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How To Monetize a Travel Blog: 3 Easy Strategies That Really Work!

Clelia Mattana BLOG, BLOGGING TIPS, USEFUL GUIDES 164 Comments

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DO YOU WANT TO MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR TRAVEL BLOG OR WEBSITE (EVEN SOONER THAN YOU THINK)?


If you are reading this article it is probably because you have a travel blog or a website and you want to know how to monetize it, right?


Or perhaps you are already making money with your blog, but it’s not enough to pay the bills and you are wondering how to improve and take your blog income to the next level.


If this is the case, you are in the right place, and for once, I want to start with the good news. Even if your blog doesn’t have a massive amount of visitors yet, you can still take it to the next level and make some serious money in a totally legit way.Or maybe you already have the traffic, but you don’t know how to convert it into a side income? This article can help you too, so read on!


First thing’s first: before you trust me enough to read what I have to say, I think it’s fair to tell you why I am entitled to write about how to monetize a travel blog.







WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS POST: MY “CASE STUDY”

 

I’ll be honest here. I’m a very lucky girl.

Only 3 months after I started monetizing my blog I’m already earning as much as an average 9 to 5 job. And I’m here to help you achieve similar results.When I started my website I had no idea on how to make money with a blog. It was totally unprofessional and I started working on it seriously only 10 months ago.


Because of this slow start (and the fact that English is not my native language) I still have a lot of work to do but despite this, I’m already in a good shape, money-wise. So if I managed to succeed, you can too!


Below is a screenshot of my stats since I started blogging. It clearly shows you how taking your blog seriously and working hard will give you tangible results in terms of traffic (and money).

I have to add that this great results came from super hard work and a little investment in 2 major things that truly changed my website, from amatorial to professional:


1 | CHANGING MY HOSTING PROVIDER:

(God bless Siteground, no really!)


siteground


After some major issues with my previous provider (an Italian company called Webhosting), I researched for months to see which provider was the most reliable. I decided to go with Siteground and I’m still with them because since I made the switch, I saw a spike in traffic and an overall more reliable website performance. I’m just annoyed that I didn’t choose them from the beginning.

The new hosting also helped tremendously in ranking higher on Google, which means more traffic and conversions! I will write a separate post about why I love Siteground and their 24/7 live Customer Service (not sure the love is mutual poor people,  I tend to keep them busy with every tiny detail but they are always very patient!). I also started noticing that many of my colleagues were also using it. Not a coincidence 🙂

 


2| CHANGING MY OLD THEME TO “X”

It took me one year to find it and when I did: Love at first sight!


xtheme


Another small investment, but well worth the money! My theme is called X Theme. After I made the switch, I had so many people asking me about it, so if you want to see the features you can have a look it here.  I can tell you that it took me almost ONE YEAR to choose it. Yep, that long.

I wanted to be 100% sure that once I got this one, that would be it. And in fact ..it is! This theme is so versatile that I could still be using it and have a completely different layout. I won’t go into many details in here, but having a professional theme makes a HUGE difference and I saw it right away!

 

THE RESULTS!

How a few small changes made a massive difference!


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Monetization progresses:  Before and after I switched to Siteground and X theme. What a difference!


Recently, I was featured in one of the most influential newspapers in my region,  and  I immediately started receiving a massive amount of messages from people asking me  how I did it.  The most recurring questions were:


How can I start a website or blog from scratch?

What are the best ways to monetize a blog / website?

How long does it take to make money with my blog / website?


Did I just wake up one morning and see the money rolling in? I wish It was that easy, but  you already know that create a good website and make money out of it is a hell of a job. It takes time, patience and hard work.

But it’s not all bad news.  It’s all about finding out what works for your blog and following the 3 golden rules for any entrepreneur:


Do what you really love. Do it with passion. Never give up.


In this post, I will focus on the top 3 strategies I  used to monetize my travel blog  to give you some tips and speed up your earning process.


MY TOP 3 STRATEGIES TO MONETIZE A TRAVEL BLOG

 

 

1| AFFILIATE MARKETING


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My earnings since I started to monetize my website with CJ

 

 

 

Affiliate programs are a good option for many travel bloggers. The opinions on this  model vary from ultimate hate to absolute love.

In my case, it was love at first sight. Besides CJ (in the picture) I have some other affiliate programs that give me even  better results: Booking.com and Affiliate Windows. I’m also experimenting with Amazon on my article about what to pack for your trip with decent results. But before you run to your blog and start  putting random links to affiliates everywhere, I want to share my experience with you and show you how to make it work.

What is affiliate marketing? If you are not familiar with affiliates, here is an explanation:

 

“A way for a company to sell its products by signing up individuals or companies known as”affiliates”who market the company’s products for a commission”


In a nutshell, I search for products/services that my readers might find useful (but most importantly that I have tested myself and find reliable), and put laser-targeted deep links into my articles.

This approach has worked wonderfully for me for 4 reasons:


1| The articles rank very high on search engines.

They are among the top 3 results on Google for a few profitable keywords. The competition for my keywords is medium-low and I also rank high with “long – tail keywords”.

 

2| The articles give an added value to my readers.

They have a “personal touch”, show my expertise  and give the readers precise answers to their needs. This leads to interaction(more comments) and conversions.

 

3| My affiliates have high conversion rates and/or good commissions.

 

4| The topic is in a profitable niche and it’s targeted to a specific segment of my audience.

That said, the results with affiliates don’t come overnight and are not applicable to all the posts.



WHAT IS THE APPROACH YOU SHOULD TAKE WITH YOUR AFFILIATE PROGRAMS?

 

First: SEO

You have to make it to the top by implementing internal and external SEO strategies, which takes up to 3-4 months. For blogs with higher PR and Domain Authority, it usually takes less to rank higher on Google (if you do your homework properly).

Very Important: people don’t realize how important is to have a good hosting provider.

As soon as I switched to my new one (Siteground)  in 2014, my site started ranking higher for more keywords. Why? I will write a separate chapter about this as there is so much to talk about, but for now, let’s say that the user experience has improved drastically and Google noticed that, super good for SEO (I wish I discovered this sooner!)

