In this guide, you’ll learn how to start a travel blog that makes real money online just like the blog your are reading now.
Whether you’ve traveled to more than a dozen countries or you know the most exotic places in
your country, starting a travel blog is an opportunity for you to turn your passion for travel into full time passive
1. Understand the Travel Niche
Travel is a dynamic niche with an ever-increasing rate of expansion, growth, and revenue.
And while the world is still grappling with the global pandemic and economic turmoil, the availability of transportation and the demand for travel bolsters the popularity of the niche.
The size of the niche by revenue isn’t constant, but the industry is worth over $1.3 trillion in annual revenue. Obviously, the revenue rate decreased pre and post Covid-19, but the projection is an increase in the value as we bring the global pandemic under control.
Given the immense growth in this industry, there’s a high chance you can create a travel blog that not only enlighten your target audience but also earns you a decent income.
Google Trend’s last 12 months data shows that travel is an evergreen niche with a peak popularity. In other words, people are searching for information on travel every month, and that can mean a great opportunity for you to create blog that seasoned and aspiring travelers want to read.
Examples of sub niches in the travel industry include:
- Family Travel
- Holiday Travel
- City Guides for Travelers
- Group Travel
- Urban Hiking
- RV Life
- Cruise and Trailers
2. Choose a Domain
The next step in starting a travel blog is to choose a domain name.
Some bloggers claim that it doesn’t matter what domain you choose. But if you seriously want to build a brand that will stand out, you need to be careful about domain name selection.
A domain is name that identifies your business to the audience you wish to reach depending on the sub niche that you’ve selected in the travel space. Make it easy to remember, and your online audience will easily identify you as a real, growing brand.
While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing a domain, I strongly recommend that you choose a brandable domain because:
- It’s easy to remember.
- It identifies you as a real online business.
- It commands trust and authority from search engines and website visitors.
I have a detailed guide on choosing a name for a travel blog. But the mini version of that post is that you should decide what you want to blog about.
If you decide to blog about RV travel, for example, it wouldn’t make sense to choose a domain name that suggests you’re in the kayaking niche.
As for actually coming up with a brandable domain name, you can:
- Use your name
- Get a unique name from a travel book
- Try blog name generators
- Get ideas from already existing websites in your niche
- Try alliteration
- Use abbreviation
While there are different places to buy domain names online, I recommend using Bluehost.
I personally use Bluehost on my start up sites because their registration process is so easy and straightforward it takes about five minutes give or take to complete your domain purchase.
And there are no hidden domain costs to incur.
You don’t have to overthink the domain selection process. I’m for the idea that if the name is easy remember and it gives your audience an idea about your niche, you’re good to go.
3. Buy a Hosting Plan and Install WordPress
Now that you’ve selected a brandable domain name for your blog, it’s time to look for a reliable web hosting service.
If you’re completely new to travel blogging, web hosting is just a service that makes your web content accessible on the internet. They offer you storage space on monthly or annual subscription to keep your web and media files so that your visitors can access them if they need to.
There are many web-hosting services on the web right now. The one you choose will depend on your budget and needs.
I usually recommend choosing a hosting agency that:
- Guarantees 99.9% uptime so that your travel blog never has a noticeable downturn
- Has a responsive customer support team to answer your questions
- Invests in speed and security
- Allows you do site back up so you don’t have to worry about losing your files in case of data breach
There are many website hosting services out there, and I haven’t tested all of them. But if you want to run a successful blog without worrying about server downtime or site speed, I would recommend hosting your blog with Kinsta or WPX.
These agencies have flexible month-to-month hosting plans, not to mention they guarantee fast loading time and security for you website.
Once you buy a hosting package, you‘ll be presented with a control panel where you can install WordPress and set up your blog. I recommend you read this guide to learn how to setup your travel blog on WordPress.
4. Select a Travel Theme and Design Your Blog
Now that you have WordPress installed, it’s time to choose a relevant theme for your niche.
Bloggers have varying opinion on what makes the best niche specific WordPress themes. But an ideal WordPress theme for a travel blog is the one that is:
- Cross browser compatible
- Aligned with your blog’s theme
- Simple in design
- Compatible with essential plugins
- e-Commerce ready
- Multilingual read
- Optimized for Core Web Vitals
- Compatibility with essential plugins
- eCommerce ready
- Affordable or within your budget
- Updated frequently to fix bugs and enhance security
- Popular among other bloggers because it loads fast and converts
With that said, I would recommend that you go with a premium theme Thrive Themes, GeneratePress, or Theme Forest.
- GeneratePress: GeneratePress features a rich site library of pre-built templates that you can activate with one click. Combined with GenerateBlocks and Gutenberg Editor, you can use this theme to create a travel blog that stands out.
- Thrive Themes: I strongly recommend Thrive Themes because they give you access to a WordPress development suite that contains everything you need to build and scale a travel blog.
- Theme Forest: You can get affordable, high quality WordPress themes built specifically for travel blogs.
If you’re on a tight budget, go to WordPress themes repository and choose a free theme for your travel blog. Then in the future, when your travel blog starts to generate revenue, you can upgrade to a premium version.
Setting up and customizing your blog is going to take a while If you had rather spend that time doing the initial topic research and creating content for your site, Hire My WordPress Web Development Service and I will help you set up a professional travel blog in 24 to 48 hours.
5. Install Essential WordPress Plugins
There are at least 55,000 WordPress plugins out there.
That plugin developers spoil you for choice means you extend the functionality of a travel blog beyond the default WordPress installation.
But here’s the thing:
You don’t need that many plugins to start and run a successful travel blog.
