So, you want to start a blog? Congrats! Starting a blog has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I learned about blogging through an article about Michelle Shroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents.
It was in that article that I learned Michelle makes a whopping $100,000+ per month from her personal finance blog!
That’s when I learned yes, it is possible to make money blogging, and it’s a viable career. Wow! I was hooked.
Through this guide, I want to help you set up a money-making blog so you can get down to business and live a life of travel. You can blog from anywhere – your campervan, sailboat, RV or tiny home.
One awesome thing is this: You don’t have to have a degree in computer programming to get your blog up and running. You just need motivation, dedication, and the willingness to learn.
Reasons to Start a Travel Blog
There are a lot of reasons out there to start a blog! Years ago, people used to write blogs that were about their personal lives – where they went, what they did, pictures of their kids and their adventures.
Now, blogging is moving toward helping other people.
You’ll want to write posts that answer questions people are searching for online or posts that help people achieve their goals. Just writing about yourself and what you are doing isn’t going to net a big enough following to make you a good income.
There are a lot of reasons to start a blog, and here are a few of them!
To help others
If you’re passionate about a topic, most likely, other people are, too! Blogging gives you the opportunity to share your passions and connect with others like yourself.
To be your own boss
Blogging is amazing because you can be your own boss. You can work when you want, write about what you want, learn about what you want. Running a business isn’t always easy, but it’s your business. And that’s amazing.
You can do it from anywhere
All you need to blog is a computer and an internet connection, which is perfect for traveling types like yourselves. You can blog from a campervan, RV, sailboat or tiny home, as long as you have a computer and an internet connection
You can make a remote income
I’m not going to lie when I tell you this – most blogs fail. But if you have the dedication and motivation, anyone can make money blogging. This is a viable remote income that can turn into a full-time job if you spend the time and effort learning about it. Creating a blogging business is like any other business. You have to be willing to learn all about it and immerse yourself in it.
Step #1: Brainstorm a Domain Name
A domain name is where people find you on the internet. For example, my blog’s domain name is www.thewaywardhome.com. (which took me eons to come up with, I’m not going to lie.)
When thinking of your domain name, you’ll want something short, sweet and easy to remember that relates directly to your niche. If you’re creating a personal brand or want to offer services, it’s okay to use your first and last name.
I’d recommend grabbing a piece of paper and jotting down some ideas for a domain name. Maybe run them by your friends and family members to see what they think.
Also, try to pick a domain name that ends with .com rather than .net or .info or .biz. I think all around, the .com makes you look more professional.
You should enter your domain name ideas into Big Scoot’s domain name checker to see if that domain name is available.
Even my blogging inspiration, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents wishes she’d chosen a different domain name because people constantly misspell sense and cents, and also interchange those words.
So, think carefully about which domain name you choose. A domain will cost you $10-$15 per year.
#2 Choose Hosting for Your WordPress Blog
The second step in setting up a blog that can make money is to choose a hosting provider. If your domain name is your house, hosting is its address, where it lives on the internet.
If you’ve been thinking of a blog with a domain name that ends in .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com because it’s free, don’t do that.
Those blogs are owned by Blogspot.com or WordPress.com, which is why they are free. Blogs owned by companies like that are hard to monetize or even customize all that much, and they can take down your site whenever they want!
This is why you want to go with a self-hosted blog and buy your own hosting. Buying your own hosting really isn’t very expensive. Other businesses you might want to start, like a restaurant, require far more capital than a blog.
Here are the two blog hosting companies I recommend:
You can compare hosting plans with those two companies and see what works for you. I am personally with BigScoots as they get great reviews among bloggers, are very fast to respond to my questions, and have downtime monitoring so you know when your site is offline. However, BigScoots is more expensive and not essential for a beginner.
NameHero comes highly recommended and has plans that start as low as $2.69 per month. You can always start there and upgrade to BigScoots later.
After you purchase hosting, you can then install WordPress, which is where you’ll post articles and pages for your site.
Woo-hoo! Now, it’s time to install WordPress on Siteground!
Congrats! You now are ready to pick a theme.
#3 Choose a Theme for Your New Site!
A theme is what makes your blog look the way it does. If you’re just starting out, you can easily browse and use a free theme. You can change your theme at any time, so don’t stress about this too much at first.
You’ll have to log into your WordPress dashboard (you can think of this as the helm from where you run your blog).
To do this, you’ll go to your blog’s website name, with the word admin after. This is where I go to log into my WordPress account to add blog posts to The Wayward Home:
Below is what your log-in screen will look like. Use the credentials you used when you installed WordPress into your Siteground hosting account.
Once you log in for the first time, you’ll see your WordPress Dashboard, which will look a bit like the below screenshot.
I know this looks confusing at first, but you’ll soon get used to navigating your way around.
In order to pick a theme for your blog, you’ll have to navigate over to the left black column and hover over “Appearance”, then click “Themes” from the pop-out box.
See the screenshot below.
When you reach the “Themes” page, you’ll click “Add New”.
