Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Blogging
Over the past one and half years of blogging, I’ve been asked the same questions over and over from like-minded bloggers and readers. Well, it’s about time that I’ve put all these questions and answers into one post instead of answering questions via e-mail or within comments that no one else can access easily! More knowledge = power so read on to find out how I make money blogging, what tools I use, what my expenses are, and more.
How do you make money blogging?
I make money blogging in all different ways: sponsored posts, affiliate links, referral codes, travel writing, and more. This is such a loaded question that I detail everything in this post about how I made $1,000 travel blogging. It’s not much, but it’s a start!
Aside from money, blogging brings a lot of other benefits like non-monetary compensation of hotel and travel, or even better, increased networking opportunities. I also talk about this in my post about how to make money travel blogging.
How much do you spend monthly on blogging?
I spend $5 a month on hosting and $7.5 a month (yearly plan of $89) on Tailwind because I am cheap! There are so many free resources and tools online that I don’t think it’s necessary to spend a bunch of money on your blog, especially if it doesn’t make that much money yet. I don’t buy into the whole “You have to spend money to make money” bit when it comes to blogging.
One time, I spent $30 on a travel blog course but realized quickly, I could’ve gotten this information from Google if I searched a little bit harder. Of course, if you don’t have the time to find your own answers or want to accelerate your blog, buying a blog course or working with a blog consultant is worth it. It all depends on your goals.
Hosting your own website is essential for growth, and so is having a good hosting company. I’ve been using Just Host since 2009 now and love it. They are a lesser known company but I’ve stuck with them this long because of the unlimited space for media and e-mail and responsive customer service.
If you sign up through my blog’s referral link, then hosting with them is only $3.95 if you sign up for 3 years ($4.95 for 2 years and $5.95 for 1 year; prices normally start at $9 a month but you get a discount through my link). I recommend signing up for a longer period of time if you plan on blogging long-term because this is where the cost savings come in.
You only need the basic account! You won’t need much more than that. I have the basic account and have two domain names on it, which includes my new blog, Minimal by Day. If you use my referral link for Just Host, then you’ll also get a free domain name, which is usually $15.
Oh, and last advice about hosting, get that privacy domain protection for only $1 extra a month. This way, people can’t see your address and e-mail that you signed up for hosting with.
Tailwind is quite important since Pinterest is the largest social media referrer to my blog. I highly recommend getting it as it’s worth every penny. I started out with a free trial, which you can get if you sign up through my link. Then you can see if Tailwind is really worth it.
To take advantage of Tailwind, spend once a week, or even once a month, filling up your Tailwind feed with previous posts you’ve written. Schedule it to group boards and boards of your own! Tailwind will Pin your Pins for you at optimal times.
This is no longer a monthly cost, but it’s important to mention that I paid for a theme right from the start. I knew for how big I wanted this blog to get that a free theme wouldn’t work. That’s why I chose the Highend theme.
This theme has so many options for customization, which you can see from my site or theirs, but the best part about this theme is the support you get. I’ve had a lot of custom code written for me because the theme didn’t offer the little tweaks I wanted. For all the custom support they’ve given me, I’ve saved hundreds of dollars! Their customer support is the most valuable part of their theme (I mean, besides the theme itself). This cost me $50-60, but it’s so worth it.
Whatever theme you decide to go with, make sure they have a good customer support system.
What tools do you use for blogging?
So you already know I use Tailwind, but my most recommend tool is Google Analytics. It is extremely helpful in telling me when the best time to post is, what my readers’ interests are, what keywords I should be using, and what social media I should focus on. This is also a must for sponsorships as brands and companies will ask you what your statistics are. These numbers will also go on your media kit.
I use Hootsuite to schedule Tweets and Facebook posts so I can continue engagement on my social media even when I’m not online. You don’t need the paid version. The free one is good enough when you’re just beginning.
I used to use Crowdfire to help me grow my Twitter follower count, but I stopped using it about six months ago. It is a good tool when you’re getting started but do not obsess over people who unfollow you. Take the time and energy spent on that, and redirect it into writing good, quality posts.
In addition to Tailwind, I started using Boardbooster‘s free trial. I used Boardbooster to repin my own pins to my own board, and Tailwind to pin other people’s pins. You can sign up for Boardbooster’s free trial here.
What camera do you have?
I used to have a Nikon D90, but at two pounds, it was not fun carrying around this bulky camera while traveling. I tried out the Olympus Pen E-PL7 ’cause I heard it was a great camera for traveling and blogging (I mean, I said it so myself), and I really liked it when I had it. But then I got the Sony A6000, and woah, it’s blown my mind.
For such a small camera, the quality is amazing, and I love that it fits in so many of my bags and purses that I don’t have to think twice about bringing it out. I use the stock lens, and for what I do (posting on my blog and Instagram), it’s really all I need.
Check out these gorgeous photos taken with the Sony A6000, and if you’re considering buying one, then I kindly ask you to bookmark this link from Amazon and use it when you buy it. Besides having bought my Sony A6000 from Amazon, if you use my referral link, which is at no extra cost to you, I get a small commission to help me with my hosting costs!
How much time do you spend on social media each day?
Ugh, social media is a doozy (I can’t remember the last time I used that word…). I used to spend 2-4 hours a day on social media when I first started but that’s because I didn’t know how to focus on one or two social media platforms.
Now I spend most of my time on Pinterest and Instagram because Pinterest brings me 60% of my traffic while Instagram is fun and has a large potential for sponsorships. So, to answer your question, I spend about 30-60 minutes a day on social media posting photos on Instagram, engaging with the community, and pinning to Pinterest.
My advice is to focus on one to two social media platforms. They should be the ones that bring you the most traffic or have the most potential for traffic or ones that you enjoy using. Don’t let social media stress you out!
What’s the hardest part about travel blogging?
The hardest part about traveling blogging is that I’m blogging about travel! Despite all those posts that say that anyone can travel (which I don’t believe in), traveling is a luxury. It’s not something that anyone can do at any point in their life. Besides monetary reasons, there’s work, family, and other obligations that prevent people from traveling.
So since this isn’t something that people do all the time, getting page views and traction on a travel blog is much more difficult than getting a lifestyle, yoga, or finance blog started. Those types of topics are things that people need or search for everyday since it can be part of their daily routine whereas with a travel blog, they mostly come to it when they need specific answers for a specific trip. Automatically, that limits the pool of readers that your blog can reach.
Nonetheless, travel blogging is rewarding knowing that the people who come to my blog are getting quality information about their trip, which is most often a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I want to help people get the most out of their trips so I’m ok with blogging about an industry that isn’t a part of peoples’ daily lives.
Have any other questions to ask?
Do you have any other questions to ask about blogging? Please ask away by commenting below or emailing me, and I’ll update this post as they come in.
If you have no questions but still want more blogging tips, then sign up for the newsletter below. It’s only for blog tips, not for my travel posts.
Thanks for stopping by! xo.
What I Use for Blogging
Well, this must be of no surprise to you, but this post contains affiliate links and referral codes! If you use one of my links at no extra cost to you, it’ll help me with my blog expenses, which in turn will allow me time to write posts like this for you. So if you could be so kind, please use my links when signing up for these services or buying products I mentioned above! Either way, thank you for listening to my advice.
Feature photo and Pin image adapted and modified from Carl Heyerdahl’s photo via Unsplash.