 

Second: EXPERIMENT

Try at least 5-6 affiliate programs to see which ones work better with your audience. A trial and error phase can take up to 1-2 months.

 

Third:VALUE

Continue to give added value  by replying to the comments in detail. Time consuming, but worth the investment. Your readers will see this as a proof of authority and trust, which leads to high conversion rates. I was able to make more than $250 in commission just by replying to a comment a few times. How? I linked to my affiliates in the comments as well.  Not bad, huh?


A word of advice

Don’t obsess too much over  Page Rank and Domain Authority. When my most profitable article made it to the first page, my blog was not even 1 year old and had PR 0.


Meaning

Write good quality content and in time, it will pay off in your Google rankings. Obviously having quality back-links is still important, but in my case, they were not the main reason behind why I am making money today.


 

WHAT NOT TO DO WITH AFFILIATES (learn from my mistakes)

 

DON’T put random generic links everywhere:

Maybe with the hope that someone will click on them. It doesn’t work well and is counterproductive as the reader is not stupid and will find it annoying. Always place relevant, useful deep links. Banners don’t convert as well as links.

 

DON’T keep links that are not performing:

when you see that an affiliate is not performing after a month or two, simply remove the links. They are just eating up space and distracting from your best performing programs.

 

DON’T follow the crowd:

Don’t put an affiliate simply because other bloggers are making money with it. Your blog and your audience might be different and it might not perform in the same way.

 

DON’T get discouraged too soon:

You are already using affiliates, but you’re not seeing much monetary return? Have a deeper look at your best articles and keep trying new affiliates. It took me a while to make it work, but when I finally found the right ones, they became a steady source of income.



2|SPONSORED ARTICLES:


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Sponsored posts are one of the most popular ways to earn good money with your travel blog. This monetizing model is somehow controversial.

 

There are two types of sponsored posts:

 


  • For Visibility: The advertisers pay an influential blogger to have more visibility and, consequentially, to increase their earnings and reinforce their brand image.

 

  • For SEO: The advertisers who pay you to place a link or an article written by them for SEO purposes. They usually target websites with high PR and Domain Authority and request a “Do follow” link.

 


Even when I had PR 0, I received a few business proposals, and I turned them down because buying and selling links goes against Google’s policy. Like it or not, that’s the way it is and I don’t want to risk months of hard work for a few bucks now.

 


I also think that this tactic is not smart for the advertisers. In my experience, PR  doesn’t play a huge role on SERP (search engine results page) anymore.


 

HOW CAN YOU FIND LEGITIMATE SPONSORED OPPORTUNITIES?

 


1| Direct:


Sometimes sponsors will find you and contact you directly some will just want exposure on social media, whilst others want to publish content on your website. The downside here is that you need to wait for the sponsors to find you, or pitch them and hope to get a positive response.



2|Through Sponsorship “Marketplaces”:


They are great places to connect influencers (bloggers) with  sponsors in a quick, easy way. Unfortunately, many of these websites still accept advertisers looking for “Do follow” links, with the risk of getting penalized by Google.


A very good website I’m currently using, that is totally legitimate and professional is Themidgame (you can see the main page for the sign up on the picture above. Click on it if you want to know more).



It works like this: You, the “influencer”, sign up for free  and connect your stats from Google Analytics and social media accounts. Data will show on your profile and the sponsors will know if you are a good fit for them. It’s transparent, clear and easy to use.


The advertiser can contact you through the “Get Sponsored” button on your profile or you can check out the Opportunities section to view the latest offers.


 

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Why do I like this website?


First of all, it’s reliable, very professional and signing up is for free. Their database already includes many influential, professional bloggers like Paul Johnstons from A Luxury Travel blog and Miki Kosman of The Barefoot Nomad, just to name a few.



Another important factor is that we share the same philosophy on the relationship between advertisers and bloggers: it’s a pleasure to work with advertisers that understand the potential influence that bloggers have nowadays. I like sponsors willing to invest money in our hard work rather than our PR.



Signing up to a website like Themidgame is one of the steps to take your blog seriously and start making money without worrying about the next Google update.


I was lucky to work with them and liked the way they handled the whole process: you can negotiate prices directly with the sponsor and  they are always open to suggestions. Everything is very clear and runs smoothly. 


They also have a Blog section  with useful tips on how to deal with the sponsors plus a helpful FAQ section. 


OTHER MARKETPLACES OPTIONS:

Another good place to look for sponsored  opportunities is this website called Blogness. The concept is basically the same as the other marketplaces: It connects you to valuable advertisers. Just make sure to only accept the requests that fit your brand/values.

FINAL ADVICE FOR THE SPONSORED POSTS OPPORTUNITIES:

I find this to be the single most important thing to do in order to be successful and don’t lose your credibility for a few bucks now. Sometimes they offer me good money to advertise or mention products that have nothing to do with me or with travel and even if the idea of earning 200, sometimes 400$ is tempting don’t fall for it.

One time I was offered more than 3000$ for a product and I had to decline.. no jokes! I said no as I couldn’t see myself promoting something I didn’t find exciting or at least useful for my readers. The product itself wasn’t bad at all. But a good partnership with an advertiser is when you believe in the service/product and you’d try it yourself  even without being paid.

So my advice here is: By all means, sign up to these marketplaces but on your profile make sure to clarify what your website is about, so that they will send you only relevant sponsors. A win-win situation for everyone!



HOW MUCH CAN YOU MAKE WITH SPONSORED POSTS?


Sponsored posts have a huge potential in terms of profit, and your earnings depend on a few factors:


1|Your blogging schedule:

If you write at least twice per week, you can squeeze in a sponsored post more easily. It is obviously not ideal to only write sponsored posts, so the more you write, the better you can make them work for your website.

 

2|How your audience reacts to sponsored posts:

Make sure to publish only content with added value for your readers: sponsored or not it shouldn’t make any difference to them. After all, with the affiliates I’m suggesting a product or service that I would use myself. Sponsored posts take a different approach, but the concept is exactly the same.

 

3| How much you can charge for a sponsored post:

It mainly depends on your influence. The more your audience is engaged, the more you can charge (from $50 to $500 or more).


