If you’ve ever had the intention of enjoying an endless vacation whilst blogging about it, then listen up. There are many travel blogs out there that make enough money to fund their vocation, or vacation, whichever way you want to look at it.
However, these blogs LOOK much easier than they actually are to setup and maintain. Have you ever thought about the time it takes to keep a blog updated with current content? What about how the website is monetized, and what adverts or content brings in the cash.
Well, I’m going to give you an idea of what is involved, and how to set up a travel blog that can be profitable, in simple steps. You’ll want to pay attention, as there’s a few tips in here that you won’t want to skip.
So, lets begin and get you on the path to a successful travel blog.
You can skip to any of these sections if it helps:
- When To Begin Your Travel Blog
- Step 1 – Your Blog Name & Plan Ahead
- Step 2 – Choosing Where to Host Your Blog
- Step 3 – Building Your WordPress Site & Theme
- Step 4 – Building Your Brand
- Step 5 – Your Content Foundation
- Step 6 – Tools For Ranking Highly
- Step 7 – Making Consistent Money
- What Are The Startup Costs
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Don’t Start a Blog The Day You Leave
My first piece of advice, is to never leave it until the last moment to get started. If you intend creating this website to fund your travels, then it won’t be just for family and friends to view it. You’re going to want the world to see it.
If you intend getting loads of traffic (which will be your main source of revenue), you’re going to either have to rank highly in search engines such as Google, or pay for traffic. In my experience, paying for traffic is still a gamble, as any visitors that see your adverts still need incentive to click on your ads. Targeting your audience is also more difficult than the experts suggest.
When you’re just starting out, you probably can’t afford paid advertising either, and there’s a steep learning curve with this traffic form. So, stick to organic traffic until you’re earning enough to progress to the paid alternative.
When To Begin Your Travel Blog
I’d certainly advise building your blog at least 6 months before you leave on your adventure. You’re probably thinking ‘6 months!! That’s a heck of a long time’. Correct, it is a fairly long time, but let me explain.
Google and co. don’t just hand out rankings to anyone that starts a blog. They will boost your rank over time, once they see you start becoming an authority in a particular niche. If ranking was easy to obtain, everyone would be starting a blog, and monetize it.
This is the way it has to be, so that every blog is on an even footing. All blogs start off small, and gain authority and rankings over time.
Now, I don’t just mean 2-3 months. Your posts will start to gain more traction after about the 6 months mark. Nobody knows for sure exactly what Google’s algorithm states as this first stage’s of rank boosting, but it’s approximately this time frame.
If you attempt to start your blog a week or so before you leave for your vacation, I can bet that you’ll stop maintaining your website within 1-2 months because you’re not gaining any traction. You’ll be doing so much work on your blog without seeing any results, and there’s a good chance you’ll give up.
So what do you place on your travel blog before heading off on your journey? Well, there’s so many things you can do to get it setup, including content. The content part can be airline information, aircraft information, transport or cruise information. Tips on travelling, packing, finances/budgeting, equipment to take or links to local guide sites.
In fact, you’ll probably learn a good amount of information that can help with your own trip as your writing this content. I’d suggest writing 50-100 good quality articles before leaving. You may think this is overkill, but let me say this. Google loves content and longevity. This is the best way to gain free organic traffic.
I’ll mention this further down the track, but before you head off on your journey, I’d suggest signing up to the Amazon Associates affiliate program. Don’t do this at the beginning, here’s why.
If you don’t get 3 sales through Amazon in the first 6 months of being a part of their affiliate program, they will cancel your account. I’ve already mentioned why you won’t rank in Google in this 6 month period, so what makes you think that a sale is possible, let alone 3 sales. Anything is possible, but unlikely. Oh, and Amazon knows if your friends make a purchase. Don’t ask me how, they just know. The 3-4 month mark is a good time to sign up.
I certainly hope I haven’t put you off creating a travel blog. Unfortunately, nothing comes easily when it comes to creating wealth online, a blog included. I could tell you what you’d prefer to hear, that you’ll be making loads of cash within 3 months, but it just ain’t going to happen.
I’d prefer to give you the honest truth, rather than just try to entice you to build something with no knowledge of how long it will really take. You need to know what you’re heading into. The name of the game he is patience and persistence. That’s why you need to start the website well before travelling.
So, here’s the process you should follow to begin your new blog.
Step 1 – Your Blog Name & Plan Ahead
The fun now begins! You get to choose a name for your new travel blog that will stand out among all the others. A name that grabs a reader’s attention and screams ‘read this’ to any visitor that comes across your blog posts.
What do you need to look for when choosing a domain name? Is there a criteria to go by? My advice would be to follow some of these simple guidelines.
