We are big supporters of online entrepreneurship since it can easily deliver the lifestyle so many people dream of. Our main goal with TravelB4Settle is to encourage, inform and help as many people as we can to take advantage of the Digital Era and to create the, so desired, location-independent lifestyle.
There are many ways to work remotely and sustain life only from a laptop. Some of them easier than others, some with greater potential than others… But many of them start with a simple and easy step: Building a Website!
”Every big journey starts with a small step”
Building a website, or a blog is a headache for many, ourselves included! But it doesn’t have to be… To save you from months of research and experiments of endless different things as we did, we have come up with this comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to start, build, feed and market a blog from the scratch! This is valid for any skill level or age!
These are the steps we will walk you through in this guide:
- Finding your Niche
- Choose the Perfect Domain Name (For FREE)
- The Best Host for your Website
- Set up your WordPress
- Pick a Cool Theme
- Install Essential Plugins
- Learn WordPress Basics
- Get Social and build your Audience
- Track your performance with Google Analytics
- Happy blogging!
[Full Disclosure: Assume every link in this blog is affiliated, which means we will have a small compensation on purchases. We are attempting to make a living by recommending the companies we believe in. Thank you in advance!]
1. Finding your Niche
Your niche is the audience you want to be visiting your website, reading your posts, interacting with you and ultimately buying your products.
Common niches: Health, Food, Travel, Money, Marketing, Fashion, etc.
There are billions of people online. What is the segment you want to reach? The more specific you get the fewer people you’ll target but the more relevant your content will be for your readers (A classic example is Vegan Travel vs Travel – narrow vs broad niche).
There are 2 main reasons why people pick a specific niche, Money or Passion. We totally recommend finding your interests and passions and blog about something you like because when you do it:
- You are more likely to put in the time and effort to make it shine;
- You are less likely to run out of ideas and/or to abandon it in the future;
- Your readers will feel your passion and that will result in a more engaged audience;
- Profitability will come anyway!
Once you’ve chosen your Niche Market, it’s time to proceed to the second step: choose the perfect domain name.
2. Choose the Perfect Domain Name (For FREE)
Now the hardest and one of the most important parts… Choosing you domain name! We have been on that side, so we understand your pain haha.
The domain name is your online address which will define and represent your brand in the digital world. The attention span of a human being is short and the ‘first impression’ can be crucial! So we recommend taking some time to choose the right domain name, since it will be a serious struggle to change it later on.
Here you have some tips to help you choose the perfect domain name:
- Shorter is Better
- Ex: TravelLeap (vs TheAdventurousBackpackerDiary)
- Easy to type and pronounce
- Ex: LoveLifePassport (vs StpcdTravel)
- Consider using Keywords relevant to your business (Also good for SEO)
- Ex: TwoOutsiders (vs JohnsJournal)
- Brandable over Generic
- Ex: MomentsOfYugen (vs WorldTraveler)
- Make it long-term-friendly
- Ex: FlipFlopWanderers (vs 2010Traveler)
After going through our tips, take a seat, brainstorm some options and check their availability on the web and in the main social media channels (Check availability in knowem). If you are completely out of ideas, there are some websites that can help you. Just type ‘Free domain name generator’ on google and try some.
A Domain name normally costs around 15$/year, but if you host your website with BlueHost they offer you a domain name for free! Check the next step and find out how!
P.S. If you feel like a lot of domain names are already taken, and you can’t find the perfect match for your business, don’t worry… You can start your website without a domain name with Bluehost (check next step).
3. The best host for your Website
“ Whaaaaaaaat?? Hosting my Website?? What the hell does that mean?!”
Well, I don’t know if this was your reaction but you can be sure it was ours!
Don’t worry if you are not a tech expert, it is not that complicated! Basically you have to store your website, all your information and everything you upload in a server. We host our blog with Bluehost, which is a very well rated and reliable company in the market, and more importantly, they make it super easy and intuitive for anybody!
- An immediate discount of 50% getting a price low as 3,95$/month
- A FREE domain name
- 1-Click WordPress install
- 24/7 Support
- Free SSL (For google ranking and data protection)
- 30-day money-back guarantee
PLUS, if you sign in through any of these links we will be directly notified and we can promise you our personal support starting from the first day, and we will help you solve any problem!
The set-up is relatively easy but we will walk you through these first steps so you will have your blog live in a few minutes!
3.1. Get Started!
3.2 – Choose your plan
Now it is time to choose your plan. You can check the details of every package right underneath it. We chose the basic plan, and if you are just starting, it is enough.
3.3 Pick your domain name
Now it is time to pick your domain name. If you already have a domain name and you are just looking to host it, fill the right space with it. In case you already decided just put it on the left space and check its availability. If it is not available, it will show you some alternatives. You can also set your hosting and choose the domain name later! (Option on the bottom).
