I began my “travel blogging career” as a freelance writer in 2010, since then I have written a 250 page ebook, and am now a professional travel blogger – making a living from my blog. I began my blog in 2012 and have been on the road since then. My blog started as a way of keeping friends and family up to date with my travels, a year later I had the idea of a one-stop shop for solo female travellers and have since tried to make the site into more of a travel resource website than just about my adventures.
My niche is solo female travel and since 2014 I have based myself in Colombia each year for 6 months then travelled from there exploring Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Doing it this way gives me enough content for the next six month’s worth of blog posts so I can stay still and write everything up. Being a travel blogger does take discipline. In the past I used to have days when I couldn’t write anything, since then I have trained myself to write for at least 30 minutes every morning to get the creative juices flowing. It’s also important to take 2 days off a week too so you don’t burn yourself out.
As well as blogging about my adventures, I also add factual information to the site so I always have so many ideas for content. This is one of the keys to travel blogging – adding regular content and finding different angles. My blog is made up of destination guides, blog posts and a few other sections including stories from other women who have travelled solo. Here are my tips for how to make money as a blogger.
The majority of my earnings come from sponsored posts. I regularly get contacted by companies wanting to include a link to their company within an established post which is already on the website or a new post. Obviously I make sure that the content is relevant to solo female travellers and aligned to the ethos of the site. A sponsored link usually stays on the site for 12 months. Uploading your blog onto advertiser’s platforms helps. I have my details on these sites: getreviewed.org, buzzoole.com, typethehype, brandreward plus a few others.
A good tip here is to build a relationship with the companies. I have a good relationship with a core number of people who I write to every few months to put myself back on their radar and ask if they have any other sponsored posts.
Affiliate links are a great way of earning revenue. Basically, if someone clicks on them and buys the product then I earn a small percentage of what they pay. E.g. if someone buys the insurance I recommend, I earn 5% which isn’t bad for just a link on the site. The biggest tip here is to put them in your most popular posts (along as the topic is related). I have tens of links on my site and there are only a handful of companies which people seem to book, but nonetheless they are still a way of generating money.
Two years ago I spent 7 months writing A Female Guide to Solo Travel and I’m so proud to say that it is the most comprehensive guide book for women wanting to travel alone. The book is on Amazon Kindle and is also a paperback book on Ingramspark. Out of everything on my blogging journey this took the most learning including finding a proof-reader, getting the book cover designed and learning about the book platforms. This generates some passive income each month and I am working on marketing strategies to increase this revenue.
Getting Free Stuff
I have been really lucky and been on a few press trips in my time. In my first year of blogging I found myself on a press trip in Belize, a sailing trip in Croatia and a four day trip to the Faroe Islands. I really enjoy pitching tourist boards and companies and I think having a niche in solo female travel has helped me secure some great deals.
Paid Travel Writing
Although I have been lucky enough to have some of my work published in top publications, it is not guaranteed work and as a freelancer, you have to be constantly pitching topical articles to publications to get work but when you do get work it’s an amazing feeling to see your article and byline (your name) within a magazine. Having a portfolio of your writing I believe is essential for pitching stories – this is where your travel blog can come in. Make sure your Linked In Profile is up to date too.
Learning and Connecting
I am still learning and I think it’s really important to belong to blogger’s communities to be able to ask and give advice to other bloggers.
In the beginning I spent months not really knowing what I was doing. I just kept writing about my travels and knew hardly anything about SEO, guest posting, back-links etc. One huge piece of advice that I wish I had known when I started was – to learn from the experts. Since then I have become a member of two blogging platforms: Learn to Blog, and Travel Blog Success. The course and also the Facebook group has helped me immensely.
Blogging can be hard work but if you love travel and you love writing about it, go for it. My advice is to find a niche that you absolutely love because it will take hours of your time and is practically a full-time job in itself. When I was working at my office job I never dreamed that I could be travelling the world and getting paid to write about my adventures. Four years later I am definitely in my dream job. I can choose my own hours, use planning my trips as content for blog posts and travel wherever takes my fancy. The only downside is that each holiday now feels like work 🙂