How To Start A Travel Blog | WordPress Travel Blog Tutorial

In this video, we’ll show you how to start a travel blog using WordPress Whether you’re vagabonding your way around a country or continent, learning a new language in an isolated town, or meandering through Travel and Leisure’s top 100, you’ve likely got a story to tell, and with this step by step tutorial – we’ll give you the tools to do it

For this tutorial, we’ll be using WordPress to show you how to set up a travel blog in 2018 and 2019 that features an optimized UX design, is fully responsive, and SEO friendly The blog you’ll create would typically cost two to three thousand dollars if a pro was doing it for you The great news is, we’ll teach you how to do it for less than $200 including your domain, hosting, premium WordPress theme, and images In fact we’ll create this exact travel blog here And, rather than just give you a one-size fits all approach, we’ll show you how you can easily use a different design or layout for your travel blog using a simple one-click install tool

You’ll then be able to customize your blog with an intuitive drag and drop page builder so there’s no coding or design prerequisite Here are just a few examples of the designs you could choose Regardless of whether you want a minimalistic travel blog, feminine travel blog, travel photography blog, travel magazine blog, or any other kind of travel blog, in this step by step tutorial, we’ll show you how to create it So, let’s get to it! In the description below you’ll find links to discounts on hosting, your WordPress theme, as well as other resources mentioned in this tutorial Some of these will be affiliate links and will help fund future free tutorials like this one so we appreciate your support

For those who want to follow along, we’ve created a blog post that includes step by step instructions for this tutorial that you can access for free on the OHKLYN blog via the link in the description down below or in the info card for this video Here, you’ll find the written instructions, access to free resources, and the live demo for this tutorial We would recommend opening the blog post in a new tab, and following along For this tutorial, we will use the Soledad WordPress theme by PenciDesign Via the description below, and on the OHKLYN post here, you’ll be able to access the theme as well as view the live demo

Similarly, to show you how to start your travel blog with WordPress, we suggest using Bluehost as your hosting provider With the link in the description below and on the OHKLYN post here, you’ll be able to access discount hosting and a free domain name, if you haven’t purchased one already We’ll cover the steps on how to set this up shortly If you’ve got your domain and hosting already, that’s fine, you’ll still be able to follow along We recommend Bluehost as they provide great quality hosting at an affordable price, and they have an intuitive user dashboard

They will also automatically install WordPress for you, and provide 24/7 support, making it the ideal option for beginners As an affiliate partner, they’ll also set aside a few dollars to help fund future free tutorials like this one – so thanks for using the links provided Ok, now that we’re all on the same page – let’s dig into it The first step to starting a travel blog is preparation and planning Here, we’ll cover: The things to consider before getting started Some resources you may find useful What you will need to start your travel blog in terms of branding assets, and An intro to blog and UX design One of the biggest mistakes beginners make when starting a travel blog is that they forget to begin with the end in mind

Unlike a journey that can be made more enjoyable with a little spontaneity and loose plans, when it comes to creating a travel blog, this is not the case at all Before we start installing WordPress and creating posts it’s important to take a moment to define your target audience, identify your niche, and consider the things that will make your blog uniquely you, and entice users to engage During this process, it would be wise to define the objectives and goals for your blog as this will have a significant impact on how you approach building your travel blog For instance, your objective could be to: Grow subscribers to your newsletter Develop a community who engage with and share your content Grow your social media following Create a portfolio for guest blogging opportunities Make money (via either an online store, affiliates, or advertising) Or, perhaps something entirely different Whatever it is, make sure it's clear In a moment, we’ll go through blog and UX design and show you how to ensure you set yourself up for success

By now, you may have already decided on a name for your travel blog, however, if you haven’t, on the OHKLYN post there’s a few things you should consider, such as: Is the name unique and memorable? Is it a name you can scale and grow with? The value of keeping the name of your travel blog as short as possible, and of course, Making sure the domain name is available To check if the domain name you want to use is available, follow the ‘Check Domain Availability’ button on the OHKLYN post here, that will take you through to the Bluehost site From here, hover over hosting in the top menu and select ‘domain’ From here, enter the domain name and choose the free domain extension you want If your domain name is available, you will be taken to a page to review and purchase it Alternatively, if it's not available, you'll be shown other options, or you will need to try something else

We’ll cover off purchasing your hosting and securing your free domain name in the next step As a side note, for those who want to make travel blogging a career, on the OHKLYN post here, we’ve added a link to the Superstar blogging series from none other than travel blogging guru Matthew Kepnes (aka Nomadic Matt) The Nomadic Matt blog launched in 2008 and in a relatively short period of time, was the number one travel blog with over 13 million visitors per month If you want to learn how Matt achieved that, we’d recommend checking out his blogging courses

Once you’ve decided on the name and objectives for your blog, it’s time to put together the branding assets that you’ll need to start your travel blog The first of which is your logo This is your main branding element and as such, we would recommend getting a professional designer to work with you on putting this together If you don’t have access to a designer, you could use a service, like fiverr, upwork, 99designs, or freelancer to connect with someone who can help If your budget doesn’t permit hiring a designer, there are a number of free tools that you could use like Canva, Sketch

io, or even Google Drawings to put together a simple logo We’ll have tutorials on how to use these tools coming out soon, so subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified once they’re released We’ll also add the links to these tutorials to the post for this tutorial so keep an eye out for that Your logo should be a ‘png’ file with a transparent background so you can use it on multiple background colors You should also have a full-color, reversed, and black and white version of your logo

Similarly, having both a horizontal and a stacked or square version of your logo will give you a lot more flexibility The next branding asset you’ll need is a favicon which is the icon that appears in the tab of the browser when a user visits your blog This should also be a png file and will need to be square Lastly, you need to choose your brand color palette To add this to your blog, you’ll need the hexadecimal color codes for each color

We’ll show you how to customize your blog with your brand color or colors later in this tutorial We recommend using a free tool like Adobe color, palettoncom, or color-hexcom to help find a cohesive color pallette if you want to use more than one color Once you’ve got your branding sorted, we can explore user experience (or UX) design for your travel blog

User experience design is the process of optimizing the layout for your blog and ultimately how users engage with your blog to drive desirable outcomes that help achieve your objectives, be it newsletter signups, sales, etc For this tutorial, we’ll use a premium theme that leverages an optimized UX design and includes sections for advertising, newsletter signups, and the ability for users to easily share content on social or engage with your social profiles So, a lot of heavy lifting will already be done for you All you’ll need to do is decide on the overall structure of your blog In terms of your blog architecture, it will be broken out into: Static pages – these are pages such as your homepage, contact page or about page Posts – these will be the individual blog post that will make up the bulk of your blog’s content

And category or archive pages – which is how you organize your individual blog posts Each post will be grouped or assigned to a category or multiple categories The other components of your blog will include a sidebar (if you decide to include one), a global footer, and your menu or navigation First up, let’s plan out the static pages that you’ll be including in the blog To help with this, it’s best to take out a sheet of paper or open your favorite sketching tool to help visualize what your blog will look like

List or draw out the pages you want to include Common pages include: A homepage About page Contact or ‘work with me’ page Blog page (if you want that to be different from your homepage) Privacy or terms of use page, etc Once you’ve got an idea of the pages you want, go through each page and identify the content that you’ll include on each page It’s often a good idea to sketch out a rough guide outlining where images or other media elements will go to accompany the copy you create If this is new for you, paint in broad strokes for now

For your homepage specifically, view the live demos for the premium WordPress theme we’ll use in this tutorial by following this button here on the OHKLYN post Then go through the layouts and see if there’s a certain layout that resonates with you We’ll use the Soledad travel layout here, however, you’ll be able to use any layout you want The good news is that if you don’t want to use this theme, you can follow the link on the OHKLYN post here to read our best WordPress themes for travel blogs article and just as easily follow along with any of these WordPress themes, or pretty much any other WordPress theme for that matter We’ll get into the specifics of choosing and uploading your WordPress theme shortly

