If you love to travel, you would want to have a travel blog at some point. It can help you in the following ways-
- You can connect with like minded travellers and even find some company for the next trip
- You can journal all your travel experiences and photographs in one place to share with family and friends
- You can even make some extra money with your blog! Or try to find sponsors for your next trip!
These are just some of the reasons to have a travel blog, there could be endless reasons!
Here is a quick and easy guide on how to set up a travel blog using WordPress. WordPress is a powerful medium to setup your travel blog as it supports various features that enable you to seamlessly share photographs, videos and also include maps on your website. The basics of setting up a website using WordPress has been discussed in the article “Setting up a WordPress site from scratch”. Once you have your blog up and running you will need some of the following essentials to turn it into a fabulous travel blog.
Themes and other customizations – First and foremost, your blog needs to look good to attract readers. Visual appeal can be the most powerful one in generating traffic for your blog. Fortunately, you do not need to spend too much time or effort trying to do some web designing. There are various themes (both free and paid ) available in WordPress to customize for your travel blog and also improve the appearance. Themes can be accessed from the Appearance Menu of your dashboard. As a start, you can search for a travel based theme and apply it to your blog.
Your blog can be further customized with the various options under the “Appearances” menu. You can choose the colour scheme, header images, menu and sidebar layout etc.
Adding maps to your site or posts – Let us consider the following scenarios.
- You are just back from a grand tour of a major continent like USA or Europe and have covered a lot of places. Wouldnt it be great if you could mark off all these places on a map and show it in one shot to your readers ?
- You are trying to create a travel wish list and would like to mark places that you want to visit in the near future. A map with these markers would surely grab the attention of readers and they would want to explore your blog.
Again, adding a map to your blog either in a post, page or as a widget is very easy. There are various plugins for this purpose. A map also makes your blog instantly look better ! Lets see that below !
Once you have a nice travel story to tell, you would like to highlight it with some great pictures. A good picture can turn a ordinary blog post into an extraordinary one. Or if you just have a few words to say, you can add more pictures to your post. Or just have pictures in a post and let them do all the talking ! The choice is yours.
Photos can be added to your travel blog in several ways. The simplest thing to do is to upload the relevant photos to your post or page using the “Add Media” option on your “New Page” or “New Post”. You can upload files from your PC. This could be cumbersome if you have too many photos to upload, or if you want to showcase a gallery on your blog. Also the pictures can take up too much of storage space. An alternate solution is to add photos from your Flickr account or Google plus account onto your blog. There are several plugins for this purpose.
This is how a photo gallery would look on your blog ! The reader can see the thumbnails and even click on them for larger images. Different plugins offer different features and display options for your photos.
Adding videos to your blog – When you have a travel blog, it would be great to add some videos as well. Imagine that you did some adrenaline rushing adventure sport like bungee jumping in New Zealand. Words cannot describe how you felt during the jump. But you have a short video clip that could do wonders to explain the adventure ! Or you just travelled through some really scenic rail route in Switzerland and you have several videos capturing the change of landscape and scenery. Your blog would be more meaningful with these video clips added to the posts in addition to photographs.
While videos can be uploaded to your blog, it is recommended that you upload your videos to one of the popular services like YouTube and embed the video on your blog.
The video can be seen on the blog post as shown in the below example.
Organizing your posts – You can organize your posts into Categories so that they can be browsed and indexed easily. For eg. you can have the categories of “Beaches”, “Temples”, “Mountains” for your various travel destinations and experiences.
You can add a New Category from the Categories option under the Posts menu. You can create hierarchies in the categories as well. In the following example there is a Category called Asia and then India under it. The hierarchy can be specified by choosing the Parent category option.
The categories show up on the sidebar of your blog for easy browsing of posts/articles.
Some useful plugins for your travel blog
Apart from the plugins discussed above for adding photos, videos and maps on your WordPress site, here are some useful plugins for your blog.
- WP smush.it plugin – This plugin can be used to compress and optimize the images without losing image quality on your WordPress site so that the page loads faster.
- Social media icons – There are various Social media icons plugins available from the WordPress plugins repository. They help you to add social media icons like Facebook, Twitter etc to your blog which enables the user to connect to your Social media pages with one click.
- WordPress related posts – This helps you to add related posts as thumbnails at the footer portion of your posts and increases your internal traffic as the readers get to see more articles of their interest.
- SEO by Yoast – This plugin helps to get your blog or website indexed with search engines and also rank higher in search results. This has been discussed in detailed in an earlier article – WordPress SEO by Yoast.
- Jetpack- This plugin provides various features for customization, traffic, mobile, content, and performance tools
- WP to Twitter – This plugin is useful to automatically update your twitter feed whenever there is a new post.
These are just some tips to get you started on your travel blog, and with WordPress, the options to make your blog interesting and captivating are endless. Do visit wordpress.org for more possible customizations for your purpose.