How to Start a Travel Blog and Make Money:
Ultimate Step-by-Step Tutorial for Beginner Travelers
Are you daydreaming about creating a travel blog where you could share your experiences with others, but you have no idea how to start one?
Then this step-by-step tutorial is exactly what you need – even if you’re a complete beginner. This free website setup guide will help you launch a website online in less than an hour, showing you the entire journey from a blank screen to a live blog that gets traffic and readers.
In this post, I’ll guide you through each step and give you everything you need to know and do to start a blog.
So, if you don’t succeed to get your blog online within an hour after thoroughly following this tutorial – I encourage you to contact me and I will help you finish the process.
Also, stay tuned – at the end of the article, I’ll also reveal to you how to promote and how to start making money with a totally fresh blog while growing your followers.
Hey, don’t keep this to yourself. Click share to spread the love to your buddies 😉
Starting your very first travel blog is actually pretty easy. Blogging on this topic is an excellent way to travel full time and make a living from it (like I do). The secret key to make a successful travel blog is to treat it like a business from the beginning.
How to create an inspiring travel blog
These are the 6 easy steps you need to do to create a travel blog from scratch
1. Pick a good travel blog name
Your travel blog name must be memorable and cool so people could find and refer to you as yoursite.com
2. Get hosting for your blog
The web home of your travel blog that will host it and ensure its availability to visitors all around the world
4. Choose a theme for your blog
A theme is a ready-to-use website design and interface that will help people easily navigate through it
5. Install the essential plugins
Vital plugins help you add functionality to your site without requiring any technical knowledge
1. Pick a good travel blog name
The domain name you choose – is your website name and its unique address which visitors will use to access your blog.
Your domain name should be simple and easy to remember:
- preferably short
- easy to be typed
- easy to spell
- easy to share
Finding the perfect name is arguably the most challenging aspect of starting a travel blog, but one of the most important first steps, too. You need to keep in mind that most likely, you’ll be known for your site name for the entire lifetime of your blog. So, when choosing your travel blog’s domain name, adopt a strategic thinking because changing it afterward isn’t that easy (nor fun).
Also, check out its social media equivalents before buying the domain and make sure the .com domain name is available. It may not seem that important, but people are so used to websites ending with .com that they’ll likely forget any other domain extensions.
Pick a name that describes what you do as much as possible. You want people to see the name and think “I get what that website is about.” Branding yourself the right way is pretty important in travel blogging business.
Make a list of 5-10 domain names that give you the eye and then test them out with friends and family to pick the absolute winner. You can find here a list of some of the renowned travel blogs names that may help you come up with some ideas.
2. Get hosting for your blog
What is web hosting?
The World Wide Web (WWW) is a busy place, so most websites need to “rent” their space on the internet.
A web hosting is a place where people pay a fee for storing their websites (thus, for renting “internet” space).
You can envision it as a house where you store all your stuff; but instead of storing your clothes and furniture, you store all your blog’s data, files, and photos so that people around the world can easily access it when they type in your domain name (come into your house).
Your hosting is important because it ensures the 3 key features of your site:
- It loads quickly
- It’s secure
- It’s always available to your visitors
There are various hosting companies out there, but a good starting point and a hosting that I recommend is SiteGround. It will make the setting up of your new travel blog a piece of cake.
So let’s get started!
Go to SiteGround (click button below or click here), open a new tab in your browser and follow along as I walk you through step-by-step on how to start your travel blog:
Select a hosting plan
You can choose the cheapest StartUp plan for the beginning. This is the basic plan but it’s perfect for new blogs as I wouldn’t recommend spending more money on hosting until you get a lot of traffic to your website. You can always upgrade your plan later once you grow your reach.
Choose your domain name
The next step is to register your domain name that you’ll use for your new blog. If you already have a domain name that you’d like to use, select “I already have a Domain” instead of creating a new one.
Fill out your information
After that, you just need to create your account username and password, fill in your contact and payment info, and then select your hosting period.
In the “Extra Services” section, I highly recommend you getting the Domain Privacy feature. Without it, anyone can find your full name and address just by searching your domain! Also, the SG Site Scanner feature will notify you if your site has been hacked. However, you can uncheck this if you want to save some money.
