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How to start a blog in 2023: With step by step instructions

Are you an avid traveler with a passion for the unknown? Why not start an online travel journal to share your experiences with the world? Starting your own travel blog is easier than you think, and allows you to get creative with how you share your stories. You can write about the places you’ve been and the people you’ve met, and also provide useful tips and advice to others on how to make their own amazing journeys. Read on to find out how to get started and make your travel blog stand out.

Step 1. Find your niche

These are a few things I’ve picked up along the way, during my journey to 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 of sub-niches combined. For example I write about female travel and photography, and incorporate those into the main topic of travel. You can be more specific and focus on solo travel, travelling as a female/male, luxury travel etc.
  • Try to research gaps in the market, this will help to make you unique.

Step 2. Brainstorm a killer blog/website (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.

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 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 its availability, you can do this by going to SiteGround. Don’t worry about 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 discount on your hosting price.
  • Google your business and domain name to see what comes up, you can also use the website KnowEm to see if it comes up on any social media network.
  • Check that there isn’t already a Trademark for that name here.

Step 3. Buy your Domain and get a good hosting plan

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 that a free platform 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 work you will find it very hard to locate your blog through a search engine like Google or Yahoo.
  • 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. These make your website look fancy.
  • You website can be deleted at any time if the platform feels that you have violated their site terms.
  • Free platforms are not always user friendly either.
  • If you want to look into advertising brands 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. They have a really great chat service and they have always been quick to respond. There has been mention of other hosting sites that have suspended bloggers websites with no warning, have extended down time and have limited assistance. This is not the case with SiteGround and ultimately was my reason for choosing this hosting.

Step 4. How to set up your domain name and hosting (with SiteGround)

If you use the link below or click here you will get a sweet discount on the normal hosting prices. Then follow my steps below to sign up to SiteGround.

Ad - Web Hosting from SiteGround - Crafted for easy site management. Click to learn more.

4.1 Choose your hosting plan

  • The StartUp plan is perfect for people who want a basic plan for one website only. You can always upgrade your plan later if you choose to.
  • The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves the WordPress website speed.
  • The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites, or more geeky development needs like staging and GIT integration.
SiteGround hosting plans

4.2 Choose your domain name

Here you can now choose to buy your new domain that you chose above, or sign up with an existing domain. If you already have a domain or you are looking to transfer your hosting SiteGround have a free website transfer which is great.

Domain name for your blog

Step 5. Create your own custom domain email (optional)

Setting up your own domain email isn’t a requirement but if you are thinking about creating a mailing list and you want to look professional it is a good idea. This means you will have your own .com email address and it is quite easy to set up with SiteGround and is apart of your package. If you have any issues with these steps you can get in contact with the SiteGround live chat support.

Step 6. Install WordPress

Go to websites and select site tools for the website you want to install wordpress for.

Wordpress

Once you’re in site tools, select Install & Manage WordPress.

Dashboard for your blog

No you have installed WordPress. If you head back and select “Go to my account” tab, select “Websites” and then click on “WordPress Admin”, this will take you to your WordPress account. This is where all the magic happens. If you have issues with any of these steps SiteGround support is always super helpful.

Step 7. Pick your theme, customise your site

A theme basically determines the look and feel of your WordPress.org website! You can select a FREE theme for your website within WordPress. Because these themes come with pre-made templates that you can quickly modify, you don’t actually need to be an expert in HTML and CSS coding to come up with a beautiful website design.

There is nothing wrong with selecting a free theme for your blog because the majority of beginning bloggers do so after learning how to launch a travel blog, and then upgrade to a paid theme. The (annoying) limitations on its editing features and design layouts are the main drawback I see to choosing a free theme. Not to mention the fact that since they are free themes, their designers or creators might not bother to update them.

If you are pressed for time or don’t know enough about web design, you can always get a web designer to do it all for you. I purchased my theme from Envato Market which has made it easy for me to create my website, the developer provides regular updates and provides advice on install issues.

To install a theme go to Appearance > Theme > Add New. From here, you can search for themes preloaded into WordPress which are mostly free themes, or you can upload a purchased theme. To do this you will need to upload the zip file. SiteGround have some great articles to help if you get stuck.

Step 8. Logo, customisation and design

Once you’ve installed your theme you will want to modify it to give it the ‘look’ you desire for your website pages and blog. Most premium or paid themes come with a manual or collection of tutorials that can be used to alter them. It’s really useful to read this first to avoid getting lost while making future customisations.

  • Become familiar with Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to be able to develop and alter graphics on your own, which you’ll be doing a lot of while you operate your blog. There are other free editing programs you can use, however they will restrict how much your can edit.
  • Even if you’re a complete newbie, use Canva, a fantastic site for designing and making illustrations (given that they already have set templates, etc.) I used Canva to create my website logo. You can also find specialised sites for creating logos if you need the help.

Step 9. Install plugins

One of the reasons I love WordPress.org is because of its plugins. These can be compared to apps that enhance your website. Since most themes lack ALL of the features or modifications you require, plugins are unavoidably necessary.

