Start your travel blog in 10 minutes
Want to travel forever? It is very possible in today’s digital age to earn a complete income online. Just like a regular job, it takes some hard work and dedication. Here’s the cheat sheet to starting your blog in 10 minutes, (tricks which I learned over many weeks). At the end of this article, you will have your travel blog ready. Let’s get your business online!
How To Start a Travel Blog – A Guide for Dummies
This do it yourself blog is for anyone who wants to start travel a blog from scratch. In just 10 minutes, your new blog will be up and running. In that time, you’ll choose a blog name, set-up a hosting pack, install WordPress and create the look of your blog. I’ll even show you the basics of post creation and traffic building strategies.
Just like me, you don’t need to know anything about web designing or even computers to make a blog. All you need are step-by-step instructions. It is so easy!
At first, starting a blog can seem intimidating. Selecting a host, a name and the right theme can be confusing. But don’t worry, I have done this many times and I’m going to guide you every step of the way. And, trust me, it will get real simple, soon, once you get the hang of it.
I decided to start a travel blog in 2015, and I had no guidance, so it took me some time to get it at first. Today, my blogs pay for my travels. And I am my own boss, my office is where in the world I want it to be; be it the crater of a volcano, a remote lake, or a moonlit landscape under a million stars. I work around 5 hours a day (weekends off!)
To start your blog in the next 10 minutes, you won’t spend more than Rs 200/ month. That’s less than Rs 2400 a year. A very tiny investment that can change your life.
If you just can’t do your 9 to 5 job for years, so that you can save enough for a few days of travel, then become a digital nomad like me! Work for yourself, and travel get paid to travel the world.
Any successful travel blogger will confirm that starting a travel blog is the best way to earn and sustain yourself on the go.
Don’t wait another day to start your blog. Every wasted day is money lost. I’m not trying to sell you anything in this post, I only know that a article like this one changed my life 4 years ago and this is my attempt at passing on the knowledge to others who believe it isn’t possible to travel forever.
Let’s get started!
STEP 1 – Choose Your Domain
10 minutes to go
I am going to walk you step by step through this entire procedure, and at the end of this article, you will have your own blog set up with the best domain, the right hosting for beginners, and a kickass look to your site (template). In this step, all you have to do is to select your name and input it in the screen below. Click Here (or click on CREATE MY BLOG! below) and a new tab will open. This is the SiteGround hosting service page where you will basically choose your blog name and get it online.
When you click the button, a new screen will open. Return to this screen to follow more step-by-step instructions.
At this point, you’ll probably wonder, why not GoDaddy? Click here to know why, or continue to read below to set up your blog in 10 minutes.
From the SiteGround hosting page (image below), Click the Get Started button under StartUp. This is the basic SiteGround plan and it’s all you truly need, even as you start to grow and get more professional. As of now, let’s steer clear of the extras (which will cost more). The basic SiteGround plan includes a ton of features (what you would actually pay Rs 549 on GoDaddy for), so nothing extra is really required for the first year.
Once you click Get Started on the SiteGround page, you will be brought to a domain registration page like the one below.
Now this is where you register the name of your blog. Or the one you came upon with my Guide to Choosing a Blog Name. Enter the name and hit ‘Proceed’.
It is advisable to select a name that is related to what your blog will be about (not like moodycompass… ! Oops…). If your blog is about travel photography, consider using the words ‘travel’ and ‘photography’ in the domain name.
Having trouble finding a name? Click here to find your domain name in 5 minutes with my easy guide to blog names!
Enter your new blog name into the field between ‘www.’ and ‘.com’ and hit proceed.
Once you’ve picked a name and completed this step, you have officially started your online business! Now let’s register it.
STEP 2 – Your Hosting Package
8 minutes to go
What is Hosting? Basically, hosting means buying your space on the internet. It is not unlike buying a plot of land or an apartment for your office. On the internet this space for your business (blog) to live and function is known as hosting. Every blog and website must have a host. Sites such as SiteGround, GoDaddy and Hostgator are hosts and sell this space.
If you ever face an issue with your website, your host is the one you must contact and they will fix your issue for you. It is the most crucial part of your online presence to chose the right host, because your host is the lifeline of your blog and you must be able to rely on them.
Also, feel free to shoot me a message or drop a comment below if you hit any snags. I’m happy to help.
Why did I pick SiteGround, while GoDaddy offers basic hosting for Rs 99 a month?
First of all, SiteGround gives you a free domain or blog name (Step 1) when you buy 12 months or more of hosting. They also install WordPress free. Which is money saved. Second, their servers are superior to most other hosting services. So, you don’t have speed issues while writing blogs, uploading pictures etc, which is common is overused hosting services such as GoDaddy. Third, it turns out to be cheaper. The features (such as SSL Certificate) they offer in their base package ($ 3.49) are all very important if you ever hope to become professional and earn money from your blog. Godaddy offers these features in their Rs 549/month plan, and not in the Rs 99/month plan.
