How to Start a Travel Blog and Turn Your Passion Into Profit

Andrey Novoselov Andrey Novoselov
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Creating a travel blog may seem daunting, but in reality it is a straightforward process. If you follow the steps and best practices for how to start a travel blog, you will be able to start blogging, building a community, and making money in no time. This post shares a detailed guide with all the necessary steps to become a travel blogger.

How to Start a Travel Blog

Research Your Niche

Your first step is to choose a niche to blog about. This choice will define your target audience, products that you can promote, topics to blog about, competition, and many other things. If you choose a topic with too much competition, it may be hard to compete with more authoritative blogs. If you pick a niche with low demand, you will barely have an audience. So, the key is to choose something in the middle.

Here are a few best practices on how to pick a profitable blogging niche that can generate traffic and income:

  1. Choose a topic you are passionate about. You will spend hours and days writing about it when you become a travel blogger, so having a natural interest will definitely help you create content and not give up during the first months of blogging when you are not receiving feedback from an audience.
  2. Make sure it is a profitable niche. Even small market research will help you understand how interest in your chosen topic has been changing over the last couple of months or years. You can start with Google Trends and check how many people are searching for your topic, as those people can potentially become your clients.
  3. Niche down. Choosing a narrow niche will allow you to quickly build a community and avoid competition. For example, you can check suggested queries on Google or use one of many keyword research tools to find related keywords.
A screenshot of related search suggestions on Google
Related searches example on Google search
  1. Check if the niche is profitable by looking for ads related to your keyword on Google. The first results on the SERP marked as “Ad” are usually placed there by brands seeking to promote their products and services. This is an easy way to find advertisers in a specific niche.

To learn more about choosing a niche, watch this video lesson from Travelpayouts Academy.

For more inspiration, check out this success story of building a niche travel website and 10 great micro niche ideas in the travel niche.

Choose a Memorable Blog Name

The next important step is to choose a catchy blog name. Ideally, it should be short, so the audience can easily memorize it and generate direct traffic. Many travel blog names consist of two to four words at most. Here are a few ideas for choosing a blog name:

  1. Research your audience. If you want your readers to remember your blog’s name, you need to understand what kind of people they are, what interests they have, and so on.
  2. Check if the domain is available. Before you name your blog, check what domains are for sale. In addition, check if the corresponding social handles have not been taken yet.
  3. Use blog name generators. These tools will provide you with dozens of blog name ideas. Most of which will allow you to check the availability of domain names as well.

You can find more tips on how to come up with a great blog name in this post.

Choose a Blogging Platform

Another very important step is to select the platform to create and manage your project, because it can increase or decrease your chances of success. There are many free and paid website builders, such as WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Weebly, etc.

Among website builder platforms, WordPress.org is the most popular in the world. Many people like this solution because it’s extremely easy to use while still offering a number of useful tools and resources for blogging.

What is more important, you can download the WordPress CMS and install it on your own hosting provider. This means you will have a totally independent project, giving you the freedom to build your project as you wish.

WordPress is an ideal choice to start a travel blog, as it offers a wide range of excellent themes. You should definitely look into this option before making a final decision. There are also a wide range of extensions and plugins which can make your website better.

Travelpayouts provides a WordPress plugin. This allows you to embed the affiliate tools inside pages in one click from the admin panel.

Set up Web Hosting

Web hosting is a service that provides users with server space and resources on which to store their website. Such services are usually referred to as “hosting providers” or “web hosts”.

Hosting providers usually offer various hosting plans depending on the desired bandwidth, number of websites, and more. Choosing the right web host will allow you to ensure that your website functions normally. Here are a few criteria to pay attention to:

●  Security. It is important to protect your website from any potential data theft or security breaches. Check if your web host offers data protection configuration, attack countermeasures, etc.

●  Speed. To provide a great user experience, make sure your website loads quickly. The loading speed usually depends on the hosting features, such as the server response time.

●  Uptime and Downtime. Uptime relates to the time that the server is up and running, while downtime describes the time that the server is not responding. Look for a web host with 99.9% uptime.

