My dream was to travel around the world with my family and write about it, and, through a blog, inspire other families to travel, and also inspire people to follow their dreams. This post is about starting a travel blog, but it can be applied to any other dream you may have.
First and foremost, there is something you have to know: there are thousands and thousands of travel bloggers out there. There are those passionate bloggers who love what they do and there are those others who do it because they think doing a travel blog is a big business and that it is easy. The former might do well… Then let us begin. I’ll give you five keys so you know if making a travel blog is your thing or if you should follow another course.
- 1 Key number one: Do you like writing, taking pictures and making videos?
- 2 Key number two: Are you willing to transform your holiday destinations into work destinations?
- 3 Key number three: Are you willing to feel rejected, to feel that you are not creative, and that nothing comes out as you hoped?
- 4 Key number four: do you enjoy the world of social networks?
- 5 Key number five: Are you willing to run a travel blog while working on something else?
- 6 HOW TO START THE BLOG: TECHNICAL PART
Key number one: Do you like writing, taking pictures and making videos?
It is more than clear that to have a blog you need to enjoy writing, because if not you will be overwhelmed by the imperative need to update your blog with fresh content. If you do not enjoy writing your own content, you’ll end up hating the blog. In order for the blog to work it is also necessary that you are interested in photography or filmography. After all, a travel blog lives a lot of its images, even if the content of the text is phenomenal. Obviously it is important that you at least have some notion of photographic techniques. I am not telling you that it is necessary to have a professional reflex camera; Nowadays mobile phones take wonderful pictures. But you have to have at least your trained eye, unless you want to have a travel blog with unflattering photos that bore the reader. I´m writing this post for people who really want to make a travel blog, and that is why I will treat you as professionals. Do you like writing, taking photos and making videos? If your answer is “yes”, go to the second key.
Key number two: Are you willing to transform your holiday destinations into work destinations?
What does this mean? Many times you will find yourself sitting in front of a notebook at 8 o’clock in the morning while the others are enjoying the sea or hiking in the mountains. Sometimes you will reject a dinner because you have to finish editing some images. But with this I do not say that you are going to stop enjoying the places. Not at all! On the contrary, you will enjoy them more because you will try to get more into the culture and experiences of each country. But you need to understand that if you are going to do a travel blog, you will be traveling but you will also be working. Unless you want to make a travel blog for your family. Are you willing to transform your holiday destinations into work destinations? If your answer is “yes”, go to the third key.
Key number three: Are you willing to feel rejected, to feel that you are not creative, and that nothing comes out as you hoped?
As I said before, making a travel blog is not easy. Actually doing it is super simple! Go to WordPress, open an account, choose a design template, upload a couple of photos and texts, and there you go! You have an online travel blog! But I mean to actually DO a travel blog, take it as a job and make it work. You’ll want to get in touch with hotels, car rental companies and a whole lot, and many times you will find a sign of closed right in front of your nose. It is normal! Do not worry. But you have to be prepared. One time I approached a hotel to offer them to be part of our project and their response was “We do not do charity”. With my best smile, I left the place, chewing grumbles knowing that that person had no idea of the daily effort I put into our project. Not everything is perfect in this chose life as a travel blogger. And you also have to be prepared for the famous white sheet syndrome and author block. As much as you are the best at writing, there will always be days that you will not know how to start. Are you ready not to be discouraged by the first refusal? If your answer is “yes”, go to the fourth key.
A travel blog without social networks is like a football team without forwards. It is very difficult to reach the goal. Social networks are the fundamental building blocks for growing your number of readers. Through them you will announce your blog and you will be found by your followers. If you do not enjoy the social networks, it is normal, not everyone does. But you’re going to have to get used to it and do it, even if you don´t want to. You’ll have to understand Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and all those networks that collaborate with being able to reach people. Otherwise your blog will be there, on the internet, and only your family will read it when they remember. If you are willing to handle the networks, move on to the final key.
Key number five: Are you willing to run a travel blog while working on something else?
Unless you have apartment rentals or have saved a lot during your life to live ten years traveling, you will need a job to live. A travel blog will not feed you, at least at first. In fact a travel blog will not feed you for a long time perhaps. There is no absolute truth. The web pages that tell you about “how to make a living by doing a travel blog” are treating you like a fool. They can give you tips on how to start a blog and get it going. But the reality is that very few people can achieve living from a travel blog. But if there is already one that has achieved it, you do not have to discourage because you can be next. However at first you will need to pay for the trips. Maybe you can get a stay or a discount on some rental, but you will not have income. And do not feel bad if you have to go out and offer your accommodation section in your blog in exchange for your stay. You are not selling your soul to the devil. You are simply offering your work and making your project, at first, self-sustainable. Because no hotel will pay you to talk about them until you have several thousand followers. So if you can at least keep your project to make it grow without falling into costs that complicate your economy, do it. As long as you are respectful to whoever trusts in what you do and you respect the agreements. So if you already have an extra job that gives you time to run the blog, or have some income or savings, you’re ready to start your travel blog.
