Want to start a travel blog but have no idea where to begin? Check out this article for tips and information to get you up and running.
1. Select a platform/ Web host
There are a lot of options for bloggers out there, it can be hard to know where to begin when beginning your travel blog. Popular platform choices within the blogging community are WordPress, Squarespace, Blogger, Tumblr and Weebly. No matter which platform you choose each provide different features and pricing. Take the time to research your options and find the best one for you. As someone who didn’t initially select WordPress, now that my website has grown, I have been wanting to move across to WordPress for some time now, for me, the seemingly endless amount of design options for my blog is a star feature. Personally, because I have had so many issues with my provider not providing an easy way for me to export and import my blog content onto another platform, I recommend starting with WordPress.
If selecting WordPress you have the option to run a WordPress hosted website, or self-hosted. In my opinion, self-hosted offers more features. Bluehost, HostGator and SiteGround are good options to begin your research.
2. Choose your niche
According to GrowthBadger.com, there are 600 million blogs in the world, how are you going to stand out from the crowd? Sure travel is the main topic but what is it about travel that you love the most. Is it landscapes and outdoor activities, is it photography, wildlife, budget or luxury travel, culture, art? Your blog is going to need a niche (or even several niches) in order to help you garner interest and be distinguishable.
3. Naming your blog/ Selecting your domain
What represents you the most? When deciding on the name of your blog it is important to think about the type of content you wish to post, and where you see your blog going in the future. If down the track you feel that you're someone who will want to expand and create a business, whether this may be opening an online store or starting up a tour company, choosing a name that will work across both fields is probably the best option for you.
If you're having trouble coming up with a username or name for your domain, using a generator can be a useful tool. If this sounds like you, check out Nitreo and their username generator instagram and see if it works for you.
4. Secure Social Accounts
Once you've decided on your blog name, its time to secure your social channels. For reasons mentioned in section 3, it is important for your readers and followers to be able to find you on other platforms. The planning of your social accounts should also be taken into consideration. Having a cohesive and appealing structure to your posts will help you to gain followers. Apart from my own social accounts (Tily Travels Instagram and Tily Travels Pinterest) check out Pleasure Principle Instagram and Pinterest for some inspiration.
How do you want your blog to look? No matter what platform you choose from section 1 they all supply a number of basic templates in order for you to select from and customise to add your own touch. Many offer simple drag and drop designers which means if you have zero knowledge of coding you will still be able to create a great looking website that is easy to maintain. Basic HTML coding knowledge will help you a lot in this stage but it’s not necessarily if you’re just looking for a simple website design. There are also options for buying and importing templates that have been created by web designers for the desired platform, these can be found by a simple google search.
6. Post, Post, Post
Now you have the basics down pat, it's time to start publishing articles. To be honest I can’t remember where I initially read this but back when I first created my blog I read on several sources that 30 posts are a good amount to have on your blog in order to begin attracting visitors other than the people/ friends following your adventures through your social media. I can vouge for this as my own blog started picking up after I had roughly 30 posts online.
Posting on the same day/s each week will also help you to retain return visitors.
Either choose to grind and manually promote through your social channels and associated Facebook groups, or spend money. It’s up to the individual. Spending money on advertising campaigns (Facebook advertising, Google Ad Words etc) is obviously going to propel your website much quicker, but it’s not for everyone. You just have to decide what is best for you.
A crash course in search engine optimisation (SEO) will also be of benefit to you as knowing how to apply keywords correctly to your work will help you to rank higher in Google searches. Finding websites to trade backlinks with is also a good move for blogs in their early days. This will help to raise your domain authority (DA). There are companies that offer this service for a price, but if you’re a member of travel blogging groups on Facebooks you will often see people posting and asking for backlink swaps. The more people linking to your website, the higher Google will regard your website.
Most blog builders will provide its customers with some level of basic analytics in order to help you gauge how much traffic your website is getting, however, for more in-depth analysis Google Analytics is recommended. Google Analytics is free software that provides key insights about how your viewers use your website including the pages they visit, the time spent on your website, return visitors, conversion tracking plus many more valuable statistics regarding your website
Once you have the above suggestions in place and traffic flowing to your website you might start thinking about monetisation. Two of the most popular methods used by bloggers are advertising placements and setting up affiliate links. To begin set up accounts with Google Adsense and affiliate agencies relevant to the country you live in (check out Flexoffers, Commission Factory and TradeTracker to begin with). Google Adsense will allow you to place advertisements no matter how small your traffic flow is, once you have a larger following, companies like Mediavine can be utilised as a replacement to AdSense. Sponsored articles are also a popular method, however, I personally like to wait for companies to contact me in regards to sponsored content instead of hustling for sponsored work. Personally, I believe that reaching out to businesses (for the most part) does nothing than annoy them; They will contact you if they wish to work with you.
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