I love this monetizing model as it helps me diversify my income. Relying just on affiliate marketing is a risk and it’s best to always implement different ways of making money to be on the safe side.



3| FREE – LANCE ASSIGNMENTS:


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Besides the conventional, direct ways to make money online, you can also have an income by using your website as a portfolio of your work to get some free-lance assignments.There are various ways to be a freelancer with your travel blog.



Below is the list of what I did to earn some more money during my trips:


 

Free-lance photographer for hotels and hostels (I got paid and received free accommodation)


Writing assignments in Italian and English for online magazines


English-Italian translator for online and printed publications


Paid consulting for people who needed to plan a trip to Sardinia


These are all good ways to use your blog to earn money in an indirect way. If you know a second language or have specialized skills, you should put them in your media kit and try to find people interested. It’s easier than you think.


3+1 FINAL TIPS TO FIND FREE – LANCE JOBS THROUGH YOUR BLOG:



1| Business cards:

Always bring a few business cards with you, even if you are going to a beach party. You never know who you are going to meet. I got a few assignments during random social events. Handing out your business card is a sign of professionalism that gives you more chances to be considered.



2| Be proactive:

I scored my first paid photo-shoot when I saw a flyer attached to a hostel door saying “Searching for Professional Photographer”. Well, I am not a professional, but I asked to talk to the manager, handed over my business card and showed her my blog. She liked it and decided to hire me, as I was less expensive than a professional. It was a win-win situation.



3| Attend to blogger/travel industry events:

Very important. So important that I wrote an article/guide after attending the WTM (World Travel Market) in London last year. You can find many useful tips in it, so check it out!


 

4| Think outside the box:

This is the most important advice I can give you. You are probably thinking “Ok, but how exactly”? I know a blogger who partnered with a local travel agency and she now promotes the destination in exchange for a % on the sales.

There are bloggers who organize tailored trips, cooperate together on  consulting websites or create their own products/services. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

 

Get creative, be patient and work hard.

Trust me, the results will arrive sooner than you think!

 

Of course, there are ways to speed up the learning process as the web has plenty of very useful resources on how to open a blog and take it to the next level, you can check  a truly great guide on the topic in here!





 

Have you found other original ways to monetize your blog? Do you want to add your own experience or ask about something I didn’t cover? Leave a comment!

Thanks for reading! 🙂


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Themidgame. All opinions are my own.

I put all my effort to write this for you, like it and make me happy!
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Comments 164

  1. Mark K

    Hey Clelia,

    This is a super informative article about blog monetization. I really like the tip about not putting random generic links everywhere.

    Clelia’s note: I delete the links as it’s again the policy, thanks for your understanding!

  2. 0746hw

    What’s up thіѕ is kind of off topic Ьut І was wondering if blogs usee WYSIWYG
    editors оr іf you Һave tо manually code it HTML.
    I’m starting ɑ blog soon but haνe no coding knowledge so I
    wantеd to get advice fгom ѕomeone with experience.

    Any help would be enormously appreciated!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      If you use WordPress you won’t necessarily need to know HTML. I don’t and still run my blog without any problem.
      Cheers.

  3. Sanjay

    Hi Clelia,

    Awesome post. I also use AFFILIATE MARKETING and recommend it to other bloggers as it really works and helps us making the living via blogging.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Yes Affiliate marketing is a very good way to monetize a website, it’s not exactly easy at first but if you study the best ways to make it work it’s amazing!

  4. terry

    very informative article …hoping to start a blogg…but its not about traveling like you…..how do i go about doing that if i am a not a traveller…..

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hi Terry, it doesn’t matter if you are not a travel blogger. The main rules apply to any topic, as long as 1) you don’t start it exclusively for the money 2) You write about something you are really passionate about (otherwise it’s difficult to make it work in the long run) 3) You might have many passions to write about, try to chose one which is a bit easier to monetize. For the rest, the blogging world has very similar rules, good luck 🙂

  5. Sumil

    Make money anywhere ain’t easy it requires dedication and patience. After 2 months of travel blogging i finally broke into the $200 mark last month ( i have been blogging on another niche topic since 10months which gave me the experience and taught lot of things) Was a lucky streak though, this month is halfgone and i am still on $50.
    I feel the key lies in publishing good quality articles and not overdoing things from the start. One should start at a pace at which they can commit to even if it is 2 quality posts a month and hold onto to it for long. I am still an amateur writer so i limit my articles to 600 words which is good enough to communicate the story my readers.
    I do share my articles a lot on social media and that keeps the traffic coming. Lets see where this approach takes me to.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Your approach is quite right Sumil! Always focus on quality rather than quantity! I wish you the best of luck with your blog!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks Saurabh! I think that being open helps more than just say “yes, I earn money with my blog” without giving any specifics 🙂

  6. Holea

    Great and honest article! Thanks for sharing! I’m only in my third month of blogging, so nowhere near of trying to monetize it, but it’s my goal in a year’s time! Thanks for the tips! It’s so very amazing.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thank s Olea! I’m happy that I could help! I wish you all the best with your blog. Don’t give up!!

  7. Abhishek

    Your blog is very informative! I am a travel enthusiast, I had started blogging a couple of years back but then couldn’t continue on it. I have now started putting time into it, catching up with posts about the previous journeys , though I have got to work to make a substantial footfall. Do you think I should wait for some time before I start on Monetization? Also, I have a blogger account , I read at many places that it poses limits and one should better have a website of their own if they want to make it big in blogging. What is your opinion on that?

  8. Abhishek

    Thanks a lot! Your tips are really valuable. I am a travel enthusiast, mostly in family travel niche in India. I had started a blog couple of years back but couldn’t actively continue then. Now I have started investing time into it and I am writing posts, catching up with old trip memories before the new ones follow. I am just starting off and have to work towards making a considerable footfall. Do you think I can go for the monetization right away or I should wait to make a little presence via other social media and all?

    Also, I have a blogger account, I have read at many places that it is very limiting and one should better have a website of their own. What is your opinion on that?

