Develop a travel blog from scratch? Read on and find out. When I started blogging a couple of years ago on a free platform, it was easy as I don’t need to design a website and no anxiety about maintenance and whatsoever. I do my writings, and that’s it.
Continue reading as I’m sharing my experience of how I manage this site and regretting a bit of why starting this blog. When technical issues occur, I’m asking myself what the hell I am doing? I’m not tech-savvy. But how more I spend on it, the more I learned. Just like some were saying: if you don’t give it a try, you shall never learn.
It is about starting a blog from zero. I’m a pretty persistent person; if I want to do something, I’ll be working hard for achievement. And if I can do it, you can do it too!
I’ve been traveling for a long time and visiting so many places I want to share my experience and tips with other travelers. I usually keep a journal on every trip, but after so many years, it increases the pile. It didn’t come up to me in the first place to keep a travel journal on the web.
Anyway, I was randomly browsing for a destination and came across a blogging website; so, I signed up but haven’t look back to it in a while. However, when returning from an adventurous journey, I went back to that site and wrote my first blog, one blog to another. I realized how easy writing my journal on the web.
I’m on the same site for nearly eight years, and one day the sad news came. I receive an email that they’re closing down—a clap on my face, I never thought that would happen. We were given the time to backup everything, and I could save all my blogs on my computer.
I sign-up to another site
It didn’t so take long for me signing-up to another site where I can move my blog. But I was hesitant and concern about what happened to the previous platform. The aspiration in writing was gone, and that was the time I’m thinking of starting my blog but don’t know-how.
For a start, I read some blogs and watch the videos on how to make a website. There are tons of explanations, but practically not that simple. My interest in starting a travel blog just got bigger.
Though I was thinking of going for a ready-made website, thus, searching online and querying prices for an immediate use travel blog – holy cows cost a fortune! My only hope is to go to school.
Looking for school
It was just on time when I decided to start a travel blog. The school holiday is almost over, and the new school year begins in September. I’m looking for evening classes, as I worked during the day. But if you have time and persistence, not necessary to follow a lesson. There are many videos online you can follow. I was impatient and wanted to have a website so soon.
I develop a website within a month.
The first day in school was nothing else of explaining what we all going to do and blah, blah. I find annoying instead of direct to the point haha, I have no patience, need actions. We were with twenty folks in the class. All of them want to make a website for business while I’m the only one for a travel blog.
In the second lesson, we’re working on coding, and luckily I haven’t used any code to build this website. Then within one month, we publish a school project online. It looks easy making a website in the class because someone is backing me up. At home, I’ve done it alone and struggling, which took me a while to see the results.
Anyway, I’m glad about following the course. It’s pretty exciting to know how to unzip files and learning about HTML and CSS, and additional coding for designing.
Choose a domain name for the blog
I’m able to retain my school project since this was already online and make some changes to it, but I prefer a brand new site.
For that, I need is a domain name an identity of my travel blog. Without it, no one knows my site exists, but I already figure out some name ideas. Nevertheless, I read somewhere how shorter the name it’s easier to remember.
To brief the title, I decided to combine the names of my children: Shane and Ivy, and the world are mines – it became Shavysworld.
It was a tough pick I need to be sure that is the right one. It is not like changing a car every year with a different brand; my domain name is for a lifetime. If you have a domain name, you can check on Whois if that’s available – it’s a website I registered the name of my blog.
Search for webhosting
Without web hosting, you can’t launch a blog on the internet. My school instructor recommends a few hosting companies in the Netherlands and Belgium, but they’re pricey. I conclude to search somewhere else.
There are dozens on the internet. The one that most recommended is Blue Host, especially for the novice, but has terrible reviews. A friend of mine who’s with the same provider, her website was offline for weeks due to technical problems. How awful could that be if they pull off your site from the internet!
But that’s me if I want to buy something whatever it is I always read the reviews of the product.
Anyway, after a long search, I sign-up with Siteground. They have different plans according to your choice. And the technical staff were excellent! You can call or chat online; however, I never have a problem with my website; I only contacted them twice for small technical stuff since I have this blog.
It’s a pretty straightforward process; your hosting provider will guide you step by step. But before you do that, make sure you have paper and a pen and write down what you fill in there, such as the user name, password, and email address.
I’m using different passwords for Cpanel, site login, and email account – it was necessary to write down everything. Anyway, they’re pretty smart, I only had to type the password once, and it automatically saved.
Thus each time I log in no need to type anything until one day it suddenly asks my log in password, by chance I have it written down.
The only problem I had is the configuration of the email server. I want to check my mails on the apps of my phone without logging to the computer. However, it’s confusing me when configuring the email client, but after following the videos, I got it right. I don’t want my inbox to explode with spams.
Pick a Theme
The theme is one that gives the appearance or layout on your website. You can choose one of the free default themes or download it from the internet.
