Making your own travel blog is the best way to keep the memories while helping other travelers. Let’s make it cheap and easy for you to know how to make one, step-by-step.
You’ve got amazing stories and magazine-worthy pictures, but what do you do with them? Creating your own travel blog might be the answer!
Your Facebook friends are not the only ones willing to read about your escapades. Every trip gives you an opportunity to share information and inspiration with your fellow travelers. Why not give everyone access to them thru travel blogging?
Once you have read the Things to Know Before Travel Blogging, you’re now ready to take the nitty-gritty of the next steps: how to make your own travel blog. This post will walk you through getting domains, web hosts, blog platforms, and beautifying your future travel blog the easy and cheap way.
Step 1: Registering a Domain Name and Hosting Plan
So you’re seriously considering getting your own .com as a travel blogger. How do you know if you want to commit to paying domain name fees, or maybe just want a fling with the travel blogging world?
Use free blogs when… you’re not sure if you can commit. This is to test out your commitment to blogging and your niche. Countless times I’ve seen people purchase their domain and host only to realize they don’t have the commitment to keep up the blog. Personally, it took me 7 years of blogging and nearly 3 years of travel blogging to buy my domain. So, don’t rush!
Buy a domain when… you’re ready to commit to travel blogging. Doing so means you’ll be paying an annual fee, but for a good cause. You will simply look more professional and authoritative in the travel industry. It improves your chance to earn with your blog because you own the tools you use.
How to buy a domain name. You can use popular platforms to buy domain names. However, I recommend getting hosting to avail of them cheaply and bundled with other good stuff. With followyouroad, I bought my domain first only to realize I can’t even use it without my own host. Now I had to buy the two separately and it cost me more. So a tip for you would be: go for bundled!
Getting a Hosting Plan
Getting a hosting plan is a way to fully enjoy your own travel blog. There are thousands of website development services out there. These services cost between PHP 5,000-PHP 20,000. I know, I’ve considered getting one! But with a little resourcefulness, you can DIY your web development. Here’s how I made my own travel blog using Siteground!
#1 No web dev background required. One of the things I am proudest of is that I DIY’d my WordPress development. I had no tech background whatsoever, except 8 years of experience in various platforms. Siteground is very beginner-friendly that even the most confusing steps become easy. When in doubt, you can always ask, which brings me to the next benefit.
#2 Awesome chat service. Unlike other hosting services, Siteground helps out their clients with a 24/7 chat service. This really helped me when I was transferring both my domain from GoDaddy and hosting from WordPress to Siteground. Two of which are very tedious jobs that Google search on how-tos could never accomplish.
You get to chat with real people who are nice enough to answer your queries — even those not 100% related to selling their product. This is really their best advantage and selling point.
#3 Auto-domain renewal. After a year with Siteground, they asked permission to automatically renew my domain. That means I no longer had to go through the hoops of providing my credit card details to repurchase followyouroad for another year. It also secures my own travel blog’s name, so other people won’t buy it off.
#4 Affordable hosting fees. Best of all, you don’t have to break the bank. Siteground comes with beginner and professional packages that can suit your needs. The StartUp plan is only at $3.95/month. If you get them as your host, your domain registration is free for the first year!
Wait! Are you prepared for the next steps? Make sure you’ve read my previous post, Things to Know Before Travel Blogging
To move forward with Siteground, follow the link and do the steps below.
- Choose a StartUp plan. Being a newbie travel blogger, choose the cheapest hosting plan version of Siteground at $3.95 (below PHP 200).
- Choose a domain name. Name your own travel blog! Tips on naming your travel blog are in my previous post.
- Pay for the domain name. Enter your personal and payment information. Untick everything under the paid “Extra Services” Ideally, you should have a credit card or Paypal account for these to make transactions easier.
Step 2: Setting up a WordPress Blog
Congratulations, you already have a .com and a host! Now, to set up the blog itself, Siteground makes installation easy and free. You can check your email for the confirmation, log-in using the given username and password, and access the cPanel.
Why WordPress blog? Admittedly, there are a lot of platforms out there. I’ve tried most of them (Blogspot, LiveJournal, Tumbler, etc.), and the world would agree with me that WordPress is the best platform. The dashboard is easy to navigate and understand, the themes look professional, and you have more options in terms of functionality.
