Something as small as brainstorming travel blog names and securing your own domain name can be the biggest step towards your future.
There’s no time like the present. Now is the time to learn how to start a blog and to get serious about travel blogging!
By the end of this guide, you’ll learn how to start a blog, come up with travel blog names, design a brand new WordPress site (easily customizable and used by most major bloggers), understand how to start driving traffic and have some great resources to make your blog stunning and profitable.
Let’s dive in!
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It’s still unbelievable to think that just a few years ago I was sitting on the couch brainstorming travel blog names.
I started Voyaging Herbivore and now in just a few months Jack and I will be traveling full time, starting in Indonesia.
I like to think it was this moment, of actually purchasing a domain and learning how to get serious about travel blogging, that meant that I was in this for the long run.
There’s a lot to be said for putting your money where your mouth is.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this Ultimate Guide to Getting Serious About Travel Blogging. If you have travel blog names, have already purchased a domain and established your niche, skip ahead to step three.
- Finding your passion
- What do you want to write about for the foreseeable future?
- Who do you want your audience to be?
- What travel blog names reflect this?
- Make it easy to remember and pronounce?
- Think ahead
- Purchasing your own domain
- Why do you need your own domain?
- What is hosting
- Step by step guide to purchasing (and 60% off your order)
- Setting up your site for success
- Professional theme
- Site speed
- SEO (and 20% discount code)
- Pinterest image design and promotion
- Quality images
- Back up everything
- Creating an editorial calendar
- Online organization
- Create everyday tasks
- Schedule in advance
1. Finding Your Passion
The first step in learning how to start a blog is to find your passion.
Ask yourself these questions: What would you enjoy writing about for the foreseeable future?
Maybe it’s cooking, photography tutorials, or travel, but whatever it is, be prepared to devote a whole lot of time to it!
Narrow Into a Specific Niche
Let’s say that you want to write about cooking.
In today’s internet, there are thousands if not millions of cooking blogs, so what makes yours unique? Maybe you’re a stay at home dad with twins running around who knows just how to make meals quick and easy.
Perhaps you have a full-time job and are vegan with a sweet tooth. Quick, vegan meals for the sugar addict is much more specific topic than just cooking.
Consider Who You Want to Write For
Our audience is mostly 20 to 30 something women which is why you see posts like Sustainable Menstrual Products. Of course, I didn’t have the audience when I started and so instead, I wrote what I knew but felt there could be more info on.
Sustainable and vegan travel is relatively new, so instead of searching out other posts, we now do our own research and create posts. We’re writing for an audience who is also interested in a more sustainable and vegan travel lifestyle.
They say that your vibe attracts your tribe, and it is absolutely true. If you write about loaded fries and nachos don’t expect a health food kind of tribe.
Travel Blog Names
Now is the most fun, and probably most difficult as well: choosing travel blog names.
One of the most important things to consider when brainstorming travel blog names is that you want a name people can easily hear, understand, and spell.
In hindsight, Voyaging Herbivore requires a bit more diction when stated out loud, but it describes us well.
Think simple: The Blonde Abroad is a great example because it’s easy to understand and remember. Of course, you’ll have to get a little more creative with all the names that are already taken.
Quick Tips for Travel Blog Names
Make it easy to remember and pronounce: As we talked about above, you shouldn’t need to repeat your travel blog name more than once. Keep it short and snappy.
Synergy: Make sure it’s not taken on other platforms. Even if you have no hopes of becoming a YouTube star, you don’t want someone else to have the name already.
Think Ahead: Don’t create a name that locks you into something. I once saw the example of “The Partying Traveler”. While it’s a great name and easy to remember, if you ever wanted to settle down or spend a few nights in, you’ll likely lose some of your following because they think of you as the person who goes out every weekend and blogs about it. Similarly, having anything with the word “single” could be an issue. But of course, use your own judgment!
TASK: Get a piece of paper and brainstorm words associated with your niche and then with you as a person. Take a few days with this if necessary. We all know that sometimes the best ideas come in the shower! Bookmark this page and come back to it later when you’ve got some travel blog names.
2. Purchasing Your Own Domain
Update: I now recommend using the hosting site BigScoots which has amazing customer service and very affordable shared SSD hosting. This post is on the list of things to update, but I wanted to make it clear that my recommendations have changed. Try out BigScoots for a month and get 20% off of a BigScoots month with the code D9LK83CPOC95 they’ll even transfer you from your old host for free.
Why Do You Need Your Own Domain?
Think about it this way: When you search for something, are you more willing to find the information reliable if it comes from, for example, “cooking.com” or “cooking.wordpress.com”. Probably the first one! You’ll take yourself more seriously and others will too. It’s not very expensive, but it might just be the kick in the butt that you need to get to work.
What Is Hosting?
Basically, it’s like paying rent for a space to use on the internet. Hosting is important because it allows you to have the strictly “.com” ending and get support if there are issues. You can also pay a little bit extra to protect your personal information associated with the site (which I recommend).
What Is a Domain?
A domain is the URL of your website. Ours is www.VoyagingHerbivore.com but in order to have a domain, you need to purchase a space through a hosting site.
How to Get a Free Domain
To get free domain registration for a year, a 60% discount on your hosting, and a walkthrough on setup, check out our How to Start a Blog Guide or you can just head straight to HostGator and use the discount code GETSERIOUS to get started.
3. Setting Up Your Site for Success
If you’ve just purchased your new website, I recommend watching this video to get your site looking more professional. When I was first learning how to start a blog, this is the video I watched and it really helped me learn WordPress and figure out what I liked in a site.
