Best Website To Start A Travel Blog – Ask Alex – Travel Question Wednesdays

Ask Alex - Travel Question Wednesdays

This post is part of the Ask Alex, Travel Question Wednesdays weekly series. To see previous questions click here. To submit your own; tweet it to @AlexBerger, ask it in a comment on this post or send it in by e-mail.

This week’s travel question is from Linda who asks,

Q. “Alex, I’m going to study abroad this summer and I want to start my own little travel blog. Nothing fancy just something free and easy. What do you recommend?”

A. – I highly recommend everyone who finds themselves gearing up for an important trip take the time to start up a small blog. Even if you have little/no intention of continuing the project after the trip ends it is a great way to record the experience and to share it with friends and family. It’s also exciting and surprisingly informative to read back through old blog posts. A blog well written can bring back memories that would otherwise be lost. It always amazes me how some of these otherwise forgotten memories can be grand stories which in the moment seem completely unforgettable. When I started VirtualWayfarer these considerations were about the extent of what I had planned, so, you never know when the blog intended for one small trip may turn into something very different given time and opportunity.

Hands down the best, most universal, and widely used platform to blog on is WordPress. WordPress comes in two forms; a .com and a .org version. WordPress.com is free and provides free hosting with a somewhat reduced set of control options. Your website URL will be something like virtualwayfarer.wordpress.com and your chances of building effective search engine optimization and a large readership are usually more limited – though not impossible. However, it is perfect if you want an incredibly easy to learn, free to use platform that is good for some limited random discovery, and sharing with your friends and social network. The added benefit is that wordpress.com allows for a seamless export of all of your posts and data which can then be imported into wordpress.org if you decide to transition at a later date.

WordPress.org is also free, however unlike WordPress.com it does not provide hosting and instead is a free copy of the wordpress software. This means that you’ll have to subscribe and pay for premium webhosting – vendors like Host Gator and Blue Host are popular – and then install the software. You’ll also need your own domain name (eg: VirtualWayfarer.com). This option is good if you plan to do something more with your blog or want to use it long term. However, if all you want is a free solution that will sit there without need for maintenance between trips or a re-occurring annual cost this probably isn’t ideal for you. How popular is it?  Well, you’ll find that about 95% of all major travel blogs are using WordPress.

If you’re not a fan of WordPress then consider Tumblr or Blogger. Tumblr tends to be far more popular for sharing images, while Blogger has been making large strides to improve the appearance of their blog interface and the themes they’ve made available. Both of these are similar in format, form and function to the .com version of WordPress.

There are also a mixture of websites designed specifically to serve in a similar hosting capacity to WordPress.com.  However, unlike wordpress.com which is general these are tailored to novice travel bloggers.  These sites offer a certain level of increased exposure to the local community, but also provide less control and autonomy than the general blogging services mentioned above.

More specific questions about how to set up your own blog?  Let me know!  I’m happy to help.

-Alex

Have a question of your own? ASK IT! Want to see previous questions? click here.

Announcing the 3rd Arizona Travel Blogger Meetup!

Grand Canyon at Sunset - Boots

The time has come for the 3rd Arizona Travel Blogger Meet (and tweet!) up. Bring your stories, pictures and self for an hour or two of travel talk, stories and bonding with other members of Arizona’s local travel community.

The goal is simple! Get to know each other while developing a more aware/active travel community in Arizona. We’ve got a ton of talent/experience in Arizona and it’s about time we started helping each other!

The meet-up will be this Saturday, October 23rd at 1:30PM. We’ll be meeting at Boulders on Broadway which is located just west of Mill Avenue off of Broadway in Tempe. All you need to bring is yourself.

If you’ll be attending, please feel free to post a quick introduction, including your twitter info/website/blog in a response to this post.

Date: Saturday, October 23rd 1:30PM-3:00PM.

Location: Boulders on Broadway which is located on the North East Corner of Broadway and Roosevelt Street in Tempe. View it on Google here. The address is 530 W Broadway Road, Tempe, AZ.

Coordination: My (Alex) phone number is 480.313.2441 if you want to confirm anything or are having issues finding the coffee shop shoot me a text/call. I won’t be able to check twitter during the event, so make sure to contact me directly.

Spread the Word: So, here’s the challenge. Let’s make sure we don’t miss anyone. Are you aware of travel tweeps, bloggers or industry personalities that might like to join? Make sure to either send them to this post, or get me their e-mail and I’ll reach out to them.

AZ COMMUNITY – On twitter? See the list I’ve assembled of AZ based travel twitter users here.

Any questions? Post them in a comment – or feel free to e-mail me directly via alex ~at~ virtualwayfarer.com.

March and August’s meetups were an absolute blast and I’m really excited/looking forward to round two! Hope to see you all there.

The Arizona Travel Tweetup – In Review!

Arizona Travel Tweetup Crew

Howdy all! Just got back from Tempe and the Xtreme Bean where I had the pleasure of kicking off the first Arizona Travel Tweetup.  I’m thrilled to say that despite busy March schedules we had a better than expected turnout – offering the opportunity to lay the ground work for a better organized Arizona travel community.

We talked twitter, wordpress, travel tips and more while exchanging adventure stories and getting acquainted with the people behind the twitter handle.  It was an absolute blast! You can find the details behind the meet-up here as well as a growing list of Arizona Travel blogging/twitter personalities.

In attendance:

@AlexBerger – Virtualwayfarer – Scottsdale, AZ

@girlfromarizona – Girl From Arizona – Tempe, AZ

@khegre – Khegre on Twitter – Phoenix, AZ

@tomtravel2 – Tom Travel 2 – Scottsdale, AZ

Thank you all so much for coming out.  I hope to set up another tweetup sometime in the next 2-3 months.  If you have any suggestions/venue ideas/requests or comments please don’t hesitate to post them here or shoot me an @Alexberger on twitter.  I’d love your feedback and participation!

New Blog Design

Hello friends! It is my pleasure to announce the completion and official transition to VirtualWayfarer’s new theme. The new layout and look is based on Good Design Web‘s Japan Style blog theme which I used as my base template and have since edited heavily.  As time progresses expect several additional small changes to the new theme as I add new features and streamline your reading experience.

Please post any errors, issues, suggestions or “I Love It!”s you may have in a comment on this post.  Are there certain features that you would love to see added?  Let me know and i’ll see what I can do!

Also, please stay tuned as I will be posting blog entries for Cadiz, Grenada and Guejar Spain over the next week as well as a trip postmortems and packing analysis.