Do you get your kicks on route 66? Whether it’s love of the open highway or exploring ancient ruins on the other side of the world, many love to travel. A large portion of those people also loves sharing their adventures online.
What if you’re not technologically inclined? Not to worry. Blogging is perhaps one of the easiest things to do on the Internet. Well, aside from posting pictures of your travels on sites like Facebook. All it takes is a bit of patience and a few moments of your time to create an engaging website.
Below is an easy-to-follow guide I’ve created to help you quickly start a travel blog. There is no coding required, and you could be up and running today while sharing your experiences within this vast world of ours.
Step 1: Plan the Purpose of the Travel Blog
Having an idea about how you want the blog set up will help you in the following steps. Sure, it’s easy to say you simply want to create a blog. However, it’s much easier to build something amazing when you have a solid plan of how to develop the site.
Choosing a Domain Name
The domain name is how others will find your content. It’s essentially the digital address of where your website is located. It’s also part of how people will perceive the content. In many ways, the domain is a vital part of how people relate to the website.
You want a name that is relevant to the content. This helps reduce confusion when someone sees the URL of the blog. For example, something like, “JanesTravelBlog.com” makes it fairly obvious what the site is about.
Keep it Short and Easy to Type
Even though most people will visit your travel blog from links, there will be others who prefer typing the address. If the name is too long, it can be annoying to potential visitors to spell the URL correctly. Here’s two examples of what I mean:
Which of the two above addresses would you rather type? Most people would take the second option. The less time someone has to think when typing the address, the better off the site will be.
Make sure the domain address is something you like. While it is possible to move the site to a new address later on, it may be time consuming and costly. Try to pick something you’re happy with as a permanent way to share your content.
At GreenGeeks, we offer a free domain name when you register for an account. Let me show you how to do this.
Step 2: Select the Right Hosting Plan
The next step is choosing the right hosting plan for the travel blog. This is perhaps one of the most vital parts of maintaining a website of any kind. You want a host that isn’t going to disappear suddenly because it went out of business, as some have experienced.
GreenGeeks is an established web host, and we’ve been featured in Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America consistently for several years. This means we don’t plan on going anywhere and that your site is safe on our servers.
As GreenGeeks is a top-tier web host provider, we offer excellent methods to develop your travel blog. For less than $5 per month, you’ll receive the free domain name registration I mentioned earlier as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, there really is nothing for you to lose.
By using our services, you’ll benefit from many other features such as:
- 1-Click install of WordPress, which I’ll explain in the next step.
- Optimized servers perfect for creating blogs.
- Unlimited web space and data to grow your site as large as you want.
- Fast SSD RAID-10 storage on servers to deliver your blog quickly to visitors.
- Enhanced security measures to protect your site.
- Constant 24-hour support every day, even on holidays.
- A 99.9 percent service uptime to keeping your site live.
If this wasn’t enough, we’re also one of the greenest web hosting companies on the Internet. This means you can rest easy knowing that by choosing green web hosting, your travel blog is helping the places you visit by replacing three times the energy it uses through renewable sources. When you consider how much power a single data center uses for keeping websites online, this is quite the boon for the environment.
Step 3: Using WordPress to Power the Blog and Why
WordPress is a content management system, or CMS for short. It’s an ultra-easy platform to use, which allows anyone to create a stunning website without knowing a single line of code. It’s fast, stable and comes with a myriad of benefits for running a travel blog.
This doesn’t mean you can’t add your own custom coding later, though. WordPress is just as versatile for advanced users as it is for beginners. That’s the beauty of this system: complete customization.
Here are five things you may find valuable in WordPress:
- Access to more than 35,000 add-ons to give the blog a sense of individuality.
- Thousands of themes to choose from, which many can be completely customized for appearance.
- Integrated editor to help you write your blog content and share pictures of your travels.
- Strong support from the development community and automatic updates to keep the site safe.
- Being able to create a professional-looking website without experience.
Many of the things in WordPress are automated. This means you can focus more on writing pieces about the places you visit instead of worrying about site maintenance. This can include everything from optimization to security and backups.
Once the initial setup is complete, most of your time will be spent writing and sharing your experiences. Even sharing with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have potential to be completely automated with the right plugin.