And from there, you can explore dozens of themes. You can click on them, scroll through them, even see a demo of them to get an idea of how they’ll look when installed on your website.
I’ve spent way too much time looking through theme demos! Just pick the one that looks best to you for now. Remember, you can very easily change your theme later.
You can choose one of the free themes right in your WordPress dashboard to get you started, or you can purchase a theme and then upload it directly to your WordPress site.
Here are some popular companies where you can purchase a theme. I started out using Elegant Themes and Divi for my account. About one year later I hired a designer who customized my site for $1,000 and built it out more professionally, but I waited until my blog was making an income to do this.
These are a couple of themes I’d recommend for beginning bloggers:
Take a look around for yourself and see which theme works right for you. No matter which theme you pick, there will be a learning curve as you figure out exactly how to use it. Don’t get frustrated! Usually, themes come with documentation and training videos to help you out.
If you’re going with a paid theme, you’ll have to upload it to your Dashboard after you buy.
To do this, go to “Upload Theme”.
WordPress will download and install your theme for you, and when you’re ready to start using it, simply click “Activate” and you’re ready to go.
Your self-hosted, money-making WordPress blog is now up and running.
Congrats! This is a huge step.
I waited until I had about eight posts on my blog to make my website live, but it really doesn’t matter what you decide to do. People probably won’t be flocking to your blog right away, so you could even publish it with one or two posts only.
#4 Write your very first posts on WordPress
Before you do anything else, you’ll want to create a few Pages on your WordPress blog. An About Page (see my example here) and a Contact page (see my contact page here) are both super important. You can also do a Start Here page if you want – I recently created a Start Here page to help guide people around my site.
If you’ve never used a WordPress blogging site before, it’s going to take some getting used to. There are a lot of YouTube videos that explain the WordPress dashboard. If you want to take a great free course, I recommend Grayson Bell’s Understanding WordPress: How to Navigate Self-Hosted WordPress.
Here are some general tips on how to navigate your WordPress dashboard:
- You create new blog posts by clicking “Posts” on the left-hand side and “Add New”
- You create a page by clicking “Pages” and “Add New”
- If you want to add photos to your WordPress blog, you’ll click on “Media” from that left-hand column
- To customize the way your sidebar and footer look, go to “Appearance” and Widgets”
- You’ll want to start gathering email addresses right away so you can send emails with links to your latest posts and offers. I suggest going with Convertkit as your email service provider
#5 Invest in Education
If you’re truly serious about making money blogging, you’ll need to invest in education. I’ve taken so many blogging courses and continue to learn so I can improve my business.
Here are the blogging courses I recommend:
Stupid Simple SEO
Learning SEO, or how to rank for keywords on Google, is essential to any blogger’s success. After I took this course I saw my pageviews skyrocket. Mike Futia walks you through everything you need to know about organizing your site, choosing keywords and structuring your articles. One of the best investments I’ve ever made and I still refer to this course regularly.
Mike only opens his course a few times per year, but you can sign up for Mike’s masterclass below that’s totally free:
Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers
If you know nothing about affiliate marketing and affiliate links, you’ll want to take this affordable course by Carly Campbell. This course goes over finding affiliates to promote, where to put links, strategies for affiliate marketing through blog posts and email, and more. I found this course to be the most helpful I’ve taken on affiliate marketing.
Fat Stacks Bundle
This is yet another bundle of courses that revolutionized my blogging business. Jon’s courses cover finding low competition keywords (making it easier to rank on Google), how to hire writers and assistants, setting up a workflow system for your blog, affiliate marketing, putting ads on your blog, site speed optimization, and more! Jon only opens this course up a few times per year, but in the meantime, you can sign up for his free course, 6-Figure Baseline blogging. Then you’ll be alerted by email once the Bundle opens up.
Love Your List 2.0
Love your List is the most recent class I signed up for – in early 2022. So far, Kate Doster is the best email marketing instructor I’ve come across. While this course isn’t cheap, I’ve almost paid for it already in one month using the techniques she teaches. From copywriting, to creating an email welcome sequence, to creating a small product to sell to your email list, Love Your List 2.0 has you covered. A great course! Kate doesn’t open Love Your List very often, but in the meantime, you can sign up for her FREE email marketing minicourse.
Elite Blog Academy
Elite Blog Academy is what I took when I first started out. It walked me through everything from choosing my target audience, to setting up and laying out my blog, to creating my first digital product. Elite Blog Academy is on the expensive side and I know the price keeps going up every year. The one thing I don’t like about this course is that it does not include SEO techniques, which I think is one of the most valuable parts of building a website.
Are you interested in growing a travel blog?
My friends Mike and Laura, who once lived in an RV and are now traveling around the world, have scaled their travel blog to six figures.
They offer a FREE WORKSHOP to tell you all their tricks to growing a profitable travel blog, without using social media. They really know their stuff, and will teach you:
- How to drive thousands of readers to your website each day on autopilot
- How to convert your blog readers into consistent passive income
- How to take your travel blog to six figures and beyond
Already have a blog running but still there is lots to learn from your write-up