How to Start a Travel Blog
May 25, 2018Comments (0)
A lot of people attempt to start travel blogging, but very few of them know how to do it properly. If you want to start a successful travel blog, it is important to find out what you need to do. Here, you will find some tips which will increase your chances of success and your earnings. Travel blogging for beginners is not difficult with our ultimate guide. You’ll learn how to do it all, from A to Z.
Table of Contents
Choose a Specific Niche
Travel is a fairly broad niche, so you will need to choose a more specific area on which to focus. For example, you can choose backpacking, restaurant locations, selling flight tickets for a specific destination, travel insurance, etc.
You will need to narrow down your niche so that it will stand out to others. You should also select a niche about which you feel passionate. For example, if you love travelling and helping people with their travels, you can write informative blog posts about your own travels.
However, do not forget about monetization. This does not mean you must monetize your project from the very beginning. It means if you want to make money from blogging, you should work on it deliberately and consciously. For help, use our guide on how to choose a new niche to earn money on the travel market and learn more about transactional queries.
Consider Your Audience
When you become a travel blogger, one of the most significant points to consider is your audience, as you must cater to its needs. Those who write blogs and who consider the needs of their visitors will reach success more easily. The people who read your website will be the ones supporting it, after all.
Create a Site
The next step to earn on the online travel niche is to create your website. You can create a travel blog yourself or hire a specialist to set up a travel blog for you. To create a travel blog, you need technical knowledge but this can be cheaper than hiring a specialist. However, do not forget the time you will spend studying to manage it. Moreover, doing everything by yourself also costs money, so sometimes hiring a specialist is better and even cheaper.
Ready-made materials can make your work easier. Also, it’s a good idea to read shared experiences about how to create a travel site. Check out our partner’s experiences and ideas about creating and monetizing a travel website!
Come Up With a Good Blog Name and Register the Domain
When you start a travel blog, it’s crucial to come up with a great name so you can attract potential readers. The name of your blog will play a significant role in determining your blog’s success. With that in mind, try to choose a long-term and appropriate name for your travel blog. Moreover, find out whether another blogger is using the same name as the one you want. Read more to find the best name for your blog.
Next, you will need to find out if the URL which you want for your blog is available, in case you want to buy your own domain name. A catchy and appropriate title for your blog can affect its overall success.
Select your platform
Another very important step in creating your own travel blog is to select the platform you will use to create and manage your travel blog. By choosing the right platform for your new travel blog, you will increase your chances of success. There are many platforms, such as WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Weebly, etc.
Among website builder platforms, WordPress.com is the most popular in the world. Many people like this solution because it’s extremely easy to use while still offering a number of useful tools and resources for those who want to start a blog of any kind.
What is more important, you can download the WordPress CMS and install it on your own hosting provider. This means you will have a totally independent project, giving you the freedom to build your project as you wish.
WordPress for a travel blog is an ideal choice, as it offers a wide range of excellent themes. You should definitely look into this option before making a final decision. There are also a wide range of extensions and plugins which can make your website better.
Travelpayouts provides a WordPress plugin. This allows you to embed the affiliate tools inside pages in one click from the admin panel.
Buy a hosting plan
First, let’s clarify what hosting is. In simple terms, it’s a computer where your project is saved. People from around the world who type your domain (website name) or visit your project from Google, Facebook and other sources are “downloading” pages from this computer, which is called a server. To get it, you must find and buy hosting.
If you want people to access your travel blog as quickly as possible without a lot of downtime, you must select the right host. Make sure you select a reliable host that will keep your website up and running 99.9 percent of the time.
For beginners, a simple plan will be enough. Usually it does not cost more than $5 per month. Of course, if you choose WordPress as a platform for your future website, you must buy hosting that supports PHP.
The easiest way to find the best option is to conduct some research. Just type the appropriate query into Google and you will find a good option.
Get a professional blog theme
When your visitors come to your blog, they see its design. It’s very important to have a professional look for your blog. This is the visitor’s first impression of your project and it represents your way to travel blog success.
Therefore, consider getting a professional blog theme. Try different themes, either paid or free, on WordPress to understand which theme is best for your visitors. The paid ones cost between $20 and $80.
