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Most digital nomads I know have two things they’re working on right now with their laptops to fund their travels.
- Writing a travel blog
- Running an online business.
Today, I want to discuss making money by starting a travel blog. You don’t have to be techy to start one either. All you have to have is passion and dedication to write and a whole lot of creativity. This step by step procedure is very easy to follow, even kids can do it too. Let’s get started!
How to start a travel blog?
- Pick a good travel blog name
- Find a good hosting
- Install free WordPress
- Learn how to use WordPress
- Design your blog
- Decide what you should write about
- Learn social media marketing
- Start making money.
I know it’s overwhelming, but don’t worry! I’m going to walk you through on each step.
Step 1: Pick a good travel blog name
Pick a good name that’s easy to remember and easy to spell. You don’t want to keep repeating yourself when you share it to a fellow traveler that you meet on the road.
You see what I’m saying? It could be so confusing for other people to search for your blog. So be careful with numbers and abbreviations because obviously, that’s not easy to type and not easy to remember.
Do a little brainstorming when picking a name. Write down on a piece of paper the genius names you could think of for your first domain. Make it general, professional, and something that would evolve as you do.
The domain, “1yearoftravel.com” may sound good if you’re traveling for a year, but what if you decide to travel more than a year? You get what I mean? Pick a good name, something long term. Sleep through it and don’t rush.
Step 2: Find Good Web Hosting
Your website needs to be stored on a server somewhere on the internet so other people around the world can find your site and visit. To put it simply, your site needs to “rent space” on the internet to store all your blog’s data. You can get a reliable hosting service from bluehost. It’s pretty cheap too with pricing starting at only $2.95 per month with a free domain name.
When picking a web hosting service, make sure they have reliable technical support team and customer service.
Here’s how to buy bluehost web hosting:
1. Click on the green button that says “get started now”
2. Select a plan
You can opt for the basic, plus or prime plan. For most travel bloggers the basic plan is sufficient and comes with a free domain name too. 50GB is a huge amount of website space, enough for thousands of posts and images.
3. Select a domain name
You can either register a free domain name or choose to use an existing domain you might already own.
If you’ve already got a domain with a company such as Namecheap then you’ll be asked to change your nameservers once you’ve completed checkout. It’s a straight forward process so don’t worry.
4. Enter your payment details
The last step is to complete your checkout and add any additional addons you might need. The only beneficial addon I recommend adding is the Site Backup Pro so you can instantly restore your website if you make a mistake or cause your WordPress site to stop working.
Step 3: Install free WordPress
After you purchase your hosting package, Bluehost will send you an email with your control panel login. You probably want to make a note of this and change your password during first login. You will be needing this each time you want to login.
Installing WordPress with your hosting service is easy. Just follow the steps below:
1.) Log in to your Bluehost cpanel
2.) Look for the website section, select “Install WordPress” icon
3.) Click on the ‘Install’ button
4.) When it asks where you want to install it, select your domain. In the field next to your domain, you can enter a subfolder such as “blog” or leave it blank if you want your blog to be the main or static page.
5.) If you want to update the email address, username and password for the new WordPress installation, click on “advanced options”
6.) Read the service agreements and check the boxes
7.) Select install.
After that, you should be able to log in to your WordPress dashboard. It’s not that hard, right?
Step 4: Learn how to use WordPress
WordPress is great blogging platform because it’s flexible (with a room to grow), search engine friendly, easy to use, and you can find a lot of online tutorials for free. You can add extra features like a forum, online store and membership options to it.
Here are five free resources you can use:
It might be a little too overwhelming at first, so I recommend that you play with your WordPress Dashboard for few days. If you want help with WordPress I’d recommend checking out this mini course. Adding to that, change your settings, take a quick trip around, check the admin screen, etc. You’ll get the hang of it, just give it some time.
Google is going to be your best friend. Since WordPress is such a popular platform for blogging, you will most likely find all the answers to your question through Google. If you can’t find it in any of the free tutorials that I listed above, don’t hesitate to call a friend, ask Google.
Step 5: Design your blog
There are thousands of free standard designs (referred in WordPress as a ‘theme’) that you can find in your WordPress dashboard. You can select whatever theme you like since you can change it later. But I’d say stick to professional or premium designs.
Professional blog themes would cost more than the free ones but hey, they’re going to be worth it because they will improve the look of your site and the functionality is way better compared to free ones. An average premium theme would cost between $20 to $300.
When selecting a theme, make sure to test how it will look on your desktop and mobile. When I’m thinking of buying a premium theme I head over to Google’s mobile friendly test page and enter the URL to see what it will like. There’s nothing worse than buying a theme that looks awful on mobile devices.
Here’s how to design your blog:
1.) Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
2.) On the left-hand side, find “Appearance”, hover over it then click “Themes”.
