How to start a travel blog and make money like top travel bloggers? Learn the easiest way to start your own travel blog from scratch with WordPress and how to get paid for it.
Getting paid while traveling the world. Sounds good, right?
Don’t wait! Let’s start your travel blog and make it pay for your travel!
Keep reading this blog post for the next 15 minutes and follow my step by step guide below. I will hold your hand and walk you through the process to get your blog live and running properly. No technical knowledge required!
THE 3 STEPS TO BUILD A WONDERFUL TRAVEL BLOG:
1. Choosing the Domain Name and Hosting
A domain name is your blog name, or in other words, your blog address on the internet. Your domain name defines your brand. It can make or destroy you, so it’s important to pick the right domain name for your business.
Here are a couple of tips for choosing the right domain name.
- It should be short, memorable, easy to spell and describe what your blog is about.
- You should avoid hyphens and numbers. Hyphens in a domain name are usually perceived as spammy.
- Wherever possible, always go for a ‘.com’ domain, as it is the most popular extension on the internet.
- You should also avoid overused words and trademarked company names.
Following these easy tips will make your blog name stand out and avoid any copyright and trademark infringement.
Brainstorm as many different ideas as possible. You may need a couple of minutes to find the best one. Whatever the domain name ideas come to your mind, check the availability by typing down in the box below. Be sure to include .com!
Found a catchy, available domain name?
The next step is to choose a reliable web hosting provider.
You need to host your domain name. Hosting is like renting online space to store all your blog’s files and data. It will make your blog accessible and visible on the web.
Bluehost is one of the largest and reputable web hosting companies. Bluehost has affordable prices and great support. They also give you a domain name for free if you decide to use their services.
You know how I love good deals!
Watch this 4 minutes video covering how to register a domain name and setting up your WordPress blog with Bluehost.
Head to Bluehost through this link! Click the Get Started button on their homepage to initiate the process.
On the next screen, you can select your hosting plan. You’ll see three different options. I recommend going with the BASIC plan as this is the cheapest and most common plan. Go ahead and hit the green select button on your chosen plan.
On the next screen, enter your chosen domain name in the “Create a new domain” box and click the next button.
Now create your Bluehost account. You can sign up with your Google account or input your personal info manually.
Make sure you fill out the required fields with your personal information!
In the package information section, I strongly recommend you to select the 36-months plan. You’ll get the lowest price at $3.95 per month, which will save you quite a bit of cash.
Be sure to add Domain Privacy Protection to keep your domain information from public display. Skip the other services as you don’t need them for now.
Make sure you have filled out all of the fields!
Next, enter your credit card information correctly and click the green submit button to place your order!
Congratulations! You’ve completed the first major step of how to start a travel blog!
Next, you have to create a password. Create a strong and complicated password to keep your account safe.
Your password is successfully created?
Now, login to your Bluehost account for the first time.
2. Installing WordPress
Now it’s time to install WordPress, the best blogging platform on the planet.
Don’t worry – it’s extremely easy! Bluehost has the 1-Click WordPress installation feature. That means, with just one click, your WordPress blog will be installed properly and ready to go!
Let me show you how!
After you login into your Bluehost account, you’ll be asked to pick a WordPress theme you like. Don’t put too much thought over these details. Simply pick it randomly and you’ll be fine.
Go ahead and pick your theme!
Wait a few seconds…
Bluehost is going to install WordPress on your server. Your WordPress blog will be ready to go in just a few seconds.
After the installation process is done, go ahead and click the “Start Building” button and BINGO!
Welcome to the WordPress dashboard!
If you see the warm welcome like the image below, it means that your blog is already set up.
After completing this installation process, Bluehost will ask you to go through some important yet easy steps. Go through all the entire steps or simply skip them. You can set them all directly from your WordPress dashboard.
Setting up a Site Title and Site Description. Fill in your site’s title and tagline/description in the fields like the image below. Don’t think too much over this part. It’s easily changed through the General Settings in the dashboard.
Click the “Next Step” button!
On the next screen, feel free to click the “Yes” button.
Setting up your homepage display. You can choose your recent posts or a static welcome page. I personally chose the static page as it looks far more modern.
Your homepage display can be easily changed through the Reading Settings in the dashboard.
Setting up a contact page. I’m going to select NO this time and set that up later. I always create a contact page with my favorite plugin Contact Form 7.
Feel free to click the “No Thanks” button!
