How to Start a Travel Blog & Make Money in 2018

‘What do you actually do?’ is the most common question I get when I tell people I’m a travel blogger. As surprising as it sounds travel blogging can be an actual job and it became mine in 2015. Unfortunately, you can’t just ‘get this job’ overnight. Whether you want to blog professionally or privately here’s a mini guide on how to start a travel blog. You’ll also find out what to consider when you start, as some things are irreversible.

Why Do You Want to Become a Travel Blogger?

Why do you want to blog is the most important question and you should answer – before you even start considering getting a website. After seeing all my pretty photos online which make me look like I’m not working at all. I know, a lot of you think that you want my job. Travel blogging isn’t easy. I often work for hours and hours without any break. Anyway… here’s my guide on how can you start a travel blog.

How to Start a Travel Blog in 2018?

The first thing you need to realize is that it’s still NOT TOO LATE TO START your own blog.

While there are many bloggers and influencers on the market, there is only a handful of them who are worth recommending and doing their job professionally. I personally saw some bloggers rising out of nowhere and beating the already established people in terms of traffic, audience engagement and beautiful photos. As long as you’re determined and willing to work hard, you could be the next blogging star!

If you ever want to take your blogging adventures to the next level – make money, change a design, anything, you shouldn’t start your blog on WordPress. A few years ago one could slowly transition into professional blogger and learn as they go. But in 2018, the only way to ‘make it’ in the blogging world is starting the right way from the start.

Office of the day

Office of the day? Not really, but I often need to reply to emails immediately.


Find a Good Blog Name

Finding a great name for your blog might be a challenge, so take your time. It’s VERY important. This is how you’re going to recognized, remembered and it cannot be changed later. Your blog should be telling your readers what is it all about.

I wanted to write about my journey throughout the whole world and that’s how Anna Everywhere came to life. It’s a name easy to remember, and you can always assume from its name that it’s a travel blog and that it’s about me. Here are a few things you should consider when choosing a name:

  • Don’t limit yourself! Don’t try to create a name that describes your current travel route like “Anna in Africa” as it might limit you later on. What if you decide to move to Asia later? Names as ‘Twenty-Something Travel” might sound great at first, but are you going to be in your twenties forever? Another example was ‘The Hungry Partier’ who realized that his name wasn’t getting him many sponsors and he eventually grew out of partying.

 

  • Think internationally! I’d also avoid names that might not be clear to everyone. If you’re planning on writing in English your audience is going to be international, not just Australian or American. For instance, I know a blog called ‘Peanuts or Pretzels’. That name might be clear to Americans as it refers to a complimentary snack choice on major American airlines, but a lot of foreigners have no idea about it. When people ask what’s their blog name people usually respond ‘something with peanuts’, which probably isn’t how you want to be remembered and referred to.

 

  • Be original! As great as Nomadic X, Adventurous X or Wandering X may sound at first, if you do a quick Google search you’ll realize that there are way too many blogs named like that. Your blog won’t stand out and as a result, you’ll have less chance to succeed in the industry. Same goes for ‘Blonde’, ‘Brunette’, “Ginger’ or other names referring to your hair color. Take a look at a list of best travel blogs created by Matt to give you an idea of what kind of blog names are being used already.

Set up Your Social Media Channels

At least half of the blogging success nowadays is your social media channels. After you’ve chosen a name for your blog and checked if the domain name is available (more about it below), you should go ahead and secure your social media handles.

In my case, it wasn’t easy as Anna is a popular name and social media handles ‘annaeverywhere’ were already taken.

While I managed to get a facebook page Anna Everywhere & YouTube, a handle ‘annaeverywhere’ has already been taken on Twitter, Instagram. As a result, I had to add ‘_’, ‘-‘ and ‘.’ to my handles what isn’t an ideal solution, but I simply had no choice.

You won’t know everything about social media straight away. I recommend you to follow me and some other travel bloggers on social media and see what we’re all doing on each of our channels in order to learn.


Can I Start a Blog for Free?

