Whether you are new to the world of blogging, or a veteran traveler with years of experience in writing about your exploits, you might be looking for a way to start earning a steady income from your travels. You know it’s possible, you know others are doing it; but you might be unsure where to start to monetize your travel blog; and how much work you will need to put in for a certain amount of income.
While there are no straightforward answers in the world of digital marketing and online revenues; hopefully this article can serve as a primer for your future blogging enterprise.
Step by Step Tips on How to Monetize Your Travel Blog
Step one: Have an actual blog
Setting up a blog is a rather straightforward process. Even if you have no previous experience and consider yourself a complete newbie, there are plenty of guides available that will lead you through the process.
You will need to choose and buy a domain name first – choose something unique and memorable, something that will help you stand out and remain recognizable. Make sure that the domain name is either relatable to you, in which case you can treat it as a personal brand, or that it is easy to guess what the blog is about.
Next, you will need to find some reliable hosting. While to the untrained eye all hosting providers might seem the same, in reality, where you host your website matters quite a bit. Choose a server that is located in the same general area as your target audience, and preferably one that has 24/7 support. You might need it at the very beginning.
Once you are all set with your domain and hosting, you need to install WordPress (or any other content management system). If you go for WordPress, you will need to install a theme, and set up a few plugins to help your site work at its maximum. Once all that is up and running, make sure you get to know a bit about SEO and how to use it in the travel niche. Now you are all set to start blogging!
Step two: Start writing
Ideally, this will be the most enjoyable part of the entire process. This is where you get to express yourself, write about your experiences and the wonderful places you have been to and plan to yet visit.
The most important thing to bear in mind here is that you need to remain true to yourself at all times. Don’t pay too much attention to what others are writing about, or what kinds of subjects they are covering. You want to remain you, and build a recognizable brand around your own person and voice.
While you can of course, once you have become more well-versed with SEO and the best ways to drive more visitors to the blog, cover topics that will bring you a decent amount of traffic, you should still do this in your own way. Don’t succumb to the trap of trying to emulate a popular influencer. You are not them, nor should you try to be.
Step three: Start earning money
There is more than one way to start to monetize your travel blog. We will list some of them, but you can always explore other ideas and avenues, and find different means to generate an income through your blog.
Affiliate marketing is probably the most popular way to monetize your travel blog. By joining an affiliate program, you will be able to earn a steady income, provided that the affiliate links you promote on your blog appeal to your target audience. Once you start generating a steady stream of traffic, make sure to analyze where this traffic is coming from, and who your readers are. Once you know that, you can apply for an affiliate program, and start placing affiliate links into your posts.
However – make sure not to overdo it when you start to monetize your travel blog. After all, you are not trying to be a pushy salesman. You are trying to showcase a product, and inspire your audience to check it out, not because you need them to buy it so you could earn money, but because you genuinely want to recommend it. Trust us – readers can easily tell if you are being too aggressive just for the sake of a sale, and will not be coming back.
Depending on your voice and target market, you can find an affiliate program that will meet both your interests. And once you do publish a post with affiliate links, don’t forget to promote it, and actually drive some eager visitors to it.
Rather a controversial manner of monetizing your travel blog, publishing sponsored posts can easily supplement your income, but can also cause you a headache or two. First of all, you need to know that sponsored posts are not exactly applauded by Google. Second, you should also bear in mind that people will treat an honest review one way, and a sponsored post a bit differently.
Once you have a steady stream of followers, you might be approached by brands who want you to do a review of one of their destinations, a product review or just promote some of their content. You may also be contacted by agencies that build links for these brands, who will offer to pay you money, in exchange for a link from your website.
It is up to you to decide whether you want to engage in this type of advertising to monetize your travel blog. Evaluate the upsides and the downsides, and make an educated choice.
Another popular way to earn an income is to utilize Google’s AdSense, which will make you a part of the Google Advertising Network. It will display ads on your website, and you will get paid a commission based on the number of clicks or views of that same ad.
While it is undoubtedly a great way to earn a steady stream of dollars from your blog, bear in mind that you might need to have quite a lot of visitors in order to make it worth your while. However, it will not cost you anything, so giving it a try will not do any harm. Avoid placing too many ads on your site however, as it can easily incur a penalty, or it can turn your website into a shop window, which is not what you want it to be.
While the previous three tactics were all a way to earn yourself a passive income, using your website as a portfolio to score other work is more of an active means of earning a living.
Whether you are a photographer or a writer, your blog is the best place to showcase your talent, and that talent can earn you another salary.
You can use it as a reference when applying for freelance gigs on different platforms, or you can reach out to brands directly and use it to show them what you have done for your own brand, and how you can do the same for theirs.
Travel writers and photographers are often very well paid, since they can provide a unique point of view on the spot – no matter where you are in the world, you can write about the sights and sounds, the tastes and experiences, and this is not something everyone can claim. Find websites that might be interested in running content about your present location, and offer them your services.
Finally, remember that you can’t just post an article and expect it to bring in a steady revenue. You have to work hard to get your blogging efforts off the ground, and you have to keep investing both in the website itself, and your own skillset. As you gain more of an audience, doors will start to open, which can lead you to your next travel adventure.