in your website.
So choosing the theme is upon you, but your WordPress theme must have the following qualities in addition to ones you are looking for:
To survive the intense competition, your first measure is to create an SEO friendly WordPress website. And it starts by choosing an SEO friendly theme.
Therefore, when looking for a WordPress theme for your travel blog, keep in mind that it should be SEO friendly.
Good design that focuses on content:
Your content on a blog website should always stay in the front. Choose a design that complements your niche and makes it easy on the eyes of the reader.
Review and ratings have a way of impacting the reader’s mentality. Don’t forget to include review and ratings to your travel blog.
You can review locations, hotels, food, or anything and give honest insights about the unknown to your readers.
Easy to use:
Choose a WordPress travel blog theme that makes your task of website building and management easier. If your theme lets you easily manage everything through the dashboard options.
A website with easy maintenance means more time to think about upgrades and new content.
Do you need a travel directory website instead?
Do you need to create a travel directory with a personal travel blog instead?
If you want a travel website with location listings, or places portal, you can go for a directory theme instead.
Travel directories are a relatively larger website with larger opportunities to earn through them.
With the increase of internet in our day to day life, the online directories serve as an information portal and therefore commercial directories have a greater chance to be successful.
To create a travel directory website, you can choose a WordPress directory theme. There are different directory child themes with different designs and location-based listings support that you can use to create your travel directory + blog website.
For this article, we will use the Free Vintage theme as a travel blog template, which qualifies on all the above mentioned criterions. This free WordPress theme is customizable, easy to use and allows you to set up your travel blog in minutes.
Step 3: Installing the WordPress theme
Once you purchase your theme, you must install it to get started with your travel blog.
To start with your website, you must log in to your hosting space and connect your domain name with it.
The process to do so is different with different hosts and they generally provide you with written instructions or videos on how to do it.
Once your hosting is ready with the domain name, you will be asked on how you want to build a start.
When using WordPress optimized hosting, your host will be automatically prepared with the latest version of WordPress installed.
With WordPress installed, you can easily login to your dashboard and install the theme using the theme section.
Once the theme is installed, activate it and then install the free sample data which will make your website look exactly like the theme demo.
Step 4: Blog design and customization
No shoe fits all, correct?
This is why WordPress themes come with customization options to change how your website looks and works.
Moreover, most of the popular and best WordPress themes come with theme settings and options to let you customize your WordPress website without touching a line of code.
Therefore, once your website is ready and running, you must customize your theme to make it look and work the way you want.
Logo, branding, and colors
The first and foremost step in customizing your theme is to change the logo and branding of your website.
If you already have a logo, upload it. If you have a tagline, find a place to exhibit it.
Then, head on to personalize your website even more by changing the colors and backgrounds.
Creating and setting menus
Next important step is creating menus. WordPress offers you a very simple way to create and use menus.
Here is an important article on how to manage menus using WordPress. This will work if your theme is using the WordPress default menu options.
If not, it should come with instructions on how you can create menus on your site.
But what is important is the content and links you add on your menus.
..because menus are the most important means of navigation for your website, therefore you must insist on including all the important links on your website, and in an hierarchial and organized way.
So list down all the links and pages you want to show on your menus. Then organize it to make sure they are logically arranged and makes it easy for the readers to find what they want to, effortlessly.
step 5: Create important pages
When we have the design and navigation ready, we can now move the focus on the primary content of your website.
The content that is mostly static and not your travel blogs.
These are the basic pages that any website can have. There is no fixed group of pages that you should have.
But it depends on you. You can totally decide the number of pages you want to have, and the content it should show.
Setting up the homepage
We will always start with the homepage because it is undeniably one of the most important pages of your website.
For most of the visitors using a direct link to your website, the homepage serves as an entry point.
Therefore, the homepage is your chance to create a first impression that makes the reader want to know more about you.
Make it attractive and organized, so your visitors are inspired to explore more of your website.
Ideally, the design of the homepage of a travel blog should reflect the purpose and content of your website. It should also work as a gateway to all the important parts of your site.
The about page is yours to make it as engaging as possible.
People who love to read your travel blogs will be delighted to know your story, about you, and that is what you should make your about page.
This page, if properly drafted can help you establish yourself as a renowned travel blogger by sharing your story and experiences, what inspires you and what got you started.
This page helps create a connection between the author and the readers and is one of the most visited pages on many blogs.
Make it easy for your readers to get in touch with you through the contact page.
As the name suggests, your contact page will be about your contact details, and a contact form, through which the visitors can get in touch with you.
Some of the WordPress travel blog themes may come with a ready to go contact form.
But if it doesn’t, you can rely on the best free Contact form plugins like Contact Form 7 to build a contact form for your personal travel blog.
Don’t worry because such contact form builders are really easy to use and you can easily choose the fields and create a contact form on your own.
If you have an official address you can share it too on the contact page.
