If you want to know how to be a travel blogger and make money, we have created this guide to give you the information you need to know to achieve that.
The increased popularity of the internet and a focus on content makes it viable to have a career as a travel blogger. There are plenty of opportunities for content creators to carve a place for themselves as an influencer. To start out a career in the travel niche, you will have to understand where to start, and which platforms work best for the travel niche.
There are different types of travel content creators. The three most common platform for travel influencers are the travel blogging website, YouTube and Instagram. It is key to know which of these platforms are best for the aims that you want to achieve for your travel brand. Plenty of people have on audience on one or other of these platform but they do not know how to monetize the traffic that they generate optimally. That is one of the main things this post will explain.
We will start out with the fundamental steps of creating yourself a branded travel business if you intend to make money in the process.
Table of Contents
How To Start A Travel Blog
The simple steps of creating an online business below:
- Choose a Niche
- Create A Website
- Decide on what products you will promote
- Create Content
- Choose Social Media Platforms To Focus On
Choose A Niche
Choosing a niche is important because you have to be focused on your niche. Since this article is about travel, we will assume that the niche you have chosen is travel. The reason you want to focus narrowly on your niche, is because as you produce content, your media channel, be it a YouTube or a channel, will increasingly be categorized in your specific niche. So as your channel shows value, the search engines will recommend your channel to people who are engaging with content in the same niche. That is when your channel gains what is called authority and becomes a trusted and gains more traffic and followers.
Create A Website
There are three parts to creating a website
Choose A Name
First, you will have to decide on a name. You want the name to be short and memorable. When you have decided on name, you can buy a domain. A domain is the website address that your website will be found at e.g. mydomainname.com. You can register a domain at any of the popular domain registrars like GoDaddy
After you have your domain, you will need a web hosting service. This is where all of the data from your website will be hosted. One of the highly recommended hosting services for bloggers is BlueHost.
The last process in creating a website is to create the website in WordPress. You will want to have a premium WordPress account which will allow you to have just your website name in the address instead of mywebsite.wordpress .com. This will make your website look more professional.
If all of this is too many moving parts, then I recommend that you look at Wealthy Affiliate. This is an online platform that provides all of these services (domain registration, website hosting, premium wordpress), and step by step training all in one easy to manage platform.
Why A Website?
A website is a great way for travel blogging because it is your own platform and highly customizable to your own requirements. A website is also the best way for converting traffic into revenue. With a targeted article, you can direct traffic to a product you are promoting in a natural way and make income more easily.
A website also works well with other the other platforms and brings them all together to create an ecosystem of your own where one feeds into the others. You can embed YouTube videos or social media posts on a website page, and send traffic from your website to those platforms.
When you are blogging or vlogging as a business, you must create content based on what your followers and greater potential audience is looking for.
To do this you will have to do a bit of research. The easiest way when you are starting out, is to type in a search in one of the search engines. Whether you do this in Google or in YouTube, when you start typing the first few letters of a phrase, the search engine will have autocomplete suggestions. These are thing that people usually search for and is a good place to focus your content.
When you already have a sizable audience, another way to know what your audience want is to ask them at the end of an article or a video. When you ask things like “which place should I visit next”, your audience will respond and you can look at which thing are mentioned frequently.
A popular phrase in the online business world is “Content Is King”, so you should focus on creating content of a high quality and as frequently as you can. The more content you have, the more reach you have and the greater the potential to make money.
Which Social Media Platforms to Focus On
Deciding which platform you want to focus on is key and you need to know the benefits and disadvantages of each of the different platforms.
There are 3 main platforms you will be using to add value to a successful travel blog business.
YouTube is an extremely popular platform for many travel bloggers. Compared to other platforms, if your content is of a high quality, it is the easiest place to get fast results. If you are good at production or like being in front of a camera, then YouTube can be a natural choice for you to go to. You can also start out on YouTube without having expensive equipment. When you are starting out, a lot of the latest smartphones provide a good enough camera.
The challenge with YouTube is it is not your own platform. It is a website that hosts channels so all content that is put on YouTube is subject to Google’s terms and conditions. A change in policy on YouTube can have a dramatic effect on your channel. In extreme situations, YouTube channels have been deleted completely from the website, so it might be ideal to have your own platform where your business is contained on a platform that you control.
Pinterest is slightly less popular than other social medial platforms but is very useful for travel blogging. It allows you to create pins and link those pins to your website where readers can go to find out more about your pinned pictures. This is a good source of traffic and can lead really good conversions.
Instagram is popular for travel blogging because of its visual nature. It is also a less time-consuming way of keeping your audience engaged. A quick picture and an Instagram story can be posted in the moment without too much need for editing. Compared to YouTube and as website, however it is not as lucrative and it also takes much longer than the other platforms to build an audience on Instagram, and the traffic generated on Instagram does not convert well into sales. So Instagram should be viewed more as an additive on top of the more lucrative platforms.
Ideally, you should have a mix of all three of these social media platforms, with the greater focus and time and resources spent on the one that brings you the most traffic and income.
Facebook & Twitter not so great
Facebook and Twitter do not work as well for a travel blog because Facebook is recently more focused on personal contacts than business. Twitter is more about discussions and not very useful for the visual nature of travel blogging.