Okay, back to creating your blog. After you choose your domain name and hit ‘proceed’, you will come to a purchase page like the one below. Fill out all of your information. For ‘Password’, select a strong password to ensure security, and write it down because we’ll need it in step 3.
Enter all of your information, including your debit or credit card info. Sign up for 12 months at first so that you get the free domain registration and setting-up help from SiteGround. You can either cancel or continue after a year.
Under ‘Extra Services’ tick the box ‘Domain Registration’ but uncheck the other two boxes (these will cost extra, and are not really required at this point). We are trying to start you a travel blog for as little money as possible today. You can always add these later if you like.
Tick the terms and conditions box which reads ‘I confirm that I have read and agree to the SiteGround Terms of Service’ and hit ‘Pay Now’.
Immediately after you’ve made your payment, you will receive a confirmation email (keep this tab open, we will need it in a minute again). The initial important steps of creating your blog are now finished. You are now the owner of your own digital business and your site is officially ready to go online! Congratulations!
STEP 3 – Get WordPress Free (Publish your blog so that everyone can see it)
6 minutes to go
Okay, so you’ve chosen your domain name (www.YourTravelBlog.com) and you’ve purchased 1 year of hosting, now you need to install WordPress so that you can create your site in the space that you have just bought. If SiteGround is the landlord, WordPress is your interior designer. WordPress is the medium with which you add your posts, pictures and pages to your site, in a simple to use, drag and drop workspace. Don’t worry… You don’t need to know anything about computers to do this. It’s free and really easy to set up.
It’s simple. WordPress is the best. Just like Google is the best search engine, WordPress is by far the most popular and easy-to-use platform for bloggers. And its free!
Now, open your confirmation email from SiteGround, where you’ll see your new User Name and Password.
Click Here to go to the SiteGround page and enter your new username and password and hit ‘Sign In’. It is not unlike signing into your email. Come back to this page for instructions.
Once you sign in, you will come to the User Area or ‘Dashboard’, where we will get your free WordPress install. From the User Area, click ‘My Accounts’ (as shown here) at the top of the screen. Then click the button ‘Go To cPanel’.
You are now in your website’s ‘Control Panel’. This will be the space you operate your website from, from now on. To install WordPress, scroll down and look for the button that says ‘Softaculous’ under the ‘AUTOINSTALLERS’ heading. Click ‘Softaculous’.
After you click ‘Softaculous’, you will come to this (below) screen. Here you can install a ton of software for the various needs of your blog. For today, we will just install WordPress. To do so, simply hover over the WordPress icon and click ‘Install’.
The next steps are simple. We are approaching the end of your blog setup. This is the last step of setting up WordPress with your new SiteGround account. Complete this form on the WordPress Setup screen, and then hit ‘Install’.
You’ve done it! Your WordPress is installed and your blog is ready! Now, it’s time to get creative! In the next step we will choose the look of your blog – the theme, colour etc.
STEP 4 – Select and Customize a WordPress Theme
2 minutes to go!
Now comes the fun part – you get to choose what your new blog will look like! But first, you have to sign in to your new WordPress blog.
If computers aren’t your best friends, you must be tired of signing into different areas today and filling a bunch of forms. Don’t worry, it ends here. From now on you will mostly just be signing into WordPress to use your blog.
To do this, open a new browser window (like the one below) and type ‘yourblogname.com/admin’ into the website field and click enter. Of course, change ‘yourblogname’ to the actual name of your blog from Step 1. For example, when I log into my WordPress account, I type moodycompass.com/admin
Now, you will see a screen like the one below. This is the WordPress Login screen. You will see this screen more often in the coming days as you access your blog. Enter the username and password that you wrote down (entered in the WordPress setup screen in Step 3).
After you login, you will come to your WordPress Dashboard. This is the fun part! Get acquainted with this area. If you’d like, play around here for a bit. You must become at home in your Dashboard.
This is where you will operate your blog from, from now on. Here, you will write and add new posts, pictures and change the appearance of your blog.
Now, since we have 2 minutes to go let’s move on to your blog appearance! In the WordPress Dashboard, look on the left-hand toolbar and drag your mouse over ‘Appearance’, then click ‘Themes’ as shown below.
The next screen will load like the one below. Now, click on the ‘Add New Theme’ button.
This will take you to a screen that will allow you to choose from thousands of themes! Take your time. When you start a travel blog, you want to kick it off with a style and theme that suits you and your new brand.
While you can change your theme whenever you’d like without losing any data, it is better not to change it too often. So, try to pick one that you are sure will work for your blog. Visitors to your page will remember the look as they come back time and again. Although, its not such a big deal to experiment in the beginning.
To get a better idea of what the theme will look like, drag your mouse over the theme and click the ‘Preview’ button that pops up (image below). Once you’ve selected your theme, hover your mouse over it and click the ‘Install’ button next to Preview (the install process may take a minute or two).
Great work! Now, you are ready to get on with theme customisation! In this step, you will make the theme look like what you want it to.
Once the theme is installed, you can customise it by adding your logo (it’s okay if you don’t have one at this point), colours, pictures, widgets and page elements. Make it look like what you want it to look. Use your creativity to make it attractive and appealing. If it is a travel blog, you want to use bright, sunny colours and smooth images. Your blog appearance should be an extension of you.