  9. Pingback: Why Long Term Travel is NOT a Holiday! - KEEP CALM AND TRAVEL

  10. anna

    Thanks for sharing a different way to earn online. i will give a try and see it shows some value or not. i hope you help me out with my plans for this new idea.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks for your comment, Anna. There are many ways you could make money online, of course, this is my way (even if the article is more than 1-year-old, it’s still valid), the keyword is experimenting, providing good quality articles and… be patient (I see far too many people giving up too soon). Good luck!

  11. Prasad

    How inspiring! I’m a traveller myself and have been trying to convert my website into a blog. However, never been getting time to update it regularly. Any suggestions how you planned your posts for upcoming days in advance while you were working as well?

    thanks

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Prasad, don’t drop your head but I’m the worst person to ask this question to! 🙂 I don’t plan my blog posts…I usually go with the flow unless I have some sort of deadline, so I usually don’t post more than once per month. My record was I think 4 times per month before my 2 months African trip, as I had to catch up with a few articles.

      But I usually write a lot (around 2000/4000 words per post, sometimes even more), so It really counts as I write 4 times per month or more 😀

  12. Iryna

    Thanks for the great advice and inspiration! I am a beginner, but nurtured the idea of travel blogging for a while…
    Quick question about CJ please, if you have time to answer.
    Do they provide the same link possible to use for various countries? How does it work if someone from Asia wants to buy a tour from my link? or you just use the one for US?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey,

      with CJ it really depends on which program you are joining. I use them mostly for the Tripadvisor campaign and no, I don’t have to use different links for different countries but it may be possible that for other programs they have special rules. My suggestion is to carefully read the terms & condition of each program you are joining and if you have any doubt you can contact them. I did it and they were quite quick in replying!

      Hope this helps!
      Cheers
      Clelia

  13. DP

    I am not earning enough through my site and want to monetize now. I am going to implement your instructions. You wrote very nice post here.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks DP, the key word here is patience and hard work… nothing new I know, but it really is that simple! Best of luck with your blog!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Yes Neil, VERY Hard, but if you love what you do and you try and stay authentic your voice will be heard eventually. Thanks for your comment!

  14. Francis Mawere

    Thanks Clelia for this useful article, am a newbie in blogging and I have been read a lot articles that could make me grow and succeed as others but at the end of the day i found my self down… but now after reading ur article, i will rise as it was supposed to be.
    Thank u.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks, Francis! I know sometimes is easy to get discouraged especially when you are at the beginning of your blogging journey. I don’t deny (and never will) that being a full-time blogger is a hard job, not all roses, flowers and cocktails on the beach as people imagine.

      No one can give us the guarantee that we are going to succeed, but after almost 4 years in the business, I noticed that people who somehow still manage to go ahead and make a living out of it are those who are flexible and resilient. Be one of them, believe in your passions and there is a good chance that you will achieve something good! If anything, a great life experience, but don’t give up too soon 🙂

      Cheers
      Clelia

  15. Anurao

    Great post, kudos.
    I learnt so much from this article, but mainly what I learnt is to not give up soon. We all know this, but tend to not follow it.
    Got extra motivation from your post. Thanks! 🙂

  16. Cebunomads

    Hi I am also running a new travel blog about my hometown. I was just wondering why you never mentioned about PPC sites like Adsense? I have been searching and reading around the net and seems like more than 80% in my searches told me to get approved in Adsense as one way to make money with a travel blog. In you case, how was it ?

    1. Clelia Mattana

      In my case I simply made the decision to not use Adsense & Co. I don’t like to fill my website with banners to be honest. So, for now, I leave this out of the equation. I might change my mind one day, never say never but I realized that when people see too many banners it’s annoying. At least it is for me as a reader!
      But I also know of people that make money with that, so I guess it’s a matter of choices and it’s also subjective depending on the audience!

      1. tracy

        I’m glad you find other ways to monetize your blog. As a reader of many blogs, I agree it’s annoying. Thank you!

        1. Clelia Mattana

          Thanks Tracy, I guess you are referring to the annoying advertising pop ups (AdSense & co)? It’s been a while since I wrote this and I still haven’t changed my mind on that. I still find it very annoying 🙂

  17. Lena

    Hi Clelia,
    Thanks for a very comprehensive article. It’s a lot of good information in there. My biggest problem before even starting to use the links, etc. is to bring my traffic numbers to the next level. You mentioned in the beginning that you started a professional approach and your numbers went up. Can you please tell a bit more about what you did to make that happen? Apart from good SEO and good content.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hi Lena,
      Actually, good SEO and good content were the most important things I did in my case (first good content actually, as I started to learn about SEO later). Social media helped a bit but I found it to be quite unpredictable and, especially with the affiliates, social media traffic doesn’t convert at all, so I dedicated most of my attention to learning about SEO techniques and they surely pay off in the long run.

      When I’m traveling I don’t have to worry about producing content and promoting on social media because with the right SEO I get continuous traffic from Google even if I don’t update the website for a few months. It’s definitely worth it.
      If you are just looking for traffic, then social media might be one of the ways to get it, but unless an article gets viral it needs constant work..
      There would be so much more to say about traffic but I’ll have to write a totally new article 🙂 Anyway, the most important thing for me always remain the same: patience and the willingness to never give up and NEVER under any circumstances compare my results with others.

      I hope these tips will help you!
      Cheers
      Clelia

  18. Ruben Arribas

    Wow, Clelia! Great information about monetizing your blog! OMG, I feel so curious about declining 3k for a post.

    I’m starting to monetize my blog, we’ve been writing for 4 months and the information is very useful. At the beginning the best way, I think is offering your services like free lance and we are doing this.

    Thanks for this information

    Ruben

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks for your kind words Ruben! And yes, I’m not lying… I really turned down such an offer (crying a bit ok ahahah). Freelance is definitely a way, but the key is always the same, especially at the beginning: NEVER GIVE UP, even when you are struggling. Unless of course you need some financial security because of family&kids, then I suggest to keep a “normal” job until things start to get off, but my advice remains the same. Never get discouraged.
      Good luck!!

      Clelia

  19. Srimanta Ghosh

    Hi Clelia Mattana,

    I’m Srimanta, a travel blogger. Excellent and very informative post for all travel bloggers those who want to make money with their travel blog from affiliate marketing, specially CJ. I have learned very useful strategies what you have said!!

