How to make money of your blog (instructions, tips and checklists)

So you are traveling the world got a nice little blog going and was wondering if you could actually make back a bit of money out of all the time you put in so far!?

 

Yes, that’s possible and below I’ll tell you how to do it.

 

This article will tell you everything.

  1. How you should start a blog online. (Yes you most likely already got a blog, but there is a big difference in having a blog and making money of it.)
  2. How to attract visitors.
  3. What different ways you can make money of your blog.
  4. Different styles of blogging to make money.
  5. The advanced stuff, like getting your own website, Search Engine Optimalisation, finding statistics about your blog, visitors and income, etc!

 
Working in Bagan

Introduction

So, just a quick intro. I’ve worked on a cruiseship for a year in 2011 and 2012, worked in Malaysia for 6 months and traveled trough Australia and Asia for 4 months. I have my own succesful webdesign business for more than 5 years now and income of this and my blogs have allowed me to travel and got some amazing experiences!

 

Your situation

Your situation most likely is different. I know, because I met you. Well, not you, but people like you. The inspired, witty, fun travelling person who loves to document what they are doing. That’s great, but the unfortunate fact is that most (aspiring) blogwriters are not traveling nerds like me. (Real nerds sit at home, and real travellers don’t want to spend hours learning HTML, PHP and other technological bullshit, right!?) So for most readers here, you will already have a blog, but want to know how much work it is and what you have to do to make money out of your blog.

So let me make this clear.

This is not a post about how to become a webdesigner. I will keep things very simple, allowing you to work on each of the points and instructions below within 20 minutes, whilst you are waiting for the train to Manilla (or somewhere else). Don’t be worried about about your technology skills, I’ll make it easy and have a comment selection below that I check (almost) daily.

 

Starting situation.

I am continuing this article with the assumption that you have a travel blog started somewhere on a free webpage (i-like-to-travel-and-make-money.blogspot.com, or please-read-my-blog.wordpress.com).

Anyway you should have the first posts written and gotten some response on them (even if it is only your family so far). Most of the bloggers I’ve met have a WordPress blog. So I’ll keep that in mind, but even if you don’t no worries! I’ll start from the basics and go trough everything from step 1.

 Checklist Question 1.

  1. Is your blog interesting enough?
    In order to make money off your blog, you’ll need to add value to people’s browsing experience. The hidden amounts of money lie in getting the people you don’t know to your blog. And the best way to do that is with our friend Google. It’s kinda the chicken and the egg story. Google will place your website high in it’s search results if people visit and read something that they think is relevant. More visitors will mean a higher ranking in Google, and a higher ranking means more visitors.. So it all starts with relevant content!Depending on how much money you’d want to make, almost all blogs have some relevant information. But keep things real and make sure you make sure there is an added value to your blog that people search for (information, humor, inside tips, etc).

Step 2. Okay, so assuming that you’ll have a blog that is interesting, now it is time to decide how to make your money.

  1. Affiliate marketing (Not sure what this means, dont worry, I’ll explain in a bit)
  2. Sponsored adds or story’s
  3. Sponsorships
  4. Advertising, the simplest way to make money without understanding what you are doing 🙂 (Scroll down directly if you don’t want to compromise your blog, are short on time, or don’t want complicated solutions)

 

 

Affiliate Marketing for Travel bloggers.

Out of the 4 options above, the first is usually the most difficult. Affiliate marketing is getting paid by referring someone from your website to another. For a lot of products this kind of thing is impossible to get into. Travel is one of the most popular industries to get into. Imagine getting 0.10USD everytime one of your blogreaders clicks on a link that says “want to know more about this amazing country and see it for yourself” and it than forwards you to a booking page of a travel agency!

So is this for you? Probably not.. Why?

  1. First of all you probably did not write your blog to do these kinds of things.
  2. Second of all, it is quite difficult to get a proper affiliate site in traveling (and now in most other sectors too).
  3. And thirdly it will take a lot of time setting up and learning how this million dollar industry works (even becoming a webdesigner is simpler than this).

So for now we’ll leave it out of this article as for most readers this won’t be relevant. If you want to know more info, I recommend looking here for a general description of affiliate marketing and here on how to learn affiliate marketing and go here for extra tips on affiliate marketing

 

Sponsored adds, story’s and sponsor ships

I’ll keep this section very simple, because I won’t be of much help here.. Getting sponsored involves you spending usually a great deal of time and effort into finding companies that want to link their product to your blog.

