How to Start a Travel Blog Cheaply and Quickly
So you want to start a travel blog? We don’t blame you. We started our travel blog one year ago and it was the best decision we ever made. Through our travel blog, we’ve been able to earn money to support our travels around the world. We gained our first sponsored blog post ($150) after just 6 months of blogging! Since then we’ve been paid for more sponsored posts, to share photos on social media, write/edit travel articles and recommend travel related products. We’ve also gained heaps of free accommodation and tours throughout South East Asia in exchange for some promotion on our end.
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Island hopping in the Philippines, cooking classes in Bali, tours of rural Java and 4-star hotels in Malaysia are just some of the rewards we’ve been given for being professional travel bloggers. All of the above and more in less that a year of travel blogging!
If you put the effort in after following this guide, the rewards can be fantastic and life changing. And we haven’t even mentioned all the new friends you’ll be making as a blogger. The blogging community is simply awesome and they’re always there whenever support is needed.
We put this post together to give new travel bloggers an easy guide to get started cheaply and quickly.
This guide is not just for travel bloggers, any type of wannabe blogger can follow this guide to get started now!
Step 1 – Choose Your Website Host
You need to pay a website host a small amount of cash to rent you some space on the internet. Think of a website host as your landlord for your new blog website. You pay them monthly and they’re on call if you need anything or have any problems.
Like a landlord, you want a good one. A landlord that doesn’t charge too much, provides good quality accommodation for your website and is at the end of the phone or email at any time of the day or night.
Siteground is the most used and trusted website host in the world. It’s also one of the cheapest! We’ve tried the other big website host provider called Bluehost, and we can promise you that we found Siteground to win hands down. Why? Because of Siteground’s amazing 24-hour support.
At times, you’re going to need help from your host for various reasons. Siteground offer a 24-hour phone and online chat support service that is fast, friendly and they get whatever it is we need help with, done.
With Siteground, you can be chatting with a member of their support team in just a few seconds after hitting the chat button. Siteground support team members deal with just one customer at a time so you won’t experience long waiting times and scripted responses like we did with the other mentioned host provider.
Check out these other reasons why most bloggers and website owners prefer Siteground
Step 2 – Sign Up To Siteground & Choose Domain
So you’ve hopefully made the right decision and decided to take our recommendation of using Siteground to host your blog. The next step is to sign up and choose which hosting plan is best for you.
You’ll be pleased to hear that as a new blogger, you only need to use the cheapest plan called StartUp. Check out how cheap it is! You won’t find anything cheaper, and if you do, we can promise that you won’t get the same awesome service that Siteground provide. The other two plans are for much bigger websites that have been around for a long time. So after clicking the button above, click the GET STARTED button in the StartUp box now.
Choosing Your Domain Name
The domain name is the name of your new travel blog, like our own, findingbeyond.com. If you’ve already purchased a domain name from elsewhere, then enter it into the box after checking “I already have a Domain”.
If you haven’t purchased your domain name but know what you want to call your blog, and know it’s available, then enter it into the box after checking “Register a New Domain”.
If you haven’t got that far yet and do not know what you want to call your new blog, follow these tips:
- Try to keep it short
- Make it easy to type
- A name that’s memorable
- Avoid overused words (nomadic, wandering, traveller)
- Avoid numbers and hyphens
- Use a .com extension if possible, but not essential
To make this process quicker, we use namechk.com which displays what extensions (.com, .net, .co.uk, .co etc) and social media profiles (if you plan to use them) are available. You might find that you cannot get your blog name to work across all the social media channels you want. Don’t worry, a social media profile name is not always what’s displayed and there are always ways around it, such as using abbreviations. Your readers will still be able to find your blog on any social media platform.
Once you have chosen a name that works for you, enter that into the box after checking “Register a New Domain”.
Enter Your Purchase & Payment Information
It’s time to pay!
- Firstly, check that you’ve picked the right plan (StartUp). If not, then choose it in the Plan drop down menu.
- Enter your location (where you live).
- Select the period of time you want to pay for. I’d suggest just 12 months for now. If you’re doing well as a blogger, you can extend at the end of the year, but you don’t want to commit to anything longer than that right now.
