Thinking about starting a blog but not sure where to start? I know that it can feel overwhelming and confusing. Luckily, I have good news. Building a blog is easier than you think – especially if you follow this guide to getting started. Follow these 5 steps and get started on your way to a successful travel blog today!
1. Choose a domain name and decide between a free and paid blog
The first thing you need to do is think of a domain name – what do you want your website to be called? Choosing a domain name requires a lot of thought and consideration. Your domain name is your identity on the web, you want to make sure you choose a name that fits you and your blog.
5 Tips for choosing a domain name you won’t regret
- Make it short and easy to type so people don’t struggle to find it. You want to avoid the chance of people misspelling or mistyping it.
- Use keyword to describe what your blog is about.
- Be memorable, there are millions of registered domain names. Having a domain that’s catchy and memorable is essential.
- Check not only to make sure the domain is available but also that the social media handles are available.
- Don’t limit yourself with your domain name. For example 25andblogging.com could be restrictive – you won’t be 25 forever and as you grow older you might want to attract and older audience who might be thrown off by the ‘25’. Or, travelspain.com could be restrictive because you might decide in a year that you want to write about more than travel in just Spain.
Self-hosting or free alternative?
For bloggers who are hoping to turn their blog into a source of income, it’s best to invest in paid blog hosting. With a paid account, you will have your own domain and greater options for customizing your blog.
Disadvantages of a free blog:
1. Unless you pay for your own domain, you’ll have the WordPress domain added onto yours. For example yourblog.wordpress.com instead of yourblog.com
This will lot a lot less professional and people won’t take you or your blog as seriously.
2. You have less control over your blog. Those who self-host their blog with WordPress software can download plugins to expand their website’s capabilities. A free WordPress blog doesn’t allow this, limiting you to only a few options.
3. You have a limited amount of bandwidth, video time, and memory space.
4. Free platforms usually limit your advertising options, meaning that it’s harder to make money from your blog.
Advantages of a self-hosted blog:
- Have full control over your blog including layout, search engine optimization, and advertising revenue.
- Install custom themes to brand your blog.
- Complete access to your backend files, which allows you to make any necessary code changes.
- Using a third-party host usually costs only a few dollars per month.
I would highly recommend that anyone wanting to be a serious blogger and anyone who wants to make money from their blog go with a self hosted blog. Agree? Perfect, on to step 2.
2. Choose blogging platform and hosting option.
Once you’ve picked a domain name the first thing you should do is go to Bluehost and register your domain name. I recommend Bluehost (which is what I use) because it’s a great deal. For $3.95 a month you get a free domain name, free site builders, easy 1 click WordPress installation, and 24/7 support.
Once you’ve registered on Bluehost you can do a simple and free install of WordPress through Bluehost. If you have any questions about this process, Bluehost offers excellent customer service. They can answer your questions and point you in the right direction – there were a few times I had to contact them and each time was a positive experience.
3. Design and modify your blog with the perfect theme
Next, choose a theme that fits the look and feel that you want for your blog. You don’t need to be a coder to have a great looking blog, there are many great themes you can download. Login to your site by going to yourdomain.com/wp-login.php. You’ll see this page that will log you in to the backend of your site.
There are a variety of themes available on WordPress that you can download. To add a new theme go to the sidebar and click on appearance – themes. Alternatively brows a site like Theme Forest for a theme that you like.
Remember, your blog’s design should reflect you, your personality, and what the blog is about. It should also be easy to navigate if you want people to spend time on your site and should be easy for you to customize.
4. Select Plugins
Once you have installed your theme, take some time to make little tweaks and add plugins to make your blog look how you want it to. When you add plugins be careful – some plugins take up a lot of room and slow down your website loading speed. This will be bad for your ranking and will increase bounce rates.
To add plugins go to the sidebar and click on plugins – add new.
I recommend installing Yoast SEO before you start step 5. This plugin will give every post and page you write a readability score and a SEO score, helping you to optimize everything you publish.
5. Create Great Content That People Want to Read
Now that you’ve got your website set up you want to start filling it with content for people to read. This includes not only blog posts but also an about me page and a contact me page. Start witting and publishing new content on your blog at least once a week. The more you blog the better, you’ll develop your voice, improve your writing, and see what resonates with readers.
Start Your Successful Travel Blog Today!
You’ve now got the five steps you need to follow to start your awesome travel blog! Don’t forget, a successful blog doesn’t happen over night. A successful blog requires time, investment, and a lot of work.
When you start a blog you will learn a lot and make some mistakes. Avoid common mistakes and save yourself time and energy be reading 12 Important Things I Learned During My First Year Blogging.