How to Start a Travel Blog on WordPress

How to Start a Travel Blog on WordPress

You would like to start a travel blogger career, but you don’t know how to start?

So today I wanted to share a useful guide on how to start a travel blog on wordpress. Because it’s the first step to becoming a successful travel blogger!

1. Create the Blog Name

Finding a perfect name can be a arduous process which may take a lot of hours. Here are some useful tips when picking the name:

  • Never use .org or .net Always have a .com or .co (yourcountry) domain. This will make it much easier for readers to find your site and remember your    blog name.
  • Don’t create a blog that geographically limits “BobsAsiaTrip.com” won’t make sense if you start blogging about a trip to Africa. You never know where your travels may take you, so keep your options open. Unless your blog is 100% going to be a single destination blog (such as “SwedenTravelTips.com”) you’ll want to leave yourself room for change and growth.
  • Don’t keep to a type of travel. “TomsBackpackingAdventure.com” will be difficult to maintain if you happen to stop backpacking.
  • Pick a name that describes what you do as much as possible. If you’re into luxury, put words in your domain that convey that. You want people to see  the  name  and  say  to themselves, “I get what that website is about.”
  • Keep it short. Use 3-4 words maximum. You want the name that rolls off the tongue.
  • Think about the general travel theme of your blog. There are many names that literally convey what the blogs are about but are not limited by their bloggers’ age, style of travel, or geography

2. Set up Blog Platform Name and Hosting

Wondering how to start a travel blog the first question is: What platform should I use? There are a lot of options: Wix, Squarespace, Blogger, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal. However I highly recommend WordPress platform.

Why WordPress?

WordPress powers nearly one third of the world’s websites, from small personal blogs to the complex sites of major corporations such as Sony, Time Inc., the New York Post, and NBC. WordPress is only one of the site builders and content management systems users can download and install for free, but it has unique features that make it the most popular content management system in use today.

5 Key Benefits of Start a Travel Blog on WordPress

  1. There are many themes which allows you to change the design of your website quickly.  Remember: A blog with limited design options is a blog with limited success
  2. Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of your WordPress travel blog without knowing how to program. There are over 10,000 plugins available that help you add all kinds of functionality to your sites, like social media sharing, SEO, photo slideshows, and much more.
  3. They are easy to update. If you can create a Word document, you can publish a new article to your WordPress travel blog. Once it is set up, you can update it anytime you want, and that is important for engagement with your visitors and for the search engines.
  4. Google loves WordPress sites. Because they are updated more frequently, and the content tends to be structured well, you can get a WordPress site ranking very quickly compared to a static website. Google has even gone on record as recommending WordPress for business sites (see YouTube video)
  5. WordPress is supported by a thriving, engaged community. A recent study estimates that approximately 8% of the sites on the Internet are run by WordPress. There are thousands of designers, developers and enthusiasts out there to help if you get stuck. Help is just a Google or Bing search away.
 
 

Hosting for Travel Blog

So, now that you have your domain name, so the next step is to sign up for hosting

There are a lot of hosting companies out there but HostGator and Bluehost are the two biggest and we suggest you go with one of them.

HOSTGATOR

Step 1: Navigate to the HostGator Website

To signup for hosting, just follow this link to the HostGator website and click “Buy Now!” to start your sign up process.

how to start a travel blog on wordpress_hosting

Make sure you have selected the right hosting plan from the drop-down list and then select the billing cycle you are prepared to pay. The longer you lock in for, the cheaper initial pricing will be.

I suggest starting with the “Baby Plan” (which gives you hosting for more than one single domain). The difference in price is not large and it gives you room to grow (since you can host unlimited domains with it).

Step 2: Enter Your Domain Name
how to start a travel blog on wordpress_domain

Enter your  domain name at the top of the page.

The system will then prompt you to take out “domain privacy protection” which we recommend you do. (Why? This will hide your address and contact details from appearing online when someone queries your domain name and it will keep spammers from calling you to sell their sketchy web services.

