Do You Like What You See?He says in a seductive voice straight out of Patpong Road in Thailand
These days no gap year or travel adventure is complete without the accompanying blog. Photo evidence or it didn’t happen and the like. Here I go through the reasons why people like to have blogs, how you can set up your own blog and the behind-the-scenes secrets to how NomadHead got up and running.
WARNING: it’s a lot of work!
1. Why do people have blogs?
There are various motivations for having your own blog. As with anything, make sure you understand why you want a blog and what you expect from it before you get started.
An Online Diary
When I first went on my gap year in 2007 the online world was a different place (I say as I lean back in my creaky rocking chair). I had only just signed up to this new thing called Facebook. One of the biggest travel bloggers, Nomadic Matt, was only just starting out in 2008. I was trialling Apple’s iWeb that comprised of an annual fee and was a downright nightmare to run with Thailand’s on-and-off internet. My readership was my parents and friends. I wrote purely to keep a log of my every day life abroad and one day down the track it will make for a lot of memories to come flooding back to me.
Nowadays I run NomadHead as a way to stay connected with the backpacker scene. Hopefully you find the travel advice interesting and helpful!
A Source Of Income
Some travellers keep blogs for financial aspirations. How good is that idea? You travel to run your blog, which provides income for you to keep travelling! A great business/lifestyle cycle. Money can come trickling in via multiple blog-based avenues. Although when I say ‘trickling in’ I mean ‘trickling in’. Don’t go quitting your day job just yet.
Share Your View With The World
This is the nice-feeling motivation for running a blog. I’ve chatted with some bloggers who write simply for the joy of writing. They have an opinion or an experience and they’d like to share it with others.
2. How You Can Set Up Your Own Blog
3. Under The Hood of NomadHead
By now you must be interested in starting your own travel blog, and probably wondering how we do it with NomadHead. Well, we’re in a sharing mood! See below for our best advice, and if you have any follow-up questions don’t be shy to email email@example.com.
I used to think I was computer savvy. Then I got into the world of coding and found myself waaaay out of my depth. Holy 404 Error, Batman.
Lucky for you, I’ve figured out the easiest way to set up your own site so your site can be live in just a few days.
Get WordPress. This is a free service that many other people use to set up their blogs. You can use their free templates to set up your blog and away you go.
I strongly recommend using Elegant Themes for your template. It’s what we use for NomadHead (specifically the Nimble theme). Using Elegant Themes not only give you a site design that’s tailored for your needs but it comes with all the guidance and support that will help you to get your blog optimised. And unless you’re an IT nerd, my guess is that you’ll need it.
- 87 Stellar Designs. Whether you’re tailoring your blog to sell things or for it to read like a newspaper, there will be an Elegant Themes design for you. My advice – don’t dwell on this too long, just choose a theme and get started.
- The Premium WordPress Plugins. For another $20 you get the Elegant Themes Premium Plugins which make life easier for you. My time is more valuable than doing it manually.
- Attentive, Thorough Support. When you’re at the point of ripping your hair out and smashing your laptop against a brick wall, simply fire a question off to the Elegant Themes team and they’ll reply back with all the answers within a few hours.
- Their Incredibly Helpful Blog. Every morning I wake up to a detailed blog post with information about how I can make my site better. The authors write in layman’s terms and explain everything clearly too, so you don’t get bogged down in computer speak.
- Price. This isn’t really a negative (I actually think the $69 annual fee is 100% worth it!) however if you are looking for a super-budget option – i.e. free – Elegant Themes does come with a cost. Although you do pay $69 for 87 themes so you’d have to be pretty stingey to pass this up.
- The Ultra Depressing Feeling That This Will Never Work. I don’t think this is Elegant Themes specific, but there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears (and beers) that go into creating a blog. Better off acknowledging the inevitable feelings of frustration sooner rather than later.
I honestly can’t see any reason why you’d choose any blog service other than Elegant Themes. If you know of anything better, let me know!
The Digital Magazine
If you’ve been on the NomadHead site you’ve probably noticed that there is also a companion NomadHead magazine. Probably.
Firstly, you should totally subscribe to this because it’s 100% free and no hair off your back to do so. Plus you’ll get hot and fresh gap year travel advice delivered straight to your iPad or iPhone every month.
Once you’ve subscribed you’ll notice the perks of a digital magazine. It’s fully interactive, meaning you can watch videos, click links, listen to music/podcasts/interviews, write comments, leave reviews – all the things you can’t do on a regular magazine (without a pencil). Similar to podcasts, we call digital magazines magcasts.
They are the brainchild of online marketing guru Ed Dale. Ed oversees a stable of magcasts with a diverse range of titles, of which NomadHead is one. Because everything digital is available globally, niche markets have exploded due to the worldwide audience. It’s how magazines like TrikeMag (for Microlight and Trike Pilots) and Rescue Horses are able to to exist.
If you’re interested in creating your own magcast you can find more information here. Or feel free to shoot me an email with any questions, just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember it doesn’t have to be a travel-related magcast, it can be anything at all so long as you’re interested in the topic.