Have you been planning of starting a self-hosted travel blog but tight budget is getting in the way? I get you. I started blogging in 2008 or 9 years ago. Back then, I had no money and if I had, I’d rather spend it in food and monthly bills. But I was able to make money from my first blog and the money that I earned (some of it) I invested in a domain name and a web host plan. I’m here to tell you that it’s possible to have your own self-hosted travel blog with less than $30.
What you need to know:
- This only works if you’re not expecting millions of visitors to your site
- This only works as a starting point – meaning as the number of your audience increases, you might need to upgrade your hosting account meaning you will need to pay additional fees
- This only works if what you have in mind is a simple blog like www.flyeve.com and not something as grand as natgeotv.com
- This only works if you’re not planning to upload thousands of photos and videos in your blog otherwise, you will need a more sophisticated web host solution
Benefits of having a self-hosted website:
- You can fully control your website like choose your own theme or web design template
- You can monetize without limits unlike with WordPress where blogs that make money are terminated
- You can be creative with your website address or domain name
- You can choose your own internet extension i.e. (dot)COM, (dot)NET, (dot)BIZ, (dot)ORG, etc.
- You can attract advertisers that is if you have massive traffic or visitors
First thing you need is to think about your website address aka your domain name. Example: www.flyeve.com
When choosing your own domain name:
- You can be as creative as you want with your website address
- You can use your full name or use cute, weird or funny words as you wish
- You can use profitable keywords or SEO valuable phrases
- You cannot change it once registered so double check spelling and register the domain name only if you are 100% sure that you want it!
- Consider to avoid using hyphens
- Consider to choose short domain names (one up to three words) without stop words (and, to, the, etc.)
- Check the availability of your chosen domain name. You cannot register existing domain names owned by other people!
Where to register your domain name?
You will need a registrar to buy and register your chosen domain name. There are several registrars to choose from like GoDaddy, BlueHost and the one that I am personally using since 2009 – 3ix.org. It’s $14.99 per year.
What are profitable keywords?
If your website is focused in a certain niche, using profitable keywords is recommended. It will help your website get a higher ranking in search engines. This is an organic way of driving visitors to your site. For example, you may want to focus in traveling California Beaches so you can register a domain name that people will likely search for in Google like: www.californiabeachinfo.com. It is currently available but hey it’s just an example.
What are internet extensions?
(dot)com is obviously the most popular internet extension. But you can also choose other suffixes like (dot)info, (dot)name, (dot)org and a lot more. In fact you can also choose a country-specific extension. For example, “.COM.AU” for Australia, “.CO.UK” for United Kingdom or “.COM.PH” for Philippines. Take note that internet extensions have different prices. Some are more expensive while others are cheaper.
Another thing is that some internet extensions require legal papers in order for you to have it registered. You cannot register .EDU if you’re not an educational institution. You cannot register .GOV unless you are a government agency. Such extensions are reserved only for appropriate institutions that can submit official documents and proofs that they are eligible. That’s why .COM is the most popular. It’s easy to buy as long you have money and there are no documentations involved.
Why avoid hyphens?
It makes your website less trusted by Google. For example, www.natgeotv.com is already registered and you decided to register www.natgeo-tv.com. Google will think that you are spamming or trying to duplicate an already existing website. As a result, it will be really difficult for you to rank in the search results. Better drop hyphens.
Domain names that you cannot register:
- Domain names that resemble a famous brand name. You can probably get away with it but better not do it since US laws consider it squatting and they can confiscate your website or shut it down
- Domain names that are associated with hate, illegal activities, spamming, etc.
- Domain names that use famous people’s name like www.prestrump.com. You probably can get away with it if the person involved doesn’t care but better not do it or they can file a legal case against you and you end up in big trouble or in jail
Your self-hosted travel blog needs a web host plan.
A domain name alone does not give you a website. You need a web host where your domain name will be hosted. Since 2009, I have been using 3ix.org. To be honest, it’s probably not the best but it’s the cheapest. It’s decent. Downtime is minimal and most appropriate for lightweight websites. Meaning you don’t plan to install a lot of plugins and you don’t have thousands of videos and photos to upload. Their web hosting plan is perfect for starters. It’s $12 a year for the basic plan.
So that’s it. All in all, you need $27 to have your own self-hosted travel blog. This I recommend for beginners and who are starting from scratch and want to save some money. Later on once your blog is already successful and millions of fans frequent your site, you can upgrade to more sophisticated hosting plans. Note also that if you choose 3ix.org, I earn a small commission.