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How I Started Making $5,000 a Month With My Travel Blog [Case Study]

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

It has now been just over two years when I entered the world of blogging and I have started to make roughly $5,000 a month with my travel blog blogs.

Blogs, with an “S” at the end—that is one of the main topics of this post. I started off with just one site and now have a slew of travel sites, branched out into other industries like finance with my Day Trading Academy, and have enlisted the help of others in order to maximize profits.

I have been sharing a series of posts on Problogger about how I have been able to churn out a consistent income since starting my blog in May of 2010. 

In this post I will be sharing how I started to maximize my profit from making around $3,000 a month, to making an average of $5,000 a month.

When I wrote the previous post about how I was making $3,000 I received many questions about exactly how I was making that amount money. I want to let you know that I am not here to tell you what to sell or how to sell it. I am explaining the process of how to position your blog to make money.

It’s not about what you sell if you never put your blog in a good position to sell it.

The most important thing is the process of how to get out there, because that is where most bloggers fall short.  If you are interested in learning exactly what bloggers are selling to make money, check out a great post written by Darren himself on how bloggers make money from blogs.

The business mindset

You know the old saying that “when it rains, it pours”? It started to rain at WanderingTrader and I wanted to figure out how to create a hurricane. Most of the people (travel bloggers) I have met started because they want to share their passion with the world. Well, one of my passions is to make money.

I started the WanderingTrader blog as a business, and then started to talk about my passions, day trading and travel. It isn’t about the money in reality, it’s about the act of making it. Competition, seeing what works—the entire business world fascinates me. The fact that money allows me to have my freedom is an even bigger motivator.

I started blogging because I wanted to bring traffic to a day trading company that I was a part of. WanderingTrader turned into my own personal travel blog and now it’s a fully fledged business. Even though my passion about travel hasn’t changed, I also knew that if I wanted to maximize my presence on the internet I needed to think like a business man, not a blogger.

Shortcuts

The most important thing about making money online is exposure, followed closely by authority.  If no one knows that you exist, how are you going to make any money in the first place?  Once I was able to solidify my site as a high-authority website that received sufficient amount of traffic, I was able to start making money with it.

Building a high authority site is no easy task. In the online world it takes time—lots of time. You have to build relationships, guest post on other sites, and find a niche for yourself in a crowded space. So when it came to creating a hurricane from the rain I had falling at WanderingTrader, I immediately thought about building exposure and authority.

Exposure is more difficult to achieve than authority, because you have to personally build that.  Yes you can pay for it, but in the end when you want something done well, you always end up having to do it yourself.  Authority however, is something that anyone can do.

I immediately considered the fact that I could buy a high authority site and start making money with it while I continued to build the exposure for that blog. I was onto something.

A numbers game

I already knew how to make money in the travel niche, so I continued in that same field. I thought, if I had two blogs to make money from instead of one, wouldn’t that double my income?

I was on the hunt for a high authority site that I could buy, and from which I could immediately recoup my investment.  I found a site that was listed as PR 5 and I immediately wanted to buy it.  I contacted a man that stated the owner wanted $1500 for the site, and replied by explaining that I would give him $1000 and not a penny more.

He gave me the classic salesman’s line: “I will present to the owner but I don’t think he will go that low.”

I bought a new, good authority, PR5 site the next day: ParamountTravel.com. I made $7,000 the first month pimping it out to every advertiser I could find. I made sure to add plenty of content to the site before I started speaking to advertisers, to ensure it looked as a high-authority site should.

But as luck would have it, I ended up treating Paramount Travel like a red-headed step-child: in the end, I only put new posts up when more advertisers contacted me. Even so, these days, when WanderingTrader receives an ad inquiry, I can double the sale by pitching ParamountTravel and WanderingTrader as a package rather than just selling ad space on WanderingTrader.

The numbers game on steroids

If I can make that much money with two travel blogs, why couldn’t I make more money with five or even ten travel blogs?

I bought a slew of domains and tried building the sites from scratch, myself.  Turns out there are only so many hours in the day and I never got the opportunity to build the sites’ exposure authority. I haven’t been managing the sites correctly, because life keeps getting in the way. I run a travel blog for a reason: I am currently living overseas in Brazil and am having a great time getting know the Brazilian people. I just finished a recent trip to my second to last country in South America, Peru, and am already making plans to visit Ecuador (the last).

