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Welcome, aspiring travel blogger! Do you have a soul filled with wanderlust and a love for writing or photography? Yeah, I had a feeling. And now you’re wondering how to start a travel blog of your own to make money and share your passion with other travelers.
I know how you feel! I’ve wandered through nearly 30 countries, working as a blogger and content marketer as I went. Through working on blogs that attract millions of readers per month, I learned exactly how to harness the power of blogging to grow an audience and make money online.
In fact, lots of travel bloggers have made blogging their full-time job. They’ve been able to make awesome money while sharing their passion with others and traveling whenever they want to.
While blogging involves a lot of work upfront, it’s totally possible to grow a profitable blogging business that gives you the time and freedom to design your life on your terms. So if you’re ready to turn your travel blogging dreams into a reality, read on to learn how to start a travel blog, step by step.
How to start a travel blog, step by step
- Figure out your niche
- Come up with a unique name
- Sign up for a hosting plan
- Install WordPress (and get to know its dashboard)
- Pick a theme and start designing
- Download handy plugins
- Consider adding legal pages to your blog
- Brainstorm and write your first 5 – 10 posts
- Blog on a consistent basis
- Boost your traffic
- Pick your monetization strategies
When you see the countless travel blogs already out there on the web, it can be intimidating to start your own. How can you stand out among the sea of established travel blogs?
The answer? Find your niche.
Instead of writing broadly about every travel topic under the sun, try to hone in on a specific niche that will appeal to a certain audience of readers.
They say in niches there are riches, and that’s because narrowing down your focus will help you,
- Establish yourself as an expert in a particular topic
- Allow your blog to be more competitive when it comes to SEO and search rankings
- Give you insight into exactly who your readers are and what they’re interested in, which will help you succeed at affiliate marketing or selling your own products
So, what niche should you pursue? That is totally up to you, but here are a few examples to get you brainstorming:
- Budget travel
- Luxury travel
- Solo female travel
- Foods around the world
- Beauty secrets around the world
- A specific location, e.g., travel guides to all the best places in the Iberian peninsula
- Hiking trips
- Family-friendly road trips in the U.S.
It helps to get really specific at the beginning so you can build up authority in your niche.
As your website and traffic goes, you could consider expanding into an adjacent topic, but stick with your niche until that happens.
Your next step is coming up with a unique name for your website and domain. (Your domain name is your URL; for instance, my site’s domain name is remotebliss.com).
Here are a few tips for coming up with a great name when you start a travel blog.
- Come up with something unique. For one, you can’t register a domain name that somebody else already has. But you also don’t want to choose something that’s too similar to someone else’s, or people won’t remember yours. Once you have your name, Google it to ensure there’s no overlap with another blog.
- Avoid cliches. A ton of travel bloggers use words like adventure, vagabond, nomad, and wanderlust. They’ve been done to death, so try to come up with something different.
- Don’t box yourself in. Even though it’s important to define your niche, you don’t want to block yourself off from pivoting or expanding into a new one when the time comes. If you choose a name like, “My Travels Around Spain,” you’ll confuse people if you start writing about other destinations. Don’t choose a name that prevents you from expanding in the future.
- Don’t make it longer than 3-4 words. Make it catchy, memorable, and not overly long.
- Nix the confusing jargon or slang. You might get readers from all over the world. Avoid words that people might not know or that are hard for them to remember or pronounce.
When it’s time to brainstorm your blog’s name, I recommend sitting down with a pen, piece of paper, and a thesaurus and just letting the ideas flow.
You can also use domain name brainstorming tools, such as,
Finally, use this handy tool from web hosting provider Bluehost to double check that your domain name is available:
If you’re wondering how to start a travel blog, you’re probably interested in making money off your blog.
By purchasing hosting, you’ll own your domain name and have total control over your site. Plus, you’ll have no limits when it comes to monetizing your content.
While there are some free plans that let you start a travel blog, they’re extremely limited in what you can do with them.
And if you go with a free plan on a website builder like Weebly, you won’t get your own domain name (it will be something like, mytravelblog.weebly.com, instead of mytravelblog.com).
Not super professional.
To own your domain, you’ll need to sign up for a hosting plan. There are lots of web hosting providers out there, but one of the easiest and most affordable for beginners is Bluehost.
Not only can you get a Bluehost plan for as little as $3.95 per month, but you’ll also get free domain registration for a year — and Bluehost automatically installs WordPress for you. (WordPress powers 39% of the web, and it’s what you’ll use to design your site and manage your content).
How to sign up for Bluehost
To sign up for Bluehost, start by heading to Bluehost.com and picking your hosting plan. The basic plan works for beginners who are only looking to make one website.
Next, pick your domain. You can also transfer a domain that you already own.
