Make money blogging in 2017. Got the keyword there? Yes. We meant 2017. This is because if you want to earn through blogging, you’ll need to understand that 2017 is a much different world from what you could have done many years ago.
That means you are in a different ball game.
This doesn’t mean we are discounting the fact that techniques to make money blogging from years ago don’t work anymore. No. Actually, if you have been blogging for a long time, and have been able to sustain a quality blog and readership for years, and haven’t stopped writing, then you could probably be earning by now. Of course, that’s if you monetized.
But if you follow the trends, you can find it easier to earn this year. Easier doesn’t mean less work though.
Now that we got all these things cleared up, let’s get cracking.
It is not a secret that one of the ways we’ve been able to stay where we need to be, whether that means staying at home, or traveling to a new destination, is because we’ve been earning from our blog. We started in Nov 2016, and in our first year, earned $25K+ in gross income online.
Now, this is not nowhere close to a lot of the more solid bloggers and online entrepreneurs out there. We are still here to share this story for anyone who is aiming to experience the same
1. Start with having a mindset of providing solid value.
Sound too complicated? To make money blogging, start with yourself. If you’ve ever had a problem, and you thought of going online to get some help, and you found one, then that’s already a value.
Did you need some help planning out a 2-week backpacking trip to Thailand? There’s an online help for that.
Did you need a guide on how to setup an Instagram account? There’s a guide for that.
Did you need help understanding what’s an online store? There’s a guide for that.
Or did you simply needed help on what to eat for breakfast to make sure you kick butt the whole morning at work? Yes. There is actually a guide for that.
What you just need to do is make sure you are ready to provide solid value. This takes market research, a lot of time investment on your part, failing in some factors until you fully understand, testing, testing, and just taking daily actions.
If your blog doesn’t provide something of value, then you will not have any readers, and that’s how you can start creating money.
In our case, we started writing about Ruben’s travel stories. That’s what mostly Gamintraveler was about in the beginning. Now, a lot of the content has shifted as we started traveling together.
The big key for us is to always move forward. Even if there were moments we felt we are not sure what our exact “brand” is, who is our “target market”, we never stopped telling our story.
What happens when you lose momentum? We were generating 15-18K in monthly traffic, in our first 4 months and completely stopped writing in 2 months. No writing and no networking actions. No emails to our email list. We immediately lose traction from our very new readers.
This was a hard lesson for us and we made sure we learned from it.
Every platform online favors consistency.
So how can you really earn money blogging in 2017?
Understand the value that you can create. Create content. Build an audience around it. Partner with brands who need exposure to that audience.
Today, there is a much faster way of building an audience. You may think that blogging is saturated, but actually, because it is so widespread, people got more educated about it. People has a better understanding about blogging now and how it can help you earn money than it is 10 years ago.
So what does that mean for you?
That means you just have to adapt the fastest way you can to get social proof for yourself, while you are building the backbone of your blogging.
At this point, you really have to start thinking about blogging more of a business, than a hobby. When you start thinking like this, there’s a huge mind shift and work ethic shift.
Choose something of solid value that you can provide, and build an audience around it. Here’s the secret. Unless you have thousands of dollars to put into branding, you’d better off starting with something you have, and grow it from there. Clarity will come to you at one point.
You’ll have to know first that you really have the grit to continue doing this.
Let’s take for example our case. Back in 2016, we started blogging about Ruben’s trip in WordPress.com. We garnered up to 5000 WordPress followers. It was a crazy feeling. That feeling that many people actually want to hear your travel stories. These are stories from Ruben’s past trips in South America, Europe and Oceania, and Southeast Asia, before he even met me. It was a past time then.
Until we decided it’s time to take the leap.
So in November 2016, we wrote one interesting blog post of 3000 plus words, with the very simple imagery we can get (Note: Not pro imagery here. The trip was documented with a not very good phone. But surprisingly, one of the best posts of the blog ever). We figured it’s interesting, and we’ll share the hell out of it. We wrote about Ruben’s trip from Spain to Norway, 5 months of bicycle trip. And it got shared to many Facebook groups and among a lot of friends on Facebook. People who felt this story was inspiring. We replied to many people who want to know how you can travel without so much money, how easy it is to prepare for this kind of trip. That first month of moving to a hosted blog, we got 18K views. We prepared a 47-page free ebook of how to travel without money for a long time, and collected emails to build our email list of readers. So yes, beginner’s luck!
What’s interesting is we didn’t earn a single cent that month, and it’s actually a super hard month of time investment, but worth it. We started growing our email list to 1500+ readers, and tried to listen to what the people are telling us. What do they want to learn about? We understood what the blogging life will be, taken seriously in the next couple of years, and we prepared ourselves for the coming work. We got all the free help we can get. Especially signing up with Facebook groups. Healthy Facebook groups have huge or focused communities centered on a common interest.
