Back in the day, people were stuck; in order to get work done, your only option was going to the office and working a 9-to-5. But thanks to technology, the days of being chained to a desk are over—and you can just as easily knock out your nomad blog while you relax next to the lake or on a road trip to an exciting new locale.
Becoming a digital nomad and living a location-independent lifestyle has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. As the lifestyle becomes more mainstream, more and more nomads are creating blogs to show off their experiences, advertise their professional services to fund their travel, and provide a dose of inspiration for people getting ready to make the leap themselves.
Design Your Digital Nomad Blog
The more travel blogs that are created, the more saturated the market becomes—and the harder it is to break through the clutter and make an impact. The good news? If you’re creative, you’ve got the upper-hand—all you have to do is apply what you already know about design and use it to create a visually stunning blog that jumps off the screen and frames your travels in a meaningful way.
How, exactly, do you do that? What are the key design elements of a travel blog—and how can you design a blog that’s not only visually impactful, but helps establish yourself as a go-to blogger in the digital nomad space?
Make your color choices work for you
First things first: if you want to make the right impression with your travel blog, you need to choose the right colors.
Selecting a color palette for your blog is so much more than just saying “I like blue, so I’m going to use blue in my design.” Color psychology is a powerful thing—and by choosing your colors strategically, you can use the strong associations people have with certain colors to your advantage.
Let’s say you’re sharing your high-octane adventures across the world (think skydiving in New Zealand or shredding some serious powder on your snowboard in the Alps). You want your visitors to feel that same rush of adrenaline you felt as you were experiencing your adventures—so you’d want to use a color like red, which inspires passion and excitement. On the flip side, let’s say you’re a yoga enthusiast traversing the globe to find your Zen—in that case, you’d want to use a color like blue, which invokes feelings of calm and serenity.
Something else to consider is whether you want your photography or your writing to be the focus of your blog. If you’re planning to upload tons of images, your blog might benefit from a neutral or muted color scheme, to really allow your photos to leap off the page. And if your longform writing is the star of the show, you can afford to be more playful with your color selection.
The point is, color can make people feel, think, and do very specific things. When you understand the psychology behind color, you can use it to choose colors for your blog that will make your audience feel, think, and do exactly what you want.
Choose the right layout
When it comes to creating a blog, you can’t just throw everything on a page and hope for the best. If you want your blog to connect with your audience—and not completely overwhelm anyone who happens to stumble upon your URL—you need to choose the right layout.
When considering your options, always be sure to choose a layout that makes the most of your content. If you’re building a blog to showcase your awesome travel photos, choose a layout that puts images front and center. If you’ll be answering audience questions on how to navigate the road to full-time digital nomadism, choose a layout that allows for more text. If you have a ton of different blog categories, choose a layout that organizes them in a visually interesting way (like with a sidebar menu or a grid of categories at the end of each post).
The right layout for your travel blog is totally going to depend on who you are, what you’re about, and what kind of content you’re pushing out into the world. That being said, you want to follow the basic rules of web design and make sure your layout:
- has an easy to navigate menu bar
- arranges key design elements based on how readers will scan the page (following either “F” design or “Z” design patterns)
- has a header and footer
- makes proper use of text hierarchy by including headers, subheaders, and body text
- is fully responsive
- has options for gathering visitor contact information
Take your visuals to the next level
It probably goes without saying that you’re including photographs of your travels on your travel blog (that’s kind of the point!)—but if you really want your content to stand out, you’re going to have to take your photos and graphics to the next level.
But first, let’s touch on consistency. That alone can elevate a blogger’s public perception from hobbyist to full-on professional. It helps to take stock of your photography and note any patterns in style and scheme. Are your photos heavily saturated? Do you favor breathtaking panoramas to quiet, minimal compositions? Showcase photos that follow a pattern authentic to you, and support the same associations as the colors you picked for your layout. Voilà! Consistency.
Then, adding elements like typographic treatments or filters can make the photos of your travels look even more enchanting to your audience. And the better your photos, the more engaged your audience will be.
Have a photo of your sunrise hike to the top of a volcano? Add a filter to make the colors of the sunrise even more exciting. Did you get some great shots of the time you were stuck in a rainstorm on the streets of Paris? Add a black and white filter to make the photos feel more artistic and dramatic. Have an endless collection of landscape shots? Overlay text of inspirational quotes over the photos and release them to your audience to use as social media images.
Photos of your travels are a must on your travel blog, and going the extra mile to make your photos impactful will get you even better results.
Showcase your work
A huge part of your digital nomad lifestyle is your travels. But your travels are only half the equation. The other half? The work you do that allows you to travel, whatever that may be.
Your travel blog should be a space where you can show off the work that makes your lifestyle possible in the first place. Your audience isn’t just interested in all the cool places you’ve been—they’re also interested in how you’ve been able to get there. By displaying your work and telling your audience about the process of creating on the road, you’ll inspire them and show them it’s possible to do incredible work while traveling. And who knows? Maybe you’ll get a new client or two out of the deal.
When you’re designing your website, create a portfolio page that highlights your best designs, writing clips or showreel. And don’t forget a “work with me” page that makes it easy for any potential clients to get in touch.
Wrapping things up
Traveling the world and working on the road is pretty much the equivalent to “living the dream.” Now that you know how to design a travel blog that grabs people’s attention and delivers a serious dose of work/travel inspiration, all that’s left to do is get out there and design it! (And hopefully you’ll design it in true digital nomad style, while you enjoy a cocktail next to the beach.)