How to start a travel blog
When Kirsty and I first decided to start our travel blog, A Couple of Idiots Abroad, we didn’t have a clue where to start and looking back compared to what we know now we knew less than what we actually thought.
We were not as prepared as we should have been. We presumed we would write down a few things post it and everyone would love it and thousands of people would find us on Google and we would get paid lots of money to travel the world!
Let me stop you if that’s the idea you have! You should only start this adventure if you’re in it for the long run and have the right determination as it’s not easy! So if you want to know how we started follow these simple steps.
1.Finding a Travel Name
Thinking of a name is one of the hardest parts. You want to try and keep your name unique and stay away from all the usual travel names like “Nomad Ryan”. These names have already been done.
Also think about how your name stays relevant like traveling teen or twenty travels as if you stick it out for long enough you will outgrow your name. You need to think about how your name will look to businesses if you eventually work with them, you need something professional which will look good if they promote you.
2.Check it’s available
Once you have chosen your name you want to make sure it’s available so you need to not only check the domain is free but also check all social media. This is the step a lot of people forget, they get the website all done and then find there is someone else out there with the same name. You really want to make sure you have something unique that people will remember.
Once you have sorted out your name on all platforms next thing to do is get your hosting and domain. We did a huge amount of research when it came to this but finally chose Siteground. We found these to have the best reviews, the best pricing and just matched exactly what we needed and choosing them was one of the best decisions we’ve made, they have been fantastic.
You can get siteground hosting here – https://www.siteground.com/index.htm?afcode=edc5298f66c0c5184bfce9681956732f
Once we outgrew our hosting their excellent customer sevice were able to tailor the right package for us. We first started out with the basic plan at £2.75 per month then you can add your domain for a year at £12 and this package also includes a basin SSL certificate.
4.Install your site
SiteGround has a one-click easy install of WordPress, Joomla and Magneto. We chose WordPress as it’s just so easy and perfect for blogs. They have a plugin and theme for everything making it so easy you can turn your website into anything you need. It’s a fantastic platform that allows you to grow as big as you need to.
5.Choosing a theme
Choosing a theme is something that took us so long to do. WordPress offers some really great free themes but we decided when we started that we wanted something which stood out a little and looks a little more professional.
The one stop theme shop has to be ThemeForest, they have some absolutely amazing themes for every platform and the average price of the theme is around $59. We would really recommend buying one of these and making your website look a little special.
Once you have chosen the perfect theme you can import and start getting down to the design. If you are completely new to all of this it can be a difficult step to do but have a play around and if you find you need any help please contact us and we can offer some advice.
If not Youtube is always good and if you really get stuck Fivrr is a great place to get some help.
7.Top 5 Plugins
- Contact form 7
- Akismet Anti-Spam
Once you have designed the perfect website if you are anything like us you will always be changing and swapping things around to try new things. The next step is getting some plugins. These are like apps for your website.
The absolute must have plugin we would recommend buying the premium version is Yoast. This is one that will make SEO a lot easier. This plugin will allow you to change all your meta tags very easily also connecting to webmaster tools and analicts is very easy through this plugin.
The next is Sumo.This will display pop ups and map how your users are using your website and offers some great insights into your website. This also offers a little side bar next to each page to make easily sharable.
Next is Mailchimp. This is an email marketing tool so you can get all your visitors to sign up to make sure they receive all the recent news and stay connected with you.
Our favourite plugin is Woocommerce. This plugin allows you to turn your blog into an e-commerce site and you can instantly start selling products. We have only recently started selling our Couple of Idiots Abroad Notebooks!
Last of our top plugins is Akismet Anti-Spam comment tracker. You will start getting a lot of spam comments and trying to sort through these can be hard so this plugin makes this easy!
8.Webmaster Tools and Analytics
The next step is connecting your website with Google and Bing webmaster tools. This is very easy all you have to do is sign up and verify your website, if you need any help on this please do contact us.
Next is submitting your sitemap to both of these so they can easily index your site and you can start ranking. Then you have sign up for Google analytics, this will provide you with the best tracking tools you can get.
9. First blog post
Now after you have created your masterpiece it’s time to start getting down to what you actually do all of this for and start writing your first blog!! Be sure to make it interesting and relevant to your readers. Make sure you get the message across easily, people do not want to be scrolling through thousands of words to find a simple message! Once you start writing you will find the words come naturally to you, especially if you’re writing about something that you are passionate about.
Remember these our just our simple steps and we could have written 1000 words for each step as there is so much work that has to go into making a blog work. We will be writing a lot more on this subject soon.
If you follow these 9 Steps to start a travel blog you should be on your way to your perfect site, remember if you need any help or information on anything regarding your site please contact us and we will both be able to help. Thanks Everyone.