In the Soledad travel example that we’ll be using, you’ll notice there’s a number of header variations which change the position of the logo and navigation, include or remove the header banner at the top, etc Similarly, under the ‘features’ tab, you’ll find that there are a number of pages that will come with pre-designed layouts that you can use as is, or customize to suit your needs, such as an about page, or contact page Under the ‘Home’ tab for all the example layouts, you’ll notice that there’s a huge number of homepage layouts to choose from We’d recommend exploring these to find the option you want where you’re easily able to import and customize the layouts in the customization section of this tutorial that we’ll be getting to shortly Once you’ve got an idea of the static pages you want to include, it’s time to think about the individual blog posts you want to include and the categories you’ll use to group these on your blog

You’ll also use categories as a tool for visitors to navigate your site For popular travel blogs, common category groupings include destinations (such as regions, with countries as sub-categories), activities, types of travel, or interests, etc A good approach here is to find a travel blog in a similar niche, and analyze how they use categories to structure their content as well as how they are used for navigation The idea isn’t to copy what someone else is doing, but to figure out what you think works well, and how you can improve the experience of your blog Once again, invest some time in the strategy side of planning out your blog content

By taking a moment to sketch out the sitemap of your blog, you’ll find that you get a much better result You may want to do some keyword research or use a tool like SEMRush which we’ll add a link to on the OHKLYN post here, to analyze a competitor and understand which of their posts are the most popular and driving the most traffic to their site If learning how to drive organic traffic to your blog is important to you, we’re recording an SEO for WordPress course at the moment which will walk you through how to do this successfully We took OHKLYN from 0 to 8k in organic monthly search traffic in six months using this strategy, so if that’s of interest to you, you can pre-register at coursesohklyn

com We’ll upload the beginners guide to our YouTube channel shortly, so subscribe to our YouTube channel and keep an eye out for that Alternatively, as mentioned earlier, you can follow the link on the OHKLYN post here to Nomadic Matt’s travel blogging course which covers similar information dedicated to the travel blogging niche The last decision you’ll need to make is whether or not you want to include a sidebar on your travel blog, which is this section of the page here You will have the option to include this on some, or all static pages, individual posts, and category or archive pages

In the customization section of this tutorial, we’ll walk you through how to customize the content within the sidebar As you can see in this example, you can include things such as: A bio, Social links or feeds, Newsletter signup section, Banner ads, Recent post snippets, And navigational elements, so consider which of these you want to include You can also disable the sidebar if you don’t want to include one The reason we chose the premium WordPress theme that we did for this tutorial is because we love the design and its versatility So, we’ll keep the design pretty much the same

In terms of our site structure and layout, here’s a chart with a break down of our primary navigation and footer navigation The pages we’ll include on our blog are the homepage, About, Contact, Disclosure and Privacy Policy Similarly, we’ll use three top level categories to group all of our blog posts These are Destinations, Travel Tips, and Activities with four sub-categories under each category We’ll also create a fourth top level category called ‘Featured’ which we’ll use to select the posts we want to feature in our slider, but won’t be included in our navigation menu

Obviously, make these unique to you, or model them of another blog that you think does this well You can have as many or as few as you like and these can evolve over time Ok, so there’s a lot to consider but hopefully you’re still with us and you can see the value as to why it makes sense to think about all those things before jumping in to starting your travel blog Let us know in the comments below if you’ve got any questions or if you have any feedback so far We’ll now move onto securing your domain, setting up hosting and installing WordPress

So, very shortly you’ll have your new travel blog set up Even if you haven’t got all of the planning locked down as yet, you can still follow along so that your blog is at least up and running and you can then move along at your own pace If you haven’t already, the first step is to register your domain, set up your website hosting account, and install WordPress for your travel blog So we’re all on the same page, let us quickly explain what they are Your domain, or url – is the web address for your website, and is what users will type into their browsers to access your site

For OHKLYN it’s OHKLYN o-h-k-l-y-ncom Pick something that works for you Hosting, is what allows your website to be accessible to users 24/7 It’s the process of storing the content and data for your website on a web server, and serving it to users

For this tutorial, we’ll walk you through getting started with Bluehost, as we believe it’s the best option for beginners So, let’s go through the steps for setting up hosting for your blog and registering your free domain with Bluehost Here is a list of the types of domains that are included for free, the most common being a com or co If you’ve already purchased your domain, or if you want to purchase an alternative top level domain (such as something relevant to your niche, or a country specific domain like

couk, or comau), you can purchase that domain through a registrar like GoDaddy, Crazy domains or any other domain registrar (we’ll add some links below) If you go with that option, or if you’ve already secured your domain name, all you’ll need to do then is change what’s called the Domain nameservers to point at Bluehost (which will be your new hosting provider)

Fortunately, we’ve written an article, and a step by step guide on how to do this which you can access here To get started, follow the Bluehost link in the description below, or if you’re on the OHKLYN website, follow this button here We’ll then click on ‘Get started now’ You’ll then select the plan that’s right for you If you intend to have just the one domain, then the first option will be fine, alternatively if you want to have multiple domains on the one hosting account like we do, then you’ll need to select one of the other plans

You can always amend this down the track The great thing with Bluehost is that you get a 30 day money back guarantee on any plan, so you can get started risk-free For this example, we’ll select the first option To get your free domain name, you’ll enter the desired domain name for your website into the ‘new domain’ field, and select the domain extension you want (for example com), and hit next

If the domain name isn’t available, you’ll get an error message and will need to either select an alternate domain name, try to contact the owner of the domain to purchase it from them, or select another top level domain extension If you’ve already purchased your domain name, enter your domain in the ‘transfer domain’ field and select ‘Next’ Remember to review the article on how to change the DNS records to point at Bluehost To set up your hosting account, enter in the required account information In the package information section, choose your desired hosting term and domain add-on preferences

We recommend selecting ‘domain privacy protection’ so that the personal information that’s associated to your domain isn’t publicly available (this is optional of course) Once you’ve entered in the required information, add your payment details, review the terms, and select ‘Submit’ Once you’ve done that, you’ll be taken to this page here You would’ve been sent a confirmation email to the designated email address on the account as well as a WHOIS verification email – follow the link in that email to verify the email associated to your new domain You will need to create a password for your hosting account

To do that, click on ‘create your password’ Make sure to pick a secure password, you could use the suggest password tool to help you with this Once you’ve entered in your password, review the terms of use, and select ‘Next’ You will then be able to log in to your Bluehost dashboard As part of the new Bluehost offering, WordPress will automatically be installed on your new domain

If you’ve registered your domain elsewhere, you’ll need to amend the DNS records to point at Bluehost and install WordPress using the Bluehost one-click WordPress install For the steps on how to do this, review our article on the OHKLYN blog (you can follow this link on the tutorial post here) You can choose to install one of the free pre-selected WordPress themes on your domain However, with WordPress themes, you typically get what you pay for As premium themes are regularly updated when WordPress changes, they’re often more secure, they provide you with access to support, as well as a greater range of design and customization options

So for this tutorial, we’ll use a premium WordPress theme, and select ‘skip this step’ WordPress will now be installed on your domain To access the back-end of your WordPress website, click ‘start building’ This will prompt a guided tour, which you can choose to run through or not We’ll go through this in our tutorial, so we’ll click on ‘I don’t need help’

This will take you to the Bluehost tab within the back-end of your WordPress site To access your WordPress dashboard, click on ‘dashboard’ in the menu on the left There will be a number of notifications that you can action or dismiss by clicking on the ‘x’ in the top right corner You can amend what’s visible on your dashboard by clicking on the ‘screen options’ dropdown in the top right, and checking or unchecking the boxes A number of additional plugins will be installed