●  Support. There can be many different cases in which you need the help of the hosting provider, so it is better to choose a web host that provides 24/7 customer support and has positive customer reviews.

Here are a few popular hosting providers that you may want to consider:

●  Bluehost is a comprehensive platform that offers web hosting, domain registration, a website builder, email marketing software, and more. Bluehost features over 99.9% server uptime, offers 24/7 support by phone, live chat, and email, and costs as little as €2.83 per month for a single blog.

●  HostGator offers hosting for blogs from $2.75 per month, featuring a 99.9% uptime guarantee, free SSL certificate, easy WordPress installs, and a free domain for a year.

●  SiteGround claims to provide ultrafast WordPress hosting with top-rated 24/7 support, free email, SSL, CDN, and backups, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. The price starts at €2.99 per month.

Most premium plans on WordPress and other blogging platforms include web hosting. However, if this is not the case for your platform, you can register with one of the hosting providers mentioned above. Once you have finished this step, it is time to customize your travel blog.

Customize Your Travel Blog

Customizing a travel blog means going through all the elements of its design and making sure they properly represent your brand. Blog layout plays a crucial role in building your brand identity and creating a pleasant customer experience. Here are the main elements to pay attention to.

Establish Your Brand

Explain what branding is, why it’s important, and how to build it. Here’s a post that shares some good tips on how to brand your blog.

If you want to make your business distinctive, it is necessary to establish a brand that will be easily recognizable and help you stand out from your competition. A brand is, basically, the personality of a company that is communicated through its name, logo, tone of voice, and so on. Ideally, a brand conveys a sense of quality, trust, and efficiency that makes customers return again and again.

When establishing a brand, it is important to understand what concepts you want to be associated with your business in order to attract your target audience. Here are a few ideas on how to develop a brand:

  1. Choose a unique blog design. A simple, elegant layout and appropriate color choices will properly convey your brand identity and improve user experience.
  2. Create a logo. When you think of established brands in any niche, their logo is usually one of the first things that come to your mind. Creating a logo will greatly help grow your brand awareness.
  3. Establish a writing style. Think of the voice you want to use on your blog. For instance, should the tone be strictly professional or should it be more conversational? Can you use terminology or explain concepts in layman’s terms? The way you talk with your readers will attract a particular kind of audience. So, you need to make sure you have the right approach.
  4. Be original. It is very important to develop a distinctive and unique brand, so that it will not be confused with other companies in the niche.

Choose a Theme

When your visitors come to your blog, they see its design. It’s very important to make your blog look professional. This is the visitor’s first impression of your project and it represents your way to travel blog success.

Therefore, try to get a professional blog theme. Try different themes, either paid or free, on WordPress to understand which theme is best for your visitors. The paid ones cost between $20 and $80.

When choosing a theme, think about your website in the long term. Some website themes are built with a particular goal in mind, so they already have all the necessary tools. For example, what monetization strategies do you want to deploy? On our blog, we’ve gathered the best WordPress themes for affiliate marketing that have powerful integrations and can boost your business from the very start.

We have already collected 9 themes for travel blogs, but you can find more on Themeforest.net or any other marketplace. If you want to get a completely unique appearance for your website, order a theme from a designer. It’s not cheap, as one hour of time from a good designer costs around $25 to $30.

Create a Logo and Slogan

Another important element of every brand is a logo. It is usually a small image representing the idea behind the brand in the form of a symbol, letter mark, etc. You can place the logo on your blog, social media pages, newsletter, landing pages, and other types of content. You can also add a slogan that will explain the concept of your brand to readers. A well-thought-out logo, when combined with a slogan, can help boost your brand recognition.

Here are a few tips on how to create a great logo and slogan for your travel blog:

  1. Research other blogs in the niche and see what logos they use. Try to spot trends, such as preferred colors and so on.
  2. Choose a symbol that means something for your brand. Thus, it will be easier for you to attract the correct target audience.
  3. Pick the right font. If you want to include words in your logo, remember that typography can also help convey your concept.

One great example of a travel blog logo is from the Nomadic Matt, which features a backpacker. This logo appeals to readers looking for hiking trips and traveling with backpacks.

