A question I often find in my inbox and see on travel blogging forums is, “how can I make money with my blog?” If a blog were a direct method of making money, everyone would have a blog. A blog is simply a medium; asking how to make money with it is like purchasing a new laptop and then asking the clerk at checkout how to develop your career around it.
A blogger needs to ask themselves, if they want to monetize their site, the right questions from the bottom up, not the reverse. Why should anyone give you money? This is the simplest question any business that stays in business regularly asks itself. If you’re not asking yourself why should anyone give you money you will fail at doing so. The reality is, even if you are asking that question, you may fail. But in the latter situation, the outcome is much more in your hands.
How Most People Go About Making Money From Travel Blogs
Whenever you earn a cent from your blog, the person or company sending you that money is paying you in exchange for something. Companies purchase text links to improve their search engine rankings, buy banner ads to promote their products to your audience, and donation buttons work because ultimately someone wants to help cover your costs (or travels) somehow. You are essentially monetizing an audience who happens to congregate on your travel blog (and by extension you and all of the places you hangout. Like Facebook.)
Keeping Your Content In Context
The quality of your content does not correlate to the amount of money a blog or other media format makes. (Which explains the success of reality television.) Generally the thinking behind ‘content is king’ is that good writing, photography, etc. will lead to a bigger audience. There is no guarantee that it will however (but producing an enticing formula for crap isn’t that easy either.)
Having an audience is only one broad layer of your monetizing strategy – you need to keep it in perspective to relevant websites on the Internet. How many people actually follow you? Why do they visit your site? What’s their demographic? How big is your audience to anyone who would pay money for it? Why would anyone want to give you money to communicate with the people following your blog?
Entertainment Vs. Problem Solving
So as you wander down the rabbit hole instead of staring at what comes out of it and happens to fall in your lap, you can take your monetizing logic one further step back. Why would an audience follow you in the first place? Most travel blogs and forms of media fall somewhere in between two pots – entertainment and problem solving. They can, of course, overlap (most of the best sites do) but people are exchanging their time with you for some gain. Maybe they like to laugh, get taken away on wild travel adventures, or learn the best ways to find cheap flights. How your audience grows will dictate how successful you are at being entertaining or useful and that audience may lead you indirectly to some income.
You may yet fail or succeed but you’ll be asking the right questions. Making money online is capitalism – the market dictates which bloggers make money and how – not communism where everyone makes something just for showing up. There are infinite roads from A to B; some lead to money, others are just you working for free. Now you’re thinking in the right direction. The rest is up to you.