How travel blogging can become a revenue generator
I am a travel story writer cum teller and wanted to share an interesting case study with you on blog monetization.
This article will share with you some of my learnings as a travel story writer/ blogger. It will also talk about my content strategy, blog monetization tactics and the new things that I am planning to launch to make my travel blog earn more.
It all started in 2012
I can still remember that hot afternoon of May 2012 when I was sitting in a cafe and sipping cold coffee. The laptop was still open and I had just finished reading an amazing article on blogging. Inspired,bthat article, I signed myself up on WordPress and here I was furiously typing a badly composed article on The Most Haunted Place in Delhi.
Over with this article, I was on top of the world-yay, I am now a blogger!
Over the next few months, I wrote a few more articles , all of them related to travel stories. Since I was a newbie, I did not know about the basics of blogging, meta-descriptions, keywords, tags and other high falutin words.
In 2012, I got just 12 views and 11 visitors! Actually, I did not care about these stats because, blogging for me was just a fad.
In 2013, the figures went up to 152 views. Number of posts written- 15.
In 2014, I wrote just one article, The 7.42 AM Metro..., but the total views I generated was a little more than 3 k.
This set me wondering . Swayam Tiwari, I thought to myself, if you can get this kind of result with so less an effort, what all can you achieve if you became more focussed and determined ?
Folks, let me share with you this- I had taken up a subdoman on WordPress and this was probably the reason why I was getting decently good traffic despite writing very few posts.
The July of 2015
Till July of 2015, I was not very serious about blogging and used to write whatever I felt was right for my own consumption. Readership was not my objective. Terms like DA, search rankings, Adsense etc. were all greek for me till some thing happened to me in 2015 July.
One day, I got a Twitter DM from a girl, Shraddha Gupta. She asked me whether I was interested in a week long, all expenses paid trip of an Indian state? The idea was to promote this tourist destination.
Why not, I asked and after a fortninght, I was put on a flight to the capital of this state. Did I enjoy the experience, yes, yes and yes..After all, who wouldn't in this kind of a situation!
This assignment actually set me thinking on how to take by travel story writing to the next level.
Back from this journey, I finally bought a domain for myself from one of the domain providers and made a pledge to myself to be more focussed.
Why should you buy your own domain?
1. You are seen as a credible blogger.
2.You can integrate Google Analytics to your account to get real information on your traffic.
3. Traffic is more organic and not directed by WordPress.
4. You can control the theme and appearance of your blog easily.
5. Lastly, you can monetize your blog by inserting ads if your Adsense account is approved by Google.
While I have my own domain from 2015 December onwards, let me confess, my traffic stats have been indifferent. I had imagined that my stats would shoot up on their own, but I was disppointed.
Improving traffic on my blog
I did the following things;
1. Wrote lots and lots of content. In 2015, I wrote 74 posts, in '16 it was 68 while in 2016, the number of articles was just 15. Is this number good enough considering that the average word count is 1000 per article?
2. Content strategy wise, I have stuck to writing stories on Indian travel destinations. I don't write about destinations, per se. That is the domain of sites like Lonely Planet and other travel bloggers. I write untold stories and events that happened around those destinations. That is why my domain is named www.ahauntedtravel.com . My site is a niche in the sense that it is all about stories that encourage the traveller to go to unknown places in India and enjoy the destination.
3. No doubt, search engines are my biggest friends when it comes to traffic but there is no harm in trying out Flipboard, StumbleUpon , Tumblr and other user-generated portals. In fact, I got a lot of traffic from Flipboard this April of 2017. Please have a look at the accompanying graph.
Flipboard is a decent alternative to Pinterest and if you want to read how Flipboard helps in getting lots of traffic, please read this article.
4. Though most of you know it already, I inserted a lot of videos and images in some of my blog posts. Inserting videos can improve traffic to your YouTube channel and that itself opens up yet another revenue opportunity.
But did all this help me in getting traffic? No. My cumulative traffic is still under 33k and I am not happy about this. Since I was here to monetize my travel writings, I had to do some innovations!
To get some decent money, I converted some of my travel writings into e-books. And sure enough, there was a good sale of these electronic books that contained Indian travel stories.
It is very easy to write and E-book. All you have to do is convert your word file to a document that can be easily read by an E-book reader. However, not every E-book can generate sales, so you will have to write the right keywords in the introduction to your E-books. Here is one book that I wrote, 'India Travel Posts' .
Becoming a Travel Story Teller
When you are an entrepreneur, then you are always experimenting.
All the time. Continuously.
And this is what I did when I enrolled myself in Tripadvisor as a Heritage Walk specialist. My application was accepted on the basis of my web content and after a few days later, I was conducting trips and heritage walks in Delhi. Sure, it does fetch money and I am happy about it. Since most of my clients are from the United States and Europe, they give me good money as subscriber fees.
Another by-product of my travel writings is me turning into a content writer. Since I have worked in various positions in Marketing and General Management, I often get writing assignments from website owners, students, and other travel bloggers.
There is no single strategy to earn money if you are a travel writer. Experiment with different ideas and learn every day. Don't stick to just one plan. You must have Pan A, B, C etc.
Above all, share your learnings with fellow humans and you will be surprised how much the Universe will love you back.