3.) Pick a design you like and click “Activate”.
4.) Go to your address bar then type in your new website, there you can see your new theme. You’ll want to customize this now using the customization option.
Step 6: Decide what you should write about
You know what they always say, “Content is king”. I want to reiterate, quality is always better than quantity. Take your time to write your first article, polish your writing skills.
Practice, practice, practice! Good writing skills keep readers coming back. Focus on improving your “story telling” skills. Everyone loves a good story.
Never stop learning, there’s always something new out there. Learn how to write good content, take good photos and videos. You need to know all these skills to run a successful travel blog. Some established bloggers have their own teams working for them.
You might want to invest big such as if you want to hire an assistant or videographers to create better content. But for now, since you’re just starting, try to have multiple skills and hone them.
Be personal, put yourself out there and open up. Write about a topic that you are passionate about. Otherwise, you’ll just feel pressured to write and won’t enjoy it. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. You are unique. You are creative. Be relentless. Remember, you are selling yourself.
Step 7: Learn Social Media Marketing
Market yourself through social media. If you want to build a successful travel blog, learn how to do social media marketing. Create profiles for the following:
1.) Facebook -Write at least 1 to 2 post per day. Post great travel photos with inspiring quotes or short caption describing the photo. Once you publish your first article, announce it on your fan page. Then a few days after that, post it on your personal account using your “usual voice” to entice your friends. It will create engagement and the visibility of your post will also increase.
2.) Instagram -Set up your Instagram profile up for success. Use a catchy profile picture that is appealing. Something that screams “travel and fun”. The point of having Instagram is sharing pictures and stories. Use a lot of travel hashtags and put the location of the photo you posted.
It’s critically important to pay attention to what your followers enjoy. Write a good description of the image then ask a question at the end to encourage engagement. Don’t go overboard with the editing, you don’t want your pictures to look fake.
3.) Twitter -Your aim for using this is to promote your content and get more clicks on your site. Creating a good influence score will take a long time and effort. Find a good balance between chatting, having fun with other travel bloggers, retweeting and sharing other blogger’s posts. Help each other.
That’s what social media is all about. Try not to compare yourself to other bloggers. They are not your competitors. They are your travel buddy and you help them promote their articles on Twitter.
4.) Youtube – Make your audience feel like they’re traveling with you, connect with them through your videos. Youtube offers a well rounded sensory experience that includes visual motion, sound, story, and personality.
Decide what type of videos you would want to share with your audience; travel vlogs, travel guide videos, niche videos, marketing videos, and others. To figure out what kind of video you want to share to your audience is to start publishing and see what works.
5.) Pinterest -Share, follow, upload and just keep on pinning. That’s what you need to do to heighten your exposure, gain followers, pull traffic to your blog, and the chance at getting picked up by someone big. How to be put your game on Pinterest? Create a profile then create an aesthetically pleasing boards.
What you share on Pinterest today has longevity, it can circulate for months by getting “repinned” by other users. Just like Twitter, to get more followers, you have to follow active and quality pinners. Additional tip: Create your own group board and tell your fellow travel bloggers to pin to it.
Step 8: Start making money
Wait for six months to a year before you start making money on your blog. Focus first on the quality of your content and build your target audience. Once you have an audience, made your blog popular, brought value to the digital world, then you can start making money.
Here are some ways you can monetize your blog:
1.) Affiliate Marketing -it’s a technique where a merchant or seller pays a commission to bloggers(affiliates) by referring new consumers to their site.
There are many affiliate networks out there that you can join including Clickbank, CJ and specific travel networks such as Booking.com, Agoda and Momondo.
2.) Google AdSense -you make money by displaying ads on your blog. How? Depending on your traffic, it could be based on your page views or clicks.
3.) Become a freelance blogger -there are big brands on the market who are desperately looking for skilled freelance bloggers. To qualify, you need to learn more about WordPress, Search Engine Optimization, social media marketing, and persuasive skills.
4.) Sell online courses -create a valuable course for your visitors by finding out what they want. Create your first online course on any topic you are knowledgeable. Most people would buy it for convenience. (Even if they can find the info for free)
5.) Consulting -coaching services are often offered to motivated clients. Let’s say you’re an SEO expert, you can charge someone on Google Hangout for 1 hour of coaching about SEO. Whatever your expertise is if you think other people will find it valuable, offer that service on your blog.
6.) Paid Reviews or Banner ads – if you generate a decent amount of traffic to your site, you maybe approach by businesses to have sponsored post on your site. It could be in through paid article post or banner ads.
7.) Sell ebooks – write good quality ebooks and publish it on Amazon Kindle. Amazon has a million buyers when it comes to ebooks, they can help you market your product. Just make sure your ebook is unique and you publish regularly.
If you have other questions, feel free to write in the comment section down below. Thank you and happy blogging! 🙂