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How to Start a Travel Blog for Beginners
Congrats on deciding to start a travel blog! I wrote this step-by-step guide to teach you how to start your own travel blog in under an hour, even if you’re a complete beginner.
I love having a travel blog because I can write about one of my favorite topics (travel!) and make money while doing it. Even though I only work on this blog this part time, I am able to earn over $1,000 every month from Wander Her Way.
So are you ready to start your own travel blog? Here’s what you need to know!
Note: If you want to get more detailed lessons delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for my FREE 5 day course How to Start a Successful Travel Blog:
Step 1: Choose a niche
The first step to starting a travel blog is deciding on your niche.
Your niche is simply the topic that you blog about. For example, there are blogs out there in niches like fashion, cooking, parenting, personal finance, and so on.
I know what you’re probably thinking: isn’t my niche just travel?
Yes, travel in itself is a niche and it’s okay to have a general travel blog. In fact, Wander Her Way is pretty “general” in that I write about many destinations and topics within the travel sphere.
However, if you can “niche down” further, there are many benefits to doing so.
Here are some travel niche ideas:
- Sustainable travel
- Luxury travel
- Budget travel
- Country-specific travel
- City-specific travel
- Solo travel
- Couples travel
- Family travel
- Working abroad
- Travel for retirees
- Adventure travel
- Living in a van or RV
- Cruise travel
These are just a few examples of specific travel niches. If you don’t have a particular niche in mind, that’s okay too! You can be successful with a travel blog either way.
You can always start off writing about whatever you want related to travel, and narrow down your focus as time goes by and you realize what you enjoy writing about most.
Step 2: Choose a domain name
The next step to starting a travel blog is choosing a name for it. Your blog name will be the first impression that you have on people, so it’s important to pick a good one!
Here are some tips for choosing the perfect travel blog name:
- Make sure it’s easy to spell, pronounce, and remember
- Don’t use hyphens or numbers in your name (this makes it harder to spell and remember)
- Try to choose a name that has the .com ending available (avoid endings like .net or .org as they are less common and harder to remember)
- Check to see that the corresponding social media handles are available
- Make it travel-related (like Adventurous Kate or The Blonde Abroad)
- Pick something you can grow with (ex. Don’t choose “Traveling with Toddlers” because in a few years that won’t be relevant when your kids aren’t toddlers anymore)
- Keep it professional if you plan on monetizing your blog. For example, Drew from The Hungry Partier eventually had to change the name of his blog because he was finding it hard to work with brands and land sponsorships!
- When in doubt, you can always just use your own name
If you need more help coming up with a name for your blog, be sure to read this guide: Travel Blog Names: How to Choose One + Ideas.
I have a TON of suggestions for choosing a memorable name for your travel blog, and how to come up with ideas if you have no idea where to start.
To see if the name you want is available, you can use this free domain name checker tool:
Step 3: Get hosting
Once you have chosen a name for your travel blog, you will need to register it and get web hosting.
If you buy your domain name through an outside company, you can expect to pay $15 to $20 for it.
However, if you sign up for web hosting through Bluehost, you can get your domain name for free.
I highly recommend Bluehost for web hosting, and they are the company I (and many other bloggers) use. They have some of the cheapest hosting plans out there making them good for new bloggers, while still having reliable service and great customer support.
Bluehost has been generous enough to offer readers of Wander Her Way web hosting starting at $3.95 a month (normally $7.99 a month) along with a free domain name.
Here are the detailed steps to set up web hosting with Bluehost:
1. Click the “Get Started” button on this page
2. Select your hosting plan
Which plan to choose: I recommend the basic plan for new bloggers.
I’m personally on the plus plan, but that’s only because I run multiple blogs. Otherwise I would probably choose the basic plan!
3. Put in your domain name
This is where you’ll put in the domain name that you decided on earlier.
What if I haven’t decided on a name yet? If you haven’t decided on a domain name for your travel blog yet, wait a couple minutes and this offer will pop up on your page:
Select this option and you can go ahead and start setting your blog up, then use the free credit to buy your domain name later. You’ll have up to a month to decide.
4. Create your account
5. Select your package and pay
Here’s where you’ll select your hosting plan. The 36-month plan is the best deal at $3.95 a month, but you can also pick a 12-month plan at $5.95 a month for an overall lower cost.
What about package extras? You have the options to add on extras like site backups or site security.
I personally don’t recommend any of these, because there are free WordPress plugins you can install that do the same thing (which I’ll cover in the next section of this guide.)
6. Congrats, you’re done!
Once you check out, you’ll be redirected to your Bluehost dashboard. This is where you can log in to your blog for the first time and start setting everything up.
Your blog will be run on the WordPress platform. Bluehost installs WordPress automatically for you, so you don’t have to do anything on your end.
Step 4: Designing your blog
Your blog will come with the default WordPress theme installed. You will definitely want to change this, which means it’s time to pick a theme for your blog!
When it comes to designing your blog, you have a couple of options options. You can hire a web designer, or you can install a theme on your own. I recommend installing a theme on your own because it’s MUCH cheaper and easier.
