How to Start my Personal Travel Blog?
So you have been reading lots of travel blogs and have decided thatyou want to create a travel blog of your own. Good stuff. Welcome to the world of blogging.
Starting a travel blog can be a wonderful way to enhance your travelexperience as well as providing you with a great way to document yourtravels for you to look back on.
We are going to try and provide you with an easy to follow yetinformative guide to starting a travel blog. A travel blog tutorial ifyou will.
First we will define some terminology then we will move on to the concrete steps you need to take.
This is your blog’s address on the Internet. Our domain name is onlinelivingblog.com. Other examples of domain names are Google.com,ato.gov.au and ebay.co.uk.
What is hosting?
When you type onlinelivingblog.com into your browser your computersends a message out onto the Internet that is directed to anothercomputer far away. That distant computer is owned by a hosting company.When it receives your request it sends back a web page like the one youare looking at right now.
You will need an account with a hosting company who will host yourwebsite. Then when someone types your domain into their browser theInternet will have somewhere to send that request.
There are a vast number of hosting companies out there so choosingyour hosting can take an eternity if you want to trawl through everyoption available. To save you some time, we use a company called Bluehost.
They are one of the most popular, if not the most popular bloghosting companies out there. Their prices are reasonable and we havenever had any major problems. On the odd occasion when we have had cause to contact tech support they have been helpful and polite. We recommend them.
WordPress is free blogging software that lives on that computer atyour hosting company. It stores all of your posts, photos etc and sits,patiently waiting to send them when someone requests them. WordPressalso restricts access so that only you can log in and add new posts,upload photos etc.
There are many different pieces of software that do this job but wehighly recommend WordPress. WordPress powers roughly a quarter of allwebsites currently on the Internet. We use WordPress. The vast majorityof all bloggers use WordPress. Use WordPress.
Enough terminology. Time to make a decision. Don’t worry we will make it as painless as possible.
1. Choose Your Hosting
There are two options when choosing your hosting. Free or paid.
Free travel blogs have the obvious benefit of being free. Thedownside is that your domain name will be something likeyourblog.wordpress.com rather than yourblog.com which is not superimpressive. Also, you won’t have full control over your own blog. Youare using someone else’s service, for free, so they will put limits onwhat you can do and you have to accept their restrictions.
If you are simply starting a personal travel blog with no particular goal then starting a free blog may be a good option. Click here to try out wordpress.com’s free blog platform. (Not Recommended)
Getting paid hosting means you have your very own domain and you have total control over your site. If you do not mind parting with a fewdollars I recommend going straight for the paid option. (Highly Recommended)
You can start out with the free option then moved to paid hosting but apparently moving is rather painful. We have not personally experienced it as we skipped straight to getting paid hosting which is what werecommend you do. Don’t worry, it is not expensive. You can get goingfor $3.95 per month.
Lets get on and get you set up with your new blog!
The following is a walk through of the process. It contains a bunch of pictures of what you should see on your screen.
When you first go to Bluehost you should see something the following. Click the big green “get started now”.
Choose your service level. The low cost starter level is completely fine. Click on the green “select”.
Time to choose your domain name. A domain is included with yourhosting when you sign up with Bluehost. Why are domain names important?Your domain name will essentially be your travel blog name.
Hopefully you have a few ideas kicking around. Do not be surprised if your first few ideas are already taken. Catchy names are hard to comeup with.
Once you have found an available name you like, open a new tab inyour browser and google for similarly named sites. Just to make surethat you are not going to wind up with a travel blog that is too similar to someone else. You want your own distinct identity to make it easierfor people to remember you.
Do not sweat choosing a domain name too much. As long as it issomewhat memorable travel blog names do not appear to be a massivefactor in how popular a blog will be. Ours is called “magic travelblog”. Really? It’s magic is it?
Type in your desired domain name and click “next”.
Next is entering your account information and credit cardinformation. You will also have the option of choosing some (not free)add-ons. Some are worth at least considering in my opinion. Those are…
Domain privacy protection – This means that someonecannot look up the stuff you just entered under “account information”.By default information about who owns a domain is public so companieslike Bluehost offer to hide it for you, for a price. Seems worthwhile to me.
