Packed in the 9-5, broke the lease and decided to head out on the adventure of a lifetime? You know what the next step is, right? Start a travel blog! It’s the best way of staying in touch with friends and family while keeping them informed of all your adventures. If you’re lucky, you might even find a bit of an audience for yourself, or even find yourself a bit of an internet travel pro.

Here are our top tips for anyone thinking about starting a travel blog, so you can really hit the ground running:

Work out where to host your blog

First off, it’s important to work out where to host your blog. If you don’t want to spend money to get your blog up and running, there are loads of free options, including Weebly, Wix, WordPress and Blogger. Free blog hosts tend to be relatively inflexible, so if you’ve got long-term aspirations for your blog which go beyond your immediate circle of friends and family, it’s going to be much easier to run a blog from a shared hosting platform.

What’s a shared hosting platform? Essentially, it means that your blog will be run from the same servers as thousands of other blogs, but you get to pick your own domain name. You can find a host on Bluehost or WP Engine relatively easily and inexpensively, ideal for the novice blogger. There’s a few important factors to consider when it comes to picking your host, including support, uptime, speed and backups.

Alternatively, VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting provides you with part of a server that’s totally dedicated to your blog. It’s slightly more expensive, but gives you speed and reliability from the get-go.

Finally, there’s dedicated hosting, an option which gives you full control over an entire server for your blog. It’s relatively expensive, so probably not the best choice if you’re just starting out.

Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to get blogging.

Choose a content management system

Next up, you’ll need to decide which content management system to use. There’s really only one option: WordPress. WordPress makes it super easy to create a gorgeous looking blog, offering thousands of plug-ins, themes and template to use. You can make your blog look exactly how you like, and it’s completely functional. There are other options, but for us, WordPress is the gold standard.

Find a great template

Next up is the fun stuff – you get to design how your travel blog looks! If you’re using WordPress you’ll have access to loads of great templates already. Some of our favourites include:

  • ‘The Traveller’ – The clue might be in the name! It’s designed specifically for travellers and provides a great layout to post your pics and thoughts.
  • ‘Voyager’ – Highly visual and with lots of different layout options, it’s a great choice for a budding photographer.
  • ‘My Blog’ – A classic. It’s totally customisable and with lots of layout, typography and colour options, you can make it look exactly how you want.
  • ‘Mikos’ – Visually stunning and easy to use, Mikos is a great choice for anyone dealing with lots of pictures.
  • ‘Travelista’ – With multiple post types (including sliders to show off that visual content) this is a great choice for the newbie blogger.

Of course, there’s plenty more to choose from, as well as lots of other places to find free templates online. Just take the plunge and see what you come back with!

Come up with a great name

Behind every great travel blog is a great travel blog name, that’s just a fact. Seriously, look at the biggest players in the travel blog scene – The Blonde Abroad, Nomadic Matt, One Mile at a Time, and the list goes on. Notice anything they’ve got in common with each other? That’s right, a memorable and funny name that’s short, sweet and totally to the point.

Play around with a couple of different ideas before you settle on one. And just remember, once you’ve chosen a name, it can be difficult to change it in the future (particularly if you’re paying for your own domain rather than hosting your blog on WordPress or Tumblr), so be sure to make a name that’s going to stand the test of time.

Fill it up with pictures

You can have pretty sentences, you can have amazing stories, you can have fascinating insights, but the most important part of any travel blog? The pictures! After all, your readers – whether that’s friends, family or people you don’t even know – will want to actually see the places that you’re visiting. And let’s be honest, we’ve all got pretty short attention spans anyway. By letting your photos do your talking for you, you can really develop a style that strikes a chord with your readership.

Don’t know what to photograph? Just go with your gut. It’s your travel blog and no-one else’s. Pick what you love, whether it’s architecture, food, people or natural landmarks, and run with it. Everyone loves travel photography, so pull out that camera and get snapping!

Ready to take on the challenge? Soon enough you’ll be tearing up the travel blog scene, snapping great pics and showing off your backpacker bona fides!