How to Start a Travel Blog #8 – Make Money Blogging

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All that hard work we put into our blogs over the last 7 parts of this series and now we can begin to make money from our travel blog. Or can we? Making money blogging isn’t a simple task and the majority of bloggers fail to even make their first dollar from blogging before quitting.

Don’t be a quitter!

Luckily, you can get into blogging for a relatively cheap price, if you do all the work yourself. Buying a domain and getting hosting and installing WordPress isn’t difficult at all. So, if you have the money to start a blog, then you should have enough to continue to build your blog until it’s profitable.

What to Expect from this “Learning to Blog” Series

This is the eighth part of a series on the topic of starting a travel blog or really starting any type of blog for that matter.

How to Make Money Blogging With a Travel Blog?

Ah! That is a question many bloggers would like to have answered, but that answer has eluded most. Today, I will show you how you can make money from your travel blog. Most of these tips will be geared towards travelers, but you can easily adjust these tips to address your niche specifically.

Babes Dig Full-Time TravelersMaking money while you travel the world or your country has to be one of the greatest fantasies of all time. Wouldn’t it be great to live that lifestyle? Well, 100’s of thousands of people are living that lifestyle right now, but the majority of them are at or beyond retirement age. The ultimate dream would be to live that lifestyle in your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

The reason the majority of us don’t even think about going this route until we’re retired is because society expects us to go to grade school, go to college, get a low paying fresh out of college job, work our way up the ladder, work for 30-40 years and then retire and go enjoy life.

Imagine if you skipped all of that after grade school and went straight into an online business at 18 years old, while your expenses were at the lowest level they will ever be in your adult life. You wouldn’t need much to survive and by the time you hit 25 years old, you should have a nice location independent income, low expenses and 50-60 years left in the tank to enjoy life.

What You Should Know About Running a Travel Blog

  • Don’t expect to start making money on Day 1
  • Some blogs might not make money for the first year or two
  • Don’t jump right in, unless you have the funds to back the lifesytle
  • Be prepared to work some “Side Hustle”

My Top 7 Ways to Make Money With Your Travel Blog

Back in April of 2013, I wrote a post on How to Make Money from the Road. That post was well received and I hope it helped some of the road warriors find ways to make money.

Today, I want to tell you about ways you can make money with your travel blog. All you need is a laptop, Internet Access (Free WiFi or a paid service) and the determination to succeed.

# 7 – Contextual Ads

The most popular contextual ad service is Google Adsense. Contextual Ads are advertisements on a website that are targeted to the specific site visitor based on either what they searched for to find the site or it could be based on the content on the site. The Ad system can scan the site for keywords and display Ads that match up with the keywords.

Make Money Blogging with Adsense Contextual Ads

Adsense Contextual Ad Example

Although putting Adsense on your site is relatively easy, it doesn’t pay much so I have placed contextual Ads as the worst option for making money on your blog. It is, however, a great way to get started. You can use Adsense until you find a better alternative.

I use Adsense on this site, but I try to keep it out of the way and only in the side bar. See the example to the right:

# 6 – Consulting

When just starting out with your travel blog, the earning potential will be very low so it’s a good idea to be earning some supplementary income while you build up your travel site.

The idea with Consulting is to build a “Hire Me” page and offer consulting services to help others improve some area of their life or business. You could also train someone to help them improve a particular skill set. This could be done over Skype, the phone or a Google Hangout and works well with the location independent lifestyle.

# 5 – Freelance Writing (Hire Me Page)

Like the Consulting service, until your travel blog starts getting a large amount of traffic, it just doesn’t have much earning potential. You can write awesome articles about your travels and only have 10 visitors to your site.

To help finance your venture, it would be a good idea to write some articles for other travel blogs and either get them to link to your site or get paid for the articles. Of course, both scenarios would be preferred.

Set up a “Hire Me” page on your blog and explain what you can do. This will give you a place to refer people to when they have questions about your writing experience, styles and interests.

# 4 – Membership Area

The membership area is probably the most difficult to setup. The basic concept is to give away free content, whether it’s photos or your write-ups of your travels. After building a following, you would then build a membership area and offer members exclusive photos, travel hacks, step by step guides, video content and much more for a monthly membership fee. This fee should be kept low unless you’re offering some sort of travel based course in your members’ area.

This site model is typically the way to make the most money from a website, but it’s difficult to setup. You have to create all the content first and continue to add fresh content for the members on a weekly or monthly basis. Online Apps and Software do especially well with this model as the user needs to login to their service daily to complete tasks.

# 3 – Affiliate Programs

Amazon Commissions are a Great Way to Make Money Blogging

List of Amazon Commissions

Affiliate programs were designed to allow the merchant a way to reach a larger market by paying their affiliates a commission for each customer the affiliate sent to their site and made a purchase. There are specific affiliate programs for just about every niche you can think of, or you could use a more general affiliate program like Amazon, Clickbank or Commission Junction.

The Amazon Affiliate program is a huge player in the affiliate programs arena and paved the way for many other companies to start their own programs. Amazon pays 4% commission for the first 6 items you sell, then goes up to 6% and as high as 8.5%. The commission sounds low but if you sell a bunch of low priced items, you can really make a good commission when the big sale comes through. I really like Amazon as a way to make money blogging.

Examples of More Specific Affiliate Niches:
My Travel blog is more geared towards the RVing crowd so I might think about using Good Sam Club as an affiliate offer for my site. I’m currently not signed up with them, but below are some examples of earnings:

Good Sam Club - Affiliate Program

Good Sam Club – Affiliate Program

Camping World Affiliate Program: This is another Affiliate Program I could join and promote their products on my site. You could do the same. Camping World pays 6% on all transactions referred to them.