So, in order to effectively start a website or blog, you should consider the following plugins:

  • Akismet – to protect your website from spam comments made by bots and spammers.
  • Yoast SEO – to help optimize your blog’s ranking for Google. If you ever need help, the creator’s website has several tutorials that can help you manage your SEO better.
  • Google Analytics – to track the growth of your blog. This is an important thing for you to set up! Google Analytics (GA) is a powerful tool that helps measure and analyze your blog’s traffic and in the future, advertisers would need data from this platform. So first, you need to register with GA and then install this plugin to easily integrate GA’s tracking on your website.
  • Jetpack Boost – to speed up your website and help it rank better on Google. There are a lot of ‘caching’ plugins out there and this is the one I use. It has a FREE and paid version.
  • WordFence – to help secure your website from hackers and malware. It has a FREE and paid version and the free version is enough to start with.

You can easily add these by navigating to your Dashboard: select “Plugins > Add New” Type the plugin names listed below into the search box and press “Install” (if it’s a file, just upload the.zip folder after clicking “Upload Plugin” on the “Add New” page). You will then need to activate the plugin, I also recommend enabling auto-updates so you don’t have to worry about the plugin being out of date and uncompatible. If you have any trouble doing this, leave me a comment below and will be happy to help.

Step 10. Create your blog structure

Your travel blog will consist of both WordPress pages and posts. They both contain content, however, pages are the main structure for your site. Post are the blog articles that are found within your pages. To improve organziation and user experience you will need to set up and organise the main pages for your blog.

  • About Me Page – This one is fairly self explanatory. Introduce yourself and your blog.
  • Blog Page – This can be used to categorise posts in any order you like.
  • Contact Me Page – This will provide details for followers and brands to contact you.
  • Terms of Service / Privacy Policy / Disclamer Pages – To uphold your rights and maintain protection from any liabilities you should make sure you have these pages set up. You can google examples and find disclosure generators online.
  • Extras – As your travel blog expands you can start adding extra pages such as, Destinations, Resources, Gallery and Affiliate Disclosure if decide to start affiliate marketing.

Step 11. Secure your name on social media and start an email list

11.1 Social Media

When learning how to establish a new travel blog, this is an essential step! Yes, with the correct SEO strategies, your blog can expand on its own. However, you should consider running promotions, start being “social” online, and build your online presence if you want to accelerate that growth. Start by creating accounts on popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and YouTube using your blog name. As much as I love my blog name, it has been a bit too long and hard for people to search in some socials. This means I have had a slow following. I decided to stick by the name, as it speaks a lot to my style of travel. I love the serendipitous moments while travelling.

One of the best strategies I’ve learns from social media marketers has been to repurpose my social media content. You can save a TikTok video (without watermarks) and repurpose it as a facebook or instagram reel. You can also use the same video to create an idea pin on Pinterest. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel across every social platform, there is no harm in repurposing and reusing content.

Sites such as instagram and Facebook can now be linked. When I post photos on instagram, it will automatically post to my facebook. This doesn’t work for reels though.

Another tool I use to help me with my socials it Tailwind, this app helps with scheduling your pinterest, instagram and Facebook posts. It also saves you time by creating post tiles for you, and using AI o ghostwrite post captions for you. This app has been a huge timesaver for me.

11.2 Email List

A mailing list is made up of the names and email addresses of people who have given you permission to send them blog update emails. You can make a newsletter through services like MailChimp or Mailster.

Reasons you should build an email list for your blog:

  • Boosts traffic and grows your audience,
  • Builds rapport with your audience,
  • Use your email list to monetise and diversify your revenue stream, and
  • Increase your sale conversion rates.

I currently use MailChimp and I am still learning about email lists and what it can do for me.

Step 12. Start creating your content

Start by making top level categories and posts first. To start, begin with three top level categories that you will use for all of your blog posts. It is vital to brainstorm about the primary themes that you intend to cover in your blog (eg. “Destinations” is your top level and its sub-categories are the continents). To further improve your website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) after you’ve put this structure in place, write a main blog posts for each of these parent categories. Then create sub-posts that link back to these main blog posts. Doing this will improve your SEO from the get go.

I can’t emphasise enough how crucial SEO is! Take the time to learn about this, either by reading Yoast’s recommendations or by enrolling in SEO training. By installing the Yoast Plugin, this will help with improving your SEO in each post. As I write this post, I still don’t have any of my posts that rank number one in Google searches. I am continuing to enrol in training and started reading books to help improve my ranking.

Planning ahead and creating a publishing schedule you can follow is always beneficial. This will help to increase your rank on Google (by signalong to the algorithm that you are someone who is “current” and posts frequently) in addition to keeping your followers informed. It is recommended to post at least three times each week to start. Then use your analytics to guide you in adjusti g this schedule.

You’re ready to start your own blog

I tried to provide all of the steps to starting a new blog. I hope you find this information useful. If there are any items that I haven’t covered, please let me know in the comments and I will try to cover them in future posts.

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission when you click on the link. I do not recommend anything that I don’t personally use, and the income goes towards keeping this site updated and free. Please refer to my Disclaimer and Terms of Service for more information.

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