How to Start a Successful Travel Blog!
Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide
Why start a travel blog?
12 months ago, Bianca and I were just a couple who loved travel and got pretty good at it. We started our blog because we wanted to share all our travel experience with you! To show how easy and cheap travel can be. All of a sudden our blog blew up and became a successful travel blog!
Now we are offered accommodation, excursions discounts on gear, even FREE products. All making our travel lifestyle EASIER and CHEAPER
We learned the hard way – How to save, how to travel safe, how to hustle, and what to expect on the road, then we shared it all with you. Now we want to share how to become a Blogger so you can travel the world on someone else’s pocket money.
Our lives have changed! From normal 9 – 5 workweek warriors we now travel the world, living life happy, free and enjoying every second of it. Best of all… Getting other people pay for it!
Setup a blog for yourself and create a lifestyle you can love everyday!
Here we will walk you through how to set up your first blog and get you on your way to designing your own life!
The following will be a step-by-step guide to creating the blog of your dreams which has the potential to actually make money! Trust us when we say this: If we can do it, ANYONE can!
Click here to start a blog on WordPress, then use the tutorial below for easy step-by-step directions.
In this article, we are going to talk about starting a blog the ONLY way you should – through Bluehost.
Well, they are CHEAP! You can start a blog with Bluehost for just $3.95/month when you sign up (that low price is special intro offer!) . AND you get a FREE domain name when you sign up through our link!
The free name is so important at the beginning before you are making money to cover your expenses.
Bluehost is incredibly easy to use. The process to start a blog can get a little confusing when you start talking about domain names, hosting packages, etc. So… we have made this DIY for dummies, step-by-step tutorial with plenty of pictures below, just to show you how it works.
Lastly before we start, Another reason Bluehost is awesome is because they offer a complete guarantee on their hosting packages. If you sign up for 12 months or more (best pricing option) and decide that it’s not right for you, they will refund any portion of the plan that you have not used. This guarantee eliminates the risk.
Starting a blog wasn’t all smooth sailing and we didn’t have this helpful how to guide to use. We made a few mares, got on the phone with Bluehost, and their awesome customer service team took care of everything for us! They are available by phone 24/7, and they take care of whatever issues you throw at them!
You will notice this article is focused on a making a successful blog (aka, a blog that can actually make bank!)
Let’s talk briefly about free vs. self-hosted.
There are free blog hosting and free plans (think blogger.com & wordpress.org), but there is also a reason why 99.9% of profitable blogs don’t run on them and why you should NOT use them…
- Themes look incredibly sloppy.
- Customizations are very limited.
- The websites are boggy and slow (there’s nothing more frustrating than a slow website).
- No successful bloggers use them!
Because of these glaring flaws, we are going to focus on self-hosting (think Bluehost) in this article, because that is the ONLY way a profitable blog will ever run.
The difference truly is only $3.95/month, so you can’t afford NOT to go with self-hosting!
Okay so this post is HUGE. It covers through how to do EVERYTHING. Make sure to save/pin this, and come back to it for later if you can’t finish everything today.
- Step #1. Select a Topic (Travel or other) ($0)
- Step #2. Register a Domain Name ($0 with web host package)
- Step #3. Get a Web Host ($3-$5 per month)
- Step #4. Set up WordPress ($0)
- Step #5. Choose the Right WordPress Theme (Free – $80)
How to Start a Profitable Blog TODAY!
Before you get started, you want to make sure that you have your main topic (Travel) and niche picked out (budget travel).
Step #1. Select a Topic and Niche
Having a profitable blog isn’t about you, it’s about everyone else. That may be a little surprising…
You can start a blog just for fun, but most of the people here actually want to make some money from their blog. And if you want to make money from blogging, you need to help people and serve their needs first.
So which niche should you select?
Select one that you are comfortable with and that you enjoy talking about.
Bianca is a ‘plan-o-holic’! So with all that research already done, it is easy for us to blog about the best of what we find traveling. Don’t overthink it. If you have an interest, chase it and see how things go!
After you’ve done that, or if you already have a blog name picked out, let’s get started!
Click here or the photo to start the process, and then follow the step-by-step instructions below to get set up.
Step #2. Register a Domain Name.
The next step in the process of how to start a profitable blog is registering your domain name.
Let’s answer a couple of questions that you may have at this point.
What exactly is a domain name?
A domain name is simply the address of the blog (also called a URL). For example, the domain of this website is: kiwisoffcourse.com
How do I select a good domain name?
