Last month I blogged the first part in my ongoing series in how to make money from a travel blog. You can read How to Make Money from a Travel Blog: Part One here.
Basically my goal has been to find a way to make a modest amount of money from my website so that I can offset some of the rather large expenses I incur while travelling around the world. While I’ve become quite adept at finding good deals, airfare and hotels are still expensive. So I set out with a rather modest goal of trying to make an extra $500 per month from this website.
This Month’s Results
In the month of September I made $347 from this website, which is an 44% improvement over last month’s revenue of $240. At this rate I’m only a few months away from my original goal of $500 in one month, although I suspect that I may fall a bit short next month, as I’ll explain shortly.
In terms of revenue, here’s where it came from for the month of September.
- Amazon Associates – $165
My Amazon revenue this month is similar to the one before, mostly bolstered by a wallet review I did a few month’s ago. Traffic on that post is slowly starting to drop off, so I suspect Amazon revenue to drop down a notch or two next month.
World Nomads – $122
World Nomads provides travel insurance all around the planet, and they are well respected by most travel bloggers. They also have an affiliate program so if people find them from your website you get a portion of the sale. My travel content has slowly been climbing on Google, so I suspect this number to slowly increase over time as well.
DigitalOcean – $10 actual revenue, $100 pending
I recently signed up for a new VPS provider to host my personal website as well as those of my dad and girlfriend. I was so impressed with their service that I did a post on my website as well as a mention on Facebook. They give a $10 credit/payout for any customer that signs up from your website. The only downside is that you only get paid when that person accumulates $10 worth of actual revenue for Digital Ocean, which can take as long as two months (or not at all) for their smaller plans. I’ve referred 11 people, so I potentially made $110 last month here. But I’m only going to count revenue earned at this point, since I have no idea how likely it is that I’ll get paid for the remaining 10.
Commission Junction – $28
As part of my recent site re-design I ditched the sidebar completely, which means I don’t really have any place to put banner advertising. It’s not a huge loss in my mind since they rarely turn into real revenue, and they occupy such a huge amount of real-estate. I’d rather build out real relationships with people and offer them what I perceive as real value instead of just chucking up a pile of advertisements all over the place. I do have a few affiliate links from Commission Junction on my site though, and they paid out a small portion this month.
Google Adsense – $22
Google is a pretty poor performer on my site, mainly because a lot of my content isn’t for keywords that generate a lot of competition. That will likely change as I write more and more travel-related content, since those keywords are quite popular. But currently my revenue from Google Adsense is almost low enough that I’m considering just getting rid of it altogether. I’ll hold off for another few months to see what happens, but I don’t imagine they are going to grow too much in the future.
If that extra $100 from DigitalOcean eventually converts into real revenue, that would have put me close to $450 this month. But as I mentioned, I’ll leave it out of my calculations for now, since I have a feeling most of it won’t amount to real revenue.
I’ve been tracking a few statistics on the web over the past two month’s to see just how well my website is doing compared to others.
My Alexa rating at the end of last month was 1,040,237, and at the end of this month it is 563,000. That’s pretty great improvement in my mind, especially since it’s only been a month.
I found my old login for Technorati and updated my information. I don’t know what my statistics were prior, since my website has changed a lot since the old days. My current Technorati general rating is 97, and my travel authority is 91. I’ll keep an eye on these going forward.
I also track SitePrice.org to see what it thinks my website is worth. These tools are really gimmicky, since it’s only really worth what someone would pay for it. But I thought it would at least be another metric to track. SitePrice.org said my website was worth $12,800 at the end of last month, and this month it says it is worth $16,560.
I released my free travel eBook this last month, which generated a bit of traffic. I’ve been happy with the response for the eBook, and am glad that other people can use some of the knowledge I’ve learned over these last few years. I don’t make any money directly off that book, but have asked people to sign-up before receiving it. If I ever do a paid travel book, I imagine some of those same people might be interested in purchasing it if they liked the information I presented in the free version.
Most Amazon affiliates indicate that traffic seems to spike building up to Christmas, and so does revenue. I think Amazon will head steady this next month, but then probably climb leading up to the holidays.
I was also recently approved to be an affiliate of a few of the best travel reward cards. I’m not a huge debt for obvious reasons, but I think travel rewards cards are a great way to earn free travel for anyone that can actually pay off a credit card each month. I have actually earned three complete round-trip tickets from North America to Oceania and South America, simply by charging most of my day to day expenses to my travel card.
I have about 1900 old posts on this site that are basically just categorized as “Journal” and so aren’t really getting much traffic. Most of them are dribble from the early years when I used to post online, but I’d say about 100 of them are still relevant. So my goal is to reclassify and update those articles over the next month since right now Google isn’t even indexing them.
So my goal over this next month is really to build traffic and continue doing what I’m doing. So while my ultimate goal is to make at least $500 per month from this website, I’m hoping to get up to $400 for next month.