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A Simple Guide to Set up a Travel Blog Website
If we jump a few years back, there wasn’t much we or the internet could say about travel blog. The handful of travel bloggers that were venturing out there would make money either by selling links or by having 40-50 niche websites that had Google adwords ads. There was no concept of press trip and the amount of pay that they manage to scratch up was barely enough. A few years back when people weren’t Instagram famous or ‘influencers’, ads didn’t pay much and most of the folks in the industry would laugh at the idea of getting paid to travel.
Travel Blogging as a Career
In the recent present though, travel blogging has become a legitimate business, thanks to the many social media platforms that are rapidly increasing day by day. The downside of it is that the competition has grown tighter, but the silver lining is that there are many ways to excel. What are those ways? Sit back and relax, because we are going to tell you the whole tale as it is.
What Involves Travel Blogging: Five Pros and Cons of Being a Travel Blogger
It may sound all fun and games but travel blogging really isn’t as easy as it looks on the outside. There’s a lot of hard work that goes in to that most people don’t get to witness. As exciting as it sounds to have someone else cover the cost of your trips, unfortunately travel blogging is exactly like a job and not everyone can be good at it unless you are equipped with the right kind of tools.
So, before you start your own travel blog, here is all that you need to know:
A Heavy Niche
Going to a far-off exotic place at somebody else’s expense sounds like travel blog is all rainbows and sunshine and most people even think that by having a travel blog and a few following they will get to enjoy compensations at 5-star hotels, but sorry for all of you out there, it does NOT work that way. Many bloggers have spent a vast amount of time building up a worthy profile before they received any special perks like that.
Behind the Screen
Once you own a travel blog, be prepared to think and work like you own a personal magazine and you are the sole editor, director, photographer, writer and stylist of it. It’s a job equal for a bunch of people that’s befallen on your shoulders. A few bloggers also work with a team but if you are just starting up, you might be alone on this bumpy ride. So, you can well imagine that all these jobs will require you to spend a lot of time behind your laptop screen even WHILE you are on vacation.
If you have made it to the successful blogger list and companies are paying you for the content, you will have to follow deadlines just like any regular job. This may subject you to writer’s block specifically if you are in a very good new place and can’t keep up with the amount of concentration that your content requires and the luxuries that the new place has to offer.
No Fixed Income
In the start, travel blogging will pretty mush be just an expense to you as it won’t pay off much if nobody is allowing you compensations. Since this niche is pretty much like freelancing, you will only earn as much as your next project. There won’t be a fixed amount of salary. So, you will have to invest a good amount to keep your blog running from time to time if things go down.
To keep your blog exciting, you will have to constantly plan your next move. There may also come a time when you’d just want to sit and relax and enjoy the comforts of home so you will need to plan accordingly.
However, if you are persistent and still keen on building your own travel blog website whether for commercial purposes or for the sake of sharing your travel stories with your friends, I suggest you keep going through this article.
Seven Basic Steps to Get Your Travel Blog Started
Some of the key elements that you need to understand and practice before you actually start your own travel blog are explained below so that you may be well in charge of what you are putting on your blog and how.
1. Choosing a Niche
Basically, there are two ways that get you started in this particular field.
- That you travel first and then start writing about it
- You plan to start a travel blog and then plan your destinations accordingly.
It doesn’t matter how you got started though. What matters more is what you are writing about. Now you may be surprised but like food blogs, travel blogs are various kinds. So, first things first, you have to choose a niche, more so if you want to earn from your blog. We suggest that you choose a niche that will help you stand out from the rest of the competition that is out there and the one that is more SEO targeted.
Travel Blog Sub Niches
There are so many sub niches to travel blogging that it might surprise you. For some people it is harder to decide which niche they want to work on than the rest. So to get yourself a fair idea of what you want your blog to look like, you need to ask yourself these few questions:
- What is the reason for me starting a blog?
- What do I want to tell others?
- What are my skills and strengths?
- Can I keep writing on this topic for a long time or is this topic too narrow for a blog?
If you still cannot make up your mind about one kind of niche, here are some of the most popular ones to give you a push.
- City Blogging: Based on your local city
- Country Blogging: Based on locations in your country
- Area/Region Based: A specific continent or area
- Demographic Blogging: Based and targeted to the people of a specific region for example Americans
- Budget Travel: Based on a set limit of budget
- Luxury Travel: Based on exotic luxurious destinations
- Solo Travel: Travelling on your own
- Female Travel: Areas suited better for female vacations
- Traveling for Work: Associated with a company
- Adventure Travel: Based on adventurous locations
- Family Travel: Destinations better suited for family vacations
Many bloggers portray themselves as a brand. This involves your uniqueness and your blog’s out-of-the-way look and name. Your brand is what you will be known for so that when people see a piece of your content, it signifies your uniqueness and makes them recognize you in a second. The aspects of a good blog that is worthy of becoming a brand must include:
- A catchy blog name and niche
- The overall look of your blog must be distinct, the colors, palette, theme, images must make you stand out
- The style that you write in must be entertaining and informative at the same time
Coming up With a Name for Your Blog
Your blog name holds a fair amount of importance as it is what your blog will be known as. You can change the layout of your blog, the content in it, the photographs and everything but you should stick with the first name you give to your blog as changing your name over and over again will only make it lose recognition. Don’t get in a hurry as this is the most important thing of your blog. Think it through and come up with a name that you are proud of.
