Interested in learning how to start a travel blog? You’ve come to the right place!
A travel blog is a great way to help others with travel questions, preserve your travel memories, and maybe make some money.
But how do you get started? Not to worry – I’ve got you covered in the easy step-by-step tutorial below. You’ll go from wondering how to start a travel blog to being a travel blogger in no time.
- Blogging 101: How to Choose an Amazing Blog Name
- Blogging Tip: WordPress.org vs WordPress.com – What’s the Difference?
1. Pick a web host
The first step to start a travel blog is picking a web host. A web host is a service that posts your blog to the web for everyone to see. Examples of web hosts include:
When I was deciding which web hosting service to use, I relied on the reviews of other bloggers. I ended up choosing SiteGround because of the rave reviews about customer service. Since I was brand new to the world of blogging and creating a website, I wanted a company I could lean on for support.
Three years later, I’m still thrilled with my choice. In those three years, my website was down exactly once and it was because of something I did to mess it up. I reached out to SiteGround’s customer support and they resolved the issue within seconds.
I’ve also heard very good things about Bluehost for web hosting.
I encourage you to stay away from free web hosting services like Blogger and WordPress.com. In exchange for the “free” service, you can’t control the advertising on your blog, you don’t own your domain name, and if the company goes out of business, it takes your website with it. (Note that WordPress.com is different than the WordPress software you use to build your website. Yes, it’s confusing. Read more about the difference here.)
2. Choose a web host plan
Once you decide on a web hosting service, you’ll need to select the plan you want to use. Plans will vary by how many visitors the website can handle and the level of customer support you’d like. For example, SiteGround has three different plans (shown below). I’d recommend getting the least expensive version at first. If your blog grows quickly (fingers crossed!), you can easily switch up to a higher level of support.
3. Pick a name for your blog
The next step to start a travel blog is picking a domain name. This is the name you want to call your blog.
For example, my blog/domain name is “East by Midwest” or www.eastbymidwest.com.
Some people agonize over picking the perfect blog name, to the point that it stops them from actually starting a blog. Don’t let this happen to you. Spend a little time brainstorming about what you want to write about. Then jot down some names related to that topic. For example, if your name is Isabelle and you want to write about international travel, some ideas include:
- Isabelle Traveling
- Isabelle Worldwide
- International Travelbelle
Your blog name doesn’t have to tie directly to you, but it can help make the blog feel more personal to both you and your readers.
Once you’ve jotted down a few ideas, start plugging them into the domain registration portion of the web host you selected. In most situations, this will be the next screen after you select your web host plan.
When you land on a domain name that’s not taken, do a happy dance! You’ve got your blog name!
Need more help selecting a blog name? Check out this article.
4. Complete the web host registration
In the next screen, you’ll be asked to enter your payment information to pay for your web host plan and for your domain name.
If you’re using SiteGround, this screen will also ask you whether you want to select some optional services.
One optional service is domain privacy. When you register for a website, certain information must be made publicly available. If you select the option for “domain privacy,” SiteGround will only post the required information publically and will keep the rest of your information private. It’s debatable how valuable this option is, but I tend to be cautious when it comes to my personal data. For that reason, I opted for this feature.
A second optional service is the SG Site Scanner. This service will scan your website daily and notify you if someone hacks your website or inserts malicious code. I opted out of this one, but it might be a good idea if you’re collecting any type of payment or personal information on your website.
Click “Pay Now” for the big moment – you have a blog!
5. Install WordPress
Now it’s time to build your website! I recommend that you use WordPress software to do this. It’s free and there are a lot of tutorials available to help you with any questions.
If you’re using SiteGround as your web host, you can download the WordPress software using SiteGround.
First, log into your SiteGround account. Then follow these steps to install WordPress:
- Click on the tab that says “My Accounts”
- Click on the orange button that says “Go to cPanel”
- Once in the cPanel, scroll down to the section that says “WordPress Tools”
- Click on the icon that says “WordPress Installer”
- In the next screen, you’ll see a blue tab in the middle of the screen that says “Install” – click on that tab
6. Register for WordPress
After you’ve installed WordPress, follow the instructions on the screen to register for WordPress. Most of the items are pretty self-explanatory. Some items that aren’t so clear:
- Http vs https: If given the option between “http” and “https”, choose “https”. The “s” indicates that the website is more secure. Aside from always wanting to be more secure, Internet search algorithms rank https sites higher than http sites.
- Multisite (WPMU): Unless you have or plan on having multiple blogs, you can leave the “Multisite (WPMU)” box unchecked.
- Theme to Install: The theme is the appearance of your website. You can select from hundreds of themes after you install WordPress, so no need to find a theme right now. I’d recommend selecting “None” for now.
Pro Tip: You’ll be asked to enter an admin email and admin password. This will be your login ID and password for WordPress. It’s essential that you save this info, because WordPress is what you’ll use to develop your blog.
7. Log into WordPress
Now it’s time to start building your blog and creating posts!
To do this, log into your WordPress admin page. This is usually your blog’s domain name plus “wp-admin”. For example, my WordPress admin page is “eastbymidwest.com/wp-admin”.
8. Pick a WordPress theme
After you’ve logged into WordPress, your next step to start a travel blog is picking a theme. The theme is the appearance of your website. Once you pick a theme, you can edit it to fit your individual blog.
WordPress has hundreds of free themes, which you can access by going to “Appearance” in the left sidebar and selecting “Themes”.
I personally found these free WordPress themes difficult to edit, so I ended up purchasing a more user-friendly theme from ThemeForest. Purchasing a theme also gave me access to customer support for that theme, which I desperately needed to help answer my tech and design questions. ThemeForest’s customer service has saved me endless hours of frustration by answering my questions quickly and thoroughly.
9. Write two blog posts in WordPress
Before you begin customizing your WordPress theme, I recommend you write at least two blog posts in WordPress first.
When you start editing your theme, some of the options won’t make any sense if you don’t have some blog posts because these options change the appearance of the posts.
If you prefer, you can keep the visibility of these posts “private”, which means no one but you will be able to see the posts yet.
10. Customize your theme
Once you’ve selected a theme and have written two blog posts, it’s time to customize the theme!
This is one of the best parts of starting a blog. For me, this is when my blog started to feel “real”.
To edit your theme, go to “Appearance” in the left sidebar and then select “Customize”. If you’re like me, much of the options you’ll see will be completely unfamiliar and strange.
But one of the cool things about WordPress is that as you edit the different options, you can see a preview of the changes. You’ll see this preview in the “Customize” screen.
So play around with the different options to see how they change your blog homepage and the blog posts you’ve just created.
Don’t spend too much time trying to perfect it. You’ll learn over time what you like and what works for your blog. You can go back and make quick updates to the theme later when you have a better sense of what’s working in practice.
11. Publish your posts
After you’ve gotten a good start customizing your theme, it’s time to make your posts public!
Go back to the posts you wrote and change the visibility from “private” to “public”.
12. Bask in your success
And that’s how to start a travel blog! Congratulations, you have a blog! I can’t wait to read all of your posts!