One of the fastest growing trends among RV’ers is that of posting ideas, travel experiences, and pictures on your very own RV Blog. There are literally hundreds of RV blogs out there. They vary widely in the tone, theme, and topics they cover. You have sites like ours that focus on RV ideas or modifications. You also have RV blogs that focus on work camping, full timing, boon docking, and every other niche of the RV community. While there are a handful that have mainstream RV appeal, most serve just to keep friends and family updated on the fun your having on your journey. Creating a RV blog is also a wonderful way to catalog and preserve not only photos but also your frame of mind and experiences while traveling. Most people find the process of keeping a RV blog very engaging as you will inevitably have total strangers that find your work through the internet and become avid fans.
The purpose of this guide is to offer you a simple view of the options available today for creating, maintaining, and possibly even earning a little money from your very own RV Blog. The best way to compartmentalize the RV blog options available today is into Paid or Free platforms. There are some that are not one but both. Remeber that each of these services are technically businesses and none of them are truly free, even if you dont pay anything. Some use advertisemetns on your site for revenue that you cannot control, some ask for monthly fees if you want premium features, and some just have a monthly cost and give you more flexibility and functionality than you may ever need. Lets get started!
Paid or Free RV Blog?
For many this will not be a hard decision as Free always tastes better right? I would tend to agree with you especially if your just starting out. Lets look at the basic features behind each.
Free RV Blog
Free RV blogging platforms tend to have the following features:
- It’s free and typically easy to set up
- Many guides and features to make creating content easy.
- Often a All-in-one solution. Offers Software for content management, hosting services, and administrative functions.
- Most of these services are reliable and not prone to downtime, very stable services that works seamlessly.
- Most come with templates for the design.
- All of the technical maintenance work is taken care of — Setup, upgrades, spam, backups, and security.
- Your content is backed up automatically. There should not be any issues with lost work.
- No support – This means if you run into trouble when you build your own blog you can’t just call someone and have them help you. You are completely on your own to do research and figure out the issues on your own. This typically only comes into play if your trying to customize something that isn’t setup to be done.
- Bad URL – The web address your readers will use to access your blog wont be as pretty. Your blog name will be a long name like http://YOURBLOGNAME.DoItYourselfRV.com. People aren’t going to remember that but there are ways around this covered in the Custom URL section below.
- You do not have control over the features and functionality. You are limited to what is offered by that blogging platform.
- Design is a problem because most of these free blogging services only offer a limited number of options. (To Keep it Simple)
- You will not be taken as an authority figure on your niche, because free blogging services tend to be for beginners and not experts.
- Free services tend to place advertisements on your site in exchange for making it free. You will have no control over this aspect.
Paid RV Blog
Paid RV blogging platforms tend to have the following features:
- Some Paid RV blog sites will give you your own custom URL for free.
- It is more professional – You get to have your own email address (ex. [email protected]), your own URL (ex. www.DoitYourselfRV.com), and offers you much more functionality and portability.
- You have total control over your RV Blog– free blog services have limited features. On most paid blogging platforms there is an endless list of customizations and modifications you can make to your liking.
- Your own brand. If you start with a free RV blog and it gains in popularity, it will be quite a project to get it moved to a paid blog. There are simple tools to help you with this but your readers will not find you as easily through search engines if you change your URL.
- You will receive real life human support either by email, online chat, or by phone. This can be indispensible!
- No advertisements unless you want them. If you do then you get to choose which appear and you are compensated for the revenue it creates.
- It costs money. Most paid services for use as an RV blog will cost less than $10 a month. Some less that $5.
- Some blogging software takes some level of web understanding. Some do not so be sure to check before going with the paid option.
Free or Paid RV Blog Wrap Up
When it comes right down to it, the decision is made based on control and simplicity. You must give up some control to gain simplicity in almost every comparison. In turn, you must give up simplicity to gain control. If you keep that in mind the decision should be very easy.
Which Platform Should I Use for My RV Blog?
There are honestly hundreds of different options out there when it comes to ways to create your RV blog. The following entries will focus on the most popular, well developed, and easy to use options available.
The blogging platform from Google, Blogger is one of the oldest and still most popular for new bloggers. Blogger has many template designs to choose from. When it comes to ease of use, most beginners prefer Blogger as it offers a no nonsense interface for updating your RV blog and it integrates with your Google account. Another great thing about Blogger is that it offers certain great features for free that you normally need to pay for with other services. Recomended for simplicity for the free option.
