How To Start A Blog (Including How to Monetise It?)

Here I am sharing a few hints and tips for starting a blog. All my knowledge has been learned as I’ve progressed with my blog so I will update this as I go along.

Some of the recommendations are for FREE resources, woohoo, everyone loves a freebie!

I’ve also included some paid options, but these are all tools that I’ve paid for and used myself. Feel free to ask me any questions and I will give my honest thoughts.

If there’s something missing that you want to know then feel free to drop me a message in the comments below.

Starting a Blog

(Outdoor, travel, lifestyle, food or whatever you choose)

WordPress.com or WordPress.org

I never really understood the difference between these two until I created my website initially on WordPress.com then a month later I realised the difference and changed to WordPress.org!

Ask yourself this question

Are you setting up your blog as a hobby or do you want to monetise it (now or at a later date)?

  • If you are setting your blog up as a hobby then WordPress.com will be perfect for you.
  • If you want to monetise your blog, it doesn’t necessarily have to be right away. Then you will need to choose WordPress.org

WordPress.org will involve choosing a Doman name and setting up with a host.

 

Hosting Providers

Bluehost

I started with Bluehost but even before my year contract was up I swapped to Siteground.

Why?

I found the customer service with Bluehost was awful. As I was new into blogging I came across several issues and things I didn’t understand. The live chat took forever and generally wasn’t great.

Siteground

I asked around and had recommendations from fellow bloggers to swap to Siteground as it was apparently better for your page speed.

Also, their customer service and live chat are 100 times better. It’s a decision that I’ve not regretted since the change.

And yes, my site speed is good 🙂

 

Choosing your Website Name

Your website name is an important decision, whatever you choose will remain with you. Of course, you can change it but it’s a real pain so easier to be happy from the start.

I wanted my blog to be personal hence using my name – Becky and I also wanted to be clear about what I did, hence Becky the Traveller was born. Not overly creative but I’m happy with it.

The downside is that if I ever wanted to sell my blog in x number of years it would be very difficult unless there was another Becky who wanted to buy it haha.

Branding Your Blog

Here’s a task that can get overlooked but if you want to turn your blog into a business here are a few things to consider. I’ve asked my friend Laura (a fellow adventurer @lauraoutdoors) to share why branding is important, plus a few tips to get you started.

Branding is the way you present yourself and your blog to the world and your readers. It reflects your values, aesthetic and blog theme and is vital for a good first impression.

Here are some general pointers to start branding your blog:

Get a logo

You can do this yourself using an app such as Canva or an online logo creator, but it is better to enlist a graphic designer to help create a professional brand.
Use your logo on your blog, social media profiles, business cards, etc.

Contact Laura Hodgkinson Creative for help and advice with your logo and branding.

Colour palette

Choose no more than 3 colours to use consistently through your blog. Choose one colour as your main ‘brand’ colour (this should be the same colour as your logo).

Fonts

Choose one or two fonts your blog, logo and social media images. This keeps your brand consistent. You can download free fonts from several sites – Da Font, Font Squirrel or 1001 Free Fonts

Choose a photograph style

Pay attention to the type of photos you post. Maybe you’ll just focus on natural outdoor shots, or you may prefer to apply a vintage filter to your photos. Whatever you choose, make sure all images are the same style and represent your blog’s values.

 

Choose a Theme

For my website, I choose a basic theme from ThemeForest. The theme is a template for your website, you can tweak and design however you want to create your own unique website.

 

Social Media

Once you’ve decided on a blog name before you buy the domain name first do your research to make sure the social media handles are available.

  • In my opinion, the main ones are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

These are the handles I chose for each of mine, you’ll notice that Twitter and Pinterest are slightly different. This is mainly due to character limits.

Feel free to give me a follow (hint, hint) 🙂

Facebook @beckythetraveller

Instagram @beckythetraveller

Twitter @becky_traveller

Pinterest @beckytraveller

How to Monetise your Blog

There are many different ways you can monetise your blog or indeed make money from blogging. These are the main ways I earn an income from my blog, as you can see some are directly related whereas other income streams have resulted from having my blog.

In an ideal world, you’ll want to earn passive income from your blog. This sounds like the money appears from no-where, but in order to earn a passive income, you need to do a load of work beforehand.

My two main passive income streams come from:

  • Advertising
  • Affiliate sales

Advertising

If you’ve checked out a few of my blog posts you may or may not have noticed adverts in the posts. Since I don’t get paid to directly write the posts for my website (and they can take 10+ hours work) I chose to have advertising on my site.

Like them or hate them, it generates an income for me so at the moment they aren’t going anywhere!

There are different advertising programmes you can join. When I started I had Google Adsense, however, the income I earnt from that wasn’t much. In fact, I did consider removing it but ended up leaving as it did earn me a small amount. Once you reach a certain level of traffic on your website, there are other, more lucrative options Ezoic and Mediavine, that I’m aware of.

I use Mediavine now and I’m incredibly happy with it, in order to be accepted onto this programme you need to generate 25,000 Sessions each month. Whilst I appreciate this isn’t something you’re going to be hitting when you start your blog it’s a good target to set yourself once you’ve set everything up.

Affiliate Sales

Another option to earn an income is to join an affiliate sales scheme.

There are many different programmes you can sign up to depending on what your website is about. The common one that you’ll probably see on websites is the Amazon programme. I find Amazon great, I use personally for my hiking and camping gear, which you may have spotted a few items in on my Shop page.

