We are admittedly not one of the best travel blogs out there, mostly because there are so many. But we’ve been doing this now for over six years. So I feel like I can offer some advice for people who are wondering “How do I start a blog?” If you’re already thinking of starting a travel blog, I will provide some advice on how to create a blog, and in particular how to become a travel blogger in just about one day.
All of the top travel blogs out there started in the same spot – on day 1, with no idea where to start and how to do it. They sat down at their computer one day and typed into Google “How do I start a blog?” The difference? Back then there weren’t travel bloggers and resources to help new bloggers like there is today. That’s why I am here to help anyone who wants to start a blog, with our recommendations on how to start a travel blog in 5 steps (okay, with a little bit more to make it successful)!
Starting a Travel Blog Step 1: Think About Travel Blog Names
When it comes to step one of where to start a blog it all comes down to the name. Travel blog names are important, more important than many new travel bloggers think at first. Your name should recognize what your niche is, or what your specialization is. This is one mistake we made early on. Most people don’t associate With Husband In Tow as a food travel blog or a luxury travel blog, but we are both. Having your niche in your blog name can also help with SEO.
But our travel blog name also doesn’t have the words “nomadic” or “wandering” or “wanderlust” or any other typical travel blog name. This may have worked for some of the original travel blogs, like Nomadic Matt. Now, it’s important to be more creative and memorable. Try to avoid using your own name as well. Always think about the future. Maybe you want to partner with other writers. Maybe you want to sell the blog in the future. Having your own name in your blog might make this more difficult in the future.
Check out Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging program & learn how to become a travel blogger
And, as much as our blog doesn’t have the word “food” or “travel” in it, our name is memorable. That’s important to us. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve been at a conference and we’ve met a total stranger, often from a tourism board or travel brand, and they recognize the name of the blog – to me, that’s super important.
The best travel blog names also have readily available social media channels. Be sure to check, minimally, on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to check if your travel blog name is available. Because how do you start a blog without social channels?
Starting a Travel Blog Step 2: Register Your Blog Name
One of the most important steps in how to start your own blog is registering your blog name, but what does this mean? Many people who wonder how do you start a blog don’t even know what a domain name is. But, we are going to walk through some steps on how to register your blog name with Bluehost and how to purchase a hosting account, for less than $4 a month.
This is one of the most important steps. Your blog name and your domain is the first thing people know about your blog. It’s your address on the web and it is where they will find you. If your domain name is too complicated, it’s going to be very hard for people to find your blog. But, if you’ve come this far, chances are you already have chosen a blog name, or at least have some ideas. Just take a moment to confirm the name you want, and then, register it before someone else does!
Register with Bluehost
We recommend that new bloggers start with Bluehost for a few reasons. One, because it is easy! And reliable. They can help you set up and register your domain name, they can host your blog, and help you install your WordPress software all in a few steps. Bluehost works seamlessly with WordPress to get a new travel blogger up and running in no time. It’s possible to do all of this for less than $4 a month. Rather than telling you to go to Bluehost and make all of this happen, I am going to walk through the process, step-by-step, on how to create a travel blog with Bluehost.
Click the green “get started now” button. Choose a hosting plan. For new travel bloggers, the basic plan is probably enough. But, if the goal is to turn the travel blog immediately into a business, then the Prime or Pro plans could work. It’s always possible to upgrade later.
Register a Domain Name
Because you’ve already chosen your domain name and blog name, type in your domain name into Bluehost’s domain name searcher to see if it is available. Bluehost includes a free domain name for every new hosting account created.
Just type in the domain name you are looking for directly into the box below. When you’ve found the right domain name, just follow the steps to set up your new account with Bluehost.
Review the package information below and decide what term or add-ons you want. The best value is to sign up for the 60-month term, but 24 months and 12 months are also possible. Then, enter your credit card information into the secure form. After submitting the credit card information, guess what? You’re a travel blogger! Okay, there are a few more steps, but at least you have a domain name!
Starting a Travel Blog Step 3: Create a WordPress Travel Blog
Starting a Travel Blog? Check out this review of the Top Laptops for Travelers
The best place to start a blog, particularly a travel blog that you want to make money from, is on WordPress. Hands down. At its most basic, WordPress is a software for managing a blog or website. Before taking your domain name and installing it on a WordPress site, it’s important to understand why WordPress is used by all popular travel blogs.
All of the top bloggers in the world use WordPress for their blog. But, there are other options out there, particularly if you’ve listened to a podcast in the last few years, and hear ads from other website platforms. What are these other platforms and why is a WordPress travel blog an important first step in how to start a profitable blog?
WordPress versus Wix versus Squarespace for Travel Blogs
Wix and Squarespace are two platforms that can best be described as a website in a box. They are easy to create and can look great. They are good options for people who want to have personal travel blogs, but not professional travel blogs. They are also good options for local businesses, who are just looking for a presence on the internet. But, they don’t offer the same sort of flexibility as a WordPress site.
