First of all I have to admit that I’m far from being called ‘a good travel blogger’. Nope, I’m not that kind of travel blogger. But one thing is good from my side is I’m a good blogger. I’ve been blogging since 2008 and I’ve learnt so many things that required to create, maintain, and develop a blog. To be a good travel blogger is much the same with being a good blogger, the differences may be how to fill the content and maintain it.
In this article I’m not gonna try to lecture you on how to become a good travel blogger because I’m not the one, but from what I’ve researched (the best part when you’re a good blogger :D) on the net, to be a good travel blogger means:
- It takes time
- It costs you money
- Big even huge efforts
- Intermediate knowledge of web development
- Travel gears
Over several months ago I decided to turn this blog into a travel blog. I found out that there are (too) many requirements I must fill to make this blog better as a travel blog. I also did some researches on Quora and some traveling forums, the tips and tricks I found are mostly the same. And from what I researched over months ago up until now, I want to share them with you so together we can turn this article into an open discussion.
I’ve got a lot of opinions, from myself and others, about travel blogging so I would take this opportunity to put them all on several chapters. First thing first. These are several tips on how to become a good travel blogger:
To Be a Good Travel Blogger: What Matters the Most?
1. Focus on Content
If you want to create and maintain a travel blog so there’s no other option rather than to focus on content. Put your content first because without content your blog is not even a blog especially travel blog. Serve your reader by writing good quality contents. As a starter don’t focus on getting many traffics to your blog and make money from advertisers, that’s so unwise I kid you the hell not. Make at least 10 high quality stories about your journey before making a blog to host them.
Focus on what you’re passionate about. Don’t imitate others because you have your own style. There are likely so many bloggers that will inspire you at anytime, and it’s okay to get inspired by them but don’t imitate their style on telling stories and maintaining their blog. By focusing on content you will likely find your own style and then you’ll be known by that. Thinking about how poor you are as a writer? Don’t worry, every blogger was poor writer. It is something you’ll get used to by shaping it from time to time. Try to make your content as good as you can but don’t be too afraid if you write less informative article for your readers than other travel bloggers, your readers will always find it informative in various ways.
2. Do it as a passion and be committed to it!
Building a travel blog must be your passion first and you have to be committed to it. Passionate travel bloggers will always find ways to maintain their blogs and at the same time will be able to build followers without even realizing it. Do it as a passion. Take your time to do it. It’s okay to spend money on it if you have to, isn’t it? At first you can hardly make money with your travel blog so it’s wise to spend money to travel more and more and then tell your experiences into your blog. At the end passionate and committed bloggers will always find ways to maintain their blogs.
3. Pick your blog platform
Most of my fellow Indonesian travel bloggers tend to use Blogspot.com as their main blogging platform. WordPress.com and Tumblr also have many users, but if I were you, I would choose WordPress.org (your self-hosted platform with rich features and supports). It’s understandable to use those free platforms because they are free to use on the go. But if you’re already on a very serious level with what you’re doing, then choose WordPress.org as your main platform.
What you really need to use WordPress.org as your main platform?
- Your custom domain name (like .com, .net, .info, or premium .me like mine) so you’ll get your very custom URL address like yourtraveljourney.com or else.
- Hosting to host your blog. Platform like Blogspot is hosted by Google since Blogspot is owned by Google, so is WordPress.com by WordPress and Tumblr by Yahoo. By using Blogspot you may use your custom domain name. WordPress.com and Tumblr are the same but will cost you more than Blogspot. By using your custom domain name on those platforms, your blog will still be hosted by the platforms. If you’re already serious to build your own travel blog, then I would recommend to install WordPress from WordPress.org right on the paid hosting company like Bluehost.com (the most recommended hosting provider by various bloggers/companies) and Niaga Hoster (Indonesia-based hosting provider; use a-seniberpikir as a coupon code to get discount for purchasing domain or hosting or both). Most hosting providers will give you a free domain name if you purchase each plan of their hosting services.
- Theme and Plugins. There are so many free themes and plugins to use that will give you great experiences while using WordPress as your main platform.There are also premium ones with extended features that you may need in the future.
- Basic skills of WordPress development. Don’t worry, there are so many WordPress developers out there that will give you tips and tricks to maintain your WordPress travel blog.
How much it costs to use WordPress as my platform?
For a domain name it will cost you about $8 to $11 for .com, .net, etc or around Rp 90.000,- to Rp 120.000 per year. For a hosting it depends on your chosen plan, around $45 to $200 per year, while in Indonesia you can get high quality hosting service for Rp 300.000,- to Rp 1.500.000,- per year. There are also free hosting providers out there you can use to minimize your spending, so no worries about it.
For the themes and plugins, if you want to use the premium ones, each premium theme will cost you about $38 to $200 (like Genesis or Thesis) with premium supports and exclusive updates. The average of themes’ price is $40 to $68 which will give you very high quality features and supports (like the ones on Themeforest.net and CreativeMarket). As for the plugins, each of them will cost about $10 to $45. The free themes and plugins are already great to use so no need to get so hasty to develop your travel blog by purchasing the premium ones.
What are the advantages in using WordPress as my main platform?
- Easy to use and customize. With WordPress you can extend the use of your blog to your very unique space to tell your stories. It’s really easy to use and you can customize the colors and design or layout to match to what you’ve already imagined
- There are (almost) unlimited supports and resources to use this platform, which will give you extensive ideas while developing your travel blog.
- WordPress is very SEO-friendly. Google will easily index your blog right from the very beginning you launch it, so the readers will easily find your blog on the net.
- And so many more
Using WordPress as your main blogging platform is surely a very important part to be a good travel blogger.