3. Install WordPress
After you’ve registered your domain name and got your hosting package, the next thing you need to do is install WordPress. Most professional websites use the WordPress blogging platform, even major brands like the BBC & Katy Perry. WordPress is the engine that will actually run the website. The host is simply the computer your site is placed on.
To install WordPress using the SiteGround Wizard, first, access your Customer Area (you will receive all the necessary information you need to log in). Once you have successfully logged into your account, go to My Account > Manage Account > Go to cPanel.
You are now on the main page of the cPanel. Scroll down to the Autoinstallers section and click on the WordPress icons to process the installation.
Click on Install to start configuring your WordPress installation.
The details on this page are self-explanatory. Fill in all the details carefully and click on the Install button. On the admin account, insert your admin username, admin password and admin email. Also, make sure to note down your username and password because you will need them to further login to your website’s dashboard.
Congratulations! You have finally successfully installed WordPress. (and the most complicated setup part is done! 😉 )
You’re now the proud owner of a running WordPress travel blog!
You can now go to the home page of your website and check out the newly installed WordPress application. Take your blog URL (http://yourwebsitename.com/wp-admin/) and enter it into a new browser tab. Now enter in the username and password you had created a few minutes ago to login into your website’s admin area.
Please share and spread the blogging love to your buddies! I dare you not to share this. It’s just too amazing 😉
4. Choose a theme for your blog
A theme is a ready-to-use website design and interface that will help people easily navigate through your website. You have to make your website look attractive.
One of the most important things a blog needs (besides good content) is a great design. People decide within seconds whether they trust or not your website and if they choose to stay.
A visually unappealing website will turn off readers and reduce the number of return visits that you might get.
So, the best thing about WordPress is that you’re not stuck with the initial design that you chose for your blog during setup or the default WordPress theme.
You can always come back to this part after a while and install a new theme that’s perhaps better-looking or just keeps up with the trends.
Free WordPress themes
WordPress comes with free themes you can use for your travel blog. There are also a lot of free themes online you can download and use, too. A free theme comes with many restrictions, so you will not be able to customize many of its features. That means you’ll have a travel blog that could look a lot like other ones. While this is ok for playing around at the beginning, if you want to take it seriously and make money with your travel blog, you should buy a premium design.
Premium WordPress themes
Premium themes are paid themes that offer a bit more uniqueness, flexibility, and functionality. Professional blog themes cost between $25-$80, and they’ll significantly improve the look and functionality of your site.
With a premium theme, you almost always have a support forum that can help you learn how to customize your site by yourself.
I think The Trip would be a fantastic premium theme for your new travel blog. It would be easier to use it than any other theme since it’s responsive and very versatile.
[Video] How to Install a free WordPress theme
Do you want to know the easiest way to build and customize your travel blog?
Page builders are visual design tools that enable WordPress bloggers to use drag and drop to create unique designs that will never match those of free or premium themes. They’re great, easy-to-use tools for people without programming knowledge.
With a drag and drop WordPress page builder you can simply align components into your page and rearrange everything to create a terrific and completely customizable landing page.
Brizy might be one of the newest page builder plugins on the market, but it’s developed by the ThemeFuse team, who have been creating WordPress community who already learned and know what users need and want. Thanks to it, they created Brizy by focusing on making it as easy as possible to design pages for your website.
Brizy has everything you need in order to get started designing without having to know any coding.
It’s great for beginners because you don’t need to dive into the code.
With Brizy, everything is already built in, and all the content blocks are designed, look great and are ready-to-use.
Literally, all you need to do is switch the graphics, text, and adjust the finest details.
Watch the video to find out more about Brizy.
Check out these video tutorials to learn more about Brizy here:
5. Install essential plugins
WordPress plugins are apps that allow you to add new features to your website. Yet, remember to keep only a few plugins because too many of them can slow down your site.
Here’s my recommended list of plugins to install on your travel blog.
- Yoast SEO – One of the most widely popular and important WordPress plugin used for optimizing your articles for Google search.
- Google Analytics for WordPress – Provides you with detailed traffic statistics and analytics for your blog and helps you find out which parts of your blog get the most traffic.
- Wordfence Security – The most popular WordPress security plugin, making it one of the essential WordPress plugins. It keeps your blog safe from hackers and other exploits.
- UpdraftPlus – The world’s highest ranking and most popular scheduled backup plugin.
