NEWS FLASH: Blogging isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. By the year 2020, it is predicted that there will be around 31.7 million (!) bloggers in the blogosphere. Wow. And it seems like anyone and everyone has an opinion on how to start a travel blog, but we wanted to really strip it back and walk you through how to start a travel blog for beginners.
If you’re reading this, chances are you want to start a travel blog of your own. ‘But Sam and Kez!’ we hear you cry, ‘why would I want to put myself up against 31.7 million other people?!’ And we’d respond by saying ‘it’s OK guys! Travel blogging only makes up a percentage of that amount, so you’ve already disregarded some of the competition!’
Why Should I Start My Own Travel Blog?
If that hasn’t convinced you (and let’s be honest, we doubt it has), why not take a look below:
- Travel blogging is a great excuse to book yourself that trip you’ve had on your wishlist for years. You will need material to write about after all! Why not get into the spirit of things and buy a travel journal to get you on your way?
- Being a travel blogger allows you to be location independent. As long as you have an internet connection, you’re good to go
- You probably have a wealth of content and experience already. That summer road trip you planned, the camping expedition with your mates, or even a weekend in your hometown gives you
expertiseand knowledge that others don’t have. You’ll be churning out travel blog posts faster than the speed of light!
Travel blogging is all about sharing what you know about destinations and travelling with others. We often take for granted the things we have learnt whilst holidaying abroad, or the local knowledge we possess of our own stomping grounds.
How Do I Travel Blog?
Don’t overthink it! The simplest or most obvious topic can often be the one that will go viral. To start a travel blog, brainstorm ‘what do I know about X that others don’t?’ Try to remember the types of things you Googled before your last trip. Chances are, there will be others who want to know the exact same thing. And who best to help them out than you, who was in their position once too?
Be confident – you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to know enough to be useful to other people. Write to solve problems for people, not to talk about yourself. Consider what ‘pain points’ your readers may have. For example, they may want to know about the best way to get from London to Exeter using public transport. You can write a blog post detailing how they can go about doing this. Be sure you include photos, specific information, and helpful links, and your readers will love you.
You don’t want to offer them half the information they need, forcing them to go elsewhere to get the rest of the answers. You want them to stay on your page for as long as possible.
How Do I Get Started As A Travel Blogger?
You may be thinking (like we did) that travel blogging is an expensive hobby. Spoiler alert: it isn’t! There are plenty of decent free themes, photo editing software, and plugins that will be more than adequate to start off with.
For a realistic breakdown of the type of equipment you will need to be a travel blogger, and how much it all costs, take a look at our other blog post here.
One cost you don’t want to skimp on though if you’re setting up your own travel blog is website hosting. Anyone can start a travel blog for beginners with a free account on blogging platforms like WordPress. To be honest, this is as far as a lot of people go.
But you aren’t like other people. You want to be a fully-fledged, bonafide, kickass travel blogger. And the last thing you need is for WordPress to decide that they are going to delete your hours and hours of hard work. Which they can do.
You see, you may run a free blog, but you don’t actually own it. The platform provider can remove it at any time. For peace of mind, and to be taken a helluva lot more seriously as a blogger, you really need to be investing in your own domain name from a trusted website host. (Sidenote: the same goes for social media accounts. You never own these and they can be removed at any time).
What Is Website Hosting?
By purchasing a domain name, you get to lose the ‘.wordpress.com’ or ‘.wordpress.org’ from the end of your URL. Just like that, your travel blog already looks way more professional and trustworthy! Essentially, it means that you own your own website.
Not only this, but it means that no one else can use that domain name. And you get your site backed up securely and stored (‘hosted’) on a Fort Knox-esque external server. AND, if you have any techy questions, your host provider can help you out. Even if it’s a really stupid question, and we’ve had a fair few of those ourselves.
Not only THAT, but it also allows you to have advertising on your blog, which is a good way for travel bloggers to earn a passive income from their website. You cannot have paid advertising, like Google Adsense, on a free WordPress account. You also cannot link Google Analytics tracking to a free account, which you will need and you will obsess over as your beginner travel blog grows.
The Best Website Hosting for Travel Blogs
We’ve hosted our blog with Bluehost now for almost two years, and couldn’t be happier with them as a service provider. Not only are they incredibly patient with the aforementioned dumb questions we fling their way, but they are great value for money.
For less than a cup of coffee you can get one month of Bluehost sup
We get it, we are full-time travellers who pick up work as and when we are down to our last pennies. We absolutely do not have
What Do I Need To Do?
Setting up a travel blog from scratch can seem confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. To help keep things really simple, we’ve broken down the basic elements into steps:
- Register your domain name
Choose your website name and make sure it’s available. Have a few options in case your first choice is taken. Then hop over to bluehost.com, select your hosting plan, and enter your domain name.
- Set up a free WordPress account through your Bluehost account
- Choose your theme:
This can also be free! As you grow into more of an established travel blog, it will be worth investing in a professional theme. Ours cost about $50USD which is a one time fee and includes six months of technical support.
- Download some good plugins
We recommend Yoast SEO, Akismet Anti Spam, Pinterest Pin It Button, and Easy Social Share Buttons. There are loads out there, but these are a good start!
- Launch your site
Write a killer ‘About Me’ page, link your blog to social media accounts, join blogging support groups on Facebook.
- Write your first blog post!
Think about how you can add value to your readers. No one outside of your immediate family will be interested in a diary of your day. Ask a question, answer that question, and present this in an approachable and informative way. If you think that you wouldn’t be interested in your blog posts, chances are strangers won’t be either
Is That All I Need To Start A Travel Blog For Beginners?
In short, yes.
But in reality, travel blogging is a LOT of work. It’s not as simple as taking pretty photos and hashing out a few articles.
Just to give you some context, it’s taken about ten hours in total to draft and produce this blog post for publication. As I am typing this, Sam is working on a separate document for an exciting project we have coming up in the New Year. When we wake up, we immediately spend a few hours catching up and engaging on social media, checking and responding to emails, and checking and responding to website comments. Then we repeat this in the evening. We are technically on a two week holiday enjoying the East Coast of Australia with my parents, but we’ve spent at least three solid days working on our website during this time, not including daily time spent on social media.
This isn’t meant to be a ‘look how hard we work, aren’t we great’ type of thing. It is to make sure that you are well aware of the passion and work that goes into making travel blogging work for you. We wouldn’t change what we are doing for the world, so if you’re ready, what else are you waiting for? Start a travel blog and take on the world!
For an idea of the sort of equipment you will need, hop on over to this handy post we’ve written. Everything we use is linked to already!