Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers & Foodies

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/holiday-gift-ideas-for-travelers-foodies/

Gift Ideas for Travelers and FoodiesLooking for the perfect gift for your travel and food-loving family and friends? This might help! Over the last several weeks, I’ve been working to pull together my recommendations for gifts for the travelers and foodies on your list. Some of the items here are items I own and use, and others are on my own personal […]

The article Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers & Foodies originated at EverInTransit.com

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/holiday-gift-ideas-for-travelers-foodies/

Gift Ideas for Travelers and FoodiesLooking for the perfect gift for your travel and food-loving family and friends? This might help! Over the last several weeks, I’ve been working to pull together my recommendations for gifts for the travelers and foodies on your list. Some of the items here are items I own and use, and others are on my own personal […]

The article Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers & Foodies originated at EverInTransit.com

Cyber Monday Sale: Save Money on Everything!

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/cyber-monday/

traveler hanging out on a cliff
Happy Cyber Monday, everyone! Today’s the day where everyone old enough to remember chat rooms makes dirty jokes and snickers at the day’s name (a/s/l, anyone?) while everyone else acts confused.

Because to them (and most of the world) today is the day of online sales!  Not one to miss out on the party, I am also putting all of my books and guides on sale! From now until Wednesday, 11/30 at 9am EST (or until I remember to switch back to the old prices), all products listed here are up to 50% off!

So, without further ado, here’s what you can get:

EbooksTravel CoursesBudget City Guides

The Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking — normally $29.99 USD, now $19.99

the ultimate guide to travel hacking Imagine being able to fly anywhere in the world as often as you want — for next to nothing. From taking your family to Europe and flying first class to sleeping in an over-water bungalow in the Maldives — it’s all possible with travel hacking. Money is the #1 reason why people don’t travel as much as they want, but this book shows you how to take money out of the travel equation. It will teach you how to master frequent flier and hotel loyalty programs to travel for free. The strategies in this book are what I use to stay on the road, cut my expenses, and fly business class! This book features interviews with some of the major travel hackers in the world and comes with lifetime updates published twice a year too! Click here to start flying for less today!

The Guide to Solo Female Travel — normally $14.99 USD, now $9.99

the ultimate guide to travel hacking Most of the books on solo travel are written by men. So last year our female travel columnist, Kristin Addis, published a book about solo female travel, for women by women. It covers the areas of concern that are specific to women and their travel needs: safety fears, dealing with naysayers, hygiene, money, packing, and much more. The book also features stories, quotes, and tips from over 20 other women of all ages and races that paint an accurate picture of life on the road. Click here to learn more!

How to Teach English Overseas — normally $19.99 USD, now $9.99

teach english overseas Are you looking to earn money while you travel? Teaching English overseas is one of the best ways to pay off your debts, save for more travel, and experience another culture. Landing such a job is easier than you think — even if you’ve never taught a day in your life. This book will show you how to get certified, avoid scams, find the best schools, and get over any anxiety you might have. It will save you weeks of online research and provide the most accurate and up-to-date information you need to find your dream job. How to Teach English Overseas is updated yearly and features dozens of interviews with teachers from around the world, as well as an interview with a job recruiter to help you clinch your interview and get hired. Learn more and start today!

Media Courses – 25% off

Business of Blogging Course — normally $347 USD, now $262

The Business of Travel BloggingNo other travel blogging course out there is as robust or filled with as many experts. This isn’t a simple blogging course; in fact, it’s a robust travel business course. Many of the experts featured in this course charge thousands of dollars for their consulting skills, but you get them here, in one place, to help you grow your business. I reveal in detail how I run Nomadic Matt, providing you with screenshots, access to numbers I don’t share elsewhere, and contact with successful online entrepreneurs you won’t find anywhere else! If you’re looking to take your blog to the next level and start a business, get in now!

Capture the World: How to Take Better Photos — normally $149 USD, now $99

This photography course, taught by Laurence Norah, is designed to give you all the tools to become a world-class photographer. This course goes through the basics of what a camera is, photographic concepts (exposure, light, focus, composition); buying the right gear; advanced techniques (shooting in RAW; astrophotography and long-exposure, night, flash, and HDR photography; and mobile photography); management, storage, and backup; post-processing and Lightroom tricks; publicizing your work; and making a living at photography. Additionally, you’ll get lifetime access, quarterly webinars, feedback on your photos, and interviews with other professional photographers! Click here to start taking better photos!

