HOW TO START A TRAVEL BLOG
If someone had told me that I’d be able to sustain my full-time travel lifestyle through blogging and photography a few years back, I would have probably laughed at their face. How could that even be possible?
I had wanted to start a travel blog for so long but I never had the time to do so. I was traveling full-time while juggling a remote position. After spending hours on the computer, all I really wanted to do was get out and explore.
And then I got fired. The company’s management changed and they didn’t think my work was useful enough.
Instead of crying myself to sleep, I decided there was no better time to start what I actually wanted to do. I loved my previous job because they actually paid me to travel and create videos and photos for their marketing, but things always felt a bit “off”. Despite being a lot of people’s dream, I have never really enjoyed working to make somebody else rich and I stopped enjoying my travels because I was stressed all the time thinking of all the sh*t I had to get done.
Getting fired taught me an important lesson: Putting your bank statement into the hands of ONE person is not the smartest thing to do. From one day to the next, I was suddenly left without an income, and that sucked. I decided that was never going to happen to me again, and the next paycheck I got would be paid by me.
So I began writing and writing, and after two months of preparation, I launched my blog.
The company that had fired me contacted me to re-hire me and I initially accepted only to quit a month later because I was getting so much more satisfaction working for myself.
Starting this travel blog has been the best decision of my life. Not only have I started earning an income from it, but it has also given me the freedom to work from wherever I want. And let’s face it… it’s also kinda cool being able to justify spending money on trips because you start seeing your travels as an investment for your business (blog).
But more than all of the above, it has given me an outlet and the ability to inspire others to follow their dreams like I did. The joy you get from getting this type of messages from your readers is absolutely priceless.
A QUICK INTRODUCTION
I wrote this tutorial on how to start a travel blog by putting myself in the shoes of someone who might have no idea where to even start. I spent hours reading other bloggers’ tutorials and I always felt there was something missing. Most of the content I scrolled through teaches you how to sort of get a blog online, but then what? How do you even create a blog post or make your blog look the way you want it to? What the hell is WordPress, anyway?
This tutorial is going to be LONG… way longer than I originally intended it to be because every new step I added opened itself to new questions I felt you guys might have. I really tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who might not even know what WordPress is or how to use it, because most bloggers are just so used to that word that they might not even realize that some people might not be familiar with the blogging terms they use every day.
So without further ado, here is my step-to-step guide on how to start a blog that ROCKS!
MYTHS ABOUT TRAVEL BLOGGING
Let’s start by kicking out a few myths about travel blogging. I feel that being a blogger is usually mocked by people who don’t really understand the amount of work it actually entails, so I feel a bit of a responsibility to speak up for all my fellow (and future) bloggers!
1. Only bloggers with a huge social media following are successful
This is a huge myth that I am guilty of believing in the past. I have just a little over one thousand followers on Instagram, but that doesn’t mean my blog is not successful. Most of my traffic comes from Google searches and Pinterest, where I have just over 300 followers.
Sure, a large following on social media helps with scoring sponsored trips, sponsored posts, and free hotel stays, but that is not the only way bloggers can make money. Focus on building great content and learning the ins and outs of driving traffic to your blog and the followers will come.
So, what are other ways to make money blogging? Affiliate marketing, advertising, and selling products or services through their blogs are just a few examples.
2. Blogging is easy, it’s just writing!
What people actually see on a blog is just the tip of the iceberg.
I’ve been using a tracker lately to time how long I spend on my blog. It takes me anywhere from 2-7 hours to “finish” a blog post. First, there’s the writing, researching, and editing. I like my posts to have value for my readers, so even when I write a story, I tend to include how my readers can get that experience too (how to get there, costs, where to stay, etc.) which takes some researching. Then there are the images, which involves a lot of selection and editing and writing alt tags to (descriptions within the images). I also have to create graphics so people can share them on Pinterest, optimize my posts for search engines to find it, and so many more things.