The point of this story is that I set my goals too high. When you try to do everything yourself, you simply can’t get everything done.

Building partnerships

If I can’t build the websites myself, I thought, why not work with other people who want to make money with their blogs? This would allow me to not worry about the websites—I could simply do all the leg work to help build authority for the new sites.

This part of the process wasn’t just about making money, it was about helping others achieve their dreams through a joint venture. I would provide my expertise on the industry, and share their passion for travel. This solution seemed like it would work well on both ends, since I don’t have the time to run many other sites and I know many bloggers who want to break into the online industry.

I have a very good friends that only dream of doing what I am doing and want a little piece of the pie.  Most people want to hide the way they do things, but I consider the online world to be massive: there is enough cake for everyone.

So I made agreements with a few of my friends to help build their websites: I would help with the backend of everything, and they would create the content.  All advertising from the new websites would be split evenly, 50/50.  The great thing about this agreement is that I get exposure across more markets than just travel—there is a translator, a day trader, and single mom in the bunch. The sites we’re working on are:

Maximizing your results

If you are trying to make money online, I would highly recommend that you focus on one site in the beginning so you can get the hang of things. One blog is enough work, and it will take you some time to get adapted to running it.

Most advertisers will find you, and if you are creative enough you will find ways to make money by selling other things other than just what advertisers are interested in. 

Even though it costs money that you don’t have, look to invest in getting some help. Most people don’t value their time highly enough and can spend their time doing things that offer more value to a blog rather than spending time doing back-office work.

One last tip is to think out of the box: don’t just consider the regular process of building a blog and making money with it. If you do something different, people will pay attention.

Marcello Arrambide follows his passions around the world day trading & traveling  on his quest to visit every country in the world.  He has visited nearly 50 countries, lived in 10 countries across 4 continents, and also teaches people how to day trade in the markets when he travels.  You can find Marcello online on his Facebook Page and Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Brian Yang says:

    Wow that was such a nice read! Thanks for all your suggestions. This gives me the courage to invest try building a second blog for my business, but just like you said, I can’t do things alone so I have to find some people to help me and vice versa.

    • Brian if others can do it so can we, right? Though if you still want to own the other blogs then maybe you can try to outsource some of the things like content and linkbuilding.

      • The key is to pool your resources.. if you try to do everything yourself you aren’t going to get anywhere. If you pool your resources everyone can do what they are best at.

  2. Hey Marcello,

    Thanks for sharing your success story on making $5000 from travel blog, I want to ask that do you make that amount of money by selling something on your blog or just from Google Adsense?

  3. BsSniffer says:

    This post really reeks of BS. And what it may offer in terms of simplistic inspiration is overshadowed by pure lack of substance. Buy a domain, add some content and sell $7000 worth of ads? Thanks, but how about any detail at all (even links) about how to do any of those things? Come on Darren, after years of great posts I’m shocked that you would allow this kind of thin, self-promotional crap.

    • BsSniffer… I didn’t right this post to talk about in detail what I sold and every aspect of how I make money online. I was clear in the beginning of the article that this was not about what I sold and how I sold it. There are plenty of posts on this site that talk about that which I dont think is important. What is important is how to get to the point where you can make that amount of money. I clearly outlined in my previous posts about how to position your site to a point where you can make that kind of money.

      If you want to know what to sell on your site(s) I would recommend that you do more research. Darren has great resources on what to sell and how to sell it.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Well that sounds as a long way to go, but it is worth the effort. What worked best for you to get exposure? Greetings!

  5. Wang says:

    Buy a domain, add some content and sell $7000 worth of ads? Thanks, but how about any detail at all (even links) about how to do any of those things?

    • Wang – If you want to know what to sell and how to sell it there are plenty of resources on this site in order to do so. I would recommend you do some research of what to sell on your site as Darren has plenty of resources and posts on what you can sell and how to sell it. I wanted to talk about what post people don’t talk about and that’s how to position your site in order to make that kind of money which I have outlines in all my posts.

