How to start a Travel Blog from Scratch
Making money from a new blog is often a pipe dream for lots of people. The thought of writing about something that you are passionate about and it results in money is just enough to make you smile.
However, with millions of blogs in existence, just 14% make money out of it. It isn’t impossible to make money from your new blog, but it is going to take dedication and persistence to maintain a profitable blog.
Here are 5 steps to follow during the setting up and monetisation process;
1. Choose a Profitable Niche..ie Travel!
The profitability of a niche is the determining factor of how successful your blog can become. If the niche is too broad, you might not have enough people interested in what you are writing about and therefore your audience will not grow. You may also find that as you change your direction of posts that you publish on your blog, this could impact on your followers. Stay focused on one aspect of your niche and you will gain a following respectively.
One way to pick a suitable niche is to choose an evergreen niche. An evergreen niche is a proven topic that lots of people spend money on, and continue to invest in for the long-term.
An example of such niches are;
Business and finance
Health and wellness
But my general rule of thumb would be to select a niche that you are actually interested in. You might not realise it at this point, but if you intend to develop your blog into a successful publication, then you will need to become obsessed with it! That means writing about, researching and indulging in all things concerned with your niche selection. Make sure it’s something you actually love and this will reflect onto the blog. For us that’s Travel!
You’ll need to write stellar content to create a blog that is worth reading. This is because the content you’re writing will be the mainstay of your blog. When you fail to invest in creating amazing content, it will be difficult to build an audience and a community around the topic of your choice.
As they say ‘content is king’.
You should consider also starting a youtube account and making sure you set up all social media platforms connected to your blog name. Which brings me to the next point….
3. Selecting a Domain Name
What is a domain you may ask. Well a domain is basically the name for your website on the internet. For example my domain is hitchhikinginheels, and will continue to be this for as long as I continue my blog and pay my subscription fee. You can head on over to Godaddy to select a domain name. Before that, you might want to get brainstorming on the best one for you. It took me a while but eventually I came up with hitchhikinginheels as it suited our personalities and I like the fun factor of the name.
Choose wisely, as you cannot change it once you purchase it. It’s yours for life!
A note here about your domain name: Make sure it is not too long and doesn’t include a lot of symbols that people will find hard to remember when searching. You will be setting up Facebook pages and other social media accounts in this name remember as so if it’s long winded or overcomplicated you will instantly loose peoples attention and hinder your chances of making your name publicly known. This will also greatly affect you when you come to thinking about SEO.
What is SEO?
It’s short for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. It’s an important aspect of your website that should be configured correctly in order to increase the number of visitors to your site, as well as your visibility on search engines like Google, & Yahoo, etc. You can learn this through various free online courses such as Moz or SearchEngineLand.
By this point you are probably questioning whether you are serious about this whole blogging business and are prepared to invest real time and MONEY in it. If not, then you can always blog as a hobby on free hosting like tumbler, wordpress.com or Blogspot, as well as plenty others.
4. Choose your Hosting
You will need a place to host your domain name which you could describe as a house in which to place your name. Using a CMS such as WordPress.org is highly recommended as it is ideal for bloggers due to the variety of plugins which enhance the functionality of a blog. When you first install this software you will be overwhelmed with its capabilities. Just breathe and work your way through it slowly!
It will all start to become familiar once your play around with it a bit. I had no previous skills in computer software or web design and my site still needs a lot of improvement, but I am quickly learning the ropes and enjoying every minute.
5. Select & Customise a Theme
This is the fun part, where you get to choose the design template of you page and play around with the look and functionality of it. You can get lots of free themes from wordpress or you can choose to buy from various theme sites like Theme forest, Elegant Themes etc.
You can even go one step further and have someone design and instal a theme for you. This will most certainly be more costly that the other options but building the website isn’t for everyone. Choose what works for you and see your new blog site come to life.
6. Grow Your Audience
How can you grow your audience? It’s vital to have outreach methods which help send traffic to your blog to make people aware of your blog’s existence. This is generally obtained by being actively involved in other platforms related to your niche, self promotion, and networking with other high profile bloggers. So once you select your domain, set up your website using your host, building the design of your website, it’s vital that you get active online.
Another great way as I mentioned in Blogging Tips for Beginners, is to guest blog for other publications. This will only happen once you have sufficient content on your site, your design is looking professional and you have great content that people are interested in. In the early stages, focus on the content and the rest will follow.
Once you become established you’ll want to think about:
Monetising you Blog:
Your monetisation method depends on how much traffic you are getting, as well as the niche you chose, and what is best for business. Some monetisation methods are:
1. Affiliate Marketing
This is selling products made by other people to your audience in exchange for a small commission on each unit sold. Most times, digital products have a high commission as compared to others, and it is a perfect way to monetise a blog.
2. Setting Up Advertising
The main methods of advertising are either using Google AdSense or selling individual ad slots. Basically, you will post ads on your blog, and receive income based on clicks or even ad impressions. This may take a lot of traffic to realise, but eventually it really works.
3. Selling eBooks and Courses
Courses and E-books are an ideal way to package your knowledge and then sell it to your audience. Once you create great content that people actually read, you will have the perfect recipe for a book.
4. Content Writing for other publications
When you get good enough at writing about your niche, other publications will hire you to write for them. Become a featured blogger for the Huffington Post or a frequent writer for a small media firm, what ever it is, once you get good at it you can expand your knowledge to make money else where, using your new skills.
Growing your email list:
Growing an email list is an important aspect of developing your blog and ensure you can provide your readers with worthy content direct to their email. With weekly or monthly newsletters, give aways and more you can keep your audience engaged, updated and interested in your blog to ensure they come back for more.
This will help when you eventually think about writing a book or publishing an ebook. Whatever it may be, having an email list to reach out to when you need it most will greatly help establish you as a blogger in the blogosphere.
These are our steps for how to start a travel blog. Monetising your new blog will take extra work no doubt, but it is time well spent. By following all the steps above, you will make your fantasy of turning your new blog into a money making venture a reality.