The word ‘blog’ originated from the term ‘web log’ and was initially taken up only by those web savvy enough or with the funds to dedicate to the idea. Today, however, it’s easy. You don’t need to know anything about source code or HTML and you don’t need a cent. If you have the time and the motivation to write about anything you can easily set up your own blog. The film Julie & Julia is about Julie Powell, a girl who decided to try every recipe in Julia Child’s first book Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blog about it. Her blog attracted so much attention that Julie eventually got the chance to meet her idol.
So, whether it’s cooking, cleaning tips, parenting, or even a quest to stop your partner’s snoring – if you can write in an engaging manner people will read it. Even if you can’t write like a professional, writing can also be a great relaxation technique. And let’s admit it – travel is a fantastic topic to write about! It’s already engaging and exciting and lots of people enjoy reading about travel. You can add your photos from lands far and wide and your thoughts might even help those researching online for their next holiday or adventure.
Tips on how to get started with your own blog:
1. Choose your platform
There are plenty of ‘blogmaking’ websites out there now. If you’re a keen traveller like me then the free ones are going to be the most attractive as pennies are best saved for my next adventure! You can also download or purchase blog software but for a travel blog a platform that is hosted online is safer and more accessible for you as you move from one country to the next.
Blogger – Being owned by Google tells you a lot already. In keeping with the Google mantra this platform is very simple to use and no fuss but offers limited ability to personalise and customise.
Wordpress – If you’re after simplicity with some options to personalise then Wordpress is a great option. Easy to set up and flexible and it’s a companion to Wordpress.org, which is a more complicated version of the software you install on your own server. Wordpress.com is a very straightforward blogging tool. However, it does have more options and flexibility than Blogger.
Joomla– Not as easy to get this one up and running but once you have your options for making your blog your own are much more flexible. To install you need to download the Joomla package file, upload it to your server, and configure it. So, if this all sounds easy and you like a little flexibility, Joomla might be the one for you.
Travelblog.org– This is a platform more dedicated to the travelling community. It’s a little less flexible when it comes to creating and formatting your own blog but it’s a great place to start to have a look at other’s travel blogs and to get a sense of what people write about and how you’d like your blog to function.
To gain some inspiration, figure out what you want your blog to look like and to search through and read some blogs that are already online read our top 5 travel blogs. There are loads of people blogging about their travel experiences online already which could provide you with some great ideas for yours.
2. Bring your blog to life!
This is the stage which requires a little thought. What are you going to call your blog? What do you want it to say? Are you going to include an introductory paragraph about you or the blog itself and why you set it up and what you hope to achieve through it? Which layout/design suits your personality most? Setting up your blog will take some time but it’s a fun process so get creative and come up with a page you’re happy to call your own.
3. Select your weapon of choice
Once you’re on the road you have a few options as to how you update your posts. If you prefer to pack light you can always find an internet cafe in appropriate places. This technique does have one major limitation though – if you’re climbing Everest or cruising through the Galapagos Islands internet options are scarce. As an alternative you can always use the traditional pen and paper approach and type your blog up when you next stumble upon a computer.
Another option is to take a portable device with you to update your blog. The lightest is a smartphone. On your iPhone or your android you can note your thoughts down and add them to your blog site when WIFI is available. The third option is to take a netbook or an iPad with you on your travels.
Have you used any of these devices to update your blog when travelling? If so, please comment below this blog post and share your advice/experience with other travellers.
4. Start typing!
Once your blog is looking pretty and you’re happy with it then you can start blogging! If you’re a keen writer once you start you’ll find that the words flow easily. Start by digging into your memories of previous places you’ve travelled and write about these. Ideas for stories include: memorable experiences, cultural traditions you’ve witnessed, animals you’ve encountered for the first time, landscapes and views that amazed you, new foods that you’ve tried, treks and walks that you’ve taken on... the possibilities are endless.
5. Let people know it’s there
Voila! Now you have your travel blog up and running you can shout it out from the rooftops. Gone are the days of writing postcard after postcard to keep in touch. You can now direct friends and family to your blog. Tell them they can read regular updates on your travel experiences, view your favourite holiday photos and comment on your blog posts too.
If you really enjoy writing this could be the start of a portfolio of blogs for you!
Happy travels and blogging,
Have you got any comments/reviews/feedback about any of the blog sites mentioned? Perhaps you’ve used an iPad or netbook to update your blog on your travels?
Please leave your comments below – your thoughts might be useful to fellow travellers.