If you’re not sure what name you should choose, a very simple idea that many bloggers follow is a mix-up of their own name and travel-related terms. All in all, follow some simple rules while naming your blog:
- Don’t choose a complicated name, instead choose one that is easy to remember and spell.
- Do not choose a very lengthy name.
- Never add numbers or hyphens in your blog name. It is a turn off. Trust me.
3. Setting up Your Travel Blog
To set up your professional blog, you will need to be equipped with three things:
- A domain name
- A blogging platform
- A web host
Choosing a Blogging Platform
If you want to start a blog on any of the free platforms, you will have many options laid ahead in front of you like Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr etc. For a personal blog, these work the best but if you are looking for earning some cash through your blog, your best option will be to get a self-hosted WordPress blog.
With a self-hosted WordPress blog, you will have the freedom to customize it and you will have supreme growth.
Choosing a Web Host
Some of you may not have a clear idea of what this actually is so here, allow me to explain.
“A web host is the place where you store your website’s files.”
These can come as cheap as $4/month and can be upgraded with time to time. However, it is crucial that you choose a web host that is reliable and stable with minimum downtime. For starters, you can share a server with other blogs, which will cause you less expense, but it will be slower when you are sharing resources as compared to your own web host.
There is a company called Kinsta that allows you to manage your WordPress hosting. Since you are travelling, you might not have the time to worry about server problems or you might not have the best internet connection at all times. In those situations, Kinsta proves to be the best solution for all your web host problems.
4. Customizing the Look of Your Travel Blog
Once you are done with the web hosting stuff, you can shift your focus to the final look and feel of your blog which is a very important task as it is an important aspect of branding.
You can either pay for a theme or get a free one. There are also free themes available specifically designed for travel blogs. It is easier to choose form a free theme in the beginning to see how it goes as themes can be altered later.
At the top of your blog there is usually a header which can be used to display your blog’s name as text or logo with a photo to give it a chic look.
Since we are talking about WordPress, let’s talk about the plugins that it offers for your blogs.
“Plugins are essential codes that you can install to your blogs to add functions to your site.”
Not only do they look cool on your site, they attract traffic on your blogs and readers are entertained by the various cool functions that set your website apart from all the others. Some of the plugins specifically designed for travel blogs are:
It shows the readers all the places that you have been to so far.
It shows your current locations to your readers no matter where you are in the world.
It shows off the travel photos on your blog.
5. Content Creation
Now comes the most important part of your blog which is the content. There are many options when it comes to telling or communicating with your readers through your blogs. Rather than just the use of words or articles, you can use photos, videos and audios on your blogs too.
It is generally a good idea though to not start off with everything all at once. Take it slow and give it time. As your blog grows, start adding new content and you’ll get the hang of it.
In this era of visual attractions, platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are at the heights of popularity. A good way to boost your blog is to take amazing pictures and videos that will make your readers feel like they are there with you in that heavenly place. Moreover, it will promote your website.
When it comes to the promotion of your website, there are many ways you can do it.
This is by far the easiest way to promote your content, as social media is in the air these days with millions of active users. There are many platforms for this purpose, the best being Instagram and Pinterest that can turn your page into a very attractive travel diary and attract the right kind of audience to your website.
This is by far the largest source of generating traffic but as there is more traffic, so is there more competition here.
To give yourself exposure, one of the best ways that works is getting yourself featured on newspapers and magazines or an online entity.
Top Five Travel Bloggers to Follow
To give you a rough idea of how you can run your travel blog, we have jotted down a list of some of the most successful travel bloggers in the industry. Go follow them or check them out to get yourself started.
Daniel is a British bloke who is in collaboration with LonelyPlanet and Skyscanner. He’s an aspiring writer with tons of useful tips, and is an even better photographer. People who get to travel with him report that he is a chatty chap with lots of exciting moments. His photography has also been published in many leading media platforms like Beautiful Destination, National Geographic, Travel Channel and many more.
Being a native form Arizona, Gloria is never afraid of voicing her opinion whether it’s through her travel blog, pho blog, photographs or writings. She has worked with a number of top photographers and is a writer at Thought Catalog, Huffington Post and Matador Networks.
Alyssa Ramos is a Cuban American and a Florida native. She writes for the Huffington Post, Matador Network and many other publications. She’s famous for her quick travel tips and cool selfies on Snapchat and all the fun that involves her and her travel diaries.
Keirsten who is a California native has quite an interesting story. She quit a career in finance and started travelling and then later started this blog which by far she is totally killing! She is associated with the top brands of the world and is a brilliant writer and a very talented photographer. This beauty has been featured on the Huffington Post, Forbes, Matador Networks and many more!
This travel blog is run by a cute gay couple, Stefan and Sebastien who are both from Europe in love to travel in each other’s company. They are on a mission to encourage other couples such as themselves to come out of the closet along with travelling the whole world. Their target is to find the best places at the best prices that can offer them the best experiences.