How my Travel Blog Makes $3000 to $5000 per Month

October 9, 2017

new york city skyline

A few years ago I started my travel blog over at StefanRTW.com as a way to share some of my travel stories with friends and family as well as document the different trips and adventures that I was going on.

I started doing a bunch of research on blogging and realized that it was actually possible to make money with my travel blog as long as I was willing to put in the hard work and effort that it takes to get a blog off the ground these days.

For the first year as I was learning everything about blogging and running the website I didn’t really make any money at all and it took close to 2 years for me to get to a point where I could quit my job and rely solely on my blog for income.

Since quitting my job I’ve dabbled quite a bit in the world of internet marketing and along with my travel blog I’ve spent a lot of time working on other projects – some of which are successful and some of which are complete failures.

That’s actually one of the main reasons why I wanted to start this blog so that I could share some of what I’ve learned over the years with you guys and hopefully help you get started on the right foot with your own blogging goals.

These days I don’t really work that much on my travel blog anymore because it’s at a point where I’m happy with what it’s earning and I’m just not that passionate about traveling at the moment.

However, I wanted to share with you some of the details behind how I’m able to make at least $3,000 per month with the blog and how you can replicate some of the success that I’ve had with your own travel or any other type of blog.

How My Travel Blog is Earning Money

using my macbook for travel blogging

Be sure to scroll a little bit further down if you want to check out my helpful guide for getting started on making money with your own travel blog.

There are a few different methods of monetization that my travel blog implements and over the years I’ve tried quite a few different methods – some of which I still use and some that never really worked out for me.

The main ways that I make money are through:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Display advertisements
  • Sponsored posts

Display Advertisements

I remember that the first money I ever made was with AdSense and to this day I still have display ads on my site earning a significant amount despite fairly reasonable traffic numbers.

Approximately 25% of my monthly earnings comes from display advertisements and although I know that a lot of people don’t have very much success with AdSense it can actually be quite a big earner depending on what you’re blogging about and how much traffic you’re getting.

I only get about 40,000 to 65,000 page views per month and this is enough to earn quite a significant amount on AdSense with my niche and type of content.

I know that there are plenty of AdSense alternatives to choose from but I haven’t really had any luck with a few of the different ones that I’ve tried and I really like how easy and familiar Google AdSense is.

Affiliate Marketing

Another one  of the top ways that I make money with my travel blog is through affiliate marketing.

If you’re not aware, affiliate marketing is basically when you recommend a product or service in your blog posts through a link or image and if one of your visitors clicks the link, follows through to the product or service, and makes a purchase then you earn a small commission.

When I first got started I was mostly using the Amazon Associates affiliate program and over the years I’ve branched out into quite a few other travel affiliates such as:

There are a few other affiliates that I use that aren’t as directly related to traveling and I continue to try out different programs and affiliate companies to see which ones work best for me.

Sponsored Posts

I make the least amount of money through sponsored posts but every little bit adds up and I’ve encountered quite a few different opportunities through sponsorship with my blog that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of.

The majority of the sponsored content that I create are typically an exchange for products or travel based excursions rather than monetary gain, although some of the companies that I work with do pay me for sponsored posts.

This type of monetization is about 5 to 10% of my total monthly earnings and once you have some decent traffic and a good social following then companies will start to reach out to you with sponsorship inquiries.

Thoughts About My Monetization

It took me a good two years after starting my travel blog to get to a point where I was making some decent money.

There were plenty of times that I just wanted to quit because it seemed like I was spinning my wheels and just getting nowhere but thankfully I persevered and I was able to quit my job and spend most of my time working on other online projects.

I do have a few regrets with my travel blog however.

I wish that I took it in a different direction instead of just trying to cater to so many different affiliate programs and other types of monetization.

I would have been better off sticking to a more specific travel niche and focusing on building my email list and creating my own product or service.

On the other hand I’m happy with the current state of my blog so it’s hard to look back and say that I would have preferred to do something differently.

I think that’s what I’ve achieved is definitely possible for most people that are willing to put in the work and take the time to grow their own blogs rather than just giving up after a few weeks or months.

In this next section I want to share with you a helpful guide on how you can start making money with your own travel blog and these strategies are going to apply to any website really so keep that in mind if you’re looking to start making money online.

Making Money With Your Own Travel Blog

blogging setup with an imac

Get Your Blog Up and Running

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to make sure you have a self-hosted blog up and running so that it’s ready for monetization.

Starting a blog is really easy these days and if you don’t already have one you can get started in 15 to 20 minutes depending on your skill level with using the internet.

I recommend checking out my super detailed post on how you can start your blog with Bluehost if you don’t already have one.

The reason I mentioned having a “self-hosted” blog is because this gives you a lot more control over your site, the content you can share, and your options for monetization rather than having to worry about the rules and guidelines of whatever other free blogging platform you might be using.

It doesn’t really cost much at all to start a travel blog with your own hosting and I really wouldn’t recommend trying to make money this way with a platform that you don’t have full control over.

At this point you’re going to want to pick out a nice looking theme for your travel blog.

If you’re on a really tight budget you can use one of the free WordPress themes available although I don’t think that there are many nice looking ones and they don’t look nearly as professional ask some of the premium themes available.

For themes I recommend checking out some different theme sites such as ThemeForest or ElegantThemes – they have an awesome selection and you’re bound to find something that you like.

Once your blog is up and running and you have a great looking theme then you can move on to the next step.