I bet you are probably wondering why I wrote finish between air quotes. This is because a post is never really finished. For example, I once wrote an article on how to get from Nairobi to Mombasa using public transportation. On that post, I talked about a train that was later discontinued and replaced. I had to go back to the post to update the information because the original train station was shut down and the new train started from a completely different place in Nairobi. Imagine if I hadn’t updated my post and a reader of mine would have trusted my advice and had planned their trip, packed their luggage, and spent money on a taxi only to arrive and find a train station that has been shut down?
You can’t afford to have outdated information on your blog, because that is unfair to your readers and it will make you lose credibility. I always allow myself some time every month to go over and update my information.
Blogging IS work, and it’s not always easy, but the freedom it gives you is kinda priceless and worth every second of hard work you’ll put in.
3. If your blog is good, people will read it
This is a total lie and one that makes most bloggers quit. Many people believe that blogging is building a website, writing some words, and eventually, the money will magically fall into their bank accounts.
And it could happen. Your post could go viral overnight, but by doing just that, you are relying on luck, and waiting for luck to strike is a terrible business plan.
A more realistic way of thinking is: If you don’t promote your posts, nobody will find them. Don’t worry, I’ll give you links to useful resources that will teach you how to build an audience for your travel blog in this post, too!
4. It takes years to build a successful travel blog
This is something I often hear bloggers writing and, at least from my experience, isn’t true. Blogging isn’t a get-rich-quickly-scheme, but you can start making money off your blog quite quickly. The most important thing a blog needs are readers, so I would advise you to start learning how to get traffic to your blog as soon as possible.
I began earning money from my blog on the second month that I got serious about it (not just writing content, but also promoting it). It wasn’t much, but it showed me that my efforts weren’t fruitless!
IS STARTING A TRAVEL BLOG RIGHT FOR YOU?
There’s no simple answer to this question.
My advice? Before doing anything else, open a Word Document and write two posts:
- A guide to a place you love (if you haven’t traveled, you can also write about your hometown!)
- A personal story about your travel experience somewhere
After you are done writing, ask yourself this question: Did you enjoy writing them? If so, blogging might be right for you. On the other hand, if you dreaded every second of it, you might want to look into other alternatives for earning money online, but you should also keep in mind that most travel blogging courses try to sell you the idea that being a digital nomad is the ultimate dream. And while it’s certainly better than working in an office for someone else, it also requires hard work and doing stuff you might not necessarily love doing to make your blog successful.
For instance, aside from this blog, I also run an online shop. I love scouting for products, writing meaningful descriptions, and working on the website, but I HATE other aspects of my business like taking pictures of the items and marketing them. Still, I have to suck it up and do the things I don’t necessarily love because no matter how cool my products might be, if I don’t market them, nobody will know about them. Travel blogging is no different than running any other business, in fact, your blog should be treated as one (because it IS a business).
In the end, this should be a decision you should make for yourself. The good thing about starting a travel blog is that it doesn’t cost as much as starting, say, a restaurant. If you find that you don’t like doing it as much as you thought, the loss is minimal.
THE FIRST STEPS TO START A TRAVEL BLOG
1. PICK A NAME FOR YOUR BLOG
The first step to start a travel blog is to choose a name for your blog. Think this thoroughly as changing your blog’s name will be a complicated and frustrating process (take it from me, this blog had a different name when I started out!).
Steer clear of using cliché words like wanderer, nomad, or adventurer. They are overused and will make it hard for your blog to stand out.
Also, make sure your name will be suitable for the future. For example, maybe you plan on backpacking now, so you might consider calling your blog “Susie the Backpacker”. But what if, a few years down the road, you decide to switch your travel-style? The word “backpacker” won’t fit your content anymore.
Take some time to write down a few ideas. Don’t be afraid to share them with your friends and ask them what they like best.
Important things to keep in mind when choosing your blog’s name:
- Check that your blog’s name is available as a domain. A domain name is URL people will use to access your blog. Stick to .com names as it’s easier for your readers to remember it.
