How To Start A Travel Blog – The Easy Way + FREE STARTER EBOOK!
Travel Bloggers Around the WorldI started blogging about four years ago. My blog is my passion and I put more hours and effort into this ‘hobby’ than I’d like to admit. I realize that all the work pays off every time I inspire people to travel to new places and try out the things I write about. Naturally, I also get happy feelings when I get complimentary hotel stays, tour tickets or get invited to amazing experiences, such as Seoul Fashion Week, to name the most recent.
This is how I started a successful travel blog.
“Why did you start blogging?”
Every time I get asked this question, I can’t help but grin. Four years ago, I had the time of my life when I moved abroad for the first time. I was so fascinated by the new experiences I made that I wanted to write them down somehow and share them with others. The only reason I actually started this blog was that I didn’t want to annoy my friends and family with my endless stories about how amazing traveling and life abroad in China was.
Fast forward to today and you could almost say that I created a brand, even a small business for myself. I am proud that I can collect somewhat regular checks from advertisers and freelance opportunities because of the brand I created online and here’s how:
#1 Choose A Reliable Host & Platform
The first step to creating a successful blog is to choose a hosting company that will give you all the services you’ll need. Don’t waste your time with a free WordPress site when you can have your own domain for as little as EUR 3.95 ($4.35) per month. I registered my blog on the self-hosted WordPress.org platform. In order to do that, you’ll need to also register with a hosting provider. I chose SiteGround and have had a wonderful experience. The staff is fast, professional and so friendly.
SiteGround offers a StartUp plan perfect for new bloggers. This plan is only EUR 3.95 per month and includes the following features:
- One Website
- 10GB Web Space
- Suitable for ~ 10,000 Visits Monthly
- All Essential Features
Sign up with SiteGround and you’ll be one step closer to your new kick-ass blog!
#2 Custom Layout
While there are many layouts available on WordPress.org itself, many of them free, they do not offer you the customization that you oftentimes need. This means, you won’t be able to change your fonts and colors too much and don’t have too much room for changing up the order of your content and what shows up where. On top of that, the majority of bloggers out there use WordPress.org to run their site, which means that many Websites
On top of that, the majority of bloggers out there use WordPress.org to run their site, which means that many Websites will look similar if they use WordPress themes. But don’t worry! You can have your own beautiful design with loads of customizations for little money. I chose Bluchic, a provider offering so-called ‘feminine WordPress themes’. The themes are specifically catered to female entrepreneurs and bloggers who want to take their blog to the next level. Most themes go for $79 but they also have a few free themes you can check out.
I’ve been using one of their themes for a while now and am so happy that I decided to purchase it. I am able to design my site how I want with a few easy clicks.
It’s also worth investing in a professional looking logo for your Website and Social Media channels. If you are nifty you can easily create your own with Photoshop, Canva or a similar tool. However, if you’re like me and not the most artistic person, I suggest heading over to Fiverr and spending a few bucks on a professional. Prices start as low as $5 for a custom logo.
#3 Find Your Niche
Since you are starting a blog, you’ll likely already know what you want to write about. However, you need to find a way to make your blog stick out among the competition.
What makes your site different?
A great way to find out your niche is by starting to write down all the topics you want to write about. Then, concentrate on things you have an expertise in and eliminate the others. Next, try and pair two topics together that are relating to each other, for example, food & travel, fashion & travel, travel & photography, travel & language learning, etc.
It’s not easy to find your niche and it can take a while to find out. The good thing is a blog is all about exploring what you like, what you’re good at and also what people love to read. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa. Also, it’s important to stay true to your tone and own voice to keep your work authentic and personal. Just play around with a couple of posts and see how the audience receives them.
#3 Offer Value
Despite what I just mentioned, don’t mistake your website for your diary. While you certainly can (and should) share personal experiences, you should always offer something of value to your readers.
What do they take away from your story?
My aim is to connect personal experiences with tips or advice for readers who might be in a similar position. For instance, instead of writing about your recent trip to Greece in a diary format, focus on tips you could share with your audience on how to visit interesting places, where to eat the best food or what area you think is a must visit. Avoid using too many ‘I’s and try to use more ‘you’s to engage your audience. For example:
I went to Athens and then I ate at Strofi with nice views of the Acropolis.
When visiting Athens, one of the most amazing restaurants you should visit is Strofi. Sitting on the rooftop sampling traditional Greek Moussaka and Keftedes, you have first-class views of the Acropolis.
By using ‘you’, you can paint a picture allowing your reader to be part of your trip and imagine themselves being there.
#4 Reach Your Audience
This step is a slow and ongoing process. In fact, this is what each and every company is figuring out and struggles with as well. You are not alone.
How do you reach the right people to read your content? Social Media is definitely the biggest factor here and also the hardest part. It can often take weeks and even months to see a progress. However, when you apply the right strategies, you can speed it up and reach the right people much faster.
The best platforms to spread your content are currently Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I almost want to take Facebook off the list here because it is getting harder and harder for your posts to show up due to their new algorithms. While you should have all of the platforms above, focus most of your attention onto Pinterest and Instagram.
Why these two, you ask? They are purely visual platforms and people love visuals. Statistics have shown that posts including images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts. For more information on visual content marketing trends, check out this amazing infographic.
CoSchedule for WordPress has been a true life saver for my Social Media campaigns. The tool minimized my time wasted on Social Media before. You can install the plugin on WordPress and then manage all your social media posts (expect Instagram) from your dashboard. Each and every post you write can be scheduled to multiple social media outlets for the future. The best part is that CoSchedule finds out the PERFECT TIME TO POST for each profile so you can be sure that you reach the maximum of people out there.
Get the plugin now, minimize the time you spend on social media and maximize your reach!
Lastly, make sure to join a couple of blogger support groups on Facebook, such as fellow blogger Gina and my group Travel Bloggers in Asia & Oceania. Most of these groups have weekly threads to share and engage with your content. This helps you get noticed and gain more and more page views.
Here’s a list of other blogger groups to join:
- Female Travel Bloggers
- Blogging Boost
- Travel Bloggers Mega Share
- Under 1000 Club – Aspiring Travel Bloggers
- Travel Bloggers Around the World
- Girls LOVE Travel
- NOMADS – a life of alternative travel
- Travel Blogger Tales
- Next Level Travel Blogging
- Travel Collab Post Opportunities
#5 Be Patient & Don’t Give Up!
Who would even read my articles?
That’s a question I’ve asked myself before starting a blog and many other people hesitate because of this. The answer is simple: There’s a ton of people out there in a similar situation as you (travel, life abroad, etc.) seeking advice from people online. Don’t be discouraged when no one has commented or visited your site.
It takes time to get a blog running. However, the social media tips above will definitely speed things up. The key to a successful travel blog is being patient and not giving up. If you look at my early posts, you’ll see they were very different from what I write about now.
You improve along the way, find your style, change your style and build a network of like-minded people that will help you climb up.
You’ll get there eventually.
Free blog starter guide
I have compiled all this information and more in a blog starter guide for you to download for free. The guide will also contain the very first steps to register your domain with SiteGround, setting up your WordPress and the best plug-ins to start out with! Get it for free by filling out your name and email address below.