Category Archives: Travel Blog Design

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Carl Jail Calgary

Blog in an Instant

Category : Travel Blog Design

The idea of spending countless hours building a web site while learning how to make it look exactly how you want it may sound like fun for some (like me), but others find even the thought of such a process unbearable yet still want the ability to share their travel adventures with others. Fortunately there are some very smart (and I’m guessing now pretty wealthy) people out there that have already done all the hard yards so you can create an account and be blogging within a few minutes. These instant blogging sites are very easy to use, and most of them are free to use, although you can often buy a “premium” membership if you so desire. Generally the premium you pay reduces or removes the amount of ads that are shown on your page. So I thought that I’d quickly show you a few of the sites out there for those of you that are in the market to Blog in an Instant.

TravelPod is the first site that I’m going to introduce today, not because it appears first in a Google search (which it doesn’t, it appears third) but because it’s one I have used and found extremely easy to use, yet the result looks great. The simplicity of setting up an account makes it possible to have an account set up within minutes, or if you have Facebook you can connect with your Facebook account (which has the added feature of updating your status each time you make a post – instantly telling your friends list that you’ve had something to say). If you don’t have Facebook, or you have friends that don’t use Facebook (although I’m not sure why that would happen… I have friends on my Facebook I don’t know, but these days most people are on Facebook), then you can use the address book that TravelPod will use to email to each time you post. You can also have multiple blogs within the site, keeping it all nice and tidy in one place.

As for the blog entries themselves, they are pretty easy to complete. I’ve taken a screen shot of the entry page and then the final result to show you just how easy it is to get a post into a fully formatted blog in a few minutes. The only limitation is how fast you can type and the speed of your internet connection when you upload the photos. Other neat features that it includes automatically is an interactive Google map that traces where you have been on your travels, allowing your guests to click on any entry on the map and go direct to your post. It also allows you to upload a heap of photos into each blog, which it spaces neatly around the text until you run out of text. The remaining photos are added at the end of the blog post, which is where you’ll also find any videos you have uploaded.

There are plenty of other sites out there that you can use to Blog in an Instant including  TravelBlog which although I’m sure is perfectly functional it just didn’t have the whoa factor that TravelPod gave me. It does allow you upload quickly, add photos and videos etc. but the layout just didn’t do it for me. Of course you don’t specifically need to use a “Travel” branded blogging site to create a travel blog, any of the off the shelf (and for free) blogging sites can easily be used as a blog. Sites like these include Blogger (which allows you to sign in with your Google account or Of course the simplest and easiest travel blog could just be posting your travel details on your Facebook, Myspace  (not sure who still uses MySpace, am i too old now?) or Live profile pages.

You can create a channel in YouTube like I have and share all your videos there including a little blurb as to what it is all about. My channel name is carlousmoochousand you can see the videos from my blog there, as well as a teaser to the full article from this blog. If you want to do a quick video blog you can try using the record from webcam function in YouTube. I’ve only tried this function, and to be honest I couldn’t get it to work (although I think that had more to do with my lack of wireless signal and herbies in the netbook than YouTube). Again this is another way that you can blog about your travels, there’s even a category called Travel you can class your channel as to help get more people viewing your blog.

The way I think of travel blogging is sharing your story with others, but not taking away too much time from your travel adventures – after all you don’t want to be spending 4-5 hours a night writing, editing and uploading your blog! That’s hardly a holiday (although sometimes once you get started writing its hard to stop!) A nice side effect of the blog is avoiding those dreaded slide nights when people come back from their holidays. Create a blog and then just share the drinks and new food you learnt to make while you were away instead of having family fall asleep while watching the 3000+ photos you took (although I’ve been guilty of falling asleep during one of those shows before).

So to sum up the great features of sites that let you blog in an instant; look for an instant blog page that’s easy to use, matches your abilities, and looks like something you are going to want to use each night when you get back to the hotel (or however often you want to post). Although you can modify the layout to an extent, remember that the aim of these sites is for you to accept the layout and template provided, thus giving you more time to just blog, post and get back to your travels. If you want something fully customised, then you’re going to probably want to start your own page and work from there.

Well that’s it from me for today, no video today as I don’t really have much more to add than whats in here. If you want to see my Canada holiday, in which I used TravelPod check out my Canada 2010 Blog page. The next post might be a few days away. With Melbourne Cup Day next Tuesday I, even though officially only Tuesday is a Public Holiday, will be taking an extra long weekend to make my first Video Travel Blog – Destination Sydney! Hopefully the weather will be great and I’ll get some good video to show you all.

Until then – Happy Travels and Blogging.


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Carl and Plane

Set it Up

Category : Travel Blog Design

Now that I have the idea, and I’ve put that idea out there the logical next step would be for me to really get the show on the road and start making some travel videos to post here, Yeah? Hmm maybe not. Didn’t I say just yesterday that this was going to be about making a travel blog? How can I have already made an awesome site, got millions of readers, taught myself how make a vBlog without the sound of wind drowning out my voice and not to mention funded all this travel in just one night? Well the answer is of course, I havent, but it has given me some ideas of what I’m going to do to try and tick off a few of those boxes.

So starting at the top, today I’m going to start the process to Set it Up properly, and by that I mean setting up the blog. For those 34 people that stopped by today to check out my blog, thanks heaps. I was aiming for 10 visits so really good work guys and girls for tripling my goal. More importantly for those loyal repeat readers, you’ll notice that today’s blog looks different to yesterdays.. In fact the whole website looks different. How did I do it so quickly you ask – the answer lies in this awesome piece of web magic that they call a WordPress Theme.

Now I’m sure all you propeller heads out there will understand the technical stuff that makes it work (because I sure as hell dont.. yet) but to put it really simply you get yourself a web host, buy a domain, install wordpress and then download a basic theme into wordpress. There are thousands to choose from and once you download it you can customise the hell out of it by pretty much just dragging boxes around the screen and clicking on the settings that you want displayed.

The awesome thing with the theme is that if you dont like it, or you want to change your mind, you just download a new theme and click the activiate button. Then hey presto before bob’s your uncle your webpage looks like its spent 2 weeks getting overhauled by a web designer and looks like a million bucks. Even better all the posts and content, even the heading names all stay the same, and are simply reformatted to the new theme. This would have to save time editing each blog post every time you want to change the font size!

Of course if you want to go nuts and make it even more awesome, then you’ll want to click on the code button to edit the programming stuff (thats where that web designer probably comes in handy – luckily for me I’ll soon be married to someone who is pretty good at that stuff). But for me, thats going to be something to learn down the track.

So the process I’ve just run through at lightning speed, is one way to refresh a page you already have (provided you used wordpress) or start a basic page in a few hours. So why did I change my theme? Well basically because I could, and I wanted to show that you can do it realatively easily. Also the first one I tried didnt display the blogs exactly how I expected them, so I switched to a more magazine layout which I think works well. I’m happy of course to hear your views on the change so post a comment telling me if you prefer the old or new. And before you say it, I know the photos are all way out of scale.. the neat feature of this theme auto resizes things, provided that you put it in correctly to begin with (obviously, I havent). Once I have some time on the big PC (instead of the netbook) I’ll fix these.

 Of course setting up the theme layout, buying a domain and web hosting isnt going to be for everyone, especially if you only really want to share some photos, a few videos and write short posts during a weekend away. There are plenty of ready built blogging sites that can automatically build you a blog in a few seconds and allow you to upload your content just as fast. In my next post I’m going to have a look around the web and tell you about a few that I have found and some that I’ve tried. That way if you want to Set it Up too, you can do so even if you dont want your own site.

Until then, Happy Travels or Blogging