If you already have a domain name but need hosting, simply select the “I already own this domain” from the tab at the top. Then, enter your domain name and continue to the next step.

Step 3: Enter Billing Information

Fill out your billing information and preferred payment type (credit card or PayPal).

Step 4: Select Additional Services

The only additional service you need to take out is the “https” option, which should be pre-selected and unable to be changed. The other additional services are not needed and can all be unchecked

how to start a travel blog on wordpress_https
Step 5: Review Order

Review your order details and make sure everything is correct. Then click “Checkout Now!” at the bottom of the page

Step 6: Check Email For Hosting Account Access

Once your order has been received you’ll be redirected to the HostGator billing portal. You will also be sent two separate emails with the login credentials to your hosting control panel and the billing portal for your HostGator account. Be sure to save the information. Save them on your computer and/or print the emails for safe keeping.

BLUEHOST

Step 1: Sign up for Bluehost

First, just head on over to Bluehost’s website and click the green button that says “Get Started.”

You’ll have three options when it comes to getting started. As you can see, the “Choice Plus” plan offers the best value, but choose whichever plan you feel is best for your situation.  If you’re planning to get serious, I’d suggest the “Choice Plus” plan as it will give you more space for your site, among a handful of other perks

how to start a travel blog on wordpress_plan

After taht, you’ll have to input the domain name you want. If you already have purchased the name from a third-party provider you can choose the “I have a domain name” option.

If you haven’t purchased your website name yet, you will choose the “New Domain” option.

how to start a travel blog on wordpress_domain_name

Now you’ll just need to fill out all your account details. Input everything here and then scroll down the page.

Then you’ll need to choose the payment option.

how to start a travel blog on wordpress_account

3. Install WordPress

Now that you have your hosting setup, it’s time to start building your travel blog. The first step is to install WordPress, which will be your Content Management System (CMS) that you’ll be using to add posts to your site, upload images and so much more. This is the system that actually runs your blog and lets you do all the cool things you want to do with your website.

INSTALLING WORDPRESS ON HOSTGATOR

Step 1: Login to your account

Log in to your hosting control panel using the link provided to you by email when you purchased your hosting from HostGator. The link would look similar to this:

https://gatorXXXX.hostgator.com:2083

After logging into your control panel, you need to scroll down the settings page to locate the “Software” section. Then click on the “QuickInstall” link. The Software section will be located towards the bottom of the page.

how to start a travel blog on wordpress_wp
Step 2: Install WordPress

On the page that loads, select “WordPress”.

Than select your domain name and click “Next”

Step 3: Enter Details

Enter the name of your blog, an admin username (Make sure the admin username is hard to guess), your name, your email address and then agree to the terms and conditions below. Then click the “Install” button

how to start a travel blog on wordpress_account1
Step 4: Save Login Details

Once the installation process has finished, you will be given the password you’ll need to login to your WordPress install. The password can be change any time you want – I will show you how to do that later on. Once you have it saved, click the “Login” button.

INSTALLING WORDPRESS ON BLUEHOST

Step 1: Login to your account

Log in to your Bluehost account and go to “My Sites.” Then, click on the “Create Site” button in the top right corner.

how to start a travel blog on wordpress_wp1

Next, choose your website name and the tagline for your site (you can skip the tagline part if you want to).

You can skip this next page, as you don’t need to set up a directory right now. Leave the boxes checked for the free plugins as you may want to use them later on.

That’s it! Now your travel blog on wordpress is up and running and you’re ready to start blogging!

Basic Configuration of Your Travel Blog

WordPress is actually a great platform for starting your website and getting a blog up and going, and it’s mostly easy to work out and sort of comprehend what does what.

Now we’re going to give you a quick run through the basic configuration. In the next step we’ll deal with customization your travel blog.