- Avoid using hyphens and weird characters. Imagine telling someone to check your content out and telling them to “check out my blog, it’s no hyphen hurry hyphen to hyphen get hyphen home dot com”.
- Make sure the social media channels you plan on using have your blog’s name available as a username.
2. GET HOSTING
Now that you have picked a name you love, it’s time to get it hosted. Don’t worry, it might sound really complicated, but it’s actually a really simple thing to set up and you can have your blog up in like, ten minutes.
Put in simple words, hosting is a space you rent on the Internet for your website (in this case, your blog).
There are free platforms out there that you can always use, but if you are serious about blogging, you need hosting.
Free blogging platforms are great for those who simply want to start a travel blog to share stories with their friends and family, but if you want to get serious about blogging and eventually earn an income from it, then you need to make an investment and get it hosted. Another reason to get hosting is that free blogging platforms could disappear overnight. You don’t really own and have complete control over your website, and that sucks.
Okay, so now that we are clear about that, let’s get started with getting your blog up and running!
Head over to Bluehost and click on “Get Started” or just click on the image.
Next, choose the basic plan for $3.95 because for now, the other ones are way more than what you need and there is no point in paying more for things you don’t need. Once your blog grows and you need more features, upgrading is really easy.
Now type in your blogs name to get your domain name set up! Make sure to double check that you’ve written it correctly before clicking next.
On the next page, you have to type in the usual: name, address, payment details, blah, blah, blah. I guess I don’t have to guide you through that because I’m sure you’ve bought stuff online in the past.
While here, you can choose how many months you want to pay for your hosting up front. You’ll get the option to pay for 12, 24, 36, and 60 months. Basically, the monthly price goes down the higher the number of months you decide to pay right now. I recommend getting the 24-month plan because it costs only a few more dollars than the 12 month one, so it will save you a lot of money in the long run.
And done! You’ve officially rented your own little space on the Internet!
But what now?!
3. INSTALL WORDPRESS
Your little space on the internet is kind of empty, so it’s time to install WordPress so you can begin building your blog.
In case you don’t know, WordPress is the most powerful tool to build websites and blogs. It’s easy to understand and work with even if you know absolutely nothing about coding. The best thing about WordPress is that it is free to use, but in order to have it up online, you need to get your WordPress blog hosted (A.K.A set it up in your own little space on the world wide web, so what we already did on the last step :)).
The hardest part is over. Can you believe that? Now, you’ll be taken to the WordPress Quick Install page. If the WordPress install page doesn’t show up right away, check your e-mail as Bluehost will send you your login details. WordPress will ask you to pick a password for your blog. Make sure to write it down somewhere as you will be needing it to log into your almost-finished blog.
Bluehost will give you the option to choose a theme (a custom design for your blog). Don’t worry too much here and just click on any option, as we will get more into this later and the theme you pick right now will be a placeholder.
Click on the “Start Building” button.
WordPress will ask you if you’re starting a business or a personal website. Choose the business option.
Up next is to give your travel blog a name and slogan. The name should be the one you already (meticulously, right?) chose since the first step, and the description is a short intro of what your blog is about. Don’t worry too much about it for now, as you can always change it later on.
Now, you can choose whether you want a static welcome page or Most Recent news and post. This is what will show up on your blog’s homepage.
Choose a static welcome page if you want to be able to decide what appears on your homepage or most recent news or updates if you want it to show your latest blog posts instead.
Don’t worry – you can always change this later if you change your mind!
You’ll be asked if you want to install Jetpack on your blog. Click on “not now”.
Next, you’ll be asked to type in your business address. Just hit the “Not Now” button.
Finally, you’ll be asked if you want to install Woocommerce on your site. Click “Not now” for now (if in the future you want to start selling things through your blog, you can install it then!)
And done! You’ve officially got a blog!