  6. Amanda says:

    So basically you bought a pr5 site and sold a bunch of text links. Now you are charging to show others. Maybe Panda isn’t so bad….

  7. Warren says:

    Very truthful, thanks Marcello :) I browse trough your site, it looks terrific!!! Thanks for such an inspiring post, just can’t stop reading it repeatly.

  8. Harry says:

    Wow, well done. Would love to be in your position, I’m just starting out, trying to find my niche and gain reputation.

    What would you say the most important thing a new blogger needs to focus on?

    Great article!

  9. Gene Miller says:

    I have a friend who quit their job and has been touring the world for a year. I’ll share this post with him when he returns. Seems like a fantastic idea!

  10. Workout says:

    I am skeptic about this articles. They say they make as much as 5000 a month blogging. I just don’t believe them. I am a webmaster and I do not make that amount, not even in my dreams lol or maybe I am doing something seriously wrong!

    • Workout – it started off very slow for me and I always wondered why it was taking me so long to make any money with my site. It started off with only a few hundred dollars a month and once the authority and readership exploded I started to make much more money. It wasn’t until I started running multiple sites that I would make that kind of money but I will be honest it isn’t easy.

  11. 2dayswoman says:

    I really loved reading this post. To me this post was all about thinking outside of the ‘blogging square’ , at the end of the day it’s about doing something different to stand out in the blogging world.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Marcello, really helpful and exactly what I needed to read.

  12. Ferb says:

    That’s great, another methods I learn from making a living. All you have to do is buy domain, build content and sell it, such a great way to make money, thanks Marcello.

  13. J. Delancy says:

    I agree with some of the other comments. This post does feel sketchy, maybe because of the way it is written. Mr. Rowse did a seminar several weeks ago in which he explained how to make money as a blogger and his ideas are included in this post.

    • I felt it was important to not specifically talk about making money blogging because there are plenty of resources on that.. the posts I have written for the site try to outline the process of how to build your site in order to be able to sell those different products.

  14. Pretty great you bought a PR5 blog for $1,000! Great steal!

    It’s so good to see so many people online making good money. The internet has changed the way we work, forever!

    • It didn’t stay at a 5 but I was able to use the site and maximize it’s earning potential while I could. I’m not making as much with the site but I have other sites now that are doing very well. Thanks for the comment

  15. Mike says:

    I’ve made $11 so far this month, but that’s $9 more than last month. With growth like this, it’ll be champagne dreams and caviar wishes in no time!

    • Mike – it started off very slow for me as well. They key is to keep at it and eventually get to a point where you can make that kind of money from your site. I know people that are only getting a few thousand visitors on their sites and making very good money from it. Build the authority and readership and you will get where you want to be.

  16. A. Kayastha says:

    Never thought that Travel related niche could make that much decent money. I had a travel blog but I didn’t have much time to handle.

    Thanks for the great post!

  17. Ann says:

    We done, you deserve your success

  18. Interesting read, but sounds a little too easy. How much have you spent “building authority” along the way, and have your advertisers been affected by penguin at all?

  19. ResultsPedia says:

    Well thanks for awesome article. You said it right we need to have business mindset but i have question how in short time span you got success in fact in travel niche, most competitive i think?

    • Most competitive in that there are a lot of travel blogs but also consider that the travel industry is massive, one of the largest in the world at over $1 trillion. With a massive industry comes lots of advertisers, I think it could have been done quicker if I knew what I was doing because in the beginning I honestly didn’t know how or where to go to get things done

  20. tom altman says:

    Thanks for the tips – these are very good. It always good to see how many people’s blogs could be monetized.

    I really like the idea of partnerships – I need to do better at that.

  21. Kim says:

    It’s not that hard to believe. I make around the same that this guy did off of just one of my blogs that I started as a hobby. It’s a huge chunk of my income, I work 15-30 minutes per day to upkeep it, and I spend the rest of my time building the freelance fashion career I’ve always wanted. Like the author said, it’s all about establishing yourself as an authority site but you also have to pick the right niche and the right monetization model (which is not adsense). I’m also planning to spread out into similar niches like this guy did. I hope it’s as successful for me as it has been for him.

  22. Thanks for your comments Kim, its great to see that you have had as much success as I have.

  23. Kash says:

    Building partnerships is a vital part of business strategy, whether online or offline.