At GreenGeeks, all it takes is a single click to install this platform to operate your blog. In mere moments, you can get started right away by choosing themes, customizing your layout in a visual editor or looking for those perfect plugins to accentuate the blog.
Step 4: Adding Plugins to Engage Other Travel Lovers
One of the biggest reasons why so many people love using WordPress is the access to tens of thousands of plugins. These little web-based applications offer greater functionality for virtually any purpose. Plugins are also very easy to install, and most will only take seconds to add to the site.
While it is possible to manage a site without plugins, many will make the travel blog so much more effective online. Below are just a few that I find to be useful when you want to share your experiences with the world.
Jetpack comes with a variety of modules that do everything from spell check to social media sharing. You can pick and choose which ones you want and ignore the rest. If you link the plugin to a free WordPress.com account, you can also share your travels with other bloggers who love to read.
WordPress comes with a small text editor to help people write blog posts. However, TinyMCE Advanced includes a variety of other tools that are very beneficial. Essentially, it turns the text editor into more of a word processor complete with many of the tools and options that you would see in programs like Word or Open Office.
You don’t need to be a techie to understand the value of search engine optimization. This is when your blog appears in search results of sites like Google and Bing. Yoast SEO not only does this for you, but it will also add a feature to the content editor to help you write better content.
Want to show others where you plan on going? Perhaps you want to show visitors where you’ve been. Travel Map adds that element to the website. Although you need an account at TravelMap to use this plugin, it’s a free platform that lets you show your adventure with everyone.
Step 5: Writing Your Blog and Sharing Experiences
Once you’ve installed WordPress and added your favorite plugins, it’s time to start writing content. This is when your travel blog will come to life. Here are a few things to help you get started understanding the nuts and bolts of the system.
The Text Editor
The editor in WordPress is viewable in two different ways: Visual and Text. The visual editor shows you elements that are more appealing and more detailed such as how an image will appear on the site. The text editor is used if you want to add basic coding elements or have more of a plain look while writing.
WordPress gives you the ability to place posts into various categories to keep the content organized. For example, you can create a category labeled, “Peru” and post all of your Peruvian adventures into that one area. This makes the content easier to find for yourself as well as visitors.
If you’ve spent any time browsing other blogs on the Internet, it’s highly likely you’ve come across a tag cloud. These are words that are linked to individual post that shares a specific topic. If you write five posts about the Amazon rain forest and tagged them all with “Amazon,” all five posts will be displayed when someone clicks the word tag.
Uploading a Featured Image
A featured image is somewhat important when you want to create a beautiful website. WordPress uses the featured image to make thumbnails, share on social media and head the post. The featured image should be different from other pictures you upload. Just think of it like a header to attract the visitor.
Step 6: Sharing Your Experiences to Promote the Site
The last step to creating a great travel blog is sharing your experiences with the rest of the world. If you have tools like Yoast installed, it can help you get seen in search engines. However, you don’t have to merely stop at things like Google and Bing.
Social media is a widely used part of the Internet for people and businesses alike. With the right status update, blog posts or images can go viral making your post an instant sensation. There are all kinds of ways sharing on social media can be simplified when you start a travel blog.
I mentioned using Jetpack earlier because of the module, “Publicize.” From simply clicking the Publish button on your blog, your social profiles are instantly updated with the new post. This is a time saver if you want to share with many of these platforms all at once.
A lot of developers use newsletters to share information with fans of the website. Plugins, such as Knews, have the option to share new posts through email automatically. Most of these additions will also give the ability to create unique newsletters to customize the experience.
Even if you don’t plan on monetizing to make money from the site, using newsletters can still be worth the effort to engage your followers. This can make others feel like they are really sharing the travel experience with you regardless of where you are in the world.
Blog Submission Sites
The purpose of any website is to attract some kind of attention. As a result, a lot of submission sites are available online specifically for those who like reading blogs. Submitting your site to them will put your adventures in front of an even larger audience. The hardest part is picking those that are effective.
One of the best platforms to start with may probably be WordPress.com itself through Jetpack. Because there are so many readers on that website, it’s easy to engage an audience relatively quick with a single post. This is especially useful because it will also display your tags.
All it really takes to start a travel blog is an active Internet connection, a solid blogging system and a passion for adventure. Not only does this give you a way to share your experience, but it can act as a journal to relive past events as well. Get more from blogging and show the rest of the world why you love to travel.