3. UNDERSTAND YOUR WORDPRESS DASHBOARD
You’ll be redirected to your WordPress dashboard. This is where all the action will take place from now it. It’s kind of like the headquarters of your blog, the part only you can see and where all the behind-the-scenes will be happening (A.K.A the writing of posts, etc).
In the future, you can access WordPress dashboard by heading over to www.*yourblog’sURL/wp-admin. In my case, I would go to www.nohurrytogethome.com/wp-admin
Next, type in your username and your password
Now that you’re in your WordPress dashboard (wooo!), it’s time to start getting acquainted with its menu because you’re going to be spending a hell of a lot of time here from now on 🙂
Posts: You’ll be spending a lot of time here! This is where you can create and edit posts.
Media: Where all your images and videos will be stored.
Pages: Pages are where you’ll want to add information about you and your blog. For example, an About Me page.
Comments: Where all the comments people write on your posts will appear.
Appearance: This is where you can edit your blog’s design. This one has a lot of subheadings when you hover over it.
Themes: You can edit and choose a theme you want. Themes are a design for your blog. I’ll get more into choosing the right theme in the next section of this tutorial.
Customize: You can change here some basic design settings in your blog (colors, fonts, etc) as well as add a navigation menu to it.
Widgets: You can add new custom areas to your blog, like a sidebar or a footer.
Menus: To add navigation bars to your blog (more on this in the next section of this tutorial)
Editor: Where your blog’s code lives. I recommend you don’t mess with this section unless you are knowledgeable in coding.
Plugins: Plugins are sort of like apps you can install on your blog to add new functionalities to it. I’ll get more into which plugins to install further down into this tutorial.
Users: This is where you can manage the users that can access your dashboard. Since you’re the only one writing in your blog, you probably won’t be here a lot, but you can go into the “Your Profile” submenu to add a bit of info about yourself. Other than that, you won’t be using this one a lot unless your blog gets really big and you want to hire a few people to help you out with it in the future.
Tools: You won’t be using this one for now unless you want to import things from an old blog.
Settings: This is where you can edit a few of your blog’s technicalities.
General: Change the title of your blog and add a tagline to your website (a short sentence describing what your blog is about). You can also change your time and settings here, although this is usually just an internal thing and not super important.
Writing: You can edit a few settings for your blog posts here, but the standard setting set by WordPress should be fine. You probably won’t be using this one much.
Reading: You can choose whether your blog’s homepage (the page people land in when they type in your URL into your browser) should display your blog posts or a specific homepage designed by you. You can also choose how many posts your blog section will display, etc.
Discussion: Lets you decide how comments on your posts should behave. I recommend you select the “Comments must be manually approved” to avoid spam showing up in your posts’ comments.
Permalinks: Permalinks is the long name for “links”. You can edit how the links to your blog should be (more on this below).
*This section is also the place where a lot of your plugins‘ settings will appear once you install a few, so the sub-menu in this section will likely grow bigger in the future.
3. GET A THEME FOR YOUR BLOG
A theme is the design of your blog.
WordPress comes with a lot of free themes to use. While they might be a good place to start because… free. It’s not a good idea to have a free theme if you want your blog to look professional and stand out from the crowd for three reasons:
- Most free themes will have a copyright notice in the footer of your website with the developing company’s link to it, which looks very unprofessional.
- You’ll be having the same design as thousands of other people’s blogs.
- Free themes can hardly be customized.
Because of that, I recommend you to purchase a theme. This will give you full power over it, allowing you to customize it as you want, as well as making your blog stand out from the crowd.
A good place to search for a theme is Theme Forest. The prices for their themes range from $13 to around $150. My advice? Don’t spend too much on a theme right away. Give yourself a budget of $20-$50 for it. If you want a different theme in the future, switching is very easy. Also, a more expensive theme doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than a cheaper one. All themes you buy will come with instructions on how to use and customize them.
