Travel blogs are a great way to keep in touch with family and friends, post pictures, and meet other vagabonds as you wander around the world. A travel blog can also be a way to generate a few bucks towards your next trip. The amount you can generate varies, but without the best tools to use you won’t be making more than a few dollars a month.
While in most cases you won’t be leaving your job or paying your plane tickets, here’s how to use your travel blog to help finance a few meals and small portion of your simple travel budget.
1. Content – Let me start by saying that “content is king”; the better and more frequently you write, the more people that will be attracted to your blog increasing your advertising revenues. On the flip-side, if you’re only writing a travel blog for money and forget about the travel writing itself, you’re likely to turn away your audience.
2. Google Adsense – Arguably the first place to begin is this free service that generates ads on your blog based on the content of a particular page. Every time someone clicks on one of the ads, you’ll get paid and Google passes along the money directly to your bank account each $100 you earn.
- Blend the ads by matching their background and font colors with your website.
- Put them in places that don’t distract from your content.
- Don’t write asking people to click on the ads, Google may suspend your account.
3. InfoLinks – There are several competing in-text (links that pop up ads when you hover over them) but I’ve found InfoLinks to be the most effective. Like Adsense, it’s very easy to set up, free, and after doesn’t require much maintenance.
4. Blog Contests – Contest Beat and Contest Blogger post a number of free contests with cash and gift prizes everyday. Most are asking for essays or interesting photos, two things your travel blog is already filled with. Many of the travel blogs on my Links Page also host contests throughout the year and I host two major and several smaller contests annually.
- I’ll be announcing the details about my next photo contest this Wednesday, October 1, 2008. There will be 4 prizes up for grabs. To stay updated feel free to subscribe to my RSS feed.
- Need some help getting good pictures? Nomadic Matt lists 5 easy ways to improve your travel photos.
5. Paid Reviews – Some travel bloggers have had some success writing paid reviews of products and services using Pay Per Post and Review Me. Based on the popularity of your blog you’ll get paid a few bucks for 100-400 word reviews you post on your travel blog.
- The nice thing about Review Me is that your reviews can be honest – whether negative or positive – you don’t have to “be nice” just because you’re getting paid.
- Here are some of the sponsored reviews I’ve written on foXnoMad.
- Disclose your reviews as being sponsored, your readers will appreciate it.
6. Become a Expert on a Destination – Living abroad as an expatriate, backpacker, or otherwise can make your knowledge a valuable tool for your fellow countrymen and women. Being an expert on a specific region or location you can try offering services like tours, or advice on staying safe for a small fee on your travel blog.
- Sharing travel-related skills for a small fee may also work. Photography, ethnography (how to blend in), or language assistance for example.
There are several other ways to make money online that I didn’t mention, like affiliate links, and probably many more that I don’t know about. I personally don’t like the idea of creating a travel blog solely for the purpose of making money, but think that you shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to earn a few extra dollars.
Next week I’ll be writing about unconventional ways to make money for your next trip and will include creating or monetizing an existing travel blog. Before then however, I’d like to know how you feel about using your travel blog to make money and what does and doesn’t work for you?
I’d appreciate your opinions in the comments below and will participate by joining the discussion as well.
[photos by: kool_skatkat, burningairlinesgiveyousomuchmore]
Good advice but travel blogs don’t really make much money. It’s much harder to do, especially if you are not getting at least 20% traffic from search engines.
Having a successful travel blog yourself, what has been the most effective method of monetization for you?
@ Nomadic Matt:
I completely agree – most travel bloggers won’t get rich with their sites and of course you need decent traffic to your blog to even get there.
Building traffic, writing good content, and site design are all a part of it, but outside of the scope of this post.
I think that *not* monetizing though is missing out on a few bucks here and there that could go a long way if traveling to the 3rd world.
#6 (being an expert) can be a great potential source of income, with some creative marketing. For novices, these are a good foundation to begin on.
Great article Anil, I find that Google Adsense can pay atleast my hosting and domain name and thats alright. It is impossible to get people to click on ads – they are kinda oblivious but yeah, blending them might work.
Personally I don’t like the infolinks thing. It misleads me making me believe that its a link that you inserted but no, its an ad! Agreed the links appear in a different color, but then it makes the whole thing look colorful (read ugly) 🙂
I think that’s great to cover your hosting and domain registration costs – *any* amount of money your bring in is that much less it costs you to run the blog. As I see it, it’s a question of why not?
Also, thanks for the honest advice about the Infolink ads. The code allows me to adjust the maximum number of links that can be posted on a given page. Currently I use the default, which is sometimes too many rather than just right.
