Starting a blog is a great move for both aspiring and experienced digital nomads in 2020. Not only is it a unique way to document your location independent lifestyle, but starting a digital nomad blog can also be an excellent way to make money traveling. And thanks to countless websites, plugins, and resources, starting a digital nomad blog has never been easier.
We know what you’re thinking – with the rise of social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, are blogs still relevant in 2020?
Absolutely. Blogs are extremely relevant and just as important as ever. According to blogging statistics from popular WordPress plugin OptInMonster,
- 77% of internet users still use blogs
- Blogs are rated as the 5th most trustworthy source for gathering information
- Internet users in the US spend 3X more time on blogs than they do on email.
So whether you’re looking to share your best tips for finding cheap flights as a digital nomad or you want to show others what it’s like to work remotely from a trending destination, it’s a great time to start your digital nomad blog. To help you get started here’s our step by step guide to starting your digital nomad blog in 2020.
1. Choose a Name
For many, choosing the right digital nomad blog name is both exciting and challenging. Fortunately, there are no hard and fast rules for naming your blog. But there are still a few things you need to consider when choosing a name.
Avoid Cliches / Overused Words and Phrases
Avoid using words and phrases like nomadic, adventure, vagabond or wander in your blog name. The world of digital nomad blogging runs closely alongside the travel blogging world, where these words have been done to death. You want your digital nomad blog name to be somewhat memorable and it’s hard to do that when your name sounds just like everyone else.
Think Long Term
Don’t choose a name that won’t make sense down the road. The name of your digital nomad blog needs to be able to adapt and change with you. This means that you should avoid using names that tie you to one particular place, age, or time frame.
For instance, if you choose to name your blog A Digital Nomad in Asia, it won’t make sense if you eventually decide to move on to Europe or South America. In this same spirit, a name like The Twenty-Something Telecommuter doesn’t fit once you turn 30.
2. Set Up Hosting For Your Digital Nomad Blog
Every website on the internet needs hosting. So what is web hosting? Hosting is essentially space you “rent” for your travel blog. The space you rent is similar to a brick and mortar store that rents space in a building. This space is where all of your data, photos, articles, etc. are stored and where they’re found once someone visits your domain.
There are countless options for hosting your digital nomad blog. Options for hosting vary in cost, performance, and storage provided. However, you don’t need an expensive option when you’re first starting your digital nomad blog.
Popular options for hosting blogs are Bluehost, SiteGround, and HostGator.
3. Install WordPress
There are several free blogging platforms out there. But if you’re serious about your digital nomad blog, you need a self-hosted WordPress account from WordPress.org, not WordPress.com.
Self-hosted sites allow you to customize your digital nomad blog, to download and use plugins, and to monetize your blog through advertising. Plus, a self-hosted site means that you’ll be able to make your domain MyDigitalNomadBlog.com instead of MyDigitalNomadBlog.wordpress.com.
WordPress powers 35% of the internet – from digital nomad blogs to e-commerce sites to major news sites. It is by far the most popular blogging platform, is incredibly user-friendly, customizable, and is free to use.
To make it easy to set up your blog on WordPress, each of the hosting services we mentioned above offer dedicated WordPress hosting. To learn how to most effectively use WordPress, they offer a comprehensive library of WordPress lessons.
4. Download a Premium Theme
Good design is almost as important as good content on your digital nomad blog. You want your blog to stand out, be memorable, and represent who you are.
When you sign up for WordPress, you’ll be asked to choose a free theme. These free themes are fine for bloggers that are just starting out or just using this as a hobby. But if you plan to monetize your site, you should spend the money on a premium theme. A premium theme elevates the look and functionality of your digital nomad blog, greatly improving user experience.
A premium theme costs about $50 on average. Some more, some less. ThemeTrust and ThemeForest are two places where you can find beautiful, easy to use themes for your WordPress blog.
5. Install Plugins
Plugins are a way to customize and improve your digital nomad blog. Plugins allow you to utilize new features, improve user experience, and gain access to important metrics.