    Thanks for your 3 great resources. 🙂

    Srimanta

  20. Jo

    Love the tips. Bookmarked your blog for more as I embark on my journey with my new travel blog – I would need all the help and reading professional travel blogs, like yours is definitely on top of my list.
    Also, will join “themidgame” at a later point when my blog starts getting traction. Thanks for the great resource.

  21. Anna

    Hi Clelia,

    My name is Anna. I’d like to ask you about CPA or affiliates… They’re sending me the offers to place their banners with dofollow link and to earn money for the successful deal on their website. But I afraid that it won’t be good for me as my readers may click on link but not necessary will buy something. So it just takes my place and time…

    What do you think?

  22. mary

    same here, English is not my native tongue language but I managed fine, your blog is awesome, I can’t wait to explore more on your con, seems you know what you are doing and I love learning from each day.thank you. do u mind your nationality pl, I am filipino.

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  24. Elise Xavier

    Some solid advice here. One thing I’d like to point out as well in relation to your point about not following the crowd: “Don’t put an affiliate simply because other bloggers are making money with it. Your blog and your audience might be different and it might not perform in the same way.” True, AND, just because you see other blogs pushing an affiliate, doesn’t mean it necessarily converted well for them either.

    Just do what works well for yourself and your audience is excellent advice. Don’t be afraid to test, but don’t be afraid to move on if you feel like something just isn’t working.

  25. Financial Samurai

    Good stuff Clelia! Affiliate marketing and selling my own book is the main way I earn online. It’s amazing what one can earn if they just establish their platform online!

    Ever come to San Francisco? If so, happy to buy you a drink!

    Sam

  26. Anuradha

    Wow. This is like a mini encyclopedia on its own! And I read your “about” section as well. Loved your blog 🙂 Glad I stumbled upon this when I was looking for something. Thanks for the tips, Clelia. Wish you all the very best for your future endeavors. I’m sure you will achieve lot more 🙂

    Spreading more positivity,
    Anu

  27. Cis

    Ciao Clelia!
    Questo post mi ha ispirato moltissimo, ti ringrazio davvero di cuore!

    Sto seriamente pensando di provare qualcosa di simile anche io, mi piacerebbe tanto, però leggendo in giro mi assale una paura: la partita iva è necessaria? 🙁

    Saluti!

  28. Erik Emanuelli

    Hi Clelia,
    for me, it’s a combination of selling ads, sponsored posts and affiliate marketing.
    Plus, I also have clients for my services of freelance writing and social media marketing.

    I’m creating my product, at this time.
    Thanks for sharing!

  29. Shane

    Hi there,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading all of your tips on travel blogging! My website is etravelerbudget.com! If you would not mind shooting me an email..I would love to update you to where I am at on my website as I do need a mentor in the industry!

  30. Claudio

    Hi Clelia,

    just bumped into your post today and totally enjoyed.
    About your screenshot, how would you define “non-professional” approach?

    Thanks for your awesome work and for sharing it.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hi Claudio, glad you enjoyed the post!

      As for the “non professional approach” on my picture, I was simply taking it as a pure hobby, no deadlines, no marketing strategies, no schedule or even an attempt on monetizing it. When I started taking it seriously each post I published had my readers in mind first. That was the main difference during the switch.

      Hope it makes sense 🙂

  31. Cecilia Diez

    Hi,

    I am contacting you on behalf of AdsCluster, an advertising network with main presence in US, UK, CA & AU because we are interested in monetizing your remnant traffic through banners and video ads.

    Please contact me if you are interested in my offer.

    Best Regards.

    Cecilia Diez
    Business Developer

  32. Chamintha J

    Stumbled on your wonderful post…trying to juggle a blog and managing a small experiential travel company can be a bit (a lot) overwhelming and your post has helped me really focus on what would work for us (or not)! Thank you and would love to connect with you in Sri Lanka. Will get in touch through your ‘work with me’ link.

  33. Bobbi Gould

    This is BY FAR, the most descriptive and helpful post I’ve found on affiliate marketing! I am bookmarking. Thank you for being up front. I feel like many of the top affiliate marketers don’t want to give away their “secrets.” I appreciated this!

  34. Pingback: How To Start Traveling The World | Elena's Travelgram

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks Mac, you’re right…first work on the content, and do it for passion. The monetizing part will come, almost naturally!

  35. Jay

    Hello,

    Just wanted to stop by and say these are great tips! Definitely a great read. I will definitely be sharing on Facebook! I currently run a similar travel site based in Los Angeles, check it out if you have a chance: http://www.visitla4less.com

    Keep up the good work!

  36. Michael

    Thank you to share this with us, Clelia! In Brazil we don’t have good information about affiliate programs and get money with blogs. You just open my eyes for this market.

  37. My Hidden Paris

    Till now, Google Adsense is most popular for monetized blog or website though it has some rude rule to band account and they do not reply if you ask for the reason for banding your account.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      I honestly don’t know much about Google Adsense as for me it’s not a good way to monetize and I don’t like the spammy look it gives to the website but this is my personal opinion of course.

  38. Dave

    Great post and advice. It is easy to get discouraged, but I love the monetisation tips you provided to give bloggers like myself more inspiration. 🙂

  39. Omid

    Hi Cle!

    I have read first 2 items; Thanks for sharing your experience.
    I signed up in themidgame but it seems their website is out of service because I received this error:

    Error 404
    Unable to resolve the request “socialaction/opportunities”.

    Do you have this issue too?

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Omid, I just checked and it works on my end.Maybe it was a temporary issue with the server? Try again now, it should work!(by the way…the website is not mine, just guessing!)
      Cheers
      Cle

  40. Dale

    Thanks for the useful and informative post. You have given us a lot of good tips to use on our new website. Hopefully one day we will be as successful as you.

    Keep up the great work,
    Dale @ TimetoGetAway.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks Dale! I’m currently writing a whole e-book on how to use the affiliates for travel bloggers, stay tuned as it will give you so many detailed tips! I wish you all the best with your blog!
      Cheers!
      Clelia

  41. Fashion Girl |

    Hi Clelia,

    This is a very informative post. Thanks for sharing your monetisation tips. I also use Booking but have only just recently started using it this year. I’m not registered under CJ though, as they closed my account after 6 months due to my inactivity in promoting products. I believe they will close your account after 6 months if you haven’t made any commissions.

