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So you are a van lifer and you’d like to talk all about it? Maybe you are thinking about whether you should start a van life blog and wondering where to even start. Blogging can be very fun, fulfilling, and if you do it right it can make you money!
After years of blogging and around two years of blogging about van life I have started to see my efforts turn into success. Although it doesn’t have to take you two years, you will need to put some effort into your website to see it grow into a popular website.
If you are wanting to start a van life blog and need to know the first steps, look no further than the steps below that I have laid out for you!
Pick a Niche
So you want to start a blog all about van life, but what exactly are you planning on writing about? A niche is a specific topic that you know really well and the benefit to picking a niche is that likely there aren’t as many articles or people who are knowledgeable about it.
For example, in the lifestyle world, van life is already a niche. However, van life blogs are growing in popularity so what in particular do you want to write about? Campervan builds, life on the road, family travel, making money on the road, outdoor activities, or do you have other ideas?
I recommend looking around and really thinking about who you want your blog to serve and how it will serve them and what questions will you answer. On top of that think about what you would enjoy writing because, at the end of the day, you want to enjoy doing it!
Choose and Buy Domain Name
Now that you have picked a niche, it is time to decide on a website name. Do you already have a great Instagram name that would work as a blog title as well? Or maybe you would like to create a name from scratch. It’s important to really think about your website name as it is not advised to change it down the road. You will confuse your readers and redirecting everything would be an absolute pain.
Although you shouldn’t change it down the road, you shouldn’t stress yourself out too much about the name. One tip is that if you have decided on a niche, having a word in your title that will be used as some of your keywords, is very beneficial to ranking on Google.
After you have chosen a name you need to purchase the Domain name, meaning the URL. Often you can get your domain name free for a year depending on the hosting service you decide on. If it doesn’t come free I recommend going through GoDaddy to purchase.
Choose a Hosting Platform
If you are going to have a website, you have to purchase space on the internet for your website to live. If you are not ready to purchase hosting you do have the option of using free hosting such as WordPress.org or Blogspot.com. The catch is that you have to use their URL and you can’t have or affiliate links which throws a wrench in your plans if you want to make money.
There are several hosting options out there but these are my favorites and ones I have personally used myself and had a good experience with.
Bluehost is known for being a great value. It’s a great option for beginner bloggers and is low in cost. I used it for years while I had lower pageviews and it served me well. The downside is that my website was a bit slower which can really hurt you with Google and readers.
<a href="https://www.bluehost.com/track/briegoumaz/" target="_blank"> <img border="0" src="https://bluehost-cdn.com/media/partner/images/briegoumaz/300x250/300x250BW.png"> </a>
SiteGround is another fantastic hosting service that I recommend. The moment I started using them for my website, I saw a huge difference in how my website operated. It was faster and easier to work inside of it. With Bluehost, I often had pictures have issues uploading and that was never an issue with SiteGround.
<a href="https://siteground.com/web-hosting.htm?afimagecode=931451db223adbb6ecfc1005d6086fed" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="https://uapi.siteground.com/img/affiliate/en/NOPRICE/general_EN_start-site-square-green.jpg"></a>
Pick a Theme
Now that you have picked out your Domain name and have a host, it is time to pick a theme. A website theme is basically the framework in which your website sits. It will determine what your website looks like and the capabilities that you have when designing it.
I’m not very big into design and frankly, it’s my least favorite part of having a website. This is why I love a really simple theme. So my recommendation is to look at other websites and find ones that inspire you. If you find one you like you can head to WP Beginner and type in their URL. Find their theme and decide if it is something that you would be capable of using.
To browse themes, head over to Envato Market and see if any catch your eye. If you want an easy place to start check out these top themes for travel blogs.
Write SEO Rich Content
Ok, your website is built and you are ready to get to the exciting stuff! Now it is time to begin writing articles. You picked a niche so you have an idea of what you want to write about but it’s time to actually start to get to work.
I recommend writing down every topic you can think about in your niche or questions readers you want to attract might have. From there, one by one, look to see if anyone has answered these questions already and if they did a good job. If there aren’t many articles on the topic or if they weren’t answered properly then this might be your opportunity!
Now just because it’s already been written about doesn’t mean you can’t write about it, but it does determine the likelihood that you will rank on the 1st page of Google. To be able to rank it’s important that you learn how to optimize your posts for SEO. In fact, I would say it’s the most important thing you can do for your blog.
How To Make Money Blogging
The real question is how do people even make money from blogging? So you write a bunch of content but how does that translate to dollars in your bank account? Although there are many ways to making money on your own website the top three ways are affiliate marketing, ads, and your own products.
Affiliate marketing is promoting someone else’s product and receiving a portion of the sale for sending them that customer. So a reader on your site sees you promoting your favorite book and they go to a website to buy it. The website tracks that and then pays you a portion of the money they made! You already loved the book and wanted your readers to know about it, but now you get paid for telling them about it.
Affiliate sales do not cost your customer any extra money they only allow you to make money from writing about the things that you think would benefit them.
Some affiliate marketing companies to begin working with:
The next way to make money on your blog is to place ads on your website. The ad companies then pay you per click. The tricky part about monetizing ads is that most companies make you have a certain number of page views or sessions before you can qualify for their program.
The gold star of ad programs and the only one I would consider joining is Mediavine. Mediavine requires 50,000 monthly sessions before you can join their program. Once you hit that number you can apply and see if you qualify. It may seem like a big number to get to but it’s a great way to keep you motivated!
Sell Your Own Products
You have your own site now and you have tons to offer your readers. This may include digital or physical products that you can sell to them. A great way to make money is by selling your own products since you get all of the profits and you know the product is great.
Some examples of products to sell:
- Online Course
- Artwork, photography or Jewelry
Ok so now you know how to start a van life blog and the ways to begin to be successful! I hope this was helpful for you to start your journey online and know that I am here to answer questions you may have!