Site backup pro – This is a little more uncertain.We have it but have never actually used it. I do not know how practicalit is for someone non-technical to do something like a database restore. Presumably Bluehost’s tech support would assist (or do it for you).
SiteLock Security – Bluehost will regularly scanyour site for security problems. Again, probably worthwhile although itis likely something you will never hear anything from. The idea is thatif someone successfully breaks into your site and alters it to try todownload a virus to your visitors Google will detect that and stopsending you visitors. That is bad. Better to have Bluehost spot theproblem first.
You can also turn this stuff on later so do not feel like you need to spend too much time pondering your options right now. You can untickthem now if you like, then come back to them later.
Once you completed this page, congratulations! You now own a domainname and have the ability to host your travel blog. If you have neverbought a domain name or set up a website before this is a pretty bigmoment. Well done!
2. Install WordPress
Right now your hosting account does not really do anything. The nextstep is to go to your CPanel, your web host control panel, and installWordPress.
Find WordPress under “website builders”.
If you are offered extra not free stuff at this point you almost 100% do not want it.
Click the big green “install” button.
Next you need to choose where exactly you want to install WordPress.This is because you could theoretically have many sites in your hostingaccount.
You do need to make a decision about whether you want www on thefront of your domain name or not ie www.onlinelivingblog.com Vs onlinelivingblog.com. It is not particularly important. Personally Iprefer without the www as it is simply less typing.
Next you will provide a user name and password to use when you loginto your WordPress site. Change them both to something you willremember. Also, enter your site name then click “Install Now”.
At this point there will be a little waiting, you may get to watch aprogress bar but WordPress should be installed. Congratulations oncompleting step two.
3. WordPress Basics
We will now give you a super simple, step by step WordPress tutorial.
Go to your blog in the browser by opening a new tab and typing yourdomain name into the browser address box. Somewhere on the page youshould see a “log in” link. Click it and enter the WordPress log indetails you entered while installing WordPress.
Once you log in you will be taken to your Dashboard. Getting startedwith WordPress can be a little overwhelming at first but there are only a few bits of the Dashboard that you will use regularly.
The WordPress dashboard.
Lets create your first post.
Create first post
If you look over on the left hand side of the Dashboard there is awhole bunch of stuff. Find “Posts”. Moving the mouse over “Posts” should cause a menu to pop up. Click “Add New”.
You will be moved to the new post screen. It looks like this.
Enter your post title into the title text box. Type the actualcontent of your post in the big box. When you are happy with it clickthe Publish button. There are a myriad of other options and things youcan play with but that is the core workflow.
Once your first post is published you officially have a travel blog! Congratulations!
Choosing a theme
Before you go, A bonus point.
In WordPress the theme is the look of your site. The color scheme and how it is laid out. While there are themes that cost money, there isalso a vast collection of free themes available. You can change theme as often as you like.
Over on the left hand side of the dashboard there is an item called”Appearance”. If you move your mouse over it and wait a second a littlemenu should appear. Click “Themes”.
The screen that follows displays your currently installed themes. Click “Add New”.
On the next page you can search for themes. Type in just aboutanything and relevant themes will be displayed. In the search results,click a theme to take a closer look.
This screen is a preview of the theme. To get back to the searchresults click the X in the very top left. If you want to use the themeclick “Install”.
You can install any number of themes then activate whatever theme iscurrently your favorite by going to Appearance > Themes in the lefthand menu on the dashboard. Try out a few themes. Its kind of fun seeing how many looks are possible.
You now have a domain, a hosting account, WordPress installed, youhave published your first post and even changed your blog’s theme. Youshould be very proud of yourself.
This set up process takes some time but you should only have to do it once. Now that your travel blog is set up it is just a matter offilling it with great photos and compelling words. Best of luck withyour blogging adventures
Just in case you read this whole thing before getting started here is that link to Bluehost again. Bluehost Have fun.
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