There are plenty of free themes out there, but I don’t recommend them because they look very plain, don’t have many customization options, and don’t include customer support.
A premium theme is a much better investment and will make your blog stand out from the crowd.
If you need help finding the perfect theme for your travel blog, make sure to check out my list of the 6 Best WordPress Themes for Travel Blogs.
These are my favorite things that are very professional and look great.
To install your new theme, simply go to Appearance > Themes in the WordPress dashboard and upload your theme file there!
Customizing your theme in WordPress is very easy and doesn’t require you to edit any code – just go to Appearance > Customize and get to work!
P.S. The theme I am using on Wander Her Way is called Vivienne by 17th Avenue Designs. I love this theme! If you want to get it for yourself, just click the image below:
Step 5: Install plugins
WordPress plugins add extra functionality to your blog. There are thousands of plugins out there, but the ones I recommend most for new bloggers are:
- Yoast SEO: Yoast helps you write blog posts that are SEO-friendly. SEO, or search engine optimization, is what gets your blog posts ranked in Google. Yoast will tell you exactly what you need to do for each blog post you write to improve your SEO.
- Akismet: This plug-in filters out annoying spam comments on your blog.
- WordFence Security: WordFence is a great security plug-in to protect your site from any potential threats like viruses and malicious traffic.
- UpdraftPlus: This plug-in makes regular backups of your site so you never lose anything!
- Social Warfare: Add social sharing icons to your blog posts.
All of these plug-ins are 100% free to use.
To install plug-ins on your blog, just go to Plugins > Add New in the WordPress dashboard, search the name of the plugin, click Install and then click Activate.
Step 6: Start posting!
Now all that’s left is to start posting!
Before you officially launch your blog, I recommend having at least 5 to 10 posts already published. This will give people more content to read and give you more posts to start sharing on social media.
Not sure what to write about? Take a look at 50 Travel Blog Post Ideas for some inspiration!
Here are just a few ideas to help you get started:
- Destination guides (where to stay, what to do, what to eat, etc.)
- Top 10 things to do in a particular destination
- Packing list for a particular destination
- Travel tips or hacks (how to save money, how to book cheap flights, etc.)
- Reviews of hotels you have stayed at or tours you have taken
Even if you don’t travel all the time, you can repurpose a single trip into a ton of content for your blog. For example, let’s say your took a three-week trip to India a while back.
Here are 7 different blog post ideas you could write based off that one trip:
- The Ultimate Three-Week India Itinerary
- Top 10 Things to Do in India
- How to Save Money Traveling in India
- 10 Things to Know Before Traveling to India
- What to Pack for India
- Solo Female Safety Tips for India
- 10 Things That Surprised Me About India
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your ideas and let your personality shine through in your writing.
Happy blogging! 🙂
How to Make Money with a Travel Blog
Travel bloggers can make money in many different ways. Some of the most popular ways are:
- Affiliate marketing
- Display ads
- Freelance writing
- Sponsored content
- Press trips
- Selling their own products
Find out exactly how 20 travel bloggers make money in my travel blog income report roundup.
And check out this post about how to make money with a travel blog to get a detailed breakdown of all the different ways you can make money blogging.
Travel Blog Prosperity
If you want to make money with your travel blog, I highly recommend joining Travel Blog Prosperity.
It’s a monthly membership for travel bloggers created by Jessie Festa from Jessie on a Journey.
Normally, the membership is $49/month, but when you sign up using the discount code WHW you will get your first month of Travel Blog Prosperity for just $9!
When you join the membership, you’ll get immediate access to the following:
- 30+ trainings and lessons for bloggers, with new ones added monthly
- Workbooks and checklists to go along with each lesson
- Twice monthly live group coaching calls with Jessie
- Weekly VIP Opportunities Newsletter with paid opportunities, press trips, and more!
- Private Member’s Lounge group where you can get your questions answered
And much more!
You can see everything offered inside the Travel Blog Prosperity membership right here.
And don’t forget to use the discount code WHW to get your first month for just $9! There’s no minimum monthly commitment and you can cancel at any time.
How to Start a Travel Blog Recap
This guide showed you how to start a travel blog in five easy steps.
As a recap, here’s what you need to do:
- Choose a niche for your blog
- Choose a domain name
- Get web hosting ($3.95 a month from Bluehost plus a FREE domain name)
- Install a WordPress theme (these are my top five picks)
- Install WordPress plugins
- Start blogging (click here for 50 travel blog post ideas!)
Do you have any questions at all about how to start a travel blog?
Leave a comment below and I will be sure to answer!
More Travel Blogging Tips
This post is part of my ongoing series about travel blogging. For more tips on travel blogging, be sure to read the following:
- Travel Blog Names: How to Choose One + Ideas
- How to Make Money with a Travel Blog
- 6 Best WordPress Themes for Travel Blogs
- 50 Travel Blog Post Ideas
- Travel Blog Income Report Roundup
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