3.4 Fill your information
Now it is time for you to fill with your personal information. Even though we really want to help you, we can’t do much on this step. Just don’t forget to double-check everything after filled.
3.5 Plan Payment and Extras
Here you are going to choose your payment plan and extras. The longer the plan, the cheaper it gets, and for that reason, we chose the 36 months plan. Regarding the extras, honestly, you don’t really need any of them. The only doubt is about the ‘Domain Privacy Protection’ which costs 1$/month and BlueHost claims to be important to hide your details from public databases and avoid spam onto your website.
3.6 Payment – Set Password – Login
This is the most painful step, but trust us, in the end, it will worth it! Here you choose your payment method and pay. Afterward, you’ll need to confirm your email, set your password and login to BlueHost. Very small and intuitive steps. Just don’t forget to save your credentials!
It will also ask you to choose a theme but don’t worry, you can change it anytime. We discuss deeper about the Theme in step 5.
4. Set-up your WordPress
If you completed Step 3 and completed the hosting Set-Up with BlueHost (which we totally recommend you to) you will land on a WordPress page. WordPress is like the foundation of your website, and there is no better software to build your blog than WordPress. Anything you’ll do to your website will be through WordPress. To access this “back-office” just add “/wp-admin” to your website address (Example: www.yourname.com/wp-admin).
Your website will claim to be ‘Under Construction” (like the image below) until you launch it. You can either choose to launch it now or later, it’s up to you, but don’t stress too much, you won’t have millions of people viewing your website at the beginning .
If you want to launch the website now, on your WordPress back-office click on ‘BlueHost’ on the sidebar, and then click ‘Launch’ (image below). You’ll need to choose your site name and the tagline, which you can change whenever you want to.
The sidebar is like the main menu of your WordPress back office, where you’ll be able to navigate wherever you want inside WordPress (Posts, Pages, Plugins, Appearance, Settings, etc).
WordPress is a very powerful weapon and even though it will look extra-complicated at the beginning, you will get there with time and release its full potential. In order to speed up your learning process or to clarify any doubts, you may have we advise you to take a look into this WordPress Free Lessons or consider this complete Online Course.
You can also take more specific free classes on all the topics that you will have to master to create and continue with your website (SEO, WordPress, Marketing, etc.) with Skillshare. From artistic skills to personal development, Skillshare is an educational platform with online classes given by the best in each area. You can enjoy free months on Skillshare with this link.
5. Pick a cool theme
The theme of your website is basically its design, how it looks in the front-end. We totally understand if you want the best-looking website, but, in the beginning, you should not waste too much time on it. Instead, you should focus your energy on creative and useful content for your audience.
WordPress has hundreds of free themes that you can start with. Just click on ‘Appearance -> Themes’ on the sidebar and then click on ‘Add New’. Maybe start with one of the ‘Popular’ ones. Once you install it, head to ‘Appearance -> Customize’ to personalize the design of your website live (Better after having posts, pages and menus set).
Quick tips: Ensure your theme is mobile responsive and updated regularly (important).
If you would like to improve the look and functionality of your website or if any of the free themes fulfill your desires, consider purchasing a Professional Theme. You can get beautiful and professional-looking themes at ThemeForest for as low as 29$.
If you are a perfectionist (like we are) or you would like to have full control of the design of your website, just download Elementor. It is a fast and intuitive drag-and-drop page builder that will allow you to fully customize all your pages. Elementor was a complete life-changing for us and it is FREE!
If you have time we totally recommend investing in learning Elementor, which is a valuable skill that can pay off later on. You can either change the complete look of your website whenever you like (without affecting your posts, pages or any type of content) or sell your services and do it to someone else.
6. Install Essential Plugins
Plugins are tiny pieces of software that are built to expand WordPress’ capabilities, adding features and functions to your website that doesn’t come with it originally. They are super useful, and you’ll be able to find plugins capable of everything. However, keep in mind fewer the better. Plugins can cause problems and you want to avoid that at all costs.
There are over 55,000 different plugins for endless different purposes. From design and functionality to building forms and photo galleries or optimizing your website speed and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
To install a plugin simply go to “Plugins – Add New” on your dashboard.
Here is the list of some of the plugins we find essential for our website:
- Akismet Anti-spam – Prevents spam comments
- Contact Form 7 – Easy and intuitive contact form
- Social Warfare – Amazing social media share buttons for blog posts
- Updraftplus – Back up of your website
- Wordfence Security – Verificação de antivírus, firewall e malware
- RankMath – Optimization of your website for search engines. A MUST for any website
7. Learn WordPress basics
Now that you have installed the theme and some important plugins your blog is completely ready for the main piece of the puzzle, the content! Remember, you are a content creator, and now you are responsible to deliver to your core audience what they want.
The content is written in posts and is organized in categories and tags. Your website will have a few important and static pages and the overall organization is made through menus and in the sidebar.
