How to Start a Travel Blog – Part 1

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Part 1: An Introduction to Blogging:

Back in April of 2013, I wrote a post titled “How to Make Money on the Road” and in this post, I built a list of possible work we could do while on the road. The list was a good starting point, but I felt like it needed to be expanded on and “explained” more thoroughly. Over the course of the next few months, I hope to go into more detail on each of the work from the road possibilities but today I will begin by focusing on Blogging or “How to Start a Travel Blog” and how you can make money from that blog. 🙂

What to Expect from this “Learning to Blog” Series

This is the first part of a series on the topic of starting a travel blog or really starting any type of blog for that matter.

Why Start a Travel Blog?

Do you like to write? Do you enjoy telling stories? Do you like engaging with others? If you answered yes to these questions, then you should enjoy blogging. Before you create a blog, you need to figure out your topic. Will you be writing about your day at work, your favorite shoes, places you visit or maybe you have a hobby you just can’t wait to tell the world about. Deciding on a topic isn’t mandatory, as you may just want to blog about what is currently on your mind and that is cool too.

I have a few blogs out on the internet but “Traveling Troy” is my personal blog where I plan to talk about my travels, my future RV purchase, making money from the road, the freelancing work I do and soon many other RV related topics. I enjoy traveling, I’m very intrigued by the RV lifestyle and I expect to use this blog to discuss my transition to RV living in the months to come.

    Why Start a Blog?

  • You enjoy sharing your experiences or talents with others
  • You want to express your thoughts or opinions
  • You enjoy being creative and helping others
  • To keep in touch with Friends and Family
  • To Make Money through Marketing Products or Advertising

Start a Blog That Matters

Anyone can start a blog, so if you want your blog to catch on a build an audience, then you need to Start a Blog That Matters. This means you should strive to help others with your blog, whether you’re explaining how to get discounts on travel or showing how to fix a leaking propane tank. Make your content great and make your blog matter.

After you have completed my 8-part series on starting a blog, you should try Corbett Barr’s blogging course.
Start a Blog That Matters
<--Start a Blog That Matters-->

    What’s included in Corbett’s course?

  • 13 Weekly Lessons and Action Plans
  • Over 8 hours of video
  • FAQ full of previously asked questions from 800+ students
  • 60-Day Money Back Guarantee (No Questions Asked)
  • The 90-Day Action Plan to turn nothing to a Blog That Matters

Why NOT to Start a Blog on a Free Host

Since my blog is in the Travel Blogging arena, I will focus a little extra attention to the Travel Bloggers but you can follow along and focus your blog on any topic. As I look around at some of my favorite travel blogs, I notice the vast majority of them are hosted on Blogger.com or WordPress.com which is fine and a great place to start, but these Free blog platforms have restrictions which may limit your blog growth in the future. Many of these travel bloggers probably started their blogs on Blogger for instance just as a hobby or a way for friends and family to keep in touch.

    Reasons to AVOID the Free Blogging Platforms

  1. Restrictions…Restrictions…Restrictions
  2. You DON’T OWN the CONTENT
  3. Don’t follow the RULES, get BANNED or DELETED
  4. Few Options for Themes
  5. Less Control of the site

I would only suggest the free blogging platforms to you if you are strictly blogging as a hobby and never plan to generate money from your hard work. Having your own site (not on a free blogging platform) gives you the ability to make money in a number of different ways, without restrictions.

The Free Blogger and Free WordPress Platforms Aren’t So Bad

I know I just mentioned above not to use these free blogging platforms, but they are a great way to learn about blogs. The last thing I want to do is discourage anyone from starting a blog, so please use the free services while you learn or as log as you like.

As a matter of fact, I follow a few great blogs which use the free platforms.
Below are two great reads:

Wandrin Lloyd

Wandrin Lloyd

Wandrin Lloyd’s great RV travel blog

Life on the Open Road

Life on the Open Road

Life on the Open Road with Diana

Buying a Domain and Using the Free Blogging Platforms

Another option for your blog is to buy a domain and then use one of the free blogging platforms (Blogger or WordPress) to manage your blog. I have seen several travel bloggers use this option as well.

Below are two examples of bloggers that own their own domains but use the free blogging platforms:

To Simplify

To Simplify by Glenn

To Simplify by Glenn

Ken Ilgunas

Ken Ilgunas

Ken Ilgunas – Walden on Wheels Author

You may recall hearing about Ken as the student living in a van to help pay off his student loans quicker. I read and thoroughly enjoyed his book about that experience called Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom.

Own Your Blog – Buy a Domain and Use WordPress.org

I know how tempting it is to use the free blogging platforms, but I will show you in the next few posts how easy it is to buy a domain name, setup your hosting account and start your blog with little trouble and at a low cost. I never want you to spend money that you can’t afford to spend, so if the free blogging hosts are your only option at this time, then that is fine. You can always transfer to your own domain later, but it can be a pain to do the transfer, which is why I suggest going with your own domain in the first place.

Below are examples of blogs that are on their own domains and self-hosted (not using a free service) and have installed WordPress:

Technomadia

Technomadia

Technomadia (Technology Enable Nomads)

Cheap RV Living Blog

Cheap RV Living Blog

Cheap RV Living Blog by Bob Wells

Bob’s has 4 websites but his Cheap RV Living Blog is very informative and gives many tips for RVers and Van Dwellers. I recently read Bob’s book where he compacts a TON of information into a great read about living in your vehicle called How to Live in a Car, Van or RV–And Get Out of Debt, Travel and Find True Freedom.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Hey, I’m just a guy with a blog and what I say isn’t always the best way, so tell us your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

Next Up: Blog Setup Basics

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4 Responses to How to Start a Travel Blog – Part 1

  1. Kent September 13, 2013 at 5:03 PM #

    Man great write up. I especially like the sample websites you include at the bottom and you mentioned 2 websites I never heard of. I don’t currently have a blog. Maybe I will follow this series and get a website started this weekend.

    Cool! Thanks!

    Kent

    • Troy Wiedeman September 13, 2013 at 7:24 PM #

      Awesome Kent! Follow the steps and let me know how it goes. I still have 4 more parts to this series to write but I’m really hoping to complete it this weekend.

      Have you been over to my business site? TroyWiedeman.com After you get your site going and want to learn a bit about getting traffic to your site, go get my WordPress SEO guide I wrote over there. Sign up for the newsletter to get it for free, otherwise it comes with some of my paid services.

      Thanks for the kind words Kent.

  2. Kent September 14, 2013 at 6:53 AM #

    Hey Troy. I finished looking over parts 1-3 of your guide and I’m ready for part 4. What’s the eta? No pressure! 🙂

    I need to figure out a cool domain name. It seems you have to come up with something original. So many of my ideas have already been taken.

    Maybe you or your readers can help. I’m in my mid-50’s, planning to buy a small rv and I want to try out rving for a few years. Ideas?

    • Troy Wiedeman September 15, 2013 at 10:36 AM #

      Kent,

      Thanks for not adding any PRESSURE. 🙂

      Parts 4 & 5 are now available and I decided to expand the series to 8 parts because I felt like I should include a post specifically about Plug-ins.

      Enjoy

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