Next, it will ask you to link your “Jetpack” profile to WordPress. Jetpack is a plugin, which combines essential WordPress features into one large plugin. In a nutshell, Jetpack gives you access to all the best features to design, protect, and grow your site.
Click the “Connect to WordPress.com” button to set it up.
It will be completed in just a few clicks!
Click the verification link inside your email and your domain will be ready to go.
3. Beautify Your Blog!
A) Finding the Perfect Theme.
This part is truly important. You have to change your default WordPress theme with the best that fits your blog. WordPress provides tons of free themes you can choose from. You can search for the best one here. Unfortunately, free themes are boring, have limited features and could potentially ruin your brand.
I strongly recommend you to use a premium theme. It will give you lots of options to make your blog look aesthetically appealing and professional.
Below are the 3 best WordPress themes for blogging with tons of features inside.
- Genesis Framework. The world’s most popular mobile-friendly themes and design framework for WordPress. This is the current framework I’ve used for this blog. Lots of veteran bloggers have used and recommended this premium theme and framework. With Genesis, you have to purchase the Framework package ($59.95) along with a child theme (prices vary).
- Divi Theme. According to BuiltWith.com, Divi theme is the world’s most widely used premium theme. It allows you to build and design a marvelous website without touching any single line of code. Give your blog the look it deserves with Divi theme!
- GeneratePress Theme. The superb-lightweight theme for your blog. GeneratePress built with a focus on speed, usability, and performance. According to WordPress.org, GeneratePress is now active on 200,000+ sites and has an exclusively 5-star rating on over 850 reviews.
B) 9 Essential WordPress Plugins for Travel Bloggers.
Plugins make blogs better! Plugins are like tiny programs designed to add certain features on a WordPress blog. It will help your blog to become more powerful and advanced. Here are a few must-have plugins for travel bloggers.
Yoast SEO: This plugin will help you optimize each post for maximum search results. Yoast tells you each feature you have to complete to ensure that your post is SEO friendly. The plugin will check your keyword usage, internal links, outbound links, optimal length, readability, display, Google search preview and more.
Interactive World Maps: The great WordPress plugin for travel bloggers to show the countries they have traveled including the content related to each country. This plugin helps create a clickable, colored map based on regions or countries to help people going to specific categories on your blog.
Shareaholic: This plugin allows you to add eye-popping social sharing buttons on your content. You can place the sharing buttons anywhere on your website, and it will help people to share your content with the world.
Loginizer Security: This is a crucial plugin for every blogger. It will shield your login page from brute force attack by blocking an IP address after it reaches the maximum incorrect login attempts allowed.
Akismet: Widely known as the most popular anti-spam plugin among WordPress users. Akismet keeps thoroughly checks on unwanted spam comments being posted on your WordPress blog. This plugin was built by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.
WP Super Cache: This plugin works by generating static web pages from your dynamic WordPress blog. These static web pages will be displayed to your visitors. Static files use fewer server resources, which makes your website load much faster.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer: As a travel blogger, you will upload a lot of images to your blog, mostly about your adventures, which could potentially slow down your site speed. This plugin will make your blog load much faster by compressing the size of your images without losing its quality.
Pretty Link: Affiliate marketing is the most popular methods to monetize a blog. This plugin allows you to shorten, cloak, track, and organize all of your links (includes affiliate links) on your own domain name.
Google Analytics: This is a must-have plugin to track your blog traffic. You will be able to see what pages are getting most views and where the traffic is coming from. If you haven’t installed Google Analytics on your blog, stop everything and add it now!
C) How to Drive Traffic to Your Travel Blog.
Below are some proven methods to drive high volume traffic to your brand new travel blog. Start with the easiest one and continue with the most advanced method.
Pinterest is recognized as one of the best visual platforms to generate traffic. It’s a reliable traffic source for a brand new blog or even for an established blog. Some BIG travel blogs could generate hundreds of thousands of monthly traffic from Pinterest.
By joining some BIG group boards and pinning all your content on Pinterest, it could help you drive more traffic to your travel blog. You can use Tailwind, a scheduler tool, to automate your pinning process.
Recommended Facebook Group for Travel Bloggers
- Ultimate Pinterest Group for Travel Bloggers
- Pinterest for Travel Bloggers
- Mappin Monday
- Travel Bloggers Guide to Pinterest
- Pinterest Travel Bloggers Club
Go ahead and join them!