Step 1: Login to WordPress

Log in to your WordPress site. The login URL will be https://domain.com/wp-admin where you replace “domain.com” with your own chosen domain name.

Enter the login username and password as noted from your installation of WordPress (above) and you’ll then be given access to your main admin dashboard for the site.

Step 2: Reset Password

The first item to adjust is your password (optional).

To set a new password, click “Users” and then go to “Your Profile.” Once there, scroll down to the option that says “Generate Password”. WordPress will generate a password for you but you can type in your own password instead

Step 3: Set Permalinks

Next step is to set “permalinks” up on the site. The permalink option determines the makeup of the URLs your posts/pages will inherit on your site.

I recommend the “Post Name” setting so your URLs for your website will show up as

https://domain.com/post-name

This creates the shortest and cleanest URL for your posts. This is both SEO friendly and makes the URLs easy to read.

To do that, click “Settings” and go to “Permalinks.” Set the option to: “Post Name.”

how to start a travel blog on wordpress_permalink

4. WordPress Configuration

Now that you have your WordPress set up, next step is to pick a theme for your travel blog on WordPress.

A WordPress theme is the code and template that creates the visual appearance of websites.

In choosing your theme, you can do one of two things:

  • Get a free theme
  • Get a premium theme

These options have their pros and cons. You can always change your theme later, and many websites constantly change their theme to better deal with the changing face of the internet.

FREE THEMES

There are many, many great free themes available online. Free themes is a great opportunity to start your blog with low budget. However, you need to bear in mind that since they are free, a lot of people might already be using your theme. This will make your website appear less original and unique. Moreover, free themes usually have encrypted links in the footer to the author’s site. As these links are encrypted, you are unable to remove them, which leaves you open to potentially harming your site’s authority and SEO.

So if you plan on blogging for a long time, this might become a problem as your website grows. That’s why I recommend to use premium themes.

PREMIUM THEME

Premium themes offer a bit more uniqueness, flexibility, and functionality. With a premium theme, you almost always have a support forum that can help you begin to learn how to customize your site yourself. 

When buying a premium theme, you will always get a vast array of options to work with. This ranges from custom widgets and responsive designs perfect for mobile browsing to easy-to-adjust settings pages and an array of integrated buttons and options.

I recommend themes from Elegant Themes, as they are well-coded, SEO friendly, with drag & drop technology.

Below video show you how to download and install Divi Theme.

5. Installing Plugins

Plugins offer endless possibilities as to what you can do with your site, which is why WordPress is such a powerful platform to use. If you can think of a feature you’d like to have on your site, I can almost guarantee there is a plugin for it.

So how do you install them?

Click on “Plugins” and then “Add New”.  Here you can search for plugins that you want and install them via a one-click install that automatically installs them to your WordPress platform

how to start a travel blog on wordpress_plugin

After clicking the “Install Now” option, the button will change to say “Activate.” This allows you to enable the plugin on your site and makes it ready to be configured and used

Now I’ll show you the most important plugins you should use on your travel blog.

PLUGIN #1: AKISMET

Just like getting junk mail in your mailbox, your website will get spammers looking to leave junk comments on your site.

Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against its global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content.

PLUGIN #2: YOAST SEO

The best SEO plugin out there. This plugin combines the ability to create meta tags and descriptions for your posts, optimize your titles, create a sitemap for search engines to read, customize how your posts appear across social media, and a whole lot more

PLUGIN #3: SOCIAL WARFARE

Social Warfare lets you put social media buttons on your blog posts and pages so they can easily be retweeted, liked, pinned, stumbled, emailed, and much more. This is the best plugin for the job, as you get a whole toolbox of options and have a list of places to put the icons on your posts. While there are a lot of social media plugins out there, this one is one of the easier ones to set up.

PLUGIN #4: BACKWPUP

The backup plugin BackWPup can be used to save your complete installation  and push them to an external Backup Service, like Dropbox, Google Drive and many more, see list below. With a single backup .zip file you are able to easily restore an installation and all of the content of your travel blog.

