I’m fairly proud of our blogging efforts to date and we’ve learned a few things along the way. I thought it was time to reflect a little on where we started at, where we have gotten to, and where we are going. Our first post was in late October 2015, and as I write this we are in late July 2016 and we have more than 180 posts on the blog. In the last few months we have been trying to have a new post every day and with a few exceptions have hit that mark.
Our goals for Trail and Hitch were three-fold. Firstly to chronicle our journey for ourselves. Secondly to share our adventures with friends and family. Thirdly to build a wider audience and make money off the writing by providing information, entertainment, and inspiration to others. The first two are easily accomplished and there are few measuring sticks beyond our own satisfaction. The last involves much more consideration.
Making money with a blog
Only in exceptional circumstances does a blog make much money quickly. There are no shortage of amazing travel bloggers out there to compete with. Even when you drill down to young tech-savvy couples living full time while traveling America there are more blogs than you can easily count. Building an audience and finding the right information to sell is difficult in the extreme, though of course not impossible.
The general advice is that you find a niche focus, serve that audience very well with good information, and find some good or service you can offer that solves a problem for that audience. It is also recommended you value quality over quantity in your blog writing since typically only a few articles will really resonate with people and drive revenue. Finally, you should focus as much on promotion and audience building as the content itself. Both content and promotion are important, but promotion is a constant process and content is required only now and again.
Our blog strategy
On our blog, we do most of that “wrong” though at the moment I am content to do so. We put out mountains of content, more I think than even some dedicated readers have a mind for. We spend very little time promoting the blog beyond a single RV community I am involved in and through our social networks. We have very little focus in our blog, it has articles on nearly every aspect of our travels and then some. When checking views, I indeed see that the vast majority are reading a few key articles that are commonly searched for on Google. We also have nothing to sell just yet and only make income through affiliate advertising.
My strategy at the moment is to keep creating articles of all sorts to find out what works and to build a library of writing I can turn into course material, books, or articles for other sites. When an article is popular, it helps me find a future focus I can work at finding ways to monetize. The high quantity of content has also served to help both Trail and I hone our writing skills. We have both learned a lot in the process.
Is it Working?
While it has been slow going, we have had some measure of success. The audience for the blog is growing slowly but steadily and we’ve met some cool folks by sharing our stories. Our affiliate income through Amazon is pretty small, but it has gone from one sale a month if we were lucky, to about one every week. I don’t expect to be living off the income anytime soon if ever, but it’s great to do something you love and make a little money at it.
I think we will continue the cascade of content for now. If we start to run out of ideas for articles we may slacken the pace. I think my next effort will be to try and focus some of our articles towards Airstream enthusiasts. Our most popular posts all have Airstream in the title and are slanted towards Airstream owners and buyers. It seems there is a bit less competition in that space so we get more of the search traffic. Speaking of traffic, Google searches account for the majority of our views. Facebook links are a distant second place. Most other bloggers I’ve spoken to see the same on their blogs.
How about you?
If you keep a blog, we’d love to hear about it and your thoughts regarding writing and making money from it as I’m sure would others. If you want to promote yours here, now’s the perfect opportunity. Also, if you have feedback on the blog, we’d love to hear it. Praise always feels nice but critique is often most helpful.