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How to start a travel blog in 2019

How to start a travel blog in 2019

Blogging has offered me the opportunity to exchange opinions and to make friends. I can’t say I make money from it, I just pay myself a cup of coffee…. However, it’s really a pleasure to write and to document what I’ve seen and experienced around the world. In the next paragraphs, I show you in 7 easy steps how to start a travel blog and know interesting people!!!

Despite appearing an easy task, blogging actually is a time-consuming job and travel blogging is also a money-consuming job. Thus, I show you here the conceptual aspects of creating your blog. There’s a lot of background work to start travel blogging, you’ll need patience, humor, and creativity.

Understanding you have to put some efforts into your blog it’s the first step to become a great travel blogger!

ideas

A. Creativity is the key. There’s everything there outside, maybe you don’t like it or know it, but for sure it’s there and need to be understood, shaped, and give a meaning and a sense to be communicated to others. In other terms, you are going to sell your experiences, your knowledge, and your advice. For me, it’s mainly for fun (I’m not a business-man), but for you, it may mean some money!!!! Example: there are tons of mosquito nets for sale, however, the only one you need to avoid soreness in your butts is available here and there. I tell you because I’ve used it in Cahuita last year, it works and doesn’t smell bad or makes your eyes a fountain. Be creative! You can “store” your knowledge and experience in books, ebooks, courses, services, photography, and everything you are good at.

time

B. Plan your time. Since you will need time you must know how to manage and find that time. You’re going to spend a lot of time in front of your computer. Try to keep calm and don’t lose focus!

How to Create Your Travel Blog in 7 Easy Steps

Step 1: Define What Your Blog Will Be About

content

A clear content idea determines whether people will bother reading more about your blog or hit the back button. You need a clear statement that

  • explains how your blog solves readers’ problems or improves their situation (relevancy),
  • delivers specific benefits (quantified value),
  • tells the ideal reader why they should read and trust you more than the competition (unique differentiation).
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Would you be able to explain to your friend what the idea is and how they’d benefit?

Step 2: Chose a Name For Your Blog

Blog

Never forget that such a name is the first thing to come out of your mouth every time you pitch your blog. Think about it, try with friends. If you are completely lost, experiment a bit with BustAName. You might be thinking, “Dude, chill out with this elitist naming talk. I’m just developing a travel and photography blog”. Note that such consideration may be relevant for an internet domain name, but it not for your blog name!!!!

  • Keep it simple and close to you. After all, the blog speaks of you and your passions. Try something representative of who you are or who you want to be.
  • Think it will stay with you for life. Take some time to evaluate all options and consider who you will be in ten years and where you want to be.
  • Stay within limits of decency. Avoid things like Bad Ass Nomad, Fucking Intrepid Backpacker, etc.
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Your Blog’s name will be used to find an available domain name, choose something easy to remember and check its availability on socials

Step 3: Sign Up for Hosting

Web hosting services store your website data in web servers using a very fast network to connect your data to those who request your website by typing your URL, or web address, into the search bar. The most common type of web hosting, shared hosting, is an inexpensive service where one server is shared between many clients. Cloud hosting is somewhat in the middle between shared hosting and dedicated hosting. Dedicated server reserves an entire server and all of its resources completely dedicated to your uses. For what I know, US-based bloggers should consider SiteGround, but always check what the guys at WordPress.org are suggesting about hosting services!!! Moreover, you may consider a simpler solution at WordPress.com!!!

  • Usually when you choose a package the hosting company give you the option to add the domain and offer you a simple tool to check for availability
  • Select the domain privacy protection option if you don’t want the address you used to sign to be public
  • Most hosting companies have tutorials and automated procedures to install WordPress. If not, before paying to ask if they will be so kind as to do it for you.
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Don’t waste money in SEO bundles, fake backlinks, and Ads. The basic option of a good hosting company is better than any other cheaper option with more bells and whistles

Step 4: Customize WordPress with Plugins

plugins

I assume you already know about WordPress, if not you can check the free tutorials at wordpress.org to get acquainted with it. Plugins are bits of software that can be added to extend the functionality of your WordPress site; however, they can be used only on a managed installation of WordPress (the one you got at the previous step). Plugins are available for free download from the WordPress.org Plugin Directory, sometimes paid version of plugins are offered with full-time support staff and developers that work on maintaining the security and compatibility.