Try to think of a name that is fairly catchy, and sticks in the mind. Finding out how to pick a domain name that pops, is not always easy, but achievable. Although this is not always a simple task, it will pay off, if and when you’re site becomes successful. If a reader can remember your site domain name, there’s a good chance they’ll come back. There’s no chance of finding your blog if they can’t remember the name.
I’d also advise against a crude or crass domain name. Don’t pick something stupid or smart-arsey! Clever is great, but it has to also be classy and in context of what your blog is about.
This is part of your planning ahead strategy. If for instance, your blog gets noticed by a media company, you could collaborate with them and write reviews. This could mean pitching for them to pay for your trip. You may feel a bit unsure of yourself when introducing yourself as Bill from ‘Endless Erotic Endeavours’.
Your blog name also wants to be evergreen, meaning it will still be relevant in years to come. So don’t go calling it ‘My 12 Month Meander’, as you may travel for 24 months, or 5 years.
Make your site name unique, inspiring and trendy to appeal to anyone that comes across your blog. Placing ‘traveller, adventurer or backpacker’ in your site name can be a bit lame nowadays. Every other blog has already used these terms to death, so use your imagination.
The last thing to keep in mind, is to make sure you get the .COM domain. These are still the ‘daddy’ of all domains which most people turn to when typing in a domain. If you find a great domain name but there is no .COM available, get it anyway, the name is more important. Just check that the .COM of that site name is parked, and not currently used. You can possible pitch to purchase that domain later down the track.
Step 2 – Choosing Where to Host Your Blog
When you’re just starting out, it can be so tempting to just go for the cheapest hosting available. This will be shared hosting from any of the major hosting providers, it’s cheap, but you get what you pay for.
By this I mean that you won’t get fast internet speeds, you will get drop-outs from time to time and I know from experience, the support will not be that grand. Having said that, you can always upgrade your hosting once your blog starts to take off.
Here’s a list of some major hosting providers that will offer you cheap hosting on a budget:
- Liquid Web
- Amazon Web Services
The average cost for shared hosting is roughly $100-$200 per year, depending on which provider you sign up with, and which plan.
I’ve found a better solution for my circumstance. Because I have become an affiliate marketer, I wanted to learn from the industry leaders in this field. That’s why I signed up with Wealthy Affiliate.
The great thing about this training platform, is that they also host websites. What makes this even better is that the hosting is so much better than the shared hosting offered at the other major hosting providers.
So, not only do I get great hosting (with amazing support that fixes issues within minutes), but I also have access to all the training courses, tools and resources that are part of the platform. I pay a little more for this, but it means I don’t need to pay for similar tools (such as a keyword tool) or resources elsewhere.
Righto, let’s move onto step 3.
Step 3 – Building Your WordPress Site & Theme
The largest CMS (content management system) that is used by bloggers across the internet, is WordPress. Basically because they have an easy to use interface, and the library of third party plugins is extremely extensive.
If you sign up with one of the larger hosting companies, they usually have an integrated WordPress installer in their control panel. I remember installing WordPress via Bluehost in 2015, there was a number of steps involved but was not as simple as I figured it would be. I understand it’s a little easier these days, but Wealthy Affiliate have a brilliant solution.
Using the WA Website Builder couldn’t be easier. It’s a 5 click process that will have your blog built in under 1 minute. I created a video of how easy it is, which you can watch below.
The use of this tool made building my website foundation a breeze. After this, it’s just a matter of learning what all the actions on the WordPress dashboard do. This is another reason why you don’t want to create your website the week before heading off on your journey. You need to learn how to use WordPress!
Once you’ve started and have your website foundation built, it’s a matter of getting stuck into some content.
Step 4 – Building Your Brand
Although your brand will be built over time, you do need to start setting up your hallmark look. A logo is a must, but this can just be the name of your site, maybe in a unique font. If you’ve ever heard of a favicon, this is probably not necessary early on, but you may want one down the track as it’s one of the key elements of a brand. So, What is a favicon image you may be asking? It’s that little image at the top of the internet browser tab.
Part of your brand is choosing colours to use within your blog. These colours will probably be used in your logo and across the board of your website. Take my site for instance. I use 3 colours, white, black and burgundy. Using more colours than that, can seem a little messy, but that’s up to you. If done right, 4-5 colours can look amazing.
I use 2 programs to create visuals, Visme and Canva. You can learn how to create a banner for free with this free online presentation maker. Visuals are so good for your blog, as they break up content and make your articles more presentable to read. As you’re building a travel blog, you’ll have some amazing images to embed on your site.
