09 Dec A Heart to Heart about Travel Blogging: Or Getting it Working for You
I have given you advice on dropping your life and taking a gap year, even let you know the lessons I learnt from my first gap year, but now it’s time to share a couple of lessons I have learnt while monetizing my travel blog. Here they are:
To Get in the Game You Need to Get Traffic
First and foremost, if you plan to make money on your blog at all, you need to develop a loyal readership, or in boring web talk, increase your web traffic and click through rate. Simply put, you want people reading your blog, reading more than just one post, and coming back to read new content as it gets posted.
The best way that I found for doing this, aside from writing kick-butt really fantastic content that people actually want to read, is to really embrace the power of the email list. When people subscribe to a blog, they are really opting in to the email list. It is easy to contact them to let them know that there is new content, because they have already consciously and willingly opted in. It means they liked your content enough that they want to read more. Best of all, it ensures that your blog is never out of sight or out of mind.
First things first, you need to set up a reliable and professional email address, something like the 1&1 webmail here, and incorporate this address into your blog via a lightbox pop up as well as a link or dialogue box on the contact page. The more options you give people for seeing this email address and subscribing to the blog, the more people will actually sign up for your email list. Then you need to put some effort into your email marketing campaign, presenting your new content in an intriguing way to encourage your readers to keep coming back.
Blog Monetization Methods
Once you have a pretty good following with dependable traffic numbers, here is when the opportunity to make money comes into play. The most common monetization methods are as follows:
- Brand Partnerships
A brand partnership is really just a company that is paying for you to write about their product. So for a travel blog, this can be anything from sun screen to backpacks, and everything else in between. They pay for you to write the post – a post that you need to write anyway to stick to your regular posting schedule. Of course this is something you need to be careful with, because you don’t want to lose your readers because they think you are selling out and no longer trust what you have to say. Only agree to cover products that you actually believe in and use yourself, that way what you have to say is always useful to your readers.
- Sell Ad Space and Affiliate Links
This sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. You sell space on your blog for others to advertise, like the banners that you see on the sides or top of most webpages. Ads pop up that are applicable to the content of the site. Of course you don’t want ads crowding your blog, since that is annoying to absolutely every single human being, so be selective and keep it sparse.
The other method is called Affiliate Marketing, which is essentially agreeing to give backlinks, for example to other travel blogs or travel booking companies. The backlinks need to be relevant to the site content, so again you have to be careful with this. If backlinks aren’t relevant to the site content, then your blog can actually get penalized by search engines and lose ranking. Be smart. If it seems too easy or too good to be true, then it probably is.
As long as you have a little bit of dependable income and pair that with the odd job here and there – like house sitting for example – and you know to budget for your trip properly, you can afford to keep going for as long as the skies are sunny and clear. It really doesn’t take that much money to live a life of travel, but it does take some sense, some know-how, and the drive and determination to do it no matter what, as well as the courage to never give up on your dreams.