- Brizy – A new and innovative way of building WordPress pages visually. No designer or developer skills required. The only tools you’ll need to master are clicks and drags.
- Compress JPEG and PNG Images – Make your website faster by optimizing your JPEG and PNG images. This plugin automatically optimizes all your images.
- AddThis – You’ll want to provide an easy way for people to share your posts, so make sure that you include a plugin to adds social media buttons to every post on your site.
- Interactive World Maps – It’s a paid plugin, so it’s not something to opt for if you’re trying to keep your costs low, but if you want a beautifully designed map to showcase your travel locations, this is the one to go for.
Speed Up your WordPress travel blog
Speed is crucial when it comes to attracting and retaining visitors. Cache is the one that makes your blog load faster.
Choose one of these 6 plugins to install to speed up your website:
- WP Rocket – It’s one of the best caching solutions for WordPress and the only premium plugin on our list.
- W3 Total Cache – This caching solution is highly recommended by some of the top hosting providers in the industry including SiteGround.
- WP Super Cache – Is a free caching solution available for WordPress. Its caching mechanism is fairly easy to understand. The plugin basically generates static HTML files and caches it.
- WP Fastest Cache – According to its developers, is “the simplest and fastest WP Cache system”. Similar to WP Super Cache, WP Fastest Cache generates static HTML files.
- Breeze – It improves website speed and resource optimization. Other features include file level cache system, CDN, database cleanup, minification and support for Varnish cache.
- Autoptimize – It makes optimizing your site really easy. It can aggregate, minify and cache scripts and styles, moves and defers scripts and minifies HTML.
Need help with your travel blog?
If you’re not familiar with Fiverr, it’s a marketplace that allows you to outsource simple tasks for your business for prices starting at $5. Since the price point is so low, the tasks are generally pretty simple. For instance, maybe you want to get a custom logo for your travel blog? A professional logo really makes your site and brand stand out from the thousands of other travel blogs online. Maybe you want to create a pop-up for your website that matches your existing design? Or maybe you’re in need of some technical things cleaned up across the backend of your site? Fiverr is a great place to find such help.
Similar to Fiverr, Upwork is an online community of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and designers. It allows you to post a job and accept offers from freelancers. You can then review those freelancers, interview them, and hire the one you want to work with.
6. Making money with your travel blog
Examples of affiliate links used by popular youtubers. They get commissions by promoting those products.
Making money while you travel means you don’t have to stick to a strict budget because money is always flowing into your account.
By becoming a digital nomad, you can easily make the world your office and travel forever.
A lot of travel bloggers recommend waiting until you’ve built a large and engaged audience before you even start to think about monetizing your site, but I don’t think waiting is necessary.
You can start earning income early by using Affiliate Marketing.
What’s an affiliate sale?
It’s an endorsement of a product. I recommend a product, you buy it through my link, and I get a cut in exchange (cash or credits).
Affiliate programs let you recommend things like clothing, travel gear, photography equipment, tours, or even hotels you stay at within your blog posts and social media. You then earn a small commission whenever someone clicks on one of these tracking links and buys something.
(see the youtubers examples above)
For example, you can share your custom code for a hotel or AirBnb accommodation, and earn commissions every time someone makes a reservation using your code. The same goes for Amazon’s affiliate program (cameras, drones, etc). and many other affiliate programs.
It’s one of the best existing forms of income since once you’ve done the work, the income becomes passive – meaning you earn money while you sleep – so my advice is, please start this right from day 1!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, including the links for
SiteGround. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase through these links. The price remains the same whether you use my special link or not.
If you want to learn how to make money with your travel blog through affiliate marketing and how to do it right, read the next article and discover how to make money in a short time and with only a few followers online. Also I suggest enrolling in Michelle’s course – Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
Get paid when you share travel moments on Instagram, Facebook, VKontakte or YouTube.
Examples of paid partnership with Instagram influencers.
How do travel bloggers stay at hotels for free?
You probably already know that bloggers are often paid for advertising. The more followers a blogger has, the higher is the fee. Hotels are offering bloggers free accommodations and financial incentives in exchange for just a few social media posts.
The main benefit of collaborating with Instagram influencers is to reach a lot of people through just one post. For example, a large influencer with over 100K+ followers will receive around $1,000 for a single Instagram post.
This is how bloggers make money.