Those of you who want to start a simple blog for friends and family can do it for free at WordPress.com. That’s how I started my blog, but I honestly regret it. WordPress.com doesn’t give you many options when it comes to design, selling adds and the most important thing it doesn’t allow you to attach Google Analytics account that will be important to track your visitors and send your stats to potential sponsors later.

Once your blog grows you’ll understand that the more visitors you have and the more collaborations you’ll get, the more money you’ll spend on the blog. For instance, because of my high traffic, my husband and I pay $400 monthly for hosting alone.

Set up Your Hosting Platform

There are many different platforms that can host your website. What exactly is a host? A host can be compared to a small base where your website content will be stored.

For new bloggers, I recommend hosting your blog on Bluehost as it’s cheap ($3.95 a month), safe and easy to set up. How to set it all up?

  • Step 1: Go to BLUEHOST.
  • Step 2: Click on Get Started website and pick a plan.

You can read my Bluehost Step By Step Tutorial on how to start your WordPress blog with Bluehost with screenshots to help you along the way. Check it out here.


Why Should You Install WordPress.org?

WordPress.ORG is often confused with wordpress.COM, but as similar as they can look it’s a totally different thing. WordPress.ORG is a program that runs on self-hosting websites and you’ll need it on your website. The panel is the same as on a free wordpress.com with possibilities to add more widgets, plugins etc. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this – you’ll learn in the process. After you install WordPress you can log in to your website through the dashboard. Voila!

I won’t lie to you, there are alternatives to WordPress, but certain themes and plugins will only work on WordPress. If for some reason you don’t want to work with WordPress, there’s also Joomla (pros: multilingual) or Blogger.


Choose the Right Theme to Design Your Blog

Once your blog is finally live, it won’t look good right away until you redesign it. You can hire a designer/developer on Upwork who can install everything on your blog quickly if you’re too scared to do it yourself. Don’t worry about your theme too much, as you can change it many times during your blogging career, I changed mine 4 times in 4 years until I was finally happy with it.

For beginners, I highly recommend Pipdig themes with a self-designed home page. They’re cheap and easy to use. Also, you can always send their team of developers an email if you’re struggling with something. If you like the simplicity that’s the right design for you, but there are way more available online.

I highly recommend beautiful themes from 17th Avenue. My husband, for instance, likes his WP Prosperity theme.


Install Plugins

You’re going to need some plugins on your website. What are plugins? They are third-party additional apps that make your website look cooler. You can search for them in the plugin section of your WordPress panel or simply google them. I struggled to find the right plugins, so here’s what I recommend:

  • Akismet – This plugin will protect you from spam.
  • Really Simple Share – Do you want your articles to be shared on social media? Of course, you do!
  • Broken Link Checker – It’s an easy way to see if some of the links on your blog aren’t working anymore. Your readers don’t want to click on a link that leads nowhere.
  • Redirection – A very important plugin if you plan on changing URLs and all of us change URLs once in a while.
  • Thank Me Later – When your readers comment on your post they’ll receive a thank you message along with some links to your social media channels. It’s a great way to gain more followers.
  • Yoast SEO – Easy plugin to improve your SEO. While it won’t make your articles rank high by itself, it’ll teach you some things about writing for SEO purposes.

You don’t need that many plugins as I have to start your blog. You can add many plugins later on.


Voila! Start writing!

That’s basically it! You can now start writing, starting from your ‘About’ page which will be the most viewed page of your blog. Don’t give up if your blog won’t have that many visitors straight away. It takes months to develop an audience and you should focus on getting noticed first. Reach out to other travel bloggers and online magazines and ask to write a guest post or take part in collaborative articles on other blogs.

I cannot teach you everything about blogging in a single post, as it would be as long as a book. But, blogging courses can do it better than me.

