Creating A Travel Blog Using WordPress [Guide]
Thinking about starting a travel blog in 2014? Or searching for proven ways to make your travel blog profitable? This detailed guide (over 2,000 words) is crafted exclusively for you to create a successful travel blog from the scratch using WordPress.
Why create a travel blog?
As you might be aware of it or not, blogging is one of the best ways to market yourself. Blogging gives you global audience and you don’t have to be a prolific writer to build a vibrant community around your travel blogs.
You just need to spend some time to write articles that are based on your travel experiences. If you can attract traffic from search engines by writing search friendly posts related to your travel experiences, you can make money that can be used to bear your travel expenses.
Having a blog helps you make money online to travel around the world. This is the primary reason most bloggers are starting a travel blog or website. If you want to make money or passive income from online, having a blog helps you do that even if you are not an expert.
Having a blog also provides you few notable benefits like;
- Create content and publish it online easily: A blog gives you an easy way of writing and sharing your ideas, you can spread your ideas easily and reach a global audience.
- A blog is easy to create, easy to maintain and easy to make new friends. You can also find online forums related to travel blogs, and make new friends to share your thoughts and travel around the world together.
5 things to consider before creating a Travel blog
1. Naming your travel blog: One of the best ways to build a successful travel blog is to give your website domain a good name. A great domain name that is easy to remember and type. Try to be creative while naming your travel blog, compile a list of domain ideas that match your travel blog main “theme”, and always prefer a .com extension.
2. Sharing your travel experience Vs. Making money: Though most people start travel blogs to make money, but some people treat their blogs as a hobby. So get to know why you are starting a travel blog, is it to make money online or just as a passion? If you know the purpose of your travel blog, you can then focus your time and energy to improve the “level of the blog”.
In case if you are starting a travel blog to make money, you need to have a long term strategy and monetization plan to succeed. Without having a plan, it is hard to create a profitable travel blog from the scratch, especially if you are a beginner without having any marketing skills.
3. Setting time aside for writing articles: You need to drive more traffic to your travel blogs if you want to make money. You need to write quality articles for both search engines and your visitors to bring more traffic from Google. Any profitable website needs proper SEO efforts to boost organic traffic. So spend quality time on writing posts, batch your posts in advance and share your travel experiences with your readers.
4. Building an email list is the key to a successful website launch: If you want to build a quality travel blog from the scratch, build an email list of subscribers from day 1. Having an email list not only increases your website traffic and sales, but it also helps you build a strong rapport with your audience. Use email marketing services like AWeber or Get Response to build your email lists, give something away for free to quickly grow your list.
5. Create trust, become an authority, let passion drive you: Running a travel blog, writing articles and driving traffic is not enough to make it a success. You need to have passion towards sharing your experiences with your blog readers. Without passion, no one can build a successful online business. Try to learn the skills (be it in writing, SEO or monetization), and become a go-to guy in your niche.
Which platform to choose
There are so many blogging platforms out there to create a travel blog or website including blogger, WordPress, TypePad, Tumblr etc.
Picking the right blogging platform for your travel blog is the key to make it a success. Although most of these blogging platforms are free to use, you need to buy a hosting, domain name if you choose the widely used WordPress as your blogging platform.
I personally use and recommend WordPress to create your first travel blog as WordPress is both search engine friendly and extremely easy to use. Here’s a recommended reading on why you must choose WordPress over other blogging platforms.
Here are few notable benefits of using WordPress as your CMS (Content Management System).
- Self-hosting (means you will have full control over your site unlike Blogger)
- Access to thousands of free plugins and themes
- No ads unless you’re showing
- Customize your design as you like
- WordPress is free to install!
And I’m going to mostly cover this article on creating a travel blog using WordPress, so let’s dive into further details.
Best web hosting for travel blogs
The great thing about using WordPress as your blogging platform is that (WordPress is a content management system), you will have full control over your websites. Unlike Blogger platform, you can host your websites on a different server to manage and run your travel websites.
Don’t use free or cheap web hosting providers when you are on WordPress. Try to spend some money on buying a best web host for your travel websites. I suggest any new blogger to use a good web hosting service like Bluehost as they are recommended by industry professionals and it comes at an affordable price (around $5/month). And they also offer a free domain name for one year if you buy their hosting.
Here’s a recommended reading on choosing a great web hosting company for your websites.
Essential plugins to install on travel blogs
Plugins directory is what makes WordPress popular. WordPress has thousands of plugins (most of them are free to use) in its directory.
