Starting a blog is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. You don’t need to know anything at all before you start, you can just learn as you go. Simple, right? So simple in fact, that there are at least 100 million blogs out there. Blogs about health and wellbeing, fashion, food, sports, news, beauty, DIY and of course, travel. So, how can you stand out in an oversaturated market? By creating a blog with Wix, a user-friendly and modern website builder that allows you to custom create your blog exactly how you want it to look.
This blog you’re reading now was created with Wix about three years ago, just prior to a six month journey across South America. It is at times a journal, it offers tips I’ve picked up along the way, it’s a way for me to express my creative side, it’s taught me new skills and honed old ones, I’ve connected with travellers all over the world, it’s a fulfilling hobby and it has earned me money – not a full time income, but a bit of extra pocket money.
If you’re about to head out on a long-term trip, having a blog is a great way of letting people back home know what you’re up to. And who knows, maybe you’ll inspire someone to follow in your footsteps.
Have I got you convinced that travel blogging is going to be your new thing? Good. Here’s why you should use Wix:
(how my site looks on Wix editor)
Wix is user-friendly
Earlier I mentioned that I set my blog up with Wix – it’s actually my second blog. My first blog was called Banquets and Backpacks and I set it up with Wordpress (another blogger platform) and OMG did I find that whole layout confusing as hell. It was so un-user-friendly that I abandoned it within a few weeks and set up a whole new site with Wix as The Travel Natural.
I found building my website with Wix so much fun. Sitting down and playing around with colour palettes, creating my Destinations Page, and tweaking and customising pretty much everything until it looked exactly how I want it to look is incredibly satisfying. It’s all easy too, just click and drag to move elements to where you want them to go.
Modern template designs
You can either build your website completely from scratch, or pick one of their free visually pleasing templates. They have a few templates geared towards travel blogs (one of which is used for this site) but you can pick any template at all and easily change the topic from photography/food/beauty to travel. So pick the layout that matches your vision the closest and adjust it until it fits you perfectly. While there are templates for shops and restaurants that may look appealing, I suggest starting with one already geared towards blogging to save yourself the time of adding in extra pages.
Ever notice how so many blogs look quite similar to each other? They’re often created with free templates – even paid templates sometimes don’t offer anything unique. The blogs that really stand out have had their websites designed by a professional - often paying thousands for one. With Wix signing up is free and packages start at US$4.50 a month. However that basic plan includes a pretty ugly banner at the top of your page and if you’re like me, you’ll get frustrated with the unprofessional look and upgrade later. I went with the Unlimited US$12.50 a month plan, but the Combo is a great for starting out.
Did I mention that it’s simple to create a bilingual site with Wix? This is a huge advantage for travel bloggers who write prolifically about a particular country and want to offer their site in a second language.
How to create your new travel blog – step by step
Wix has done a marvellous job of making signing up to a blog super simple. Just head on over to their homepage and sign up.
You'll be given a choice of picking a pre-made template or the ADI option (artificial design intelligence) where you can answer a few questions about style and purpose and Wix will custom create a site template for you. It's a pretty neat little feature that's worth playing around with.
From there just explore and play around with colours and themes. Your toolbars and apps are all pretty logical to find and use. Remember, simple is better. Always use black text on a white background - anything else looks too 1990s. If you have too many moving elements or too many colours, it can confuse the eye and draw it away from what’s important – which is your writing and photography.
Now that I’ve hopefully convinced you to start your Wix blog, I want to give you a few tips that I’ve learned about giving a blog personality (a brand) that helps it to stand out from the crowd.
Avoid stale and overdone lists
There are thousands of clickbaity ‘top 10 list’ type posts that have flooded the market. While those types of posts do well currently, google is constantly updating their algorithms as AI improves and in the future any articles that still have that element of humanity or storytelling will do far better than another ‘top 10 things to do for free in Sydney’.
I do more than my fair share of storytelling on this blog and as much as my audience enjoys that, I want to share tips on how they can travel better and cheaper to get them exploring the world more too. Being inspirational is a great way to bring people back to your blog, but you need to offer practical advice for their own travels too. The very best articles about travel are not only informative but they are told in a way that makes the reader feel like they are already there.
A unique travel blog is a combination of a few important factors. Each post should voice an opinion, or explore an angle. The personality of the blog should be just personal enough to real readers in, without the blogger getting too personal (sometimes what’s important to you, isn’t important to others). You also want to maintain some modicum of privacy also - as a quick google search can reveal a whole lot about you to employers, friends and family.
Do what you enjoy
Blogging can be take up a huge chunk of your free time so don’t try to do everything. Pick one or two aspects of blogging you enjoy the most and master it. It could be photography, graphic design, narrative pieces, social media engagement, or thoroughly informative guides. If you try to be a jack of all trades, you’ll burn yourself out and lose the creative energy that you once had for your blog. I’ve been there. Late in 2017 I abandoned my blog for a good four months because I had taken on too much. It's easy to do.
Find a travel style
To create the kind of content that makes great travel reading, you have to travel in a way that inspires great travel writing. You really can’t do that on organised tours or while staying at a resort. You have to travel differently than the next blogger. Of course, you’re never going to go to a destination that's never been written about, it’s more about inspiring your readers to go somewhere that they normally wouldn’t visit.
(how the blog editor looks in Wix)
Find a writing style
Some of the most popular travel bloggers aren’t great writers. But what they lack in skill and vocabulary, they make up for in voice. They talk to their readers like they’re their best friends chatting over a cup of coffee at their local. Their writing oozes their personality and for that reason they have a solid readership. Find your style of communication and hone it – it really helps in cementing that unique brand that I talked about earlier.
Finding your unique writing style comes down to practise, but there are a few things you can do to move it along. One is by reading work done by people whose writing you admire, another is by sitting down after a glass of wine and writing freely, maybe what works for you is to imagine talking to friend, or maybe it’s imaging that nobody at all will read what you write – like writing in a diary.
You have to allow the time to process your thoughts of the places you’ve travelled to, to let the stimulation overload that is part of the travel process (all the new sights, and smells, and sounds, and tastes, on top of new languages, homesickness, budgets, and constant movement) steep into your awareness. Sometimes I don’t quite realise how I felt about a city until after I've left.
Sometimes as a travel blogger you have to form strong opinions on a location in a very short space of time - and then you have to form an opinion of your opinion and think about why it is that you’ve come to that conclusion.
Remember, what makes your travel blog unique is you. It’s your outlook on life, your writing and thoughts and creative energy that makes it different from the next blog. Use that. Pour your personality into your blog. Style it yourself rather than paying for a template that someone else has created. This is unbelievably important to building your brand and creating content that is recognisable as being yours.
Now go create that kickass blog.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and for each purchase you make, I receive a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Wix is the website builder that I use and wouldn't recommend it if I didn't wholeheartedly love their product and service.
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