How to Make Money Blogging without Sponsored Posts
My friend Alex Jimenez has the most visited travel blog in the world.
She started out working with brands via sponsored posts, but there is an easier way that doesn’t include high expectations and frustration.
Today, she’s making money blogging with her traffic, affiliate links, and even her own product line for other travel fashion girls like her!
The smart thing she did from day one – focused on SEO. She uses outlets like Media Vine and Ad Thrive to turn that traffic into profit.
Some resources mentioned in this episode:
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How Travel Fashion Girl Began
My job is to teach women how to travel, carry on only, for any destination in the world.
I took a sabbatical off of corporate work back in 2008 a three-month sabbatical, that turned into almost a decade of traveling full time and halfway through that journey I was really tired of carrying a bunch of stuff that I didn’t need and carrying a big heavy bag while it was traveling.
So I wanted to learn how to travel lighter and I would see, particularly male travelers back then, traveling very light and they look so free and I want it to learn how to pack like them.
And when I looked online for packing tips for women, I didn’t find anything and the packing tips that I did find seemed to be geared towards men and that really doesn’t work for me.
I wanted to be practical but also be true to my style. So I researched as questions, interviewed other travelers, and backpackers at hostels as I was traveling and found out it was a problem and girls struggled with packing and they were unhappy with their packing choices.
So I knew I had to report my findings. In August 2012 after a year of research, I launched Travel Fashion Girl
TFG is kind of a big deal because you get a million visitors a month, right?
It’s actually one of the highest trafficked travel blogs in the world. I’m very grateful to have such a well-received topic online.
How to Start Making Money Blogging
In the very beginning when I first started, I was doing sponsored posts and I actually didn’t stop completely working with brands until about a year ago. And I’ll explain why in a moment.
One of the easiest ways, actually and the fastest ways, to start earning money as a blogger when you’re first starting out is to work with brands. So I don’t want to completely discount that option. Another thing I was doing before is I was also selling sponsored posts to brands that wanted to increase their links for SEO, which is actually against Google’s terms and conditions, so I stopped doing that.
How to Make Affiliate Income Blogging
That was the first thing I stopped doing back in 2013. So at that point, when I started my blog, I was writing a lot about products. I’m always giving recommendations and when I was doing that I wasn’t really linking to anything or outside sites and I started getting emails from people saying, “can you provide a link to that hotel or can you provide a link to your favorite travel insurance or can you provide a link to that dress that you recommended?”
At that point, I didn’t know that I could actually earn money from these links. The readers were asking me for this, so I just started putting them inside the content and six months into my blogging journey, one of my mentors, and I really think it’s important to have a mentor if you can find one, my mentor at the time said, “do you know you can put affiliate links” and you get a small commission earning anywhere from 1% to 20% – more realistically, like 7% from purchases… and it doesn’t increase the price to the buyer, but you get a commission as a referral.
So I started doing that and as my website grew and my audience grew, then I started earning a substantial amount of money through affiliate revenue.
How to Stop Working with Brands as a Blogger
Then fast forward through five years down the line, I decided to focus my time well as an entrepreneur and as an overwhelmed, stressed out blogger because I think a lot of people see a blog and don’t realize that to make it happen, to publish a post, write a post, to research it, to make sure it looks good, to make sure you’re adding SEO because you know, pictures, blah, blah blah. It takes days on end and it’s so much work.
So I was overworked and really stressed out and I decided, well, what’s the 80/20 rule? Where am I earning the most?
I decided to eliminate working with brands even though I was going to be giving up revenue from my business, but I knew that the stress level was going to be low. It was going to be much less stress for me and I could focus more on the types of revenue that were larger, which was affiliates.
In doing so, that really helped to propel my business and I was able to get to the next level. And that’s kind of how my journey with how to make money. Blogging has really evolved.
For more on the episode and from Alex, click here to download it and listen!