You can view these by hovering over ‘plugins’ in the admin menu on the left, and selecting ‘installed plugins’ In addition to the standard WordPress plugins, Bluehost will install a few other plugins like JetPack, Mojo Marketplace, etc You can leave these active, or choose to deactivate and delete these plugins We’ll leave this up to you We’ll delete ours, as we like to use as few plugins as possible

This can be done in bulk: By selecting the checkbox next to the plugin, Choosing deactivate from the bulk actions dropdown and then clicking apply We’ll then delete all of the selected plugins by selecting them and hitting delete Then return back to the WordPress dashboard If we enter our domain name into a browser, we’ll see that WordPress is now installed Congratulations! You officially have a new travel blog! It’s not much at the moment, but you’re a lot closer than you realize

As part of this process, we’ll provide a link to our video on how to set up your free SSL certificate which will encrypt the data on your blog This is best practice as it improves the security on your blog, allows you to take payments on your site, and will improve your Google rankings Ok, we’ve covered preparation, as well as registering your domain, setting up hosting, and installing WordPress We can now move on to the step number three Whenever you want to log into your WordPress blog, enter your domain and add /wp-admin to the end

Such as examplecom/wp-admin Then enter your username and password which was set up in the prior step You’ll then be taken to your WordPress dashboard We’ve installed WordPress in a development environment

It’s a clean WordPress install so it should look the same, however, if it’s slightly different, don’t worry – the fundamentals will all be the same We would recommend installing a coming soon plugin so you can launch your site properly once you’re ready for the world to see it We’ll add a link to a video on how to do this in the description below For similar videos and tips as you build out your website, subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the videos section of our channel The WordPress dashboard or admin panel is broken down into three main sections: at the top we have the WordPress toolbar, the menu or admin menu is located on the left-hand side, and the main admin area is in the middle, where we'll do most of our work

We’ll give you a brief overview of each section now – however, for a more detailed overview, watch our free ‘how to use WordPress’ tutorial, which is an introduction to WordPress for Beginners This is intended to get you up to speed on the fundamentals of how WordPress works in about an hour The WordPress toolbar at the top is dynamic and adjusts the available options depending on which page you’re on, and if you’re viewing the page from the front or the back-end The Admin menu located to the left of your dashboard is separated into three main sections, these are: The Dashboard section, the Content Management section, and the Site Administration section The Dashboard section provides easy access to the Dashboard, updates, and additional plugin features

The Content Management section is where you create and manage Posts, Pages, Media items, Comments and additional plugin features The Site Administration section is where you configure the design and appearance settings for your website (including selecting the active theme for your website, creating and managing menus, widgets, and customizing your website’s theme) It’s also where we manage plugins, users, control global WordPress settings, and activated theme and plugin extensions like SEO, Social sharing, theme specific settings, and security We’ll go through some practical examples for each of these in the coming sections once we upload our theme and start working with content However, one thing we recommend doing before we move on is updating the permalink structure for your website

This will impact how your url strings will be created for pages, posts, etc To do this: Hover over settings in the admin menu (this is where you’ll manage your global WordPress settings, we cover these in detail in our ‘how to use WordPress’ tutorial), then select ‘permalinks’ The default option, leverages a more journal approach featuring the date in the permalink However, the more common option and what we’d recommend from an SEO and UX perspective, is post name This will set the page or post title as the url, so we’ll select that option

And save our changes You can learn more about each option under the help tab and choose the best option for you We recommend doing this before you start creating content so that your URLs are created the way you want Also, if you want to update your user profile, or add users to your website, you can do this by hovering over ‘users’ in the admin menu on the left, and selecting from the options here Alright, moving on

The menu is fully responsive, meaning that as the screen size gets smaller, the menu adjusts to remain accessible on all types of devices Lastly, the main Admin area serves as our primary workspace, and adjusts depending on what’s selected from the admin menu We’ll draw your attention to the screen options tab in the top right corner

When you open this tab, you’ll see a list of options and features that are available for display depending on which page you’re on Similarly, the help tab to the right shows you helpful hints for the page that you’re on, as well as links to relevant documentation Once again, for a detailed walkthrough of WordPress, we recommend watching our ‘how to use WordPress’ tutorial Oknow that we’ve touched on the fundamentals of WordPress, let’s move on to choosing and uploading your WordPress theme A WordPress theme is a group of files that work with the underlying WordPress software to enhance the design and functionality of your WordPress website For a more detailed overview, check out our ‘What is a WordPress’ theme article on the OHKLYN blog There are both free and premium themes that you can use for your website

The main benefits of using a premium theme is enhanced security, access to support, the inclusion of more extensive theme documentation or instructions, extended functionality, and access to demo content and pre-built layouts – which for around $50-$100 is great value Premium support packages can cost $50/mth, so the fact that this is included in a premium theme, makes it a smart investment On the OHKLYN blog, we’ve analyzed hundreds if not thousands of WordPress themes based on Speed, Design, Ease of use, Mobile Responsiveness and Functionality which you can access via the ‘WordPress Theme Reviews’ category on the OHKLYN blog For this tutorial, we’ll use our top rated travel blog theme – Soledad by PenciDesign To access the theme (and any discounts when they’re available) from the OHKLYN post, click on this button here

This will take you through to Themeforest which is one of the largest Premium WordPress theme marketplaces From here: Click on ‘Buy Theme’ to purchase a copy of the Soledad WordPress theme for a once off fee Then go to checkout to finalize your purchase If you haven’t got a Themeforest account, you will need to create one Add your billing information

Then select your payment method Once you’ve done that, you will then be able to download the theme files From within your profile, head to ‘downloads’ Next to the Soledad theme, click on ‘download’ and select ‘all files and documentation’ If we unzip the themeforest file that we downloaded, within there, you’ll see soledad

zip which is the WordPress theme file Leave this unzipped as we’ll upload this to WordPress directly There’s also a file called soledad-childzip which you can use if you want to use a child theme To use a child theme, you will need to upload the soledad

zip file first, and then the soledad-childzip There is an article on the OHKLYN blog explaining what a child theme is if you want more information on that The last thing we’ll draw your attention to is the ‘documentation’ folder which includes an indexhtml file

If you open this file, it will take you through to the online theme documentation and video tutorials for Soledad If you decide to go with a different premium theme, they will most likely have something similar We’ll keep this open as it is a resource we will continually come back to Let’s move on to uploading our WordPress theme For this, let’s review our theme documentation

Firstly, there is some information on the fonts used, and below that, is the installation instructions As it states here, we can install WordPress via the WordPress dashboard or via FTP We’ll go with the WordPress option To upload and install your WordPress theme: From your WordPress dashboard, hover over appearance in the admin menu on the left, and select ‘themes’ From here, select ‘Add new’

Then click, ‘Upload theme’ Select ‘choose file’ Navigate to the zip file you downloaded earlier, and select ‘Open’ In our case, it’s the soledad

zip file If you’re using a different theme, find the themezip file Click ‘Install now’ This will start the process to upload and install

Once the theme is successfully installed, click ‘activate’, and your new theme will now be live on your website If you want to install the child theme, follow the same process The first thing we need to do is install and activate any plugins that are required by the WordPress theme we’ve just installed In this case, we’ll see a notification at the top of the page To do this: Click on ‘begin installing plugin’

We’ll bulk select the required plugins and click ‘Install’ That will install the required plugins, this may take a minute We’ll check the status, then click on the option to ‘Return to Required Plugins Installer’ To activate the plugins we’ve just installed, bulk select the plugins and select ‘Activate’ Once any required plugins are activated, we can return to the dashboard You’ll notice that a few new tabs have been created in the admin menu on the left