Third, fill out your account information and choose your plan. If you choose a longer term of 36 months, you’ll get a lower monthly price. You also have the option of a 12-month or 24-month plan (and can set it to auto-renew at the end of this time).
Then, you can choose a few add-ons. I highly recommend getting Domain Privacy & Protection to protect your information.
Codeguard Basic can also be handy for backing up your site, but you can figure out backups later with a separate plugin if you’re looking to keep costs low.
Finally, you’ll enter your payment information and hit submit.
Congratulations, you just learned how to start a travel blog and registered your first website!
Your next step is connecting WordPress to Bluehost. As mentioned, WordPress powers a huge chunk of the web, including tons of successful travel blogs.
If the host is the house your website lives in, WordPress is all its interior design — your theme, what your site looks like, and your blog to manage your content.
Important tip: Sign up for an account at WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. WordPress.org is the free version that you’ll use to build your travel blog.
Not only is WordPress free, but here’s some other good news: If you signed up for Bluehost, Bluehost will automatically install WordPress for you!
All you need to do is click install WordPress from your Bluehost account, and Bluehost will take care of the rest.
If you chose a different hosting provider, it’s also easy to install WordPress. There will usually be an option to do so when you sign into your hosting account, but you can also look for a “how to install WordPress” guide from your hosting provider or contact customer service for assistance.
Once you’ve got WordPress up and running, familiarize yourself with the dashboard. You’ll see things like pages (these are static pages), posts (these are your blog posts), settings, and more.
Now it’s time to design your travel blog! It’s normal to get intimidated at this step, but WordPress has a bunch of themes to help you design a beautiful site.
While these themes have pre-set templates, you can go in and change the colors, fonts, font sizes, widgets, and anything else you want to customize your site.
Don’t stress if it takes some trial and error here; as you’ll soon find out, blogging is a constant learning process, and you’re bound to make some mistakes along the way.
But by playing around with the design, you’ll learn how to do it as you go.
WordPress has a bunch of free themes you can choose, such as the following:
Free themes are great if you’re looking to keep costs as low as possible, but they do have some limitations.
They’re not always optimized for site speed, and you probably won’t have as many customization options as you would on a paid theme.
You can change your theme later, but it can be a heavier lift. If you want to start your blog with the best theme possible, you might prefer to pay for a premium theme.
One that I like to recommend is the Divi theme. It helps you create a sleek, responsive, beautiful site that’s optimized for performance and speed.
Plus, when you sign up, you get access to hundreds of templates to design your site. At the time of writing, the Divi theme costs $89 per year or $249 for lifetime access. Note that it sometimes runs promotions and discounts.
As you design, a few pages you’ll probably want to create are your,
- Home page
- About me page
- Contact page
WordPress comes with a ton of free plugins that will help you perfect your travel blog without having to do any manual coding yourself.
I recommend starting with an “under construction” or “coming soon” plugin, so that no one can see your site while you design it. You can deactivate this plugin when you’re ready to make your site live.
A few other useful plugins include,
- Yoast plugin: This allows you to set a target keyword and meta-description for each blog post, and will give you a “readability” and SEO score to make sure your articles are optimized for Google search.
- MonsterInsights: This one connects Google Analytics to your site, so you can get an in-depth look at your traffic stats.
- W3 Total Cache: This will help your website load faster.
You can find a plugin for pretty much anything, whether you want to add social media buttons, insert an affiliate disclaimer at the beginning of all your posts, or create some buttons that link out to products.
Simply search Google for recommendations, or head to “Add new” under the plugins section in WordPress to search its directory.
Like any other business, it’s important to protect yourself and your blog legally. As your blog grows, you could run into legal issues and don’t want to find yourself unprotected.
At the very least, you need to add an affiliate disclaimer on your posts if you’re going to adding affiliate links (more on this strategy below).
This could be something as simple as:
This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase one of my recommended products, I may receive a small commission. But rest assured, all opinions are my own.
You can insert this across all your posts with a plugin like the FMTC Affiliate Disclosure plugin.
There are some free templates online, but for peace of mind, I purchased legal templates from lawyer Amira of A Self Guru.
This lawyer-turned-blogger sells legally compliant templates that you can easily customize. She shows you exactly where to add your name and your site’s name throughout the templates.
You can get yours finished and uploaded to your site in a matter of minutes. Once you do, you can rest easy knowing that you and your blog are protected legally.
Click here to learn more about Amira’s legal pages and why they’re useful for bloggers.
Finally, we get back to the fun part of blogging — creating content!
Once you’ve got all the initial set up finished, it’s time to dive into writing your blog posts, uploading your photography, creating your videos, or sharing whatever other types of content you’ll be making.
Try to prepare 5 to 10 posts before making your travel blog live.
So, what should you write about?
