If you’d like some ideas on how to make your travel blog more attractive to advertisers, this Guest Post from Ross Fraser shares his experience from working in the online travel industry on the agency and client side.
If you are at a stage where you have a good travel website with some decent traffic and authority in the search engines and you are looking to make money from it, there are certainly a number of different ways to turn your hard work into cold hard cash!
Sponsorships, Adsense, ebooks, text links can all provide a good source of income, but for the benefit of this article I will focus on – sponsorship opportunities with travel brands as this is where most of my experience lies.
What does sponsorship actually mean?
All travel brands have different needs, some may want social media exposure to promote a product, others may want a hotel or new flight route reviewed, however 8 out of 10 times they are looking for help to improve their search engine rankings.
Most of us are familiar with the principles of Search engine optimisation (SEO) – and travel brands are all competing after extremely competitive terms on search engines so links from good quality websites are one of the tools they will use to get to the top.
Having worked at the agency and client side of travel blog marketing for many years, looking after many large travel brands SEO strategies I have literally seen thousands of travel blogs in my career. In that time I have come across SO MANY websites where I have thought – with a few tweaks this website could be making so much more money – what a waste.
So if generating an income from your website a goal for you, the following are some useful tips that will make it far easier to stand generating cash from your hardwork!
Be easily contactable
1. Have an easily accessible contact page in your main navigation – it may sound like stating the obvious but you would not believe the number of fantastic sites that have contact details hidden away off another page, tucked down at the bottom of the site or off the about us page. Generally travel brands need to collect contact details quickly on a website as they will be contacting multiple sites at one time so make it easy to be contacted quickly, if you don’t the agency or travel brand will simply move onto another website to contact.
2. Contact form vs email address – many websites have a contact form and not an email address listed on their website. Contact forms are great, but for travel brands they needing to collect lots of contact details of travel sites quickly and generally use automated software to send out emails. Knowing the industry and how quickly you need to collect data you often don’t have time to fill in a contact form so make sure you have an email address on your site that someone can copy into a spreadsheet.
If you are worried about a spam bot finding your email address by having it published on your website try spacing it out – example at googlemail dot com.
3. Make sure your email address actually works – this again sounds like stating the obvious but you would not believe the volume of email addresses that don’t work. From experience I would say anywhere between 10% – 20% of all email addresses that are collected from travel blogs will bounce when an email is sent to them. If your inbox fills up quickly and causes your emails to bounce then perhaps consider using a gmail account or large sized mailbox so this doesn’t happen as generally an agency or travel brand might only email you once, so make sure you don’t miss out!
Don’t shout about advertising
Don’t have a flashy advertising page – this might sound counter intuitive… but if you are selling text links or sponsored posts you could fall foul of Google. We all know we are not supposed to be selling and buying links in the first place and there is a slim chance that you could get a penalty from Google which will mean that either all your hard work comes undone and you lose traffic from organic search or your website looses authority and becomes less valuable and in turn you can’t sell your advertising space for as much money….
So the best advice I can give is don’t don’t don’t have a flashy advertising page listing the prices for buying text links and sponsored posted on your website A – it is a big green light to tell people you sell links and B – it will put off potential advertisers. Advertisers ideally want their content on high quality travel sites. So having a page that everyone can read including Google listing in fine detail how much a link cost (and lots of people have these pages) can be a real turn off to advertisers.
Instead have a media pack that you can email to advertisers once they have shown interest in your site or have an advertising page inviting people to contact you for further details.
Be flexible and do what you say you will do
Different advertisers have different needs for their SEO strategies, some may need articles published, some may want banner ads, some may want text links in sidebars, the list goes on and on so try and be flexible and agree on something you are both happy with.
One thing I have found with some bloggers is they will charge per link on an article – this can be off-putting for an advertiser as many will want to be able to write a useful article and link out a number of websites (that are not necessarily their own) in order to create a natural useful article. By allowing only one link or charging per link it can stop advertisers wanting to use your service, from experience I would recommend charging a flat fee per article.
Do what you say when you say you will – I have been in situations where a blogger says they will publish content, and for whatever reason they are travelling or can’t access their email/websites and it doesn’t happen on time. It might not seem like a big deal however generally advertisers have targets they need to meet and monthly advertising budgets, so getting advertising up
efficiently is a big help and if you do it quickly you can be sure to get more business out of the brand or agency further down the line.
Another tip is if you have time and can write for advertisers many will find that service invaluable, so always offer it for an additional fee.
Charge a fair price
One of the biggest issues that can arise is working out a cost for your advertising. The best advice I can give is don’t be outrageously greedy in your pricing. If you price your website too high you will just put people off and you loose out to another website. Advertisers don’t have limitless budgets and for SEO purposes there comes a point where the cost to place a link on a website outweighs the benefits it will bring.
Also by the same token don’t go in too low as you will then be stuck paying that price if you continue to do business with the advertiser. There are so many different factors that will affect the price you can charge – however from experience and speaking to lots of bloggers and travel brands I would say anything from £30 – £150 for a permanent article on your website is acceptable and anything from £30 to £50 a month for a banner ad is about a good mark!
And finally think big
One of the biggest problems advertisers find is a lack of time – it’s hard work finding websites to advertise on, from experience advertisers love travel bloggers who have multiple websites as it saves a lot of time and hassle dealing with one person.
If you are thinking about it, consider running a number of travel sites across multiple hosting providers and you can seriously increase your earnings! And if you already run a number of blogs don’t wait for an advertiser to ask – tell them!
My thanks for this guest post to Ross Fraser who has spent many years working in the online travel industry client and agency side. You can read more about his travel experiences at his blog, Backpacking Holidays
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