When people first get into a particular online niche, they almost universally want to know, how much cash can they make in it? The travel blogging sphere is no different, in this regard. Folks want to set up a website post pictures of their journeys across the world and see the money start rolling in. Ohhhh, but how much can I really bring in with a simple travel blog, vlog, and posting Instagram pictures? Well, the answer varies from nothing to the sky is the limit. Which camp one ultimately falls into will depend on many different factors and ability to plan. So, let’s take a closer look at generating income with a blog, how travelers make money, and ultimately break things down for beginners.
How Blogging Basically Works
So, obviously, a lot of people have heard over the years that blogging and creating websites makes money. This is established out there in the ether and so everyday new people are searching around on how to get started. The thing of it is, most of these people have no or very little clue as to how anyone makes money online…they just know that it’s a thing.
While I will delve into monetization methods, here in a bit; I want to establish that your revenue stream will be based on the number of people who visit your site first and foremost. In short, traffic=money.
Now, the secondary element to the generation of cash is how you convert those visitors into buyers of some kind. A higher conversion rate plus a load of traffic can absolutely explode earnings beyond what you thought possible. Meaning, how much money you make isn’t linear (unless you’re just terrible at monetization efforts). What you make with 100 visitors a day doesn’t exactly scale up to what you’d make at 10,000 a day…it’s going to be a LOT more than you expect, due to a multiplier effect.
Is a huge audience a requirement for making lots of money with a blog? Not necessarily. Having a big ticket item you either sell directly or as an affiliate, requires fewer sales to make more money, and therefore fewer people visiting the website. Selling something that makes you hundreds of dollars each sale, is going to get you to your revenue goal, much quicker than something that is inexpensive and with a smaller following.
Will you need a larger audience to make a lot of money with a travel blog? For most people, probably. Building that base, is going to take time, but with proper work and knowing how to maximize income streams, it might be profitable much sooner than one would think.
How to Make Money with a Blog
Alright, I’ve already covered this before on this website, but I’ll get into it a bit here, also. Monetizing a blog, is where a lot of folks just get things wrong. The have good content and an audience but either fail to properly plan out how they’ll make money or for some reason think it’s ‘wrong’ to make money.
Let’s tackle the second aspect really quick. It’s not wrong to monetize your work. The whole starving artist thing is BS. You need to make dough to pay the bills, putting up ads doesn’t make you a sell out, it makes you have a life that requires an income to survive. Yes, getting too crazy with intrusive ads is annoying, but if you’re reasonable with the amount of ads you put up…your audience will understand. Those who don’t, can go fellate a hot curling iron.
Now, let’s get into ways we can actually make money through a travel blog and creating a brand thereafter.
As I already mentioned before and as you can also see on this page. The most common way that new websites bring in revenue is through advertisements on their page.
Again, I hate super annoying ads, pop ups, and those auto-play video ads where the volume scares the hell out of you. But the standard ads, like you see on the current page…I actually find useful as a shopper, sometimes. There have been plenty of times that ads like these have reminded me that I was about to buy a product and then forgot about it; things I’ve actually wanted/needed. So, they have their use.
The most popular platform for bloggers to get started through is Google’s AdSense. It has the largest network of both advertisers and websites that their ads show on. It’s super easy to set up and pays good money.
How much? Well, that depends on the particular niche. The general travel niche won’t be much per click but it can still be a nice chunk of change. Plus, the revenues get much higher with more traffic.
For example, one website that I own, usually makes about $3.00 per 1000 visitors from AdSense. So, one would estimate that when it hits 4000 visitors I’d make $12. Not the case. There are times during the year where traffic goes crazy at that blog and the ads pay out $7-8 per 1000 visitors. So, on that 4000 page view day, I’ll make $28-32 in ad revenue.
