Today’s episode focuses on four travel blogger questions. I’ll be answering questions about monetization, balancing a blog and a full-time job, organic traffic for newer websites and my thoughts on the use of the word free.
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Ask Alexa Questions:
Question #1: Jim from travelstoriesandimages.com asked:
Should a new or almost new travel blogger start thinking about a monetization strategy from day 1, or is it better to spend 6-12 months publishing regularly and building up a body of work before thinking about monetization?
Answer: Yes! Here are seven reasons why I think getting started with some affiliates from the beginning is better than waiting.
1– you can play around with links, placement, type and see what works and doesn’t.
2 — you can learn about the many affiliate programs out there — share a sale, cj, ratuken, jv zoon, awin — you’ll find you like the interface better with some, the brands better with others. Start the learning process!
3– you can begin relationships with a few affilate reps — ask them questions, get advice.
4– your links will be in place when your traffic does grow.
5 — you might not have a lot of readers — but especially if you are a niche focused travel site you might have loyal followers who will click and potentially buy.
6– you can start with some programs that pay for clicks and not purchases such as Tripadvisor and Booking.com — these also pay an additional fee if there is a booking.
7 — you don’t have to go back and monetize every page on your site when you think you have enough traffic.
There is a lot more I share, so for full answer click here to listen to the full episode.
Related Podcasts with more information on this subject: How to Make Multiple Streams of Online Income as a Digital Nomad with Ricky Shetty & How to Turn Your Travel Blog into a Business with Tim Leffel
Question #2: Marcea Robinson Cazel from www.mycornacopia.com asked:
I’d love to know how people travel blog with a full-time job. I’m making do and have planned out my trips but feel like I’m missing out on some trick.
Answer: Create a pie chart for your week and follow this plan!
1– Take a piece of paper and draw a circle and then cut it into 12 pieces for each hour of the day or you can even do 24 pieces of the circle if you want to break it down to each ½ hour. Then start filling in each section with obvious items such as sleep, work hours, meals, etc. Create one for each day of the week . This will help you get a really clear picture of what every day looks like and then you can choose days and times that you commit to writing, working on your website, social media, etc.
2 — Choose days and times that are your travel writing work hours and stick to them.
3 — Block the time for certain activities. For example, choose specific days and times for writing or social media posting, etc. Whatever is on your travel writing or travel blogging to do list should be giving a time frame.
For additional information on proper tax returns for bloggers and the full answer click here to listen to the full episode.
Related Podcast with more information on this subject: How To Launch a Travel Writing Career While Working Full Time with Katherine Belarmino
Question #3: Angelina aminorquest.com asked:
As a new blogger, I struggle with getting organic views. What are some great ways to do this? Yes, I use Pinterest and I’m trying not to spend too much time on FaceBook groups & pods. I want real growth. I’ve gone through your 5-day traffic challenge. Thanks for that, some great idea.
Make sure you are using the right ones. I’ve been using KeySearch for my keyword research and it’s the best deal I’ve found. $17 a month or around $13 with discount code ((Use Code KSDISC for 20% off Keysearch).
All keywords aren’t the same. If you rank for a keyword that gets 100 queries a month that isn’t super beneficial. But, if you rank for keywords or phrases that bring in 10,000 queries that is beneficial.
You need to choose good keywords that have a good volume of search and aren’t too competitive. Keysearch also can tell you how hard it will be to rank for certain words or phrases.
You can also use Adsence, Google Search Console to do free keyword research and bigger SEO programs like Moz allow for 3 free searches a day.
Post often and consistently.
Once a week is a minimum I would suggest. If you can do more — do!
Posting several articles about a location. Instead of doing one standalone piece — do your main article as well as few other supporting articles. This will show google you are more of an authority on the subject. In an ideal world do one cornerstone piece such as a guide and then a piece on food or hotels or tours or a listicle that all link back to your guide.
Article length. Another subject where there are a lot of opinions. Most SEO’s say that posts over 2,000 words shows up on the first page of Google more often.
Don’t fall into the habit of writing 3300-wordposts if you want to rank for your keywords. Longer posts do better.
If you aren’t a longwinded writer and have a hard time getting to 2,000 words, publish it anyway. Having the post published is better than not adding content to your site. You can head back later and add another paragraph or update the post.
There is a lot more I share, so for full answer click here to listen to the full episode.
Related Posts with more information on this subject: How To Get Your Travel Blog On The First Page Of Google for Free
Related Podcasts with more information on this subject: Episode 48 with Max Hartshorne from GoNomad & Episode 124 with Maria Haase from Europe Up Close– where we spoke a lot about top ways to increase traffic and why writing content clusters are important for SEO and traffic. On episode BITW 125 with Chris Christensen from amatuer travelever we also spoke about the importance of content clusters for SEO and traffic.
Question #4: Marcus & Mellissa from FlyDriveExplore.com asked:
What are your views on the word ‘free’. We find it’s often used in bloggers discussions and even in some pitches but we feel it devalues the work we do as bloggers and vloggers. As you probably know, a press trip can be far from free in respect of the amount of work you put in.
I believe that it’s an interesting time for travel blogger and vloggers. Things are definitely shifting but still blurry.
I don’t think most brands, PR and tourism understand the amount of work a serious travel writer or blogger puts into providing content in exchange for a trip or perk or product.
We are all at different stages in our blogging or travel writing career and when someone is just starting out it is exciting to get a free product in exchange for a social media post or blog post.
Some new bloggers can really benefit by picking up a press release and turning it into a post to create more content on their site.
But I think that offering a blogger or writer a trip that is paid for is not free. Yes, we are going to a new destination, but a media trip is hard work. While they are almost always wonderful — at least for me. — it’s not a vacation. It’s work. Most trips are set up with a schedule that goes from early morning until the evening and sometimes quite late. While taking a trip is great — we are still taking time off from our writing — because at least for me, it’s nearly impossible to do more than social media and check email on most media trips.
Once we arrive home or wherever we are headed next there are the hours of photo editing, writing, social media, video to produce content for the destination or tour or whoever was sponsoring the trip. We haven’t even begun to talk about marketing the articles — because the pr, brand or sponsor is expecting social media shares, good page views, etc. It’s a lot work and I consider it a trade. The trip is not free, it’s sponsored and there is an expectation of coverage for the experience. It’s a collaboration. But it’s not a free trip or product with no expectations.
The pr, brands and tourism that get, that understand this is a trade & they are also willing to pay influential bloggers or social media influencers or vloggers for their time on top of the sponsorship of the trip.
Many of us are doing this for a living and free doesn’t pay bills!
I wish that all PR understood the amount of emails that many of us get on a daily basis asking for coverage for free, or free product reviews, or a post on one of our social media channels for free.
I am not sure which is worse — the request for freebies or the $10 or $25 offers. Even an Instagram post can take 30 minutes to an hour to shoot, edit, gather hashtags and post. So, if you think a blogger or influencer has a platform — their website or social channel – that you want to have coverage on because you like their numbers, their engagement, niche or any other reason — pay them accordingly!
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