  1. Sponsored stories are the easiest of the 3. You just go to a company and present them with some statistics of your blog and ask if they would like you to write an article for them (and than negotiate on how much your article is worth)
  2. For sponsored adds you’ve got to put in a little bit more effort, and usually consists of putting a link on your website, posting information or images about a company on your website or putting up a big annoying banner.
  3. Sponsorships usually consist of products that you promote, or write articles about. This requires a long term commitment and is the most difficult to achieve for decent amounts of money / effort. A company will pay you xxx amount or give you products to be featured on your blog and promote their brand or products.

The simple truth is that in the beginning all of those options depend on how well you can market your blog and yourself. If your blog is already successful, you might be approached by companies instead of the other way around. But since this isn’t an article on sales, you will have to your own research in how to get a sponsorship or whether you would like to write sponsored articles.

How to make money of your travel blog via advertising

And this is the best place to start out for most bloggers. 90% of all bloggers have advertisements on their blogs. Not everyone likes to write sponsored stories or have the knowledge/time to get into affiliate marketing.

Advertising is simple, quick to set up and can make you decent to good money depending on your visitors.

The money making checklist for Advertising for travel blogs

  1. Get a domainname and website space
  2. Set up a WordPress or Joomla website (WordPress preferred)
  3. Do some basic Search Engine Optimalisation (again 20 minutes quick version) (optional)
  4. Improve your website with plugins and cool stuff (optional)
  5. Set up Google Analytics (finding out statistics about your blog) (optional)
  6. Set up Google Adsense (the actual advertisements)
  7. Sit back and relax.. I mean, keep writing and adding value to your blog

1. Get a domainname and website space

If you have a blablabla.wordpress.com domain, you will never attraction the amount of visitors that blablabla.com could. Simply because Google has a algorithm that includes having your own domainname is good for the ranking. And without webspace/hosting, no one could see your website.

Having webspace is buying a piece of land somewhere. Picking a domainname is the location of that plot. Domainnames have some influence on how well your website will be found. A website about chickens that is called chickens.com is usually higher ranked than a website about chickens that is called monkeys.com

In the end, it’s about content so dont fuss too much. Moving a website to a different domainname can be a pain, so pick a name that you will stick with.

There are thousands of companies offering domainnames and webspace (webhosting), so what should you look for?

  1. Price, yes you will have to spend some money! An average domainname and webspace for a year will set you back around 20 to 30 USD, that’s the price of 2 nights sleep in Myanmar, A decent meal in Australia or getting a visa in Cambodia.
  2. The safest is a populair website; sites like Godaddy.com, Hostgator, etc. Google for more..
  3. Look for diskspace of a minimum of 1GB, this to allow for travel photo’s. Keeping it simple and low budget go for 500mb. (but this is a minimum and not advised).
  4. Domainnames dont really have any specific things to look out for, I do recommend finding one that is not taken. Buying domainnames that are taken is an expensive business.
  5. Make sure your webhosting includes the possibility of a MySQL database (this will store your blog)

 

2. Set up a WordPress or Joomla website (WordPress preferred)

If you already have a WordPress website your life of maintaining and posting will be a lot easier, otherwise you’ll need to take another 20 minutes to figure out how to use WordPress once installed. But don’t worry, it is all quite intuitive and fairly simple.

WordPress installs super easy and can be done in 3 minutes.

The detailed instructions are here:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress

You’ll need to go to your webhosting loging to create a MySQL Database. (Google; WEBHOSTINGNAME, Create MySQL Database). You dont need to know how it works, you just need the login details (Username, password, and Database name + password)

Than you’ll need to upload the WordPress files using a FTP programme. We are basically putting the WordPress programme and your future blog online.. How to do that is easier explained by watching these video’s:

and

Your WordPress website should now be online, you can add posts and pages to it.. If you’ve never used WordPress you can watch the video below. If you had a WordPress.com website than you can simply export and import your data via WordPress.com to your new own wordpress website.

 

 

Do some basic Search Engine Optimalisation (again 20 minutes quick version) (optional)
Improve your website with plugins and cool stuff (optional)
Set up Google Analytics (finding out statistics about your blog)

I am going to skip these for now, as this first article is just to set you up with all the basics.

6. Set up Google Adsense (the actual advertisements)

  1. When you are logged in in WordPress, go to the sidebar on the left and click on the “Plugins”, on the top click on Add New, and Search for: Easy AdSense, install this plugin.
  2. Go to http://www.google.com/adsense/start/ Register here and set up your first advertisement (Layout, and what kind of advertisements)

    See this video on how to setup Adsense:

     

    Click here for a longer video on how to setup Google Adsense

  3. Copy the code in the Easy Adsense Plugin area.

 

 

7. There is no step 7, you will be paid by Google every month for every visitor that will click on one of your links on your blog. Enjoy!

Are you having challenges, please post below. I do this for a living and know what I am doing, don’t worry.

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