As per the theme documentation, before we install the demo content, we need to make sure the ‘Your homepage displays’ is set to show ‘Your latest posts’ To do this, from your WordPress dashboard, hover over settings in the admin menu and select ‘Reading’ From there, confirm that the settings are correct and save changes if required If you’re using a different theme, be sure to follow the theme documentation to ensure you install the theme and plugins correctly Like many premium WordPress themes, Soledad is compatible with Visual Composer which is a drag and drop page builder plugin

This isn’t a required plugin, however, it is included with this theme If you want to use a visual page builder, then you will need to upload and install this plugin To do this: Open the folder that you unzipped before Then head to the plugins folder In here, you’ll find the file called ‘visual_composer

zip This is the plugin that we’ll upload via your WordPress dashboard There is no need to unzip this file To upload and install this plugin: From your WordPress dashboard hover over ‘plugins’ and choose ‘Add new’ Select ‘Upload plugin’

Then click ‘Choose file’, and navigate to the ‘visual_composerzip’ file and select ‘Open’ Then click ‘Install now’ Once it’s finished uploading, select ‘Activate plugin’

And that’s it, you’ll now be able to use visual composer to create custom page layouts In the documentation guide here, there’s a video on how to use visual composer We’ll go through a practical example of this shortly If you want to use the revolution slider plugin that comes with the Soledad theme, you’ll just need to follow the same process to upload, install and activate the plugin Ok – let’s move on to customizing your blog

By now your WordPress travel blog will be set up correctly with your WordPress theme installed along with any required plugins We can now start customizing your travel blog to suit your style The first thing we’ll do is bring in the demo content from the live preview that resonates most with you On the OHKLYN post here, you can follow the button to review the available options What we’ll do in this section is show you how to import the demo content via the one-click demo content importer

We’ll also look at: How to upload your logo and branding elements How to update the theme settings How to create pages, posts, and categories How to update the menu and navigation How to update the sidebar How to update the footer And lastly, how to delete the demo content you don’t want to use As per the theme documentation, there are two options for importing the demo content The first option is to import the full demo content, the second is to import the customization settings only As it suggests, if you’ve got existing content on your WordPress site, use the second option and follow the instructions here If it’s a new blog, then you can use either option Because we want to bring in all the demo content, we’ll use option one

To import the demo content, from your WordPress dashboard, hover over ‘appearance’ and select ‘Import demo data’ If you don’t see this option, make sure you’ve installed the required plugins From there, scroll through and select the demo example that you want to import In our case, we’ll scroll down to the travel option, then select ‘Import’ to start the process This is uploading a huge amount of data, so give this a few minutes for it to import all the content

You may want to pause the video while the content is uploaded as this can take up to five minutes or so Once you see the ‘Import completed!’ message, hover over your site name in the toolbar at the top left and select ‘visit site’ You’ll see that the demo content is all imported, and you’re now very close to having your very own travel blog We now just need to go and customize it with your brand elements and replace the content with your own Let’s start with uploading your logo and other brand elements

One of the things we like about this theme is that the customization options are built into the native WordPress theme customizer While we’re not going to go through every theme setting, we’ll cover the ones that will be important to most people, and for everything else, there’s the theme documentation and videos To access the customization settings, from your WordPress dashboard, hover over ‘appearance’ and select ‘customize’ From here, you’re able to customize almost every inch of your travel blog On the left hand side are your theme customization options, and on the right is the live preview panel which features your homepage

As you make changes on the left, you will be able to preview these in real-time via the panel on the right We’ll go through a number of the customization options together, however, we encourage you to go through all the options and play around with the various settings You can follow the link here to view the theme documentation which will cover off any of the settings options we miss From here, you can also follow the link to submit a support ticket if there’s anything that’s unclear Depending on which demo example you imported, the settings may be slightly different, however, you’ll still be able to follow along

Similarly, if you’ve selected a different theme to use, you’ll be best to follow along with the theme documentation for your specific theme, however, we’ll cover off the fundamentals of updating widgets, menus, and creating pages and post which will be very similar The first thing we’ll want to update is our logo, favicon, and set our brand accent color which for our case, will be a teal color with a hexadecimal color code of #1FBDCA To upload our logo, we’ll navigate to the ‘logo and header options’ tab You’ll notice that this theme supports a number of logo types and sizes which gives you more control over the appearance of your logo on various devices You can also set a maximum width for your logo, as well as add padding or space to the top and bottom

Select ‘change image’ – this takes you to your WordPress media library which is where all the media you upload to your site will live You can either select an image to use as your logo or upload your logo via either dragging your logo in, or by selecting ‘upload files’, clicking on ‘select files’, and uploading your logo that way Whenever you upload images to your blog, it’s a good idea to add an Alt text which adds metadata to your image and amongst other benefits can be a positive thing from an on-page SEO perspective To set your logo, select ‘choose image’ Repeat the process to update the various sizing options for your logo, or remove the other options

For simplicity, we’ll remove the alternate size logos by clicking remove And we’ll set our max logo width to half the width of our original logo size Given our logo file is 600px wide, we’ll set a max logo width of 300px, which will suit this design and avoid our logo pixelating or appearing larger than we want Further down in this section, you’re able to amend the header and menu style for your blog For example, you could go with a centered option like this one, or any of the other options featured here

We’ll change ours back to the default but have a play around to see which option you like best Below that are a number of typography options that will have an impact on your design Once again have a look through the various options here and decide what works for you Under the font options is where you can manage the banner that’s featured in the header Here, you can either upload a static banner and customize the link here

Alternatively, you could paste your Google AdSense code here if you want to monetize and incorporate advertising on your blog You’ve then got the ability to disable the sticky header, which is the navigation panel that ‘sticks’ to the top of the browser as the user scrolls down the page like this There’s also options for including social media icons in the header and main navigation depending on what your preference is there Lastly, at the bottom of this section, you can amend a number of the settings related to menu items as well as the ability to add custom code to the head tag of your blog pages (which can be used for adding Google Analytics code, etc We recommend re-visiting this tab at the end of this tutorial and once all your content is uploaded as these options will be more relevant

Whenever you make changes via the theme customizer, remember to publish your changes to commit them We’ll select ‘publish’ then head back to the main customization panel The next thing we’ll do is add our favicon For this, we’ll go into the ‘general options’ tab and where it says ‘upload favicon’, we’ll click ‘select image’ Either select your favicon from your media library or upload your favicon file by following the same process you used to upload your logo beforehand

Once your favicon is there, give it an alt text, and then select ‘choose image’ If you publish the changes, navigate to your homepage and refresh the page You’ll notice that your logo is there, and the favicon you added is now in the tab window at the top If we head back to the ‘general options’ tab within the customizer This is where you’ll be able to make significant changes to the appearance of your blog

For example, if you want to set a background color, image or texture for your blog, you’ll be able to do that here Below that, you can amend the homepage layout with respect to the posts that are featured here This layout will be different depending on which demo example you went with For ours, it’s set to the ‘1st classic then list’ option, which, if we scroll through, we have the classic post at the top here, followed by a list of our recent posts If we change this to ‘1st classic then grid’ and wait for that to update

You’ll see that this has changed the layout for our homepage posts We’ll change it back to the default for this design In regards to the other homepage layout options, you’ll control the slider at the top in the ‘featured slider options’ tab, and the feature boxes here via the ‘homepage options’ tab which we’ll cover in the next section Below that is the option to amend the layout in respect to posts on the category or archive pages, etc To show what this is referring to, let’s head to the homepage of the blog If we click the category for one of our posts It will take us through to this page here

This is what’s referred to as an archive page as it archives all the posts related to this specific category To provide a practical example, you might add your categories to your menu to help users navigate to sections of your blog that appeal to them When the user clicks on that link, they will be taken through to this page for the category they select Hopefully that makes sense Let’s head back to the theme customizer

This section here is where you’ll control the layout for your category archive pages, as well as tag archive pages (if you use tags), and the search results page In our example as you can see here It’s set to ‘1st standard then grid’ Have a look through the available options to see what works best for you Once again, you’ve got the ability to add Google Adsense code to your travel blog’s archive or category pages