How to Become a Master Travel Writer — normally $349 USD, now $262

This writing course, taught by David Farley, will make you a better writer! David teaches writing at NYU and Columbia University and is the author of the book An Irreverent Curiosity and was a host for National Geographic. This nine unit course features video instruction, interviews with other acclaimed travel writers and editors, writing samples, detailed tips on editing, creating a story, and research, sample pitch letters and book proposals, quarterly webinars, and everything else you need to improve your writing, write engaging stories, and get editors to call you back. This is a college level course without the college level price! Click here to learn more!

How to Succeed on YouTube— normally $347 USD, now $262

This video course, taught by Nadine Sykora of Hey Nadine and Kristen Sarah of Hopscotch the Globe, teaches you the ins and outs of video production, acting on camera, growing your audience, connecting with influencers, making money with your videos, working with brands, and developing a community. This course is the most complete program on turning your passion for video into your dream job. These two video producers are two of the biggest YouTubers in the travel space with a combined subscriber base of over 500,000! They know their stuff so sign up today!

All city and country guides – $2 off

Getting away this winter? Ditch the commercial guides, and travel the Nomadic Matt way. My detailed destination guidebooks cover all the best popular and offbeat attractions, restaurants, bars, and more, plus you’ll get a list of my budget tips and suggested itineraries. They are straight-to-the-point guides that give you the essential information you need! Here’s a list of the guides I currently offer:

Kindle | PDF Kindle | PDF Kindle | PDF
Kindle | PDF Kindle | PDF nomadic matt's guide to hong kongKindle | PDF
nomadic matt's guide to hong kongPDF nomadic matt's guide to hong kongPDF

****

So there you have it: all these products are on sale! I hope you take advantage of today’s sale to get the books or course you wanted — on the cheap!

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments!

– Matt

The post Cyber Monday Sale: Save Money on Everything! appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/cyber-monday/

traveler hanging out on a cliff
Happy Cyber Monday, everyone! Today’s the day where everyone old enough to remember chat rooms makes dirty jokes and snickers at the day’s name (a/s/l, anyone?) while everyone else acts confused.

Because to them (and most of the world) today is the day of online sales!  Not one to miss out on the party, I am also putting all of my books and guides on sale! From now until Wednesday, 11/30 at 9am EST (or until I remember to switch back to the old prices), all products listed here are up to 50% off!

So, without further ado, here’s what you can get:

EbooksTravel CoursesBudget City Guides

The Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking — normally $29.99 USD, now $19.99

the ultimate guide to travel hacking Imagine being able to fly anywhere in the world as often as you want — for next to nothing. From taking your family to Europe and flying first class to sleeping in an over-water bungalow in the Maldives — it’s all possible with travel hacking. Money is the #1 reason why people don’t travel as much as they want, but this book shows you how to take money out of the travel equation. It will teach you how to master frequent flier and hotel loyalty programs to travel for free. The strategies in this book are what I use to stay on the road, cut my expenses, and fly business class! This book features interviews with some of the major travel hackers in the world and comes with lifetime updates published twice a year too! Click here to start flying for less today!

The Guide to Solo Female Travel — normally $14.99 USD, now $9.99

the ultimate guide to travel hacking Most of the books on solo travel are written by men. So last year our female travel columnist, Kristin Addis, published a book about solo female travel, for women by women. It covers the areas of concern that are specific to women and their travel needs: safety fears, dealing with naysayers, hygiene, money, packing, and much more. The book also features stories, quotes, and tips from over 20 other women of all ages and races that paint an accurate picture of life on the road. Click here to learn more!

How to Teach English Overseas — normally $19.99 USD, now $9.99

teach english overseas Are you looking to earn money while you travel? Teaching English overseas is one of the best ways to pay off your debts, save for more travel, and experience another culture. Landing such a job is easier than you think — even if you’ve never taught a day in your life. This book will show you how to get certified, avoid scams, find the best schools, and get over any anxiety you might have. It will save you weeks of online research and provide the most accurate and up-to-date information you need to find your dream job. How to Teach English Overseas is updated yearly and features dozens of interviews with teachers from around the world, as well as an interview with a job recruiter to help you clinch your interview and get hired. Learn more and start today!

Media Courses – 25% off

Business of Blogging Course — normally $347 USD, now $262

The Business of Travel BloggingNo other travel blogging course out there is as robust or filled with as many experts. This isn’t a simple blogging course; in fact, it’s a robust travel business course. Many of the experts featured in this course charge thousands of dollars for their consulting skills, but you get them here, in one place, to help you grow your business. I reveal in detail how I run Nomadic Matt, providing you with screenshots, access to numbers I don’t share elsewhere, and contact with successful online entrepreneurs you won’t find anywhere else! If you’re looking to take your blog to the next level and start a business, get in now!