Screenshot of the travel blog logo from the Nomadic Matt website, featuring a backpacker.
Nomadic Matt blog logo

You can find another good logo example on The Blonde Abroad travel blog. The difference in fonts highlights the fact that the blog targets a female travel audience, while adding a touch of style.

Screenshot of the travel blog logo from The Blonde Abroad website.
The Blonde Abroad blog logo

To create a satisfying logo and slogan, you can make use of the following programs:

●  Logo Maker by Canva is a free tool to create custom logos online with hundreds of professional templates, fonts, color combinations, and more.

●  Picmonkey allows you to create professional logos with no design skills. Start with designer-made templates and customize them to make a professional logo.

●  Logo.com provides a free online logo generation tool with hundreds of logo design options, such as fonts, icons, and layouts.

Design Your Travel Blog

Design is crucial for improving user experience and navigation on your blog. It can facilitate the ways in which users perceive information and move through the conversion funnel, as well as the factors that make them leave your page faster. Research shows that you have less than one second to impress your audience and convince them to stay on your website. As a result, it is important to invest time and effort into creating the right design that will align with your branding and appeal to the target audience.

Here are a few tips on how to design a travel blog:

  1. Make navigation simple and clear so your audience can more easily explore your blog. For example, place the most important posts no more than one click away from the homepage.
  2. Add a Table of Contents to facilitate navigation.
  3. Choose a design that accentuates the content, such as a single column layout, which will naturally capture the attention of readers and walk them through the text.
  4. Optimize for mobile. More and more users read blogs on their smartphones, so it is best to make sure your posts look good on smaller screens too.
  5. Make the search button easily accessible. In the event that visitors decide to explore your blog, they should be able to easily search through your content.

Learn how to design the homepage for your travel blog in a way that will drive conversions.

Set Up Pages

To help visitors gain a better understanding of your blog, you can create a few dedicated pages that will explain the concept behind your business and allow visitors to get in touch with you.

Make sure to create:

●  An About Page. Many travel bloggers add this page to share their story and background while connecting to readers on a personal level.

●  A Contact Page. The easier it is to leave a message, the more likely visitors and brands will be to reach out to you.

●  A Resources Page. You can share travel services and recommendations on a separate page. Some bloggers also use it to share affiliate links.

Publish Your Blog Post

Once your blog has been set up, it is time to start posting. Content is king when it comes to attracting leads and building a community. The main idea behind every successful content marketing strategy is to bring value to the audience and help them achieve their goals in each and every post that you publish.

Here are a few tips on how to create content that builds trust with readers:

  1. Research your audience to understand their interests.
  2. Set the right content marketing goals to help move readers down the conversion funnel.
  3. Create various types of content to boost engagement on your website.
  4. Study SEO best practices to create posts that rank high on search engines.
  5. When you have enough content published, it’s time to start updating and repurposing your older posts.
  6. Depending on the topic of your blog, balance out evergreen and seasonal content.
  7. Make sure your content is SEO-optimized.
  8. Explore the content of other affiliates and bloggers in your niche to understand what’s trending, where there are content gaps, and how you can drive audiences to your blog instead.

Where can you find content for your travel blog? Ideally, to build trust with the audience, you should write your own content to share your tone of voice and attract your ideal reader. However, you can also get free content from dedicated resources, leverage guest posting, or take advantage of AI content generators.

Join Travelpayouts Academy in order to learn how to create top-quality content and optimize it for search engines to drive more traffic and conversions.

Promote and Grow Your Audience

Promoting your blog is very important when it comes to succeeding in this niche. Especially when you start blogging, advertising your blog can help you take many more steps on the path to successful blogging. Try to promote your blog as much as possible to make it ascend higher in the results and earn more money.

There are a number of ways you can advertise your blog, such as social media and social networking websites, email lists and so on. The more you promote your blog, the more visitors you will likely have.