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is the process of optimizing your blog content to make it appear in the Google search page and drive more free traffic to your blog. This method started with the proper keyword research related to traveling niche. Simply use Ahrefs or SEMrush to find a list of keywords with high search volume with an easy level of competition.
The next step is to try to write great articles based on those keywords. Yoast SEO plugin will help you to create amazing SEO friendly content that Google and your readers will love.
The next step is backlinking. This process might be a little bit tricky. I recommend you to hire an SEO team, so you can focus on content while your team does the rest.
Yes, I know…
Hiring an SEO team is fairly expensive and if you find a cheap one, they’re likely spamming. It could ruin your blog. Keep on Pinterest marketing and generate steady monthly income from it. Next, you can hire an SEO team and bring your travel blog to the next level.
Let me say: Email marketing is not dead!
Email marketing is one of the most effective methods to bring traffic to your blog again and again. Having your own email database makes you an influencer. If people are subscribing to your mailing list, it means they believe in you and want to hear more from you.
How to build an email database quickly and effectively?
First, you have to sign up with a trusted email marketing company like Aweber, Getresponse or ConvertKit.
Next, you have to create a free yet high-value offer like a free report, free video series, free email course, free tools, etc. Make sure your free offers are unique, high-value, and help solve your readers’ problems.
Next, create a sign-up form and place it anywhere in your blog. You can place it in the blog post, homepage, sidebar or use a pop-up form.
After you build your own email database, send out a newsletter regularly to keep your audience engaged. Every time you have a new blog post, let them know through the email. Every time you found a winning affiliate product, send them an email. If they make a purchase, you’ll gain an affiliate commission.
Sounds good, right?
D) How to Monetize your Travel Blog
This is what most people, including myself, wonder. How to make money travel blogging? How do you get paid for blogging? How to make a passive income from blogging? How much money can you make blogging?
Well, here are a couple of options you can choose to monetize your blog.
As a new blogger, you can join ad networks like Google Adsense or Media.net. Displaying ads might be the easiest way to make money online. If people click on the ads, you will earn money. The more traffic you get and the more people click on the ads, the more money you will earn.
As your traffic grows and you hit 25k sessions monthly, I strongly recommend you joining Mediavine. Most travel bloggers switch their ad network from Adsense to Mediavine as the latter pays far better. Their ad revenue increase is almost doubled.
And as your blog hits 100K sessions monthly, you can join AdThrive. You could multiply your ad revenue with this exclusive ad network.
You can promote products related to your niche to help your readers, such as travel gear, accommodations, and travel-related books, etc. You can join popular affiliate programs like FlexOffers, Amazon Associates, ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, or an individual affiliate program.
Try to write deep reviews, advertise on Pinterest and Facebook, and sent out email offers to your subscribers about the product(s). If someone purchases through your affiliate link, you will earn a commission. Affiliate commissions typically range between 3%-70% (depending on the type of product).
Most affiliate gurus recommend products that they have personally used and trust. They usually create a special affiliate page on their blog called ‘resources page’, which is a curated list of the products and services related to their niche.
Making money online with sponsored posts and reviews might be one of the least common ways to monetize a blog. It requires you to have a lot of traffic and a solid online presence to pull it off.
How does it work? A blogger will charge a company or brand a fee to write a deep review of their products or services on the blog. The product will be presented in front of the blogger’s audience resulting in more exposure and sales.
For some companies, it’s a lucrative way of advertising. They get more exposure and new customers with sponsored posts and 63% of them plan to increase their spending this year.
The bad news is that sponsored posts are not for rookie bloggers. You have to focus on traffic generation and build a solid relationship with your audience.
As your traffic grows and has a responsive audience, you can start reaching out to businesses related to your niche. Don’t be afraid to get in touch personally to explore the opportunities for partnerships.
Here are a few websites that connect influencers with companies and brands for sponsored posts opportunities:
Izea • Mom it Forward • Acorn • Tap Influence • Speakr • Linqia • Pollinate Media • Social Fabric • Influence Central • Influenster • Cooperatize • BlogHer • Activate • Weave Made Media • And much more!
Go ahead and join them!
Travel blogging is fun and profitable. Even though the competition is hard, it is not a big problem. Some new bloggers could reach hundreds of thousands of traffic in just a couple of months and generate five figures of income.
The conclusion is you’re never too late to start a travel blog!
Don’t wait! Start your own travel blog right now, don’t be afraid of the competition and keep moving forward.
Focus on high-quality content, generate massive traffic and monetizing your audience. Bring your travel blog to the next level and turn it into a thriving business!