Last year, I quit my online jobs and decided to become a full-time travel blogger. I was earning a decent amount of money, enough to cover my monthly expenses and savings for my travel fund so I thought why not make it a full-time commitment. And so, I did. Everything went smoothly until COVID-19 happen. It changed everything. Travel is one of the most affected industries. Earnings have dropped significantly but fortunately, I still get enough to survive.
I know it is not a good time to start a travel blog now because of the current pandemic but these tips and tricks I am going to tell you can be applied to other niches as well. You don’t have to focus on the travel niche. You can start a blog about anything that you are passionate about. Start a food blog, a gardening blog, or anything you have in mind. The most important aspect is you are passionate about the topic you are writing about.
How To Make Money Blogging?
There are different ways you can earn from blogging but the key is you should have unique and interesting content so people will visit your site. Yes, content is still king. No matter what you do if your content isn’t interesting enough, nobody will visit your blog. No visitor, no revenue. As simple as that.
Also, learn a little bit about search engine optimization (SEO) so you get organic visitors from google searches.
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So let’s assume that you already have written several interesting blog posts, these are the ways you can earn from blogging. Let me point out that this may sound easy, but it isn’t. I am giving you an idea of where to start but it will still depend on you if you’re going to succeed or not. I always tell newbies to focus on their content first and slowly monetize after getting organic visitors.
One of the best ways to earn from blogging is by adding Google Adsense to your blog. It’s basically an ad network program run by Google where publishers can submit their site to be added to the network and allow advertisers to bid to display ads. The ads that will appear in your blog are controlled by Google although you have an option to block certain ads.
In order to get accepted to the Google Adsense program, your blog must have at least 30 unique pages and about 3 months old with a good amount of traffic (unique visitors). It takes around a week or sometimes less or more so you will have to wait for an approval or rejection email. Once approved, you can start serving ads to your website.
Google will send you a PIN to verify your address and identity. So, you will not be able to receive payment not unless you are verified.
The minimum payout for Google Adsense is USD100, so if you earn less in a month, it will be carried forward to the next month. Once you reach the threshold, Google will send you your earnings on the 21st of the month via Bank Transfer or Check Payment. Google has stopped processing Western Union payments for new users and old users will only have until the end of 2020 to use WU as a payment method.
The second way to earn from blogging is by joining affiliate programs relevant to your niche. As a travel blogger, I joined different affiliate programs from lifestyle, food, and travel companies. These are the affiliate programs I currently have on my blog that are proven to work.
Joining an affiliate program is FREE and your readers do NOT pay additional fee to book through your affiliate links.
Prior to the pandemic, Agoda was one of the best affiliate programs I have on my travel blog. Unfortunately due to the restrictions, only a handful of people now are booking hotels and accommodations. But, as soon as this is over, I am pretty sure that people will go back to traveling again and hotel bookings will be back to normal. When? That we do not know.
If you have a travel and lifestyle blog, try adding links to the hotel or accommodation you have mentioned in your blog post. Who knows, a reader might book a room using your affiliate link. Agoda is popular in Asia.
The minimum payout rate for Agoda is USD200. The commission rate is 4% for 1-50 bookings and it increases when you get more bookings.
Booking.com is a sister company of Agoda widely used in Europe. Some hotels that are not listed in Agoda are listed in Booking.com so I use it as an additional affiliate program for hotels.
Booking.com also offers an affiliate program for car rentals which you may also add in your blog post especially if you are writing a travel guide.
The minimum payout rate is Euro 100.
Airbnb Associate Program / Airbnb Referral Program
Last year, Airbnb introduced its new associate program where content creators and publishers can use to earn commission.
Airbnb only offers a referral program before so there’s no cash involved. The referral program can earn you credits which you can use to book a property. Associate program, on the other hand, offers cash commission and paid via Paypal or other means.
There is no mimimum payout if you choose Paypal. Other payment methods require minimum payout.
I joined the BookAway Affiliate Program earlier this year since they offer a better commission rate when it comes to transportation booking – flights, bus, and ferry. So far, so good as they have a huge network across Asia, Europe, South America, and in other parts of the world.
12Go Asia is the first affiliate program I used for ticket bookings. It offers a good commission rate and it has a good reputation, especially in Southeast Asia. It also has a large network in the Philippines so if you write about tourist destinations in the country, you may join their affiliate program and add links to your blog post and encourage your readers to book their tickets online.
The minum payout rate is THB300 (around P500) and will be sent to your Paypal account.
Again, before the pandemic, the Klook affiliate program was one of the most profitable programs for travel bloggers. I myself was able to earn quite a good amount of money for Klook activity booked via Escape Manila Travel Blog. It works well if you are writing travel guides and travel itineraries. You can encourage your readers to book an activity using your link at no extra cost to them.
The minimum payout rate has increased from USD20 to USD50 (around P2,500) and can be sent to your Paypal account.
Involve Asia has a low commission rate but it has a high conversion rate especially if your blog post is relevant to the product that you are promoting. For instance, I wrote a post about the best Baguio pasalubong you can buy online and it’s really doing well in terms of conversion.
The minimum payout is MYR400 (around P5,000).
Sponsored Posts / Links
From time to time, there will be companies that will send you proposals for sponsored content. You can set a price depending on your web traffic, domain and page authority, and other factors. Some will also ask you to add their links to your old post. Just make sure that the link is relevant to your niche and it’s not from a gambling or other restricted site.
Paid Collaborations and Partnerships
If you have position yourself as an influencer in the niche that you’re in, you will have a chance to receive paid collaborations and partnerships from companies that are related to your niche. This can be a form of writing a blog post about their product or services, social media promotions, or a mix of both.
You may also be invited for familiarization trips. During fam trips, your transportation cost, hotel accommodation, and meals are shouldered by your host in exchange for writing about their products or services. Some companies and entities may also provide you with a stipend. Fam trips are usually organized by tourism authorities, travel agencies, airline companies, and hotels.
Glen Nomad is a travel blogger and the founder of Escape Manila. He has visited all the 81 provinces in the Philippines and has explored 30 countries across Asia, Latin America, East Africa, and Australia. Follow him on IG at @escapemanila