Capture the World: How to Take Better Photos — normally $149 USD, now $99

This photography course, taught by Laurence Norah, is designed to give you all the tools to become a world-class photographer. This course goes through the basics of what a camera is, photographic concepts (exposure, light, focus, composition); buying the right gear; advanced techniques (shooting in RAW; astrophotography and long-exposure, night, flash, and HDR photography; and mobile photography); management, storage, and backup; post-processing and Lightroom tricks; publicizing your work; and making a living at photography. Additionally, you’ll get lifetime access, quarterly webinars, feedback on your photos, and interviews with other professional photographers! Click here to start taking better photos!

How to Become a Master Travel Writer — normally $349 USD, now $262

This writing course, taught by David Farley, will make you a better writer! David teaches writing at NYU and Columbia University and is the author of the book An Irreverent Curiosity and was a host for National Geographic. This nine unit course features video instruction, interviews with other acclaimed travel writers and editors, writing samples, detailed tips on editing, creating a story, and research, sample pitch letters and book proposals, quarterly webinars, and everything else you need to improve your writing, write engaging stories, and get editors to call you back. This is a college level course without the college level price! Click here to learn more!

How to Succeed on YouTube— normally $347 USD, now $262

This video course, taught by Nadine Sykora of Hey Nadine and Kristen Sarah of Hopscotch the Globe, teaches you the ins and outs of video production, acting on camera, growing your audience, connecting with influencers, making money with your videos, working with brands, and developing a community. This course is the most complete program on turning your passion for video into your dream job. These two video producers are two of the biggest YouTubers in the travel space with a combined subscriber base of over 500,000! They know their stuff so sign up today!

All city and country guides – $2 off

Getting away this winter? Ditch the commercial guides, and travel the Nomadic Matt way. My detailed destination guidebooks cover all the best popular and offbeat attractions, restaurants, bars, and more, plus you’ll get a list of my budget tips and suggested itineraries. They are straight-to-the-point guides that give you the essential information you need! Here’s a list of the guides I currently offer:

Kindle | PDF Kindle | PDF Kindle | PDF
Kindle | PDF Kindle | PDF nomadic matt's guide to hong kongKindle | PDF
nomadic matt's guide to hong kongPDF nomadic matt's guide to hong kongPDF

****

So there you have it: all these products are on sale! I hope you take advantage of today’s sale to get the books or course you wanted — on the cheap!

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments!

– Matt

The post Cyber Monday Sale: Save Money on Everything! appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

A High Tech Gift For Wine Lovers

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/kuvee-wine-review/

Kuvee: A Gift for Wine LoversStop into any little restaurant or cafe in Italy, and you’ll probably see one of these… A commercial wine dispensing system offering more than a dozen bottles of wine fresh on tap. Want just a sip? Or a whole glass. No problem. Don’t know which wine to pick? Have a little of each. For indecisive personalities and buffet-loving grazers like me, […]

The article A High Tech Gift For Wine Lovers originated at EverInTransit.com

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/kuvee-wine-review/

Kuvee: A Gift for Wine LoversStop into any little restaurant or cafe in Italy, and you’ll probably see one of these… A commercial wine dispensing system offering more than a dozen bottles of wine fresh on tap. Want just a sip? Or a whole glass. No problem. Don’t know which wine to pick? Have a little of each. For indecisive personalities and buffet-loving grazers like me, […]

The article A High Tech Gift For Wine Lovers originated at EverInTransit.com

Where to Eat & Drink in Pittsburgh

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/where-to-eat-in-pittsburgh/

Where to Eat in Pittsburgh, PAI never really thought of Pittsburgh as a food city. I knew the city was home to Heinz Ketchup and Primanti Bros., hawker of a bazillion calorie French fry stuffed-sandwich. Lots of people love them, but they aren’t really my thing. On my recent trip to Pittsburgh, I was was glad to find the city has […]

The article Where to Eat & Drink in Pittsburgh originated at EverInTransit.com

Posted from http://www.everintransit.com/where-to-eat-in-pittsburgh/

Where to Eat in Pittsburgh, PAI never really thought of Pittsburgh as a food city. I knew the city was home to Heinz Ketchup and Primanti Bros., hawker of a bazillion calorie French fry stuffed-sandwich. Lots of people love them, but they aren’t really my thing. On my recent trip to Pittsburgh, I was was glad to find the city has […]

The article Where to Eat & Drink in Pittsburgh originated at EverInTransit.com

How to Start a Travel Blog

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/how-to-create-a-travel-blog/

laptop outdoors by boat
This is a post for people who are looking to build a travel blog and don’t know where to start. I blogged a few months ago on how to grow your travel blog but realized I put the cart before the horse so, after many emails, I wanted to share the simple steps for getting your blog up and running. For regular travel content and tips, go here!

