The 10 Most Effective Ways To Monetize a Travel Blog
When it comes to monetizing a travel blog, the first thing that comes to mind is advertising. But it’s not the only way to make money on a website. We’ve collected 10 of the most effective ways to monetize a travel blog.
Website Monetization Methods
In this article, we only consider white hat ways to monetize sites in 2020. Installing clickunder ads or making money on unwanted mobile subscriptions is a very short-term monetization method that ultimately kills the blog.
1. Contextual advertising
Contextual advertising is one of the most popular options for making money on travel blogs. Contextual advertising networks, such as Google Ads and its alternatives, act as intermediaries between advertisers and webmasters and give site owners part of the advertiser’s budget for broadcasting ads.
With contextual advertising networks, the webmaster does not need to look for an ad buyer. You just place the code and then the network does everything else – it both searches for advertisers and controls payments.
The commission size is not disclosed, but the lion’s share of the income does not go to the blog owners, that’s for sure. This is one of the main disadvantages of contextual advertising for travel bloggers.
Income from contextual advertising depends on:
- Geography of visitors. Clicks of users from European countries are more profitable than users from undeveloped countries.
- The number of advertisers. If there is higher competition for the ads place then it’s a higher cost for one click.
- Seasonality. For example, after the New Year holiday, webmasters see serious earning deficits.
- Ads placement. The place where the banner is placed affects the number of impressions and clicks, and this affects the total revenue.
If you choose this method of travel blog monetization, you’ll constantly be conducting experiments with ads placement – where and which ad units you place. Also, don’t forget to test new networks, because contextual advertising is not limited to Google Adsense, there is also PropellerAds Media, Media.net and others.
2. Direct advertising (Sell ad space)
One of the most profitable and difficult options for monetizing a site involves working with direct advertisers. To make money in this way, your travel blog must be recognizable. High traffic volume is necessary.
Here are a few examples of how direct advertising works:
- Flight ticket websites can sell ad space for a company that sells suitcases.
- Solo-traveler blogs can sell ad space for travel insurance agencies.
- A blog about budget traveling can sell ad space for banks that offer credit cards.
As usual, young blogs and websites without traffic are not suitable for making money through direct advertising. If you have more than 1,000 people daily, you can try to find a direct advertiser. To interest potential media buyers, create a media kit. Also, be sure to make a page for advertisers on your blog and place a contact form on it.
The level of income depends on the popularity of the website. If you already have tried contextual advertising, direct selling ad space usually generates several times more, because you do not share your income with any intermediaries in this case.
3. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is based on revenue sharing. You will earn on affiliate programs for the targeted actions: installing the application, registering on the website, booking a hotel and so on.
Many travel bloggers combine affiliate programs with contextual or direct advertisement. For each travel blog, you can find the right offer to test. For example, you can embed a flight ticket search form on a blog that shares travel plans and earn from every purchased flight ticket.
Dozens of affiliate programs exist, for example, Booking.com has an affiliate program, as well as GetYourGuide, RentalCars and other services. You can also join each of them through the Travelpayouts affiliate network, where more than 30 different affiliates are available.
How to get started with affiliate marketing
If you are a complete beginner in affiliate marketing, then start your journey by learning. You can find free and paid courses that will guide you through various topics. After you arm yourself with knowledge, it’s time to act:
- Research and choose the offer
- Join the affiliate program
- Get affiliate tools
- Start promoting
Affiliate reviews will help you find the best options, but remember that high conversion is only possible if you are offering the right product to the right audience. Choose according to the needs of your audience and the conditions you get from the affiliate program.
The following tips will help you boost your earnings with affiliate tools:
- Add affiliate tools to blog pages naturally – search forms, links and other tools should be where people need them: i.e. It makes no sense to place the link before the article, just because it would appear higher.
- Make links visible in the text – they must be a different color than the main text. The reader must intuitively, and without straining, understand that this is a link.
- Make the audience interested in the service you promote – give the reader a reason to want to go. For example, first describe the problem in the text and then place a link as the solution.
