We started Chickery’s Travels with the goal of providing education and inspiration to others who want to realize their full-time travel dreams. Over time it has become a vehicle to connect us to other full-time travelers and a platform to allow us to share our knowledge and experience with others. It has also become a business that has generated revenue for us.
Click here to sign up for our FREE 7-day Beginner Blogging Course or continue reading below to get started today.
Below we’ll walk you though the five simple steps to help you start a profitable blog.
- Choose your blogging platform.
- Find a host.
- Pick your domain name.
- Set up your blog’s website.
- Create useful content that provides value.
- Employ income generating strategies.
1. Choose Your Blogging Platform
To start a blog you’ll need to select a blogging platform. This is a tool that helps you to get your content up onto the web. There are many blogging platforms available, but the most common by far (and what we use) is WordPress. The advantages to using WordPress include:
- It’s free (although you do need to make a small investment for a domain web host – more on that in Step 2).
- It’s easy to set up.
- It’s been around for many years and is a robust and secure system (although you do need to keep it up-to-date to maintain security).
- It has a whole industry of tool providers, designers and developers around it that will help you to customize your blog.
WordPress has two different tools:
- WordPress.com – This is where they host your blog and give you access to have it on their own domain. It’s free to start but, you have pay to for upgrades.
- WordPress.org – This option gives you complete control. You choose where you want to host the blog so you control how it looks, operates and how you can monetize it. WordPress.org is free, but you will pay for your own hosting, domain etc. This is the option we use.
2. Secure Hosting
You can do this separately or together. To make things simple, we chose Bluehost as our web host and got our domain for free from them with the paid hosting.
WordPress has been recommending Bluehost for blog hosting since 2005. With 1-click WordPress installation, 24/7 support, and a super affordable rate, this is a great option for building your first website or blog. We recommend it because it is the host we use and we’ve been very happy with it. If you use the link below, we will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. If not, no worries we’re still happy to share what we’ve learned so far
Click here to –> go to Bluehost <– and start your own blog. (The link will open in a new window so you can reference these instructions as you work.) Click the green “Get Started Now” button like so:
Don’t worry if the images you see here vary slightly from the ones you see on your screen. The process is the same. Bluehost is always tweaking and making site improvements. You might even catch them in a sale!
Select your plan
Choose the plan you’d like to start with by clicking one of the green “select” buttons.Please not that these pricing are “starting at” $3.95. The price shown is based on paying for 3 years at the time of purchase. You can choose to pay for one year at the time of purchase, but that first basic level is $5.95 for that duration.
3. Choose your Domain Name
This is the name of your website. Choosing a domain name is similar to choosing a company name — it requires a lot of thought and consideration. Your domain name is your identity on the web; you want to make sure you choose a domain name that not only fits your business, but is also easy to find and promote. Read this article for Tips for Choosing the Perfect Domain Name.
If you already have a domain you can also use that with Bluehost, regardless of where you purchased it from.
You don’t really need to get any of the add ons now unless you really want them. If you choose one, many folks for for the domain privacy so your registration details aren’t available to anyone who looks them up. I didn’t choose that and got quite a few spam phone calls the first few weeks, but after that they stopped.
Now, you’ll need to enter your payment information. And just let me point out here that Bluehost does have a guarantee. Full refunds are available in the first 30 days (minus the cost of domains if cancelled after 3 days) and you can get a prorated refund at any time.
Choose a password
After your purchase is complete, you’ll be asked to choose a password. Just click the “Create your password” button to choose a secure password.
Click log in and you’re on your way!!
4. Set Up Your Blog’s Website
Now you’re ready to use WordPress and it is super simple. In fact, you’ll see an option to get started with a theme right away. However, I’d actually recommend skipping these free themes right now and using the default (also free). Just click “Skip this step” at the bottom of the screen. Why? Because many free themes are not kept updated. Outdated themes leave holes hackers can exploit and are not worth the risk.
The theme that comes pre-installed will work for now. You can switch to a different theme once you’re set up and more familiar with WordPress. That will also give you time to research the creator of the theme to decide if they are right for you.
Click on Start Building to log in to WordPress
Take a little time to get to know your dashboard. This is what is known as the back end of your website. At this point you can choose three options: Business, Persona, or I don’t need help. I prefer the latter because it lets you start with a clean slate. But if you want some additional prompts, choose one of the others. The beauty here is that nothing is irrevocable. You can always make changes. So don’t be afraid to experiment!
In the image below pay attention to that first box: Launch your site. Until you click Launch, no one can access your site and you can play around with the look of it all you want! I recommend setting up your initial navigation and a few blog posts before you launch.
When I was was setting up my website I used the video tutorials created by BlueHost. This one introduces you to what you’re looking at on your WordPress dashboard.
We actually watched all of the videos in this series and feel that it helped give us a good foundation for the running our blog.
5. Provide Value to Others
Now that you have the technical piece out of the way, it’s time to get to the most important part of a successful blog, the content! The most important part of having a successful (and profitable if that is your goal) blog is to start with a strategy. That means setting goals. What do you want to achieve, how will you do it, and why do you want to do it? Simon Sinek, author of the book Start With Why said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.” To hear his truly inspirational message watch his Ted talk here. Understanding your why, or your purpose, will help you connect with your readers/followers. This is the key to true blogging success. It doesn’t matter with niche you choose, many others will already be working in that space. What is important is that you are authentic and can convey your purpose to your target audience.
Here are three full-time RV travelers and bloggers who are doing a great job in their respective niches:
- Ashely, an RVer with an eye for style, founded the RV remodeling and decoration website, RV Inspiration. She showcases other RVers’ work as well as her own to help you find the best ideas for your RV décor and functionality.
- Lindsay & Dan founded Follow Your Detour to provide inspiration and information to encourage others to follow their dreams of living a less conventional life.
- Kyle & Olivia started Drivin’ and Vibin’ as a way to chronicle their travels and lessons learned on their journey to live minimally and deliberately in a 16ft vintage travel trailer. They share their favorite free camping and boondocking sites on their blog and YouTube channel.
6. Employ Income Generating Strategies
Ad Revenue – The most common method is pay per click advertising via a Google AdSense account, but it is not the only way. You can also get sponsors to pay for a certain amount of ad space on your website. Another method commonly used by bloggers is free products and/or payment for product reviews.
Affiliate Marketing – Another option to earn an income from a blog is through affiliate programs. In this case, you’re essentially paid for referring new clients and customers to other businesses. Many bloggers will write articles about products or services and link to the business for a “commission” of any sale. A simple example of this is the Amazon Associates affiliate program. Say you blog about RVing with children and recommend products that can be purchased through Amazon. You will link to the product within your post and embed code so that if the reader clicks through and purchases that item (or anything else), you will earn a commission.
Products – Bloggers also create their own products to sell to their readers. These products can take many forms. They can be electronic like eBooks or courses, or physical products like merchandise (T- shirts, mugs, etc.). Some bloggers even sell coaching or membership services.
Learn the Basics of Blogging for Business
If you’re looking for additional in-depth guidance on how to make money blogging, sign up for my Free 7-day blogging course to get you started thinking about ways your blog can replace the income you make at your day job.
Don’t let technology hold you back! If you are unsure how to use the tools to drive traffic to your blog, check out my live video training at Blogging Tech Made Easy.
Keep at It
Building a successful blog is not something that occurs overnight. Don’t be discouraged. Network with other bloggers or entrepreneurs to hep you stay motivated. The thing that helped me the most was working together with other full-time RVers who are also bloggers. We shared successes, failures and lessons learned with each other along the way. Now we are all earning an income through our businesses in different ways.