So, you’re embarking on an adventure in the foreseeable future, or maybe you are already there. You want a way to document your travels, let your family and friends know what crazy things you’re up to and have somewhere to look back on in years to come and reminisce about.
Creating a travel blog doesn’t have to be expensiveIf you are not interested in investing any money into a travel blog, that’s okay! There are plenty of free blog platforms out there:
- Life Journal
Take a look at each of the platforms above and have a peek at other peoples blogs, this will give you an idea for whether or not one of these blog websites is right for you.
For those of you who are happy to spend a little money, maybe want to own a domain name and are happy to invest in hosting then read on! Those of you who do not, read on anyway – there is still some useful things for you to think about!
First things first you need to decide on how you want to make your blog, from scratch or using a website builder. If you’re not confident in HTML, CSS, PHP, J-query and so on, that is okay – in this day and age you don’t need to be in order to create websites and blogs.
I know of two website/blog platforms that you can use to create your travel blog:
Now, both of these resources are completely free to use however in order to use your own domain, you need to buy hosting.
What is a domain name?A domain name is what you may know as a URL, or the thing that comes after www. So, for example our domain name is wanderlostadventure.com
Your domain name should relate to what you want to call your travel blog, for most people this is the hardest part!
Choosing a domain name is like trying to think of a name for your first born child Tweet This
If you’re struggling to think of words to reflect your travel blog, why not head over to a thesaurus website and have a quick search on there. You can even encorporate your name into your domain name, look at FloraTheExplorer and VickyFlipFlopTravels!
Thought of some good blog names? Fab! Let’s check it’s availability by heading to a website like name.co.uk which indicates whether the domain you are looking for is available with various domain extensions such as .com .co.uk .org etc.
The biggest advice I can give you is if you think of a domain name you like, do not get attached to it – there is nothing worse than falling in love with a domain name to find someone else already owns it! Especially if they own it and don’t use it.
Why the hell do I need hosting!?
Once you’ve found the domain name of your dreams, you can either go ahead and buy it with a website like 123reg or you could look at hosting packages – most hosting packages come with cheap or free domain names.
In order to get your domain name and website live on the internet you need it to be hosted. To get your website hosted, most people go to hosting companies and get them to do it all for them, this means that someone essentially looks after your website. Most hosting companies take backups and do general maintenance and support to ensure your website is up and running.
We use wordpress.org and therefore need WordPress Hosting for our blog. For website builders such as wix.com I am unsure whether you can buy your own hosting or if you have to buy their hosting, so it is worth looking into that before you make any purchases.
We currently use GoDaddy as our website host, however after working with a hosting company called Fresh Sites for over a year with my previous job, I decided that I would feel more comfortable moving our website over to them. Their support is top notch, they are easily reached by telephone or through support tickets and they work quickly and efficiently to help resolve any problem you encounter. They are fantastic bunch of guys and because it’s a relatively small team, they get to know you!
If you are interested in having a look at Fresh Sites click here, they offer both WordPress Hosting and Managed WordPress Hosting.
When you buy WordPress hosting they often install and set up your wordpress for you, sending you a username and password for you to access and start creating your website. To log into your new WordPress (if it has been set up) head over to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin. If your hosting hasn’t set up the WordPress site for you BlogTyrant has a fantastic blog detailing how to install and get started on WordPress, as well as other fantastic blog topics on blogging!
It’s time to make your new travel blog pretty!
Now this is the fun part! Once everything is installed and ready to go, it’s time to pick a theme. There are thousands of fantastic themes to choose from, some are free to use and others you can pay a small and reasonable fee for. Head over to Appearance > Themes to have a look around the theme library.
As well as themes, you can download plugins for WordPress which are almost like addons for your website to make it do different things or look a certain way.
Top 5 WordPress Plugins for Travel Blogs
The list below is some of our personal favourite plugins for a variety of reasons:
- Cloudflare – For the more technical bloggers. Cloudflare is a great way to control cache within your website, apply security measures and has fantastic functions to help you speed up your website. Travel blogs tend to have a lot of beautiful hi-res photos, so optimising your website speed is so important!
- Contact Form 7 – This plugin is a fantastic way to show contact forms within your website, whether you want people to sign up to your mailing list or if you want to give viewers the chance to get in touch with you. It’s extremely easy to use and looks great!
- RS Feedburner – Creating an RSS feed for your blog is a great way to get viewers to subscribe to your blog so they get alerted when you publish a new post. RS Feedburner provides you with stats around your RSS feed, allowing you to see how many subscribers you have if you have set up your RSS feed with Google’s feedburner.com.
- Shareaholic – When viewers are browsing your blog, they may want to share it with their friends on Social Media. Shareaholic allows you to have a scrolling social media bar which follows the viewer down the side of the page, making it extremely easy for viewers to share your blog posts. It’s very easy to set up and is also really visually pleasing compared to other similar plugins!
- Yoast – SEO is extremely important when it comes to websites and blogs (if you have no idea what SEO is then I highly recommend reading this fantastic guide created by Moz). Yoast is a fantastic plugin that helps remind you of the importance of SEO with it’s on page content analysis tool and Snippet Editor.
To install plugins, head over to the plugins tab from your WordPress dashboard and click on add new. If you know what you’re looking for use the search box, or have a browse through WordPress’ recommended plugins to see what other people find useful!
Start writing fantastic content
Once your blog looks exactly how you want it to, start thinking about writing content. To get inspiration head over to some of your favourite travel blogs, have a look at what they write about, or browse their comments section to see what questions people are asking. Never copy or steal content, not only is that unethical and it will catch up with you, but Google’s previous algorithm changes mean that they actually pick up on plagiarised and duplicate content and you will get penalised for it by them.
Start creating social media accounts for your blog such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and a Facebook page and start getting into the habit of sharing your content on applicable sites, it’s extremely important and a lot of bloggers find that their main stream of website traffic comes from social media posts.