Every year, I run a week-long intense blogging and social media course/retreat. If you’re interested in attending 2019 edition, please fill in this form below:


My Recommendations for Online Courses:

  • Superstar Blogging – Why? It’s founded by Nomadic Matt – who whether you like or not, is the author of the most popular travel blog on the planet. Focuses on turning a blog into a business, optimizing SEO, doing the more advanced pitching. Superstar Blogging also bought the previously popular course called Travel Blog Success, so now you’ll have access to both!
  • Making Sense of Cents – Why? Because you could definitely learn from someone who makes over $150,000 per month only from affiliates alone.
  • Smart Passive Income – Not a course, but many ebooks. Why? Because you can definitely trust Pat Flynn. And his ebooks are free if you subscribe to his email list.

I also can recommend you joining a few Facebook groups in which you can ask questions and get some tips. To name a few groups: Under 1000 Club for beginners and Make Money Blogging for more advanced bloggers, but there are many more groups.

You can also attend travel blogging conferences such as TravelconTBEX, WTMTraverse or Women in Travel Summit to meet other bloggers and learn some tricks! You never know who you can meet and how it could help you in the future. My husband and I actually met at TBEX Florida 🙂

Networking at TBEX Florida in 2015

Networking at TBEX Florida in 2015


Learn More as You Go…

You shouldn’t worry about SEO when you start your blog, but you can start thinking about it already. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it basically refers to being easily found on in the google search. There are many ways to improve your SEO, but it’s a topic for another article.

If you want to learn how to improve your traffic you should check out this e-book. While I haven’t written it myself, it nicely explained everything.

Travel blogging isn’t as easy as it seems. You shouldn’t expect to see any large benefits from it for at least a year or two. Most of us full-time bloggers work over 30h a week while juggling press trips and brainstorming ideas for new projects. The most important thing is not to give up!

If you’re looking for ways to make money blogging and how to monetize a travel blog, check out my article on how to make money blogging.

Any questions? Troubles? Ask me below & good luck!

49 Comments

  1. Jan 24, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    Great tips Anna! Joining the groups and chatting with other bloggers is huge when you first begin the adventures of blogging.

    • Jan 24, 2016 / 7:50 pm

      Right? See you for tacos guys! 🙂

  2. Jan 25, 2016 / 1:24 am

    Figuring out a new blog name is hard, especially when you want to have a name that is available as a domain name and social media handles.

    Will you be writing about how to get more visitors to your blog soon? It will be great if you can share your tactics, and how you allocate time between writing new blog posts and promoting them.

    I’m quite sure there are people out there who wants to start their own travel blog, so I’ll be sharing this with them on Twitter to help them get started. 🙂

    • Jan 25, 2016 / 3:45 pm

      Hi Wayne,
      I’m actually going to be speaking at Traverse conference in Cardiff about it. I’m considering putting my presentation online later 🙂

  3. Jan 28, 2016 / 9:54 pm

    Hi, Anna!

    Reading this post made me feel like starting my blog is more manageable than I originally thought. Although, I’m afraid my blog’s name is a bit too generic now. (“Veronica Blogs”)

    At this point, my blog is really about self-fulfillment and working on my writing skills so I’m not too worried. 🙂

  4. Feb 1, 2016 / 4:58 pm

    Awesome tips, Anna. I’m still new on Instagram although I’ve been blogging for over 4 years now. That’s one of these social media platforms I can’t get used to using and Snapchat, for sure :). Wish me good luck!

    • Feb 1, 2016 / 10:56 pm

      I can give you a few tips 😀

  5. Allan
    Feb 6, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    Hi Anna, great article! I want to ask if you had an opinion on squarespace? I’m a travel photographer slash photographer and was about to go live on squarespace as it was so easy to set up and is great to highlight photography case studies. However, if I start blogging more (as I still travel so much!) I wasn’t sure if it would be a good platform for that. Cheers! And say hi when you’re in London in Feb!

  6. Lucy
    Feb 15, 2016 / 10:45 pm

    Thanks for the awesome article Anna! Still trying to build traffic and the tips on WordPress plugins were really helpful 🙂

    • Feb 16, 2016 / 11:35 am

      I’m glad! If you have any questions just shoot me an email 🙂

  7. Feb 23, 2016 / 2:05 pm

    Thank you for these blogging tips, Anna. I enjoyed reading your great blog with awesome posts. You are a well-traveled beautiful woman and thank you for giving us the opportunity to take a glimpse as well as providing us useful information about the places you’ve had been.