We have already collected 9 themes, but you can find more on Themeforest.net or any other marketplace. If you want to have a completely unique appearance, order a theme from a designer. It’s not cheap, as one hour of time from a good designer costs around $25 to $30.
This part applies to those people who build websites on the WordPress CMS or any other CMS. With simple HTML, it is not possible to use plugins.
You can find any extension for your blog; we highly recommend that you install:
- A plugin to increase the speed of your website;
- A plugin to protect your project from spam;
- A plugin for comments, such as Disqus or its alternatives;
- The Travelpayouts plugin for WordPress.
With our official extension for WordPress, you can embed in one click 11 different tables and widgets which allow you to earn on flights and hotels.
To see how your project is doing, you must install some analytics or counters. In 2018 the most popular tool for counting is Google Analytics. As an alternative, you can use LiveInternet or Yandex.Metrica. You should track not only the number of visitors you have per day, but also:
- How much time people spend on your website;
- Whether they read content or close the page immediately after opening it;
- Whether you have a returning audience or a new audience;
- Which sources give you more traffic;
- And other metrics.
This data will show you if you are doing well. For example, if people spend only 10 to 15 seconds on the page, this could mean there is a problem.
Google Search Console
To track your relationship with Google, you should add your domain to the Google Search Console. Sometimes people call this Google Webmaster. It’s an official tool from Google which shows data about the health of your site and its interactions.
Up to this point, you have created the structure of your blog. Now it’s time to fill it up with ‘content’. Content is what your visitor comes for by searching in Google. Therefore, building content is the most important part to achieving success in travel blogging.
First, create a landing page which briefly explains your goals, theme, etc. One of the most highly-visited pages is the landing page, so consider its impression on your audience. Next, write articles as evergreen content. They should be attractive, descriptive, informative, trustworthy, complete and helpful for your visitors.
Think about what your audience expects to find in your blog and ask yourself what they need. Apart from your visitors, you must also consider Google or other search engines while creating your content. Through Google-friendly content, you can end up higher in the search results, get more visitors and earn more money.
Start searching for trendy/actual travel-related topics with low competition
Before you decide what to write about as a travel blog post, it’s quite beneficial to learn which topics interest your audience. Writing about popular topics can help you attract more visitors to your blog.
However, there is one point of which you must be careful; popular topics can have high competition, which means you won’t attract as many visitors. Therefore, it’s much better to search for popular topics with low competition. Before writing a travel blog post, you can use Google Trends to learn what your audience is seeking.
Creating catchy titles for blog posts
It doesn’t matter how great your article is if no one opens it. So, you must create a catchy title to attract people’s attention. For this, follow the rules:
- Do not lie to the reader, and do not create false expectations;
- The reader should feel some emotions while reading the title (not only positive!);
- Do not create long titles; people do not like to spend much time reading and understanding;
- Try different titles to see what works better with your audience.
You can use Facebook Ads, Google AdWords or any other ads marketplace where you can publish the ad with your catchy title. Then, look at the CTR – how much people click on the ad with one title version. Later, change the title and repeat the experiment. Determine which variant of the title people click on more.
On-page SEO for blog posts
Your primary goal is to create good content for your readers, but do not forget about search engines, as they can give you huge traffic. For this, you should use SEO on your page. We already wrote a big guide on how to build a relationship with Google, but let’s sum it up:
- Do not copy text; make it unique and useful to people;
- Focus on search queries; know how your audience is searching for information and use appropriate words in your article;
- Do not exaggerate keyword usage;
- Try to use pictures, tables, lists and videos on the page.
In the same guide above, we also mentioned how to write interesting content. Good earnings will come if people – not only search engines – love your content. You may know how to write travel content that wins a search competition and be at the top of the SERP, but if the content is not interesting to the reader, this is useless knowledge.
Keep posting interesting content for a travel website
To create a successful travel blog, you must keep in mind that readers want and appreciate a constant flow of content. Therefore, keep posting to your blog as often as your schedule allows, but try not to sacrifice quality for quantity.
