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How I Started Making $3,000 a Month Blogging About Travel

This guest post is by Marcello Arrambide of wanderingtrader.com.

It has been about one full year since I started blogging about travel, and I have started to generate $3,000 or more a month via my travel blogs.

My very first post was published on May, 4th, 2010, and it was nothing but grammar mistakes and partaking in an activity that I really don’t enjoy: writing. I’m telling you this because even though I am a horrible writer, English os not my first language, and I need other people to proofread my work, I’m proof that you really don’t have to be the best at something in order to do make money via your blog. I have started to make at least $3,000 a month via my main travel blog, wanderingtrader.com.

Initially, I started my blog to capture traffic for a day trading business that I was running. I wanted to get more people interested in day trading and, well, get more sales. What it turned into was my own personal travel blog about my passion for travel, and tips about day trading and travel. My whole blogging strategy is based on exposure; you might have read my post about focusing on quantity of traffic instead of quality when you first start out.

There are a million posts on ProBlogger about making money blogging online and frankly almost everyone online makes money the same way. It seems there aren’t very many new ways that bloggers can make money from blogs. Darren wrote a great post on how bloggers make money from blogs if you are interested in learning your different options.

Instead of talking about ways to make money blogging I’m going to share how I managed to start making $3,000 a month via my travel blog in less than a year. I consider it ten months, really, since I took two months off when I got extremely frustrated by a small change in my blog design that crippled the traffic to my main blog. The list below is what I started focusing on, in order of importance.

Exposure

There are some instances where you find advertisers, but for the most part advertisers find you.

Once you have the right criteria you are eligible for a range of money making options with your blog. The most important thing is getting your name out there. You want to try to focus on guest posts, SEO, and getting on every single blog list that’s related to your niche. The more people who see your blog, the more likely it’ll be that advertisers will find you as well. Below are some examples of the travel-related lists that my blogs are listed on on.

Creating authority

By working on exposure, authority will come naturally. You want to be careful how quickly you build your authority online, because you can’t become an expert in your niche if you only launched your website yesterday.

Creating solid authority for yourself, and advertisers will know that you have a website that is both legitimate and powerful in the niche you’re covering. If you achieve enough exposure, and have good authority, then you may be considered for things like a press trip. That’s a bonus that might be restricted to the travel niche, but you get the idea.

How we measure authority is something of a debatable issue, since most of the lists on the web have some kind of limitation. Either way, when I have asked people specifically about this they have repeatedly given me the same information:

Sticking with it

As I explained earlier, there was a time when I got extremely frustrated and just gave up. A redesign to my blog caused me to take a giant hit from Google, and I was extremely annoyed. I just gave up!

If I didn’t take that two- or three-month break, I might have been on my way to making double what I make now. The tactics I’ve outlined so far helped me in the very first month that I started to make money with the blog. I’ve now nearly doubled my income using the strategies I’ll share below.

Getting in with the Rat Pack

When you get started blogging, you have to understand that you are the new kid on the block. There are people I know personally who have been blogging for five to ten years, and I call these people the Rat Pack. They’re the cool kids on the block that you want to get to know and work with.

How did you feel when you met that new kid in your class back in school? The way for them to succeed was to avoid being pushy or asking for too much. They had to be part of the community.

I made the new-kid mistake of approaching people the wrong way, and asking for things I shouldn’t have. Luckily I had a few bloggers point me in the right direction, and that allowed me to get to where I am today. Be engaging, but not demanding. Be interested, but not needy. It’s all about being part of the community and not trying to force your way into the cool kids’ group.

By interacting with the Rat Pack, you’ll open yourself to an extensive group of people who already know how things work and can share best practices. Since these people already have exposure, that may allow you to take a shortcut when you are ready to start making money with your blog. By talking to other bloggers in the field, I went from zero advertisers to having a list of over 60. Use the tools above for exposure and authority to find the Rat Pack in your niche.

Outsourcing what you can

I’m busy, the guy at Mcdonald’s is busy, your kids are busy. I get it, you’re busy. When I first started blogging I was running a day trading business, traveling around the world, day trading, and running my blog. How did I handle all of this? I hired help. I found what now is a team of employees overseas that I pay to do a lot of the admin and back-office work for me.