TASK: Find a few travel blogs you love the look of. Two of my favorites are Tour de Lust and The Blonde Abroad. Although they’re quite different, they are both beautiful and unique and I often turn to them when I need design inspiration. Having design aspirations will help you figure out how you want your blog to look. You can also create a Pinterest vision board with different color and design themes that you can reference later.
Purchasing a professional theme is something I wish I had done earlier on. Setting up the first version of my site to a level I was somewhat proud of took weeks to accomplish. But that was early on in my journey of learning how to start a blog. Years later, I then installed a theme that took about 30 minutes and it looked better than my weeks of work.
Basically, if you really want to get serious, stick to your strengths. Mine do not include website development. Purchasing a theme that I already loved made me happier than ever with my website and meant that I had customer support available when things went wrong.
We use the theme above from Station Seven which has been easy to use and was a one time fee with lifetime updates, as opposed to a monthly fee that some other themes have.
We’re still working on this one! But what we can tell you is that if we had done it right the first time, we would have saved ourselves a lot of trouble. Basically, image optimization is your best friend.
Make those images as small as possible without them looking bad. After much trial and error, a few dollars spent in the wrong places, and many customer service emails to Station Seven (who runs our theme and are so helpful even when it’s not their job!) we came across Short Pixel.
ShortPixel is one of many plugins that promises to reduce your image size without loss of quality.
With the free plan, you can get 100 images reduced each month but wanted to reduce everything on the site to see if our speed would improve. We purchased 10,000 images for $10.
It was the best $10 I have ever spent!
Do yourself a favor and buy a one time (meaning it doesn’t renew each month) 10K deal to get your website off to a good start.
Search Engine Optimization. We meet again. SEO and I have a love/hate relationship. It’s something that must be done and is great to get a grasp on even before learning how to start a blog, however, it isn’t always fun to do.
Basically, the better your SEO, the higher you appear in Google. Install the plugin Yoast SEO and let it guide you towards better posts.
We also highly recommend investing in Keysearch. Keysearch is a great tool that I wish we had used right off the bat! It helps you discover what keywords to place in your articles so that you rank on Google. You then use these keywords together with Yoast to make sure your post will rank.
Keysearch also has a great content assistant tool that can help you discover what people are searching for but that there isn’t much info on, meaning you can rank in Google!
Discount Code: Head to Keysearch and use KSDISC for 20% off your purchase.
Pinterest Image Design and Promotion
I hate bad Pinterest images. I am of course referring to my year-old Pinterest images which are awful. Don’t look at them. The reason I hate bad Pinterest images is because Pinterest is a major website traffic driver, and bad pins ruin that.
If you don’t have Photoshop (or just don’t know how to use it to its full potential – does anyone really?) check out Canva. It’s free and has some beautiful designs that will make your Pinterest images pop.
TASK: On Pinterest, start scrolling and pin any images that really stand out to you. Refer back to these when making our own pins.
You’ll also want to join some group boards on Pinterest. Group boards are an incredible way to up your exposure because the audience of the board constitutes all of the audiences of those who contribute to the board. If you want to join, head over to our Pinterest and send us a request.
Finding Beautiful Images
It’s an absolutely terrible idea to use someone’s photo on a Pinterest image because it’s so difficult to give them credit (plus it might be illegal depending on the copyright status).
From time to time, we use Unsplash, which is a site where professionals upload photos that are free for anyone to use for any purpose.
You might ask yourself, why would anyone just give photos away? We upload photos from time to time because it increases our exposure and because we use photos from the site as well. Give a little get a little.
Yesterday, in an effort to make more space on my computer, I accidentally deleted all of my mobile Lightroom uploads and because I’m very confident when it comes to deleting things, I also emptied my recycle bin.
There go half of my pictures.
So I write this today to share with you something called Backblaze. Backblaze is a storage site that creates a mirror image of your hard drive and any external hard drives that are plugged into your computer.
It’s about $6/month for unlimited storage. It’s super simple. Just install their program and it runs in the background to copy everything to the cloud. If you delete something on your computer it will remain in the cloud for 30 days (or longer if you pay extra), so hopefully long enough to realize that you deleted something and need it back.
You can get a free month by purchasing through this link.
4. Create an Editorial Calendar
Create an online editorial calendar and stick to it! It doesn’t need to be fancy.
We use Asana and it’s about as unorganized as it can be, but we do have recurring weekly tasks like our newsletter and blog posts. Having a calendar and task list separate from your other organization methods is a great way to stay organized.
We love Asana because it’s free (hooray!) and has different layout options. You can assign tasks, make subtasks, and have different projects. We have three different sections: an Editorial Calendar, Client Work, and General Management.
We have daily tasks like Instagram engagement and blog prep that we take turns doing. Additionally, our editorial calendar is scheduled for months in advance!
Being able to look at what needs to be done today as well as in the future keeps it all manageable and organized!
You can’t be a travel blogger and not travel. Even if it’s just a couple of times a year and weekend trips, start writing and be sure to photograph everything! Take notes of all the things you do on a trip and be sure to showcase the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Travel is not all glamour and first-class upgrades (lol what’s that?). No, it’s economy and wearing the same underwear inside out because you didn’t pack enough.
You can still work and travel! From online writing to working as a digital marketer (both of which I do), there are plenty of ways to make money while traveling if you’ve got a good internet connection.
If you’re new to travel, here are some very popular sites to get you started exploring:
One thing that I wish that I had told myself when I was first learning how to start a blog, is to keep researching! Every Facebook group you join and every article that you read has something to teach you. Seek out information as if your livelihood depends on it.
We certainly hope that you’ve enjoyed this guide to getting serious about travel blogging. If you have any questions or comments please do let us know! We love hearing from you 🙂