From my experience, it’s possible to run a successful WordPress blog in the travel niche with less than ten plugins. Determine what’s essential and stick with it.
Speaking of essential plugins, here’s a list of what I recommend you use:
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular SEO plugins on the web. With Yoast, you can decide what type of content to show on Google search results and what not to. Specifically, Yoast SEO allows you to:
- Setup your search appearance so that Google bots crawl and index your travel blog the way you want.
- Optimize your SEO title and Meta description.
- Optimize your content for a specific target term, with the option of targeting multiple search terms if you buy premium.
- Generate pages and posts sitemap, which you can submit to Google for crawling and indexing.
One thing I love about Yoast is how easy it is to use. The set up process can take you up to 30 minutes to complete, but everything else becomes easy after that.
WP Rocket is the only premium WordPress plugin that you’ll ever need to improve your site’s sleep.
Because it’ easy to set up, WP Rocket is the plugin to consider if you want to enhance your travel blog’s page experience without writing a line of code.
WP Rocket costs $49/year, but the value it can add to your travel blog is worth more than the annual asking price.
Imagify is a free plugin that will let you optimize the images you upload to your travel blog posts to increase the loading speed of your site.
Akismet is a must-have plugin that allows you to control spam comments from appearing on your travel blog.
With this plugin, you can go as far as to instruct Akismet to flag spam comments automatically so that you never see them.
6. Writing and Publishing Blog Content
Congratulations on setting up your travel blog.
Now it’s time to start creating content for your blog, so you can start sharing your ideas with the world, grow a community of loyal readers, and make money from possibly every blog post that you publish.
Start With Topic Research
The right way to grow a travel blog is to start with topic research. Here, you use tools such as Google Auto Suggest, People Also Ask, and Semrush to discover what people are searching for in your niche.
Topic research is an art and skill that you’ll develop over time as you continue to do more keyword research and immerse yourself in your niche.
And it isn’t anything complicated if you ask me.
I’d say the difficult part of topic research is that it’s time-consuming. But if you’re serious about building a travel blog that can earn you passive income, you have to invest your time in it.
Build a Topic Cluster
I suggest that you come up with a many topic ideas as you possibly can. Since yours is a new travel blog, look for at least 50 topics for a start. Then use them to create a topic map.
Sometimes referred to as a topic cluster, a topic map is a group of related topics that link to each other in what SEOs call hubs and spokes. A hub is the primary page on the blog and spokes are the supporting pages that link back to the hub.
Building a topic cluster may be a lot of work. But it’s one of the best ways to create topical authority and grow your blog into a go-to, trustworthy source of travel information in your niche.
Create a Content Marketing Plan
There’s no way you’re going to write content for your blog if you don’t have a solid content writing plan.
So I strongly recommend that you create a content calendar that can help you produce high quality blog posts on travel.
Use the content writing plan you’ve created to write high quality blog posts for your travel blog.
Focus on creating evergreen content, as these tend to be relevant for an extended period. More
7. Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines
Search Engine Optimization is an important process required to start, grow, and scale a travel blog.
If you’re new to this, SEO is simply a process of optimizing your blog posts so that they appear and rank on Google search engine.
As a traveler blogger, you’re going to depend heavily on SEO to drive traffic to your blog from organic listing.
Given how important SEO is, I recommend that you learn SEO for your blog and implement every tactic you learn from the guide.
8. Promote, Market, and Grow Your Blog
Optimizing your blog posts for search engines isn’t enough to move the needle. You also need to get the words out about your site so that people know you exist.
In other words, you need to promote, market, and grow your blog. And as long as you have a solid guide to content marketing, you won’t have difficult time getting this done.
To be clear, your content marketing efforts aren’t going to pay off overnight.
It’s going to take time for people and search engines to trust you as an authority in your selected travel niche. So you need to be consistent both at content creation and at content promotion.
9. Make Money Blogging
As for how much money a travel blog can make, I’d say it depends on many factors. These include the niche, your topic research, how much effort you put to work, and your monetization strategy.
You can monetize your blog in the following ways:
One way to make money on your travel blog is through product recommendations, an approach commonly referred to as affiliate marketing.
Depending on your niche, you can promote products that earn you $5 to $500 per sale in affiliate commission. Just make sure you look for and work with affiliate networks that pay well.
You can monetize your travel blog by promoting tour packages sold by different travel agencies, which will pay you a certain percentage when travelers buy flight, cruises, or road travel packages.
You can also make money from display ads.
Companies such as Mediavine, Ad Thrive, and Ezoic pay publishers millions of dollars every year just for displaying ads on their blogs.
So if your blog receives hundreds of visitors a day, you should consider displaying ads on the blog so that you can make more money as a travel blogger.
Selling Digital Products
Another monetization opportunity that can work well for a travel blog is creation and promotion of your own digital products.
For example, you can write a premium eBook on travel planning based on your personal experience and sell it as a downloadable on your blog to make even more money.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Starting a Travel Blog Worth It?
You can start a travel blog if you’re passionate about educating and inspiring people to make wise travel decisions.
2. What Should I Blog About in a Travel Blog?
If you feel like you have no idea what to blog about in a travel blog, read this article. It will teach you how to find popular blog topics in your travel niche.
3. How Do Travel Bloggers Get Paid?
How, when, and to which means you get paid as a travel blogger depends on what network you work with.
If you promote products such as backpacks on Amazon, for example, Amazon will pay you via check or direct deposit.
I hope this guide on how to start a travel blog has been helpful. And if you’ve gone through it keenly, I’m sure you’ve realized that running a travel blog isn’t as hard. It just takes time.
Feel free to drop me a comment if you have any question, and I’ll be more than happy to help where I can.