How To Start A Successful Travel Blog In 6 Easy Steps
So you want to understand how to start a travel blog? I feel you! Two years ago I was searching for exactly the same thing. I was overwhelmed by all the different and often times conflicting information out there on how to create a blog along and which means to do it. I fumbled my way through the start-up process but I don’t want you to have to do the same. I want to help make it a more streamlined and easy process for you.
Sooo, let’s get into it!
Things to think about before starting a travel blog:
The two biggest things your blog must be are specific and knowledgeable.
One of the best pieces of advice that I read somewhere along my writing journey was to write what you know. This is hugely important, especially in travel blogging. If you are writing about the best things to eat in Bangkok but the food names are wrong – people are sure to pick up on this and write you and your credibility off. You must be sure to understand what you are writing about and be knowledgeable about the topic.
Along with this, your blog needs to be specific.
When I was just starting I looked at the handful of, what, maybe five über successful bloggers and just tried to mimic what they were doing.
I thought to myself “Oh do they post about everywhere they have ever been ever? Yes, okay I was in Bali once I’ll write about that. Oh I was in Hong Kong for a day I’ll write about that…..” Lol.
Writing sporadic posts from here or there does not establish you as an authority on a subject but it also erodes your credibility. I can’t possibly know the best local restaurants in a country that I have only been to for a very short amount of time. There are other things you can write about if you are whizzing through a location but that aint’ one of ‘em!
Sure, big blogs can do this because they have a team of writers who help research and create 10 articles per location along with guides and reviews. This type of sweeping content isn’t what is best for a newbie blog looking to grow!
Think About Value:
It’s best when you are just starting a blog to get super specific about what value you are going to be able to give to your readers. To just outline a few #basic places to visit in a city isn’t enough if you want to have a successful travel blog you have to stand out in the saturated market. Your take on a place needs to be specific enough and unique enough to build trust within your readers and base.
Questions to answer before starting:
Think about what type of travel you are doing? Budget travel? Luxury Travel?
Where are you traveling? The US? Australia? Eastern Europe?
What problems are you going to help solve, who is your audience?
All of these questions lead to our first step of creating a travel website which is….
Step 1: Create a personal brand
When creating a website you are essentially creating a personal brand, even if your website isn’t your personal name. Creating a personal brand can seem super overwhelming but the main things to think about when starting off is what do you want the feeling of your site to be?
Is it quirky and bright or mysterious and moody? What is the feeling that you want to convey? What is your writing style like? Informative and factual or more conversational and friendly?
This overall vibe is going to help shape what you will want your site to look like.
Pick two or three fonts that work well together and three colors to be your brand colors. A quick google search of google font pairings will give you many options for fonts along with a search of color pairings should give you an idea of what colors you like.
**Make sure to write down the color codes somewhere so you can make sure that they are the same on your site!
Like we talked about earlier – getting specific about what your blog does and who it is for will help further down the line. So what your does your blog do and who is it for?
Part of creating your brand is answering this question. So, fill in this sentence for yourself:
I help/inspire/educate (who do you help? Who is your audience) by (how do you help them?).
For example, when I was first starting my blog I could have said:
I help fun-loving gals on a budget who are interested SE Asia navigate different the countries by providing unique and knowledgeable itineraries, guides and resources.
Step 2: Create a name and logo
Along with fonts and colors, a name and logo are another part of your sites identity package. Here are some important things to think about when creating a travel blog!
Keep your site’s name evergreen, meaning make sure that it will always work. If you are taking a trip through Hungary and you name your blog thehungarytraveller (when I lived in Hungary for 6 months this actually was my name *facepalm*).
Though it sounds great now, chances are that Hungary is not the only thing you will ever write about. You want to make sure to pick a name that is all-inclusive and not 100% location specific or depends on one specific thing to make sense.
How many traveling (name) or nomadic (name) sites are there? Tons! You want to stand out from the crowd! Try to think of a name that will help you to get noticed!
Here is how I like to create brand names. Create two columns in which you can put two different words. These two words should be the two biggest parts of what your blog will be. For example perhaps your two defining words are travel and budget.