Remember, don’t over complicate it. Your name matters very little in the grand scheme of things. It’s the content which you provide that truly matters.
How do I get a domain name?
Well, you can get it for FREE through bluehost, at the same time that you set up hosting. It’s very simple!
To own your own domain name, you usually have to get it from a registrar. Learn about pointing your domain name to the correct servers, etc. and that’s where it gets complicated!
The best and easiest solution? Bluehost!
Step #3. Get a Hosting Package.
Wait…. What’s hosting?
Every domain name needs a host where the domain is run from. Basically, a host is a server or other computer that can be accessed from the Internet.
You need one for your website! There are lots of hosting companies out there that own hundreds/thousands of those things where you can run your website from.
Again, this can quickly get overly complex, but the best hosting company we have used and what most bloggers recommend is Bluehost.
When starting out, getting a domain name from the same place where you host makes everything 10,000x simpler.
And again, the domain name is FREE if you sign up for 12 months with Bluehost.
What’s a step-by-step process without an actual demonstration? To make it easier for you we’re going to set up a dummy domain name, and go through the whole process with you at the same time. Start to finish with pictures. Perfect!
Let’s get that domain and hosting set up!
First, go to: Bluehost.com if you haven’t already. .
After you click the button to get started on the homepage, you will then see a list of pricing options.
Select the basic package for $3.95 per month (circled in red above). You won’t need anything more than that when you’re starting out.
The CHEAPEST pricing with your blog is offered through signing up for 36 months. If you opt for a 12 or 24-month plan, it will be a little more expensive.
It’s not a huge difference, but we do recommend the 36-month plan for a couple of reasons:
- You aren’t locked into a contract anyway.Bluehost offers a guarantee, and you can cancel your plan at any time. So you might as well go for option that saves you the most money.
- Signing on for a longer plan represents a commitment you are making to your blog and yourself.Commit to making this a long-term deal that will reap you TONS of rewards over the next few years!
Enter your domain under “new domain” (you can see where we inserted mysweettravelblog.com), and hit next. Then you will land on a longer page that looks like this at the top:
Fill in your contact information. You can fill in the business name if you have not settled on one yet.
Bluehost, while we do love them, is going to have a lot of unnecessary things “checked.” The only thing to consider grabbing is “Domain Privacy Protection,” which protects your email and phone number from being released to the public.
This is optional, and so is the account plan you choose.
Keep in mind that you can add any other domain you want to this same hosting package for $10 later. You are buying the ability to use Bluehost’s amazing servers, and they are giving you the domain for free. Since you need hosting to run a profitable website, this is the best option around.
Now enter your billing information below.
Hit submit, and congrats! You now own you very own website!!!!!
Not too painful right???
We had a really easy straight forward experience with this web-host and therefore 100% wanted to recommend “Bluehost” on our blog. We soon realised they also had an affiliate program which runs on a commission base.
AKA Monetisation for our blog!
If you sign up to Blue host through one of the links in this blogpost. We get a commission and it DOES NOT COST YOU ANYTHING! You pay the same as if you google searched Bluehost yourself.
So… if you decide Bluehost is your preferred web-host, then please do support Kiwis Off Course & keep us online…
We are super grateful! and once you get you blog up & running let us know so we can support you in return!!!
NOW THATS TEAMWORK!!!
Step #4. Set Up WordPress on Your Site.
Login to your Bluehost account, and click on “hosting” from the top menu bar. Scroll down until you see this…
Click on the Install WordPress icon, and a popup will appear that looks like this:
Select your domain from the dropdown menu, and click “submit.” Now Bluehost will take care of the entire installation process, and when it is finished, you will be taken to a menu that looks like this…
At this point, do not exit out, make sure to save this information, (Take a screenshot!) and then click “configure your password.”
Complete the setup, and you will be able to log into your WordPress website!
Now remember that information you saved? You want to open up your LOGIN URL in your browser. When you do that, you will be taken to a page that looks like this:
Fill in your name and password, and you have now logged into your WordPress website!
Now, let’s make it stylish, and customize it.
***We need to start this off with a bit of a warning.
When learning any new software or platform, the beginning can be daunting and confusing. It’s going to take a few weeks working in WordPress and playing around with it for things to start becoming familiar.
This is the stage where a lot of people get frustrated, and a lot of self-doubt comes up. This is normal and something every blogger before you has gone through.
