To start a travel blog is easy. A simple few clicks at WordPress and you are set. BUT, If you want your travel blog to actually make money and fund your travels, you need to do much more. In this post, we at FlyMe360 will share with you the process to start and build a proper, travel blog that will be your money machine.
You’re ready. You’ve chosen a name for your blog, you have a few posts in mind, and you have some travel plans stashed behind your mind. Excellent. Lets start working on getting your first travel blog up!
#1 Getting a ‘Killer’ Domain
To start a travel blog, we need a domain first. Domain basically refers to the name of your website, for example – www.yourwebsitehere.com.
When it comes to domain, it is important to remember a few things. First is to keep it short, simple and memorable. Your blog name should be short, easy to type in, easy to spell, easy to remember, and easy to share. It is best to sit down and work out on a list of possible domains and choose one that relates to your blog the most.
Next, register with a good registrar. Yes, domains need to be bought. Do not worry, it is not a difficult process, nor it is expensive either. Registrar such as GoDaddy or NameCheap are good, reliable and easy to use. Aside from not charging exorbitantly (or slap you with funny, hidden fees), they also provide lots of upgrades and options.
#2 Get Reliable Hosting
If a domain is the address, then hosting is the plot of land where you will build your house (blog) . When it comes to getting hosting servers, It is very important to get the best service you could.
There are thousands, millions even of hosting providers on the web, and the choices could be overwhelming. To make it easier for you, avoid those that claim to offer $1 hosting – those are usually not good enough. If you are to start a travel blog, might as well start properly.
Hosting companies that have good reputation include Hostgator. The customer service is very good too.Again the advise is to just start with the basic plan.
If you purchase your domain and hosting from different company, you will have to hook them up.
The technical term will be to ‘change the nameservers’. Don’t worry, we will walk through this. Your hosting server will have two nameservers (ie. NS1802.hostgator.com), which you will find in your server’s control panel (you can access your server’s control panel by entering www.yourwebsite.com/cpanel). Copy the nameserver.
Then log into your domain account in GoDaddy, click on your domain details, and look out for the option to manage the nameservers. Paste your nameservers in and you are done!
#3 Install WordPress
WordPress is one of the world’s largest web publishing platforms. It’s super popular, it’s easy, it’s used by multimillion-dollar publishers like CNN and People magazine, and almost every blogger us at FlyMe360 knows uses it. Its popularity means there are plenty of help available for you if you need it.
To install WordPress, just log into the Control Panel of your website (yourdomain.com/cpanel). Scroll down and click ‘QuickInstall’, and then click ‘Wordpress’.
#4 Amp Your Blog with Powerful Plugins
WordPress plugins are basically softwares that help your Wordpress site to perform more functions, much like how an app could help your iPhone to perform extra things. Most plugins are free, however there are some that will require you to fork out some money.
as you start a travel blog, it is advisable that you install these plugins to make it more powerful and functional:
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – This plugin is one of the best SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plugins available out there. It does this by adjusting permalinks, sitemaps, indexation, robots meta, rss, internal links, and more. In simple terms, this plugin will help your website to be found easier on the web, bringing in traffic and money!
- Akismet – This will reduce the Spam comments in your blog.
- W3 Total Cache – this plugin will help your website to load faster.
- Conditional CAPTCHA for WordPress – Akismet is good at fighting spam comments and bots, but sometimes it will need help too. This plugin will produce captcha clues to help differentiate bots and humans.
- WP touch – makes your blog more mobile friendly
- Contact Form 7 – Allows you to install a simple contact form so people can email you through your site.
- Digg Digg — Displays social media icons on a floating sidebar, making it easy for people to share your posts.
- Zemanta – places related posts at the bottom of the current post being read.
#5 Set Up Home Page
Every website has a lists of pages that has to be set up and created. For a travel blog, the most basic pages that you need to have is the Homepage, About page and of course, the Contact page. Your homepage will be the first page the visitor sees when they check out your blog. Therefore, creating a good impression matters.
when you start a travel blog, make sure the homepage has:
- A large title and a smaller subheader – unless you are using super-customized theme, this part should be done for you. However, do make sure these titles and headers are properly describing your website.
- Supporting Image – Most people are visual people, photos make better impression on them then texts. Plus, a picture tells a thousand words right? Use images or videos that tells the visitor who you are and what you do.
- Social Proof – This is to show that you are ‘Popular’, and trustworthy. People are usually crowd followers, if you could prove that you have a crowd following you, or visiting your blog, they will do so too. The best way to do this is to establish following on social media, and then install plugins on your blog to show your following.
- Benefits – you should also tell the visitors why they should read your content. For these visitors to come back to your website regularly, they need to be told what’s in store for them. Maybe they will get tips on how to travel solo as a female? Or opportunities to get special discounts?
Need A Step-by-Step Guide?
FlyMe360 Magazine has actually published a special edition eBook to our subscribers guiding our readers how to actually start their own money making travel blog.