For the records: I too have written about destinations I haven’t visited but 1) I explicitly say that. 2) It is usually a destination where I’m about to go or I’m interested in going and I don’t fake that I was there. 3) I ask the help of an expert in that destination and I state it. That’s quite a different approach.
This is reason #1 why I have been able to make more than 3000$ per month during peak season on one article alone when I was starting out. I didn’t overthink. I wrote about a place driven by pure passion, and according to the comments (and later on, by the bookings), it paid off.
Is earning passive income really possible for everyone?
You’ll have to point out the benefits and highlight any room for improvement, if necessary. No product, service or destination is perfect after all. I’ll tell you how I was able to earn more than 2500 USD a month by implementing an Affiliate Marketing strategy on my website, but most importantly, I’ll give you concrete and actionable tips, resources and tools to achieve similar or better results!
Disclaimer: The last part of this blog post is still work in progress and I will add some more examples and screenshots to the current content. Stay tuned and thanks for your patience!
The good news: To put it simply, if this is your first time trying any affiliate marketing strategy, read as much as you can on the topic. If you are a brilliant writer and an expert marketer, this strategy might work for a short period of time, but it will ruin your reputation in the long run. Guaranteed. Your readers can tell whether or not you are truly enthusiastic (and really knowledgeable) on a place or a service.
At the end of this post, I’ll give you a list of the most complete resources to read on affiliate marketing so that you can start your research phase now!
We all know that in the blogging world “Content is King”, and this holds true for the affiliates as well. In my experience, the longer the article, the better it converts. It’s not a coincidence that my most popular articles where I successfully use the affiliates have no less than 3000 words. What are the reasons? There is plenty of researches showing that people don’t buy driven by reason alone. They buy using their emotional side of the brain. Sometimes by impulse even (Don’t we all know it?)
To be transparent and helpful, I shared a few screenshots of my earnings, and when the readers saw that roughly 80% of my income came from Affiliate Marketing, with peaks of 2500/3000$ per month (While being at the very beginning of my journey with the “Travel Affiliates” ) I certainly aroused their interest.
What is Affiliate Marketing:
When I say “Know your audience” what I truly meant is “Know your audience for EACH ARTICLE” (or at least for each typology of article/topic). For example, the people reading an article about “What do in “x” Destination, might be a totally different audience from the ones reading “Best places to go to “x” with kids or “Best Hotels for couples” in “x” destination. This example could serve you to understand that you can make it if you put your efforts and patience in it. It took me nearly 2 years of hard work to achieve these results, but now I don’t have to do anything special (other than the advice I give you here) to see the money rolling in every month. Some months more than others, but in the Travel Industry, it’s pretty standard. Different ways to calculate the commission percentage. The average conversion rate for the travel industry affiliate programs. Difference between pay per lead and pay per sale Never say never. You should start by writing what your readers want, using the easiest keywords with a decent monthly volume, and when your Domain Authority and trust increase, you can “revive” the post using more competitive keywords with higher monthly volume. IMPORTANT NOTE:
Why Preliminary Research Is Important Before Implementing An Affiliate Program:
This is the great advantage of Affiliate Marketing: If you work hard enough, on the right articles (you don’t necessarily need to have many of them), you can relax (a bit!) 😉 and see the money coming in…even when you’re asleep! This way not only you can craft a better article for the right people, but you’ll also know which affiliates will convert the most. A win-win situation for everyone.
The “Research” Stage is very important and it is one of the most underestimated parts of the process. When I speak with other travel bloggers about affiliate programs, more often than not they immediately associated them with placing banners or “booking widgets” on their sites (randomly) waiting for the money to roll in. YOUR READERS AREN’T STUPID AND THEY ARE THE REASON WHY YOU HAVE THIS JOB. TRY TO HELP THEM AS YOUR FIRST GOAL. EVEN IF SOMETIMES, YOU WON’T EARN ANYTHING FROM IT.
Passive income through affiliate marketing, if done properly, is one of the best ways to earn money with your blog, and let’s be honest: Making money online while you’re sleeping is every blogger’s not-so-secret-dream.
