Step 1. Find your Niche
These are a few of the tips I have picked up from the pro’s during my journey creating a website.
- Be specific, make sure that your audience know what you are writing about.
- Identify your passion.
- Try to narrow down within this passion to find a specific niche or a couple to combine. For example I write about lifestyle art and travel and incorporate those into the topic of travel. You can be more specific and focus on solo travel, travelling as a female/male, luxury travel etc. It’s up to you.
- Try to research gaps in the market, this will help to make you unique.
Step 2. Brainstorm a Killer Blog (Domain) Name
To keep things basic, your domain name is the unique address of your blog/website on the internet. Your www. address, for instance mine is www.serendipitouswanderlust.com and it will be my unique identifier for as long as I pay an annual fee to keep this address. I will talk about this fee in the next couple of steps.
Tips for your domain name;
- You can either use your own name, a brand, your niche or some of these combined, it’s up to you.
- Try to relate it to travel or your niche in some way.
- Try to keep it easy to remember and easy for your audience to type into their browser.
- Think about the long term, this is how you will always be identified.
- Check it’s availability, you can do this by going to SiteGround. Nevermind the prices that you see here, this is just to check that your domain is available for you to use. If you follow my link below you will get a sweet 50% discount on your hosting price.
- Google your name to see what comes up, you can also use the website KnowEm to see if it comes up on any social media network. I highly recommend doing this because you will want to use social media websites to monetize your blog.
- Check that there isn’t already a Trademark for that name here.
Step 3. Buy Your Domain and Get a Good Hosting for your Travel Blog
This is where your blog will live, on a remote server where all your information is saved.
An investment will be required if you want to work towards earnings. The investment is generally quite affordable, I pay $14.95 a year for my domain and $4.95 per month for my hosting. If this is going to be a hobby or you don’t think you will have the motivation to maintain a website I would suggest free platforms such as Tumblr, wordpress.com, blogspot or blogger may be better suited. However these free platforms do have a lot of disadvantages, such as;
- Free platforms are not search engine friendly, if you tried to search for a particular topic or focus wrd you will find it very hard to locate your blog through search engines.
- Domain names on free platforms are often quite long, also making it harder for readers to find you.
- You will not be able to place your own ads on these websites, which means you will not make any earnings. However the platform will put their own ads on your blog.
- Free platforms have little to no plug ins and themes. Themes and plug ins make your website look fancy and professional.
- Your website can potentially be deleted at any time if the platform feels that you have violated their site terms.
- Free platforms are not always user friendly especially when it comes to trying to add a theme when it is possible to on a free platform.
- If you want to look into advertising brands, affiliates and partners, a free platform does not look professional. This also means no earnings.
My website is currently located on the SiteGround server and I can say that their customer service is amazing! They are extremely beginner friendly, any small thing that you need help with they can assist. Trust me I needed a lot of help to begin with. They have a really great chat service and they have always been quick to respond.
Step 4. How to Set Up your Domain Name and Hosting (with SiteGround)
Step 5. Install WordPress
WordPress isn’t the only online open source website creation tool to choose from. However it is my preferred and it is one of the easiest to use for a beginner. I am talking about wordpress.org not wordpress.com which is the free platform version. If you’re interested you can also consider Joomla. Or if you are looking to build an online store Magento or PrestaShop might be something that you want to look into. For now we are going to look at how to install WordPress.
1. Sign into SiteGround and head over to you account.
2. Go to your cPanel. This is a little redish/orange button that takes you to your control panel for your hosting package.
3. Select the Wordpress icon under the auto installers bar.
4. Then select the install now button.
5. Customise your settings. Generally you can leave your domain protocol to the standard setting, https protocols are for secure sites. If you have any trouble with this section SiteGrounds support are great if you get stuck.
Make sure the correct domain is selected. This should be automatic. Leave the “In Directory” option blank.
It is recommended but not necessary to change your site name, site description, admin username and admin password. I created a custom domain email which I used for my admin email. If you're interested in learning how to create your own domain email leave comments.
6. Once the form is completed, select install.
7. You have now installed Wordpress. If you head back to your SiteGround "My Account" tab, then select "Go to Admin Panel" button to the right of your domain. This will take you to your Wordpress account and this is where the magic happens. If you have any issues with these steps SiteGround support is always available.
Step 6. Pick your Theme and Customise Your Site
There are a lot of free themes out there on the interweb which do the job, especially if you are starting out. However they tend to limit your ability to customize and generally don’t look as pretty as some of the ones that have been designed for purchase.
You can find free themes on WordPress.org which you can choose t0 follow this link or it is much easier to got to you “appearance” tab on your wordpress account/dashboard. Then select “themes”, from here you can search, select and activate the theme that you would like to use.
Currently I use a Station Seven theme which cost me $59 AUD. If you want to know where to find more themes both free and purchased you can have a look at some of the links on my Pinterest board.
Once you have your theme selected you can look at adding plug ins for things like the slideshows that are in some of my posts, the world map in the footer of my website or the expand and retract boxes that you can see in this post. If you want to learn more about plug ins, leave me a comment and I will write another post about plug ins more detail.
Step 8. Create your Basic Content
About Me Page
Introduce yourself and try to be authentic to you. This is where you will attract people to want to follow you.
This can show your email and social media channels or whatever form of contact that you choose. Or you can opt to put up a form using the plugin Contact Form 7.
Depending on where you set your side bar it will generally sit to the right of your posts, however it can sometimes be set to the left. To control the contents that appears in your sidebar go to your “appearance” tab and select “widgets”.
Step 9. Secure Your Name on Social Media Sites
This step should be easy as we already had a look at your Domain Name availability across social media sites. It is a good idea when you are ready to launch your blog to register your Name across social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Youtube and Pinterest. This will help to attract more traffic to your website.
Step 10. Start Creating Your Content and a Way You Go…..
I am not going to tell you what I think you need to put here. You know what to do and you know what you want to say. So go for it. I know your blog is going to be amazing.
I would love for you to share your link with me once you’re up and running so leave a comment or send me an email and I will come and check it out.