It’s better to write quality posts that your readers will enjoy and from which they will benefit than to simply post a bunch of fluff on a regular basis. The overall quality of the content on your travel blog is extremely important, so spend as much time on it as necessary.
Advertising Your Travel Blog
Promoting your blog is very important when it comes to succeeding in this niche. Especially when you start travel blogging, advertising your blog can help you take many more steps on the path to successful blogging. Try to promote your blog as much as possible to make it ascend higher in the results and earn more money.
There are a number of ways you can advertise your blog, such as social media and social networking websites, email lists and so on. The more you promote your blog, the more visitors you will likely have.
Create an email list
One of the most effective ways to promote your blog is by email. Basically, you can ask your visitors to subscribe and receive emails through which you send offers or news about your blog. One of our partners shares tips and experiences about how to make an email list effective and profitable.
Use social media accounts
The most common way to advertise is through social media accounts. Bloggers often use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to attract more visitors. Multi-promotions in different social media accounts can drive more traffic to your blog.
In Facebook and other social media such as Instagram, you can also buy advertisements. You can start a campaign even with $1. This way, you can attract traffic directly to your travel blog or social network page.
Start a Telegram channel and promote it using Facebook Ads
Telegram is a group chat channel through which you can easily send offers and news to your reader. Telegram shows 100% of all messages while Facebook shows only some of the posts.
In Telegram, you cannot promote your posts but you can do this on Facebook. Therefore, it may be a good idea to send your offers by Telegram and promote your channel on Facebook at the same time. Check out our article to learn more on how to use Telegram for advertising and earning more from your blog.
You can contact other bloggers and offer them free content. You are not the only person who initially has difficulties with new posts; this means other website owners may accept your offer. Of course, you are not just a volunteer; you are doing this to get a backlink and gain traffic from the project.
Guest posting is also part of SEO. Google takes backlinks into account; it’s a very important search signal.
Here is more detailed information about how to promote your blog.
Manage your expectations
At the beginning of your travel blog, you will probably not earn much. It will take time to build up your travel blog to the point where you can actually earn money. This will take a lot of hard work, so you must be prepared for that.
An important point is to manage your expectations from the beginning because it’s very easy to get discouraged and give up when you do not start making a lot of money from your blog immediately after starting. As long as you work hard and keep going with patience, you will benefit quite a bit from your blog.
Mistakes Newbie Bloggers Make
There are many common mistakes newbies make while travel blogging. Try to avoid this by reviewing our list of top mistakes.
Making a travel blog
Here are the most common reasons for failure when creating a travel blog:
- Choosing a free third-level domain that you do not own;
- Choosing free hosting that shows the hosting owner’s ads on your project;
- Ignoring the speed of your website; the speed at which your project downloads will affect users and your website’s Google position;
- Not caring about design; as we mentioned above, people (readers) see your website first, then read it, so design is very important;
- Spending a lot of money without trying; it’s better to first learn more and make mistakes (without mistakes, you can’t grow), then, with knowledge, spend money to make your travel blog better.
Promoting your project is important to get more visitors and grow your project. While promoting, try to avoid these mistakes:
- More promotion does not automatically mean more income. You must know the limits and manage your expectations;
- Do not buy ads on pages until you know why you need this paid traffic. Your goal is not simply to see a large number on your counter.
As we mentioned before, content is what your visitor comes for. Therefore, mistakes in content will negatively affect your traffic. Here are some of the top mistakes:
- Do not save money on content. Content is king, and if you have bad content, it’s impossible to go further;
- Care about the shape of your content – lists, pictures, tables and other forms; the reader wants to see different forms on your blog;
- Do not create content just for search engines, or just for people. Find a balance between them;
- Ten articles in one day is worse than 10 articles in 10 days (i.e., one article per day). Search engines love regular-publishing websites; it’s also better to make your reader visit your blog more than one single day. Moreover, spaced-out articles are easier for the visitor to read.
Making mistakes is a normal way to become better over time. Do not worry about it; try to do your best. For this, you can also learn more about the cost of creating and maintaining a travel blog, as money is another important aspect of how to start a travel blog.