Before you start a travel blog
By having 4 years of blogging experience, we know the ins and outs of how to start a travel blog successfully. And that’s exactly what we’re going to learn you in this guide. We managed to make a living of our own travel blog within eight months after launching.
- Pick a name and URL
- Installing WordPress
- Configuring WordPress
- Picking a layout
- Essential plugins
- Creating a page
- Track visits
- Create your first blog
- Attracting visitors
- Earn money with a blog
1. Travel Blog name and URL
Choosing a name for your blog is one of the essential things branding-wise. This is where your travel blog starts. Think of an URL (website address), including words like ‘travel’ might help SEO-wise, it’s good to remember that the most successful travel blogs don’t even have this.
SEO: Don’t know what SEO means? Read this short explanation.
Test the availability of the URL on domainr.com. When a .com is taken, try to switch it with .blog or another extension that suits your country like .nl (Netherlands).
2. Pick the best host for your blog
Web hosting is a computer somewhere around the world that hosts your website. Starting a travel blog with a good host is important. Siteground is our number one choice to host a WordPress blog. 24/7 support and a super-easy WordPress installation without having to work in difficult codes. And a free domain name registration is included.
More about: Hosting at Siteground
3. Install WordPress to start a travel blog
WordPress is made for blogging. It is safe, self-updating, flexible if you need to, and future-proof. Once you’ve signed up at Siteground click through the simple installation process on your Siteground cPanel. When it asks you where you’d like to install it, choose your new domain (example: http://mytravelblog.com).
Once installed, you’ll be able to log into the WordPress dashboard with your new username and password.
Congratulations! You have now started a travel blog. That wasn’t too hard, right? But wait, there’s more!
4. Start configuring your travel blog
Now that you’re into your blog’s WordPress dashboard navigate to Settings -> General Settings.
- Disable “Anyone can register.”
- Set your site language
- Set the correct time/date format.
Let’s say you start a travel blog named “Bangkok food is great” and attach this to the category Thailand. WordPress by default creates an URL like:
Let’s change this markup so Google can read this URL. In the WordPress admin; navigate to Settings -> Permalinks. Select the custom structure in the permalink screen and fill in:
It will create the following URL format:
This format is much better for readability and search engines. (SEO)
5. Get a layout for your travel blog
There are two flavors to go with when you start picking a travel blog layout. You either:
- Create your own unique template by hiring a developer.
- Buy one from a WordPress themes webshop. (Like this one)
The second option is cheaper but has its limitations; Someone else could have the same layout for their blog and themes are not optimized to help a travel blog score in Google (SEO).
A look inside: Our Travel Photography Camera Bag
Pick a travel blog layout
Elegant Themes is the place to get a quality theme. Start searching for a travel blog theme that includes the features and design you require on your website. A theme is easy to install via the installation guide included and values like colors and positions of most elements can be adjusted afterward. Here’s a discount at Elegant Themes for all Salt in our Hair readers!
Saltinourhair.com is not a theme that’s for sale. The layout is custom-made by Hannah and me.
6. Install the essential plugins
WordPress plugins are an extension to your WordPress dashboard or website. They will help you to use features made by the community, you developers all over the world. Start a travel blog well by installing the following plugins. Head over to your Dashboard – Plugins – Add new.
Search for Yoast SEO and click on install once you’ve found it. This plugin will give all the SEO features a blogger can wish for. Including an SEO strength check when you are writing a new article.
Easy Social Share Buttons
Your hard-working articles need to be read by others. Start your travel blog traffic by installing the ‘Easy Social Share Buttons’ plugin to add some excellent share options for your articles.
Start the conversation on all your travel blogs by allowing comments. Unfortunately, this also attracts spambots. Akismet spam comments as much as possible.
After installing Akismet, it will ask you to register a free account at their website for extra security. Copy and paste the API key you get into the WordPress plugin, to make sure you are secured against spam comments. In our case, it blocks about 15000 spam comments every six months.
7. Tell your readers about you
Extend your travel blog by telling your readers a little more about you, how and why you started and what they can expect.
In your WordPress Admin, navigate to Pages and add a new page. Fill in the information and make sure it is in your menu bar.
8. Track your website visits
Google Analytics is the tool you need to track your website visits. Especially while starting a travel blog it is very useful data that can help you follow the journey of your readers on your website. Google Analytics shows you:
- Where to do visitors navigate on your website
- How long do people visit your website
- Through what medium did they got to your website
You can learn a lot from the insights in this tool; install it using the following guide.
9. Creating your first blog article
Start your first travel blog article, it can be about anything. For example, tell people why you are starting a travel blog, share what you’re packing for an upcoming trip or write about the highlights from your last journey. Whatever the topic is, writing an article will help you understand how to publish images, write headers, and all the other formatting that comes with publishing on WordPress.
10. Get visitors while starting a Travel Blog
The hardest part of starting a travel blog or any kind of website is getting constant visitors. It could take months, or years to get a good number of visitors each day. Apply the following 4 methods correctly to start seeing traffic on your blog.
Start a Travel blog: Google traffic
Google Search is one of the best ways to generate traffic. However, getting your blog between those Google Search results is one of the hardest things in this world. You need to apply all the SEO rules, post consistently, have a well-functioning website and so many other things. Obviously, you can’t do everything right but at least try the best you can.
