If you love travelling, enjoy exotic locations, and exploring new destinations, it’s only natural to want to share your adventures with others. An online travel blog is a perfect way to do this. Whether your holidays are UK-based or further afield, allowing others to experience your passion and want to visit those places for themselves is a great idea. Even more importantly, it can boost your income!
Making money blogging about travel
There are many ways to make money from travel blogging, and although building a good income takes time and patience, it can prove very lucrative. Although blogging can slot in easily with any other career, lots of people earn enough to give up their day job and become professional travel bloggers.
By effectively using affiliate marketing programmes, advertising, and sponsorship, you can combine your passion for travel with the opportunity to earn a good income. You’re able to work from anywhere and enjoy a flexible lifestyle built around your other commitments.
Build your skills
It won’t surprise you that a decent level of written English and correct grammar are useful skills to have. You don’t need to be excellent, but poor spelling and misused words can put readers off. Grammarly is a free app that offers spelling and grammar suggestions if you’re unsure of anything.
It helps if you have basic internet skills, but most answers can be found by searching Google, so this isn’t a necessity. You’re off to a good start if you can download applications and upload photos and videos.
A travel blog needs good photos to illustrate the posts, and images break up large pieces of text, making it more readable. The ability to take fabulous photos is a real bonus; however, if you feel you lack skills in this area, there are plenty of online tutorials and affordable courses to build your knowledge.
Get your equipment in order
Most bloggers use a laptop to create their content. The larger keyboard and screen are far preferable to a mobile phone or tablet.
You’ll also need access to the internet. Many public places, such as hotels and coffee shops, allow you to use their internet for free. Cruise ships, exotic beaches, and other travel locations often have good internet access. Mobile phones can record your voice and content typed later if you are really off-grid.
A good digital camera is a must, but as many smart phones have high-tech, high-resolution cameras, you don’t have to invest in a separate model. You’re taking your readers on a journey with you, and your goal is to inspire, excite and spark their imaginations. Great photos do just that, encouraging them to book that fantastic holiday you’ve just told them about.
How do you go about setting up your travel blog?
Starting a blog is, fortunately, very simple, even for a tech newbie. It’s also cheap and doesn’t take up much time.
- Pick a blog name – this should indicate that you are a travel blogger and be unique to you. It’ll define your online identity.
- Register your domain – GoDaddy is a popular choice, but many others exist.
- Purchase web hosting – WordPress makes the job easy and has online guides to lead you through the process.
- Install WordPress – you need to install your chosen hosting service on your computer. This will allow you to post your content, put up videos and everything else you plan to use your blog for.
- Pick a theme – design how you want your site to look by choosing themes and templates.
- Add essential plugins – plugins are different applications WordPress will add to your website to improve it. Yeost SEO is a useful one to have (more on SEO later).
Now you can start adding content!
Become an expert in a chosen field
Specialising in a particular travel topic and becoming an expert in that field is a great way to win the trust and loyalty of readers. Sounding authoritative also makes any product you’re endorsing attract more clicks, and brands love a blogger who writes with expert knowledge.
Focus on a specific destination or type of travel, such as cruises, family holidays, or luxury breaks, and make your blog as in-depth as possible. Research your chosen topic thoroughly, and even better, learn about it firsthand. Explore the destination or take a holiday of the type selected, and keep up-to-date on the latest industry news. Become the go-to blog for your particular field, and money-making opportunities will flood in.
Some other travel blog niches include:
- Adventure travel
- City breaks
- Sports travel
- Wine and food travel
Plan multiple income streams from your blog
Many travel bloggers monetise their blogs with multiple income streams. Several methods work effectively:
- Join an affiliate programme – Adding affiliate links to your travel blog can encourage your readers to head to that site and purchase the recommended items. Every time someone does that, you earn a commission. Most online retailers, such as Amazon and ASOS, have affiliate programmes that travel bloggers can join. Travel items, holiday accessories and the holidays themselves can all be marketed through your blog.