** To find Affiliate programs in your niche, try a search like below in Google:
Your niche here “affiliate”

Example: Let’s say I wanted to see if there were any Affiliate programs for Texas Travel.
My Google Search would be: Texas Travel “affiliate”

I would get something like this:

Example Search - Texas Travel Affiliates

Google Search: Texas Travel Affiliates

# 2 – Private Advertising Sales

Private Ad sales are Ad spaces you sell directly to the advertisers. The idea is to create zones on your site where you will allow ads to be placed, then you decide how many ads will be in each zone, how many ads will rotate in the zones and what prices to charge per month or per 1000 impressions.

I personally haven’t attempted to set this up on any of my current sites, but I did toy around with this Ad structure a few years ago.

Below is an example of Private Ads on a popular website. The top Ad is the header Ad and the one below is an in-post Ad. It looks like he currently doesn’t have an advertiser for his in-post Ad as it shows a filler Ad for his own site.

Example Sponsored Ads

Header and in-Post Ads

Example Private Ads 125

Group of 125 pixel Ads

Besides the header and in-Post Ads, you can also sell Private Ads in your site bar. You can usually fit a 300 pixel wide Ad in the side bar or you could use the common group of 125 pixel Ads.

When you first start Private Ads you may not get many takers, so be prepared to fill the gaps with your own Ads or find relevant Affiliate programs with banners you can place in the empty spots. There are some great plugins to help with this process and I hope to get a few reviews up soon.

As you can see in the example 125 x 125 Ad setup, the site has an Advertise Here link which will take the interested Advertiser to a page usually filled with stats about the site and pricing. It’s important to show your Google Analytic traffic stats to prove that your site gets a good amount of traffic and is worth what you are asking for the Ad spots per month.

# 1 – Sell Your Own Digital Products (eBooks & photography)

In my opinion, the best and most rewarding way to make money while traveling is to create your digital products and sell them on your blog. This may scare some people, but it truly is a great way to earn a living. It’s nice to be able to travel, build products, upload them to your site, setup payment processors and go back to traveling while the money rolls in.

Well, it’s not that easy. You have to get traffic in order to get sales so make sure you check out Part 7 of this series: Marketing Your Blog.

Writing eBooks:
Writing one eBook and putting it up on Amazon will not finance your travel lifestyle. You will need to write multiple eBooks for Amazon because they will sell for low prices, or you should only sell your eBooks from your website where you have control of the pricing.

To learn more about Publishing with Amazon Kindle, see below:
Kindle Direct Publishing

I wrote my first eBook back in December of 2012 and I expect to write many more as 2013 winds down.

Photograpy:
Many travelers are earning a living from taking and selling pictures. Getting that perfect snapshot with the sun setting or catching an animal in the wild could fetch some good dough from a magazine or you could sell your photos on one of the many Photo sharing sites.

I would love to get more into photography, but I’ve only been taking pics with my iPhone. I really need to get a DSLR camera and join the photography crowd.

I could list 20+ websites where you could sell your photos but instead, I will refer you to a book I discovered which could really help you with your photography career.

The 2014 Photographer’s Market book contains an up-to-date list of market contacts including: magazines, stock agencies, book publishers, advertising firms, greeting card companies and more. This version was just release on August 16, 2013.

The book includes articles on forming your business, negotiating fee and rights, social media, building websites and interviews with successful professionals.

Start a Blog That Matters

Anyone can start a blog, so if you want your blog to catch on a build an audience, then you need to Start a Blog That Matters. This means you should strive to help others with your blog, whether you’re explaining how to get discounts on travel or showing how to fix a leaking propane tank. Make your content great and make your blog matter.

After you have completed my 8-part series on starting a blog, you should try Corbett Barr’s blogging course.
Start a Blog That Matters
<--Start a Blog That Matters-->

    What’s included in Corbett’s course?

  • 13 Weekly Lessons and Action Plans
  • Over 8 hours of video
  • FAQ full of previously asked questions from 800+ students
  • 60-Day Money Back Guarantee (No Questions Asked)
  • The 90-Day Action Plan to turn nothing to a Blog That Matters

Photo Credit

What Are Your Thoughts?

Thank you SO much for making it to the eighth part of this series. I really appreciate you hanging in there while I put this series together. If you have any questions about any part of this series, please leave a comment below or send me an email. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter, below:

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2 Responses to How to Start a Travel Blog #8 – Make Money Blogging

  1. Lisa September 26, 2013 at 6:53 AM #

    Hey there, Troy. I saw your tweet and came over to read your blog series. Good job. I liked the plugins part and the part on marketing, but this one on making money has opened my eyes.

    I started a blog a while ago but got bored. I’m just a weekend traveler right now. Maybe I should give it another go and start a blog again?

    Well, it was a fun read and looks like it took a while to write. Thanks. Love your blog. When are you going to start traveling again?

    Lisa

    • Troy Wiedeman September 27, 2013 at 1:47 PM #

      Thanks for the compliments, Lisa!

      I’m glad you liked the series. This is actually a short list. There are many ways to make money while you travel.

      Check back on the previous posts to read my comments, as I addressed the possibility of you getting back into blogging. In short, do it.

      When will I get back out on the road? I don’t have an exact date yet, but it should be towards the end of 2013 or possibly early 2014.

      My goal is to be location independent, traveling and earning a living from anywhere, by the time I turn 45 in the summer of 2014. I want to travel and work from the road from 45-50.

      I’m currently developing some online business ventures to support me while I travel and I want to make sure they’re stable before jumping out on the road again. 😉
      Troy Wiedeman recently posted…How to Start a Travel Blog #2 – Blog Setup BasicsMy Profile

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