When I started my travel website, 52 Perfect Days in 2008, I initially made money from Adsense, selling links, and selling ad space on the site.
To put this into perspective; when I started 52 Perfect Days, there was no such thing as an instagrammer or ‘influencer.’ Facebook and Twitter had only been around for a short time and weren’t looked at as a way to drive good traffic. StumbleUpon was the magic way to drive tons of traffic and SEO was an afterthought, if thought of at all when deciding article topics and keywords.
How to Make Money From a Travel Blog
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I may receive a small commission (for which I am deeply grateful) at no cost to you.
Driving traffic and monetizing a website has come a long way since the early days of blogging. The good news is that it is much easier to monetize these days with ad networks, affiliate networks, sponsored campaigns, and press trips.
Make Money Travel Blogging with Affiliate Income
In this article, I’ll be focusing on building income from a travel blog using affiliate marketing and specifically with my favorite network which is TravelPayouts.
To be clear, affiliate income isn’t the only revenue stream you should plan to develop, but it is a great long-term method of earning income from your travel website. Once you find what works for your site, it is a consistent revenue stream that can easily grow month after month.
Earning affiliate income takes a bit of strategy plus research and then marketing and sharing your optimized articles. Of course, ultimately, having your monetized travel articles indexed in Google for organic traffic plus marketing them to your audience on social media platforms and email list is the golden ticket and how many travel bloggers make a good portion of their income.
Affiliate income isn’t necessarily an overnight income generator. This is a long-term income source. But, once it gets going, this can become an incredibly worthwhile income source.
How to Make Money as a Travel Blogger with TravelPayouts
There are so many Affiliate Networks out there. I’ve joined a lot over the years and I’ll be honest– it can be overwhelming keeping up. I’ve worked with Amazon, Awin, Share a Sale, Rakuten, CJ, Etsy, Groupon and more directly such as travel insurance, travel clothing and tour companies.
I recently learned about TravelPayouts, which is a 100% travel affiliate network and decided to shift my efforts to working primarily with their platform for three reasons:
- They are 100% travel. This means every brand on the platform is in my blogging niche. I can easily find companies to work with and I not getting unrelated offers from brands that don’t fit my content.
- They have an awesome customer service team. They are available to answer questions, offer advice if links aren’t converting with clicks or buys, and even offer mini-audits on your site and then give suggestions for the best articles to monetize and they also share which affiliates they recommend for the posts.
- Simple Reporting Tools. From the dashboard, you can easily see how many impressions, clicks and sales from each affiliate network you are signed up with.
Psst: Are you a travel blogger who wants to monetize their blog? Figuring out where to start can be extremely overwhelming – but you can’t let anything stand in your way! It’s not too late to start and if you wait until you’re ready, you could be waiting for the rest of your life. The earlier you begin, the sooner you can start earning money from your website! Sign up for my FREE 5-day Affiliate tutorial and I’ll walk you through taking the first steps to start earning money from your travel website with TravelPayouts.
TravelPayouts works with brands like Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Hilton, Viator, Get Your Guide, VRBO, Jetradar.com, Hotellook.com, Aviasales, BlaBlaCar, Rail Europe and many more! TravelPayouts has 60+ travel affiliate programs, including exclusive offers, which has made it very appealing for me.
How Much Can You Earn with Affiliate Networks?
Below is the TravelPayouts top 10 affiliate payouts from July of this year. On average many bloggers make $2,000 – $3,000+ with the network. On average it takes one month to start seeing income and three months to reach consistent growth and income of $2,000 – $3,000+. Of course, this is for bloggers who implement links regularly and market their articles.
Choosing Brands to Work With
The key when you get started with TravelPayouts or any affiliate network is to promote products that you truly love, trust, and use yourself.
Do you use a booking engine when you book a hotel? Are you loyal to a hotel brand? Where do you go to find reviews for hotels?
I love Hotels.com. I use them when I’m booking hotels for personal travel. I’m a sucker for the 10th-night free program and love earning my stickers and then earning that free night! I also personally use TripAdvisor for checking hotel reviews.
If you are brand loyal to the Ritz Carlton, you can link to their hotels exclusively with Booking.com, Hotels.com or TripAdvisor programs through TravelPayouts.
