A traveler’s blog is, perhaps first and foremost, a way to inform the world about their experiences and to connect with people near and far. Blogging while abroad can be a productive way to let off creative steam and reflect on all the adventures you’re having and can be the start of a business or a way to showcase your expertise. I’ve used blogging for a combination of these reasons across multiple platforms—Wordpress and Tumblr in particular. Finding the right platform and motivation that work for you is both part of the journey and the ultimate goal.
WordPress has quickly risen to be the top choice for bloggers. It’s simple enough that even a total newbie can use it, but it’s complex enough to customize in sophisticated ways for those with the time and know-how. WordPress.com is completely free and has many ready-to-go themes—careful, or you’ll spend your whole day perusing themes.
WordPress.org refers to the WordPress back-end of a self-hosted site. If you started out using a free WordPress.com site, and you want to level up your game by monetizing and gain more creative control for customizing, it’s relatively easy to move your free blog onto a self-hosted site.
WordPress even has a mobile app for both iOS and Android. It can be hooked up with either kind of WordPress site and is very useful for drafting posts from mobile devices and uploading media content from your device into your media library. However, many people complain that it is difficult to get the formatting right for posts while using the mobile app.
If you’re in the blogging game for the long-haul, WordPress is a safe bet.
Medium has definitely made a splash in the blogging world. It’s an open platform, so you have a profile page, but not a unique blog that’s all yours. The content is the focus without all the bells and whistles. Anyone can post anything, and it’s become a viable way to “go viral”.
Medium is also a good way to guest post for an organization you admire. One major downfall—there’s not much latitude for customization. You can add images and play around a bit with text size and weight, but this is definitely a platform for those who enjoy streamlined reading and writing.
For people with limited electricity and internet when it comes to crafting posts on a computer, Medium also has mobile app for iOS and Android where writing posts is just as easy as it is in a laptop’s browser.
The Tumblr experience feels very relaxed and is a more plug-and-chug system—similar to Medium in that sense, with less room for personalization than a WordPress blog. I started on Tumblr because the themes are very simple and clean and it’s good for no-fuss posting.
Tumblr might also be a better option for people who want to focus on visuals. Many of Tumblr’s users scroll through on their phones and re-blog, or share, heavily visual posts. Since Tumblr is so interactive, many people post multiple times a day, you might get “discovered” if you share widely and tag relevant keywords.
Posting via a mobile device to Tumblr is especially easy on through their app, available on iOS and Android. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to create some really compelling posts and build a large following.
Most blogging sites now make it really easy to integrate videos, photos, and other media to complement your writing. Or if writing isn’t your strong suit, choose a platform—and/or a theme—that is heavy on the visuals. This way, your writing simply sets the scene and your epic photos or compelling videos can shine.
Sites like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace can even help you take your blog to the next level and go full-on portfolio style. You can have more control over the layout and theme of your blog, which will showcase your personality and programming skills. But even if you don’t have any programming chops, the basic themes on these sites are easy enough for even those who are illiterate in computer science to elevate their portfolio.
While text and images enhance each other and both are necessary for a complete post, hone in on your strength. Don’t feel constrained by platforms or writing styles while you’re blogging. Explore, experiment, and get your message out. After all, blogging is about sharing, so as long as you feel good about what you’re putting out in the blogosphere, someone will appreciate your efforts.
Finding the right platform and the style of blogging that connects with you and your readers can bridge the gap from submitting the occasional post to identifying as a “real” blogger. My biggest advice: just dive in and discover what works for you!
Did we miss your favorite platform? Let us know about it in the comments!
Ashlee Sang has been documenting her travels for years. She was based in Dakar, Senegal for four years, where she worked in the international development sector. She recently moved to Central Illinois, where she has changed gears and is focusing on local non-profits. She’s a fan of sitcoms, snacks, and social justice. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.