As well as a number of additional visual and navigation options such as The ability to enable a load more button or infinite scroll on the homepage Enable or disable the page navigation numbers Or, include a custom sidebar on the homepage, category pages, individual post pages, or static pages We’ll get to how to update sidebars later in this tutorial

Ok, so you’re probably starting to see why we love this theme as much as we do! The number of customization options and the ease in which you can tailor your travel blog to suit your style is incredible! Let’s head back to the main customization panel and take a look at how we can add your brand colors to customize your blog even further For this, we’ll scroll down to the bottom of the theme customizer You’ll notice that there is a tab called ‘Colors general’ and a number of other color related tabs below that Here is where you’ll have full control over all the colors featured on your blog We recommend investing some time going through all these options in detail, particularly if you have multiple brand colors, compliments, or shades that you want to incorporate

We’ll keep this pretty simple and replace the feature color which is this one here, with our brand color of #1FBDCA To do this, we’ll go into the ‘colors general’ tab Where it says ‘accent colors’, we’ll set this to our brand color of #1FBDCA, by clicking on the color tab, and pasting in our hexadecimal color code You could also pick a color using the color picker tool Publish changes, then head back to the primary customizer tab

We’ll go through the rest of these tabs and do the same thing starting with the ‘colors for homepage and home title box’ options Obviously there’s a huge number of customization options within these sections so, take some time to go through all the options, we’re just replacing the default bottle green color so that you can see how this works Remember to publish changes as you go Next is the ‘colors for top bar’, once again we’ll just update the default color with our example brand color of #1FBDCA, leaving all the other colors and settings as is Remember to publish changes as you go

We’ll go ahead and do this for the remaining ‘color’ tabs and then skip ahead to once we’re done Ok, so as you can see, we’ve updated all the accent colors to our new example brand color It will take a bit of time to go through and adjust all the color settings to align with your brand, but the good news is that it’s all managed from one place which is great, particularly if you change your mind later In the next few sections, we’ll go through how you add content to your blog in terms of posts, pages and categories, as well as show you how to update the sidebar, footer and navigation elements of your site For now, we’ll take a quick look at how you can customize your blog using the theme settings

Once you’ve added all your content in, we’d recommend that you come back to this section, as you may want to tweak a few of these options So far we’ve looked at the General options, Homepage Options, and the Logo and Header options We’re not going to go into all of the theme settings tabs, however, we’ll cover those that are the most important Firstly, the ‘Top bar options’ tab is fairly self explanatory Here, you can opt to enable the top bar for your site which can be used to highlight featured posts, as well as links to your social media profiles

We’ll enable this feature for our example and you can now see the top bar here As you can see, there are a number of settings available that will give you more control of what’s displayed Next is the ‘Social Media Options’ tab Here, you will add the full URL links (including the HTTP or HTTPS part of the URL) for each of your social media profiles The theme will use these values to link to your social accounts in all the sections where social links or icons can be added

Hashtags as you can see here, are used as placeholders, so remember to remove these for the social accounts you don’t want to feature in your social media sections For example, we’ll add the links to the OHKLYN facebook page The OHKLYN Instagram account And, the OHKLYN YouTube Channel We’ll remove everything else

As you can see, our top bar has been updated with our relevant social media profiles And, if we scroll to the bottom, the social icons in the footer have been updated as well You may have noticed that the sidebar ‘keep in touch’ section hasn’t been updated, we’ll need to uncheck the icons we want removed in the ‘soledad social media’ widget which we’ll cover off in our section on how to update the WordPress sidebar Let’s take a look at the ‘Featured Slider Options’ tab Here, you can either enable or disable the slider as well as if you want this to feature on all pages, which in this case, would include all posts as well

We would recommend leaving lazy load images enabled as it will reduce the initial page load time Below that, is a huge number of slider styles for you to explore and decide on Once again, take a moment to go through the options if you intend to incorporate a slider on your blog Below that is where you control what is included in your slider Here, you can choose the number of slides you want to include and the transition speeds

By default, it will bring in the most recent posts, however, you can choose to feature only a specific category, or you could even create a ‘featured’ category that you could assign and remove from post when you want to feature them in your slider At the bottom, you can control what’s included in your slider in terms of the post date, category, etc Let’s head back to the main customization menu If we click into the ‘Featured Video Background Options’ tab Here, you can add a featured video using a YouTube URL that will be added below the navigation by enabling this option

For example, we’ll drop this link in As it says, videos aren’t supported on mobile and tablet, so you’ll need to add a default image for mobile and tablet Below that, you’re able to set the video height, set the start point and enable the audio, as well as add image and text overlays We’ll disable this option for now and head back to the main menu Next is the ‘Standard and Classic Layouts Options’ – this tab allows you to control the elements on your pages or archive pages, where you’ve specific one of the Standard or Classic layouts

What does that mean? Well if you remember back in the ‘General Options’ tab, our design was using the homepage layout of ‘1st Classic Then List’ Which we set here You’ll notice that the options here include ‘Classic’, ‘Standard’, ‘List’, ‘Boxed’, ‘Grid’, etc This is what the ‘Standard and Classic Layouts Options’ is referring to If we head back to the Standard and Classic Layouts Option

Within here, you can hide the social sharing icons, post thumbnails, post category, post author, post date, etc As well as control the capitalization of post titles and categories Ok, let’s head back In the ‘Other Layouts Options’ tab, you’ll have similar options You have the same controls for the Grid, Masonry, List, and Boxed layouts

Take some time to go through these options and see which settings you want to use The ‘Single Post Options’ tab gives you full control over the settings for individual posts Some of these options will look similar to those on the last two tabs with the addition of more post-specific options such as options related to captioning, blockquotes, comments, as well as the ability to add Google Adsense code, just to name a few In addition to the main styling options we covered, there is also: The page options, for static pages Footer options which we’ll come back to later

404 page options, which is for the page that users land on when they enter in a url that can’t be found Portfolio options are for those wanting to include a portfolio on their site WooCommerce options are there if you want to include a store as part of your blog For this, you’ll need to install the free WooCommerce plugin first There are also a number of other customization options which may not be as relevant for this tutorial, but feel free to explore these as you go through

Anytime you make changes to your theme settings via the theme customizer, remember to click ‘publish’ to commit your changes Next, we’ll move on to how to create pages and posts in WordPress We’ll start by creating the pages we need for our blog If we refer back to our blog structure document, we can see that the pages we need to create are our homepage, about, contact, disclosure, and privacy policy page In regards to our homepage, we’re going to use the default ‘latest posts’ page as our homepage, however, if you want to create a different page and set it as your homepage, there’s a video in the documentation which shows you how to re-create one of the page layouts using the Visual composer plugin

You can find the video and steps in the homepage section of the documentation here Similarly, we’ve added a link to a visual composer tutorial on the OHKLYN post here for those who want to create custom layouts for any of the pages on their blog Once you’ve created the page you want to use as your homepage, you’ll need to set it as your homepage by hovering over ‘settings’ in the admin menu and selecting ‘reading’ From there, under the ‘Your homepage displays’ option, you’ll select ‘A static page’, and then select the page you want to set as your homepage from the ‘homepage’ dropdown Remember to save your changes if you want to set a static homepage

In our case, we’ll select the default ‘Your latest posts’ option and head back to our WordPress dashboard In WordPress, the pages for your blog will be managed under ‘Pages’ in the admin menu By hovering over pages, you can either view all pages or add a new page Let’s click on all pages for now If you’ve imported the demo content, you’ll notice that there’s a number of pages that have been created already

