I’m sitting in a hotel room on the stunning island of Tobago. I pull back the curtains, and sunlight floods my room—it’s a perfect day. From my window, the ocean’s blue competes with the immaculately manicured gardens for my attention.
I’ll spend my day taking a glass bottom boat tour over Buccoo Reef and splashing around in the Nylon Pool, a shallow slice of water just a couple of feet deep in the middle of the ocean. Later, I’ll eat a late lunch on my beach chair, work on my tan, and watch the sun set on the perfectly calm waters.
Just a typical day at the “office.”
It’s hard to believe, but the travel blog I first started in 2007 as a way to keep my family, friends and co-workers updated now nets me at least $1,000 a month, allowing me to travel and spend time in amazing places all over the world. Just in the last year, I’ve been to Colombia, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, and my next stop may be Mexico or Argentina… I haven’t decided yet.
I first started blogging four years ago. At first, I treated my blog as a diary, uploading the occasional photo and writing about my day-to-day life in New Zealand. After eight months there, I went to Australia. Money was tight and when my domain and hosting plan came up for renewal at a cost of $70, I let the blog go.
But after traveling around Southeast Asia and taking a quick trip to Italy, I decided to start up a blog again. With a couple of years of travel under my belt, I felt I had a lot to offer the world.
I never really considered monetizing my blog until the first advertiser contacted me. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I knew nothing about blog advertising and accepted a sucker’s rate that’s four times less than what I charge now. I’ve realized over time just how lucrative blogging can be. By putting in the time and effort it can more than pay for my travels. Here are some tips to getting started.
Research: I won’t deny it—blogging is easiest for a web-savvy writer. However, if you have your computer-challenged heart set on making your mark (and money) in cyberspace, it is possible. Start by spending several hours familiarizing yourself with “Google” vocabulary and strategy. You’ll want to find out about SEO (search engine optimization), link-building techniques, WordPress, and PR (that stands for page rank).
Find a Niche: The travel-blogging community is saturated. However, all of us offer a little something special and cater to a certain audience. Are you traveling with a family? Are you a retired couple living off of social security or a pension? Maybe you enjoy hiking, local cuisine, or birding? Whatever your interests or travel style may be, there’s a niche for that. Choosing a smaller niche will improve your chances of attracting a dedicated audience and advertisers, as well as establishing your voice on the Internet.
Headlines can Make or Break your Article: Which article would you click on: Shopping in Guadalajara or 5 Secret Spots to Buy Cheap Souvenirs in Guadalajara? Even if you’re an amazing writer and produce extremely helpful content, no one will read it if the headline doesn’t grab their attention. Most Internet users spend mere seconds on each website they visit, so there is little time to make a good impression.
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