Create an Email List

One of the most effective ways to promote your blog is by email. Basically, you can ask your visitors to subscribe and receive emails through which you send offers or news about your blog. One of our partners shares tips and experiences on creating an effective and profitable email list

Use Social Media Accounts

The most common way to advertise is through social media accounts. Bloggers often use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to attract more visitors. Multi-promotions in different social media accounts can drive more traffic to your blog.

On Facebook and other social media such as Instagram, you can also buy advertisements. You can start a campaign even with $1. This way, you can attract traffic directly to your travel blog or social network page.

Start a Telegram Channel and Promote It Using Facebook Ads

Telegram is a group chat channel through which you can easily send offers and news to your reader. Telegram shows 100% of all messages while Facebook shows only some of the posts.

In Telegram, you cannot promote your posts but you can do this on Facebook. Therefore, it may be a good idea to send your offers by Telegram and promote your channel on Facebook at the same time. Check out our article to learn more on how to use Telegram for advertising and earning more from your blog.

Target Your Competitors’ Audience on Social Media

If you’ve run competitor research, you might already know what audiences they are targeting and whether your blog can also be interesting for these readers. With the latest developments on Facebook, Instagram and other social networks, you can set up your ads to target competitors’ audiences. 

For example, with the ‘Lookalike Audience’ feature you can set up a very efficient advertising campaign. Carefully analyze readers of your competitors’ websites and create a campaign by setting up desired audience profiles. You can indicate their location, demographics, interests, and more.

Guest Posting

You can contact other bloggers and offer them free content. You are not the only person who initially has difficulties with new posts; this means other website owners may accept your offer. Of course, you are not just a volunteer; you are doing this to get a backlink and gain traffic from the project.

Guest posting is also part of SEO. Google takes backlinks into account; it’s a very important search signal.

Here is more detailed information about how to promote your blog.

Manage Your Expectations

At the beginning of your travel blog, you will probably not earn much. It will take time to build up your travel blog to the point where you can actually make money. This will take a lot of hard work, so you must be prepared for that.

An important point is to manage your expectations from the beginning because it’s very easy to get discouraged and give up when you do not start making a lot of money from your blog immediately after starting. As long as you work hard and keep going with patience, you will benefit quite a bit from your blog.

Earn Money With Your Travel Blog

If you want to make money with your travel blog, it’s better to think about some potential monetization strategies in advance. Thus, you can align your content and marketing efforts to achieve your goals faster. Below, you will find some of the most popular ways to monetize a travel blog.

Advertising

A popular way to monetize your website is through advertising. Basically, there are two options: contextual or direct advertising.

In the case of contextual advertising, you’ll need to join advertising networks, such as Google Ads or its alternatives, and place a code on your website to start displaying ads. The network will do the rest, such as searching for advertisers and controlling payments, which is very convenient, although the platform will take part of the earnings as a commission.

On the other hand, direct advertising allows you to avoid intermediaries while partnering with brands directly. By using this approach, you can earn much more, as you won’t have to pay fees to advertising networks. However, you are often required to have high blog traffic to be eligible for direct ad partnerships. The first step could be to build a page for advertisers on your blog and publish a contact form there.

Affiliate Links

Affiliate links allow travel bloggers, even beginners, to monetize their content without any investments or special skills.

 Affiliate marketing is a revenue-sharing model. With travel affiliate programs, you can earn by placing links to travel brands on your website or social media page and earn for each target action that your visitors complete, such as booking a flight or hotel, purchasing a product, registering on the website, installing an app, filling out the form, etc. In return, you’ll be providing your audience with an opportunity to learn about brands in the niche and enhance their experience.

You can either partner with advertisers directly or join one of the affiliate networks to gain access to a large number of brands at once. If you want to start a travel blog and monetize it, you can join Travelpayouts, the world’s largest travel affiliate network, which accumulates offers from over 100 travel brands and the more than 300,000 publishers who promote them. Travelpayouts includes both local and global brands such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Kiwi.com, etc.

Sponsored Posts

Bloggers who are good at writing and have some expertise in the niche can earn with sponsored posts. You’ll need to write a post presenting the advantages of a specific brand and encourage your audience to learn more about it. Pricing usually depends on your blog’s traffic potential, domain authority, credibility, and other factors.