  8. May 6, 2016 / 11:26 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I love following you and Matt the ExpertVagabond on snapchat and other media. This will definitely help me advance my BucketList Project Blog. The “Thank Me Later” Plug In sounds like a great tool. Going to do that now. THANKS!

    • May 7, 2016 / 7:28 pm

      Glad you’re enjoying our Snaps Eric! 🙂

  9. Jun 21, 2016 / 12:07 am

    Nice work! Well done! I used to blog a lot and had lots photos. I got tired of writing where I went, how I traveled and what I ate.

    Thanks for following one of my twitter accounts. I think I should start blogging for travel again. 🙂

    • Jun 21, 2016 / 12:14 am

      You should! One benefit is a blogging community for sure – got to meet a lot of cool people!

  10. Jul 8, 2016 / 1:33 pm

    Dopiero zaczynamy, więc artykuł akurat pod nas 🙂 Dzięki A! Twój blog śledzimy już od jakiegoś czasu, jesteś mega motywacją! Będzie jakiś artykuł doradczy odnośnie kanału na youtube? 🙂

    • Jul 9, 2016 / 1:32 am

      Bedzie bedzie w przeciagu dwoch tygodni 🙂

  11. Aug 21, 2016 / 9:04 am

    “I am newbie and just as you said I am blogging through blogspot but now I feel that I should migrate to wordpress but I have got one confusion here, should I start with wordpress.com(wordpress hosted) or wordpress.org(self hosted).
    I would also include that I am from non technical background, so what would you suggest?”

    • Aug 21, 2016 / 3:51 pm

      Definitely not with .com as then you cannot attach google analytics and change your theme. For non-technical people Bluehost is the best 🙂

  12. Alba Gonzalez
    Aug 30, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    Anna!! I am thinking to start a blog and I will really take into account your tips!! Keep it up, you are doing great 😀

    • Aug 31, 2016 / 4:27 pm

      Do it! 😀 If you have any questions please shoot them over 🙂

  13. Nika - nextstopabroad.com
    Nov 1, 2016 / 9:52 pm

    Hi Anna, thank you for the “Thank Me Later ” plugin tip. I was not aware of this one until I’ve commented on one of your blog posts today. I am definitely going to implement it to my site as well. 🙂 Thanks again!

    • Nov 2, 2016 / 1:05 am

      Glad you liked it Nika! 🙂

  14. Nov 24, 2016 / 2:43 am

    These are really great tips. You’re right, it really needs hard work and dedication for it to work.

  15. Dec 7, 2016 / 3:29 am

    Thank you for all these simple and no fuss tips~!

  16. Paulin Curlay
    Dec 7, 2016 / 8:41 pm

    “I’m in my last year of high school and your blog has definitely inspired me to chase my travelling dreams 🙂
    Was just wondering though, is a web blog essential/necessary in funding your travels or could your travels be funded from other things?
    What else could provide as a main resource for funding travel?”

    • Dec 8, 2016 / 3:44 am

      A blog is definitely not necessary. I have another article on what was I doing to earn money before I started blogging.

  17. Leslie
    Mar 3, 2018 / 3:57 pm

    Hello Anna! Thank you for the tips, I’m starting my own travel blog and it can feel overwhelming sometimes. I’ll definitely be coming back to this post for a pick me up later lol

  18. Alice Williams
    Apr 2, 2018 / 8:33 am

    Thanks for sharing the Blog. From very long I was in search of such a blog. I will share my travel blog very soon.

  19. Apr 24, 2018 / 4:15 am

    Thank you for sharing these tips! You are a right, blogging is not easy, but it totally worth it first of all for your own personal growth and being able to share your experiences with many others.

  20. Liz Giustin
    May 4, 2018 / 1:47 pm

    Making a professional blog is very complex, especially in the travel industry.
    This post is illuminated, but I think it takes a lot of budget to be able to visit new places, photograph in high quality and create posting engaging like this.