HOW TO START THE BLOG: TECHNICAL PART
Let us now turn to the technical part of the blog, which I will make brief because it is the boring part:
- Choose a good name for your blog. It has to be something easy to understand and write (you will not want to have to spell every person who asks for your blog the link to your web). Think that this is going to be your brand, so take your time and choose it well. And before choosing it, make sure social networks of that name are available. You will not want to have bought the .com “hitchhickersworldwide” and that Instagram or Facebook are already taken with that name.
2. Hire a good and reliable hosting service. Here you are going to deposit your web, so your work will be in their hands. We did it with Ipage.com, an international company that, to date, has not let us down. But it is essential that you do it with a paid hosting and not with a free hosting: is an investment. It is not the same to have a blog named mytravelblog.com than mytravelblog.blogspot.com. If you want to dedicate yourself to this, you have to do it in a professional way.
3. Open an account in a blog design and programming service. We chose WordPress that we consider is the market leader and the simplest and most versatile company to use. They have a guide on how to use it that is super simple. You can do this by installing WordPress on your desktop or directly online, an option that we found very easy and comfortable. You’re just going to have to log in every time you want to write and you’re done.
4. Choose a good design template. Although the content of the blog is the most important thing, we can not help but accept that the first impression enters the eyes. Design matters, and a lot. I’m not saying that you need a design to the latest fashion, spectacular, full of videos and images. No. But you need an attractive design and above all, a design that allows a quick and easy navigation. There are many blogs that start with a video on their home page. The video takes a long time to load and that causes many readers to leave the page. But if you do not have an attractive design, it’s hard to get attention. WordPress gives you the choice of free templates and paid templates. If you can invest between 50 and 100 dollars in a paid template we recommend that to you: your blog will have a less used design in the network and you will have many more benefits than in the free templates. But that depends on your budget. Our recommendation is always to invest.
5. Start designing your blog and writing.
But first, the most important part: do you have an idea about what you are going to write about? If your answer is “Yes! I am going to travel the world and tell about my travels”, you started very badly. Thousands and thousands of people travel the world and tell about their travels. Here the important thing is not the what but the how. HOW will you talk about your travels? What are you going to offer readers that no one is offering? What audience are you going to target? Want to do an adventure blog? Want to make a travel blog with kids? So you have to think about the following:
- What will you tell and how, and how to differentiate your blog from the rest
2. What will your target audience beAnd this is what you have to find: a voice, a style and above all, a story, something that catches the attention, something that identifies you, such as “motorhome trips”, or “the world at night: a Tour of the best bars in the world “; In short, it is always better to target a smaller and more specific audience than to point to something big. That way, in the long term, you can transform yourself into a market expert. In our case we decided to travel with our son and our dog, so we target families. But who do you want to point to with your blog?
As an example I want to leave you three travel blogs that have known how to use creativity to do something different. I recommend that before starting your own blog: read many others and get inspired. It is not bad to get inspiration from other blogs to take ideas and adapt them to your dream. It is one thing to copy and another is simply to seek for inspiration.
POSTCARDS FROM YONDER: http://www.postcardsfromyonder.com/
These bloggers tell different stories about where they travel and do not stay in the typical “10 things to do”. As a differentiator they offer to send you a postcard from somewhere in the world when you subscribe to their blog. And it is true. We signed up and in a couple of months we had a postcard from Namibia on our doorstep.
WHERE’S MY OFFICE NOW: http://wheresmyofficenow.com/
A couple of bloggers who decided to undertake a travel project in a campervan with the aim of doing work at a distance that will allow them to continue traveling. Their question was “Is it possible to live a nomadic life and work from a distance?”
THE BLONDE ABROAD: http://theblondeabroad.com/
A blogger who has chosen to travel the world alone, concentrating thus on a female audience who wants to find courage to travel on their own.
Now that you have the idea, you have to find your style of writing and your voice and respect it. It is what will differentiate you and is what will make you recognizable. And start writing but always taking into account the following:
- You will not live on your blog overnight
2. You will not get followers unless you put a lot of time and effort into it
3. At first you will have to knock doors without fear of being rejected
But also remember the following: you are following a dream and you have already left your comfort zone. That is the hardest. Once you take that step, the rest is a wonderful path to discover, where the only limit is your effort and imagination.