    Fortunately, Booking approached me to sign up with their affiliate programme and got accepted after 24 hours. I heard Booking takes a long time to approve and they often decline new bloggers. But I was very lucky despite of being new.

    I also signed up with TripAdvisor late last year but I actually haven’t started promoting them. I’ve read through once about their TOS and how they pay but it seems quite vague. I still don’t know if TripAdvisor is profitable. What do you think?

    Which ones are your favourites between the two (Tripadvisor and Booking)? Also, I’m very impressed by the amount of commissions you earned through CJ. May I ask what other products / companies you promote from CJ that are quite profitable in your blog?

    I look forward to your reply.

    Thank you.

  42. Change

    Great post! I was checking out this article and I am truly impressed, so detailed and well written.
    Very helpful and valuable info, particularly the affiliate marketing part 🙂 I was looking for a detailed post on the topic for a long time. Thank you and good luck with your website. I really love it.

  43. Pingback: A "How To" Guide On Efficient Affiliate Programs, with Clelia Mattana - Inspiring You To Live Your Free, Nomad and Healthy Way-WAKEY WAKEY

  44. Dave Brett

    Nice write up Clelia, lots of useful tips, I’m using affiliate Window, might have to check out CJ too. I’m new to Midgame at the moment, had a few gigs so far, but seems rather slow, I have to agree, it’s a fantastic idea and I only hope it grows and becomes more frequently used by companies wanting to work with bloggers in the future.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Dave,
      Thanks for stopping by! Glad you found the article interesting. As for the guest post opportunities, I’m sure the site will grow further, as right now there are a few very good opportunities. CJ has been very good for me, and I highly recommend it, but as always, it depends on how you use your tools! Good luck with your blog and if you need any suggestion, shoot me an email 🙂

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  46. Natalia

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I have several blogs and I really like it and I’v been thinking lately to take this blogging to a higher level, wich also means maybe getting some income out of it. This post will help me a lot along the way. And I love your travel stories! Keep up the good work!

  47. Pingback: Startup Calabria » Come fare il grande salto e cambiare vita. Intervista a Clelia Mattana

  48. The Guy

    Hi Cle,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and what is working for you. I totally agree with how once you changed your approach to your blog things have really taken off. I loved your blog when I first saw it over a year ago, yet it has come on so much since then. Kudos to you 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your income earning experiences. I really need to re-think my affiliate link strategy since it has overwhelmingly failed for me so far. I need to focus more on testing and playing with the strategy. I also need to look more into deep linking and seeing if that will work.

    Thanks for the suggestions of sites to use. I recently found out that even with only selective paid do follow links you can fall foul of Google so I have to now rule out the little amount of income I received from that.

    As for being creative I have one little tale to tell. I wrote an article about music festivals a few months ago. I didn’t have any personal photos to support the article and didn’t want to pay for any (remember I don’t really make any money from my blog). So I approached via the website one of the local summer music festivals near me. I explained what article I was going to write and gave them some visitor stats. I then asked if they’d be interested in supplying me with some of their photos to use and I would acknowledge them in the article. They were more than too happy to oblige. They then approached me and offered me press tickets to this year’s festival! (I never expected this.) I was very grateful for their offer. Unfortunately I already had plans for that weekend but I was quite surprised at how happy they were to voluntarily offer them to me.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey The Guy, thanks so much for your comment.
      You already know that I really appreciate your work too and I’m sure that with the right strategy you will be able to make money with the affiliates. I reiterate my advice here, you need to find the right affiliates for you but most importantly : deep links are the key.

      Many people just put some banners here and there hoping for their audience to click on them. It simply doesn’t work this way. I read other blogs (mainly marketing ones) and honestly? when I see a banner I literally ignore it. It’s just annoying to me. It screams ” advertising”. But if the author of a well written comprehensive post links to a useful resource I’m more interested in checking that link out.

      Same applies for my readers. When they land on my Sardinian article (where i placed most of the deep links), it is obvious to them that I am passionate about the topic and that they can rely on me, so they are more inclined to follow my advice. It is really that simple. I’m sure you have plenty of good articles to use for this purpose.

      Regarding your tale on creativity, very well played! That’s exactly the spirit. the best offers come from reaching out and asking for a co-operation. The same happened to me with the Midgame. I reached for them but not asking them to give me any paid work. I only explained who I was and after they featured me on their website I received a few offers.

      So keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll see the results. I also support your choice to avoid the Do Follow paid links. They are really not worth the risk with Google. Also, I really think that this strategy won’t last forever. Luckily for us, the companies that want to work with bloggers are starting to realize that the Page Rank is not really a huge factor to rank high on Google.

      I do better than some of the biggest websites out there for a few articles and I only have PR1 so I know what I’m talking about.

      If you need any help with the affiliates, just let me know and I’ll try to help (I’m not an expert but experience taught me a few things..)

  49. Sigurdur Bjorgvinsson @redheadexplorer

    Great Article! It is really useful and has helped me to understand this better.

    I have just started my own website and I am trying to find ways how I can make money of it. Right now I don’t think I have enough readers who will click on the ads.

    I just have one question, how many monthly readers do you need to make enough money so you can quit your day time job and focus only on your website?

    thanks again, well written and excellent article.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Sigurdur,

      Thanks for your nice words, glad that I could help you!
      Regarding your question, there is no straight answer here. My advice is to keep your day time job until you see that your website is “taking off”.
      But what does it means exactly? it’s not just about how many people visit your website. That is surely nice but it doesn’t guarantee an income.
      I know of blogs that have more page views than mine and are not making any money out of it (yet).

      You mainly need a strategy, you need to know about all the ways available to monetize your blog and try them to see how your audience reacts. But most importantly, your visitors must be engaged (comments, shares on social media and emails asking for advice are usually a good sign).

