I am really interested in travelling, languages and different cultures. That is the reason why I decided to start a travel blog. But the beginning was not as easy as I was hoping. I didn’t know anything about WordPress. There are so many blog tools out there, I had no idea which ones were useful. I had never heard about a hosting provider before and I did not know what you need to be looking for when picking a theme. If you are curious to find out what tools I used to set up this blog, this post is for you 🙂
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means that I might get a small commission if you decide to purchase the tool from my link. Of course, it is up to you to decide if you want to purchase it from my link or not.
I used WordPress to set up my website and I recommend doing so. You have probably heard about Wix, which was one of my options as well. But after researching it, I felt like it had its limitations when it came to blogging. So I decided to go with WordPress instead.
To be honest, it took me some time to understand all tools and features. But a few dozens of Youtube Tutorials later I can manage myself quite well. There is a huge learning curve at the beginning, even though it can be quite frustrating sometimes. The good thing about WordPress is that its functionality was always focused on blogs. So it is quite easy to install widgets, type forms, or anything else one might need on a blog or website. Even if you are a beginner! There are many themes available (free & not), that you can work with and the support is really helpful, too. It is one of those tools you will probably not be able to avoid when creating a blog.
Now let’s move on to hosting.
The first time I heard about website hosting I thought: Why the hell do I need to spend money on that? The answer is a bit complex, but you basically need to buy a space on a webserver to let your site live there. You don’t really need to know any more about it. I researched different hosting providers and decided to go with Bluehost. The big advantage is that by buying hosting you get your website domain name for free (exciting!). I had to use customer service a couple of times because I was a bloody beginner, and they were always super helpful. It will take you less than half an hour to set everything up. And Boom, your blog can (almost) go live!
My Blog Theme
One of the most exciting steps for me was choosing a theme. You need a theme to make your website pretty and turn it from a blank site into how exactly you want to look like. A theme is like a grid for your website that you can fill with content and images.
There is an incredibly high number of themes available. And if you are a perfectionist like me, you will suffer! Try to understand that you will never find a perfect theme for your blog, so make sure the one you pick can be personalized and edited in a way that you will like. There are many themes that are for free when you keep browsing through the ones featured on WordPress. In my case, I just could not find one that was speaking to me. Another reason I decided to purchase a theme, is that it usually comes with support and instructions, in case you are struggling at some point. It is also important to pick a theme that is SEO friendly and mobile responsive as nowadays websites receive a lot of traffic from phones.
I got my first theme from Koba Themes. They sell really awesome themes. I purchased one of the installation packages as well, and my blog had an installed theme in less than 24 hours.
My current theme is from 17th Avenue, which offers many different themes, especially for lifestyle bloggers and creators. I am really happy with how customizable and easy to use they are. In my opinion, they look really professional! No one would ever guess how affordable they are as well.
I have never thought about Pinterest before I started a blog. I used it a couple of times when I planned my trips, and I found a big community of travel bloggers there. Now I use Pinterest to pin content and to share my posts. I would still consider myself a “Pinterest Beginner”, but I think it’s fun, and I understand its importance.
The thing is the following: Pinterest is not just a place where you go to look for outfit or recipe ideas. Pinterest is a search engine for pictures. So like Google, but visual. And whatever it is you are interested in, you will be able to find an audience here.
I was not sure about Tailwind at first, so I waited for their Black Friday sale and got it now for my blog. Tailwind is a scheduler for your social media (Instagram or Pinterest), that helps you schedule your posts and publishes them automatically. So you don’t need to think about being on Pinterest on a daily basis and pinning after a long day of work.
The fun thing about it is that it schedules your pins for when most users are online so that your content can reach maximum results and reach many readers, who then engage with your content. I can share my performance in a few weeks, but for now, I am really happy with it! It is definitely worth looking into if you have a blog!
Canva is one of my favorite tools to use. You do not need to be skilled in Photoshop (at least I am not) in order to create beautiful images for your blog or website. Canva offers many templates for your social media websites (Instagram Posts & Stories, Pinterest, Menus, Media Kits, etc.) that you can personalize and use for yourself. You can also save templates there, and reuse them later, which I think is a great feature.
I use Canva to create the cover images for my Pinterest pins, like the one you saw at the top of the post. Or this one:
Canva has a free and a paid version, which is more advanced and offers more possibilities, fonts, and styles. For now, I am happy with the free version. The free version already comes with more than 200k templates and even free storage for your content.
Design Seeds helps you find matching colors for your blog, posts, newsletters, or whatever you need. Just go to the website, pick one color you like, and it will show you palettes of matching colors for you. It is useful if you want to stick to a color palette for your posts, your blog, or your brand in general. Doing so makes your work look much more professional.
Yoast SEO is the most popular SEO plugin on WordPress. It is a great tool to make sure that your posts are SEO friendly, i.e. rank better on Google.
I found it really helpful because especially in the beginning I was just writing posts freestyle and did not know what I should be careful about. That’s where the Plugin comes in handy! The Yoast Plug-In stopped me when my paragraphs were too long, my titles too short or my sentences were starting with the same words over and over again. Ups. Another thing that I like about it is that I feel like it is teaching me a lot about SEO, and what I should keep in mind.
Here again, there is a free version and a paid version. For now, I am completely happy with the free version. But I can imagine getting the paid version at some point because I feel like it is really useful.
Lightroom is a tool that lets you edit your photos in a really detailed and professional way. Have you ever read a blog or checked out an Instagram and thought “Wow, those photos are stunning! They are all consistent in their color scheme, same lighting, and saturation. How did they do that?!” The answer is: They use Presets.
There are many bloggers that sell their presets. But when you browse through Lightroom you can find free presets that you can save and use on your own photos.
And that’s about it (For now!). I am always looking for tools, plugins or other features to improve my blog. Do you know a feature that I HAVE to know about? Let me know in the comments below ?