Or thinking “shop window” rather than “advertising platform”.
Reasons for starting a travel blog
People start up blogs about travel for many different reasons. Some want to share their travel experiences with the world, some blatantly can’t find anyone to pay for their witterings and thus put it online so that it can be read by two men and a particularly bored dog.
Blogs of professional travel writers
Of the professional travel writers that keep a blog, they generally fall into two categories. Some are excellent travel writers that like a space to share their thoughts on things, and aren’t trying to make money from it. An excellent example is that of Lara Dunston’s Cool Travel Guide – she’s a writer I have a huge amount of respect for, and she uses her blog as both a vent and an opportunity to draw attention to things that editors don’t necessarily go for.
Others (such as Traveling Mamas) are clearly commercial enterprises – the purpose is to make money through advertising, affiliates etc.
Monetising a travel blog
I am the wrong person to ask about monetising a blog. This blog makes me a laughably feeble amount of money, and this is the nature of the beast. Regular subscribers to a blog are the ones that are least likely to click on advertising – they come for the read.
Travel planning equals clicking and booking
To make money from a website, it is best to put together a comprehensive travel planning site – the visitors to such a site will be looking for specific information and to book things. They’re far more likely to go to a couple of pages then click through on an advert.
Who is the reader?
A travel blog is highly unlikely to give a significant return in this way. But the key thing is not where the reader goes afterwards, but who the reader is.
Contact from editors
In the last week, I have been contacted by two editors who read this blog. Both have offered me some work (and some rather interesting work at that). I also happen to know that a couple of other editors I have not worked for read it – they have contacted me and told me. Alas, one doesn’t have a freelance budget and the other works in a field that I know nothing about. Even so, it can only be good news.
Shop window rather than advertising revenue
And this is why I have come to realise the real value of having a travel blog. It’s not about getting the traffic or advertising revenue - although that’s certainly a nice bonus if your readers are so inclined – it’s about giving yourself a shop window. And if people like what they see in that shop window, they may just come and ask you what’s for sale.