Towards the end of this tutorial, we’ll go through and show you how to delete all the content you don’t want For our purposes, we’ll use the ‘contact me’ and ‘about me’ pages that have already been created, however, we’ll remove the ‘me’, and update these to just ‘contact’ and ‘about’ To edit an existing page, either click the page title, or hover over the page title and click ‘edit’ We’ll edit the About Me page to remove the ‘me’ We’ll go through all these settings shortly in both the classic editor and the new Gutenberg editor, but for now, we’ll just edit the page title by removing ‘me’, then we’ll update the permalink to just ‘about’

Remember, if you change a permalink or URL after you’ve published a post once your blog is live, you’ll need to add what’s called a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new URL This is to avoid Google having crawl errors or 404 page not found errors The best way to do this is with a plugin like simple 301 redirects or something similar We’ll update the contact page in a similar way and skip ahead Ok, let’s move on to creating new pages

To create a new page: Hover over ‘pages’ in the admin menu and select ‘add new’ The first thing we’ll do is give our page a title, in this case ‘Disclosure’ When you click out of the title field, you’ll notice that the permalink is automatically created for you If you selected ‘post name’ as your permalink structure earlier, than the page title will be used to create the URL for this page If you want to edit the permalink, click on edit and update the permalink or URL for this page

We’re expecting the first major WordPress update to WordPress 50 later in the year It’s rumored that this will feature the new editing experience named ‘Gutenberg’ If you’re new to WordPress, we recommend watching our ‘How to Use WordPress’ tutorial as we cover the default WordPress options available when creating pages in more detail and will update this to reflect any progressive WordPress updates so that you always have the latest information We’ll show you both versions in this tutorial

If you’ve installed the Visual Composer plugin, you’ll have the option to use either the front-end or back-end editor, or the classic WordPress editor As this will just be a disclosure page with text, we’ll just use the default WordPress editor As per the classic WordPress editor, on the right hand side, you have your preview and publishing options at the top Below that is the page attributions tab where you can assign a parent page, and access the default page templates for this theme If you want to use the visual composer, you’ll need to select one of the ‘Page VC’ templates from the dropdown menu here

If you want to create a page with a sidebar like those in the demo, you’ll select the ‘page with sidebar’ template option, which is what we’ll use for this page Below that, you can add a feature image to the page by clicking ‘set feature image’ and by either choosing an image from the media library or uploading a new one In the centre of the page is the classic content editor which has a visual editor that provides a live preview and the text editor which allows you to add HTML directly Below that is the page options panel, which gives you more control over how your page is displayed If you’re watching this after the WordPress 5

0 update, if Gutenberg is alive and well, your dashboard will look similar to this Ok, so we’ve just temporarily installed the Gutenberg plugin and disabled the Visual composer plugin to re-create what the new default editor will look like in the rumored update You’ll notice that unlike the classic WordPress editor, Gutenberg utilizes ‘blocks’ which makes creating content via the default WordPress editor a lot easier If you click on the page title at the top, you’re able to update the page name and edit the permalink To add new content, you simply click on the plus icon, and select the ‘block’ you want to add, such as an image, paragraph, heading, etc

We’ll add a couple of paragraph blocks You can also select layout elements such as buttons or columns As well as widgets Or, embed things such as YouTube videos, or other third party content You’re also able to re-arrange content by clicking on the ‘move up’ or ‘move down’ toggle next to each content block

While the panel on the right looks different and is more dynamic, you’ll notice that the options remain very similar Check out our ‘how to use WordPress’ video, for a detailed tutorial on using the latest version of the WordPress editor We’ll revert back to the classic editor for now We’ll paste in some demo content to fill out our page When you’re ready to publish your page, select ‘Publish’ in the top right

Pause the video, and go through and create the pages you want to include on your blog We’ll create the Privacy page as per our initial blog structure map Don’t worry, if you don’t have all the content and structure organized yet, remember, paint in broad strokes Now, let’s take a quick look at how to create blog posts and categories in WordPress For the most part, you’ll create blog posts the same way as you created pages by hovering over ‘Posts’ and selecting ‘Add New’

The only difference being that you’ll need to set up categories first by hovering over posts, and selecting ‘categories’ Here is where you’ll add the blog categories that you’ll assign your blog posts to By entering the category name, and selecting ‘add new category’ If we quickly look at our site layout map, we’ll set up the parent categories of ‘Destinations’, ‘Travel Tips’, and ‘Activities’, with four sub-categories underneath each parent And we’ll also create our ‘Featured’ category

For example, we’ll add the category of ‘Travel Tips’ by entering ‘Travel Tips’ in the name field You can create a custom slug, which is just a URL friendly version of the category without capital letters or spaces If you leave this blank, one will be created for you As this is a parent category, we’ll leave the parent category option set to none You can add an optional description, which may be visible on the front-end of your blog depending on your theme

We’ll leave this blank and select ‘Add new Category’ You’ll see this creates a new category in our category list on the right To add a subcategory of ‘Solo travel’ we’ll add this to our name field Leave the slug blank but select ‘travel tips’ as the parent category Then select, ‘Add new category’

You’ll see that our new category has been added as a sub-category of ‘Travel tips’ Repeat this process for all the categories you want to include in your blog We’ll pause the video and create the rest of our categories Remember, a blog post can be assigned to multiple categories If you want, you can delete the categories that have been imported in the demo content

The posts assigned to these categories won’t be deleted but rather they’ll be assigned to ‘uncategorized’ In the next section we’ll show you how to create and assign blog posts to categories Ok, so we’ve created our categories and deleted the categories that were created with the demo content that we didn’t want to use You’ll see that our blog category structure now matches the blog site map slide we created earlier Once you’ve created your categories, we now need to create a new blog post

To do this, hover over posts in the admin menu and select ‘add new’ Whether you’re using Gutenberg or the classic editor, this may look slightly different However, the process will be the same Add your blog post title, then your content If you’re using the classic editor it will look like this

Either way, select the category or categories for the post on the right hand side Assign a feature image by clicking on the ‘set feature image’ option on the right hand side You can either upload an image or select one from the media library If required, review the post/page options at the bottom Then, preview or publish your post

One thing worth mentioning is the concept of post types These aren’t supported by all themes, however, they are supported by Soledad These change how your post is featured on archive pages depending on what type of content is the feature of a post For example a video, image gallery, audio, etc You can view an example of what we mean on the demo sites here

If you want to include tags as a way of grouping content on your blog, you can manage these in a similar way to categories by hovering over ‘posts’ in the admin menu and selecting ‘tags’ Lastly, if we navigate back to the homepage If you want to amend the amount of the feature article that’s visible here, you can do this by adding a ‘read more’ tag For example, if we click into the featured article on the homepage and edit this from the backend By moving where the ‘read more’ tag is located in the article, you’ll be able to increase or decrease the amount of the article that’s featured

So you can see what we mean, we’ll change it’s position in the article and update the page If we refresh the homepage, you’ll see that has now updated On the OHKLYN post here, we’ve added a link to a detailed video on how to create and format blog posts in WordPress for those who want a little more guidance For the other posts lists and grids that are being truncated, you’ll be able to amend the length of the except via the theme customizer Similarly, for more info on anything we’ve missed, remember to review the theme documentation

Now, if we hover over ‘posts’ in the admin menu and select all posts, you’ll see that the newly created post is there, along with all the other posts that were created when we imported the demo content You’ll see that a number of the posts have the category of ‘uncategorized’ At the end of this tutorial, we’ll go through and delete all the posts you don’t want to use, but for now, we’ll just re-assign the posts to our newly created categories so that we can maintain the structure of the blog until you have enough of your own content and are ready to go live To do this, you can either click on the post name and edit it in the same environment where we created the post earlier Alternatively, we can make quick edits by hovering over the post title, and selecting ‘quick edit’

There are limited things you can edit, however, this can be a useful shortcut To change the category, we’ll simply uncheck the old category in the category box, and select the new category we want to assign As we mentioned before, you can assign a post to multiple categories if it makes sense to do so We’ll go through this list of posts here and assign the uncategorized posts to our newly created categories and make sure we’ve got at least one post assigned to each category We’d recommend you do the same

