I’ve had a large number of emails from people who are interested in becoming travel bloggers and who have been asking me for advice. I’m more than happy to help, but I thought it might be best to write out a bit of a short guide so the masses can see. I hope you find this useful, don’t give up on your dream and have an epic time!
Choosing A Name
First you have to think of a name for your blog. This doesn’t just involve thinking of something catchy, you also have to ensure the domain name is available, along with the social channels (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube).
Try to keep it relatively short, you don’t want loads of words in the name, this makes it easier to confuse people or make them forget the name. You also want to pick words that people don’t often spell wrong.
You want to build up a hefty amount of articles, so as you design the site and put it live, you can focus on fixing issues and improving the site rather than worrying about writing the content.
There isn’t an exact amount of words you should aim for, but I would go for a minimum of 500 words, otherwise the article can be a bit weak and can be seen as thin content.
Domain and Hosting
You need to buy the domain name and also have it hosted online. If you are low on money or just want the normal basic option, Bluehost is pretty good and is the one I use. There are better options you can consider further down the line, but this would do for now.
You have an idea for a topic, great, but the words you use for the title and what you include in the article can strongly affect how you do on Google. Making the title ‘my amazing trip in Sharm El Sheikh and everything I munched’ might be precise, but nobody is searching this term. Use Google Keyword Planner to find some relevant terms and look at the search volume. For example, you might find some better terms could be ‘foods to try in Sharm El sheikh’, ‘things to do in Sharm El sheikh’ or ‘what to eat in Egypt’.
I would do some keyword research early on to learn about different topics you could write about and what to specifically target.
There are two different types of sitemaps, an XML and a HTML one. The XML sitemap is insanely important, this labels to search engines exactly what each page URL is, how often they need to be checked and when they were placed online. If you are on WordPress, a large amount of this can be automated for you. Just make sure it is all in place. A HTML sitemap will help visitors to the site understand how to get around or find certain pages and is normally inserted into the footer of the page, if included.
Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics
If you aren’t on this, then you’ve already given me a headache…no offence. These are incredibly useful tools, which are completely free. Google analytics will allow you to work out exactly how traffic has come to your site, which pages, which devices, whether they have converted into sales or newsletter sign-ups or whatever goal you want to achieve. Once again, this can be easily put in through WordPress, but if not then it is still pretty simple.
Google Webmaster Tools will give you a heads up on a number of points. As previously mentioned, you can use it to check your XML sitemap and make sure it is working perfectly. It will also give you an idea of some of the keywords that are bringing impressions and clicks for your site, while you will also get a message if any major issues occur, which Google bots pick up on.
You don’t have to worry about this now, but if you play a bad game and cheat Google, if you get caught then you will also need Webmaster Tools to make a reinclusion request and to use the disavow tool.
To Be Continued…
I will probably write a follow up post on this article, as I could write all day on the topic. Do let me know if there are any particular areas you want me to cover in further detail.