Are you passionate about travel? Do you love sharing your stories and photos? Are you a fan of a travel blog or two?
Let me guess: You’re here because your friends have told you on numerous occasions about how COOL it would be if you had your own travel blog. Your friends and family are always living vicariously through your Facebook photo albums. With that, you’ve thought about combining your love of travel and blogs in a passion project to make even more people jealous of your adventures.
I really only have one advice for you: Don’t wait and get started today!
For me, all it took was a day to get my travel blog, Going Awesome Places started. The hardest part is always to just get started.
All you have to do is put down everything you’re doing and set aside 15 minutes as I walk you through 3 super easy steps to get your travel blog up and running.
You ready? Let’s go!
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I personally use and endorse all the products and services that I list below and wholeheartedly recommend them to you because they are companies that I’ve found helpful in making my travel blog successful.
STARTING A TRAVEL BLOG
THREE EASY STEPS
- Domain name and hosting
- Installing WordPress
- Dress it up
1) DOMAIN NAME AND HOSTING
The first step into the travel blog-o-verse is picking your name. You want to make it fun and recognizable but at the same time think strategically about a name that has some keywords that relate to your blog’s focus. Say for example you’re focused on women travelling then Smart Women Travelers is pretty good. The advantage of having a name like this is that every time someone searches for “women travelers”, your site will get a leg up on rankings. That being said, there are a ton of examples of where people have just gone with whatever. Going Awesome Places besides being memorable doesn’t do so much for search unless someone is searching “going to awesome places”.
In any case, my suggestion is to just do some brainstorming and write every possible idea you have. Think about what niche your blog is going to focus on and start playing with words that come to mind.
Once you have a name in mind, you’re going to want to use this little widget below to see if your domain name is available. Remember to add on .com at the end.
If your domain name is available, it’s going to look like this. Click on the link “Available, click here to register”
After clicking on the link, you’ll be asked to pick a plan. I would recommend sticking with the Starter which will be totally adequate for your needs.
Now this part is what’s called hosting. You’ve selected a website URL to your blog but you need to store all your blog’s information somewhere and that’s what hosting is all about. Think of it as renting a retail store front to be able to display your soon-to-be wicked travel blog. Bluehost is great because they offer amazing rates for first-timers and throw in a domain name for free. How awesome is that?
The next page is the billing page where you’ll enter in your personal information, select the package you want and then enter your credit card information. Here’s what your Package Information section should look like. I would deselect all the add-ons as they’re not really necessary when starting up.
Great so now with Bluehost ready to go, we can now install WordPress.
In a nutshell, WordPress is software that was designed for bloggers. It’s incredible how easy they’ve made it for you and I to make travel blogs look like something National Geographic created or The New York Times. Having talked to many travel bloggers, I’d say that 90% use WordPress. There’s a good reason for that!
The awesome part right now is how you’ll be able to get it installed in just a few clicks.
The first part is to login to your Bluehost account. Once you’re in you’ll be taken to what’s called the cPanel where all your hosting is organized into one dashboard. Click on “WordPress” where the arrow is.
You’ll be taken to somewhere called MOJOMarketplace and from here you’ll be able to Start “a brand new install”.
In the dropdown box, your domain will show up. This page is basically asking if you want your blog installed on the main domain or in a subdomain (i.e. http://travelbloggingrocks.com/blog). My recommendation is to leave the box to the right blank. You want your blog to be on the main domain.
Okay one last step before you can start doing your happy dance. This page just asks you to fill out some basic information about the blog and to create an administrative user. My recommendation would be to use “admin” as the username and the password can be anything you like. For the admin email address, just put your personal e-mail for now. This will be how you log into your WordPress. Once done, click on “Install Now”. Note that this login is different from your Bluehost log in. You will also have an opportunity to change the password later on.
Voila! The installation kicks off and in a matter of minutes, it’ll be all done. *insert happy dance*
3) Dress it up
Congratulations on making it this far! WOOHOO! Now how does it feel to officially be a blogger? Welcome to the party 😀
Now here comes the exciting part. The installation is done and now you can actually go to your newly minted blog to make it pretty.
Type in the URL of your blog and add /wp-admin to the end (i.e. travelblogbreakthrough.com/wp-admin). Enter in your WordPress Username and Password from the previous step.
You’re now minutes away from creating your very first blog post!
Before you get into writing mode, there are a bunch of basic things you can do to make your blog look awesome. The first step is to pick your theme. A theme is what gives your blog its look and feel. WordPress has its own collection of free themes that you can start with. For premium themes like the one I have, I encourage you to check out these options:
- themeforest – I discovered my current theme, Throne here. There are so many professional and beautiful themes here to choose from. If you really want to look pro, themeforest is where you need to be looking for your theme.
- Elegant Themes – My first two themes on Going Awesome Places was through Elegant Themes. The first was Envisoned and the second was Lucid. I loved the fact that all I had to do was pay one price and I got access to all of their themes instead of buy them a-la-carte. Their support was fantastic as well whenever I had an issue.
For more tips and tricks on WordPress and travel blogging in general, make sure you follow the on-going series – Travel Blogger’s Toolkit.
Bluehost is dropping their hosting rates this month and want you to take advantage of the reduced price while you can.
From Thursday, May 19, through Friday May 20 at 11:59 PM (MT), you can enjoy hosting for as low as $2.95/mo for 36 months. That’s over 60% off!