Traveling is one of life's best teachers. Going places, seeing different scenarios, and experiencing different cultures can enrich a person in ways nothing else can. This is one of the reasons so many people take the time to travel and blog about the journey.
But what happens when you run out of money while traveling? While planning a trip is easy, having the funds to make that trip a reality can be challenging.
That's where making money as a travel blogger by becoming an affiliate comes in.
Affiliate Marketing in a Nutshell
For starters, if you have an awesome website already, you're more than halfway where you need to be to become a money-making travel blogger.
Affiliate marketing is not really as complicated as you might think. It all comes down to links. As a blogger, you simply need to include affiliate links in your blog posts. These could be text links in your content or ad banners that you display on your blog.
Whenever a reader clicks on these links and completes an action (like signing up or completing a purchase), you are paid a commission.
The Different Types of Affiliate Programs
There are plenty of affiliate marketing programs you can choose from, and following are the various ways they pay:
- Pay Per Click (PPC) is the most basic type of program. With this payment model, you earn money whenever someone clicks on one of your affiliate links or banners, regardless of whether that person completes an action. The more visitors you send to a merchant’s website, the more money you earn. However, the commissions will vary depending on the program, and travel bloggers can have a hard time earning with PPC unless they use a banner ad network.
- Pay Per Performance (PPP) is a payment model that works exactly as it says. When a sale occurs on the merchant’s site through your referral, you get paid. So you only get paid if an actual sale occurs, but your commissions can vary based on the value of the sale.
- Pay Per Sale (PPS) works like PPP, but the difference is that the commission is fixed. So regardless of the amount of the sale, the affiliate is only paid an agreed-upon fixed amount.
- Pay Per Lead (PPL) works like PPS, but the visitor isn't required to buy anything from the merchant’s site for you to get paid. However, although visitors don’t need to buy anything, they must complete a task like signing up for a contest, filling out a form, subscribing to a newsletter, and so on. PPL is also known as Cost Per Action (CPA).
Joining the Right Affiliate Program
There are three ways to join an affiliate program, and joining is always free:
- Join an Affiliate Network – These programs give you access to hundreds of individual affiliate programs. They also provide you with product links, metrics to track your performance, as well as payouts. As the affiliate, all you have to do is integrate the links into your website or travel blog. This is considered the easiest way to become an affiliate, as it provides everything you need in one place.
- Join a Merchant Affiliate Program – Though with this method you have to approach individual programs on your own, you generally have to chance to earn higher commissions.
- Join a Personally Negotiated Affiliate Program – This is a lesser known (and lesser used) method of becoming an affiliate, where you establish an affiliate program by approaching a brand and negotiating your own terms.
Affiliate Programs for Travel Bloggers
Following are some of the best affiliate programs out there for travel bloggers:
- Clickbank was founded in 1998 and is one of the largest and most experienced programs around in terms of digital and physical products. Signing up is easy and the payout is great, making it a good option for travel bloggers who are just starting out.
- Awin is one of the most user-friendly programs out there. They have a wide range of partners and products, and include affiliate programs for companies like Agoda.com and Lonely Planet Publications.
- Rakuten is the largest PPP affiliate marketing network online. They have an easy to navigate publishers’ section and lots of categories you can explore. Payout is great, and you can find affiliate programs for hotels, car rentals, restaurants, and pretty much anything else related to travel.
- ShareaSale has broadened their reach in the United States and offers all types of affiliate programs (PPC, PPP, PPS, and PPL). ShareaSale is also a very user friendly option, and the payouts are excellent.
- CJ Affiliate by Conversant is an affiliate marketing platform that operates internationally. It's one of the best affiliate programs to join if you want access to a huge, global database.
- E-Junkie is one of the most outstanding affiliate programs online today and is widely considered one of the best for travel bloggers. They also offer great payouts, with commissions as high as 50% on each sale.
- Travelpayouts is the largest travel affiliate network with more than 60 affiliate programs including Booking.com, RentalCars, Kiwi, TripAdvisor and others. With them, you earn commission based on the CPA model. Those vary between offers from 1% to 20%. The cookie lifetime averages 30 days.
Ways You Can Win as an Affiliate and Travel Blogger
So the question remains, how can one be successful as an affiliate travel blogger? You can easily make money as long as you keep these strategies in mind.
- When you write a blog, make sure to focus on the contextual links. Create a blog entry that allows you to inject references to an affiliate program you've signed up with. Keep in mind that a good blog post is more effective in generating traffic than are banners.
- Content can be just about anything, as long as it's related to the product or services you're promoting. For example, you can write a product review based on your personal experience using a product you're promoting. Just keep in mind that you always want to create original content that's insightful and valuable to your readers.
- Don't be afraid to try to negotiate higher commission rates, especially if you're generating a lot of leads and making tons of sales. Don’t assume that the rates are fixed.
- Be creative, and don't get stuck in a content rut. Of course, you can write about your travels, but you can also write about things like the how to's, where to's, or the what to do's before traveling. Also, you might write about things like where food bloggers can go when traveling, the best spots to drink wine, and so on.
Is Becoming an Affiliate Travel Blogger Worth It?
Of course! Traveling is a great way to see other places, but earning money while traveling is even better. Affiliate marketing makes this possible.
Yes, starting out can be hard, but it's definitely possible to be a successful travel blogger. With dedication, time, and effort, you'll figure out the right strategies and be well on your way to earning more than you hoped for living a life you love.