I don’t depend on the revenue the sites generate (none, by the way) but I was hoping to get a bit more reach through some of the magic that was promised.
Ive already expressed my skepticism of the “Blogger Dream” – and gone a little ways to describing some of the pitfalls and pittances it can earn. However I still enjoy reading about the dream and occasionally have fantasies about getting rich quick.
Travel Blogging is hard?
I suppose it is, in fact like most creative pursuits it takes time and effort to plan, write and post content that will attract and maintain an audience that’s also willing to follow up with Facebook Likes or Retweets. Although the best perspective I’ve seen thrown on it comes from Theodora at escapeartistes.com
It’s not subsistence farming in a drought. It’s not child protection or first response. It’s not labouring in the sewers, in a sweatshop, or on zero-hours contracts at the minimum wage. Nor is it rocket science, the SAS or brain surgery.
She then goes on to point out the low barrier to entry, hey I meet all of that, well except maybe the high-spec photographic equipment and I’m only partially convinced of my own delusions of grandeur.
Really there’s more, lots more, but you should really pop over to her nicely detailed post on “Why I’ll Never be a Professional Travel Blogger” and then think about what you’re reading when Zite, News360 or Flipboard throws you yet another tantalising story of how some witty hipster has travelled the world for free.
Yes my friends, they may not have spent much money to get around the world but their credibility is traded the moment they don’t declare the true financial link to what they’re reviewing.
Making money online is everyones dream isn’t it? Turning a website in a revenue stream is something I’ve tried and not succeeded at for years!
I’ve raved and ranted enough to friends over the years about how people somehow can create a passive income sufficient to support living in some of the most exotic places in the world. Jealous? Certainly, I won’t deny that, but I’m also curious how one steps from obscurity to “success”.
But enough of my green eyed monster, after my debacle with Adsense and discussions with colleagues and friends I’m hitting out on a new path. It’s almost certainly more interesting talking about the mechanics and how well the idea performs than actually “doing it”.
Welcome to TheBookingSpot
Back in October I took a punt and registered a couple of domain names through my usual GoDaddy account and bound them to the basic GoDaddy Hosting. TheBookingSpot.com and the back-end domain ReservationDestination.com are to be my little foothold into the multi billion dollar business that is Travel, and more specifically Whitelabel and Affiliate based Travel searching. The potential here is pretty obvious. I like travel, I like a good deal, and I have some ability to string together lumps of code into websites.
This way to revenue (Where to start)?
The first challenge was to work out a gimmick, an idea that would give me an enthusiasm for the project, and somewhat touch into my personal experiences.
I settled on a combination of trip-planning resources and Motorsport events around the world. The idea is to utilise the motorsports draw-cards and help fans find flight and accommodation deals to get there by bringing the information they need into one place. By pre-loading destination information, setting reasonable date ranges prospective travellers are able to quickly work out starting costs and go on from there.
My “experience” as a TripAdvisor user and Senior Contributor has taught me that more often than not people want to have their hands held when planning travel, they need to have dates suggested so they arrive in time, they need to be told where and when to go. Condescending? Yes. Fact? Yes. So I’m trying to combine those elements. Maybe I should sell reviews? According to site sites there’s significant revenue opportunities (about USD20-40) per review by a Senior Contributor. It’s probably a better paying option than this!
Whats it built on?
I’m a fan of WordPress, so I’m using that as the backend and linking together various tweaks and plug-ins to create a more specific experience. Underpinning the revenue collection aspects will be “Whitelabel” arrangements and regular “Affiliate” programs. To mop up other potential links etc I’ll continue to use Skimlinks as a catch-all engine to bolster income.
The second phase of the project is build a bit of a Community engine, a reason for people to come and stick to using the tools. The recurring traffic and word-of-text promotion that will eventually reduce a dependency on paid advertising.
Why don’t you try a search right now 🙂