Keep it Simple
Don’t complicate your blog with too many elements. Keep it simple. It is a known fact that simpler sites = happier visitors.
Go back to the ‘Themes’ section of the Dashboard by hovering your mouse over ‘Appearance’ and clicking ‘Themes’ again anytime you want to customise your theme (image below).
Customise your Blog
Let’s customise your theme now in a few simple steps now! Customising involves choosing the colour and layout of your theme.
Your customisation page should look something like the screen shown below. If you look to the left, where the arrow is pointing, you will see the theme you’re editing and the different aspects of the theme that you can change to your taste. This is known as theme customisation.
The options in the left hand menu help you edit several aspects of your blog theme:
Site Identity: Edits your site title or name, and the small 20 word tagline or description that appears in Google search.
Colours: Helps you set background and foreground colours (of your theme, or the look of your blog) as per your choice.
Header Image: Most themes have a header image. This is the main picture of your home page. It needs to show what your website is about.
Background Image: Some websites and blogs have a background image. But, be careful with this one. It can slow the load time of your page down, making visitors leave, or it can make your page look too busy. My blogs never have a background image. It’s just not benefecial unless you are a fashion or makeup blog, or have a very typical layout.
Menus: This is the important one. Here, you can set your main menu (which appears on top of your pages). Most themes will have a preset menu with the basic options such as Home, Gallery, Blog, Contact Us etc. More often than not, stick to this. Template designers know their deal, and set up a good basic template menu. Change it as per the contents and structure of your blog, but do not do away with the Contact Us page. Also, try to keep menu options below eight. Remember, the simpler your menu, the easier your site will be to navigate. Widgets: These are those cool things you find in the side bar of most blogs. Choose and customize them here.
Each theme has slightly different options that you can edit or customise. Play around in this space for a bit to get a better feel of the theme you’ve selected.
STEP 5 – Start Travel Blogging!
0 minutes to go!
And, here we are! At the end of your creating your blog!
You have done a lot today. You have come upon a name, purchased hosting, set up WordPress, installed a theme, and customised it. All that is left now is for you to start blogging!
This is just the beginning though. Now, that you’ve set up a potential business, you have to ensure that it works and starts earning a good income in the time to come. You have quite a blogging journey ahead of you. For now, let’s just start with the basics.
Writing Your First Blog Post
To do this, head back to your WordPress Dashboard and at the top of the screen hover over the “+New” button and click “Post”.
Start blog write your first blog post
You’ll then be brought to the Edit Post Screen. Here you can type away and create as many blog posts as you want. Get writing! The more content you create, the quicker your blog will grow. If you can write a post a day, or even just 3 posts / week, you’re doing a great job.
Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. If you can only write 1 article per week, always write just 1 and publish it at the same time of day. If you can publish every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4:00 pm, stick to that schedule.
Google loves it when a blog produces content on a reliable schedule… like a newspaper. So, for example if you add a new post every Monday at 4 pm, Google will give you a better ranking.
Remember, you want people to read your posts and come back to read more. Write things that people will find interesting or useful. Like guides, helpful tips. Genuinely tr to help your reader in a simple to follow manner. Don’t just write a journal. Those kinds of blogs never succeed.
Yes, this is extremely important. Soocial media will help your blog grow exponentially. Don’t use your personal social media accounts for your blog. Start fresh accounts on Fb, a Facebook fan page, Twitter account, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest etc. Set up as many as you can manage to regularly post on.
Once you have a fat amount of useful content (posts) on your blog and you’ve started your social media accounts, you get started on basic marketing of your blog so that you can grow your traffic and earn money. In order to achieve this, you must share your articles regularly on your social media accounts, and do as many guest posts as you can possibly manage. The blog market growth graph is like an inverted pyramid. You start at one point, and then you expand in a whole lot of directions. Be ferocious about your blog. Promote it. Keep writing. Be regular. And most importantly, don’t give up. And you WILL see results after doing all this over and over again for some time.
Now, it’s going to be extremely slow for the first 6 to 8 months. (My first blog picked up after 8 months, second after 6). But, suddenly things will happen… Google will start to recognize you and you’ll start growing a loyal visitor base. Once your traffic grows, the money starts coming in. The idea is to do your minimum. If you work really hard, your graph will rise in 6 six months or less.
You can check out my ‘Sustaining Travel’ Section for more about running a blog, plus, I’ll have more step-by-step tutorials like this one coming soon. I’ll cover everything from how to use AdSense to earn more from your blog, affiliate marketing that can make you $125 per click and other ways to get paid to travel.
If you bought used any of the links in this article to make a purchase, thank-you so much for your support!
HERE ARE SOME MORE ARTICLES TO GET YOU GOING ON YOUR FOREVER TRAVEL ADVENTURE
If you have any questions at all about traveling, earning or running a blog, or you hit a roadblock while following the steps in this post, please do Contact Me.
Congratulations! You are now officially a Travel Blogger!