Why you need them? Because you’ll need all the help you can get.
We joined backpacking groups, bicycle groups, and Spanish groups, blogging groups and travel groups. This is the easiest way you can identify groups of people interested in a certain topic. If the group allows post sharing, then you can share. If not, you’ll have to find a creative way to share an article to people who are really interested and can find your experience valuable.
That, and start your social media channels. Get your name out there! Get your handles (it’s a good thing to have the same handles everywhere, but if not possible, it’s not the end of the world) and document your journey. Start with what you know and tweak later. Don’t get paralyzed with knowing everything upfront without taking an action first.
Once you start getting your first few messages, you’ll understand what people find interesting. Start asking questions to see and identify pain points. Let that information guide you on what type of product you need to have for the people following you.
The key here is to start building some value, but also create momentum for yourself. Build on that value and start working.
Just by creating huge solid value, you can earn money.
Bloggers and other online entrepreneurs who get a lot of traffic to their website can partner with brands and businesses that are looking to target your readers and follower demographic to get exposure for their brands.
Earning by relying on web traffic, can be a little trickier for beginners, but not impossible. A few ways you can earn this way are:
1. Creating sponsored posts, sponsored emails and sponsored podcasts to make money blogging.
Examples of online personalities doing this:
Paul Jarvis and Tim Ferris both release podcasts and newsletters mentioning sponsors on them. Because these brands find your audience related to the audience they want for their products/brands, they are willing to pay a space on your newsletter, podcast or on your blog, so they can get in front of your followers.
You can also see a huge partnership between Lonely Planet and Samsung Mobile. You can see Lonely Planet adding travel and landscape photos taken with Samsung Galaxy Phones on their huge articles on best destinations around the world.
Don’t think this is only for celebrity online brands and big companies.
Key here is never allow a brand that you don’t believe in sponsor or have a space in your platform. Sounds harsh? It’s all about trust. We also have people we look up to online and offline, and we immediately check products and brands they associate themselves with. If you suddenly promote a product that is not aligned with your goals, then you will be seen as untrustworthy. There is nothing worst than losing the trust and love of your readers.
Bring value. Be true to yourself and be honest to your readers, and they will give back the love that you are giving them.
2. Earn directly from your social media following or through your social media influence
The way people monetize immediately in 2017 is through a strong social media following. Since a lot of people are hanging out in social media channels nowadays, you can bet that the next person you need to serve is doing social. Social media is important not only to connect with friends now, but also as one of the biggest tools to build your network professionally and in business.
It can be easier for you to build an audience there, while you are building your blog’s foundation.
For us, everything started when we learned how to grow and monetize our Instagram account.
With the proper use of social media, while building your brand, you can already earn by doing the following:
Thru brand ambassadorships and promotions
This is where you officially represent a product or a service. People who believe in what you’re doing, and who trusts you, will also buy the things that you represent.
@ellagracedenton is from UK and started as a Youtuber, and has now a solid following on Instagram. She promotes veganism, sustainability, being free and true to yourself. Her demographic of women are one of the momst supportive communities we’ve seen online. She has built a strong personal brand with a solid community of followers just watching her journey daily.
@mylifesatravelmovie is a solo travel blogger. Here, she posted about Skyroam where she suggests followers to use it if they are traveling overseas to always be connected online. For products like this, you can earn referral and affiliate sales.
✨SKYROAM GIVEAWAY✨ Many of you have asked how I stay connected while traveling full time, and the answer is @myskyroam! To help you get connected too, and to help celebrate #Skyroam100Countries, I’m giving away a Skyroam hotspot and accessories and 100 days of FREE international Wifi !!! To Enter: – Comment where you’d take @myskyroam in the #skyroam100countries – Tag some frands you’d let hop on your hotspot – Follow @myskyroam on IG – Click the blog post in my bio and tell me your wildest travel dreams! Good luck! Winner announced on FriYay! . #giveaway #skyroam #travelgear #socialmediaaddict #travelblogger proudly #sponsored #mylifesamovie #egypt #cairo #saharadesert
@gypea_lust is popular as one of the biggest and dreamiest travel accounts on Instagram. She represents the brand “Cluse” on her account, and has been notably posting a lot of their watches on her account, without even being “off brand”. Photos definitely match her overall theme! Smart branding.
– Social media sponsored posts to make money blogging
You can either get into free press trips to promote an agency or a destination while partnering with tourism offices. Some get paid or invited for free to promote hotel brands. Based on your no. of followers and engagement, and other factors such as leads you can bring to a site or business, you can get paid in various ways.