With the ability to schedule backups, you needn’t worry about doing it manually (especially useful to the more forgetful among us).

PLUGIN #5: SMUSH IMAGE

Smush Image is a WordPress plugin that will automatically optimize your images as you upload them to your blog. It can also optimize the images that you have already uploaded in the past, as well as any images in your theme folders. By optimizing your images for the web, you are ensuring their file sizes are as small as possible, which improves your website loading speed.

PLUGIN #6: LAZY LOAD

If you add many images, multiple video embeds, and photo galleries to your blog posts, then your site can benefit from lazy loading.

Instead of loading all your images and videos at once, Lazy Load downloads only those that will be visible on the user’s screen.

Super Star Blogging

7. Installing Google Analytics and Google Search Console

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for discovering data about your website. Whether it’s finding out what content is most popular, or determining if your user is viewing your website from a mobile device, Google Analytics can provide you with all the information you need to accurately assess how your website is performing.

How to install Google Analytics on your Travel Blog?

Step 1: Create Google Analytics Account

Go to https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/analytics/ 

and click “Sign in” to Analytics

Once you login to the URL above you’ll be asked to signup to start using Google Analytics. Click the “Signup” button to the right of the page.

Step 2: Setup Website with Google Analytics

You will then create an account for your website. Fill out the following items for your site.

  • Account Name
  • Website Name
  • Website URL (Making sure to pick https:// from the drop down box)
  • Industry Category
  • Reporting Time Zone (So you can check traffic data relative to where in the world you are)
how to start a travel blog on wordpress_analytics
Step 3: Get Tracking ID

Once you have set all the options, click “Get Tracking ID” at the bottom of the page and “Accept the Terms and Conditions” notice that appears.

You have now been given a tracking ID to use on your site along with some code to put onto your site to allow Google Analytics to track data.

However, you won’t be adding the code manually and will instead use a plugin to simplify the setup. Leave this setting page for Google Analytics open and open another window/tab to the admin area of your website.

Step 4: Conftgure Google Analytics Plugin

We are going to configure the Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights plugin.

In first step you need to Authenticate Google with your Website. For this purpose click on “Authenticate with Your Google Account” button.

you’ll be prompted to log in to your Google account if you are not already logged in. You are then asked to grant access to your Google Analytics account so the plugin can pull in the data it needs. Click “Allow” for this to happen.

Step 6: Complete Authentication

You now pick the Google Analytics profile you created earlier from the dropdown list and click “Complete Authentication.”

Google Search Console

Google Search Console helps track the health and performance of your website in Google’s eyes. It is here where you’ll be able to see where you rank in search results — and for which terms — as well as pick up on problems with your site loading properly.

Step 1: Create Search Console Proftle

Go to the following web page: google.com/webmasters 

To sign in you can use the same account as you did for Google Analytics.

Once you sign in to Search Console you will be prompted to add your website. Type in the URL to your website making a note to ensure your URL starts with https then click “Add A Property.”

Step 2: Verify Website with Search Console

To add your site we need to verify ownership of the site. To do that we’ll use the Google Analytics setup we just created to verify us. You will be prompted to verify your site via a number of ways, but the option we want is called “Google Analytics.”

Now you now how to start a travel blog on wordpress. I hope that my post helps you to start your blogger career.

LOOKING FOR MORE TIPS ON HOW TO START AND IMPROVE YOUR TRAVEL BLOG?

I highly recommend you to sign up for the Superstar Blogging course which in my opinion is the best travel blogging course. Nomadic Matt is the brain behind this amazing course, and he is likely one of the most successful travel blogger in history.

You can read my comprehensive review:

Nomadic Matt Superstar Blogging course review

Super Star Blogging

1 thought on “How to Start a Travel Blog on WordPress”

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