The old adage is really true: it takes money to make money. While you may not have hundreds or thousands of dollars to invest in getting someone to help you, you may be able to afford, say, $100 a month. Understand that your time is money. By outsourcing mundane tasks—even if it’s just a few hours’ work a week—you will free up your time to do more important things, like creating quality content and thinking of better ways to make money with your blog.

The one goal I had for my blog was to break even. Any business or blog that you create should at least break even. You’re not going to be doing something for very long if you keep losing money. I pay a team of two people a total of $510 a month for roughly 45-50 hours a week of work. Just imagine the things I can accomplish during that timeframe!

Are you making money yet?

After you have successfully started making money with one site, you can continue on to other ventures to increase your income and your online empire.

Think about expanding to other niches online. My main niche is travel which is absolutely massive. I now am branching out to my other passion, which is day trading. I have started an Online Day Trading Academy to help others, and now I can blog about day trading and travel across two sites, which will significantly increase my exposure online.

What about you? Are you making money from your blog yet? Which of these strategies do you use?

Day Trading from 8 different countries Marcello Arrambide has begun to chronicle his travels around the world on his Wandering Trader Travel Blogs site. He has traveled to over 40 countries in his lifetime and is currently exploring South America. You can find out more about Marcello on his Facebook Page or RSS.

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Comments

  1. Great post you have here. I think I really need to begin outsourcing soon. There are so many things I have to do, and so little time to do it! I have to review my strategies though. My travel blog is 2 years old and I’m earning nowhere near $3000, not even 10% of it. LOL Need to read more posts here :D

  2. Rus Dawson says:

    Thanks Marcello for sharing!! Very usefull information!! Take care!

  3. Garold says:

    You Are Really Getting A Good Income And i am Really of You Inspired of You Thanks For Sharing This With Us !

  4. Great post Marcello! Good content and persistence in driving traffic will bring better business to bloggers. I absolutely agree with your 5 points above, specially learn from experience blogger ( in your term Rat Pack) interesting term :). Thanks for sharing, it’s help me working on my new website for food niche.

    • marcello says:

      Your Welcome Rammesh.. thats one of the things that really helped me out in the beginning is having people that were experts help guide me along the way

  5. Thanks for the links to the top travel bloggers. I just started blogging a few months ago, but I just checked my Alexa score and it is below 100,000 for the US (where I’m based)!

    • marcello says:

      You want the entire alexa score to be under 100,000 not just in the US. For US, I would say you want something under 50,000

  6. James Greg says:

    “The old adage is really true: it takes money to make money.” Totally agreed, and one man cannot accomplish all by himself. The idea to outsource work is really beneficial, time is money and if you think you can do better in that time which is consumed by less paying tasks then its better to outsource. Really a business or a blog should accomplish one thin and that is at least break even to survive.

  7. jorge jacobo says:

    This was a great post, I mean Great! I haven’t vising PB for weeks but this got me hooked again.
    I have been bloggin for about 10 months. Not much luck! A couple of bucks in profit. I am going to keep working at it hopefully soon I will be making those 3000 dollars a month.

    • marcello says:

      I got discouraged at one point also.. but I kept with it and now am expanding my online presence. After you get something going you can start to look into other niches like I am now :-)

  8. Tom Ewer says:

    Great post Marcello. It is always inspiring to hear of the success of others. Whilst I am relatively new to blogging, I agree with your points. To me, exposure, and building relationships with the right people, is key to success.

  9. Stuart says:

    And how are you actually making the money?

    Your wandering site says you offer:

    Text Links – Home and post specific
    Sponsored Posts
    Gust Posts
    Banners
    Press Trips
    Reviews
    Contests

    What is the breakdown on which of these are actually bringing in the dollars and what you have to do to get it?

    • marcello says:

      Hey Stuart.. this post wasn’t mean to describe exactly how I am making money off the site. There are a ton of resources here on problogger where you can learn exactly how to make money. What I wanted to expose in this post is the steps that I took to get there. To answer your question specifically I make money off the site by everything you listed above

      • SVV says:

        These are my questions too. Every time (and I mean EVERY TIME) I read a blog post like this about making money by travel blogging the same answers appear in the body of the post. There is never a specific breakdown of which bring in the money.

        Marcello, why isn’t this meant to describe exactly HOW you’re doing it? Isn’t that the title of this post? Seems a little boondoggle-ish to me. And maybe a little self-reinforcing by driving would-be money-seekers to your blog.

