It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging here at Kidventurous for nearly four years. We’ve had lots of fun adventures all across the country, even in France, Austria, Ireland and Puerto Rico. If you’ve ever thought about starting a travel blog, I can tell you this, it’s easier than you think.
I am decidedly not tech-savvy, but after four years, Kidventurous is still growing and growing. As we approach the summer travel season, now is a great time to learn how to start a travel blog to share your adventures with friends, family and fellow travelers eager to go where you’re going and where you’ve been.
Anyone can set up a free travel blog using MapQuest Travel Blogs. You can also set up a free blog using popular publishing platforms, like WordPress.com or Blogger. These are all great entry-level options, but if you have aspirations of getting noticed by travel brands, media and an audience beyond your inner circle, I recommend starting off on the right foot with a self-hosted WordPress blog (WordPress.org).
Stop. There’s a WordPress.com and a WordPress.org? I know, confusing. WordPress.com is the free version of WordPress that allows you to write and publish blog posts, but not much more. WordPress hosts your blog, but also forces you into a domain, like http://kidventurous.wordpress.com. Alternatively, WordPress.org gives you more control of your own blog, allowing you to use fun plugins (more on plugins in a future post) and have your own domain name, like http://www.kidventurous.com.
So, let’s get started. Get ready to wow your friends when you tell them that learned how to set up a travel blog while your son was napping or your daughter was practicing the piano (and then you set up your own).
Step One: Domain Name & Blog Hosting
Okay, don’t get scared. It’s easy-peasy (and fun) to register a domain name and sign up with a host provider, like Bluehost, which basically rents out to you a spot on the world wide web so everyone can read about your travel adventures. Getting set up with a host provider is what I mean by being “self-hosted.” Even better, it costs just a few dollars a month.
When you do, you’ll be presented with three plans. I’d go with the starter plan. As you grow, you can upgrade plans at any time. As a bonus, each plan includes a free domain name.
Once you choose your plan, pick our domain in the box on the left-hand side of the page.
Next, you’ll be taken to a screen to choose your account plan and pick some add-ons, like “Search Engine Jumpstart” and “Site Backup Pro.” You can un-check all of the boxes. The only one you might want to select now is “Domain Privacy Protection” since that feature hides your contact details, like your mailing address, if someone looks up your blog on who.is, for example.
While it’s cheaper on a monthly basis to opt for the 36-month starter package, you may want to pay the extra two dollars per month and go with the 12-month package. This will give you time to get your feet wet as a travel blogger and decide whether it’s for you. You can always make changes down the road.
Guess what, you’re done. You have a domain name and a place on the web. The next step is to get you set up with WordPress.
Step Two: Install WordPress
Installing WordPress sounds difficult, right? And guess what, it is if you follow the instructions on the WordPress website. Oh my gosh, I can honestly say I don’t even know what is going on here, not even in the “Famous 5-Minute Install” section.
Don’t close your laptop and walk away. You’ve already come this far in your journey to learn how to start a travel blog. It is so much easier to install WordPress. In fact, it’s practically one-click and you can do so from your cPanel (another scary term, right?), which is just a back-end control panel provided by your hosting provider.
From the Hosting tab of the Bluehost cPanel, click on the WordPress logo under “Website Builders.”
Once you finish the brief installation process, you’ll get a URL to log in to the WordPress dashboard for your new travel blog (e.g., http://travelblogsarefun.com/wp-admin). By now you will have already picked a username and password, so you’re ready to go. See, I told you it was easy.
Step Three: Choose a Theme
Your blog theme is your background design and there are a lot available all across the web. When you first get set up with WordPress, you’ll have several themes pre-loaded, like Twenty Thirteen and Twenty Fourteen, that you can choose from if you like.
You can also search the web for themes that are super simple to install with one-click. Simply go to Google or your search engine of choice and type in “free wordpress themes” or “wordpress travel themes” and you’ll find a variety of collections you can scroll through to find the right one for you (e.g., The 42 Best Free WordPress Themes, etc.).
There are a lot of great themes available for purchase too. Two websites I recommend for themes are StudioPress and ThemeForest. You can use any of these themes as-is, or you can work with a designer to customize the themes for your needs. Through ThemeForest (Envato Market), you can find freelance designers and developers that can inexpensively tweak a theme as you like. Fiverr is another website to check out for affordable logo and web designs services.
Congratulations. You learned how to start a travel blog and now you have one. Even better, you got it all set up in less than an hour, I bet. Go ahead and begin exploring the WordPress dashboard and start putting together blog posts. It’s okay to go slow and really think about what you want to cover and how you want to write about travel topics.
I think once you get going, you’ll realize how much fun it is to have a travel blog and will wonder why you didn’t learn how to start a travel blog ages ago. Good luck and have fun! And if you have questions along the way, feel free to send me an email.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. However, the views and opinions expressed here are my own.