Step 5 – Your Content Foundation
Learning how to write website content for your blog comes with experience, but you need to get started anyway. As I’ve previously mentioned, written content is going to play a large part in your blog, for a number of reasons. Firstly, you’re going to want to express your travel stories anyway, which is so great because people love to read about new travel experiences like this.
Secondly, the best way to have your website rank in the search engines, is via organic content written with keywords in mind. Because you’ll want to write about your travel experiences anyway, all you need to do is find a keyword that people are searching for to rank that article. That’s where a keyword tool comes in handy.
Step 6 – Tools For Ranking Highly
Keywords are simple to find, especially if you are a member of WA because they have their own keyword tool. This will advise you how much competition there is for this keyword and your chances of ranking highly for it.
The longer this goes on, the higher your articles will rank. But as I’ve stated earlier, a foundation of content, is what you need to do to get started. Begin writing about other travel interests before you begin your actual adventure. This will advise Google that you’re serious about this travel blog.
Step 7 – Making Consistent Money
Obviously the aim of this travel blog of yours, is to make money to fund this lifestyle. The way to achieve this can be done in a number of ways, but I’ll be suggesting the affiliate marketing route.
This won’t need to be implemented until you’re at least 2-3 months into your website. Remember what I said about the Amazon Associates affiliate program!
If you’re unsure how to go about this, I’ll give you a brief description.
- Sign up to affiliate programs.
- Once approved, get links from these affiliate merchants.
- Place affiliate links on your website in text, banners etc.
- When readers click on affiliate links, they’ll be taken to merchants website.
- If your reader purchases a product, you make a commission.
So here’s an example. Let’s say you write an article about lightweight backpacks, and how using one helped you on your travels. You’ll write a review on lightweight backpacks and suggest your favourite.
You sign up to a survival store affiliate program, and they accept your invitation. You’ll be shown where your affiliate links are stored within the affiliate section of their website. You’ll have a new account for this.
Copy these affiliate links, and link it to parts of your text. Also show images of the best lightweight backpacks that you suggest, and add your affiliate links to these also.
That’s it! If you’ve done your SEO correctly with good keywords, your post should start to rank in the coming months. All that’s left to do is wait for visitors to read your articles and click on the links.
The name of the game here, is loads of small commissions can add up to a large sum. That’s why patience and persistence is required to succeed. You need to keep writing content, whether its reviews or travel stories. If you have 200-300 ranked articles all bringing in commissions, imagine the potential.
You’re in the box seat doing a travel blog, because after each day, you’ll have so much to write about. Your travel stories can be an inspiration to others, to travel the world and document it.
What Are The Startup Costs
As I mentioned earlier, web hosting can cost a few hundred dollars per year, even the cheapest shared hosting will cost over $100. A domain name is cheap as chips, anywhere between $10-$15 per year.
The thing I don’t particularly like about some of these hosting companies, is they always offer 2-5 up-sells with your hosting. Would you like fries with that! The only extra you’ll want is ‘domain security’, often known as WHOIS security. This protects your purchase information so developers don’t hassle you.
I found the better option for me, was to join Wealthy Affiliate, and get the all inclusive solution. You’ll only pay a little more, but what’s included is astounding. Affiliate training, high level hosting, site support, community support, resources, tools, website builder and loads more, such as various social media courses.
You can check it out for free. In fact their free membership will last forever if you like. You can take the first of 5 affiliate marketing courses to find out what it’s all about. After this, it’s up to you if you’d like to become a Premium member.
An online blog in general is a great way to fund a lifestyle, a travel blog has got to be one of the more exciting opportunities. Once setup correctly, you can get on with your travelling!
Although creating a travel blog can be an amazing journey, I don’t want to give you the impression that it’s simple to do.
Actually, it not that difficult if you’re just wanting to blog to your family and friends that already know your domain name.
Making money from a blog is more difficult, as there’s the waiting factor and a learning curve for ranking in search engines. Getting this education is vital to succeed, and luckily enough, I came across Wealthy Affiliate.
Because they offer an all in one solution, I only need to login here to access everything I need.
I hope this post helps you out, if you intend creating a travel blog. Please add to the discussion below if you have any suggestions, questions or comments to make.
Like many people, I struggled in my early attempts to make money online. It's really frustrating when you try product after product, searching for that elusive opportunity that is really genuine.
Eventually though, I learned how to achieve success in the online world with my own website. This website was created to show others how to do it. I direct people away from the poor opportunities and advise the good ones.
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Disclosure: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links will not cost you any more. More info at my disclaimer page
The opinions in this article are solely mine, are are not intended to offend or discriminate. All information in this review has been researched on the public domain of the internet.