There are plenty of other programmes you can join, some brands have their own schemes but many are part of programmes, for example, Awin and ShareASale.

Awin is one of my favourite affiliate schemes and has brands such as G Adventures, Expedia, Ordnance Survey and loads more for all blogging niches.

The affiliate links are time-consuming to add but once you’ve done it, they will be there as your website grows.

And will earn you some pennies!

Other Options to Monetise your Blog

Here are a few other ways you can make an income from your blog

  • Writing sponsored posts (for example, accommodation, tours, products, destinations and experiences)
  • Sell your own products or courses
  • Sponsored social media posts

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments

 

Working with brands + companies

Are you looking to start working with brands and companies, maybe gaining sponsorship or paid work?

The most important factor is showing the results you can deliver for them, one way I do this is by creating bespoke reports via Yuzu Metrix to demonstrate campaigns I’ve worked on. I also use the reports to share the campaign results with the campaigns I have worked on.

Yuzu Metrix

Want to get ongoing projects when working with brands? Impress them with professional ROI Reports. With Yuzu Metrix, you can create ‘Reports’ for every campaign you are working on. Automatically.

Don’t waste time on tedious manual tasks like copying numbers into spreadsheets or taking screenshots of your posts. Let Yuzu Metrix simplify your life and save you a ton of time while keeping your numbers up-to-date and accurate.

Yuzu Metrix dashboard
Example of Yuzu Metrix report

Share your Reports via unique links with your clients. Get invited to more campaigns and find new projects with the help of Yuzu Metrix.

Create powerful case studies in the universal language of numbers every single marketer understands. You can then use your reports as case studies alongside your media kit for when you pitch for a new campaign.

Sign up here

Travel Blogger Resources for Social Media

Tailwind for Pinterest

This is a scheduling tool for Pinterest, it creates new pins for everything you schedule. Click this link to try the free option and if you decide to sign up is will also give you $15 off your first month.

I’ve used Tailwind from my early Pinterest days and think it’s a great tool for scheduling content. They also have tribes that you can join which you can add your content too.

Feel free to ask me any questions, or let me know if you want to join my tribes!

Missing Lettr

This is another scheduling tool for all your blog posts. You can click this link to try the free option or if you like you can sign up for the paid option (this is what I use now). This link will give you 1 month for the price of 6 months – Woo hoo!

Free option – 1 site, 2 campaigns per month and 1 social

Paid option ($15 per month) – 2 sites, 4 campaigns per week and 4 socials

Buffer

Buffer is a tool for scheduling your social media. There is a FREE and a paid option.

I use the FREE option which suits me at the moment but maybe I will change at some point in the future.

The free option gives you 10 free schedules at a time and you can connect up to 4 social media channels. I only use my Buffer for Twitter.

The paid option gives you 100 posts per social media and you can connect up to 8 social accounts.

Cost per month is $15 or the annual cost is $144*

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is another scheduling tool. You can schedule more content for free, up to 30 per month. But I prefer Buffer even though I can schedule less. I find it easier to use and schedule quicker.

Travel Blogger Resources for SEO

KeySearch

Want to get serious about SEO then this is my favourite tool to use. Yes, it’s a paid tool but if there’s one thing I would recommend over and over again it’s Keysearch.

Click here to try the free version first.

You can try it for a month or sign up for the starter annual package (this is the one I use)

If you decide to sign up then you can get a 20% discount with this code KSDISC

Google Analytics

Link your website up to Google Analytics as soon as you can.

Your own website data is the most valuable when it comes to understanding your reader’s behaviours then ultimately optimising your own website.

To begin with, the numbers aren’t important but if you are planning on turning your website into a business then get signed up.

It’s free and all it takes is a little time to set up.

Google Console

This is a free tool. Be sure to link this up with your blog.

Other Useful Blogger Resources

Pinterest

You might not think of Pinterest as a bloggers tool but before I started to get organic traffic on my website Pinterest was by far the biggest source of the traffic to my website.

Pinterest isn’t another social media platform, it’s a search engine. 

Users will search a topic then add pins to their own boards to either read straight away or save for a future trip.

If you’re completely new to Pinterest it can be overwhelming, feel free to give it a go yourself but if you’d like some help then drop me an email.

I can do a one-off session to give you all the tools and tips to get set up on Pinterest.

Drop me an email for details beckythetraveller@gmail.com

Canva

I use this to create graphics for my pins on Pinterest. The best thing is that it’s FREE!

Check out my Pinterest board to see what type of designs I create.

It’s also handy for creating your media kit and rate card once you become more established and are looking to monetise your blog.

Siteground

Looking to swap hosts?

I swapped from Bluehost to Siteground as it is better for your page speed. Plus has great online customer service.

Be sure to check out what deals are on offer, especially around Black Friday!

TinyPNG

This is great for re-sizing photos and graphics on your blog.

As you start to grow, you’ll realise the importance of your website speed and by reducing the size of your photos now, it will save you from going back over every single post!!

Other Bonus Resources

Airbnb

Here’s £25 off your first Airbnb stay

Moo business cards

Planning on going to networking events?

I absolutely love my Moo business cards and with this link, you can get 25% off your first order (I receive a voucher as a thank you too!)

 

*Prices correct at time of writing

 
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*Becky the Traveller participates in the Amazon Services Associates Programme, as well as other affiliate programmes. If you make a purchase through these, I earn from the qualifying links. This is at no extra cost to you. Read more here.