        • marcello says:

          I actually dont agree.. the title of the post wasn’t How I make 3k a month.. its how I started making that much. There are plenty of posts on problogger that describe how bloggers make money with their blogs. Its not necessary to break down exactly how it is done because its the same for everyone. Whether you make 5000 with affiliate sales or 5000 with direct advertising its all relative. The post above is the process of how I started making $3,000 a month.. not exactly how I make it

  10. Judit Paton says:

    Great article and it is so refreshing that somebody, who obviously is hard and smart working, does not slap us in the face with the milions what he makes, while blogging. your story sounds totally credible and i love it.

    • marcello says:

      Thanks so much Judit! I was trying to think of the process of how to get there rather than just say Hey I make money! I think its more important to try and help other people get there.. let me know if you have any other questions :-)

  11. John says:

    Great Tips Marcello. Travel Blogs are definitely one of the best business online and I plan to create one very soon ;) A hard thing about outsourcing is to find the good providers which is not easy and very time consuming in market place like elance. Bon voyage !

  12. Great post, its good to hear other people being successful and making money, keep it up.

  13. Siju George says:

    When I started blogging, I faced two issues. One is about creating quality content and the second issue is about creating an authority. By investing time for more research and studies I overcome the lack of topics to write but the authority was still an issue. Hopefully many blogging communities helped me a lot to get regular readers. Now I am on the way to build my second blog in travel niche.

  14. This is crazy, congrats on being able to succeed in the rather difficult travel niche!

  15. flymyself says:

    I own a travel blog myself, and I hope I can earn 3k/mo in which I now are only earning 4$ from google ad sense T.T

    • marcello says:

      You need a lot of traffic for google adsense.. and also good placement. One thing that you can try is to experiment with different sizes and types of adsense to get your going.. I made some tweeks this month and started making $150 a month just off adsense

  16. Hi Marcello,

    This is inspiring and encouraging.

    One question. HOW is the money coming in? Is it all advertising? Would love a follow-up post with the step-by-step explanation of how you developed which sources of income. Thanks.

    • marcello says:

      Its all advertising.. as I reply to you know I am on a press trip to Israel that the israeli govt invited me too. Advertisers will find you, dont go looking for them

  17. Stuart says:

    Lots of people posting ‘You’re wonderful!” comments to get links back to their websites here, but no actual clarification on the core topic.

    This doesn’t actually answer “How I started Making $3000 a month”.

    It answers “How I started to blog about travel” which is considerably less interesting.

    Are you making $3000 every month? Or just one month?

    And further to my comment above, what is it that is actually producing the money specifically?

    Without that information this is just a rambling blog post that says you post content about travel.

    Good for you.

    But where’s the money?

    • marcello says:

      Stuart I think the topic is relavent to the content… I can’t really write a book about exactly what you should do. This is an outline that I used to start making money with my travel blog. This isn’t why I started blogging about travel.. you will see above an outline of what steps you need to make money with your blog. I am making well over 5,000 a month now across 2 sites. I don’t think its important to talk about exactly how I am making the money because that isn’t relevant to the topic. There are plenty of resources here on the site where you can find out exactly how to make money from a site online. Its not about me proving how much I make or exactly how I get it, its somewhat of an outline of what you should do to start making money with your blog

  18. Great post Marcello, lot of good tips and ideas that are not very difficult to implement if you stick to them with discipline and hard work. In order to get more traffic to your blog you definitely need to do a very hard work, but it seems that´s not enough, I guess you need the hard work and the smart way to do it as well, and the examples and explanations you give in your post are very helpful. Keep up the good work!

  19. Adrian B. says:

    THIS definitely is the kind of article that every “new kid on the block” should read carefully and follow the tips listed within.
    God job, Marcello, and thanks for sharing!

  20. BoozeMonkey says:

    Clearly you’re doing something right: travel writing is such a crowded niche.

    I’d be interested to know what the heinous Google crime was which got you punished so severely.

    • marcello says:

      Wasn’t a google crime.. I just changed some design on the site which affected the post and page urls which affected my traffic. Always have to stay on google’s good side ;-)

  21. D.J.Rony says:

    Ok, this seems more of an inspirational article than informational. though I love the way you increased sales to your business. But I thought you would give some solid points where bloggers (New Kid) would stand.