I’ll take a look at it over this coming weekend to see if I can make it less ugly. I appreciate the candid feedback.
I agree with Priyank, the infolinks are annoying. I guess people will get used to them and realise they are just adverts rather than something you have added yourself and so ignore them as they do the google ads. Often I find links in people’s posts that they would never have put there themselves – the link tends to be completely off brand.
Nice to meet you (and discover your travel blog as well).
Thanks for the input, sometime this month I think I’ll make some changes to the Infolinks, perhaps decrease their frequency or all together.
Blogs are definitely not big earners 🙁 , I’m curious though about infolinks..how much you make with it? also what kind of traffic do you have 🙂
Blogs aren’t generally earners and won’t pay for your next trip, but can help to at least cut your hosting and domain registration costs, as Priyank suggests.
I do however think that it’s an *opportunity* to make a little more than that. Another piece of the puzzle to gain funds for travel as it becomes more expensive.
I’d rather not say here how much I earn (it’s not lots) in a public forum. As far as traffic you can get an idea on my advertising page:
If you are travel blogging with the primary aim of making money, I think you have selected a tough road. I think the idea of earning a little on the side while doing soemthing that you enjoy doing and want to do anyway is a much bettre approach.
@ Mark H:
Agreed – earning a little money on the side while doing something you enjoy is exactly the point.
As Steve Pavlina says, if you love doing something enough, you’ll develop it into a skill. (In this case travel writing.) If you develop it into a competent skill, you can begin to provide some value. (Things people will want to read/see.) Once you can do that, you just need to know how to deliver and share that value.
Travel Blogging CAN provide for your expenses, it’s just that most people aren’t in this for the long haul. Only with smart work and persistence can you reach that goal. Outwardly, I’m not there yet, but I know that reaching this goal is inevitable if I continue on my path.
Pavlina’s suggestions are right on. Nobody should get into travel blogging for money, since it’s not really there. If you do have a travel blog though and can earn even just a few dollars here and there – then why not?
But, I agree, with good content and *persistence* there is potential to make what you want out of your travel blog – including meeting your financial goals.
very nice article. will try to implement the tips in my blog
Great tips by the way. I learned about info links so I’m looking to test it and see how it does compared to google’s adsense. Travel blogs are only as good as those who know that they are there.
I think in order for you to have a good steady flow of traffic is to use other forms of mediums to get people to view your blog.
Such as the use of twitter to allow followers to follow you when you go on your journey with your blog.
Now making money with your is hard work and time. It has to be a fun blog first then the money will surely follow in theory.
I found that InfoLinks and Adsense perform about the same in terms of revenue and did more to annoy readers than anything else. You’re right making money with your blog is hard work and takes *lots* of time.
I used to think that with readership, monitization would just happen but I think earning both takes different approaches. You really have to expand in a number of ways and areas to make decent money.
Of course, the cornerstone of it all is a good blog (or blogs) and solid writing, photos, media that people want to read, view, etc.
Thanks 🙂 Here’s another good resource I have since written about as well on the topic of making money with your blog:
Like the post Anil. Best quote: “Content is king”, no matter how many Twitter followers or anything else you have. I’ve not had a ton of success with Google Analytics and choose not to use it anymore, mainly because they keep so much of the money. Instead, I encourage people to focus on writing great content and generating traffic until they can start selling relevant ad space that’s truly in-line with their content and benefits everyone, advertiser, reader and most importantly you!
Very well said – I think the money part is easier than creating good content and where the focus should be.
The travel blogs can bring you some decent money if you know what type of advertisements to use for your blog. My findings has been that adsense and info links need a good amount of traffic to event get your payout threshold. That being said its good to have affiliate programs within the mix of your adsense content blog. The best affiliate programs are those that pay when someone signs up for their website but not so much if they buy anything.
Anyway I still think adsense does play a little part in the money making income. As for travel blogs you have to diverse your topic such as my haunted blog about San Antonio. It serves for those looking for the paranormal but also those looking to look at destinations within San Antonio that most people don’t think about. Thats just my two cents.
It depends on what kind and how much you really want to earn. These steps above will help you get a few dollars on the side – turning your blog into a business though is a whole other strategy. Private advertising is where you can earn much more money.
We will definitely consider the monetization tips
Cheers and good luck.
NIce tips though i am having a hard time using adsense, i live in china and adsense form is asking me to input my name in chinese wheras my bank uses my english name….irritating…waiting for goole support team to reply….nice tips though will check infolink! Cheers!!
Good luck with Google support!