Below are examples of social media influencers, big ones and budding ones, who all have been paid or invited, in one way or another, to promote brands, and destinations on their strongest social media platforms.
@doyoutravel is one of the biggest personalities on Instagram known for his big following and exemplary photography.
@theblondeabroad is one of the biggest bloggers and is popular not only for being fun and beautiful, but also because her work is one of the most standout when it comes to the sea of so many Instagrammers fighting for audiences eyes!
Still, if you are a new blogger, we urge you to not get intimidated. Compare yourself only to yourself, and embark on your own journey.
@helloemilie is one of the IG influencers who has a breathtaking feed. Can’t stop looking! See the different Tourism offices she has represented and promoted on her Instagram account.
Afternoons gathering some of my favourite photographs both new and old.✨✨✨ There is something magical about creating memories through prints – collecting physical moments that capture so much more than a time and a place. Can’t wait to start sharing some more prints with you soon. @hpaustralia #reinventmemories.
Drew Binsky is influential across various platforms and mainly uses his Snapchat account to promote tours, Tourism offices and other carefully selected campaigns.
@drifterplanet, another Instagrammer and travel blogger loves attending and reviewing festivals and other wanderlust-worthy travel activities.
Bali is gorgeous! This island of Gods has many amazing spots that are stunning, but this particular spot was my favourite. Can you tell where this is? You can read about this spot and 9 other “Instagram worthy” spots of Bali in my new blog post. The link is in bio. A big thanks to @gnta for clicking this picture of me. Arigatto He is a very talented photographer and you should definitely follow him.
@neyu_ma is a Spanish yogi known for her wellness, travel and fashion Instagram. With her special ability, she can strike a pose in every normal situation out there, and make a fantastic photo out of it.
Just finished a morning yoga session at @santani_wellness and now I’m ready to jump into the pool with my new swimsuit from @hm ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #wanderlust #namaste #BDTeam #gypsy #soul #srilanka #SL #naturelover #sunrise
@michutravel is a luxury travel blogger known for her beautiful, luxurious and calming feeds. Who can resists planning a trip to the Maldives and other beautiful coast destinations by watching her feed?
Meet my new friend, Mr. Pineapple And yes, we are having a great time here at @charisma_suites ✨Tag a friend who likes —————————————————– Located at the tip of Oia, right underneath the famous windmill that everyone takes photo of, Charisma Suites is a beautifully styled property here in Santorini. Check out my insta-story for more updates of room and decor here! —————————————————– #huffpostgram #LonelyPlanet #travelgirl #Fantastic_earth #earthofficial #beautifuldestinations #bestplacestogo #letsgosomewhere #Vacaciones #keepexploring #wanderlust #landscape #TheWeekOnInstagram #theimaged #viaparadise #worldtraveler #travellife #beautifulplaces #bestvacations #vacations #thetravelwomen #sheisnotlost #travelblogger #beautifulhotels #travelandlife #visitgreece #santorini #oia #greece
@traveltomtom is one of the new and upcoming bloggers, very popular for his charisma, the fun he brings to his snaps, and his various reviews of luxury hotels and destinations on his Instagram and Snapchat.
My sailing trip to one of the worlds most exclusive islands in West Papua, Indonesia made me realize again how amazing it is to be cut off from the rest of the world! Watching the sun being chased by the moon and in and between you just make the most of your day out there exploring. The ocean has such a calming effect, I love it out there! Read my first episode of my trip to Raja Ampat on my blog www.traveltomtom.net! . . . #iamtraveler #travelblog #wonderfulworld #earthpics #travelmore #worldwide #awesomeearth #lovetheworld #lifewelltravelled #travelandleisure #worldtraveler #getoutstayout #huffpostgram #mytinyatlas #welltravelled #seetheworld #gopro #goprohero #goprooftheday #wonderlust #worlderlust #exploring #adventure #climbing #islandlife #paradise #beach #beachlife #naturelover #natureaddict
If you are just starting out, don’t be afraid to reach out to people. If you are building on Instagram, which is something we highly suggest, there are a lot of Instagrammers who respond to their comments and direct messages. Connect with them. Engage with people who are following you build your own sentinel of friends and followers.
Selling your work thru Photography and Videography
Build your portfolio or show off your skills in photography and editing through your Instagram account. Build a following of avid fans, and show to brands how they can work with you to create content for them or to even promote their brands on your own social media platforms.
@travel_fred is known for his island hop adventures, luxury reviews and fantastic media created with his drone. Definitely top notch content!