SEO – What’s SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, in other words, getting readers to your travel blog. Search engines like Google rate your website’s SEO score by comparing it against a massive list of rules. The Yoast SEO helps you with the first steps.
It took saltinourhair.com over 5 months over weekly posting to see a growth in visitors. Therefore it worked quite discouraging when we did not see readers reading our blogs. The key is to keep posting consequent and try to improve every new article.
Get to know: our 14 Tips to Work from Home effectively
Let Google know you start a travel blog
Google and other search engines won’t know about you if you don’t tell them you are there. Start submitting your travel blog’s sitemap to Google. The Yoast SEO plugin (chapter 6) created a sitemap for you which is basically a big list that includes all the pages of your travel blog.
Learn: How to submit a Sitemap
Start a Travel blog: Facebook traffic
Facebook is currently (2018) the quickest option to start getting your travel blogs out there. Loads of travel-related Facebook groups out there with thousands of members searching for answers you might have.
Search the subject that fits your blog on Facebook. For instance ‘Traveling Iceland’ or ‘Backpackers South America’ and answer people’s.
Start a Travel Blog: Pinterest traffic
Whereas Google takes a while, social media is the perfect way to kickstart getting visitors to your travel blog
Create an image in apps like Photoshop with the title of your blog over that image. Pin that image on Pinterest. The more readers, the more Pinterest will show your image to other people searching on the platform.
The number of visitors that come via Pinterest changes every month. At the time of writing, our Pinterest has 1.1 million monthly viewers.
Get travel blog traffic via Instagram
Instagram is a portfolio for your travels. When someone on Instagram sees a photo he or she starts asking for your travel blog and more information about that destination. This is where you can refer them to your travel blog.
The most important thing is to make your Instagram photos and Instagram stories look stunning.
Start a great looking Instagram with Lightroom Photo Presets (filters)
11. Start earning money with your travel blog
So you want to make a living out your blog? In other words, you need to figure out ways to earn money from it. The methods we propose are a few useful methods. For instance, affiliate marketing. However, there are so many other methods to start earning an income with your travel blog.
All these methods bring in a little money which results in a payment when you add them together at the end of each month.
Method 1: Affiliate marketing
Affiliate Marketing is the best way to start earning money with your travel blog. It works like this: when your blog reader clicks a link from one of your affiliate partners. for instance: booking.com or agoda.com, a cookie will be set. Now assume the reader makes a booking, after that, you will receive a tiny percentage of that booking amount.
Sign up at Affiliate Window (Awin); they have the most significant companies connected to their system.
Once you are signed up, register via the Awin dashboard at one of their partners like Agoda.com. In the top menu, go to Advertisers -> Join Program.
Sign up at Affiliate Window
How to generate an affiliate link at Awin?
Once Agoda.com (or another partner) accepts your blog for their program you can start adding links to your blogs. In Awin, go to Links & Tools -> Link builder.
How much will I earn at Awin?
Your earnings depend on a number of factors;
numberof affiliate links in your article
- How likely people will click those links
- Luck that the reader books or buys something via that link.
While we started our travel blog, we integrated Awin and nowadays receive an average of 0.26 USD per click.
Method 2: Google Ads
The second method to start earning money with your travel blog is by placing ads on your website. Google Adsense is the most common advertising platform and is easy to integrate.
Method 3: Set up a mailing list
While this might not sound like a moneymaker, setting up a mailing list can give your blog many extra visitors each month. More visitors equals more income via affiliate links and ads.
Add a MailChimp form in your articles, in a popup or into the end of your website where you ask them to subscribe to stay updated with your blogs.
Method 4: Sell a product via Sellfy
What are you good at? What can you do that many others wished they could? Offer this as a product on Sellfy. It can be everything. For instance, a video course, a self-written e-book, tutorials, photo presets, etc. Everything can be for sale as long as it is downloadable.
Sellfy is the best place to offer these online products. For example, there is a man making a great income by selling tutorial videos on how to do magic tricks. See? Dig deep and sell your skills!
Masterclass: The Secrets of a Successful Travel Blog
Great, you are ready to start blogging! Because this was just the start of blogging and generating traffic we are working on a Masterclass ‘The Secrets of a Successful Travel Blog’ will include subjects like;
- How to write travel blogs that score on Google
- How to edit your website to get a higher rank in Google
- Advanced guide in using Google Ads
- How to secure your travel blog
- Best practices in sharing content on Social Media
- How to speed up your website to rank higher in Google
- Getting perfect ranks in Pinterest
Get notified when our
Masterclass is ready!
Simply by leaving your email address.
When you purchase something through our links we earn a small fee. However, you still pay the same. Win-win!
- Find Hotels via Booking.com
- Find a Rental Car via Sunny Cars
- Find Cheap Flights via Skyscanner
- Get a Travel Insurance via Heymondo
- Book Tours & Attractions via Viator
- Book a Bus/Train/Transfer via 12Go
Looking for more travel information? Plan a chat with us for personalised travel advice or get an answer from the Salt in our Hair Travel Community on Facebook.
I love your blog and thank you for sharing this excellent guide! At Siteground there is the option to choose ‘Webhosting’ or ‘WordPress hosting’. Which one did you choose?
Hi Stefanie, thank you! We had the WordPress hosting. But choose that only if you plan to create your website on WordPress.