Step # 4 to create a travel blog – Installing WordPress and designing your blog
If you have already chosen the domain name, it will be very easy to install WordPress because today Bluehost allows you to do it immediately after contracting your package.
First, they will ask you to create a password for your Bluehost account, the login user will be your domain name. Once the WordPress account is created, it will begin to install automatically and it will ask you first to choose the Design template, I explain this at a later point, at this moment just choose the simplest and free. You can change it later.
Why do I suggest you start with a professional design when creating your travel blog?
If you are like me, of those who initially prefer to get their hands dirty to work and learn, then take my example experience.
I started my travel blog with a free template and lasted a year with it when I decided to make the switch to a professional template, it took me a total of 2 weeks working more than 8 hours a day changing most of the pages and articles I had written ( I am still changing many of them) and I feel that I have not yet finished exploiting the possibilities offered by the template.
During the redesign of the blog, I sacrificed many other projects and time concentrating on this, if I had created my travel blog with the professional staff all year that I invested in my blog it would have served me to learn to fully exploit the benefits of having a staff professional.
The templates are configured so that they are as friendly as possible, you can easily change photographs, colors, design, etc., they even come preloaded with designs that you can use and basically change texts and photos.
The template that I use in My Trip around the World and all the other projects that I have is called Jannah.
It is the best-selling WordPress template, it has a single cost of 60 USD. Once you buy the template you can install it and every time a new version comes out you can update it without a problem.
If you decide to use another template to create your travel blog make sure of the following:
Professional support. There are literally thousands of templates available, try to buy one that is backed by a large company as many designers disappear after a year or two and the template is out of date. You can read or see this in the comments or the number of sales.
Antiquity. Similar to the above, the companies that have more time selling templates are perhaps the companies that will continue to sell templates in the future, try to buy one from a company that is old.
Support. In general, these types of templates come with one year of support available, support is not the same as modifications, that is, they will help you in case something “breaks” from your template but they will not necessarily make personal modifications, which leads me to next point.
The information available on the internet to modify. The templates with the most sales are also the ones with the most information available on the internet to modify. In this case, Avada has complete forums for information and questions from other users, this information has been invaluable since when you want to modify something, it is likely that someone else had the same problem and has already solved it.
Step # 5 to create a travel blog – Installing basic plugins
Remember that I mentioned a difference at the beginning between hosting your blog on your own hosting service (Bluehost) and hosting it for free? Well, in addition to the design, the difference is in the plugins you can install.
Plugins are programs or software that allow you to literally do whatever you want with your page. Imagine that you have the crazy idea that every time someone enters to read your blog it changes color automatically and fireworks appear on the entire screen while background music plays, as absurd as this sounds there is probably a plugin that allows you to do that. (Please don’t put any of this I just told you, I was just trying to prove a point)
Today there is an immense amount of plugins, some free, others paid, and a few based on donations. The most important ones that I recommend installing at first so that your blog works and is protected are the following:
Contact Form 7.
A simple way to add a contact form to receive emails and messages from people who are interested.
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If someone enters your blog and reads a very good article you should give them suggestions from others to read in the end, this plugin helps you.
Auditing, Malware Scanner, and Hardening. This plugin helps you protect your blog from hacker attacks, the pro version helps you clean your blog in case someone has entered and installed a virus or malware on your blog.
I will not go into detail about the importance of having a good SEO but let’s say that this plugin will help you organize all the information on your site so that Google finds you easier. Look for it to be the one created by YOAST.
This is a plugin that helps you manage the cache or temporary memory of your blog, without going into too much detail the cache improves the speed of your site. There are other free plugins like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, I have used them but when I tried WP Rocket I noticed the difference. My blog loading speed was drastically reduced.
As you go forward in your experience of having a blog and you need more tools, you can install the plugins that you think are convenient, but initially the previous ones are enough.
Extra tip for creating a travel blog: Create a subscriber list from the start
The most valuable advice you will receive to have a blog is the following: start a list of subscribers.
Your audience is really what brings your blog to life and you need to have a way to reach them at all times. You can try to position yourself in Google and appear in the first places but if one day Google changes its algorithm your blog may disappear from the lists.
Facebook and Twitter are an excellent form of communication but every day there are so many changes in the use of social networks and people also change their tastes, one day you can be the sensation on Facebook and the next day a Nobody.
The only thing no one can ever take away from you is the subscriber list. This list are people who think you have something interesting to say and have decided to give you their most valuable personal information on the internet: their email.
Take care, be aware and protect your list of subscribers because it is they who really are your audience.
To create, manage and send emails to subscriber lists there are many platforms, the one I use and recommend is called ActiveCampaign. It has a cost depending on the number of contacts you have, the lowest is 9 USD but I assure you that what it is capable of doing for that price is impressive.
There are many email marketing companies such as Mailchimp or Aweber but I can tell you that I have tried them all and in short ActiveCampaign is without a doubt the best of all.
I’ve already created my travel blog, now what?
Publish content. As you learn how WordPress works and create an amazing design on your blog, start posting content. In the first months I suggest that you publish at least 4 articles per week.
Write articles of at least 800 words (this article has almost reached 3,000) and publish it. For the moment, don’t worry about optimizing it to appear on Google (SEO), how to get people to read it, or how to effectively promote it on social media. You’re getting started and the only thing that matters right now is creating quality content, LOTS of content.
If you have content, you will eventually start to grow.
As I mentioned in the article on how to make money with a blog, having a blog is something that takes time and effort, you will not have thousands of readers overnight but you will not have them if you keep your blog always in your mind and you never make it happen.