If you are running a travel blog on WordPress, you will have the access to a huge number of plugins that are related to your travel blog niche. Here are few recommended plugins to install on a travel blog.
W3 Total Cache: By default WordPress loads faster, but once you started running a blog, and uploading pictures, videos and contents WordPress becomes to load slower. The reason is there are many factors that affect your website loading time, in order to reduce your loading times, make sure to install a good plugin like W3 total cache to clear all the cache from your websites time to time.
SEO By Yoast: Search engine traffic is the lifeblood of any successful travel blog. Without organic traffic, you simply can’t make more sales from travel blogs. Using free yet effective search friendly plugins like SEO by Yoast boost your search rankings. It’s easy to use and download several million times by the WordPress users. SEO by Yoast is a must have WordPress plugin for travel blogs.
WP Smush.it: Most travel blogs need a lot of images on their posts to give an appealing visual experience to the visitors and easily convey your travel experiences. Nevertheless to say, an image is worth a thousand words. But your website loads slower if you don’t optimize your images. One of the best ways to optimize images on WordPress sites is to use WP smush.it plugin. It automatically crushes your images (including the existing images) and makes your site loading times faster.
Contact form 7: You should provide an easy way to let your visitors or fans contact you. Without having a contact page on your travel blogs, how can someone contact you to share their views? Install contact form 7 and you are ready to create great contact forms.
Flares: Flares is a WordPress plugin used to easily share your blog posts. If you give your visitors an easy way of sharing your blog posts, they will share. Flares plugin looks fantastic on WordPress pages, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to load unlike other social sharing plugins.
WP touch: Most users are now turning into mobile Internet users and started browsing online information from their smart phones. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website for your travel blogs, you will lose a lot of website visitors worldwide. By using mobile responsive plugins like WP touch, you can easily create a mobile friendly website. It’s a free plugin BTW.
nRelate related content plugin: One of the easiest ways to increase your page views is to show related posts at the end of each post. You don’t have to be a tech savvy to get this done, by using a simple plugin called nRelate, you can easily show related posts on WordPress.
Note: Although there are few other great plugins related to travel blogs out there, I only shared the essential plugins that rock your travel blog’s performance. Make sure to read the plugin reviews before installing them, and update the plugins whenever they gets updated to keep your travel blogs safe from hackers.
Ideal WordPress themes to use on travel blogs
The first impression is the last impression.
There are thousands (if not millions) of travel blogs out there, how can you grab someone’s attention on their first visit? The best way to capture your audience attention is by having an appealing design on your travel blogs.
Either hire a professional website designer to create a unique design or buy search engine friendly themes like Magazine3 themes, Thesis, Genesis etc. to make your site design look appealing. At Magazine3, we have a special theme handy crafted just for travel blogs called “Traveller theme“.
Here are a few notable features of Traveller theme:
- Featured Slideshow
- Easy to use admin control panel
- Mobile responsive design (you don’t have to use any additional plugins to create a mobile responsive design)
- 6 different advertisement options
- Built-in SEO that rocks your travel blog
Let us know if you have any questions before purchasing the theme. We would love to help you with any questions regarding your Travel Blog. You can contact us from this page.
Learn to promote your travel blog
One of the best ways to explode traffic to your travel blogs and websites is to PROMOTE. Blog promotion is perhaps the only way to reach more people, spread your ideas and make more money online. When it comes to blog promotion, most people do it completely wrong.
All they do is self-promotion. If you are only promoting your blog posts, and products you will not be able to get any attention from others. But when you start caring others, promote others, you will be getting attention from other travel bloggers.
Here are few simple yet proven ways to promote travel blogs.
- Conduct interviews with other travel bloggers
- Start building a newsletter
- Use social media wisely
- Comment on other blogs similar to your topics
- Frequently guest post on other travel blogs
- Start posting more articles on your travel blogs (and don’t forget to optimize your posts for search engines)
In a nutshell:
Creating a travel blog on WordPress is damn easy, but making it popular is very hard. Before creating a travel blog, analyze your competition, try to find out different ways to stay ahead of them and post frequently.
Don’t expect your travel expenses from your travel blogs, especially when you are just starting out. The chances of making money from your first travel blog are slim as you tend to make a lot of blogging mistakes. Focus on improving your writing, lifestyle and travelling skills to become a better travel blogger. Batch your posts in advance, and use social media sites wisely to build your fans and followers.
Please share your thoughts in the comments. Also, let us know if you have any questions or doubts before launching a travel blog on WordPress.