What are their interests, gender, location, and age? All of this information will help you to identify the most useful affiliates for THEM. After all, your readers are the ones who will click on the link or banner which in turn equates to passive income in your pockets. Note: Some of the “Affiliate marketing Gurus” state that long articles are boring for the reader. It might be true, but only for the non-targeted ones, and we already know that they won’t click on our links anyway. This is very important because If you don’t know who are you writing for, how can you help them and give them exactly what they want?
Eight Essential Steps To Implement The Right Affiliates In A Travel Blog:
STEP 1: Know your readers
So, even before starting to write an article where you’re planning to implement your affiliates, you should ask yourself: “who am I writing for?” Imagine the people who will read your post: Are they young couples? Retired couples (or both?), family with kids? Singles? You get the gist. The list can go on and on, but the message stands: Be real, be passionate and overall be HONEST with your readers. Many bloggers tend to forget that their first mission is to be useful, not to squeeze their reader’s wallets at all costs. Which leads them to lose their trust in you.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER ON RANKINGS, KEYWORD DIFFICULTY AND DOMAIN AUTORITHY:
This article aims to fill this gap by sharing with you everything I’ve learned on the topic, through direct experience and obviously my rookie mistakes too! With a mention on the best type of posts to place your affiliates
I also replied to every comment by giving long, entusiastic and detailed advice. All for free. That’s basically the number one rule of being successful with affiliates. The answer Is not necessarily massive amounts of traffic. IT’S THE READER’S TRUST.
There is no such thing as “My audience” if you have a general travel blog. You will have an audience divided into “segments”. Use it to your advantage! I don’t know about you, but when an article is too pushy I find it pretty annoying and definitely counterproductive so I end up buying nothing. Just the same way I do when a salesperson follows me everywhere in a clothes shop.
STEP 2: Focus on your most popular articles
Your readers are smart, and you are a consumer too. I bet that you don’t go to the first blog you find to book your holidays. Why should you put your trust in a random blogger after all? I wish it was that easy! Affiliate marketing is so much more than that, and the more you are aware of the best practices to put in place, the better your results will be. Hence: Research is paramount for your success!A word of advice:Don’t try to unnaturally stuff your article with keywords, or stretch it more than it’s necessary. Write long guides only when it’s appropriate. Remember: Always aim for quality over quantity. Sure, there are plenty of valuable tips on the topic online, which are applicable to the travel industry too, but each niche faces specific challenges in order to be successful with affiliates, the travel blogging niche in particular. This is a clear example of how to monetize your articles in a smart way, thinking of what people want, the info they are looking for and taking into account whether they are ready to book their holidays when they research for a certain keyword or not. Below is an example of one of the articles that I monetize with affiliates.
Be real, be passionate and give tons of free resources to your readers. It’ll pay off for you as well. 100% guaranteed!
But the enthusiasm has to be genuine, if you want to fake it, do it at your own risk. You are also a consumer, so you have to write thinking like one. Would you be tempted to visit a place after reading your article? If the answer is no, you need to make a few adjustments. Heck, I know of bloggers that, focusing only on making money, write In-Depth destination guides to places they haven’t even visited or where thy have briefly stayed, passing themselves as experts for that destination. What a way to earn a reader’s trust, huh? 🙂 Sometimes you can get good results with more personal articles, but they are trickier to convert, unless you play smart with the title and, most importantly, you are honest with your readers and always provide value by fulfilling their needs. They keep adding banners or booking widgets and expect people to click on them. I tried both tactics, and I can say without a doubt that the deeper the link, the more it converts. This is especially true if the deep link is naturally placed in the context of a relevant sentence.
STEP 3: Concentrate your efforts on the articles that have profitable keywords:
This is not meant to be the ultimate Bible on affiliates. Everything you’ll read here comes from my own experience and even if the basic principles are the same for every website and industry, you’ll need to apply them considering your own blog and audience. This point is very important if you want to succeed with the affiliate programs. Considering the amazing response, I realized that the travel blogger community didn’t have enough online resources that focused solely on Affiliate Marketing.
Examples From My Blog: Right Keywords Vs Wrong ones
This is, in my experience, one of the biggest mistakes made by travel bloggers complaining they are not having good results with affiliate marketing.You should have a very accurate picture of why your readers visit your blog.And also decide when its time to remove an affiliate that is not performing Sure, people look for information, and if they find it on your blog they will be satisfied, but this doesn’t guarantee that they will click on the “book here” link on your site.