If you are wondering what theme I’m using, it’s The Core. It’s a package that comes with twenty-three themes to choose from for only $39. It’s a great option if you are unsure what theme to pick and don’t want to pay for one that you might end up hating. This package gives you access to a lot of themes to play around with until you find the one you love. The theme from the picks that I chose from my blog is Aesthetic, but they have other really cool options too. It’s very easy to customize as it comes with a manual page builder that you can use in your pages and posts to give them the design you want without having to use any code at all.
How to install a theme
After you buy your theme, you’ll get a link to download a .zip file. After you have downloaded it, go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Appearance > Themes. Once there, click on “Add New” and on the next page, “Upload Theme”. Select the entire .zip file and click on “Install Now”. WordPress will begin doing its magic, and when the installation is complete, just click on the “Activate” button.
Make sure you upload the entire .zip file. The first time I tried installing my theme, I unzipped the file and was so puzzled as to which of all the different files inside it I had to upload (*facepalm*). This might sound kind of obvious, but since I had a hard time with it when starting, I thought I would include this tip in case you are technologically-challenged like me.
SECONDS STEPS: BUILDING YOUR TRAVEL BLOG
Now that your new theme is up and running, it’s time for the exciting part: to REALLY start a travel blog!
1. Write an about me page
This is so, so important. Whenever I visit a blog, I like to know who the writer is and what they are up to, and I can do that when they have an “About Me” page up, so you need one. An about me page gives your credibility and creates a connection with your readers. Without it, you’re kind of faceless and that’s not a good thing in the blogging world.
To write an about me page, go to Pages > Add new. Name your page and begin writing. Be yourself here, and don’t be afraid to include quirky things like your biggest pet-peeves or fun facts about you. This is your chance to let your readers know who you are, so let your personality shine through! Pro tip: Include a picture of yourself, too!
2. Install these plugins
On step one, I briefly talked about plugins and promised I’d tell you more about them further down this post. Plugins are kind of like apps that add new functionalities and features to your blog. There are millions of plugins available, but here is a list of really important (and completely free) plugins you should get started with.
Installing plugins is actually really easy, here’s a free tutorial on how to do it.
Akismet – One of the most annoying things about having a blog is the number of spammy comments you’ll get from bots. I remember when my blog was new and I’d often get comment notifications on my posts. I’d get SO excited about them because I thought they’d be from actual readers only to find they were from spammy bots. Akismet catches and deletes these comments automatically.
Super Socializer or MashShare – Either of these two plugins will install buttons in your posts so your readers can share your content on social media.
Pinterest Hover Pin It Button – Pinterest can be such a powerful traffic source for bloggers that it is really important to optimize your blog to work on Pinterest. This plugin will install a “Pin It” button over all your images so your readers can save your post on Pinterest.
WPTouch – It’s very likely that a big amount of your readers will be visiting your blog through a phone, so it’s really important that your website looks good and works on any device. WPTouch installs a mobile-friendly version of your blog to make sure your blog is easy to read on small devices.
Yoast SEO – This is the most important plugin any blog/websites needs. It’ll help you rank higher on Google searches by giving you tips on how to improve the readability and SEO in your posts. You NEED Yoast because a huge part of your traffic should be from organic searches on search engines like Google. It also comes with many other powerful tools that I’d need to write an entirely new post on the topic. Just install it, I promise you’ll thank me later.
Grammarly – This isn’t a WordPress plugin, it’s actually a free Chrome Extension, but I thought I should include it on the list because it’s a really powerful free tool that will save you tons of time when it comes to editing your work.
It scans through your post and tells you where you made spelling or grammar mistakes and suggestions to fix them. Get Grammarly here.
3. Create a menu
Menus are important because this is how people will browse through your blog. An ideal menu should include links to your Home Page, your blog page, a contact page, and an about me page. Once you have more blog posts up, you can go back to your menu and add new pages to it, but for now, start with these.
How to create a menu: Once the pages you want on your menu are set up, head over to the left side menu on your dashboard and click on Appearance > Menus. Then, click on “Create new menu” and name your menu (“Main menu” is a good place to name it).