There are massive choices out there with a different design, which is hard to pick the right one. There are also cons and pros in each one of them, so choose wisely.
My website is only one-year-old, but I already changed themes two times as I’m not happy with the results. There are limitations to the free version, you can’t design your site the way you want, but as a beginner, I didn’t mind at all until I become an expert, Lol I will never be an expert.
As I’m sick and tired with all those free clutters, I purchased one and currently using a theme that costs 59 dollars a year. There are cheaper as well, but I choose a lightweight, clean and simple design.
Download the Plugins
What are the plugins? In the beginning, I didn’t know how important they are on the website. The same as the Themes, there are free and premium. I download the free ones like Jetpack, Akismet, SEO, Updraftplus, Elementor. You can read reviews about the functionality of these plugins how important they are in your website.
There are lots of plugins you can use for the website, but I only have five downloads. Too many plugins slow down your site. These were I use: Jetpack monitoring my website day and night. If your site is down, they’ll let you know which was happening a few times in my case.
Akismet filters the spam comments and pingbacks that submitted to my site; I have a bunch of spams and nearly exploding my inbox. SEO plugin helps you optimize a blog post, as well as help your post appeared on search engines. I’m sure every blogger uses the SEO plugin.
Updraftplus for backup up and restoration of the website. I scheduled my plugin for weekly backup, in case if something goes wrong I don’t have to start from scratch. Though your host provider has your website backup as well, I rather have two than one. Elementor is a drag-and-drop page builder plugin that helps you to design the pages. You see, some of my pages and posts here, I use Elementor for it.
Start writing a blog post
Now the writing moments. The first post I wrote is (About Us) introducing yourself to your readers. Tell them who you are and why you started the blog.
It may be weird introducing yourself to the world, but that’s the way in the blogging industry. Many people out there were curious about you, and everyone describes themselves differently.
If you have done writing save it in a draft, don’t publish yet.
The next thing, write a post about a journey. Did you have a recent trip or place that you can remember? Well, write it down. When I started this blog, I was just back on a journey from Central America. Cuba was my first post on this blog; I remember it was a very long post, but I have done some editing work afterward.
If you finished the writing – it’s time to hit publish! Then go back to your (about us) draft work also hit publish. Now you have two posts online and read by everyone on the internet. How exciting!
Promoting the blog on social media
Now it’s time promoting a blog on social media. There are so many social networks to boost your blog – one of the best examples like Facebook, I use Facebook for a long time, but it set on private. And since starting this blog, I open a second account exclusively for this site. Instagram I wasn’t active before, and when I have a website, I post regularly.
Another social platform to promote a blog is Tripadvisor and often comes on search engines. Some of my visitors are coming from Tripadvisor. However, it is not simple to post a blog post as you must request to add a link by contacting their help center. It took me two weeks when receiving an answer before I’m allowed to post a link to my profile.
Working long hours
As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I wish I haven’t started – blogging can’t underestimate. Writing is a straining work; there are times I’m sitting behind my computer and forget to eat as I don’t feel hungry, tensionally focused.
Additionally, there’s so much more than just writing about a journey… you also need to provide the correct information. In the past, a lot of people traveling with guide books, and I’m one of those travelers. I never leave home without my Lonely Planet, but that was gone a long time ago. Nowadays, you’ll find everything on the internet for any destination, which is handy and no more dragging guide books.
My story behind this blog: If not writing, I’m redesigning the website, so it’s a never-ending job. However, if I wanted to make some changes, I’ll do it during the weekend. In case if something breaks, which happened a lot, I have plenty of time to fix it.
Follow the SEO steps
SEO is essential if you want your blog to show up on a search engine like Google. You need to optimize your blog before publishing. I never heard of SEO before I installed the plugin but haven’t used it. I started using SEO after a couple of my blog posts. These posts are wasn’t optimized and receive less traffic: Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Also, the post title is essential; I haven’t thought about it. Using titles that come on my head without checking online, no wonder I get a little traffic in the beginning.
There are lots of competitors on the internet; everyone uses almost the same headline of a blog. So before starting my writing, I search for the title that doesn’t appear online. Thus, if you noticed here, some of my blogs have weird titles, don’t blame me, hahaha. It took me a few months to learn about the whole process of SEO.
And thank god for that, since I’m following the steps it increasing the traffic to my website. It’s good to see visitors from different countries and continents, but I still have lots of work to do. How often I go on a trip – the more writings I have.
Post often a blog post
How often they mean? To be precise, posting three times a week to keep your rank on search engines. But impossible for me, I have a job. I only spend two hours writing in the evening, so for me doable every two weeks.
Moreover, I don’t write a blog during my trip. I’m going on a holiday to enjoy not to keep myself busy behind a laptop. All my writings happen only at home – if I’m going on a journey for one month, then you won’t see a post from me.
So these were tips I have and based on my experience. The truth is, I started to like being a blogger. So good luck!