How To Make Money With Your Travel Blog
I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret that many top travel bloggers don’t want you to know…
Most travel blogs don’t make money.
It’s true. Before you buy that zillion dollar get-rich-quick-travel-blogging course, understand that while travel blogging provides many opportunities for monetization, the blog itself rarely makes a dime.
If you’re willing to put in the extra effort to monetize your travel blog, which includes much more than simply writing and sharing great content (a monumental task in and of itself), you can make money travel blogging.
7 Way To Make Money With Your Travel Blog
(Oh, and if you’ve found a way to make money with your travel blog that doesn’t include any of the side hustles I’m about to reveal, please leave a comment below and tell us how you’re doing it!)
The first step toward monetization is building an email list. Capturing someone’s email address turns them from a casual website passerby into a potential customer.
Someone merely following your blog doesn’t cut it. You want to grab that email address and beginning building a strong relationship with that follower so when you have something to sell, they’re ready to buy from you – the person they’ve grown to know, like, and trust through email marketing.
If you don’t have an email capture form on your website, you need one. Stat.
If you want to monetize your travel blog, you need something to sell.
When you’re blogging for free, the next step toward monetization is creating paid content that offers even more value than the blog itself.
This content can be anything that resonates with your audience – from travel-related products to infoproducts like eBooks, video series, courses, and how-to guides.
Check out top bloggers’ websites and you’re sure to see eBooks, courses, and other infoproducts for sale. While you’re probably not going to become a millionaire selling a $2 eBook, you will determine which people on your email list are “buyers” and be able to market to them more effectively with higher-end offerings such as group tours and private coaching.
Unless you’re getting a jealousy-inducing amount of monthly traffic to your travel blog, you won’t strike gold with Google AdWords alone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t monetize your blog with other advertising opportunities.
Many top bloggers charge travel companies and other travel bloggers to advertise on their websites. This can be a nice source of passive income that involves little work on your part beyond the initial ad design and placement.
4. Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are like a guest post/advertising hybrid.
Here’s how they work: a company writes a guest post featuring one of their products or services, such as a tour, hotel, or a cruise package.
You in turn publish that post on your blog and promote it to your followers via email, social media, and your regular marketing channels.
The sponsored post allows you to introduce your readers to a product or service that adds massive value to their lives, thus increasing their trust in you as a travel authority. The company, in turn, gets exposure and increased sales.
Bloggers with a strong, engaged following of readers that can demonstrate increased sales from sponsored posts will be able to charge increasingly higher prices for this type of service.
5. Affiliate Marketing
You can also fill your regular posts with affiliate links in order to monetize your blog.
Become an affiliate marketer for travel-related products and services, then share those products and services with your readers.
Every time one of your readers makes a purchase after clicking a link on your blog, you’ll earn a percentage of that sale.
Just take care to only promote relevant products you really believe in, and to fully disclose the affiliate nature of your blog posts.
6. Joint Ventures
Who ever said you had to monetize your travel blog alone?
Joining forces with a fellow travel blogger is a great way for both of you to make money.
You might host a webinar together, create a paid travel course and split the proceeds, sell tickets to a tour, or create a travel app.
Be sure to work with someone whose target market and niche complement yours. For instance, if your travel blog targets Millennials, you probably won’t want to partner with a blogger targeting Baby Boomers.
7. Speaking Engagements
Ahhh, the crème de la crème of all business ventures – the lusciously lucrative speaking engagement.
Play your cards right and you’ll soon be able to book paid speaking engagements based on the work you’ve put into your travel blog.
First, you need a platform (read: email list!). You need followers, fans, and a proven track record of thought leadership. You also need to gather video samples of yourself speaking (book a room at the local Rotary Club, bribe your friends to be audience members, and hit record!).
From there, you can reach out to event planners and offer your services as a speaker.
Speaking engagements can pay very handsomely, but they also provide the added benefit of increasing your authority and expertise as a travel blogger, which in turn can lead to even more paid opportunities long-term.
As you can see, none of the 7 strategies listed above guarantees you’ll make money simply by travel blogging alone.
But once you’ve established a blog with a specific target audience, and have begun to serve that audience with great content, the sky’s the limit for monetizing your efforts through email marketing, infoproducts, advertising, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, joint ventures, and speaking engagements.
Rebecca Anne Nguyen is a freelance writer and the Founder of TheHappyPassport.com, an inspiration site for solo female travellers.