I know many bloggers are big fans of Booking.com and use this tool to link to options for budget, family, and luxury hotel options through this platform.
The next best way to choose brands if you haven’t used them personally is to visit the details page in TravelPayouts. Each brand on the network has a page that shares more information about the company.
Then visit the brand’s website and social accounts to get a feel for their messaging.
SEO and Key Word Research
SEO can seem overwhelming and complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. When you first start out with SEO, it really boils down to writing articles you have a chance to rank for. This means, choosing keywords, based on your Domain Authority (DA) so you have a chance to rank on page one or two of Google.
The Keyword tool I use is Keysearch. It’s just $17 a month and offers lots of great reports and features. I love this tool so much, I signed up as an affiliate, which means you can get an extra 20% off using the code KSDISC when you sign up.
If you feel lost in the SEO and Keyword research area, check out this article: How to Find the Keywords You Rank For
Article Focus & Intention is Key!
It is pointless to write an article and add every affiliate link you can think of to a post. Instead, think about the intent of the reader. What is the reader looking for when they found your article? If they searched for the best hotels in San Diego, your biggest chance for a link click and affiliate sale is with hotel properties!
Don’t be random with Affiliate Links
Putting random affiliate links into posts or into your sidebar isn’t going to convert. The majority of the people reading posts on your site have landed there because they searched for the topic of the article and found it on a search engine, clicked on a social media post they are interested in or from an email you sent.
The key is getting people to your posts when they are in the research phase and at the point of purchasing.
For example, I wrote about the Top 10 Hotels in the World based on the 2020 Conde Nast list and it’s currently one of my most visited pages. People coming to this page might be curious or they might be looking for unique & luxurious hotels for their next vacation.
An even better option for intent to purchase would be getting more specific such as:
- Best Day Trips from San Diego
- Best Family Friendly Hotels in San Diego
- Best Food Tours in San Diego
- San Diego Packing list
Most successful affiliate pages have a specific focus.
Time & Effort
Making money from a travel blog isn’t necessarily hard. In fact, it can be fairly easy if you know what you’re doing. The problem is, most travel writers and bloggers don’t look at their website as a business. They aren’t looking at their content strategically.
Because of this, many travel writers and bloggers try a bunch of things but don’t have a clear plan or strategy. In the end, many end up giving up because they are frustrated.
It takes work. It takes strategy. It takes time. But, it works and is doable!
It’s about the choice of content you monetize. Not all articles can covert well. It’s also about understanding the internet and how it works.
If you are willing to dedicate the time and be consistent you will succeed. Once you find the articles that convert to affiliate sales, it’s simply a matter of creating more content that is similar.
Are you ready to commit to monetizing your travel website?
How to Sign Up for TravelPayouts & Individual Affiliate Programs
Step 1: Sign Up for TravelPayouts
Step 2: Find brands you want to work with. TravelPayouts 60+ travel affiliate programs including brands like Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Hilton, Viator, Get Your Guide, VRBO, Jetradar.com, Hotellook.com, Aviasales, BlaBlaCar, Rail Europe and many more!
Step 3: Click on Programs on the left side. You can scroll through all programs, or choose categories and sort by specific types of businesses.
Step 4: When you scroll through and see a program you want to join. Click the “details” button.
Step 5: Once you click thru on details, it will bring up a full page with the option to “join”
Adding Affiliate Links to Your Articles
Step 6: Once you have been accepted into the affiliate program, click on “tools”
Step 7: Use the provided affiliate link in the portal OR add any page from the website to create a link to that page. You can also find banners and widgets here.
Step 8: Add the link, widget or banner code to your website.
Like anything else, affiliate marketing is fairly easy once you take a bit of time to understand the process. It is how travel bloggers make money today. In fact, some bloggers make 100% of their income with affiliate sales. Successful travel writing and blogging is hard work, but it offers some pretty spectacular benefits and perks! Those who are in it for the long haul, and are ready to take it seriously as a profession, have the best chance for success.
That said, travel blogging is still the best job I’ve ever had. ★
Have questions? Please leave them in the comments.
Ready to learn more? Check out this podcast episode: Learn how travel bloggers and writers can monetize a website by working with the TravelPayouts Affiliate Network with Tatiana Buyanova