On the left side, you’ll see a list of your posts and pages. Check the boxes of the pages you want on your menu and then click on the “Add to Menu” button.
After that, the list of the pages you selected will appear on the right. From here, you can drag and drop them in the order you want them to appear on your blog. After you’re done, click on “Save Menu”.
4. Change Your Permalinks
This sounds so tech-savvy but it’s really not. Permalinks are your URLs (links). WordPress usually sets them on auto to show a few numbers or the date a post was published.
So, instead of the URL for this post being: www.nohurrytogethome.com/start-a-travel-blog, it would look like this www.nohurrytogethome.com/p?293832. That’s not great for ranking on search engines like Google, it also doesn’t look very clean.
This is something you could do later on, but it’s just easier to get it over with from day one because if you begin sharing your posts on Pinterest and Facebook, when you change your Permalinks settings later on, all the links you have shared will stop working. This is a step I never see any guides on starting blogs sharing, and I think it’s a very important step that takes literally just a few seconds to complete.
To change your permalinks, head over to your WordPress dashboard and click on Settings > Permalinks.
Next, select the “Post Name” option and click on the Save Changes button and voila! Easy, right?
5. Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an extremely powerful free tool that lets you see how many users visit your blog, how they arrived in your blog, which posts they landed on, how long they spent reading your blog, where they are from, and so many more things. You can even see exactly how many people are currently visiting your site.
It might not seem super important for now, but I promise it will come in extremely handy in the future when you start getting traffic because the information you can get from Analytics is extremely useful to see which posts work the best to drive traffic, what your readers enjoy seeing, how they landed on your blog, what country they are from, etc. By knowing all of this stuff, you can plan which areas of your blog you should work on more, what traffic sources to focus on, etc. Check this article on how to install Google Analytics.
Here’s a screenshot of my Google Analytics in real-time. It shows me what posts my visitors are reading, as well as where they are from with an interactive map. This is just one of the MANY amazing features this tool provides.
6. Write your first post
On the menu on the left-hand side of your WordPress dashboard, click on Posts > Add new.
Name your post in the first section, and then start writing!
Whenever you want to add a picture to your blog, click on the “Add Media” button at the top of the writing section and upload the image. After that, click on the “Insert into post” button at the bottom.
Once your post is ready, hit the “Publish” button and your post is officially out in the world!
After reading all of this and playing around with the platform for a while, you should feel comfortable enough to use WordPress and move forward with your blog.
BUT. If you’re slow like me, or if you want to learn more about using WordPress (because it’s kind of like Narnia, there are just so many things you can do with it and it would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to write it all down in one single post), then I highly recommend this online course at Udemy. It’s only $20 and it will guide you step-by-step on how to build WordPress websites and how to make money from your blog and drive traffic to it. There are so many courses on how to install and use WordPress at Udemy, but this course is the most relevant for those who want to start a travel blog as it combines working with WordPress AND blogging.
THINGS I WISH I KNEW WHEN I STARTED MY TRAVEL BLOG
- Always, ALWAYS resize your images. If you upload them straight from your camera, it will slow down your blog. I use Adobe Photoshop to resize my images because I’m used to its platform, but there are free online resources like BeFunky that you can use to do it.
- Learn SEO sooner rather than later. It’s the most important source of traffic for your website and the easiest to monetize. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which put in simple words, it’s what tells Google or other search engines that you want people to find your posts when they are looking to get answers from them.
I was so overwhelmed with SEO because it seemed so complicated at first and I wasted so many hours reading blogs that always left me with more questions than answers, so I decided to take an online course that would guide me through every step of the way and it was one of the best decisions I made for my blog. For just $10, you’ll be able to learn EVERYTHING you need to know about SEO. If you’re going to invest in a course, make it this one. Check it out here.