      Take your time and don’t rush things. Don’t compare your website to the most successful ones out there. For 90% of these website it took more than a few years of hard work to get where they are. Some people get there sooner but it’s more the exception to the rule. So be aware that being able to earn money will take time. In the meantime work hard and try to produce some good content.

      Without the quality content it’s going to be very difficult to get where you want. Also don’t worry if in the beginning just few people will read your blog posts. Make sure to have some “evergreen” posts that you can re-share when your audience is growing.

      I personally just started using Adsense but I’m still not putting much effort in it as I don’t see it a very viable way to make good money. You would need a massive traffic to see good result with that method.

      I started taking my website more seriously when I had more than 150 views per day, but it’s totally subjective.
      Last advice: read, read a lot of good travel blogs and marketing blogs and see what they are doing right. But don’t try to copy their success, find your own voice and stick to it, be genuine and you’ll see the results on the long run.

      Best of luck for your new website!

  50. Pingback: Escape the Rat Race: 15 Location-Independent Experts Share How they Work and Travel | Open World

  51. Sara

    I had read other articles on the matter but this one is written very well. I’ve only just begun blogging and I’m finding all this a bit confusing. I subscibed to booking.com two weeks ago and they still have to reply.

    I went to the CJ website and I read the policies. It seems they charge you if you don’t get traffic or activity, so I suppose it’s not suitable for budding blogs.

    Having said that, my blog is growing in content little by little, and I’d be honoured to publish your interviews.

    Sincerely
    Sara
    http://www.myfutureproject.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/myfutureproject1?ref=hl

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hi Sara
      When you say that you subscribed to booking.com you mean you applied for their affiliate program? Sometimes it takes a bit for them to reply, if they still didn’t get back to you, I suggest to write to their customer service. They are usually very nice.

      For CJ, I’m pretty sure they don’t charge anything. Where is the piece where they say they charge you? I applied to their program and didn’t use it for months but they never charged me of anything. On the opposite, they are very precise with payments and I love their reports and customer service (note that I don’t get any money by publicizing them this way…it’s just an honest review based on my experience).

      Sometimes when a blog is new, and you apply for a program, the company might reject your application. It happened to me a few times. All you have to do (if you really want to work with them) is wait for your blog to gain some traffic and try again by writing directly to the company. It usually works.

      Regarding the interviews, I’m finally starting to work again on my blog and I’ll send you all the material as soon as I can!
      Cheers
      Clelia

  52. Debbie

    Even though my blog is not a travel blog, I like to read how people go about monetizing their blogs and you have given what sounds like excellent advise.

    You have a great command of the English language and I would never have known that it is your second language!

    My blog is still new, but I would like to monetize it in the future. I will take the advise you gave about sponsored posts and affiliate sales on board for sure.

    Great post and I hope your blog continues to thrive!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks for your message Debbie!
      You are right, the suggestions on this blog post can be applied to any type of blog really.
      I wish you all the best for your new website and if you need any help just shoot me an email!

      Cheers
      Clelia

  53. Ryan

    Hey Clelia, pretty rad tips you have on here! I’ve been meaning to now turn my blog into my career path slowly, and some of these methods I’ve tried. I have always made a decent amount with Sponsored Posts, being that I only accept in British Pound as well since a lot of the companies are based in UK. But, affiliate links is something I’ve always wanted to take the time to do and just haven’t gotten around to it unfortunately. Much appreciated for the guide and I’ll try to implement some while back in the US!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Ryan,
      you should definitely give affiliate programs a try. They usually don’t give immediate results but when they do, ah well… it’s nice to see the money coming your way 🙂 If you need help just let me know! and good luck with your great blog, love it! 🙂

  54. Andrew M. Warner

    Hi Clelia,

    I found your post in a G+ community I’m in and decided to click it and I’m glad that I did. This is a great post.

    I love the way you broke down each of the methods you could use to make money and the amount of detail that you put into each one.

    Affiliate marketing really is one of the best ways to make money with any king of site. But the thing with affiliate marketing is that in order to be really successful, you have to promote something that you know or have used yourself. At least that’s what I think.

    Lastly, in order to make money on ANY blog, you have to build and establish trust. Nobody is going to buy anything from you unless they trust you. So that’s important to note.

    Great post once again.

    Have a great weekend.

    – Andrew

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Andrew
      Thanks a lot for your message and glad you found the article useful! Of course i totally agree with you on the affiliate tactics. There is no point in suggesting something you didn’t try or trust. People will notice and it won’t give you any benefit in the long run.
      Trust is the most important thing you can work on in order to be successful.
      I’d never click on a link and buy anything if I don’t trust the source.

      Thanks again for stopping by and good luck with your own business!

  55. Johannes

    Great article Clelia. I really liked how you clarified that monetizing your blog can be alot of hard work – which is the hard truth (normally).

    Keep up the great work, I look forward to reading more.

  56. David @ That Gay Backpacker

    I know I have way more traffic than other blogs who are making way more money than with me, and it’s kinda frustrating :/ I haven’t tried affiliates and never even really considered it – but now I’m going to give it a whirl. Thanks!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey David, if you already have the traffic then the affiliates, if well placed can really make the difference. Find your best content and try a few ones for 1-2 months. i know it can be frustrating but it’s worth the wait.
      Good luck with your blog!

  57. Marta Kulesza

    Very informative. I will be definitely signing up for the midgame. I am happy to hear that you also found the job as a photographer for hotels. This is something I will try to do once I will get to New Zealand. Once again! Thanks for the tips!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Marta, if you have a good portfolio on your blog you should definitely try to score some photo shoot. There are many hotels/hostels looking to renew their websites image.
      Good luck! 🙂

  58. Faye

    Hi! Your blog has taught me a lot. I just started my travel blog a month ago and I would really appreciate it if you visit so you can check out the Philippines and its tourist destinations. Plus you can also give me suggestions if that’s not too much to ask. Thanks for this article! 🙂

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Faye,
      Thanks for your comment and glad I could help! Everyone knows how much I love the Philippines and even if I stayed in there for 4 months I still have a lot to discover, s I will be checking out your blog for sure..