    However, nice guide you have clarified many doubts about it, since I wanted to open one too.
    thank you so much
    Liz

  21. Alice Williams
    May 22, 2018 / 11:04 am

    Great information has been shared by you on the traveling blog. Traveling is such a wonderful experience for me.

  22. travel-blogs
    Jun 13, 2018 / 7:55 am

    This is an amazing blog. This is truly a very good travel blog, If you’re looking forward to starting a travel blog, this can be helpful for you with this article.

  23. sj cox
    Jul 10, 2018 / 10:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing your tips and ideas. I love your travel blog!

  24. Rondo
    Jul 14, 2018 / 9:10 pm

    Indeed being active on social media works as you started following us on Instagram and this is how we read your great blog!! Very interesting and inspiring article for us as we started our travel blog May and since July we have become full time professional travellers ??

  25. Mark Duda
    Jul 22, 2018 / 6:10 pm

    I just built my first webpress site, and i ended up using 4 of the 6 plugins you recommended, after reading your page. There are some really good tips on here, and i have no interest in a travel blog because im a dad…. and well, kabosh! But good tips generally for website builders too!

  26. Aaron Smith
    Jul 24, 2018 / 6:58 pm

    Amazing post as always. I love to read your stories about your travels around the world. Take care!

  27. Alpha
    Aug 16, 2018 / 8:08 am

    Thank you very much for all tips on travel blogging you share 🙂

  28. Johanna
    Sep 10, 2018 / 7:23 am

    Great job and nice work.. thanks for the sharing this tips with us it’s very informative post for us… please keep it up with a new post.

  29. Sep 16, 2018 / 12:06 am

    Great article! I found some useful tips for myself. In my opinion choosing a domain name for a blog is one of the hardest. Being original is not so easy these days since every name under the sun is taken. Anyway great blog! Added to bookmarks.

  30. Umrah Travel
    Oct 1, 2018 / 9:48 am

    Thanks for sharing some useful tips, especially loved the idea of creating Youtube channel for the blog.

  31. Nov 11, 2018 / 1:50 pm

    Hi Anna, great tips there. I was late on reading your blog. I already have my blog created in Squarespace, do you have any inputs about Squarespace? I am a registered nurse practitioner that loves to travel and giving tips also to those interested to balance their life. Take care, Anna.

    • Anna
      Author
      Nov 11, 2018 / 4:07 pm

      Hi Meika, you could leave it in Squarespace, but certain plugins might not work. I’ve never worked in Squarespace.

      • Nov 15, 2018 / 11:37 am

        Thanks for the reply Anna, I might explore more about Squarespace.

  32. Nov 11, 2018 / 6:03 pm

    Hi, Anna. I read your article, but I don’t quite understand how you begin to make money at the beginning. So you travel, and you have a blog where you write about your journeys. But what is it that brings you money at the end of the day? And how soon can you start making money before you spend everything on traveling and go broke?

    • Anna
      Author
      Nov 12, 2018 / 6:58 pm

      Everyone’s journey is different. Most people launch their blogs and run it part-time while working and saving money, then start traveling and keep working on your blog on the road. Again, traveling while blogging full-time is way different from backpacking because you actually have to work, network, keep learning new things. It’s not that simple as just traveling and writing about it. You need to learn SEO, affiliate marketing, get noticed by brands, etc. I actually run week-long intense courses for new bloggers (http://annaeverywhere.com/blogging-course-retreat/), because it’s a LOT to learn.

      Making money from the blog won’t happen overnight. And there’s no single answer to when will it happen for you, but if you have the knowledge and know how to do things right it’s faster. Did you read this post on ways to make money? http://annaeverywhere.com/make-money-blogging/

      • Nov 13, 2018 / 1:33 am

        I did not read any of your posts except this one, but I will definitely check them out right now. I haven’t heard of seo or affiliate marketing before, hoping to find answers in your posts.

        Thank you.

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