Do you love travelling and want to share your experiences on a blog but you don’t know where to start? I’ve put together this step by step guide on how to start a travel blog and monetize it.
A little over 2 years ago I started postcardsfromivi.com combining my passions for photography and travel. Over the years the blog grew and it became part of my daily life. But at first I knew nothing about this “blogging world”, I just knew I wanted a space where I could share my travel experiences. If you’re in the same position I was 2 years ago, I’m here to help.
If you want to start a travel blog for real, you need to know it’s not as easy as it seems. Creating a quality travel blog and keeping it alive involves a lot of time, work and constancy.
Which platform should you choose to create a blog?
There are several platforms you can use to create a blog: WordPress, Blogger, Wix, etc.
WordPress is the world’s most popular website building platform. This platform has two versions: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Web hosting (I’ll explain what this is later) is included in WordPress.com sites, so you don’t need to pay for additional web hosting and in WordPress.org, you host your own blog or website. The .com version is much more limited in terms of design and tools.
If your goal is to create a blog to share your trips with your friends and family, go ahead and open a free WordPress.com blog. Now, if you want more people to read your blog and have the possibility of making money with your travel blog, the best way to create your blog is in WordPress.org as I explain below.
How to start a travel blog step by step
1. Choose a name for your blog
One of the hardest parts of how to start a travel blog is choosing your name. This will be your identity and how people will recognize you. Your name should aim to be catchy, simple and memorable. The next step is to make sure the domain is available!
You can check if your name is available here:
2. Hosting and Domain
Once you have chosen the name for the blog, you need to buy the domain (the name of your blog) and the hosting.
What is hosting? Web hosting is basically the space where a website is hosted so that anyone can see it on the Internet.
I personally use and recommend Bluehost as my blog host. They have incredible support and offer quality hosting for a very low price (USD $3.95 per month x 12 months + free domain).
From the front page, start by clicking the big Get Started Now button. Then you have to select a plan: Basic, Plus or Prime.
Once you have selected the plan, you will need to enter your new domain name:
You’ll be taken to a page where you need to complete a form with your personal data and then you can decide on your package and some add-ons.
For your account plan, you can choose basic hosting plans for 12, 24, 36, or 60 months. I recommend you go with the 12-month plan and after your first year decide if you want to extend it.
Once you have chosen the plan and made the payment, you are ready to set up WordPress and start designing your blog.
3. Install WordPress
Bluehost offers a very simple way to install WordPress. On the Bluehost’s Control Panel, you will see the WordPress icon. You just need to click through and the installation pocess will start. When you’re asked where you’d like to install it simply select your domain. Put in your login credentials and you’ll be taken to the WordPress dashboard.
4. Blog Theme
Once WordPress is installed, you need to choose a theme. WordPress comes with many free themes. You can select any of them and change it later or opt for a paid theme which cost between $25-$80.
- Look for “appearance” on the left panel and click on themes.
If you have no idea how WordPress works, don’t worry! I swear it’s not as complicated as it seems at first. The good thing about WordPress is that you do not have to be a web designer or programmer to make your blog look good. It only takes a little patience and time to learn how to use it. I recommend the free WordPress guides.
5. Install plugins
Your blog is almost ready! The next step is to install some essential plugins.
What are plugins? Plugins are like apps that allow you to add functions to your blog. There are thousands of plugins, some are free and other paid.
- To add plugins go to the left panel on your WordPress dashboard, click “Plugins” and then click “Add new”.
These are some plugins that I recommend to start a travel blog:
- Contact Form 7 – Allows you to create contact forms and receive messages from readers.
- Askismet – anti-spam plugin that filters messages left on your blog
- WPTouch Mobile Plugin – Makes your blog look nice on mobile phones and tablets.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – You don’t need to know what SEO is now, but this plugin will help you organize your posts so Google can find your site.
- Monarch or Sumo– add buttons to share your posts on social networks
6. Social Media
Now that you have your own travel blog, grab your name on each social media. Try to keep your name the same across all of them. Even if you are not going to use these social networks regularly, get your name secured so that no one else can create it.
Social networks are a complement to the blog and will help you create a community of people who share the same interests. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, they can all help you drive traffic to your blog.
Congratulations! You now have your own travel blog. The next step is to start blogging! The amount of content you post will depend on the time you can invest on the blog but it would be awesome if you could post 1 article per week at first.
Over time you will learn new things, including how to optimize your posts so they appear on Google (SEO). But now the most important thing is to create quality content. The blog will grow slowly, you just need patience and passion.
Monetize your travel blog
When your blog is a few months old you can start monetizing it. If you’re just starting with this you can download my free PDF “How to monetize a travel blog” where I explain 5 ways of making money with your travel blog. The list also includes useful websites and tools that will help you find opportunities to generate money with your blog. To receive the PDF suscribe below:
I hope this post has helped you take your first step on starting your travel blog. If you have any other questions please feel free to email me or leave a comment below.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase any products recommended, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read more about it here.