BY: ZOE MELNYK
So you want to ditch your routine and travel the world for a living? You want to join the travel blog community filled with explorers and writers who are actually making a profit from their posts?
There’s just one small glitch, you probably have no idea where to start.
No worries, there is no need to aimlessly wander the Internet with time you could be using to plan your next adventure. I’ll take you through a step-by-step guide on how to create a travel blog that could eventually make a profit.
Now, before we dive right in there are some disclaimers you should know about. Travel blogging is not easy and many go years without hitting any kind of true success.
Between editing your posts, your pictures, and advertising your blog on social media, you’ll find yourself caught up in a full time job.
Lastly, you’ll need to actually travel in order to have content to accurately write about. Make sure to save a good chunk of money and look into ways to extend your travels such as volunteering or teaching abroad.
Be prepared to work tirelessly for months, maybe even years, before your blog is recognized. Fortunately for you, it’ll be work you actually enjoy doing, sharing your experiences and advice with the world.
Okay, now that you know the basics, lets get started with creating a blog.
Choose an audience.
The travelling community is wide and extremely varied. It’s practically impossible to write for every single kind of traveller; however if you feel up for the challenge, by all means go for it.
Here are some topic choices to narrow down your blog criteria:
- Female travelling
- Solo travelling
- Budget travelling
- Cycling around the world
Pick a name
Once you’ve decided on your niche, it’s time to pick a kickass name for your blog that will also double as your domain name. The domain name is the name people will type into their URL in order to get to your site, but more on that later.
Two main rules to follow while picking a name are to make it catchy and to make it relevant to your blog. You want people to have a basic idea of what your blog’s content is.
Here are some of the world’s best travel blog names to give you a starting point:
- The Road Forks – food based travel blog
- The Savvy Backpacker – budget backpacking
- Twenty Something Travel – young travellers
- Travel Mamas – family travellers
- Young Adventuress – solo woman travellers
Buy your domain
This is where most people turn away, but I urge you to stay because buying a domain is actually very cheap and in some cases it’s free.
I’ll start with the free to put your mind at ease, but be aware that a free domain comes with its setbacks.
WordPress.com allows you to make a blog for free, which is great. However, it’s also not great because you won’t be able to post advertisements on your blog, which is basically the main way to create an income.
Don’t panic, there are sites like Siteground.com which can cost as little as $3.95 a month. SiteGround is very user friendly, especially for beginners, and there’s 24/7 assistance that can and will actually help you.
Download WordPress and design your site
This might seem strange, why do you need to download wordpress when you’ve already created your site?
Here’s how it works. After you go through the process of actually creating your blog and paying for your domain name, you need an outlet to actually edit the content and design the site.
This is where WordPress comes into play, which is different than WordPress.com. This WordPress gives you a wide range of different themes to choose from to get your site started.
Take your time at this step. Chose a theme that you find aesthetically pleasing and that will be easy for users to navigate. Choose a colour theme and even create a logo to give your blog a personal touch.
This step is possibly the most crucial in the entire setup because this is when your blog truly becomes your own. Make sure once you’ve completed customizing the site that your blog portrays who you are and the message you’re trying to send.
Don’t rush into advertising since people will be quite disappointed when they arrive at an amazing looking travel blog just to find that there is no context. It’s like advertising a delicious chocolate chip cookie and delivering stale oatmeal raisin.
Much like building a home, you need to begin building your blog from the foundation. I’m talking about the dreaded “About me” page. It’s rough, but you have to do it.
When people are engulfed in your posts, they’re inevitably going to want to know the mastermind behind the words. Use your voice; whether it be comical, straightforward, sarcastic, or poetic, it’s crucial to give people a taste of who you are.
The rest is up to your discretion, but I recommend a “Contact” page, along with links to your social media.
Once you’ve established solid ground, the real fun begins; start writing some content.
As a rule of thumb for any writer, keep it on a need to know basis. People are not interested in a 2,000-word essay on how blue the water is in Hawaii. However, a 400-600 word tutorial on the best waterfalls in Maui might just do the trick.
Pictures and videos are also a real attention grabber. Words are great, words can change the world, but it’s pictures that catch the eye.
Of course, this is your decision as the captain of your blog; it is completely up to you what you post in your travel blog.
This is where social media becomes your best friend. I’m not saying you need to bombard everyone on every single form of media about your new blog, but releasing the site to your friends and family is the most reliable way to gain some viewers.
Attach a link to your bio and create a post on your top 3-5 social media sites. This way, everyone is notified without the annoyance. Weekly updates are a good way to keep everyone interested without the constant annoying reminder.
Rule of thumb: Your blog is your child. Don’t post about your blog more than your friends post about their kids or pets.
Another great way to widen your viewer range is to explore several travel blog communities online. Sites like Travel Blogger create an environment for travel bloggers to network and share ideas.
Making a profit
Back to what I mentioned before about advertisers, this is the primary source of money for travel bloggers. In some cases, with growing popularity, travel companies will contact you and will pay a few dollars for ad space on your site. In other cases, you’ll be the one who reaches out.
Search for travel companies in the area you’re travelling in – the trains, planes, and buses. Also don’t be afraid to reach out to travel companies who may even send you to a specific event or destination.
It sounds amazing – what a life to be able to live off of travel blogging – but it’s important to stay realistic.
After years of work, you may turn a profit of a few hundred dollars a month. However, for those of you looking to make a larger income, becoming a digital nomad is the next obvious step past travel blogging.
Digital nomads work with graphic design, website building and tech support, and while those careers may not be seen as reliable, website designers and IT workers are in large demand in certain parts of the world.
It is arduous and quite terrifying to begin a life as a travel blogger or a digital nomad, but the pay off is boundless – a life of permanent travel around the world.