Whether as a hobby or profession, travel blogging requires some technical skill. Not a lot but a little. When I started my blog, I knew nothing about making a website. Luckily, on my adventures around the world, I met Matt and Kat, a British couple who also happened to be web designers. When I came home after that trip in 2008 and decided I wanted to start this blog, they agreed to help me set up my blog and teach me HTML. Back then, I hand-coded my website and used a funky tool called Dreamweaver to build my website. It was painfully slow and I wasn’t very good at it. My original website was really ugly!

Luckily, you no longer have to build websites that way. Websites and blogs have gotten a lot easier and simpler thanks to WordPress. WordPress is a simple out of the box platform designed to make websites easier for those not technically savvy (like myself). It powers over 25% of the Internet and is the best platform for blogging.

A few months back I talked about the ways you could succeed with a travel blog but, today, I want to give a quick tutorial on how to create a travel blog from scratch in six easy steps:

Step 1: Pick a name

The first thing you need to do is pick a domain name (i.e your website name). When picking your domain name, there are no hard and fast rules on what to pick. There’s no such thing as a “wrong domain” but there are a couple of things you should know to help you pick the best domain:

Make a name that can last. If you pick “JohnsAsiaAdeventure.com” and then you leave Asia, the domain won’t make sense anymore. Make sure you pick a name that isn’t so focused that if you decide to shift gears or change your focus, you can keep the same domain name.

Try to avoid words like “nomad,” “vagabond,” “wanderlust,” and “adventure.” They have been done to death.

Pick a name that describes what you do as much as possible. I was a nomad so “Nomadic Matt” was the best pick for me. If you’re into luxury, put words in your domain that convey that. You want people to see the name and go “I get what that website is about.”

Keep it short. Use 3-4 words maximum. You want the name that rolls off the tongue. Even Ramit Sethi from “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” often abbreviates his site to “I Will Teach” or “IWT”. The shorter the better.

Keep it simple. I’m not a fan of using jargon or slang in your domain name as I think that makes things confusing for people who don’t know it. The last thing you want is something going “What does that mean?” or being confused. If someone has to think of the meaning, then you’ve already lost them. So don’t try to be clever either!

Step 2: Sign up for Hostgator

After you’ve picked out your domain name, you’ll need to register it and buy hosting (the little computer that’s going to power your website). There are a lot of basic hosting companies out there – Hostgator and Bluehost being to two biggest.

Though owned by the same parent company, I lean towards Hostgator as I find their call center customer service quicker and friendlier and they are prone to fewer outages (no one wants their website to go down). I’ve been using them for years and still have a few domains and email through them.

Here’s a walk-through of how to register your name with Hostgator:

First, choose the hatchling plan. This is the most basic plan but it’s perfect for new blogs and I wouldn’t recommend spending more money until you get a lot of traffic and decide you’re going to do this long term!

HostGator Blank Billing Info Page

After you pick that plan, you’ll be sent to the order form. Enter your domain name and select the hosting package you want. Be sure to add “domain privacy protection” as this keeps your registration information from being public record. After this, it will have you include your billing address and payment information. It will also ask you if you want to by additional add-on services. DO NOT PICK ANY. You won’t need them. From there, it will run your credit card and presto! You have a domain name!
HostGator Blank Billing Info Page

After you’ve paid, you’ll get to this screen where you can see your domain name and account information:

HostGator Control Panel

That’s it! It’s super simple and takes about five minutes to do from start to finish! You can click here to go to Hostgator to set it up.

Step 3: Install WordPress

After you’ve registered your domain name and got your hosting package, the next thing you want to do is install WordPress. WordPress is what will actually run the website.  The host is simply the computer your site sits on. To set WordPress up:

In the same screen as above, click “hosting” and, in the next screen, “Get Started with WordPress Today”:

HostGator Blank Billing Info Page

You’ll be taken to this screen. Click WordPress:
HostGator Blank Billing Info Page

In the dropdown menu, select your domain name and hit next:

HostGator WordPress one-click installation with sample page filled in

Enter your user information. Under blog title, enter the name of your blog. Create a strong username and then hit install.
HostGator WordPress Install Details page
After your WordPress is installed and created, a screen will display with the username you chose and a password that they generated for you. If you’d like to create a different password (something stronger or more memorable), then  go to your wp-login screen at domainname.com/wp-admin, click on “reset password,” and you’ll be sent instructions on how to reset it.

That’s it! Now your website is up and running and you’re ready to start blogging!