- It’s up to you if you want to pay for any of the extra services aside from the Domain registration. We didn’t and we recommend you don’t either as we’re trying to keep your costs as low as possible.
- Review your purchase and set up your Siteground account login details.
- Fill in your card details and click Pay Now!
Congratulations! You’ve just purchased your first website!
Step 4 – Install WordPress
You’ve probably heard of WordPress, right? It’s the most popular website design software on the planet and it’s super easy to use. The great thing about WordPress is that you don’t have to be a website designer/developer to use it. There are thousands of already made FREE WordPress templates (themes) that you can use, for free! All you need to do is pick one, and start filling it with your awesome blog posts.
Once you’ve signed up with Siteground by following this guide, you’ll be taken to your Siteground User Area. The next step is to install WordPress. You can either do that yourself or do what we did and get Siteground to do it for you 🙂 This is a great opportunity for you to experience Siteground’s excellent support.
In your User Area, click the Support tab which you’ll find at the top of the page.
Scroll down this page until you reach the heading REQUEST ASSISTANCE FROM OUR TEAM. Here you’ll see 3 types of support – Technical, Advanced Technical and Billing. In the technical section, click WordPress Assistance.
Then click PROCEED TO CHAT in the pop-up box.
In just a few seconds, one of Siteground’s friendly support team members will be chatting with you. Tell them that you’ve just signed up and you need WordPress installed. It’ll take just a few minutes for them to do that for you.The support team member will ask you to choose your WordPress login details during this process.
Once it’s done, you’ll be able to access WordPress by clicking on the My Accounts tab in your user area, then clicking the Go to Admin Panel button.
Step 5 – Start Designing your Blog
Now the real fun can start. Let’s start to design your new blog!
When you enter WordPress, you’ll be taken to your WordPress Dashboard which should look like this screenshot.
As you can see, there are lots of options down the left-hand side but we only need to look at Appearance for now and pick your website blog theme. So hover over Appearance on the left-hand side and then select Themes, like the below screenshot.
On the next screen, you’ll see a handful of theme options but let’s look at all the others by clicking Add New near the top left corner.
On the next screen, you can search for templates in any way you like. Either by entering a search term like ‘Travel Blog’ in the search field or by using the filter tabs on the top of the page.
Take as long as you need choosing the right theme design. By hovering over the options, you can view the details and previews of each theme. It’s important that you’re happy with the design but you can always change it later by the click of a few buttons. We recently changed ours so it’s no big deal.
When you’re happy with a theme template, click Install. It’ll take just a few seconds to install and afterwards, you can click Activate. Now your website should resemble something similar to the chosen template you previewed, but it won’t look great yet because you haven’t added any written content or pictures.
By hovering over Appearance on the left-hand side again and clicking on Customise, you can from there, add photos, change colours and play with layouts. Have some fun with it! There are some great ‘How To’ guides online if you have a search in Google. We find Youtube a great source of easy to follow WordPress tutorials.
Step 6 – Start Blogging!
We imagine you’re excited to publish your first blog post, so let’s quickly show you how to get started!
On the same left-hand side, click on Posts. On the next screen, click Add New in the top left corner.
You’re now looking at your post creation and editing screen. On this page, you can enter the title of your post in the top wide and narrow box, write the content of your post in the large white space and add your favourite photos by clicking Add Media.
What to write about will depend on why you want to be a travel blogger. Diary type posts are fine if you just want to keep friends and family informed while you travel, but if you want to blog to make money, then blog posts that are useful to readers are better. Think How to’s, hacks, guides and top 10’s etc. Take a look at our blog for inspiration.
Once you’re happy with your first blog post, click Publish.
So that’s it! You’re now a travel blogger! Wohoooo! 🙂
You’re only at the very beginning of your new travel blogging lifestyle. There is so much more to go into such as building your social media profiles, ways of getting noticed and growing your readership. You’ve got a lot of work and research ahead of you, but you’ll have a blast and will learn an artillery of new skills in the process.
Good luck with your travel blogging journey and enjoy the ride!
Related reading: Essential Skills Needed to Be a Successful Travel Blogger