Do you love to travel? Do you love to review the restaurants you visit and the hotels you use? Want to review an airline, attractions, or a cruise? You may want to consider starting a travel review site or blog. It’s not only a way to make money, but you can also get some parts of your travel paid for.
There are a lot of travel review websites out there though, along with things like Google and Yelp reviews. How do you compete and make your travel review site stand out? If you play your cards right, you can make money with a travel review site.
3 Tips for Making Money with a Travel Review Site
What’s in a Name?
Probably one of the most important things you will do is to select the name for your site. This will not only be the first impression that internet users will have of you and your site, but it is also an important part of how you will get traffic from search engines.
This is because of things like keywords and search engine optimization. Google and other search engines look for keywords in your domain name, titles of your posts, and the coding and meta data of your site. The first key to this is your domain name.
Make sure the domain name you choose fits the niche you want to write about. For instance, you may want to call your site rivercruisereviews.com if that is the type of cruise you want most to review. This enables readers looking for that type of review to find you. It also means search engines can find you as well, because your name tells them what you are about.
You might want to avoid using your name in the domain of a travel review site. The site is more valuable to others later on if you don’t. Keep the name simple, one that is easy to say, spell, and type into a web browser.
Know Your Niche
It kind of goes without saying, but the kind of travel you review should be the kind of travel you do. This may mean your site starts out slowly at first as you just review the trips you are already taking and paying for. In order to start making money, you will first have to prove that you are a competent reviewer who is an expert.
Readers and advertisers both will need to trust and respect your opinions. For that to happen you need to know your niche and the elements of a good review. It involves answering a few simple questions:
- Where: The first part of the review should ground the reader in geography, so that they could easily find the place you are reviewing on a map.
- When: This is the time you traveled. This can be the season in the case of the overall trip, or the time of day you ate if you are reviewing a restaurant or attraction as a part of the review. Be sure the reader understands both the overall timeline and the daily timelines as well.
- Who: Who are you, the writer, and why should the reader care what you say? Tell them a little bit about you that helps them identify and empathize with you.
- Why: What was the purpose of your trip, and why did you choose that restaurant or thing to do? This is the motive, a big part of the story of your trip.
- How: How did you get to your destination? Are there other ways to get there? How did the trip go? Was it easy or hard?
- What: The story details. How did your visit go? What were the pros and cons, good parts and bad parts? Be sure to offer details and specific examples.
The more thorough your review, the more useful it is to the reader and to those who are providing services or that own businesses. Mane prefer authentic feedback, letting them know what went wrong so they can make improvements and corrections, and so they know what they are doing right.
You are also helping fellow travelers avoid common pitfalls and mistakes. The more informative your reviews, the more organic traffic you will get from travelers, and the more valuable your site will be to advertisers.
People are visual, and they want to see your adventures as well as hearing about them. With the advances in cameras on cell phones, you don’t need to be a professional or have expensive camera equipment to capture good photos.
However, you do need to know how to take at least decent photos and have some minimal editing skills. There are free classes on these things, both in person and online. Many Apple stores offer classes about taking better photos with your iPhone, and photography editing courses can be found through sites like Lynda.com which you can often access free using your local library card.
Good photos can make all the difference on a travel blog.
There are a couple of ways to get paid on a travel site, and they are pretty simple, and similar to the ways you would monetize nearly any blog site.
First, you can get comped travel by sponsors. If you site is popular enough, this can be as simple as getting a discounted, upgraded, or even free plane ticket by simply mentioning that you traveled to your destination via Delta Airlines (or whichever airline comped your ticket). There is an outreach process that is pretty simple to get these kinds of perks, and it is a valuable skill every travel writer should learn.
You can also monetize your website in the usual ways:
- Affiliate Links: Using affiliate travel links with a special code unique to your site means you get paid whenever someone makes a purchase through your link.
- Native Ads: These are Google, Amazon, or other ads that are based on the users search history or the content on your site. You get paid whenever a user clicks on one of these ads.
- Sponsored Posts: Some companies will want to showcase their products or services on your site, or simply get a link to their site. They will often pay handsomely for this privilege, so keep your eyes out for this opportunity.
- Site Sponsors: These are brands that want to be showcased regularly on your site and will pay you to feature them.
Once you have enough traffic to your site, these methods can pay you handsomely for reviewing travel.
Even in the crowded field of travel review sites, you can make money by following these simple steps, and marketing yourself as the expert you are. Use these tips to get started, and happy traveling!