Pause the video and create any of the remaining pages, posts, and categories you want to include on your blog prior to launch Next, we’ll move on to how to update the navigation and menu using the site structure map we created earlier By now, you should have roughly created the pages, posts and categories for your travel blog Don’t be concerned if you’re not 100% sure on the exact structure – remember, broad strokes What we’ll do now is create the menu structure for your blog so you can easily navigate around your blog while you continue to finalize your layouts and content

Menus in WordPress are created and managed in the dedicated menus section which you can access by hovering over ‘appearance’ in the admin menu, and selecting ‘menus’ The menus page has two tabs at the top – ‘Edit menus’ and ‘manage locations’ As you can manage the menu locations within the ‘Edit menus’ tab as well, we’ll primarily focus there If you imported the demo content, you’ll be able to select one of the pre-created menus from the dropdown lists, by choosing the menu you want, and hitting ‘select’ On the left, you have the available content that you can add to your menu, such as: Pages Posts Custom links Categories, etc

To add more options, click on the ‘screen options’ tab at the top and check the boxes next to the elements you want to add to your menu For example, tags Under screen options, you can also enable the ability to set the link target for a menu item, which means whether the link opens in a new tab or not, as well as assign CSS classes, which is slightly more advanced than what we’ll cover today However, if you’re interested in learning some HTML and CSS fundamentals for WordPress, register for one of our courses at coursesohklyn

com Back to the menu options: On the right, you have your menu structure And the menu settings at the bottom is where you’ll manage the location where this specific menu will be displayed Rather than edit an existing menu, let’s go through the steps of how to create a new menu and assign it as our main menu To create a new menu, click on ‘create a new menu’ Enter a name for the menu (this is for your reference, we’ll name ours ‘Main menu’)

Then select ‘create menu’ At the bottom of the page, select where you want this specific menu to be displayed In our case we’ll select ‘Primary Menu’ To add menu items to your menu: Select the elements from the left, then click ‘add to menu’ For this example, we’ll refer back to our blog site map and re-create the structure

Here we can see that we have our three top level categories of ‘Destinations’, ‘Travel Tips’, and ‘Activities’ as our three top level navigation items, with their respective subcategories featured within We can do this in a couple of ways as either a mega menu, or a classic tiered menu To do this, from the categories dropdown on the left, we’ll go to the ‘view all’ tab and select our three top level categories by checking the box next to each To add them to the menu, select ‘add to menu’ We can amend the order by clicking on the menu item and dragging it into position

In this case, we’ll re-arrange the order to ‘Destinations’, ‘Travel Tips’, then ‘Activities’ To set these as mega menus and feature the posts and categories in the navigation, we’ll click on the dropdown arrow for the ‘destinations’ menu option In the dropdown where you see ‘not mega menu’, select the ‘destinations’ category option We’ll do the same thing for ‘Travel tips’ We’ll then click ‘save menu’

To preview what this looks like, we’ll navigate to the front-end of our blog Then, refresh the page When you hover over destinations or travel tips, you’ll see that we now have this great mega menu that showcases the subcategories on the right and the post images and metadata in a really engaging way Let’s head back to the menu section If you want to feature the categories in a more classic way, you can list the subcategories under the parent category

For example, with the activities category, we’ll click on the dropdown and ensure the ‘not mega menu’ option is selected We’ll then close that, and from the categories dropdown on the left, we’ll add the subcategories that belong to Activities which are ‘Eats & Drinks’, ‘Hiking’, ‘Snowboarding’, and ‘Surfing’ by selecting them and choosing ‘add to menu’ For a menu item to sit underneath another menu item, you simply click and drag it across to sit underneath We’ll do this for all of the ‘Activities’ subcategories And before we preview that, we’ll also add the about page as our last menu item, by selecting it, and adding it to the menu

Let’s save changes Then navigate back to the front-end And refresh the page If we hover over ‘Activities’ you can see that the subcategories are now listed underneath in a more classic style Similarly, our about page is now also included in our primary menu

Once again pause the video and create the rest of your menu structure You’ll create other menus like your footer menu the same way When you’re happy with the structure, you can further customize the appearance of your menu via the theme customizer, by hovering over ‘appearance’ in the admin menu, and selecting ‘customize’ Re-visit the ‘Logo and Header Options’ tab Here, you can amend the header layout, and menu style to suit your design

Review the theme documentation, specifically the menu section for more info Once you’ve got your primary navigation menu working the way you want it to, we can move on to updating the sidebar for your blog The sidebar in WordPress is referred to as a widget enabled area, and allows you to set a global sidebar that appears on all pages, posts, or archive pages – where a sidebar is enabled If we navigate to the homepage of our blog, when we refer to the sidebar we are referring to this fixed panel over here What’s great about the Soledad theme is that you’re able to apply a unique sidebar to the homepage, category or archive pages, individual posts, and static pages

This is done via the theme customizer To access this, hover over ‘appearances’ in the admin menu and select ‘customize’ Navigate to the general options tab and scroll down to the bottom Here, is a dropdown where you’ll select the sidebar you want to display on each page type Now, to control the content that’s visible via the various sidebars, we’ll exit out of the customizer

From your WordPress dashboard, hover over ‘appearance’ and select ‘widgets’ On the left, you have all the available widgets And on the right, are the widget enabled areas With the Soledad theme, there are a number of widget enabled areas This is the main sidebar which we’ll focus on in this section As you saw before, you can use the custom sidebar options over here to create unique sidebars and apply them to the specific areas via the theme customizer under the general options tab we just explored In the next section on updating your blogs footer we’ll look at the footer widget areas here

After this section, you’ll understand how widgets work and be able to use the various other widget enabled areas supported with this theme (if required) If you imported the demo content, there will be a number of widgets added to the various sidebars and other widget areas If we open the homepage for our blog in a new tab you’ll see that: On the right hand side, this is the sidebar widget area If we go back to the widget panel, you’ll see that the widgets that have been added to this area align with what’s being displayed in our sidebar To add a widget to the sidebar, or any widget enabled area: Simply click on the widget on the left Select the widget enabled area you want to add the widget to And select ‘add widget’ Once the widget has been added, you can drag it into place Click on the widget to amend its settings Once you’ve updated the widget, hit ‘save’ To delete a widget, click on the widget Then select ‘delete’ Ok, so that’s a crash course on widgets, there are theme specific widgets that reference ‘soledad’ in the name as well as the standard WordPress widgets

If you want to integrate your mailchimp account you’ll just need to ensure the ‘MailChimp for WordPress’ plugin is installed If it is, you’ll see the ‘MailChimp for WP’ tab in the admin menu, navigate to this tab To connect your MailChimp account with your blog: Login to your mailchimp account You will need to create a list that you want subscribers to be added to On the OHKYLN post here, we’ve added a link to a MailChimp tutorial for WordPress that may be helpful if you’re new to MailChimp and email marketing Once you’ve got your list setup, navigate to your account settings, under the menu in the top left In the extras tab, select ‘API keys’ Then create an API key by clicking on ‘create a key’ Copy the API key, then navigate back to the MailChimp for WP tab in your WordPress dashboard

Where it says API key, paste in the API key you just created, then save changes The status should then change to ‘Connected’ If you want to use something else like ConvertKit or Active Campaign, just add a HTML module to your sidebar, then add the embed code to a HTML widget We recommend investing some time in going through all the widget options and settings available, removing widgets you don’t want and adding the elements you want In the theme documentation here, there’s a section on widgets, that explains the Soledad specific widgets, and guides you through how to get the most from them Ok, so your blog should be starting to take shape