Then brainstorm ten different synonyms for each of these words. Make two lists and then pair different ones together. This will give you a good idea of what sounds good together.
Check social media:
Before deciding on a name make sure that the domains are not only available online but also on all the social media sites. There will be a little bit of room to change and adapt them but make sure that the majority is available.
Create a logo:
If you are on a budget and don’t want to hire a designer to create your logo, no worries! You can do it yourself. Programs like Canva are free and will give you access to all the google fonts, along with graphics and tons of different logo ideas!
Often times just the name of your blog in the font you have chosen is enough to be a great simple and clean logo. Minimal is better than overdoing it! Think simple.
Your site’s name and a small icon will be enough to get your blog up and running. If your logo is too flashy, difficult to read or overall just plain confusing, you will lose readers immediately because as silly as it sounds people will judge a book by its cover or rather a blog by its branding – if you will.
Step 3: Host your site
After you have an idea of who your blog is for and what you are going to be writing about its time to get it official and hosted. This seems confusing but think about hosting like your website is an apartment and you have to rent that apartment from an apartment building.
So you must find an apartment that is open ie a website name/domain which is available, then you must pay the apartment building to use it.
This apartment building in the metaphor is the website hosting service. There are lots of different hosting sites out there but I think that the best ones are:
I personally use SiteGround and it has been great! The 24-hour assistance has been a dream and many of their developers have been able to just log on to my site and help fix whatever problem I have had. This is perfect for me because I get so stressed out about messing up the coding that it is great to have an expert step in!
Step 4: Download WordPress and a theme
Now that you have your domain hosted, it’s time to download WordPress! Usually, your host can help you do this if you are having trouble. When you are set up and logged in, you’ll have to select a theme.
Now, if you are like me and don’t have hundreds to pour into the creation of a travel blog then you’ll be looking at the free themes, but this is something that I wish I would have spent money on when I was just starting out.
The themes which are free just aren’t at the same level as the paid ones. I took me almost a year to make the transition and boy do I wish I did it sooner! My site with a free theme was slow and did not convert well to mobile.
If you don’t have to spend tons on one but I would recommend at least investing in a 40 USD + theme, the difference is remarkable!
Step 5: Install plugins
Installing plugins are just essentially little apps for your website which make it run smoother! You can download plugins and then activate them. Here are a few that are must-haves!
Yoast SEO: this plugin is one of my favorites! It allows you to set keywords and analyzes your posts and gives you feedback on how to improve your SEO.
Imagify: this helps auto resize your images which improves your sites speed!
Akismet Anti Spam: this helps to block spam keeping your website safe!
Depending on what your theme is you will also want to install some social icon plugins too! Like an Instagram widget or Pinterest verify!
Overall you don’t need hundreds of plugins to make your site great if you have too many they will just end up cluttering it!
Step 6: Get to writing!
Now it’s on to the fun part! Think about what you are going to be blogging about.
Pick three overall pain points that your audience is going to face. What are the biggest questions that they would be asking you?
If your audience is made up of single women who are interested in luxury travel, they might be asking about solo travel tips, how to navigate different cities efficiently, which hotels are the best, what they should be bringing etc. Think of the three biggest questions and then these will be your main buckets, these three ‘buckets’ will be full of all those great blogs you are going to write.
For example, the big three categories this blog could have are:
- Solo female destination bucket-lists
- Hotel and accommodation reviews
- Solo travel safety and tips
Then, within each of these categories would be all the blog posts related! This not only gives ample opportunity to link each post to another from your site (increasing your SEO ranking) but also it helps to establish yourself as an authority.
Aim to have each of your blog posts around 1,500 to 2,000 words, so take your time and really dig deep into the topics you are discussing.
Alrighty my friend – I hope that this guide helps you on your way to creating that awesome website of yours.
Remember just because there are thousands of travel blogs out there it does not mean that you can’t start one either! There is always room, and plus everyone’s voice is different and unique. People will want to read your words over someone else’s for tons of different reasons.
Comment below if this guide helped you out! I would love to see your website!