The list of potential plugins available for your website is near endless. To get you started here are a few essential plugins used and loved by other digital nomad bloggers.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is a fancy way of saying that you’re trying to get your posts to rank in search engines like Google. Yoast comes with dozens of features to help you improve your search rankings and provides key analytics.
This plugin protects the comment sections on your digital nomad from people seeking to bombard your posts with spammy comments. Akismet will scan and remove comments deemed to be spam, of which there will be many.
One of the best ways to expand your reach is by getting your content shared on social media. Shared Counts is an excellent plugin that allows you to add sleek looking social share buttons to your site. Plus, Shared Counts allows you to keep track of how many times each piece of content has been shared on a specific social media platform.
This plugin actually comes preinstalled on your WordPress site. Jetpack has a slew of amazing features to maximize your sites performance including image optimization, spell checker, contact forms, and dozens more.
Site speed is a crucial factor for both user experience and SEO. WP Rocket is a caching plugin that instantly improves your site speed with minimal work or technical effort on your part.
These are just a small handful of the plugins that you can install to make your digital nomad blog the best it can be. For more suggestions, there are tons of guides online that list some of the best WordPress plugins.
6. Craft Your Voice and Build an Audience
In the early stages of your digital nomad blog, writing simply to make money is a huge mistake. So is writing without any kind of plan or strategy.
When you first start your blog, you want to focus on building an audience, crafting your personal voice, and providing content that is truly helpful and valuable to your readers and to Google. Google loves content that is helpful and trustworthy.
Decide what kind of content you’ll be producing on your digital nomad blog. Will you be reviewing your experience in different digital nomad cities? Will you be advising wannabe digital nomads how to find their dream digital nomad jobs? Or will you be sharing your best tips to help your readers find cheap flights as a digital nomad? What you write and how you write is entirely up to you. Just focus on creating valuable, trustworthy content for your readers – even if that’s just your mom and her friends in the beginning.
7. Start Making Money From Your Blog
Once you have some traffic to your website, there are several different ways that bloggers can make money. A few of the most common ways include:
Affiliate programs allow you to make a comission from the sale of a product that you recommend, at no extra cost to your readers. Some of the most popular affiliate programs in the digital nomad and travel world are Booking.com, Amazon, and travel insurance companies like World Nomads or SafetyWing.
When using affiliate programs, it’s important to only recommend products you have or would use yourself. Affiliate programs work because your audience trusts you to recommend things to them. It takes a long time to build authority and trust and only a short amount of time to lose it.
On-page advertisements are another way that bloggers make money. When you launch your blog, sign up for Adsense. Once you’ve gained a large enough audience (about 25k visitors per month), apply to join Mediavine. With Mediavine, you’ll make a considerable amount more than with Adsense.
A sponsored post is a post that you are paid to publish on your site, either by a brand or marketing agency. These posts can be written by the brand or by you, the blogger. Sponsored posts should always carry the disclaimer that the blogger was paid for the post.
8. Start Writing
Whether you’re starting your digital nomad blog as a hobby, as a way to make money, or both, it’s time to start creating content that your audience will love. Strive to post on a consistent basis to grow your library of content and to keep your audience engaged.
As for what to write, remember to focus on providing useful content to your readers. Yes, you want them to feel inspired and to be interested in your life as a digital nomad. But you also want to bring them value. Try to remember the types of posts that you needed to read when you first decided to become a digital nomad. Offer advice for digital nomads based on the things you wish you knew when you were just starting out. Even giving your readers a look at your travel budget or showing them what’s on your digital nomad packing list can help your readers make better decisions as they prepare for their new lives of location independence.
BY: ZACH ANDERSON, CONTENT MARKETING & FLIGHT EXPERT
Zach is a digital marketer, copywriter, and flight deal expert at Dollar Flight Club where he helps 1 million people travel more. As a digital nomad, he is deeply passionate about location independence, Thai food, and helping others see the world affordably.