There’s a bit of a learning curve, so try not to feel too overwhelmed Stick with it for a few weeks and you’ll be through the steepest part of the learning curve Remember to post any questions or comments via the comments section in YouTube, we’ll personally respond to every comment Let’s move on to customizing the Footer of your blog There are three components to managing the appearance of your footer

These are the footer menu, the footer widget areas, and your footer layout options available via the theme customizer Let’s explore all three First is the footer menu Like the primary navigation we created earlier, you are able to create a footer menu in the same way As per our original blog site map, we want to include a footer menu with links to our contact, disclosure and privacy pages

To do this: From your wordpress dashboard, hover over ‘appearance’ and select ‘menus’ To create a new footer menu we’ll click on ‘create a new menu’ We’ll give it a name of ‘Footer Menu’ Then select ‘create menu’ Down the bottom under ‘Menu Settings’, we’ll set this as our footer menu by selecting ‘Footer Menu’

Under pages on the left we’ll select the contact, disclosure, and privacy pages we created earlier Then, hit ‘add to menu’ We can arrange these if we want, then select ‘save menu’ If we navigate to the front of our blog Then scroll down to the footer You’ll find that it might not be there If this is the case, then we’ll need to enable it from within the customizer Let’s open up the theme customizer in a new tab If we scroll the preview pane down so that we can see the footer Then, navigate to the ‘footer options’ tab

If we scroll towards the bottom, you’ll see that there’s an option to ‘Enable Footer Menu’ If we check that box, and give it a moment to refresh, you’ll see that our footer menu has now been added Let’s scroll back up to the top of the footer options tab and go through the other two components Depending on the demo content you imported, the layout structure of your footer will be different However, the fundamentals will be the same

In our case, the footer is utilizing a three column layout, which is creating three widget enabled areas where the content is being controlled via the widgets panel we explored before To explain what we mean, let’s open up the widgets panel in a new tab, by hovering over ‘appearance’ in the admin menu, and selecting ‘widgets’ If we click into Footer Column 1 You can see that this is where the content can be updated, changed or deleted Similarly, if we click into Footer column 2 The same is true Like we did before, you can add any widget to these widget areas or update the existing options to suit your design

If we navigate back to the theme customizer In the Footer options tab, you have the option to disable the footer widget area entirely if you’d prefer As well as the option to change the column layout By changing the column layout, say from three columns to two columns You’ll notice that only the first two widget columns are displayed Play around with the options here to see what works for you If you don’t want the instagram feed at the bottom, you can disable this via the widgets panel By opening the ‘Footer Instagram’ widget area Then deleting the instagram slider widget Similarly, you can remove the newsletter signup or edit its contents via the ‘Footer Signup’ widget area located here

Lastly, if we navigate back to the Customizer And scroll to the bottom, you’re able to update or remove the copyright information via the ‘Footer Copyright Text’ input box We’ll delete what’s there And add: Made with Love by OHKLYN This theme supports font awesome, so we’ll add a love heart to replace the word love, by adding <i class="fa fa-heart"></i> Obviously, customize this to whatever you like If you want to use an icon anywhere on your blog, within the documentation under the menu tab here, there’s some info on how to use ‘I tags’ with classes to bring in the specific icon you want to use as a font Once you’re happy with how the footer of your blog is looking, remember to publish your changes, and we can move on Ok, so we’ve gone through how to create and, or update the demo content

Your blog should now be starting to come to life Remember to revisit the theme customizer now that you’ve added in your content and really go through the settings until you create the exact design you want We’ll go through a couple of these things together, so let’s open our theme customizer The first thing we’ll update is our featured slider by navigating to the ‘featured slider options’ tab We’ll scroll down and select the ‘featured’ post category that we created earlier from the ‘Select Featured Category’ dropdown as the source for our slider

Then publish our changes Next, we’ll update the ‘Homepage Featured Boxes’ that are on our homepage here To do this: Navigate to the ‘homepage options’ tab within the customizer Then, scroll down to the ‘Home Featured Boxes Columns’ option We’ll change ours from four boxes to three boxes and feature our top level blog categories of Destinations, Travel Tips, and Activities You could feature whatever you like here

We’ll make sure the ‘Open Home Featured Boxes in New Tab’ is unchecked as we want the user to be taken through to the category page they click on, in the same browser tab We won’t change the image, but you’ll be able to do so by clicking on the ‘change image’ option for each and uploading or selecting the image you want to use Make sure the images are a consistent size for the best results For the ‘Homepage Featured Box 1st Text’ we’ll add ‘Destinations’ For the URL, we’ll open the homepage of our blog in a new tab Then, navigate to the destinations category page We’ll copy the url for this page, then navigate back to the customizer and past it in the ‘Homepage Featured Box 1st URL’ field

We’ll repeat this process for the other two boxes Once that’s done, we’ll publish our changes We strongly encourage you to go through all the customizer settings now that you’ve got content added, and optimize the various settings for your design Leave any comments or questions below in the comments section on YouTube If you have followed along, you will have customized a significant portion of your content, including creating new pages, posts, categories, menus, updating the sidebar and footer, etc If you’ve done that, or once you finish doing that, you’ll then need to go through and delete any of the demo content that’s still remaining

To delete posts or pages: Go to either the all posts, or all pages tab Hover over the page or post you want to delete Then select ‘trash’ This will move the post or page to the trash tab, but not permanently delete it To permanently delete content, navigate to the trash tab Then, hover over the title and select ‘delete permanently’ Go through and delete any of the posts and pages that you don’t want to repurpose for your blog Next is any categories or tags that have been created that you don’t want to use We deleted our categories earlier, however, we will need to delete any tags we’re not using

To do this: Hover over posts in the admin menu and select tags You can either hover over the tag name and select ‘delete’ Or check the box to bulk select tags Then, under the ‘bulk actions’ dropdown, select ‘delete’ and click ‘apply’ Next, we’ll delete any of the comments that were imported with the content To do this: Choose comments from the admin menu Then, select the comments you want to remove Select ‘move to trash’ Once again, to permanently delete these, go to the trash folder and permanently delete them there Now is a good time to think about how you want to approach comments on your blog You can disable comments on individual posts, or you can manage your global comment settings by hovering over the ‘settings’ tab in the admin menu and selecting ’discussions’ For more info on the core WordPress settings review our ‘How to use WordPress’ video or blog post which goes through this in detail

It also covers how to add your photo and information as a blog author using Gravatar You may also want to delete any images or media items you’re not using from your media library, which you can navigate to by hovering over ‘media’ in the admin menu and selecting ‘library’ Lastly, review the portfolio tab, and remove any content you’re not using If you decide that you want to use a contact from on your blog for people to reach out, then you can either embed a form, or leverage your favourite contact form plugin Soledad, supports Contact form 7 and is what they have included on their demo contact page Contact Form 7 uses a shortcode to embed the contact form

For those unfamiliar with Contact form 7, we’ve added a link to a tutorial on the OHKLYN post for your reference Once you’ve got your travel blog looking the way you want, and you’re ready to launch your site there’s a few good practices that you should follow to ensure you get the best results If you want your blog to be searchable via search engines like Google, then you will need to index your blogTo learn how to do this, we’ve added a link to our video on the OHKLYN post here In this video we’ll show you step by step how to add your blog to google search

Similarly, if you want to monitor traffic and user behaviour on your blog, then you will want to install Google Analytics Yes, we’ve created a video on how to add Google analytics to your blog as well You can find the link on the OHKLYN post And, that wraps up our how to start a travel blog tutorial using WordPress If you liked this video hit the ‘Like’ button, and remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos related to WordPress, digital marketing and how to run a successful site

Your feedback is appreciated, so please leave a comment below and tell us what you liked, or if there was anything you found difficult, so that we can put together additional videos to help support you as you build out your site To get access to exclusive discounts, free tutorials, and to stay in the loop on the latest updates, sign up to our newsletter at OHKLYN o-h-k-l-y-ncom, and until next time, happy building

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