As our blog has become more popular (thank-you readers!), the transition from hobby-blogging to pro-blogging is well underway. Suddenly, emails are pouring in asking us how we make money from the website, and how we keep ourselves travelling without (real) jobs.
We figured we should just be upfront with our readers and tell you guys exactly where we’re getting paid and how much, as it’s essentially you, our readers, who have got us to where we are today with Goats On The Road. We’ll try to answer a few of the FAQ’s we’ve received from emails, while shedding a little light on the subject of blogging-to-travel (hopefully, without being too nerdy).
Was Your Plan Always To Make Money From The Blog?
We started the site back in February of 2012 after reading this inspirational post on Onestep4ward.com. At first, we were simply moving over our blogs from our Travelblog.org account, into our newly purchased WordPress site and paid domain. In the back of our minds, we dreamed of profiting from doing what we love, but we didn’t even know what WordPress was and had never heard words like CSS, HTML, and Java scripts (all are geeky web terms, click’m for Wiki-explanations).
We made countless mistakes during our first year online, which really kept us in the realm of hobby-blogging. While we had always hoped that blogging could turn into a profession, it wasn’t until we moved to China in July of 2012, when we really thought that we could make something of the site.
We began researching how to blog as a business, how to gain a loyal following, how utilize SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and use social media and other tactics to market our content. We contacted Top Bloggers like Nomadic Samuel, The Planet D & Vagabondish to give us a few pointers on the subject. Lucky for us, there is a great pro-blogging community out there that is more than willing to help out newcomers.
How Long Did It Take Before You Started Making Money From Blogging?
After countless hours of work in front of the computer screen, we decided it was time to monetize our site. We had been receiving, and politely declining advertisers’ emails for a few months at that point, simply because we didn’t feel that our site was ready.
Shortly before leaving on our epic trip to Central Asia in July of 2013, we decided (with the help of Nomadic Samuel) to start working with a few of the travel-related advertisers who had contacted us in the past.
We’ve avoided the temptation of adding distracting, paid banner ads on our website and instead we only advertise in ways that don’t affect our current readership. Most readers don’t mind seeing ads on a site, but we still don’t want to clog the reading experience with any pop-ups, banners or widget ads.
The affiliate you see here is useful for travellers —>
How Many People Read Goats On The Road Each Month?
Well, luckily this question has a pretty cut-and-dry answer. Google Analytics is a statistics program which accurately tracks visitors to our site (and every site on the web). These days, webmasters don’t go by the old term “hits” on the blog, they go by “visitors”, how many people actually visit the site each month.
Below I’ve pasted our Google Analytics page which states that over 23,000 people visited Goats On The Road in October. The average person stayed on the site for 3.5 minutes (which is pretty good considering web-surfers’ attention span) and 73% of all visitors had never seen the site before, meaning that there are plenty of new readers coming in.
UPDATE 2016: This blog now sees around 100,000 unique visitors / month.
How Do You Earn Income From The Blog?
Advertisers generally contact us with a brand and they write articles about these brands to post on Goats On The Road. These articles are screened, reviewed and posted on our site for search engines only. We don’t generally offer these articles to our readers because we don’t want to clog our own content with sponsored, or paid posts.
We only offer the articles to our readers if we believe the content is outstanding. Otherwise, it simply goes into our feed and counts as a link for the advertising client we posted it for.
These types of articles typically pay anywhere from $60 to $300 so they have been helping us to support our travel addiction along the way.
Another source of income from the site has been affiliate links. These are links throughout the site linking to booking.com , HostelWorld.com, worldnomads.com and more. If our readers purchase a visa, hotel stay or travel insurance through one of these links, we receive a commission, while our readers don’t pay a cent extra. It’s a win-win for everyone!
We have plenty of other money-making strategies in the works, but the business aspect of the website is completely separate to our story, our blogs and our information. We will always put our content first and ensure that there are helpful, inspirational and interesting articles on Goats On The Road. Our goal is to write posts that people enjoy!
UPDATE 2016: We now also consult, manage social media, sell ebooks and do paid press trips.
How Many Hours Do You Spend Blogging?
This also varies depending on how much travelling we’re doing at the time, and how good the internet is! Typically, while not travelling we spend upwards of 25 hours / week on the blog. While on the road this number is closer to 15-20, depending on how fast we’re travelling. We’re trying very hard to create a balance between backpacking and making money online, but we’re still learning. We enjoy the work so much, that we sometimes have to peel ourselves away from the computers.
How Much Money Do You Make From The Blog?
Ah, the big question! This is a hard one to answer because, as with many self-employed workers, it can fluctuate dramatically each month. This month, we’re closing in on the $2,500 mark, which is fantastic! It may not sound like a career wage for a couple from a Western country, but our living expenses are quite low while travelling. For the first time ever, this month will be a financially sustainable month of travel.
UPDATE 2016: This blog now earns around $10,000 USD / month after tax. Click Here to start your own money making blog today and we’ll give you our blogging ebook 100% free so you can learn from our successes!
This is still just the beginning of monetizing the site. Another way bloggers like That Backpacker and Global Grasshopper support travel is to go on press trips. Typically these can include all expenses paid travel in return for writing some articles and making videos about the trip. Our blogging friends have done some amazing things on these types of trips and we’re still learning from them when it comes to this part of the blogging business. Hopefully, one day soon you’ll see an article on our site about our free trip to a floating resort in the Maldives like our friends at Beers and Beans went on this year.
We really have to take our hats off to our readers though, who have helped to keep us motivated with comments, emails and social shares, while also helping us to reach the point where we are now. We appreciate every hit on our blog!
Sharing helps us… Share this post now?
Goats On The Road is about us, our story, our experiences and our desire to share it all with others. We want to help other people to travel but also make money doing what they love. As our site progresses, it is transforming from a backpacking site, to a lifestyle design resource. In the coming months, there will be more information on not just “dropping everything to travel”, but living a sustainable life that makes you happy. We’ve found plenty of new ways to make money on the road, as well as to travel for free and we’ll be sharing our findings here.
If you have any questions about starting, running and profiting from blogs, feel free to email us, or ask us a question in the comments below. And keep your eye out for more information on making money while on the road, here on Goats On The Road.
UPDATE 2015: We’re happy to say that our blog is continuing to grow and now we’ve had months where we’ve made over $5,000 from this blog. It’s not all about the money though, and we still genuinely love connecting with people, learning from others and sharing our travel dreams with the world. Thanks everyone!
UPDATE 2016: This blog and the other income streams that stem from it now earn around $10,000 USD / month after tax.
Are you considering starting a blog? Do you have a blog and want to add something? Please comment below!