How to start a Travel Blog
Starting a travel blog can be a wonderful opportunity. Not only will it provide you with a lifelong memory of your travels, blogging can be financially viable and a great way to fund your future trips.
Now, where to begin? It can be a daunting experience starting a blog, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ll look at two options for getting your blog online: Blogging Platforms and Self-Hosted Blogs.
The first (and the easiest) option would be to choose a blogging platform. The main benefit of a blogging platform is that they’re easy and quick to set-up. A few of the popular platforms include:
Take WordPress for example. It’s a very popular platform. WordPress websites account for over 24% of all websites online today. Signing up for a WordPress blog is quick and can be done within 5 simple steps. Tumblr also has a very quick set-up process and you can get a Blogger account using your Gmail credentials (as Blogger is owned by Google).
As you can see, getting started with a blogging platform isn’t a difficult process, but there are a few pro’s and con’s you should consider before jumping in.
- It’s quick and easy to set-up and start blogging.
- There’s plenty of different themes to choose from.
- You don’t have to worry about registering a domain name or hosting. It’s all done for you.
- There’s plenty of support out there to assist in any issues you may encounter.
- Your domain name will consist of wordpress or tumblr, e.g. travel-blogger.wordpress.com.au. Anything before .wordpress.com.au can be unique, but you just have to hope that no-one else has taken it.
- You don’t own the content. When using another service, you need to remember that the content is on their server. If they decide to shutdown one day, you just have to hope that you got the email and can do an export. Otherwise, your website is gone.
- There are plenty of themes to choose from, but it’s still a theme. If you want to use a completely custom design, it’s difficult to do so on a blogging platform. Using a theme, there’s a very good chance your blog may look the same as many other travel blogs.
The second route would be to create a self-hosted blog. This requires more technical knowledge, but if you can get one online, it will allow for growth and gives you the freedom to set-up the blog exactly how you want from the get-go.
So, what exactly do you need for a self-hosted blog? For starters, you need to register a domain name and purchase website hosting.
Register a Domain Name
A domain name can be registered through hundreds of different companies (Search in Google for “Register Domain Name”). One will set you back anywhere from $5.00 to $15.00 per year, depending on the type of domain you choose (e.g. .com, .net, .co,. asia etc).
It’s important to choose your domain name wisely from the start as changing it down the track, while possible, can be an effort. Every domain registrant will have a search tool where you can discover if your desired domain name is available.
Purchase Website Hosting
Once you have a domain name locked it, you will need to purchase website hosting. Think of website hosting as the home for your website. This is where your website will exist online.
With both items secured, you will need to tell your domain name to point to your hosting account. This can be done by updating the nameservers for your domain name. There are plenty of tutorials out there for this, or alternatively you can contact your domain name registrant to assist you.
Once you have your domain name and website hosting set-up, it’s time to get a website online. If you’re not overly technical, plenty of website hosts provide a “one-click install” feature which allows you to install a selection of platforms (e.g. WordPress or Drupal or Joomla) in one-click. Otherwise, you will need to select a platform and follow their installation instructions. Take WordPress for example, they have a famous “5 minute install” which will allow users to get up and running quickly.
Once you’ve installed your platform of choice, it’s as simple as choosing a theme for your website (WordPress has thousands of different free and paid themes to choose from) and customising it however you see fit.
Most themes are relatively straight forward to use and plenty of the paid themes should come with an instructional guide. If you need anything customised, it’s wise to look into learning HTML, CSS & PHP so you can really take control of your website and make it your own.
Of course, you can always hire a Web Design business to assist you. We did that with our website! They can provide a unique, custom design to fit your style and integrate it with WordPress so it’s easy to update and grow with your travels. Many will even provide domain name registration and website hosting assistance, so you can be online without having to lift a finger.
As with blogging platforms, there are also pro’s and con’s to consider so research thoroughly before picking your path:
- You own the blog. It’s on your server using your domain name. This ensures the longevity of your website.
- It’s fully customisable. You can choose any Content Management System platform and use any theme you like.
- It’s extendable. You’re not locked into anything, you can build on and grow your website as you see fit.
- It’s unique. Let your personality flow, you can make the blog your very own.
- The support can be lacking. The web host should assist with some problems, but if you’ve been tinkering with the CSS and break the layout, it’s on you to fix it.
- You need to think about backup’s and security. No one will do this for you, it’s an important part of owning a blog and it’s up to you to manage it.
- It can be costly. After you’ve purchased a domain name, website hosting and a fancy new theme, the costs can add up.
That’s the run-down on starting your own travel blog. Whichever way you go, it’s a fantastic opportunity to document your travels and one we wholeheartedly support. We can’t wait to read your blog one-day!
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