- If you create your own creative, always add calls to action (CTA).
- Perform experiments – placement, texts, colors, etc. and look for whatever attracts attention and converts better.
The amount of revenue depends on your quality of traffic, the number of targeted actions, and the size of the commission. This is one of the rare cases when it isn’t necessary to rock a huge website with twenty thousand unique visitors a day to get tangible income.
4. Selling products or services
With affiliate marketing, you can earn even without a product. But, if you have something to offer your audience, use your blog as a marketplace. Here are a few ideas of what you can sell:
- Travel advice
- Souvenirs from different countries
It can turn into a real business, which of course will constantly take your time. At least for processing orders and sending goods or providing services.
5. Selling digital products
Digital products are the best way to monetize for some travel bloggers. This can be automated so that after you set it up, you’ll only have to support the system.
Travel guides or ebooks are a simple example that you can sell online. This is a great option for those who travel a lot and are well versed in different countries. To simplify the process, you can hire a copywriter to help you prepare the material.
If you use WordPress CMS to run a blog, then you can use ready-made solutions to set-up an online marketplace.
6. Sponsored posts
Earning on sponsored posts is one of the oldest ways for blog monetization. Quality backlinks are always in high demand, which is the main reason to make guest posts.
The price for sponsored posts usually doesn’t depend directly on traffic, but on Domain Authority rank, or the credibility of the domain, which shows how beneficial the link is in terms of SEO for the buyer.
To earn on sponsored posts, you need to find buyers. Create a page on your site that shows you accept guest posts, and be sure to leave your contact info. If you do not want to wait around for applications, look for buyers yourself – on forums or in special services.
7. Native ads
Native ads are the alternative for contextual ads, when your blog isn’t accepted to Google Adsense or other networks. But in some cases, native ads bring more income than contextual ads, especially if the site is visited primarily by an audience interested in news or funny facts.
The amount of income depends on the attendance, geography of users, and the click rate of the blocks. CPC is different in different native ad networks, so it’s worth installing blocks of several systems to choose the most profitable one.
If you have a loyal audience, then donations are an effective method of monetization. Ask your audience to support your project. Webmasters’ reviews show that donations for something specific work better than just simple donations without any clear purpose. For example, ask for money for a new travel camera or tickets to a new country.
Using this method of travel blog monetization, be sure to make it convenient for your audience – add different payment methods, as well as add the recurring payments feature.
It’s one of the most difficult ways to monetize a travel blog. You can sell access to your blog or to some part of it. For example, you can create a set of unique guides for countries and sell subscriptions to them.
To monetize travel blogs through paid subscriptions to content, you need to create a very popular platform with exclusive materials first. In theory, users can buy access to your travel advice or other unique information, but in the era of tons of free content on the internet, it’s very difficult to pull a deal with subscriptions.
10. Flip your websites
Selling a site is not always an obvious way to monetize a travel blog, but a great option. Some webmasters constantly make new websites and then sell them. There are special marketplaces for selling sites, for example, Flippa.
Income is thus one-time, but very large. The price for a travel blog, as a rule, set on several factors, one of which is the current income. Therefore, before selling a travel blog, it is important to monetize it effectively. Usually, the price is set as 15-25 months’ income.
Things to avoid
Risky methods of monetization, such as click-under, iframe or another, can bring you more income. But they can affect traffic or even kill your project.
When choosing a travel blog monetization method, pay attention not only to the profitability at the moment, but also to the safety and longevity of this method.
About the author
Tatiana Buyanova is the head of Business Development at Travelpayouts. Tatiana helps such advertisers as Booking.com, Viator, and 200K affiliates across the globe in reaching 8-figure revenue. Being a part of the travel industry, she is passionate about globetrotting; however, closing travel deals is even more fascinating.
Before joining the Travelpayouts’ team, Tatiana had been helping Appness to grow by cold call advertisers-hunting. She is experienced in sales, marketing and business development, as well as in-depth knowledge of performance marketing from different perspectives.