I suggest starting with some cornerstone posts related to your niche. These are the thorough, important guides related to your topic, such as an, Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Camino or 7 Travel Essential for Digital Nomads in Southeast Asia.
In your blog posts, you can explore your passions and share your experiences, but you might also consider incorporating keywords into your posts so that they will rank on Google.
Keywords are basically what people are searching for online. If you can target a certain keyword, then you can write a blog post that people are actively searching for.
One useful keyword tool is UberSuggest. You can search up to three keywords per day on the free plan, and you’ll see how often people are searching for them and how competitive they are to rank for.
It takes time to grow a blog and get traffic to it, and it’s important to blog on a consistent basis, especially in the beginning.
I know how hard it can be to stick to a schedule when you’re juggling other responsibilities (like a full-time job), but Google likes blogs that are actively adding new posts.
Try to plan out your article ideas in advance and set deadlines for yourself, so you know exactly what you need to write and when.
If you’re really pressed for time, you could also consider hiring a content writer or ghostwriter on a marketplace like Upwork.
Get clear about what your goals are for your blog and what it would take to achieve them. Write down a publishing schedule for yourself and try your best to stick to it!
And don’t get discouraged if it takes time for Google to recognize your blog. Getting your blog posts to rank on Google can take months; it’s not going to happen overnight.
There are a bunch of ways to get traffic to your travel blog, but my favorite is SEO, or search engine optimization.
By targeting keywords in your posts and writing high-quality content, you can improve your chances of ranking on Google and bringing in free, organic traffic month after month.
Besides writing amazing, keyword-driven content, you’ll also need to start building backlinks to your site.
A backlink is a link from another website, and it boosts your blog’s authority in the eyes of Google.
Try reaching out to other travel bloggers who are in a similar stage as you and asking them to do a link exchange or if you can contribute a guest post.
You can also try getting links by signing up as a source on Help a Reporter Out and responding to queries in its travel category.
Again, all of this takes time, so there are other steps you can take to drive traffic to your blog in the short term.
- Share your content on social media. I recommend signing up for one platform and putting your energy there, rather than spreading yourself too thin on all the channels. Instagram can be great for travel bloggers.
- Create pins for your articles. Make a business account on Pinterest and create pins for your articles. Ask to join group boards and upload pins there to get more eyeballs on your content. Note that Pinterest loves “fresh pins” these days, so avoid repinning too many duplicates.
- Share your content in Facebook groups or other forums. Figure out where your ideal readers hang out online and bring your content to them.
As you start to grow your blog and increase traffic, it’s time to think about how to make money from it.
One major strategy that a lot of travel bloggers use is affiliate marketing. As an affiliate, you recommend products and services and make a commission if someone purchases something using your link.
For instance, you might recommend the best travel backpacks for backpackers. If someone buys a product after clicking on an affiliate link from your article, you’ll make some money from the transaction.
The best articles to make money, by the way, are ones that review or compare products or services or “best of” lists, since readers who are interested in these articles are actively looking to make a purchase and want your recommendation for what they should buy.
One huge affiliate marketplace you can easily sign up for is Amazon Associates. You can generate affiliate links for pretty much any product on Amazon. To keep your account active, you’ll need to make three sales within the first 180 days.
Some companies run their own affiliate programs, and you can sign up as an affiliate right on the websites. But many ask you to apply via an affiliate marketplace.
Here are a few you can sign up for:
Besides affiliate marketing, you can also monetize your site with ads. I don’t really recommend Google AdSense, since you’re not going to make much money unless you have hundreds of thousands of visitors per month.
But once you hit 50,000 visitors per month, you can apply for MediaVine, an ad management company that will make you a lot more revenue.
Selling your own products
Finally, a lot of travel bloggers make money by selling their own products. These are usually digital products, such an ebook or online course.
Some also create physical products, like T-shirts or mugs with their logo on it.
While I recommend starting with affiliate marketing, it’s worth looking into selling your own products once you’re making some regular income from your travel blog.
Are you ready to start your travel blog?
Now that you’ve gotten to the end of this guide on how to start a travel blog, how are you feeling?
Are you revved up and ready to launch your travel blog? Are you intimidated by all the work that goes into running a successful blog?
Well, don’t worry, because most new bloggers feel both these things at the same time. Launching a new blog is both exciting and scary, and it does involve a lot of work.
But all that work can pay off in a big way if you stay committed to growing and monetizing your blog.
Not only will you get to write about a topic you’re passionate about, but eventually you may be able to make enough from your blog to quit your job and travel full-time.
My final words of advice: Just go for it. Start your blog, and stick with it.
You’re not going to make money overnight, but if you commit to your blog and keep learning and growing as a blogger, you can create a profitable travel blogging business and live the travel blogger dream.
Do you want to learn more about writing epic posts that rank on the first page of Google? Head here to learn how to write a blog post that ranks #1.