Step 4: Install your plugins

After you’ve installed WordPress onto Hostgator, go to domainname.com/wp-admin and use the username and password you created to login. You’ll see a screen like this after you login:

HostGator Blank Billing Info Page

From there, the first thing you want to do is install plugins. Plugins are a great way to add additional functionality to a WordPress-powered site. And with over 41,000 (at last check) listed in the WordPress Repository and many more premium options available from developers, there are endless possibilities as to what you can do with your site. From the main screen, click Plugins –> Add New on the left hand column:

HostGator Blank Billing Info Page
If you can think of a feature you’d like to have on your site, I can almost guarantee there is a plugin for it but here are my favorites:

Akismet – Just like getting junk mail in your mailbox, your website will get spammers looking to leave junk comments on your site. Akismet seeks to reduce the amount of this by automatically filtering it for you. This plugin comes installed with WordPress, and all you need do is activate it and sign up for an account at akismet.com.

Yoast SEO – The best SEO plugin out there. This combines the ability to create meta tags and descriptions for your posts, optimize your titles, create a sitemap for search engines to read, customize how your posts appear across social media and do a whole lot more. It’s simple, easy to use, and comes with foolproof instructions.

Relevanssi – While WordPress does a lot of things well, what it fails at is adding search functionality to your site. Relevanssi seeks to fix this and give your readers the most accurate results when searching on your site.

BackWPup – You can never backup your site too much. The WordPress database holds every word you’ve ever written, and if your blog has started to make you a few dollars, you would be nuts not to keep regular backups. BackWPup does it perfectly. With the ability to schedule backups, you needn’t worry about doing it manually (especially useful to the more forgetful among us). There’s also the option to upload backups to Dropbox, Google Drive, and other cloud storage services, ensuring that if the worst does happen, your data will be safe.

Google Analytics For WordPress – Adding analytic tracking to your website is an important move in finding out who your readers are, where they are coming from, and what your most popular content is. When you sign up for Google Analytics, the site asks you to place a snippet of code into your website. For most people, that can be difficult, which is why there’s Google Analytics for WordPress. This adds a lovely graphical interface to your site where you can click a couple of buttons and set up your tracking without any hassle.

SumoMe – This is the best social sharing plugin on the web. Use this. It comes with great analytics and testing features.

Jetpack – Jetpack is aimed at super-charging your website with a host of features from WordPress’s free hosting platform, giving you the best of both worlds. With this plugin, you can add a spell-checker, contact forms, extra widgets, and a whole slew of more features, all with just one plugin.

W3 Total Cache – This plugin works by creating saved copies of your site, saving WordPress from having to generate them for every new visitor. This, in turn, cuts down on the amount of work your hosting server has to do and makes loading your webpages much much faster.

Step 5: Install your theme

Next, you need to make your website look pretty. One of the most important things a blog needs besides good content is a good design. People decide in seconds whether or not they trust your website and choose to stay. A visually unappealing website will turn off readers and reduce the number of return visits you get. So to accomplish a good design, you will need an amazing WordPress theme (i.e., design templates and files). You have 3 options:

Free Themes – Free themes are plentiful and for budding new bloggers looking to make their mark online, they seem like a great option as it allows you to keep costs low. There are many great free themes available online but most of them are not amazing.

If you plan on blogging for a long time, this might become a problem as your website grows. However, if you just need a simple design to blog for your friends and family, then go the free route. You can find some good free themes at wordpress.org.

Premium Themes – The next step up from a free theme is a premium theme. Premium themes are paid themes that offer a bit more uniqueness, flexibility, and functionality. These cost from $25 USD and up, depending on the developer and features.

With a premium theme, you almost always have a support forum that can help you begin to learn how to customize your site yourself. This can be a great way to introduce yourself to PHP and HTML code (which is what your theme and WordPress is created with) without having to worry about breaking your site and not having anybody to help you fix it.

The two best companies to buy premium themes from are WooThemes and StudioPress. My personal favorite is StudioPress as it is more SEO-friendly, a bit sleeker, and cooler. WooThemes are great for photographers and more “fun” personal blogs.

Custom Themes – If you have the money and want a completely unique website, a custom theme is the only way to go. Hiring a website designer/developer will allow you to build the site you dream of and get everything you want. A good WordPress theme from a good designer and developer starts at about $1,500 USD, though the typical average is $3,000-5,000 USD. In my experience, you get the coding you pay for, and cheap can lead to many problems later, so you’ll want a reputable and experienced person.

The best thing to do is ask around for someone, but if you don’t know anyone, two sites you can use to find freelancers are UpWork and 99 Designs.

