There are a number of articles on how to start a travel blog, but most of them lack the gritty details. In this series I will show you, in great detail, how to start and manage a travel blog using the popular WordPress content management system, by far the most popular platform for travel blog websites. Many articles will tell you to install WordPress for your travel blog for example. But I will actually show you how to install WordPress, plus how to find a theme for the design of your website, how to configure the WordPress installation, how to add menus and widgets, how to create articles and how to add photos to those articles, how to make money with your travel blog, plus many other details on operating and managing a travel-related WordPress website.
PART ONE: NAMING YOUR TRAVEL BLOG
What is your travel blog about?
There are two issues that must be addressed before you actually create your travel blog website, those are what will your travel blog be about and what will it be named. The two issues go hand in hand.
Wherever you are, wherever you go, whatever your skills and interests, they are unique. Though there are thousands of travel blogs out there on the Web, they are all unique in one way or another, and yours will be too. You will want to fashion your travel blog to reflect your places, passions and skills.
Though many travel blogs are about places visited, there is also the opportunity to blog about the place where you live by creating a travel guide for your area. And though many travel blogs are about travel in general, many travel blogs have found great success by focusing on certain aspects of travel, such as local food, photography, wedding or honeymoon destinations, traveling with kids, traveling with pets, traveling solo, traveling on a budget, and the list goes on. What are your travel competencies and interests, and how do you want to focus your talents with your travel blog?
Once you figure out your focus, you’ll want to come up with a name for your travel blog and register that name for Internet use with a domain registrar company such as Register.com or GoDaddy.com. (I use GoDaddy.com.) Unless you have a super unique name, this part is easier said than done. Already there are thousands of published travel blogs. And many other names have been registered but not put in to use. Some of the names are “being sat on” by people and organizations waiting for you to want the domain name, and then charge a hefty fee for that name. Here are a few tips for registering your domain name:
- As of this writing, GoDaddy charges $15 for one year to register a domain.
- As of this writing, Register.com charges $38 for one year, though promotions may lower that price.
- Go to either above-mentioned site, or another domain registrar site, and start typing in your desired travel blog names in the search box.
- Unless your name is super unique, it will likely be taken. In fact you will be surprised at exactly how many names have been taken. Even many misspellings are taken.
- YOU WILL WANT TO REGISTER A .COM NAME WITH NO HYPHENS. This is very important for your brand, promotion, search engine results and more. Though many .com names are taken, many of the same names are available as .net, .org, .co and other extensions. It’s tempting to use one of these alternate Web extensions, but keep trying until you find a word or combinations of words or letters that you like as a .com with no hyphens.
- Go to www.google.com to search for travel blog names that are already being used to give you an idea about travel blog names.
- A good number of domain names containing travel-related words such as adventure, nomad, wanderlust, wanderer, vagabond, hiker, explorer, trekker, etc. are already taken. Try adding another non-travel related word such as productions, media or tv (especially if you will be producing travel videos).
- Use an online thesaurus such as Thesaurus.com to find alternate words with similar meanings.
- Don’t limit yourself with a domain that will no longer be relevant as time goes by. Examples include using twentysomething (you will get older) and such names as traveling with children (they will grow up) etc.
- Get creative and think outside the box. The domain name doesn’t have to be two travel-related words such as vagabondtravel.com. A popular travel blog by Alyssa Ramos is titled mylifesamovie.com and her Instagram account name is mylifesatravelmovie.
- Think about the domain name before you register. See what other people think about the name. Although you could change the name later, changing a travel blog name is problematic.
- Preferably, you will want to register a domain name that is also available on Instagram and Facebook. (For example your domain www.travelblog.com and also www.instagram/travelblog and www.facebook.com/travelblog.)
- Register the domain name for one year, or if you’re absolutely certain you are committed to a travel blog, register the name for five years. (Some search engine experts say a longer registration is better for search engine ranking.)
A Few Words of Advice About Travel Blogs Before You Get Started
Running a travel blog website takes a long-range commitment. It may take months, even years to find an audience for your site. But if you stick with it there could be many rewards. The first reward is that by sharing your travel experiences you are helping others plan their travel experiences. Secondly, there is the opportunity for you to make a business out of your travels that will lead to even more travels and perhaps a second income or even primary income.
The problem with many websites is original content. To have a website you need original content. Google will penalize websites that have content copied from other websites. Google knows when and where particular content is first published. Google loves original content. With travel-related websites, your original content is not such a problem. When you travel – when you go on vacation – when you business travel, take notes, photos and videos. Take lots of notes, photos and videos. Take photos of the food you ordered, the menus, what you packed for a particular destination, the camera and equipment that you used. That is all original content. And someone, somewhere will likely be searching at Google.com for answers that your travel blog addresses, such as “what I packed for a trip to Iceland.”
PHOTO: Copyright: softlight69 / 123RF Stock Photo