  22. Nick Daws says:

    Interesting article, but just saying you use the monetization methods described on Problogger seems a cop-out to me. I would love to have seen which methods worked best for you and were responsible for the $3000 a month earnings mentioned in the headline.

    • marcello says:

      Hey Nick.. this is an outline of how to get there. Not a “how I make money on my site post”. I felt that this would be more helpful to people since there are so many posts on this site about the topic you described, exactly how to make money withe blog.

  23. Melvin says:

    I love the idea of outsourcing. And also if you want to earn money, you also have to spend some. Thanks for this great post!

    Cheers!
    - Melvin

  24. Very inspiring post Marcello, thanks for sharing your path to success.

  25. Hey Marcello! Truly amazing article! I congratulate you on your success and continued success. Great luck on your 2nd day trading blog although I’m sure you will not need it 8)

  26. Simon says:

    I’ll have to agree with Stuart here.

    How are you making money? By selling text links? I see nothing else on your site but seo related text links.

    If this how you are doing it, then this is more a marketing ploy than anything else.

    • marcello says:

      Simon… every blogger makes money exactly the same way. There are plenty of posts here on problogger that will describe the avenues you can take. I didn’t write about exactly how I make the money because there are so many posts on this site about it

  27. Dai says:

    I think a lot of you are missing the point – it doesn’t matter if he said “TextLinks make me the most money, followed by Google Adsense, followed by Paid Reviews”, because he’s explaining how to get your blog into the POSITION to make money. I can throw a ‘travel’ blog up tomorrow with text links, Adsense, and form for people to pay me to do paid reviews, but if no one is visiting and don’t have any real authority for doing the reviews, you’re not going to magically make money somehow.

    In other words, it took him ten months to build, tweak, and gain authority, which in turn drives making an income. Not putting up a site crammed full of ads one night and waking up to $3000/month. The exact sources of income don’t matter if you DO NOT HAVE AN AUDIENCE AND THE AUTHORITY.

    If all you want is a “magic bullet train to internet riches”, you’re not going to get it out of this post.

  28. marcello says:

    Hey Dai I couldn’t have said it better myself. I think with the influence of culture around the world people are just looking for a quick way to make money rather than learning exactly how to do it and keep doing it

  29. thuc says:

    Thanks for this detailed post. I do have a question though. What is better, Alexa or Google Page Ranker? My blog’s Alexa Ranking is 1.9 million but a Google Page Rank of only 1. Whereas my friends blog is 4.2 million on Alexa but a Google Page Rank of 3. Any insights?

  30. marcello says:

    Thuc: The most important thing is google page rank by far.. alexa is a way of showing advertisers part of authority in terms of traffic. Most advertisers look at google page rank first

  31. Annie says:

    Marcello, I have kept a family blog for a couple of years and am just now pondering expanding my blogging horizons a bit. We are preparing to embark on a year-long adventure in Australia while my husband participates in a teacher exchange program, and we’ll be doing quite a lot of road-tripping as we explore the continent. I’m clearly a blank slate here, but are there possible opportunities for free accommodation/activities in exchange for creating blog content if I am able to establish myself with a good reputation as, say, a family travel blogger? I’m open to any thoughts/advice you may have; thanks!

    • marcello says:

      Annie.. it doesn’t matter that you are a blogger. It matters that you are traveling to a place that wants exposure and you have an audience. I recently just came back from a safari camp here In Zambia that gave me a $200 package of walking with Lions and Cheetahs for 100% free… all because I was able to speak with the manager and let them know exactly what I could do for them. Look professional, make business cards, and make a good presentation. You may get rejected more than accepted but it only takes one person to accept it to make it worth it

  32. Shonda says:

    Thank you for this post. It is the most comprehensive I have found so far. My first blog post was 11/28/2010 and honestly I had no idea the marketing aspect of it and I changed the focus of my blog as I defined my goals more and more.

    Now after learning the marketing side and honing in on my chosen specialty – family travel – I revisited everything told to me 10 months ago… only I was not ready to understand it. Now I do and just within the last week I have begun to implement those basic steps I learned so long ago, yet had to clue what they meant. This post reinforces everything I learned… thank you.

  33. Marcello says:

    your welcome :-)