      My suggestion for now is: focus on writing good useful content for your readers and always remain honest when writing your blog posts…everything will fall in place if you stick to it and you’re patient enough to see the results.

      it might take a while, but as you saw on my post, don’t get discouraged in the beginning. Hard work always pays off!

      I wish you all the best for your blog!:)
      Cheers
      Clelia

  59. Ferna

    Wow!

    This is an amazing post for beginners like me. I bet I still need more time to focus on my blog given that there are far more unlimited opportunities outhere.

    I have just created mine last month and still doing some works slowly on my blog.

    If it’s not too much with you, do you know some forums where I could join in for travel bloggers so I could also be guided accordingly by creating my blog? I can’t afford for someone to do it for me 🙁 (I think I still have more things to do)

    Huge Thanks Clelia!

    Ferna Here

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Ferna,

      I’m always happy to read comments like yours as my aim is to also help people who are just starting out with their blogs! regarding the forums,unfortunately I don’t know many. What I did in the beginning was reading e-books from famous travel bloggers and download free guides for beginners. They helped me a lot!

      Besides that, check out the Facebook groups for bloggers, there are many and can be very helpful. My advice is to interact as much as you can (even if you think your question is “stupid”). There will be many kind people willing to help you.

      Doing everything by yourself can be overwhelming (tell me about it!!) but in the end it will give you an even greater satisfaction.

      Hang in there, study, try and make mistakes. They will give you invaluable lessons, trust me on that.

      Good luck Ferna!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Lyndsay,

      If you have more time,I’d say YES, go for it!(Just make sure to have a clear goal, that really helps you to focus and achieve what you want)

      I started working on my blog seriously when I was in Thailand and I had to go to school in the mornings. I decided to quit and focus only on my website….It took me a while, but it’s definitely worth it.
      Good luck and keep me posted!

  60. grasya

    Thanks for being very open on how you are trying to earn money online. I did that strategy before and would like to do it again so others may learn and eventually be free to ^_^

    1. Clelia Mattana

      You’re welcome Grasya! I seriously don’t understand why people are so private when it comes to salaries and money. I’m not a millionaire anyway. And being open is much better than just write about a subject without backing up the info with concrete proofs.

      Sharing my numbers and stats gives more credibility to what I have to say..
      But we are not the same, so I understand if others are not so open.

      You should do what you feel is right for you. At all times.
      Good luck 🙂

  61. Sab

    Brava, Clelia!!!

    Another key to become a successful blogger is by sharing your knowledge for free and writing highly valuable posts, what you just did. Great job!

    I reached my highest income last month (June) earning €2000 from my travel blog, mostly through advertising, partnerships and affiliates. I tweaked some of my Google Adsense Banner and suddenly my income more than doubled, I made almost €250 only from Google Adsense (and I had less visitors than ever!) And the funny part is, I didn’t even publish a single post in tis month, lol.

    Another way to make money as a blogger is through Social Media. I make more and more money these days by promoting products through Facebook and Twitter and charging around €100 – €250 per share/tweet, depending on the client and how often. It definitely pays to build followers in Twitter&co.

    I’m impressed by your numbers on CJ, I can only dream of those. Who brings you the most money on CJ?

    Thanks for this awesome post! When will I see you again?

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Sab,you already know that you were one of my inspirational figures when it comes to blogging (and monetizing it). I also remember my comment on your website when you posted your article on the topic. I decided to give it a try soon after reading your post.

      I knew I had to take a different approach with my website as we don’t have the same numbers or the same audience. That’s my main point:everyone can make it if they know their audience and are willing to try different monetizing models.

      Example: I just started with Adsense but I’m still not putting any effort in optimizing the links as I don’t think I’ll make much money with it at the moment.

      For me CJ worked wonders because I put many useful targeted links from TripAdvisor on my Sardinia article and people went crazy(TripAdvisor is the N.1 for me on CJ), but these numbers are nothing compared to what I get from the other 2 affiliates. I just love the affiliates because even when I am not writing any post for weeks (just like you with Adsense) I see the money coming without much effort.

      Ps…if you are still in Chang Mai by Sept-October we might become neighbours 😉

      Ciao bella!

  62. Noel

    Aloha Clelia,

    Wow, this was very comprehensive and well thought out, great job. I use my site primarily as a portfolio, but now that my numbers are workable, I’m starting to look at different revenue streams, thanks for explaining the affiliate portion, wasn’t ready to make a lot of study on this but the legit sponsored post and branding campaigns are what I’m starting to focus on at the moment. Really enjoyed your thorough post, bravo

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks Noel!
      Since your website is a portfolio for you, just experiment different options and see what it works better for you. I talked to many people saying that their number were not high enough.

      Sometimes this doesn’t matter at all. It depends on how profitable is a topic/niche, and you don’t have to score on the top for all the articles in your website. A few ones might do the trick.

      Good luck to you, I’m sure you’re already doing great with your photography!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Yes I read it (after I wrote mine actually!) and they also give great tips. It is very interesting to see how bloggers take different approaches depending on many factors.
      Yes you should absolutely sign up for Themidgame, and not because they sponsored this post (who knows me well, is aware that I’d never recommend anything I don’t really believe in).I just love the concept behind their website and I think this is the way everyone should work when it comes to sponsored posts.

  63. Els

    Great and honest article! Thanks for sharing! I’m only in my third month of blogging, so nowhere near of trying to monetize it, but it’s my goal in a year’s time! Thanks for the tips!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Glad you found it useful Els, and don’t get discouraged.

      I know of people who started monetizing their blog very early with good results. For now I’d say to stay focused and create good content as much as you can. In my experience this is what really pays off in the long run.

      Good luck and keep me posted!

  64. Kerwin

    Well done Clelia.
    Three top strategies. Yeah, I always have a business card with me as you never know who you may meet.
    For me, I’m still trying to find the right vendors on CJ.com, commissions are rolling slowly, but that’s fine as I’m still building my audience.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Kerwin,

      Good that you always have your business card. I love that strategy!
      regarding CJ, keep trying you might find the right one for you or maybe you will find it outside of CJ..

      My advice is to find the ones that work better for each article you have (and they might not be the same, depending on the topic), but there is a lot of potential in the affiliates.

      Don’t give up 😉

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