- Pinterest is another powerful source of traffic and you should get started with it as soon as you can. Use Canva (free) to create graphics users can use to Pin your posts to their Pinterest accounts and place them in every single post you write. I didn’t do this when I first started out and I had to go back to every single post I ever wrote and make it “pinnable”. That took a hell of a long time, so do it since day one. You can learn a lot about Pinterest by doing some googling around, but if you feel comfortable investing a bit of money to learn EVERYTHING you need to know about growing your Pinterest traffic, then I recommend this course by Dream. Pin. Go. There are cheaper courses around at Udemy, but this one is focused on Pinterest for travel bloggers specifically and it’s worth the investment.
- You shouldn’t be afraid to monetize your blog from the beginning. I used to think I needed to have hundredths of posts up before I began trying to make money off my blog and that was one of the biggest mistakes I made because I spent weeks focusing on writing content before I even launched it. After I launched it, I wrote a guide on packing for a trip to Africa using Amazon affiliate links, promoted it on Pinterest and bam! I referred 32 sales within a few weeks of it going live and earned $40 in my first month of “serious blogging”. To my surprise, I noticed that a lot of people who landed on that post were purchasing what I recommended and not really going through my blog at all, so I basically could have earned those first $40 without having to write any of the other posts.
- If you want to fast-forward and “cut the crap”, you can take a course that covers all things travel blogging. It’s the Super Star Blogging course by Nomadic Matt. He’s the most famous travel blogger out there and has been blogging for over 10 years, so he definitely knows a thing or two about this career. The course is a bit pricey (in my opinion), but it will teach you literally everything you need to know about travel blogging. Still, with the other courses I’ve recommended throughout the post or simply by using this guide to do further research on Google, you should be able to learn everything on your own, so I don’t think Super Star Blogging is 100% necessary to be successful, it will just make the process a bit faster.
WAYS TO START EARNING MONEY FROM YOUR BLOG
Amazon Affiliates – This is by far my favorite monetization tool. In case you are wondering what affiliate marketing is, it’s when an online retailer pays a commission to a website (in this case, your blog) for driving sales. This comes at no extra cost to your readers since the commission you earn is calculated in a product’s price anyway.
The reason I recommend Amazon Affiliates to start out with is that it’s easy to join, has millions of products to choose from, and people already know and trust Amazon, so it’s easy to convert it. Oh, and also, you won’t just get a commision for the products you advertise, you’ll also get it for any other sales anyone who clicked through your link makes within the next 24 hours. You can join Amazon affiliates here. Packing lists and gift guides are great for monetizing your blog, so write a few of those to start with!
Google Adsense – Ads from Google on your blog. You’ll get paid every time someone clicks on an ad. To be honest, I guess I haven’t figured how Adsense works too well, because I’ve only been able to earn a few cents from their ads, so I stopped using them on my blog. There is also Mediavine for ads, which pays a much higher rate and they will not only pay you for a click but also per impressions. However, Mediavine requires that you have several thousand visitors a month (25,000 monthly sessions to be exact) in order to accept you into their program, so it’s not for beginner bloggers. I mentioned them because it’s a nice goal to have 🙂
Booking.com – If you are going to link hotels in your posts, then you can earn money with them. You’ll earn a commission on every booking someone makes through your site. To apply for their program, head over here. Agoda and Expedia also have affiliate programs, but I use Booking.com to link to hotels stays because it’s the company I use to book my own accommodation, so I feel comfortable recommending it to my readers,
Skimlinks – You might want to look into Skimlinks after you have a bit of traffic on your blog. I got accepted into their program after receiving 1,000 monthly visitors, so it’s not really that hard. Skimlinks is another affiliate marketing program that has partnered with thousands of companies and makes it really easy to get a commission for linking companies or products that you love.
And that about it for now! This should be plenty to keep you busy for a while, but that’s the downside of travel blogging: it takes a bit of upfront work that will pay off in the future. I promise you it’ll be worth it, though!
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask away. If something isn’t clear enough, let me know so I can make this guide better 🙂
This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase or sign up for a program, I may earn a commission at absolutely no extra cost to you.