The homepage, the contact page and the about page, are the basic pages that your travel blog website requires.
But you are free to create as many static pages as you want and link them through menus, or any other form of navigation.
For example, you are promoting a travel agency, then you can create a page to mention the particulars and offers.
Write about travel experiences
Now that we have all our other parts of website ready, we will proceed to add travel blogs to your site.
Create blog categories and tags
You need to create categories on your blogs because categories help keep your content organized and makes sure that your readers can easily find their interests.
All of the WordPress themes easily let you create blog categories in a hierarchical format. So think about the categories you want to include in your blogs and create them for your travel blog.
How to write travel blogs?
You will learn as you go, but how to start with the very first article on your website, how to write a travel blog post?.
Here are a few travel blog writing tips on how to write interesting travel articles:
Pre-step: Select a category
To make sure the readers have ease finding your blogs under relevant category, first of all, choose a category from the ones you have already created and added.
1. Research keywords and try to make content SEO friendly:
Write with SEO friendliness in your mind. Research the keywords and decide upon a keyword that is meaningful and has a good search value.
Once you have decided the main (or the target) keyword, you can look for LSIs that are synonyms or the other words/phrases that the searchers use to look for the type of content you are creating.
You can use WordPress SEO plugins (more on this later) to ensure that your article is doing good with SEO.
2. Use lots of SEO friendly images
Images make your article meaningful as well as interesting.
Therefore, always make a point to include plenty of relevant images into your website.
We need high-quality images but refrain from using images that occupy extreme memory space and makes your article slow.
3. Pay attention to titles
Titles and sub-titles should be catchy, to attract maximum user attention.
Use tools like headline analyzer to create headlines that urges the user to read more.
4. Write off your heart, but use easy language
Write everything you want to in a proper format. Use bullet points, appropriate headings, blockquotes, etc. to create content.
Also, you can use the tools like Grammarly to check the grammar of your content. Grammarly is available as a chrome add-on.
5. Keep the comments enabled
Always keep comments enabled on your site because they have multiple advantages:
- They instigate user interaction
- help make your blogs interesting
- adds more content for the reader
- helps SEO with fresh, unique and relevant content
WordPress’ inbuilt comment features let you easily manage comments. You can choose to moderate the comments before they are actually published.
So as an admin you can choose which comment you want to be published. Moreover, you can use spam protection plugins like Akismet to prevent comment spam.
6. Use social media to promote your article
The influence of social media in our day-to-day life is unparalleled.
So why not use it to promote your article.
Once you publish your article, use different social media platforms to tell your followers about your latest article.
Tweet the link, pin to Pinterest, and share on facebook.
Promoting your travel blog
Now that you have your website with the content ready, you must work to promote your website.
At this point, you will realize that creating a website is relatively easy as compared to promoting it and bringing the traffic.
However, there are different methods you can use to make people aware of your travel blogs.
When you start a new website, the easiest way to promote it is through paid marketing. This can be anything – digital marketing paid SEO optimizations, paid banner advertisements or using local mediums to promote your travel blog.
Another way is optimizing your website for search engines so it attracts desired attention through organic ranks. This is aided by content marketing, as you will be writing blogs on your site.
You can follow informative SEO guides available on the internet, or hire SEO experts to optimize your website for you.
Marketing through social media
Social media is a very powerful tool to promote any business. Especially interesting websites such as travel blogs can be easily promoted through it.
I have already mentioned how you can share each published post on social media to expose it to a large group of audience. And what more, this is a free technique and brings faster results.
Another way is to plan a complete Social media marketing strategy for your site or to hire SMM experts to do it for you.
Guest post on more popular blogs and link back to your blog as a way of promoting your travel blog.
You can look for blogs with similar subjects and ask them if they are willing to allow your post on their site.
Besides promoting your travel blog, guest posting also helps you gain exposure as a blogger and insights from more experienced bloggers.
Through forums/participate in discussions
Another way to promote your WordPress blogs is by posting questions as well as answering them on forums.
You can use popular networks like Quora, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Facebook Groups & discussions, etc. to talk about your travel experience and link back to your travel blog.
However, different blogs with different purpose require unique marketing solutions. So, you can choose the medium to advertise your travel blog as per your requirements.
Monetizing your travel blog
Once your website is ready and running, you can start thinking of the ways you can make it profitable.
Your travel blog maintenance will need some minor investments including your time, money and efforts. So it is always good to have something in return for it.
There are multiple ways you can make money through your travel blog. Below listed are few of the easiest and most common ways on how to start a travel blog and make money:
Sponsored advertisement banners
Sell advertising space on your website. Generally, inserting advertisement banners at a different part of your blog is really easy using WordPress widget or page building options (whichever your theme supports).
All you need is sponsors, who want their advertisements to be featured on your blog.
You can approach local brands to be sponsored on your blog & display static advertisement banners on your website.
Google AdSense & other advertisements networks
One of the best ways to earn through any kind of website is through Google AdSense or any such advertisement network that works for you.
