With a new year comes new inspiration and resolutions to propel us to new heights. If you’ve always dreamed of one day having your own blog to share your travels, your style or even your day-to-day thoughts… this is your year.
It’s been about five years since the formation of Dame Traveler’s blog, and over this time we’ve collected some outstanding resources for new, or soon-to-be bloggers. Here they are!
Beginner Steps on How to Start a Blog
Find A Niche
Many influencers in the past have claimed that “blogging is dead” – but we wholeheartedly disagree. Sure, we live in a oversaturated media age… but by no means does that mean there isn’t room at the table for everyone. Each one of us has a perspective and a voice worth hearing. It’s time to share yours! There is an audience out there begging for your knowledge, your style, your voice. Do it, girlfriend.
Finding a “niche” comes down to getting clear about your passions, as well as targeting problems you are capable of solving or areas of need. For example, if you are incredibly passionate about outdoor adventures, look into competitive blogs out there and see what is missing or you’d personally had loved to see years ago when you started.
Pick A Name
What’s in a name? Choosing a name for your blog is perhaps one of the hardest elements for most! Some things to note, choose a name that stands the test of time. This is not the time to get too trendy! As years pass, many bloggers have turned to more classic names (or even changed their branding to simply be their name).
Choose evergreen qualities associated with your ideals or mission. Make a list of words and descriptors associated with your niche and your pathos/ethos, see what sticks! And from there, simplify once more. Your name should be simple enough for new readers to remember!
P.S. changing your name down the road isn’t the biggest headache… so don’t get bogged down in this step of the process or have it stop your progress! Move forward with something that fits, you can always change it later if needed.
After you’ve picked a name, it’s time to commit! Buying a domain is simple and straightforward. Choose a reliable registrar (we happen to love using GoDaddy) and run a domain name search to see if yours is available. This can get a bit picky in today’s day and age as many domains have been used or are already existing by other users… so get creative. A simple change your “.com” to something similar to “.co” will do… or add hyphens between words.
Side note: be sure your name’s social media handle is available in some shape or form!
WordPress / Plugins
There are many other blogging platforms others adore, so be sure to do your research. We’re huge fans of WordPress‘s customization, and can’t argue with its price point for beginning bloggers. Another huge benefit to WordPress it that all users own all of their content. Plus, it’s a simple integration from your domain website and presto! Once you’ve gotten set up on WordPress, it’s time to download some plugins to streamline your blog’s functionality. Some of our favorites include: YoastSEO, Classic Editor, WP Instagram Widget, Really Simple SSL, JetPack by WordPress.com, and Contact Form.
Templates are a blast to explore once you’ve set up the backend of your blog! When searching for a template, it’s important to choose a theme that stays true to your “brand” – colors, fonts and layout cannot be overlooked. If you have no idea where to start, start sifting through your favorite websites and see how they organize their websites. Do you enjoy having a series of blog posts mentioned on your homepage, or are you looking for a journal-esque entry? What fonts do you love? Do you like clean, minimal templates or detailed, playful ones? WordPress has many templates to experiment with (ours is the Rosemary Theme)… so just start trying! There are also amazing template designers out there too, so don’t be afraid to reach out to theme/template creators if you’re willing to invest.
Our Standby Resources
Once you’ve got a solid foundation for your blog, it’s time to get into the fun stuff! Below are some of our standout resources we’d happily invest in over and over again.
Foodies know that having a handful of props helps any and all shooting circumstances. We discovered Replica Surfaces earlier this year and are obsessed with their photography backdrops. They’re lightweight, realistic backdrops to photograph any time, anywhere with. Their textures and portability can’t be beat!
Fujifilm X-T20 or Fujifilm X-T30
If photography is something you’re hoping to delve into with your blog, the Fujifilm X-T20 or the Fujifilm X-T30 are excellent mirrorless cameras that pack a punch. Needless to say, the ability to capture stunning photographs is a crucial element to blogging in today’s day and age… so investing in an excellent started camera with advanced settings like these are a must. (P.S. read more our photography gear and tech resources here.
Google Pixel 4XL
If you’re a soon to be blogger on the go, the Google Pixel 4XL is an awesome addition to your line up. The camera on it are just as high of quality than many other beginner point and shoot cameras (if not better)! P.S. if you’re looking to upgrade your smartphone travel photography skills… read this post!
To deeply understand your blog’s growth and content your readers are referring to… or to brainstorm some goals month to month, Google Analytics is your go-to resource! Google Analytics is a web analytics service that reports traffic on your blog, giving you insight and a clear idea on what’s most popular. You can also easily see where your followers are coming from, from the keywords that drew them to your site and what content they’re engaging with most. It’s a one-stop look into the details of your blog’s growth!
Tailwind has completely refreshed and rejuvenated our Pinterest posts! Essentially, Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduling app that uses an algorithm to identify when your posts will reach the biggest audience and the best engagement. It also re-shares evergreen content that is re-pinned and loved by Pinterest followers too. Tailwind is not only a streamlined way to keep on top of Pinterest, but it’s grown our blog readership tenfold!
Canva is an excellent resource to create graphic designs yourself that align with your blog’s branding and design. Whether a Instagram Story template that directs your followers to a new blog post, or a collaged collection or photos for a chic roundup post… Canva has a design for everything. They also have printing services too! Perfect for business cards and other PDF designs you may make.
If you’re ready to start upping your photography skills with your new blog, experimenting with photography looks is a fun step of the process. Finding a look and vibe that you’re excited by is a crucial step of the creative process and presets can help!
Find Us Lost Presets
We love Find Us Lost Presets, especially their full collection of Adobe Lightroom presets, inspired by various destinations they’ve traveled to. You’ll find endless options, no matter what lighting situation you shot in during your travels, as well as a really handy editing tutorial video and installation guide to answer any questions you run into! (P.S. if you’re on Instagram and not following Find Us Lost, stop what you’re doing right now and do so. We’re obsessed!)
Bon Traveler Lightroom Presets
Another of our favorite photo editing collections is Bon Traveler’s Lightroom Presets! Created by Jessica Wright (one of our favorite travel photographers and bloggers), these presets have such a dreamy, creamy tone to them. Created to take out the guessing when it comes to editing photos – these presets are balanced, have the hues and luminance to create a warm “vibe” to each snap you’ve captured. You’ll find each collection has a desktop or mobile option to choose from, which is perfect for synching up any smartphone photos with your DSLR shots for a uniform look. We also love that each collection mentions what they were inspired by and how Jessica uses them for various locations.
Everybody Lies Book
If Instagram growth and monetization are your two biggest goals after establishing your blog – read “Everybodies Lies” and thank us later! It’s a dive deep into the world of social media, candidly uncovering the experts and influencers’ unspoken secrets. If you’re at all curious about what it takes for entrepreneurs and aspiring influencers do to cultivate their audience, this book breaks it down in a simplified and streamlined manner. Expect all the tips and tricks you won’t find anywhere on the internet!