Scale changes everything. Not only do you get more random clicks with more people coming to your blog, you also get higher odds of getting an expensive click. Let’s say some insurance agency is willing to pay a few bucks per click to get that customer back to their website to buy a policy…if that person comes to your website and sees the insurance ad, guess who makes those dollars if they click. You.
Is it worth putting up ads? For most folks, yes indeed. I’ve made five figures from this program from my different websites. Others, have made six or seven figures. In the travel niche, it’s probably a good idea to use AdSense.
Affiliate links are simple. You post a link to a product or service, when someone clicks on that link, and buys something through that link, you get paid.
Amazon is the largest such affiliate program, wherein someone clicks on your Amazon link that is embedded with your own unique tracking code, you make a percentage on whatever they buy in the store within 24 hours.
Amazon pays out 4-10% commission, depending on what category the purchased product falls under. The best part is, it doesn’t have to be the product you linked to, any qualified purchase gets you a commission.
As you can see above, this is an example of an Amazon Affiliate widget. If anyone reading this, clicks on one of my links and needs to purchase something through Amazon in the next 24 hours, then I get a percentage of the sale. Cough cough. For real though, those compression socks are awesome, and I have multiple pairs that get worn every flight.
Anyway, it’s such a great program simply due to the reach of Amazon’s customer base. Nearly everyone has done business with them at some point and many routinely make purchases through the store. My Amazon links bring in hundreds of dollars each month and usually a couple grand extra during the holiday season.
Other Affiliate Programs
Beyond Amazon, there are other affiliate opportunities out there. A lot of travel bloggers make money by become an affiliate for travel hacking courses or even courses on how to become a travel blogger…mind warp.
So, let’s say that you promote an ebook or other online program that sells for $47 (note: for some reason, these courses always seem to sell for that price). You will get paid a commission based on a percentage of that sale, just like on Amazon.
The difference is, the percentage of the sale you get is wayyyy higher usually. Why? If you’re an affiliate for a digital product, there is no real cost for the seller to reproduce. I mean, an ebook has almost no overhead cost once it’s created, to make more copies. Therefore, the owner of the product is willing to pay a large percentage to get more sales.
How much? Well, on other sites that I own outside of the travel niche, I usually get commissions of $31.86 on a $47 product. Sometimes less but also it can be much more, with any upsells involved. A person may buy multiple products or a deluxe edition of the affiliate product and that can push the cash I get even higher. I will get $70+ commissions from some orders, when the base commission is that $31.86.
I find these affiliate products through Clickbank, as it’s really simple to set up and get paid. However, there are other opportunities out there, if you search for them.
I don’t have any Kindle books for sale in the travel niche, but I do have one in another niche, with more books coming down the pipeline. I wrote all about publishing Kindle books here, so I’m not going to go in depth in this section.
However, it is a popular method for supplementing your income among travel bloggers. They usually write tales from the road or how to travel for cheap or travel hacking tips. Meh, I have no plans to write a travel book, but it can be a good way to build a brand and make some bucks.
I have no experience with this, as of yet. Though there are people who get paid to take trips or at least get free trips through sponsorships. These can come through hotels, travel companies, or other assorted corporate entities.
This seems to be a pretty big thing, among the bigger names in the travel space, so it’s something to look into as you get established as a blogger.
How Much Money Can You Make with a Travel Blog?
Well, as you can see, the answer can be a lot. Honestly, if can be taken to seven figures, at an elite level. Though, if you keep at it, five figures a year or an income to live off of can be achieved.
So, yes, you can really travel the world and get paid to do so. It just takes time to pull off and the know how to maximize your revenue while building up that audience. Obviously, I just covered ways to make money specifically through one’s travel blog, and didn’t mention social media and YouTube.
Also, I didn’t get into email marketing which can combine all of the above mentioned money making opportunities, and juice the returns you get from your work into the stratosphere…but I think that this post is a good beginner’s primer on the subject.
If you want to get in on the travel blog action and actually turn a profit with it, don’t hesitate. Get started now, keep grinding, and plan out your course of attack.