One of the most popular blogging platforms is a great free starting point. Many design templates to choose from, widgets to help you make your blog more interactive, and stats to track your blog’s popularity. While not as simple to use as blogger.com, WordPress.com does put you in better position if you want to move your RV blog to paid at some point.
With Tumblr, you can have a blog running in minutes. You can use the email your post feature which allows you to make updates through your email. Tumblr allows you to have simple social sharing options and there’s a huge growing community of users ready to connect with if you need help. It’s a very simple and user friendly platform. This is easy to use just like blogger though there aren’t as many users. If you don’t find blogger.com useful than be sure to give this a look.
Hugely popular with professional bloggers, Typepad is used by some of the most well regarded bloggers in the world which shows its usability. Typepad also has hosting built in to its price, so its very easy to setup and get going unlike wordpress.org (shown below). Its features include widgets to add functionality, custom URL and also professional support. This is a easy to use platform that require no IT knowledge to run like a pro. Cost is a monthly charge of $8.95 to $23.95 depending on the features you want.
SquareSpace is one of the easiest to use paid blog platforms out there. The platform doesn’t require technical expertise. If you want to build a professional looking blog or website with minimal effort, SquareSpace is it. They offer 24/7 support. The servers rarely have problems so you don’t have to worry about your readers not being able to find you. Its great for newbies as that’s SquareSpace focus. Cost is between $8-24 a month depending on the features you want.
This version of WordPress is the most customizable and widely used blogging platform in the world. Its often confused with the free version (WordPress.com). The big difference here is you need to open an account with a website host for it to run on. This is not as daunting as it seems. There are many companies that are setup to make this painless such as Bluehost.com, GoDaddy.com, or Hostgator.com. For your information, DoItYourselfRV.com runs on WordPress.org with Bluehost. The benefits of WordPress are primarily in control and customization. You can really make your site perform and function anyway you want. This platform is also the most scalable. Many of the worlds biggest companies use WordPress.org for their site software. This is the most popular blog platform. This platform is not ideal for most RV blogs as it does require a moderate amount of IT knowledge to be user friendly. The cost of setting up this type of RV blog is between $4-30 a month and typically comes with email address, custom URL, and a slew of other features. See more at – Setup a WordPress.org Blog in 20 Minutes.
Custom URL (Simple, Not Easy)
If you have a free or paid platform RV Blog, it is possible to have your own custom URL even if you didn’t set it up in the beginning. You can read this article from PCWorld to learn how to register your custom URL. We have used 1and1, GoDaddy, and NameCheap for this purpose. Usually one of them is running a sale on registering a custom URL. Typically it will cost less than $10. Once you have your domain you can pair it up with your free or paid RV blog using 1 of 2 methods.
1. Use your URL registrar options panel to point the URL to your RV blog.
To do this on Blogger.com.
To do this on TypePad.
To do this on WordPress.com
To do this on Tumblr
To do this on SquareSpace
2. Use URL Forwarding to send anyone that types in your URL to your blog. This method is not preferred but tends to be much simpler for people unfamiliar with websites. You simply go into the options panel at the registrar where you signed up your URL and forward it to your given RV blog URL (ex. http://YOURBLOGNAME.DoItYourselfRV.com). Be aware that this will mean the URL you chose serves no purpose but to direct people who type in your URL exactly to your site. Its strongly encouraged to use option 1 if possible.
How To: Create Your Own RV Blog Conclusion
If you want absolute simplicity then options are dwindled down to just 3 blogging services in our opinion: Blogger, Typepad, and Squarespace. Only Blogger.com is free and if you think you will need a lot of help I encourage you to go with the latter 2 that are paid. They offer great service and support to help get you up and running. Regardless of which you choose its important to remember that in most cases any decisions you make on blogging platforms should allow you to move any work you complete to another platform if you are unsatisfied. Though not an easy process it is possible.
The decision on which service to use is 95% of the battle. After that you must learn to use the editing software on the platform you choose. For some this may not be intuitive so we created a guide showing how to register, setup, and make your first post on your new RV blog using Google’s Blogger.com service.
Get started today. Its our hope that you find this guide informative and you decide to start your own RV blog! Please make sure to enjoy yourself, find your own voice, and start writing!