Adventure time at the @intercontinentalsamui! Paddle boarding, kayaking, jet ski, sailing and many more – the InterContinental Koh Samui offers it all. #beach #ocean #travelgram #traveling #traveladdict #travelphotos #travellife #reisen #holiday #vacation #urlaub #beachlife #islandlife #instatravel #reiselust #kohphiphi #urlaubsreif #kohphangan #kohsamui #thailande #thailand #kohtao #thailandluxe #phuket #krabi #khaolak #chiangmai #luxuryvillas #livingthegoodlife #kohlanta
We love @vincelimphoto’s stellar photography and edits. Definitely one of the best in IG!
Heavenly views @sonyalpha a7rii . . . . #lifeofadventure #igmasters #pro_ig #discoverearth #eclectic_shotz #hbouthere #fatalframes #sonyalphasclub #folkgood #lifeofadventure #usaprimeshots #followmefaraway #heatercentral #stayandwander #ourplanetdaily #nakedhawaii #ig_masterpiece #thelensbible #hawaiistagram #sonyphotogallery #visualsoflife #fingerprintofgod #exploreourearth #alphacollective #exclusive_shots #theoutbound #havealohawilltravel #beautifuldestinations #majestic_earth #expofilm
@nomadasaurus is one of the most popular adventure and travel bloggers in the industry. Apart from their stories of long term travel and adventure, they are also able to create very beautiful imagery with their content, which is frankly, very important in travel blogging.
Sell your own products and services
@MelbourneCleanEats is a popular Melbourne agency that focuses on restaurant and other food businesses in their local area. Through a very engaged social media following, he gets to work with businesses that need the exposure to the right audience. And that means Melbourne-ian foodies!
Need some inspiration for where to brunch this weekend? Head to @abacus_melbourne and give this delicious dish a go! Avocado, pumpkin croquettes, poached egg, black beans, corn, feta #abacusmelbourne #chapelst #abacus #melbourne #melbournefood #melbournecafe #melbournerestaurant #southyarra #southyarracafe
If you don’t have your own brand, or your own products and services, you can always think about selling affiliate products or be a distributor of a very trusted brand. You don’t have to worry about producing your own product, and handling management, and all other business costs that go with it. Sell a product you believe in and start using your social media reach.
One of our good friends, Myey Flores was able to build a 6-figure business in a span of less than half a year, marketing a trusted brand and building a huge network of people who earn just by sharing through their social media channels. The secret? Building a strong social media culture and a solid system of simple things, done consistently. We are very excited of the possibilities of partnering with her and learning more about e-commerce and building yet another online stream of income. If you’re interested in getting details of how to do this with us, click the link here for your special invite.
7. Selling your services or productized services.
Oh yes! WE love productized services. After freelancing for a years online, our next move was to learn how we can turn our hourly rates to monthly flat rates, and work based on performance, rather than getting paid hourly. This opened doors on how we can get more freedom on our schedule, how we can actually travel bringing our work with us, and definitely the next step if you have been working as a freelancer.
jackson.groves is one of our favorites travel bloggers and Instagrammer, who is currently selling his Lightroom presets. And how was he able to sell this product easy? He has built a huge following on Instagram that is very much into his style, editing and photography. What’s better than actually having access to his presets to be able to create pictures like he does?
This is one example for us of having an abundant thinking. You don’t need to hide your skills and your “secrets” in order to earn money. The more you share, the more people trust and love you. That is actually the first step to earning and well, gaining much love back from people you are trying to serve.
In the blogging world, @twomonkeystravel and @trishavellarmino, are 2 of the most renowned travel bloggers. They each have their own travel niche, catering to their own style and demographics. And that’s good about this is that they can both create specific services that cater to the needs of their audiences or to partners who need exposure to their followers.
And if you want another example outside the travel niche, @paosfitworld, another good friend who has just recently done very well in the fitness industry, launching her own health program. Yes in the fitness niche, if you tell people your story, take them to your journey, and show them the results, there’s no way they won’t get hooked with your product or service! How about staying fit, healthy and beautiful and earning a solid business out of it! Pao is one huge inspiration!
There you go. Those are just some super solid examples of earning blogging in 2017. You got to put in the work through your storytelling, whether that means blogging, vlogging, or building in social media. Within 60-90 days, you can start to build a plan of how you can monetize your blog. Remember that we are are discussing “how”. The results will always be reliant on the actions you will take. But if you have a solid reason behind why you want to start earning blogging in 2017, then nothing should stop you.
We are here to guide you!
Hope you had a blast reading through some of our guides here. Make sure you download the Instagram Guide to start building your audience and monetizing in Instagram. When you download the guide, you’ll get invited to a special Facebook group where we’d be helping other out crush our blogging and Instagram game in 2017. Download your guide here or comment down below for any questions!
Til the next guide! Super excited to what the future holds. x