Travel blogging has become wildly popular in recent years. With the rise of the life hacking and digital nomad trends, more and more people are taking advantage of the abilities technology provides to cut the ties to home and hearth and do the work they had been doing remotely from whichever destination they choose.
For such traveling workers, blogging is as common as owning a backpack. While many rely on social networks for sharing the obligatory photos and experiences of their journey, a blog is great accompaniment to social media. They offer a great deal of control over how and when content is published and how it is displayed. Using a CMS like WordPress offers both extraordinary flexibility and ease of use.
We’re going to have a look at some of the options traveling bloggers have for creating the perfect environment to easily share their experiences.
Self-Hosting Vs. WordPress.com
The first choice prospective WordPress bloggers have to make is where to host their site. The first option is self-hosting, which means a site is hosted with a hosting company and much of the setup is left to the blogger. The alternative is hosting with WordPress.com, which provides a free software as a service platform for creating a WordPress site.
There are benefits to both approaches, but self-hosting, although it takes a little more effort to get started and isn’t free, allows bloggers to have a lot more control over their site, particularly with regard to plugins, configuration options, and monetization strategies. If you choose a good specialist WordPress host, they will be able to have a WordPress site up and running in minutes.
A WordPress theme provides the building blocks for the look of your site. We’re not going to go too deeply into theming here, but there are a literally thousands of themes available both free and premium.
Once you have chosen a theme and installed it, you can accept the default layout and get on with blogging or you can customize to your heart’s content, from simply tweaking the layout to adding your own CSS code (possible but not necessary).
WordPress’ great strength is the enormous variety of plugins available for adding extra functionality to a site. Just about anything you might want to do with a blog will be doable by adding a plugin.
Secure Your Blog
If you follow the tech news, you’ll have heard of the recent huge botnet attack that is trying to discover WordPress sites with poor security configurations. The problem here wasn’t WordPress itself, but that many WordPress users choose easily guessable passwords, so the most important thing to do to secure your site is to choose long, hard-to-guess passwords. Check out this guide for help with choosing good passwords.
There are a plugins available that will help travelers keep their site secure without having to do too much fiddling to achieve it.
This is the trickiest of the actions you’ll have to take to keep your blog secure. By default, WordPress logins are not encrypted, which means the whole session, from entering login details to everything you do in the administration panel, is transmitted over the air in a form that can be captured by hackers.
That’s not really a problem for people who mostly blog from home on secured Wi-Fi networks, but travelers will often find themselves using open Wi-Fi networks in coffee shops and other places, so they need to be more careful.
The first thing you’ll need to do is buy an SSL certificate. These are not particularly expensive, and your hosting company should be able to set you up. Then you’ll need to add a plugin so that WordPress automatically uses the certificate to encrypt all communication between your web browser and itself when you’re logging in and using the admin panel.
Install The WordFence Plugin
WordFence is a comprehensive security solution for WordPress sites. It will scan your WordPress installation periodically for malware, implement a firewall to keep out known attackers, and enable you to see in realtime the traffic on your site, as well as many other features.
Track Your Progress
When I was a kid I used to love those old movies where the characters were traveling and their journey was represented by a line moving across a map or globe. There are many ways to put maps on a WordPress site, but WP Flexible Mapand Geo Mashup are two of the best.
Many travelers are also keen photographers and WordPress is a great platform for showcasing photographic work. The most popular gallery plugin for WordPress is NextGen Gallery,which has been around for years and has developed a loyal following. It has many extensions so that photographers can customize the appearance of their slideshows and galleries.
If you need more than just a gallery, then the Yet Another Photoblog plugin provides a plethora of features tailored to photographers, including EXIF processing and filtering and thumbnail generation.
Blogging On The Move
When you’re traveling it isn’t always convenient to carry a laptop around with you. Fortunately, there are WordPress tools that can be used with most popular mobile devices including:
We’d love to hear from the travel bloggers out there, so if you want to share details of your blogging setup, feel free to join the conversation in the comments.