This advertisement networks will display advertisements on your travel blog based on the readers’ search history. And the points are calculated on the click rates.
With targetted and preference based advertisements, the chances of user click, and ultimately your earning increases.
Sponsored posts and articles
Here, instead of displaying a simple, direct advertisement banner, you can opt to write a whole post about it.
The sponsored posts are in the form of reviews, blog posts or simple articles with an affiliate link, or a normal link to buy the product/service.
But while you do this, make sure that your reviews or sponsored posts are not misleading. Always maintain the authenticity of your content and suggestions while you maintain your travel blog.
Selling tickets/travel packages
If you want to sell tickets or any kind of products through your travel blog, you must choose an eCommerce friendly blog theme.
With a WordPress travel theme that supports eCommerce, you can sell event tickets, or gate pass to clubs, etc on your website.
You can even share your travel experience and at the end, allow the visitor to buy the travel package through your website.
Making money through affiliates
Affiliate marketing is recommending products/services to your readers. And when you do so, you earn a commission for that.
This too requires eCommerce support on your travel blog website. You can include affiliate links with the sponsored posts or use advertisement banners or eCommerce shop pages to sell affiliate products.
Maintaining your travel blog
You can create a website, invest in incoming traffic and write beautiful blogs. But in long run, it all means nothing if you don’t properly maintain your travel blog.
The following are the most common maintenance routines to follow:
If you are running a website, and not backing it up periodically, you are not doing it right.
Timely backups serve as lifesavers in times of crises.
So if your website crashes, or if any security issue arises, or if due to some server problem, your website loses important data, you can quickly get your site running alright with the backup.
There are several hosting companies that offer automated backups at fixed durations. Or you can use some backup plugins to ensure timely backups of your travel blogs.
Updating your travel blog with new content
A blog has to be updated regularly with new posts and fresh content. After all, that is exactly what a blog is about.
So as a part of your maintenance process or even as a routine activity, keep your blog updated with new interesting articles.
If you don’t have a recent travel experience to share, you can post stories about your previous experience, or write a list post about places you want to visit and why?
There can be plenty of ideas about travel blog posts, some of them are
- Best places for a solo journey
- A checklist of what to pack when leaving for a hiking expedition
- 25 places to visit before you are 25
- What to eat when in Thailand
Cleansing & Performance optimization
Just like we clean our desks or dressers over time, a website demands a cleanup and a little bit of organizing over time.
For cleaning up your website, you should find and delete unused images, remove unnecessary plugins, delete pages or drafts that are no longer useful, etc.
This helps you free space and help the performance of your website.
Next is checking the page speed using some speed testing tool like Pingdom or GtMetrix. It helps you discover the page speed and the factors that are holding back the efficient and fast running of your pages.
Checking and replying to the comments
Make sure you keep checking the comments section and reply to your users.
Comments are a great way to directly interact and engage with users. Therefore, make sure you remove the spam comments, approve the new comments and reply to the required users on a regular basis.
WordPress plugins for your travel blog
Travel blogging for beginners is a learning experience. But you would want to do everything that is best for you.
Here are a few WordPress plugins to make your travel blog more interesting and improve its performance.
Envira Gallery: This is a gallery plugin with a drag and drop gallery builder to build beautiful galleries on your travel blog.
Image watermark: This plugin automatically adds a watermark to all the images you upload to your WordPress travel blog to avoid the reuse of your images without permissions.
Facebook Comments: This plugin will let you show facebook comments on your website, making it more content rich and interesting.
HTML 5 maps: Use this plugin to show maps/geographical locations on your travel blogs.
Yoast SEO: One of the best plugins to take care of on-page SEO and optimize the content of your pages and blog articles.
Google Analytics counter tracker: This plugin lets you connect your Google Analytics and helps you analyze the visitors hits on your homepage.
w3 total cache: A caching plugin helpful to optimize performance by improving the speed of your website
WP smush: This plugin automatically compresses the images while retaining the quality to save space and improve page load speed.
The best WordPress plugins for your website
This list of the best WordPress plugins according to the categories and features are great for your WordPress based blogs or website.
Best travel blogs for your inspiration
This article here covers a list of best personal travel blog sites & travelers blogs. You can watch these travel blog examples and observe how travel bloggers share their stories and use different website features to create an impact.
Ready to launch your travel blog
Your travel blog can have different designs, different features, and different purposes, but ultimately, the process to start a travel blog remains the same.
This article can be your beginners guide to travel blogging, that covers the essential steps and processes to begin blogging.
However, while blogging, the experience is your best teacher. And you will surely learn a lot as you go along…
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask them. Or if you have already embarked on the journey, we would love to hear about your experience with travel blogging.
Know more about blogging before you begin. Read: Blogging for beginners: A complete guide to start a blog, Customize, Monetize, Promote, Maintain with Examples, Tips and Tricks.