A post is an article, a piece of content that is put chronologically on a blog. It can be shared by your audience and it includes content in the form of text, photos, videos, infographics, etc.
Here is a list of some popular post types that you can use:
- How to / Tutorials
Eg: ‘How we’re saving money on our wedding.’
- Best way to / things to do in
Eg: ‘The Best Things To Do in Singapore’
- Industry-related news & opinion
Eg: ‘3 Ways Technology Is Influencing Travel Habits’
Eg: ‘5 reasons why we love Hostelworld’
- Case Studies
Eg:’How To Travel The South Island of NZ in a Camper Van. Everything You Need to Know!’
- Story / Testimonial
Ex: ‘We are expecting a baby! Getting pregnant, how we found out and more‘
Eg: ”Millennial vs Digital Nomad – The Perfect Match”
Eg: ‘Packing List: Eco-Friendly Toiletries for Backpackers – with a printable checklist!’
- Problems and Solutions
Eg: ‘How To Avoid Buying Plastic Bottles While Traveling‘
Experiment different types of posts and see which ones you like more to write and your audience resonates more with.
Pages are static pieces of content, timeless entries not meant to be shared by your audience. A website can have several pages but the 4 most important ones are:
- Home Page – The face of your website. Must be clear on what your blog is about. Must have a smooth flow and appealing design.
- Example: www.travelb4settle.com
- Blog Page – A chronological list of your blog posts. Categories and tags must be clear.
- Example: www.travelb4settle.com/blog
- About Page – Your or your brand’s story and any relevant information for your business.
- Contact Page – Easy and fast way for visitors to get in contact with you.
7.3. Categories and Tags
Categories and tags are merely for the organization. Categories are big folders on your website where you group posts on the same topic. Tags are more descriptive of a blog post and allow visitors to navigate among interests.
- Post – ‘’Bali Guide – Our personal recommendations’’
- Categories – Travel (Option of subcategory – Bali)
- Tags – Bali, Indonesia, Travel, Tips, etc.
You can make several menus, customize them and determine where they show up. Head to ‘Appearance -> Menus’ and create, modify and determine their location. Alternatively, you can do that in the live editor (‘Appearance -> Customize’).
The sidebar is a static bar that will split the screen with every single blog post you write. It is one of the most important places on your website that you’ll definitely want to optimize. In the sidebar, you can not only help your visitors’ navigation but also tell who you are, what your business is about and how you can help them.
A good side bar may include:
- About me (A short version with a link to the page)
- Email Subscription (Biggest Goal)
- Latest or best posts
- Categories and/or tags
- Social Media feeds
- Your accomplishments
8. Get Social and build your Audience
What is the point of having a great website if no one reads it?
Luckily, nowadays social media is in everyone’s hands and it allows anyone to have a word on any topic and build their audience from there.
Driving traffic is the main challenge of every website. Many people target Google and other search engines through SEO, but it requires some skills and knowledge that may scare those who are just starting.
There are many social media you can choose from – Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Study them deeply and choose wisely which ones make sense to your business and master them!
To learn more about Instagram, we advise you to do the same course we did when we started: ”How to make money as an Instagram Influencer’‘. Learn from the basics to the most advanced, how to improve your account and presence on Instagram to how to monetize your account. Click here and enjoy a 50% discount.
Tip: It is way better to master 1 or 2 social media platforms than to be average in 4 or 5.
9. Track your performance with Google Analytics
Would you like to track the performance of your website? Where is your traffic coming from? Where is your audience from? How old are they? Do they visit on mobile or desktop? What they do once they land on your website? How long do they stay around?
All these statistics can help you understand and know your audience in a deeper level. The better you know your audience, the more accurate your content will be and the more satisfied your visitors will be. So keep an eye on your statistics and never stop studying them
Click here and learn how to install google analytics in WordPress.
10. Happy blogging!
And that’s it! We have covered the basics of starting a blog and hopefully, we helped you launching yours. If you followed our steps you are now ready to start blogging, creating your content, building your audience and track your performance.
Blogging is a big world, full of competition but also full of potential. Whether it is for fun or to make a career out of it, prepare for some battles. You will constantly face challenges but in the end it will be worth it.
The best advices we can give you are: never stop learning, don’t forget you can use Skillshare! Join some communities (Facebook groups are great!) and ask a lot of questions. Of course, be available to answer some too. Networking is and will always be one of the most important pieces of your success. And above all, study and model (not copy, model) those who are some steps ahead of you. We always have something to learn with others.
Related: Website Checklist: 20 Basic Features of a Successful Website
If you have any questions or doubts shoot it in the comment section and we will get back to you as soon as possible. If you’d like to discuss further detail or even to say hello, don’t hesitate in contacting us by email, Instagram, or Facebook!
Matilde and Miguel.