Our lives are filled with stories. When you travel it feels like those stories multiple and the only way to keep up with so many new experiences is to reflect on them through writing. This is one of the reasons I started blogging during my travels a few years ago. Writing allowed me to stay connected with family and friends that I couldn't see while traveling. Through my experience blogging, I've tested various blogging platforms, dealt with technical issues, and learned how to make the best of any blog. In this post, I’m going to show you some of the things I wish I knew when I was first getting started.
So you want to start a blog...
Before you build a blog, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.
1. What will the theme of your blog be and why?
This will influence your domain name and the direction your blog takes when you start writing. I’m a foodie and a bit obsessed with grocery stores in other countries, so in this example, we’ll be creating a blog called Checkout Line Traveler which is a blog that will focus on interesting grocery stores and food markets around the world.
2. What blog hosting platform will you use?
Blogging platforms come in all shapes and sizes. My recommendation for picking a platform is to stick with something that's easy and offers you flexibility with plugins and features. In this example, I chose to work with Wordpress because it’s easy to setup, highly customizable, and you can get started for free.
3. How will you design your blog?
When considering your blog's layout, you'll want to think about what you want to share on your blog. Will you be writing long blog posts or only posting interesting photos from your travels?
You can find free Wordpress themes online, but one of my favorite places to find them is on fancythemes.com.
Setting up your blog
Signing up for Wordpress is easy–all you'll need is an email address and blog name.
Go to Wordpress.com and select "Get Started".
Next, you'll be prompted to create your new site. Select, "Start with a blog". You'll be directed to a page where you can select a theme after this. If you don't want to use a standard theme you can skip this step and update your blog's layout later.
After, you'll give your blog a name. In this example, I named my blog Checkout Line Traveler and selected a free domain. When you get to the subscription page, select the Free Plan and finalize your account by entering your email address and password. You'll receive an email shortly after signing up that asks you to verify your account. Follow the link in this email before logging into your account because this will allow you to publish your first blog post.
Once you activate your account and login to Wordpress, you'll see your blog dashboard. This dashboard lets you organize your blog and see data on blog visitors.
Edit the "About" section of your blog by selecting "Pages" on the lefthand side of your dashboard.
Publish your first blog post by selecting the add button next to "Blog Posts".
You can add a picture to your blog by selecting the "+" button on the left corner of the text console.
Place an image at the top of your blog by selecting "Featured Image" on the right-hand side and uploading a picture.
When you're done editing your blog, select "Publish".
Keep the momentum going!
Those are the basics for setting up your free travel blog and publishing your first post.
I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice–if you're feeling stuck with your blog, don't let that discourage you from trying. It's easy to drag your feet and make excuses not to get started, but if you focus on writing and building your audience, you'll learn how to improve your blog with time. Plus, blogging should be fun!
That’s it for now. If there's anything you feel like you want to learn more about after reading this or you just want to share a screenshot of your new blog, you can tweet me at @NowNomad.