    I am curious about the advertisers you used to generate $7K from your blog. Would you like to share how you find those advertisers?

  24. DJ says:

    Im not going to go as far as some others here and start throwing accusations of ‘BS’ around but your claims of earning $7k in a month from http://www.paramounttravel.com simply seem far fetched. I have been working in online advertising for over 4 years, I have worked with sites that have low PR and indexed pages to sites with well over half a million page views a month etc. I have worked with a variety of monetization methods from PPC & CPM ads to text links, sponsored posts and affiliate programs and there is no way on Earth you made the money you claimed to. Lets look at the site:

    Design – awful and barely optimised for display ads, where are the leaderboards, towers, 300×250 rectangles etc etc?

    Content – only 84 indexed pages, thats pathetic for a blog. You also say you only added content when advertisers were interested, I dont see how throwing up posts once they have already contacted you would help nor would it fool anyone.

    Traffic – Id say by looking at the ’0 comments’ next to almost every single post that it isnt much. Compete, although not totally accurate of course shows less than 1k visitors a month.

    Broken pages – this is one of the very first pages I clicked on! http://www.paramounttravel.com/category/central-america/panama/

    Social media presence – non existent. I dont think I need to say anymore there.

    Also I need to point out that the majority of advertisers in the travel niche only work with affiliate programs, they dont just pay our huge wads of cash for ads so firstly I have no idea how you would get some much from affiliate deals with such small traffic and secondly I dont know annoy affiliate programs that payout that quickly!

    All these things I found within less than 5 mins of opening your site.

    I think you owe an explanation to some people here about your revenue claims. As I said earlier I have worked in ads for over 4 years and if I made certain earnings claims about a site I could back every single one of them up and also educate people on how to do the same. Isnt that the whole point of posts like this?

    :/

  25. DJ… I didn’t claim that I made $7000 a month off this site every month. I claimed that I was able to do that on the first month because it was such high authority and it had good traffic. I definitely could have gotten lucky based on the site numbers when I bought and it also could have been that I put myself in a good position to make that kind of money. Am I able to do that every month with this site? No. Thats why the title of this post was $5000 because that fluctuates and I go on record and share that I haven’t been able to make that much off this website aside from the first month. The $5,000 is what I make on average from all the sites that I own even though my primary profession is a day trader.

    Thanks for the feedback on the site as well DJ. I mentioned in the article that I haven’t been keeping up any of my sites up the way I should. It has been one of my goals in the 2nd half of the year improve all of the sites that I do own, I have put hardly any effort into this site because I use it strictly for advertising. In fact, now is when I am looking into actually focusing on my handful of sites again as other projects have gotten in the way. I appreciate you going out of your way to check everything out on the site and tell me that it is trash because honestly, it is. I only created it and changed so it would be able to make money which it still does.

    While your business may do things a certain way that doesn’t mean that other companies follow the same practices. I have a list of over 500 advertisers and I have NEVER done any sort of affiliate programs DJ. Not one. That is something that I would like to get into the future but I have done zero affiliate sales on any of my sites. All my sites except one are travel related and I have never done any affiliate deals and most advertisers don’t approach me for affiliate programs either. Some do but most dont.

    Your statement about everyone doing affiliate deals in the travel niche is incorrect.

    I have published these posts on this site to try and show people the process how I started to make this kind of money online. I dont think its important to talk about what I sell, how I sell it, because bloggers use the same tools to make money online so I would be rehashing the valuable information that is already on this site. Do I always make this much? No? Have I made more? Absolutely. Are things changing because of the continuous Panda updates and the new Penguin algorithm, Yes. I know what I have done and how I have been able to do it and I know that in the 1 trillion dollar travel industry anyone else can do it to if they try.

  26. nice share man… i just have a site with pagerank 1..but i don’t know how to monetize it..

  27. Muhammad… need to wait until you grow your audience a bit more and build more authority. It will come naturally… see my previous post on building traffic based on quality vs quantity that will really help you at this point

  28. Wow this is really a great read. Thank you so much for sharing this with us Marcello. I am going to apply some tips on my travel blog and see how it works! Thanks again!