Using a platform like Wix or Squarespace can seem attractive because starting a travel blog on one of these sites doesn’t require any technical know-how. It can be started in just a few minutes. And, that’s what I did when I started this blog in 2012. A friend recommended Squarespace, and it was easy. Until it wasn’t. It was possible to start my own blog in about a day, but as I tried to grow the blog, Squarespace had limited options. After about 18 months of travel blogging, I migrated this blog to WordPress, which was a pain. It was expensive. If I knew how to start my own blog the right way from day 1, I could have saved myself the hassle (and expense) of migrating to WordPress later on. Trust me. Use WordPress.
WordPress versus Blogger.com
There are some other free blogging platforms that people often consider when writing a travel blog. One of them is Blogger.com. If you only want your blog to be a personal travel blog, to keep friends and family up-to-date on travels, then these sites are great. But, if you want to make money from a travel blog in the future, stay away. They don’t offer the flexibility and professionalism needed to become a professional travel blogger. You can’t use plug-ins or themes to customize or commercialize the travel blog.
WordPress.com versus WordPress.org
- WordPress.com is a free blogging platform (similar to Blogger.com). In this case, WordPress hosts your blog.
- WordPress.org is a self-hosted blogging platform, meaning you are paying for hosting, with a company like Bluehost.
They key here is to start a WordPress.org website. This truly is the best way to start a blog if you want to make it professional and to monetize it later on. Now that we’ve settled on a WordPress.org site, it’s time to use Bluehost to set up a WordPress travel blog.
After walking through the steps above to create a travel blog, WordPress will automatically install. Choose a free theme from WordPress, which is a design template, just to get started. You can always update the theme later. Then, just follow the prompts until you get to the point where you are ready to launch your new travel site!
Starting a Travel Blog Step 4: Choose One of the Best WordPress Themes for Travel Blogs
The next step in how to make a travel blog is to choose a theme, or a design, for the travel blog. Although it’s possible to change a theme, or design, in the future, it’s not all that easy to do. It’s worth it to spend some time looking at themes, seeing which one you like, and choosing something right from the start.
One of the best WordPress themes for travel blogs is Elegant Themes. It’s what we used when we migrated this site from Squarespace to WordPress. We also used Elegant Themes for our new Spain travel blog site, Only in Costa Brava. They offer a wide variety of themes that can work for all sorts of travel blog sites. It’s almost like downloading a travel blog template, where you can start publishing blog posts on day 1!
Elegant Themes offers two pricing plans. The first is $89 a year, and the second is $249-lifetime access. I signed up for lifetime access in 2013, so it was a pretty good deal. Most important is that I had no developer skills before starting this blog. The Elegant Themes use a lot of drag and drop options to create something pretty cool looking, with minimal effort. We use the Divi theme for this blog and Extra for Only In Costa Brava, which is more of a magazine style rather than a travel blog style. I’ve been super happy with Elegant Themes!
Sign up for Elegant Themes Here
Starting a Travel Blog Step 5: Learn How to Take Great Photos
This might not be something you want to think about on day one of starting a travel blog. Photos, though, can make or break a site and is as important as SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Some of the most famous travel bloggers out there started out as professional photographers, or consider themselves photographers first and bloggers second. Because what is a travel blogger than someone who is inspiring someone to travel. And, inspiration comes from great travel photos!
Many people think you need to be a great writer to create a successful travel blog. And it certainly helps to be a great writer, but that is also something you can work at over time. Travel blogs are visual, and photos are important, not only for the blog itself but to have consistent social media with great photos.
Now, these posts aren’t focused on how to start a photography blog, but they are a good start for learning how to take better travel and food photos. And, that includes investing in a good camera, either a DSLR or a great mobile phone, like the Samsung Galaxy S9. We switched to Samsung a few years ago because it takes the best photos and videos – way better than the iPhone! And, for new travel bloggers, it is the best tool because there is no reason to buy an expensive camera. It’s the perfect place to start! It’s also important to have a great smartphone when trying to become a digital nomad because it is like your office some days.
FAQs & Further Resources – How to Start Writing a Blog
- What are other resources out there on how to blog? When talking about how to write a travel blog, there are a few other important resources. First, check out some of the Facebook groups for travel bloggers. It’s a way to stay connected to the community and to learn from others.
- Is it possible to create a travel blog that makes money? Yes, it’s possible. Many people do it. But, don’t quit your day job right away. One of my top tips for starting a blog is to be realistic. Don’t assume you will be off and traveling the world from day 1. Take the time to invest in a good blog and learn how to do it right. Travel blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme. The top travel blog websites are generally from people who started five or ten or more years ago, and they invested a lot to get to where they are. It’s not impossible. But, it’s not easy either.
- Where can I get more advice on how to make a blog more professional? When I started taking my blog seriously, I enrolled in Travel Blog Success. But, that program is now part of Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Program. He offers 4 different travel blogging courses, including How to Be a Travel Blogger, as well as courses in photography, filmmaking, and travel writing. Courses start at only $79, but the How to Be a Travel Blogger course is $249.
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER.
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Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together they have traveled to over 70 countries.