If you have a large following on these platforms or spend a lot of time on them naturally, then you can definitely use them. But if you are building from scratch and not already invested in these platforms, you will not get as much return compared to other social media platforms and your time is better spent on the more fruitful platforms mentioned above.
How To Make Money With Your Travel Blog
There are various ways of making money with a travel blog, with some being more prolific than others. Here are some of the main ways to monetize your blogging brand.
- Sell your own product
- YouTube Advertising
- Affiliate Marketing
- Display ads on a website
- Sponsored Posts
Selling your own Product
This is a method that you can use when you have a lot of knowledge about your niche that could be useful to your audience. You can create your own products such as travel manuals and helpful guides. At a more advanced stage, you can even create a discrete business like a travel agency or a booking company through your travel brand. This will, however, require you to acquire specific business skills that pertain to that line of business. The plus side is that you get the biggest slice of your revenue with this model.
The other method of monetizing which is very popular is affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, you promote products from another company, and whenever a sale is generated from the traffic you referred, you will earn a commission.
The benefits of affiliate marketing is that it is a straightforward method of monetization. You refer people to a company and you don’t have to worry about the rest of the process. All other client related issues like customer service, cancellations and returns rest with the other company. All you have to do is create compelling content for your audience and you will get paid your commission then the transaction from the sale is completed.
Display Ads on Your Website
With display advertising, you put up banners on your website, much like you see on virtually every website you visit. When people click on those advertisements and buy something, you get paid. Display ads can be quite lucrative, especially if you have a lot of traffic coming to your website. When you are starting out, you can start out with Google Ads. When if you are getting thousands of visitors a month, you can sign up to ad companies like Ezoic or MediaVine where bloggers make hundreds or thousands of dollars a month just from display ads.
YouTube ads are very much like display ads on your website. The differences is that they are on YouTube and also come in video format. If your channel is large enough, you can make a reasonable amount through the YouTube Partener Program. To be eligible for monetization of your channel, you need to have at least 1000 subscribers, and at least 4000 watch hours on your channel in the last 12 months.
The YouTube partner ship is, however, subject to frequent policy changes and your channel can be demonetized for unexpected reason. So this should not be your primary focus for monetization. It is an additional way to increase your revenue on top of other methods.
Sponsored content or content “in partnership with” is when you create content that is meant to promote another company or a product. The big difference with this type of content is that the company you are partnering with has a say in the creation of that content. This type of content is usually for a short period. When doing sponsored content, you want to do something that is a good fit with your content and that it is worth your while in terms of what you get paid for it.
Sponsored posts in partnership with brands usually require you to do your posting in a specific way. This can be problematic because the type of posting can be incompatible with your style and if your audience picks up on it and it does not feel authentic to them, then you can lose more than you gain from it.
If you do work with brands, make sure that it is a brand that fits well naturally with what your travel blog is about. When marketing for these brands, you should think long term and not just about getting quick freebies. There should be a marketing strategy from both you and the brands, that shows a mutually beneficial relationship over a time period that benefits you just as well.
Most Important Thing You Need To Become A Travel Blogger
The main requirement that will make creating a travel blog is quite obvious, a passion for travel. If you have a passion for, it you will be more effective at sharing the joys of your travel experiences with your potential audience. Passionate travel bloggers are also able to paint interesting pictures of the most unexpected places.
Even if you can’t travel to the other side of the world yet, you can start by traveling within your own city and creating content based on what is available near you. Remember that just as you want to see the other side of the world, there is someone on the other side of the world who is equally interested in the place where you are.
Benefits of Being a Travel Blogger
Get To Do What You Like
Virtually everybody like to travel. If build a travel blog with the steps indicated above, you can do something you enjoy for a living and live an enjoyable life.
Having an online blogging business allows you to work flexible hours and to work from any location as long as you have access to a computer and an internet connection.
Meet New People and Learn About New Culture
Traveling is a highly fulfilling experience. You get to expose yourself to different cultures and meet a lot of different people along the way. One of the favourites of many travelers is getting to try different kinds of foods which can also be useful for adding a bit of a foodie angle to your blog
Think Long Term
When you start out your travel blogging brand, you should think about where you possibly want it to go and allow room for that growth in your brand. For example, you might be interested in Europe at present and be tempted to call your blog, Sally Sees Europe. But after you have covered all of Europe, you would likely want to explore other places. So be sure not to pigeonhole yourself at the beginning.
Understand that it takes time
Rome wasn’t built in a day. To build any business usually requires effort over a sustained period. Even if it does not look like you are gaining traction at the beginning, you need to keep publishing content until your blog becomes good enough to gradually attract people to it.
Also, don’t be intimidated by bigger blogs out there and think that it will be difficult to compete. One thing all the blogs in existence have in common is that they all start at zero. Lay the building blocks of your building block today, and over time it will grow with those efforts
Creating a travel blog is a straightforward process. The key thing is to get started and now worry too much about the details. It’s not about getting things perfect from the on-set, but rather slowly but surely creating content.
No blog or channel looks like it did when it was first created. As you create content and learn more, you improve and refine the quality of your content. But before all of that happens you have to have the blog to improve on so go an and get started.