- Sell banner advertising on your blog – You’ve probably seen these banners on the top, middle, bottom, or in the sidebar of web pages. You can earn money for everyone who clicks on the advert, called ‘pay per click’ or PPC. You can also use PCM adverts. This allows you to earn for every 1000 people who view the advert. Google AdSense is a popular and easy-to-use advertising programme.
- Sell sponsored links – This is an excellent idea once you have a strong site with regular readers and a good social media presence. Brands love busy blogs and will pay for you to endorse their products. This may be in the form of modelling, posting photos, or recommendations. For example, if you’ve had a fantastic experience in a particular hotel, it can really pay dividends to approach them and suggest you write an article about your stay.
- Use your blog to boost your freelance writing – If you enjoy writing, plenty of freelance gigs can be found with a little searching on Google. Having an established travel blog with a good following is a great way of promoting your skills.
The legal stuff
When monetising your travel blog, you must also consider the relevant legalities and protect yourself and your blog.
Depending on the way you plan to use your blog, there are several pages that you should think about including.
Every time someone visits your site, personal information is collected – you’ve probably seen pop-ups requesting permission to collect personal data when you’ve visited a website.
Your policy should disclose:
- What personal information is collected
- How you plan to use it – analytics or mail marketing, for example
- Whether their personal data will be shared with third parties
- How you collect email addresses for marketing purposes
- Compliance with the UK’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Including a disclaimer on your travel blog protects you from lawsuits by denying liability for your published content. It prevents you from being held legally responsible for any recommendations you make. You are also covered if any of the information, such as the prices or the quality of a resort you’ve written about, is out-of-date.
An affiliate disclaimer, or disclosure, is essential if you plan to join an affiliate programme, and market items or holidays through your site. It informs your readers that companies compensate you for promoting, recommending or reviewing their services or products.
Terms and Conditions
The Terms and Conditions page should include your website rules and forms a binding contract between you and your reader. It should explain your intellectual property rights and outline any refund or exchange policies for any products you sell through your travel blog.
Keep your blog fresh and relevant
It’s important to consider how readers will find your blog above all the other travel blogs. Try typing ‘travel blog’ into the Google search bar and pages of websites will be listed. The blogs nearer the top of the page are more likely to be visited by readers, so how can yours be at, or near the top, attracting traffic?
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is the process used to help your site gain visibility and appear closer to the top of search engine pages.
SEO works by employing a series of techniques designed to satisfy the algorithms that sites such as Google use, and there are hundreds of these ideas that even the most novice travel blogger can use.
Check readability across different devices
You probably plan to create your blog on your laptop, but many people will read it on their mobile phones or tablets, so it must look good and work well on these devices, too. Because of the challenge posed by the different screen sizes, the look and usability of your site may change. It’s a good idea to check it on various devices regularly.
If you choose to use WordPress as your host, there are options to resize your pages, making them accessible on mobile devices.
Add social media sites
Social media is a readily accessible way of marketing your site, so when you add content, ensure it’s seen on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at the very least. WordPress allows you to easily link to social media with posts, images and videos.
Add new content regularly
By keeping your content up-to-date and regularly adding more posts, you’ll attract new readers whilst keeping your regulars engaged. Check any links you’ve included to outside sites to ensure they all work correctly and special offers are current. Also, remember SEO? One of the most important ways to improve the SEO of your travel blog is to add fresh content and update older posts.
The best of both worlds
As we mentioned earlier, travel blogging can be run alongside other income streams such as a travel franchise. If you’re new to the travel industry take a look at The Travel Franchise. Its franchise programme allows you to run your own travel agency business from home, earning an income by selling UK and overseas holidays to friends, family and anyone in the UK. It only takes five-days training and the company will guide you through every step and continue to provide support and help as your agency grows.
Combining this with your travel blog is a great idea. Promote the destinations in your blog, with exciting content and fantastic photos, and it will inspire readers to book their next break with you. With links to your travel agency, you’ll gain commission on their holiday, and they can experience a fantastic time, posting about it to their friends and family who might just book with you, too.