My first travel blog started in 2010, on Blogger.com. I made it to update my family while studying abroad in Barcelona. I had three posts, then I quit.
A year or so later, I still had the itch to start a travel blog. I loved reading them and wanted to share my experiences in a way that would inspire people to travel. Travelaine came to mind one night when I was thinking of what rhymed with “Elaine.” I really wanted Elaine in Spain, but, I wasn’t living there anymore. Maybe in the future, I can start that blog…
My mom designed the logo, which I still use today; and everything snowballed from there. As I’ve written about before, once your intention is out there, things start moving!
I can’t fit everything about blogging into one blog post, but, I’ll do my best to get you started. It’s taken me around four years to understand this stuff, and I’m still in the process of implementing some of it. But, it’s all part of the journey. And hopefully, my blog shows that it is possible to run a successful blog, even if you work a 9-5 and live an active social life.
I think the best way to do this is to give you a list of FAQs and resources to dive right into. Please comment below or reach out to me in another way if you want more guidance!
Resources I Use
This is what I use to host my website – I bought Travelaine.com through them and use the WordPress.org framework.
I really like this class and support group. It’s an online course that’s awesome for those completely new, or somewhat versed, in the travel blogging field. The Facebook Group is my favorite part, where I feel safe to ask hundreds of other travel bloggers just about anything. And their searches have been saved for years.
With the number of people living on Instagram and Facebook these days, you really need high-quality photos on your blog. The newer cell phones now supposedly have amazing cameras, but, I use this camera. I’m still learning photography and its auto feature is great by itself. It’s compact, so I’ve taken it safely to places like on a camel’s back in the Jordanian desert and riding a boat in Belize.
I use this website to look up keywords to use in my blog posts for search E optimization (SEO). It’s how Google and other sites find your site to list for people doing searches.
This free resource is so helpful for laying out your blog – which is a business if you aim to do it professionally – and taking action to implement it. It helps me think through future services or products I want to offer on Travelaine.
I honestly refer to this book super often. Guy lays out a social media amplification in a no-nonsense, no-jargon way. You should be at least familiar with social media platforms if you want to start a blog, and this is a good way to learn how they work together, and how to become an expert at each one.
I live by this organizer. Mainly because writing things by hand and having space to creatively think through things is important to me. I block out blogging time, creative ideas time, gym time, meal prep time, and more as if it’s all part of my 9-5 job. It works to help you get your life together.
How do I become a travel blogger?
Honestly, my best advice is to just start now. Start your writing habits, if you don’t have any, and create that blog. Write in your diary. Write letters. Long form Facebook posts. Anything to get you in the habit of writing. Because, like going to the gym; it takes practice and gets easier the more you do it.
Besides writing, also think of a niche. There are really SO many travel bloggers out there now, all hoping to do very similar things in the world. And it’s great since companies are noticing the importance of bloggers more and more. But, it also makes it hard to have a unique voice. Try to think of something specific to write about.
How do I set up a blog?
I recommend buying a domain name right off the bat and creating your blog from there. It’s not expensive. As your audience grows, you’ll want to have more opportunities to expand the servers and such. Plus, it’s yours, so don’t you want to own it?
I use Hostgator, which I linked to above. If you want to start out with a free blog and transfer it over to a paid domain, I used WordPress.com. I bought the URL ‘travelaine.com,’ otherwise called a domain name, through Hostgator and have been using them ever since.
So I set up my blog. What do I do now?
WRITE. As much as you can. I basically live on my Notes app since I’m writing posts on the metro, during lunch, in line for coffee, … You start defining your voice through writing more. And write what you enjoy writing about. There’s no point otherwise.
As you’re writing, start telling people about your new blog. You could prep content before you start your blog and set a date to ‘launch’ it. Or, send everyone an email right at the start and create a plan for what you’ll post about for the next few months. Your family and friends are your best readers!
Where can I learn the lingo of the travel blogging space?
Read travel blogs, forums, and more, as much as you can. Honestly, the best way to stay in the know is to keep reading. I also really like the class and support group, Travel Blog Success, which I talked about above. Also look out for blogging groups in your city – I love the DC Travel Blogger group and Bubbles & Bloggers here in D.C.
Blogging conferences can also be a good place to start. I’ve been to TBEX a couple of years ago, and that provided me lots of contacts and a much better understanding of the field. My very first one was the Women in Travel Summit in New York, where I was inspired by so many women who travel. I’ve heard of other good ones, too.
How do I make money blogging?
Simply, it’s a balancing act. The common ways are affiliate marketing, brand ambassadorships, sponsored posts, partnerships, etc. You can partner with a tourism board or PR company to generate revenue or exchange something like a night at a hotel for a blog post. Lots of bloggers make side incomes from freelancing or media consulting.
It really depends on your niche. I recommend Travel Blog Success again for this question since they walk you through that really well. I’m also happy to answer any questions based on what I have learned and do, too!
And there’s some information to get you started! I’ll continue to update this post as I get more questions and think of more resources to share.
I’ll also note that some of these links are affiliate links – meaning, I get compensation if you purchase something from them. That all goes to managing Travelaine at no cost to you, so, hopefully you don’t mind. Happy Blogging!