To earn in this way, you’ll need to find advertisers. You can start by creating a dedicated page on your website with your contact info and inform advertisers that you accept guest posts. Furthermore, you can start looking for buyers on forums and dedicated platforms or contact brands directly and offer your services.

Paid Press Trips

Travel bloggers can also earn money with paid press trips. These are not exactly holidays, but business trips during which a blogger travels to a particular destination or with a certain company, such as an airline, hotel chain, etc., and reviews their services and the overall experience during the trip. Naturally, brands ultimately pay to receive positive feedback through personalized content. In some cases, bloggers and influencers that land press trips are not paid directly, but are remunerated with free flight tickets or hotel stays.

To get invited for a paid press trip, you must be an expert in your niche. This will make brands more eager to leverage your voice and reach your audience through your content. Usually, such influencers have a large following, but niche bloggers with smaller audiences also get invited from time to time.

If you want to earn money by going on paid press trips, make sure to do some networking to grow your relationships and authority in the niche. You can start reaching out to other bloggers personally and pitch directly to brands as well.

Selling Digital Products

If you have something to offer to your audience, use your website as a marketplace. Your offers can come in the form of:

  • Travel advice
  • Paid website membership
  • Merch
  • eBooks and guides
  • And so on

Digital products might be the easiest solution because you won’t have to pay for production or delivery. They can even be automated, so you’ll only need to maintain the system. Let’s discuss some of these digital products in detail.

Membership Website

This monetization option is great when you have already established some expertise in the niche, so readers will be likely to pay for access to your membership content. Most often, there are monthly and annual subscriptions that users can purchase. 

Creating membership content implies low startup costs, flexible payment packages, and can be beneficial in the long run. On the other hand, it increases demand for exclusive high-quality content that you should be able to regularly produce.

Ebooks

You can also monetize your content by creating and selling ebooks. They have many benefits for both publishers and customers: there are minimal production costs, ebooks don’t occupy much space, you can insert backlinks to your website or affiliate links to drive additional revenue, and more. The best thing is that you can write an ebook on any topic you’re knowledgeable about and let your audience have all the information in one place. Get a step-by-step instruction on how to create an ebook from scratch in our special guide.

Mistakes Newbie Bloggers Make

There are many common mistakes newbies make while travel blogging. Try to avoid this by reviewing our list of top mistakes.

Making a Travel Blog

Here are the most common mistakes to avoid if you want to create a successful travel blog:

  • Choosing a free third-level domain that you do not own;
  • Choosing free hosting that shows the hosting owner’s ads on your project;
  • Ignoring the speed of your website; the speed at which your project downloads will affect users and your website’s Google position;
  • Not caring about design; as we mentioned above, people (readers) see your website first, then read it, so design is very important;
  • Spending a lot of money without trying; it’s better to first learn more and make mistakes (without mistakes, you can’t grow), then, with knowledge, spend money to make your travel blog better.

Advertising

Promoting your project is important to get more visitors and grow your project. While promoting, try to avoid these mistakes:

  • More promotion does not automatically mean more income. You must know the limits and manage your expectations;
  • Do not buy ads on pages until you know why you need this paid traffic. Your goal is not simply to see a large number on your counter.

Content

As we mentioned before, content is what your visitor comes for. Therefore, mistakes in content will negatively affect your traffic. Here are some of the top mistakes:

  • Do not save money on content. Content is king, and if you have bad content, it’s impossible to go further;
  • Care about the shape of your content – lists, pictures, tables and other forms; the reader wants to see different forms on your blog;
  • Do not create content just for search engines, or just for people. Find a balance between them;
  • Ten articles in one day is worse than 10 articles in 10 days (i.e., one article per day). Search engines love regular-publishing websites; it’s also better to make your reader visit your blog more than one single day. Moreover, spaced-out articles are easier for the visitor to read.

Making mistakes is a normal way to become better over time. Do not worry about it; try to do your best. For this, you can also learn more about the cost of creating and maintaining a travel blog, as money is another important aspect of how to start a travel blog.