While logged in to your Siteground account, go to My Accounts > Go to cPanel > AutoInstallers > Softaculous. Select WordPress. Now you can input your purchased domain, and edit your site settings. Afterward, hit Install!
Step 3: Personalizing your own travel blog
Congratulations, you already have your own travel blog! Now head over to the Dashboard via yourdomain.com/wp-admin. This is where your creativity will be put to use. Customizing your blog means you choose the theme, fonts, imagines, and colors!
As I mentioned in Things to Know Before Travel Blogging, it helps that you have blog pegs already, so that you already have an idea on how your travel blog will look.
Install a theme. Your blog comes with a limited number of free themes to choose from. But if you’re fussy about how your own travel blog should look, then I recommend purchasing a theme (like I did, ain’t it neat?). Simply research themes until you find what you like. But make sure that your chosen theme is:
- Responsive. This means the layout adjusts the layout across all devices so that it looks great on PC, tablet, and mobile.
- Browser Compatible. Make sure your theme looks great across all browsers, and not perfect on Google Chrome and lousy on Internet Explorer.
- Social sharing enabled. Choose themes that have the basic Facebook, Twitter and G+ sharing buttons. But if not, you can always install a corresponding social sharing plug-in.
To install them, go to Appearance > Themes > Add new theme. My theme cost me $49, but there are many cheap alternatives at $30 and below.
Upload header image. Your theme usually has a recommended header size. Create your own header preferably with the name of your blog or logo. I recommend not overthinking this, and just sticking to a font that you like. You can always change this later. Go to Appearance > Customize.
Choose widgets. Widgets are tools that appear on your sidebar, and sometimes your header and footer. Go to Appearance > Widgets. Some basic widgets you can add are Search, Facebook Like box, Instagram feed, popular posts, archives, and more. It really depends on your taste!
Link your social media accounts. You probably already have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and G+. These platforms will help you promote your blog. Let the world know it exists! Go to Settings > Sharing.
Once You Get the Hang of It…
Here is your not-so-immediate travel blogging to-do list. You can save doing these later when you’ve gained momentum in blogging. But keep them in mind because they’re hella important!
Choose plug-ins. Plug-ins are simply the extra tools that you can use to power up your blog. Think of them as smartphone apps that work in various ways. Some plug-ins allow you to monitor spam, prevent viewers from copying your photos and provide email subscription options. Do research on which ones you like!
Create menus. Menus are simply the drop-down tabs that you have near the header. It takes some brainstorming or wireframing. Start running through the portfolio of your travel photos, stories, and itineraries. Then, think about how you are going to organize them into the menus. Make sure your readers will intuitively know where to find what they’re looking for.
Set up your pages. Identify the pages that you wanted to include in your own travel blog. Some examples of these are About Me and Contact. You can choose to add more. This will help readers get more ideas on who you are and how to reach you.
Step 4: Start Blogging!
Congratulations, you now have your own travel blog!
Try to create a variety of articles, such as narratives, travel guides, reviews, top 10s, and galleries. Read my previous post for more content ideas. As a tip, don’t be too much of a perfectionist in the beginning. You’ll learn things along the way. Meanwhile, here is a sample breakdown of expenses.
|Other services’ minimum rates||My experience|
|Themes||$0-$20 (Free – Purchased)||$49 (this can be cheaper)|
$52.98 x PHP 47 = PHP 2,490.06.
Note that you’re going to pay $3.98 to Siteground monthly to keep your domain and other services. That means in one year, you’re going to pay $47.76 or PHP 2,244.72 in one year. The theme will only have to be paid once.
Make sure you follow some blogging best practices to increase your readership and make the most out of your travel blog. Tune in next week for my blog on maintaining and growing your travel blog.
Should you have any question, feel free to comment below or tweet me. I’ll answer the best way I can. You can also log-on to Siteground and talk to their in-house technicians. I promise, they’re friendly and they won’t drive you crazy!
If you sign up on Siteground using any of the links I used in the blog, I will earn an affiliate fee. Thank you in advance!