Create Awesome Content

Before you start worrying about making money and monetizing your blog you want to make sure you have a solid base of awesome content for your visitors.

It’s a good idea to get started with some informative blog posts and after your first 5 posts or so you can start to include some content designed specifically for monetization.

Creating good content is important because it’s going to make it a lot easier for you to promote your blog on social media and other channels and it’s also going to benefit your visitors as long as you’re providing value by being informative, engaging, and helpful.

There really aren’t any shortcuts or special tricks that you can take advantage of for creating good content – you just need to check to see what your competition is doing and strive to improve on whatever’s out there.

Informative content can be things like how to guides, tutorials, destination guides, lists, and anything else that you think your potential audience is going to find useful and helpful.

Content for monetization is going to look a little bit different unless you’re focusing strictly on display advertisement.

Here are you want to create things like reviews, product recommendations, product user guides, service recommendations, and tutorials can work here as well.

Great content is going to be the foundation of your blog so make sure to spend a month or two focusing on creating the best content that you can before you start worrying about anything else.

Look for Monetization Methods

There are two main ways that I would recommend starting out with when it comes to monetizing your travel blog: display advertisements and affiliate programs.

For display advertisements I would recommend signing up for Google AdSense and inserting ads on all of your different blog posts.

Signing up is really easy – just visit the Google AdSense website and follow through with sign-up process.

There is an approval process but that have to go through before you can start putting on your website and if you focused on creating good content like I just mentioned then you should be approved quite quickly.

Once you are approved you can start to put ads on your website and I recommend using 3 ad blocks –  2 in your content and 1 on the sidebar (this is the layout that I have found to be most effective).

If you don’t know how to put ads on your site I recommend checking out this  detailed guide that should help you get started.

At this point you’re also going to want to sign up for any relevant affiliate programs that you can promote in your content.

There are affiliates available for just about every niche and as a travel blogger I would recommend getting started with the Amazon Associates program as well as checking out the different offers available on Shareasale.

I’m a huge fan of Amazon because you can create content around all of the different products available on their platform and you can earn a commission through your recommendations.

Some other Affiliates that I use include HotelsCombined, Booking.com, and Viator although there are quite a few available so make sure to take a look for any that are relevant to your niche.

Get Started on Social

At the beginning just after starting your blog you’re not going to be getting much traffic at all so at this point in time it’s a good idea to focus on social media for promoting your content.

For travel bloggers, Facebook and Pinterest are huge and these are the two different platforms that I would recommend getting started on.

They’re both very image based and people are going to want to check out your blog as long as you’re sharing relevant posts on these different platforms.

On Pinterest there are tons of different travel boards that you can join for sharing your own pins and for finding inspiration on what you can blog about next.

On Facebook there are a wide variety of different Facebook groups that you can join for sharing your travel-related content.

Instagram and Twitter are pretty decent as well but I have found that people are a lot less likely to click through to a blog from these two platforms compared to the other two.

There are plenty of tutorials online about how you can drive traffic with Pinterest and Facebook groups so I recommend checking those out if you need help with that.

Here are a few of the helpful guides that I’ve used in the past:

Take Advantage of SEO

blogging with a macbook

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the best way to get traffic to your blog.

It’s completely free and traffic from search engines usually converts the highest compared to all other types of traffic so it can be really beneficial to focus on SEO from the beginning.

The main problem with SEO is that it takes months to start working so it’s more of a long-term thing rather than something you’re going to rely on right away.

When I first started blogging I relied solely on SEO and I think that’s why it took me so long to build up my traffic rather than focusing on social media from the beginning as well.

There’s a lot involved with implementing SEO properly and I would recommend checking out some of the following guides to get a better idea of what you should be doing when it comes to optimizing your website and content for search engines.

Build Your Email List

Like I mentioned above, one of my biggest regrets with my blog is not focusing on building up an email list from the beginning and this is something you’re going to want to be doing as soon as you get started.

The best thing about email lists is that the list is yours – once you capture the email it’s completely yours unless that person unsubscribe from the list.

Basically you control the traffic through your list and it’s a great way to develop a dedicated and loyal audience that’s interested in the content that you’re creating.

Building an email list is pretty straightforward and to get started you’re going to need to sign up with an email marketing service.

For this I’d recommend MailerLite but you can check out the different options available to see what you like (MailChimp is another good one).

Then you’re going to have to come up with something you can offer in exchange for an email – this can be something like a free mini course, a free ebook, or even some freebies (guides, list, etc).

The next step is to create an opt-in form, which can be done through the email marketing tool you’re using, and then add it to your blog in a bunch of places (sidebar, in the content, as a pop-up, etc).

Now you can encourage your visitors to sign up and if your offer is relevant then you’re going to start getting emails.

With your list you can share your new posts, promote affiliate offers and services, and share any products or services that you create.

Final Thoughts

So that’s basically all there is to it!

I’ve shared with you how I make money on my own blog and gave you a detailed guide on the steps you need to take to start earning something with your own travel blog.

There isn’t any reason why you couldn’t start a blog today and start making some money with it even this month!

The trick is to just get started and focus on creating content, driving traffic, promoting your posts, and monetizing your blog until you’ve learned the ropes and the dollars start flowing in.

There’s nothing wrong with starting a blog to make money, despite what some people might say, and these days it’s easier than ever before to do just that with so much helpful information available online.

Hopefully I’ve been able to help you out on your own blogging journey and if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to let me know in the comment section down below or with a quick email.

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