As a new blogger, I would go with option #1 or 2 as it will be the easiest. To install your theme, simply go to the left hand column, click Appearance –> Themes –> upload. Whatever theme you picked will come as a .ZIP file for you to easily upload. From, there you just activate it and it’s turned on. All themes come with a manual and help file so you can customize your design to your specific needs.

Step 6: Create your main pages

After you’ve uploaded your theme, you’re going to want to make a few basic pages on your website in addition to the blog posts. To create these pages (or posts), go again to your left sidebar and click Pages —> Add New. (Or, for blog posts, Posts –> Add New.) The difference between a page and a post is that a page is a static piece of content that lives separate from the blog. A post is a blog post that gets “buried” as you write more and more. For example, this post is a blog. When I update again, another post will get put on top of it and it will be pushed down in the archives, making it harder to find. But a page like my about page lives on the top of the website, right off the main url, and does NOT get buried. It’s a lot easier to find.

Wordpress - How to Add a New Page
I recommend creating 4 basic pages to start:

About Page – This where you tell people about yourself, your history, what your blog is about, and why it will help them. This is one of the most important pages on your website so make it personable!

Contact Page – People need a way to reach you! Be sure to be very clear on what emails you will and won’t respond to so people don’t send you spam.

Privacy Page – This is a standard user agreement page letting people know what the applicable laws on your site are, that you use cookies, etc etc. You can find out of the box examples throughout the Internet.

Copyright Page – This is a standard page letting people know you own this work and not to steal it. You can find out of the box examples throughout the Internet.

(If you look in my footer, under the “About” section, you can see examples of all 4 of these pages!

***

That’s it! You’ve set up your basic website. Sure, there’s social media buttons to add, blogs to write, and images to upload but these 6 steps will create the basic framework of your blog! The hard comes after when you decide you want to turn it into a profession and start thinking about marketing, product creation, and everything in between but that stuff comes later. By following these steps, you’ll get your blog up and running so you can start sharing your stories and tips!

If you’re looking for more in depth advice, banner for superstar blogging media schoolI have a very detailed and robust blogging course that gives you a behind the scenes look at this website and features case studies, expert interviews, monthly webinars, free themes, tech support, and more. You’ll learn everything I know about creating a successful blog. If you’re interested, click here to get started now.

The post How to Start a Travel Blog appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/how-to-create-a-travel-blog/

laptop outdoors by boat
This is a post for people who are looking to build a travel blog and don’t know where to start. I blogged a few months ago on how to grow your travel blog but realized I put the cart before the horse so, after many emails, I wanted to share the simple steps for getting your blog up and running. For regular travel content and tips, go here!

Whether as a hobby or profession, travel blogging requires some technical skill. Not a lot but a little. When I started my blog, I knew nothing about making a website. Luckily, on my adventures around the world, I met Matt and Kat, a British couple who also happened to be web designers. When I came home after that trip in 2008 and decided I wanted to start this blog, they agreed to help me set up my blog and teach me HTML. Back then, I hand-coded my website and used a funky tool called Dreamweaver to build my website. It was painfully slow and I wasn’t very good at it. My original website was really ugly!

Luckily, you no longer have to build websites that way. Websites and blogs have gotten a lot easier and simpler thanks to WordPress. WordPress is a simple out of the box platform designed to make websites easier for those not technically savvy (like myself). It powers over 25% of the Internet and is the best platform for blogging.

A few months back I talked about the ways you could succeed with a travel blog but, today, I want to give a quick tutorial on how to create a travel blog from scratch in six easy steps:

Step 1: Pick a name

The first thing you need to do is pick a domain name (i.e your website name). When picking your domain name, there are no hard and fast rules on what to pick. There’s no such thing as a “wrong domain” but there are a couple of things you should know to help you pick the best domain:

Make a name that can last. If you pick “JohnsAsiaAdeventure.com” and then you leave Asia, the domain won’t make sense anymore. Make sure you pick a name that isn’t so focused that if you decide to shift gears or change your focus, you can keep the same domain name.

Try to avoid words like “nomad,” “vagabond,” “wanderlust,” and “adventure.” They have been done to death.

Pick a name that describes what you do as much as possible. I was a nomad so “Nomadic Matt” was the best pick for me. If you’re into luxury, put words in your domain that convey that. You want people to see the name and go “I get what that website is about.”

Keep it short. Use 3-4 words maximum. You want the name that rolls off the tongue. Even Ramit Sethi from “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” often abbreviates his site to “I Will Teach” or “IWT”. The shorter the better.

Keep it simple. I’m not a fan of using jargon or slang in your domain name as I think that makes things confusing for people who don’t know it. The last thing you want is something going “What does that mean?” or being confused. If someone has to think of the meaning, then you’ve already lost them. So don’t try to be clever either!

