Are you a passionate traveler and want to share your awesome adventures with the whole world? Why not start a travel blog?
If you are here, reading this article, you must be thinking the same. Good news, you are in the right place! We wrote this complete guide for you to learn how to start a travel blog with WordPress, without the help of a developer.
By the end of this post, your travel blog will be up and running, so you can start creating content in no time.
Here’s a summary of what you are going to read in this article:
- Find a domain name for your travel blog
- Set up WordPress hosting and install WordPress
- Choose a beautiful travel blog theme
- Add extra functionality via plugins
Let’s get started!
Find a domain name for the blog
The very first thing you need to think about before getting into the more technical details is your travel blog’s name and web address.
The domain name is exactly the web address that people type in order to access your blog. For example, our domain name is wpzoom.com.
Now, if you already have something catchy and easy to remember in mind, that’s great. But if you are not sure what domain name to use, you can get your inspiration from various domain name generators.
Before picking the domain name, make sure it matches your blog’s name, it’s easy to spell, and reflects the topic of your blog.
Set up WordPress hosting and install WordPress
Once you have the idea, it’s time to put it into practice. The first step to start a travel blog is to choose a hosting company.
Now, there are lots of WordPress hosting services out there, which might be confusing for someone who’s not familiar with the WordPress ecosystem.
If you’re not familiar with the WordPress ecosystem, you might even wonder why you need hosting to start a travel blog.
That’s because we recommend you to use WordPress.org instead of WordPress.com. WordPress.org is the self-hosted WordPress alternative and it’s different from WordPress.com. Watch our video tutorial to learn the benefits of WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.
So, how to choose the right WordPress hosting for your blog? For starters, there is no point in aiming for an expensive host. Cheap hosts come with good quality and can handle blogs and small websites well. When your blog grows and turns into a money-making business, you can consider switching to a more powerful hosting.
But, for starters, you can look into some of the cheapest web hosting companies for WordPress:
You can go through their pricing plans and do some research on their offers to make sure you choose the package that’s the most suitable for your needs.
Most of these hosting services come with WordPress pre-installed. This means that they will install WordPress for you automatically during the setup process. Check each pricing plan’s features to see if they offer automatic WordPress installation.
You will find this feature under different names: “WordPress pre-installed”, “WordPress integration”, “WordPress auto-installed”, “One-click WordPress install”, and so on.
After making the decision on which WordPress hosting to use, select the pricing plan you want to buy and go to the checkout page to finish the setup. Each host is very intuitive, so just follow the steps presented in the setup wizard to finish the installation.
If the hosting you want to buy doesn’t offer automatic WordPress installation, then you must install WordPress manually after setting up the hosting. Follow the instructions in this guide to install WordPress by yourself.
If you completed this step, congrats! You are the owner of a WordPress website!
Choose a travel blog theme
Your travel blog is now up and running, but the aesthetics matter, too. So it’s time to find a beautiful and stylish WordPress theme to convey your blog’s purpose and message.
Luckily, because WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, it comes with tons of free and premium themes for every single purpose you might think of.
The official WordPress.org repository alone has hundreds of free travel blog themes that you can choose from and customize the way you want.
On directories like Themeforest, you will also find a huge number of premium travel blog themes, for all pockets.
If browsing through hundreds of options only makes it harder for you to pick just one theme, you can have a look at our own premium travel blog themes:
Perfect for travel photographers, photojournalists, storytellers, and bloggers with an eye for visual content.
Built for all the writers out there who want to share their travel experiences in a beautiful and catchy design.
As an alternative, you can also check out our curated list of good-looking WordPress themes for travel blogs.
How to install a WordPress theme?
- If the theme is free, you need to just go to your WordPress dashboard → Appearance → Themes → Add New. Type the name of the theme you chose in the search bar, then click Install followed by Activate.
- If the theme is premium, you will get a .ZIP file upon purchase. After downloading the .ZIP file, go to your WordPress dashboard → Appearance → Themes → Add New → Upload File. WordPress will install the theme for you.
To customize the theme, go to Appearance → Themes → Active → Customize.
Add extra functionality to your travel blog
At this stage, your travel blog must be looking great. Your focus might now shift to bringing in new functionality that will improve the way your website works and will boost user engagement.
With WordPress, you can install almost any feature you can think of – a lot of them for free. WordPress.org has an overwhelming collection of almost 60,000+ free plugins for all purposes, niches, and needs – from security to performance, SEO, marketing, content, UI, etc.
Must-have WordPress plugins
You can start by installing some of the must-have WordPress plugins (all of them are free):
- Yoast SEO – the most popular WordPress plugin that helps you optimize your content for search engines.
- UpdraftPlus – a plugin that will back up your website on a regular basis (to avoid losing your data).
- Google Analytics for WordPress – track your traffic and learn about your audience.
- W3 Total Cache – speed up your blog by reducing the loading times of your web pages.
- Optimole – automatically optimize all the images you upload on your blog (which also improves the speed of your website).
- Elementor – a visual page builder that lets you create cool new templates and designs for your blog.
- WPForms – it lets you create various forms like contact forms, banners, registration forms, payment forms, etc.
- Jetpack – a multipurpose plugin for social sharing, traffic insights, security, widgets, modules, SEO, performance, and more.
Plugin recommendations for travel blogs
Those were some of the plugins that every WordPress website owner should have. If we were to talk specifically about travel blogs, you can start by looking at some of these tools:
- News & Blog Designer Pack – customize the layouts of your blog posts and make them look more appealing. For example, create sliders, carousels, masonry layouts, vertical scrolling widgets, and more.
- Geo Mashup – a plugin to create interactive maps with location information that you can integrate into your blog posts. Draw Attention is a cool alternative.
- NextGEN Gallery – create beautiful photo galleries for your blog posts.
- Travelpayouts – it’s a plugin that lets you earn commissions if your readers book or buy travel recommendations directly from your blog. It comes with many different tables and widgets that your visitors can click on to convert.
Moreover, every travel blog owner should make sure that their WordPress website is social media-friendly. These two premium plugins will help you add social widgets to your site:
- Social Icons Widget – a plugin that lets you add widgets with all your social media profiles.
- Instagram Widget – this one lets you add an Instagram feed to your travel blog. Here’s how to set it up.
You can also look up online whenever you want to integrate a specific social media channel with your WordPress blog (e.g. you can add feeds, single posts, icons, automatic shares from your blog to social media, and more).
Start a travel blog with WordPress now
That’s it! If you followed all the steps accordingly, it means that your WordPress travel blog is live and functional now. Of course, maintaining a blog is a long-course commitment and work in progress. But for now, take your time to make it look and function the way you pictured it.
While you do this, you can start blogging, attract readers, and build an audience around your content. Later on, if you’re posting constantly and your traffic grows, you can even consider monetizing the blog.
That sums up our tutorial on how to start a travel blog with WordPress. We’d love to hear how it went for you. Please let us know in the comments.