Blogging

A Guide To Building A Travel Blog

How To Build A Travel Blog

For anyone who knows me you’ll know all too well that I love a project. I’m at my most content when coming up with an idea and bringing it to life. You’d think that quitting your job, renting out your home and backpacking from Argentina to Alaska would have been enough of a project for one year. Nope, not for me, I wanted more. I wanted to create a space online where we would be able to bring our adventure to life not only for our family and friends but for anyone who like me wanted a change, a new way of life.

Having consulted global brands on their online marketing strategies for the past 7 years, I arrogantly assumed that building a travel blog/website would be a doddle. As with everything associated with the planning of our Inca to Inuit adventure, it would appear I still have a lot to learn.

Mouse, Technology

One of my closest friends Lucie aka The9to5foodie (a fellow digital marketer turned Nutritionist extraordinaire) was in the process of building a website for her business at the same time as I was looking to create an online space for Inca to Inuit. As such we had the luxury of being able to muddle through the complicated process of building a website together. It’s a good job we did, what a process to navigate solo.

How to build a travel blog

From start to finish the website has taken me two months to build. There is no doubt it could have been done quicker, a lot quicker but I’ve had so much fun creating this space that i’ve completely re-designed twice and tweaked daily.

The process of building a website can be complicated if like me you’ve never done it before and although the cost to build a travel blog is minimal there is a significant amount of time and commitment needed.

At it’s most basic there are 5 steps to building a website:

1. Pick a name
This is the fun bit but it can also be very frustrating especially as so many URL’s are already taken. Use this tool to check if the URL you want to use is available to buy. URL’s can cost anywhere from £0.99 to £3000 for the year depending on the domain you want. When choosing a name consider the following:

  • Try to keep it short
  • Avoid hyphens if possible
  • Don’t use hard-to-spell words
  • Try to make it memorable

2. Buy hosting
In order to build a website the first thing you need is to buy hosting. Hosting enables you to store your website on a server so that it can be accessed over the internet. Web hosting is fairly cheap to buy and you can choose how long you want to keep your site hosted for. There are a number of different hosting services available. I chose 123 reg as they have an instant messaging help service which is invaluable if you get stuck along the process. Expect to pay around £2.50 per month for hosting one domain

3. Choosing a blog platform
So you’ve got your website name and you have bought some space online to access your website. Now you need a platform to build your website on. There are a wide variety of platforms to build your travel blog on but the most popular and highly regarded is WordPress. Its the platform that some of the largest content producers in the world use (CNN, The New York Times, Forbes, UPS, BBC etc) and the reason being is it offers an unparalleled user experience.

4. Connecting your domain and hosting to WordPress
This is the step in the process that I had the most trouble with, however having gone through the process again since it’s not as bad as it first appears. There are a couple of steps within this process.

Download the latest version of WordPress. You can do that here. Once downloaded access the files and unzip them if they haven’t done so automatically.

You will now need to create a database within your hosting package. A database is used to store website files. Effectually we are creating a space within our hosting package to store your blog posts and pages.

Now you have created space for your WordPress files its time to move the WordPress files from your computer to your webspace. In order to do this, you need to use a file transfer tool (FTP). There are a number of free FTP tools you can use. FileZilla works across Mac and Windows and is really easy to use. When downloading FileZilla select the File Transfer Client option

Once you’ve logged into the FTP drag and drop the WordPress Files from your computer (left-hand side window on your FTP) into your web space in the right-hand side panel

WordPress should now be successfully installed. Go to your web domain i.e) www.incatoinuit.com/wp-login.php to get up and running and customise your site.

5. Designing your site

Now this is where the fun really begins. WordPress comes with a number of set templates as standard which you can access in the “Appearance” tab on the left-hand side toolbar within your WP dashboard.

If you’re after more creative freedom and want to be able to customise the appearance of your site I would thoroughly recommend ThemeForrest. ThemeForrest aggregates thousands of web designs that are neatly packaged and ready to upload to the appearance tab in WordPress.

There are hundreds of filters to choose from dependent upon the design style you’re looking for. Be warned you can get lost playing on this site for hours. One very useful feature is that you can sample live demo’s of all the templates to see how you like the look and feel on your laptop. Expect to pay anything from $15 to $70 depending on the complexity of the theme.

All being well you should now have a fully functioning, responsive website ready to set live.

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