Step 2: Sign up for Hostgator

After you’ve picked out your domain name, you’ll need to register it and buy hosting (the little computer that’s going to power your website). There are a lot of basic hosting companies out there – Hostgator and Bluehost being to two biggest.

Though owned by the same parent company, I lean towards Hostgator as I find their call center customer service quicker and friendlier and they are prone to fewer outages (no one wants their website to go down). I’ve been using them for years and still have a few domains and email through them.

Here’s a walk-through of how to register your name with Hostgator:

First, choose the hatchling plan. This is the most basic plan but it’s perfect for new blogs and I wouldn’t recommend spending more money until you get a lot of traffic and decide you’re going to do this long term!

HostGator Blank Billing Info Page

After you pick that plan, you’ll be sent to the order form. Enter your domain name and select the hosting package you want. Be sure to add “domain privacy protection” as this keeps your registration information from being public record. After this, it will have you include your billing address and payment information. It will also ask you if you want to by additional add-on services. DO NOT PICK ANY. You won’t need them. From there, it will run your credit card and presto! You have a domain name!
HostGator Blank Billing Info Page

After you’ve paid, you’ll get to this screen where you can see your domain name and account information:

HostGator Control Panel

That’s it! It’s super simple and takes about five minutes to do from start to finish! You can click here to go to Hostgator to set it up.

Step 3: Install WordPress

After you’ve registered your domain name and got your hosting package, the next thing you want to do is install WordPress. WordPress is what will actually run the website.  The host is simply the computer your site sits on. To set WordPress up:

In the same screen as above, click “hosting” and, in the next screen, “Get Started with WordPress Today”:

HostGator Blank Billing Info Page

You’ll be taken to this screen. Click WordPress:
HostGator Blank Billing Info Page

In the dropdown menu, select your domain name and hit next:

HostGator WordPress one-click installation with sample page filled in

Enter your user information. Under blog title, enter the name of your blog. Create a strong username and then hit install.
HostGator WordPress Install Details page
After your WordPress is installed and created, a screen will display with the username you chose and a password that they generated for you. If you’d like to create a different password (something stronger or more memorable), then  go to your wp-login screen at domainname.com/wp-admin, click on “reset password,” and you’ll be sent instructions on how to reset it.

That’s it! Now your website is up and running and you’re ready to start blogging!

Step 4: Install your plugins

After you’ve installed WordPress onto Hostgator, go to domainname.com/wp-admin and use the username and password you created to login. You’ll see a screen like this after you login:

HostGator Blank Billing Info Page

From there, the first thing you want to do is install plugins. Plugins are a great way to add additional functionality to a WordPress-powered site. And with over 41,000 (at last check) listed in the WordPress Repository and many more premium options available from developers, there are endless possibilities as to what you can do with your site. From the main screen, click Plugins –> Add New on the left hand column:

HostGator Blank Billing Info Page
If you can think of a feature you’d like to have on your site, I can almost guarantee there is a plugin for it but here are my favorites:

Akismet – Just like getting junk mail in your mailbox, your website will get spammers looking to leave junk comments on your site. Akismet seeks to reduce the amount of this by automatically filtering it for you. This plugin comes installed with WordPress, and all you need do is activate it and sign up for an account at akismet.com.

Yoast SEO – The best SEO plugin out there. This combines the ability to create meta tags and descriptions for your posts, optimize your titles, create a sitemap for search engines to read, customize how your posts appear across social media and do a whole lot more. It’s simple, easy to use, and comes with foolproof instructions.

Relevanssi – While WordPress does a lot of things well, what it fails at is adding search functionality to your site. Relevanssi seeks to fix this and give your readers the most accurate results when searching on your site.

BackWPup – You can never backup your site too much. The WordPress database holds every word you’ve ever written, and if your blog has started to make you a few dollars, you would be nuts not to keep regular backups. BackWPup does it perfectly. With the ability to schedule backups, you needn’t worry about doing it manually (especially useful to the more forgetful among us). There’s also the option to upload backups to Dropbox, Google Drive, and other cloud storage services, ensuring that if the worst does happen, your data will be safe.

Google Analytics For WordPress – Adding analytic tracking to your website is an important move in finding out who your readers are, where they are coming from, and what your most popular content is. When you sign up for Google Analytics, the site asks you to place a snippet of code into your website. For most people, that can be difficult, which is why there’s Google Analytics for WordPress. This adds a lovely graphical interface to your site where you can click a couple of buttons and set up your tracking without any hassle.

SumoMe – This is the best social sharing plugin on the web. Use this. It comes with great analytics and testing features.