But such sponsored Instagram posts can be expensive, and simply not within the budget for many businesses.
This is how the micro-influencer (YOU) marketing comes in. Influencers which have fewer followers, between 1,000 and 100,000, charge significantly less for their paid posts, so brands can save money by working with micro-influencers like you.
Markerly’s study revealed that influencers with less than 1,000 followers actually received a much higher engagement rate (likes and comments) 8% more than of influencers with over 10 million+ followers (which receive likes 1.6% of the time).
So this means that an Instagram post made by a micro-influencer offers the best combination – both engagement and broad reach – with a like and comment rate significantly exceeding influencers with a higher number of followers.
A survey made by Bloglovin’ proved that 63% of companies increased their influencer marketing budgets in 2017.
Therefore, Social Media became the influencer of your travel plans:
- 52% of Facebook users said their friend’s photos inspired their vacation plans
- 55% social media users liked pages relating to the trip they were planning
- 76% social media users post their vacation photos to social profiles
This research proves why companies are now expected to spend at least $1 billion on Instagram influencer marketing this year.
Take a look at the over 99 million photos from many Instagrammers out there today which already make a living from traveling and generating income through their social media accounts.
Therefore, brands are now constantly seeking quality over quantity – this means companies would rather pay big bucks for a smaller audience of engaged or niche followers rather than old marketing.
Working with micro-influencers became an excellent marketing choice for many businesses and brands. A sponsored Instagram post from a person with 1,000 to 10,000 followers can be as low as $50-$100 per post.
How to get your first sponsored stay, even if you’re just getting started?
This is so exciting because you already do it for free quite often.
What’s the first thing you do after checking into your hotel room?
I bet you ask for the wi-fi password, eagerly waiting to check in and share on social media the photos of your room and view, your first thoughts about your vacation.
But do you realize that you’ve just made a free #ad for your hotel?
This is the exact moment when you’re showing how delighted you are about your holiday. And your happiness captured on that picture works better than any advertising campaign.
Your friends will want to share the same experience and will certainly ask you how much you’ve paid for the trip so now, you’ll be advertising the travel agent, for free again.
But… do you know that there is an agency who pays you real money and bonus trips for such actions?
This is a magnificent way how you can travel for “free” without being a very popular blogger!
Unless you’re not one of the first Mars’ inhabitants, you probably heard of AirBnb – a platform through which someone else offers you their home as a place to stay. So, instead of an expensive hotel room, you get the chance to save some money yet live in a decent place. Besides, through AirBnb, you can also rent out some extra space in your own home and make money from letting guest stay at your place, too.
But did you know that you could win a free room on AirBnb, using just your Instagram or Facebook profile, even if you have only a few friends and followers?
Introduce a friend to Airbnb. They’ll get $25 in travel credit when they sign up, and you’ll get $15 in travel credit once they complete their first trip.
Sounds too simple?
Let’s say you are on a vacation and your friends can ask you where are you staying.
You can share photos on Instagram, you can write a post on Facebook or even better – on your travel blog while sharing that referral link.
In this way you can earn some extra money for your next trip 😉
While sharing with your friends, it’s ok, having more followers on your Instagram or blog – is the next level.
What would you think if I would tell you:
You can earn enough money to travel the world only by sharing your vacation pics!
I can assure you that this is quite easy if you’ll use some automated tools I can recommend.
So how you can earn money with Airbnb.com, Booking.com, HotelsCombined.com, Skyscanner.net, Momondo.com, Amazon.com etc. by recommending hotels, trips, gear and other stuff?
What are the best companies that pay high commissions?
How to get traffic to your Instagram and promote your blog?
What mistakes to avoid and how to take shortcuts that are proven to work?
There are a few different websites and apps out there which make it really easy for you to promote brands or their products.
Become a “real life” advertisement and you’ll get paid for that, too.
In this article, I’ll show you how to make money on social media and your travel blog, even with less than 1,000 followers.
Also, keep an eye on our Instagram – be the first to discover our latest tips and tricks and beautiful journeys.
That’s it! Congratulations on creating your own travel blog! Travel blogging is still a job that requires hard work. The hardest part comes when you start thinking about marketing, product creation, and everything in between, so keep an eye on as I’ll guide you through each of these stages.
Hey, don’t keep this to yourself. Click share to spread the love to your buddies 😉