These plugins allow you to focus on your blog and to define your SEO strategy.

  • WordFence. It’s firewall protecting your site from hackers.
  • Yoast WordPress SEO. The easiest and most functional plugin for Search Engine Optimization.
  • Akismet. It will protect you from spam comments.
  • Add2Any. To share your posts and images in social networks; adds follow buttons for your social networks
  • MailChimp for WordPress. To create mailing lists of users and to send them your updates.
  • GA Google Analytics. Track what for and when readers use your site.
  • WP-Smush. Compresses and optimizes images.

The next ones are less indispensable and more techie oriented:

  • W3 Total Cache. Increases the performances of page rendering in browsers.
  • WP-Cron Status Checker. Checks whether your cron demon is running or not.
  • WP-Sweep. Clean the garbage from your WordPress installation.
  • BeaverBuilder. Create beautiful pages without coding.
  • CSSHero. Change the typographical layout and customize every aspect of your website without coding.
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Leave the techie list for the optimization phase of your blog. Instead, begin to write as soon as possible

Step 5: Pick Up a Theme

WordPress themes are pre-designed and pre-built layouts that you can apply to your website. A theme will define what your blog looks like, its visual design and interactions: the background color, the color of the web link, the slider in the homepage, etc. You have two options:

  • Free Themes are rather basic but can be a good start
  • Paid Themes offer the most perks and support (look for something around 100 USD). Check Elegant Themes and ThemeForest

Moreover, you should customize your theme in order to get a unique and consistent layout for your blog. Get graphics from Canva, Stencil, Design Wizard, or Snappa; some plugins and hosting services offer you access to repositories of images you can safely and legally link from.

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Take an holistic view, prefer readability and simplicity, always tweak images for the web

Step 6: Define a General Structure

structure

With your idea in mind and your holistic view of the blog, you should translate such concept into small parts that in turn will be defined as pages and posts. Think about pages as the bones and posts as the muscles of your blog. Thus, start with the following:

  • About page to explain who you are and why you write, you can also explain your idea.
  • Landing page where readers first arrive when redirected from search engines and external websites
  • Contact page where people can use a form to contact you

Then, add the bones with titles and some content. For instance, a travel blog may have a page for travel tips, reviews of travel gear, travel guides, etc. Finally, write a post or two to experiment with your idea.

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Use such structure to experiment with WordPress and themes in order to find the best option for you. Once found, stick with it forever.

Step 7: Define a Social Media Strategy

Social media

A social media strategy determines and shapes your communication objectives and the tools you decide to use; basically, it is a statement explaining such objectives, the platforms, and the outcomes measures. Below, I suggest a number of initiatives to implement an effective social media strategy:

  • State your objectives. You should have a clear purpose: create or raise awareness, increase conversions, traffic, or retention. Focus on one or two for each campaign. Define your goals as Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based.
  • Define measures for your objectives. Find the right tools to track and analyze. Excellent resources are CircleBoom, Later, and Combin.
  • Characterize your target. Create a profile of your target audience.
  • Analyze competitors.
  • Create your messages. Select two or three ideas relevant to your communication objectives, define for each one a message, break down another level in sub-messages.
  • Build a content plan. Messages and channels should align to convey your ideas through a mix of videos, guides, and infographics.
  • Choose your social media. Choose LinkedIn for B2B, Pinterest for trend initiatives, Twitter to grab attention and spread, Instagram for visual communication. Tag people to call attention to your ideas. Identify influencers who can reach your target audience
  • Use the rules of thirds. 1/3 promotion and conversion, 1/3 share ideas and stories, 1/3 personal interaction.
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Don’t experiment with social media; instead, prepare your campaigns and deliver through a predefined and consistent set of platforms.