Jetpack – Jetpack is aimed at super-charging your website with a host of features from WordPress’s free hosting platform, giving you the best of both worlds. With this plugin, you can add a spell-checker, contact forms, extra widgets, and a whole slew of more features, all with just one plugin.

W3 Total Cache – This plugin works by creating saved copies of your site, saving WordPress from having to generate them for every new visitor. This, in turn, cuts down on the amount of work your hosting server has to do and makes loading your webpages much much faster.

Step 5: Install your theme

Next, you need to make your website look pretty. One of the most important things a blog needs besides good content is a good design. People decide in seconds whether or not they trust your website and choose to stay. A visually unappealing website will turn off readers and reduce the number of return visits you get. So to accomplish a good design, you will need an amazing WordPress theme (i.e., design templates and files). You have 3 options:

Free Themes – Free themes are plentiful and for budding new bloggers looking to make their mark online, they seem like a great option as it allows you to keep costs low. There are many great free themes available online but most of them are not amazing.

If you plan on blogging for a long time, this might become a problem as your website grows. However, if you just need a simple design to blog for your friends and family, then go the free route. You can find some good free themes at wordpress.org.

Premium Themes – The next step up from a free theme is a premium theme. Premium themes are paid themes that offer a bit more uniqueness, flexibility, and functionality. These cost from $25 USD and up, depending on the developer and features.

With a premium theme, you almost always have a support forum that can help you begin to learn how to customize your site yourself. This can be a great way to introduce yourself to PHP and HTML code (which is what your theme and WordPress is created with) without having to worry about breaking your site and not having anybody to help you fix it.

The two best companies to buy premium themes from are WooThemes and StudioPress. My personal favorite is StudioPress as it is more SEO-friendly, a bit sleeker, and cooler. WooThemes are great for photographers and more “fun” personal blogs.

Custom Themes – If you have the money and want a completely unique website, a custom theme is the only way to go. Hiring a website designer/developer will allow you to build the site you dream of and get everything you want. A good WordPress theme from a good designer and developer starts at about $1,500 USD, though the typical average is $3,000-5,000 USD. In my experience, you get the coding you pay for, and cheap can lead to many problems later, so you’ll want a reputable and experienced person.

The best thing to do is ask around for someone, but if you don’t know anyone, two sites you can use to find freelancers are UpWork and 99 Designs.

As a new blogger, I would go with option #1 or 2 as it will be the easiest. To install your theme, simply go to the left hand column, click Appearance –> Themes –> upload. Whatever theme you picked will come as a .ZIP file for you to easily upload. From, there you just activate it and it’s turned on. All themes come with a manual and help file so you can customize your design to your specific needs.

Step 6: Create your main pages

After you’ve uploaded your theme, you’re going to want to make a few basic pages on your website in addition to the blog posts. To create these pages (or posts), go again to your left sidebar and click Pages —> Add New. (Or, for blog posts, Posts –> Add New.) The difference between a page and a post is that a page is a static piece of content that lives separate from the blog. A post is a blog post that gets “buried” as you write more and more. For example, this post is a blog. When I update again, another post will get put on top of it and it will be pushed down in the archives, making it harder to find. But a page like my about page lives on the top of the website, right off the main url, and does NOT get buried. It’s a lot easier to find.

Wordpress - How to Add a New Page
I recommend creating 4 basic pages to start:

About Page – This where you tell people about yourself, your history, what your blog is about, and why it will help them. This is one of the most important pages on your website so make it personable!

Contact Page – People need a way to reach you! Be sure to be very clear on what emails you will and won’t respond to so people don’t send you spam.

Privacy Page – This is a standard user agreement page letting people know what the applicable laws on your site are, that you use cookies, etc etc. You can find out of the box examples throughout the Internet.

Copyright Page – This is a standard page letting people know you own this work and not to steal it. You can find out of the box examples throughout the Internet.

(If you look in my footer, under the “About” section, you can see examples of all 4 of these pages!

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That’s it! You’ve set up your basic website. Sure, there’s social media buttons to add, blogs to write, and images to upload but these 6 steps will create the basic framework of your blog! The hard comes after when you decide you want to turn it into a profession and start thinking about marketing, product creation, and everything in between but that stuff comes later. By following these steps, you’ll get your blog up and running so you can start sharing your stories and tips!

If you’re looking for more in depth advice, banner for superstar blogging media schoolI have a very detailed and robust blogging course that gives you a behind the scenes look at this website and features case studies, expert interviews, monthly webinars, free themes, tech support, and more. You’ll learn everything I know about creating a successful blog. If you’re interested, click here to get started now.

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