Bianca was a merch assistant, and I was a land surveyor with NO coding experience or anything close to an “understanding” of how the system worked.
Trust that you are going to stick with it and learn the system. Wordpress is the most POWERFUL blogging resource on the web today and gives people who have no experience coding the ability to create beautiful websites. Commit to learning the ins and outs of WordPress, and it will serve you very well in the future.
Once logged into your WordPress website, follow the instructions on this page, and make sure to click ”yes.”
WordPress will walk you through the basics of starting your website and start to get you familiar with the platform.
At some point, you will land on the dashboard. This is the business end of your site developement. Here you will take care of the site maintenance.
Click “appearances” and then “themes.”
It’s now time to find a great theme for your blog make it look how you want!
Step #5. Choose a Theme.
Your blog is going to need a theme, and you are going to have to decide on the right path for you, based on your financial situation and plan for the blog.
You have 3 real options for finding the right theme:
- Get a free theme or use the WordPress basic themes.
- Find a great one by “spying” on your competitors.
- Subscribe to a theme club.
Option 1: Get a free theme or use the WordPress basic themes.
Free themes are a great place to start if you’re a beginner blogger, but they will lack some of the tools a paid theme gives you. If you have the extra $50 – $100 to invest, then go for a paid theme.
If you feel stretched at this point, we get it. Rock a free theme for a month or so and get used to the platform. You can use one of the free themes WordPress has pre-installed under the “appearances” and “themes” tabs. Just click customize to switch themes.
There are also a ton of free themes, and here’s a great list of them that you can try: https://colorlib.com/wp/free-wordpress-themes/
If there are free themes, why would I ever want a paid theme?
Paid themes are much more powerful and customizable than free themes. You get what you pay for. They will also have an entire support staff dedicated to help you and making sure you succeed. They are also used by 95% of people running profitable blogs.
That being said, starting by playing around with some free themes is perfectly fine. It will get your feet wet and help you start better understanding WordPress.
Warning: There are lots of bloggers that recommend starting your blog with the Genesis Theme (the most powerful and fastest WordPress theme). These people are looking to get PAID, and anyone who remotely suggests that it is a good basic theme for beginners is outside their damn mind. Don’t use that theme to start with unless you are tech savvy and ready to battle through quite a few headaches. It will leave you frustrated at the beginning and out around $250 for the entire package.
Option 2: Find a great theme by “spying” on your competitors.
So someone else blog has inspired you? You can’t find anything like it and nothing you have since seen suits what you want… So why not use it yourself!
All you have to do to find out what theme they are using is go to: http://whatwpthemeisthat.com
You will see a page like this where you can type in the domain name:
Hit the green button, and you will see this:
You can see that they are running the Sugarblog theme, and if you want your website to be similar to theirs, that is the theme you need to get!
Sometimes the websites you like will not be running WordPress themes, and that’s ok. It’s incredibly rare, but some people still get websites custom coded for various reasons. Keep looking around at competitors until you find a style you like that uses WordPress.
Spy on your competitors, or just look around at websites you like to find your own theme.
Option 3: Subscribe to a theme club.
If you still know you want to buy a theme but don’t like any and can’t find a good competitor’s theme to grab, this is the next best option.
Theme clubs are groups of themes that have partnered together to offer their themes for a subscription rate. You usually pay a yearly fee to get access to a ton of different themes.
The best two options are Elegant Themes and My Themes Shop. This is a good option for variety, but it will cost you more over time.
Get to work on selecting the right theme for you, but don’t over analyze it! If you have spent more than 2-3 hours selecting a theme, just pick one and rock it for awhile.
Ok, this post is already massive, and I need to shut up. The next parts of running a successful blog are painfully obvious, but many people miss them anyway:
- Begin creating content which people want.
- promote your blog, create social media accounts directing traffic to your blog. Instagram, facebook, Pinterest.
Once you have enough traffic and followers the offers will start to flow.
Best resources for WordPress.
Use these websites for further customization of your blog and writing help:
- Must-Have FREE WordPress Plugins for Every Blogger
- 18 Essential Resources to Learn WordPress Like a Pro (Great article. Covers all sorts of free training blogs and other things I wish I had more time to say)
- 8 Great Tools to Help You Write and Edit Blog Posts Better
We hope you enjoyed this post on how to start a profitable blog, and we’d be happy to answer any of your questions in the comments section below!
Brett & Bianca
Co-Founders, Kiwis Off Course