Start a European Travel Blog in 6 Easy Steps
A few years ago, I decided I was tired of working for other people, so set out to make an income working for myself. I decided on starting a European travel blog as I am a writer by trade, so knew writing for it would be easy. I also loved being online, doing research and generally messing around, so the combination of the two was perfect for me.
Fast forward a few years, and not only do I make a full-time income from running several travel blogs (European and otherwise), I am now my own boss with no-one else to answer to except myself.
If you too have thought about starting a travel blog with the goal of eventually making a full-time income as a blogger, here are 6 easy steps to get you started on your European travel blog and well on your way to being financially independent.
1.Decide on the focus of your blog
The biggest mistake new bloggers make is to come up with an idea for a blog that, at the time, sounds great. A month later, and they have already deviated from that idea and are writing about something completely unconnected.
Decide on the focus for your blog, whether it is a blog about Spain, Austria, Germany, France, Croatia, or any other European country, or a blog about a particular area in a country (Vienna in Austria, Portugal’s Algarve) and stick to it.
2. Decide on the tone you will use
Every blog has a tone, or a ‘voice’, if you will. It’s the way, when you read a blog post from it, you can almost hear the voice of the person who wrote it inside your head.
Decide on the tone or ‘voice’ you are going to use for your European travel blog. Is it funny? Informational? Frank? (Who’s he?) A bit silly? Or do you have a weird way of looking at things and want to share that?
Think about how you normally sound when you’re telling someone something interesting, and then try to convey your voice into a style of writing. If it’s authentic, you should be able to write just a few posts and consistently sound the same. That’s when you know you have ‘found your voice’.
On Seriously Spain, I tend to be friendly but informative, and stick to blog posts like ‘What are the normal banking hours in Spain?‘, ‘What is the divorce rate in Spain?‘, ‘The Best Tapas in Madrid‘, and ‘How To Make Spanish Sangria‘. Posts that are fun for me to write, and give my readers the information they are looking for.
3. Choose and buy a domain name
This is one of the more difficult parts of how to start a European travel blog in 6 easy steps, as choosing just the right domain name can take a while.
I went with ‘Seriously Spain’ as I wanted the name of the country I was writing about to be in the URL and ‘seriously’ because I liked the ‘double s’ sound it made, and because I was serious about offering the best information about Spain possible.
Once you have decided on the focus of your European travel blog, choosing a domain name should be easier. You could go with ‘Incredible Italy’ or ‘Fabulous France’, or a description of what the blog will offer — ‘Cheap Spanish Restaurants’ or ‘Croatia on 10 Euros a Day’.
Then choose the web address extension — .com, a.org, .net, .biz, or.co. You can choose any one you like, just be aware, if you choose a .uk, for instance, your blog will do well in searches in the United Kingdom but not as well worldwide.
That is why choosing a .com is often the best way to go. Google seems to like them better as well.
When you have decided, go to a company that sells domain names and buy yours.
And a quick hint on that.
I have always used NameCheap because, as the name suggests, they sell domain names cheaply. In some cases, and especially when they have sales, you can buy them as cheap as $2. They have superb customer service as well.
4. Choose a webhost
Now you have a domain name, you need to choose a webhost. That is a company that allows you to put your European travel blog on their servers and host it from there.
Webhosts, of course, differ in how much they charge for blog hosting every month but, when you first start out, you shouldn’t need to spend more than $10 a month.
I have used several webhosts, and have had good and bad luck with all of them.
Nowadays, though, I use a webhost called Hostwinds, and I absolutely love them.
Not only do they offer cheap webhosting (as cheap as $4.50 a month for basic hosting — which is all you will need at first, as you can upgrade your hosting package as traffic to your site increases), but they have fabulous online 24/7 customer service, and are always at the end of a quick online ticket or email to help.
You can sign up with Hostwinds here. Sign up takes just a few minutes, and then they will send you a welcome email. Follow the instructions, and you will soon get your travel blog online and ready to work on.
5. Choose a content management system
A content management system is nothing more than a piece of software that you will use to write and publish your travel blog posts. There are several popular ones, like Drupal, Joomla! and the number one most used system — WordPress.
I use WordPress for all my travel blogs as it is dead easy to use, can do just about anything you want it to do, including hosting videos and tens of thousands of photographs, and is as good for a small travel blog with a couple of thousand visitors a month as it is for a huge travel blog with several million.
You can download WordPress and install it yourself. Or, if you sign up with HostWinds, they offer easy-to-install WordPress with just a few clicks of your mouse. If you have any problems, they will even walk you through how to install it as well.
Once you have it installed, this excellent WikiHow article will show you the basics of WordPress, and how to write your first article.
6. Choose a blog theme
The last thing you need to do before having everything you need to start a European travel blog is to choose a blog theme. That’s the piece of software that makes your blog look the way it does. (see examples of WordPress themes in the graphic above).
I use Magazine Basic on Seriously Spain, and then tinkered with it changing colors, fonts, positioning of advertising etc., until it looked exactly the way I wanted it to look.
If you choose WordPress as your content management system, it has literally thousands of free blog templates available. I usually spend an hour or two testing a few out to see if I like the look of them, and then choose the one that works the best for how I want my travel blog to look.
Remember too, it doesn’t really matter which travel blog theme you choose, as you can change it later at any time you want. Again and again and again.
And that’s it!
How to set up a European travel blog in 6 easy steps. Hope that helps!