Travel Blogging: Skeptics Unite

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

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.

The Blogger Dream crushed by AdSense

It was in January I decided to share my amazement at how people could travel and live worldwide without a “real job”.

Then in August I shared my successes with the Adsense income I was generating through YouTube and a few other sites. By that point I was hitting around 7 cents a day. Not exactly rolling in the cashola.

So have I made it to the big leagues in the last 5 months?

In short, no, not even close.

Instead I’ve joined what seems like thousands of small volume bloggers and content producers who are dropped from the AdSense program by Google for some non-specified breach on the month a long earned payout threshold is reached.  That was it, I completed the review process trying to eek out a specific reason, but none was forthcoming.  could I have clicked on an Advert while watching on of my YouTube videos?  Maybe I wasn’t supposed to have Skimlinks running at the same time?

I just don’t know.

So guess I will have to move on from the easy wins of a passive advertising income until a viable replacement for AdSense crops up.  There are a few but lets just say I’m fussy and I also like the idea of finding a program with a lower payout threshold to be sure I don’t spend years driving clicks that someone is getting paid for only to never see my share.  You see that’s the real scam here, Google sold ads on my sites to advertisers for years, and do you think in 2014 they’re going to refund the advertisers who paid for displays on back in the day?  Nope, so they win and I (and every other content producer) get screwed.  Not really impressed.

Screw you Google AdSense

The time has come to move on – it’s likely I won’t ever utilize a Google AdSense program as an advertiser or as a content producer, well definitely not as a content producer, supposedly once the account is locked it can’t be unlocked, but yet because its never deleted its a breach of their T&C to create another.


Oh well back to the “Get rich quick drawing board”

Living the Blogger Dream on 7c a day!

Back in January I wrote about how I was so happy to be making 2.4c a day between this blog and Youtube content.

Well a solid 6 months has passed and it’s time to review the situation.  I’ve not pumped this site full of content nor have I piled on the Youtube content so I guess in part it’s been a failure.  As it turns out making interesting content is hard work!

As it turns out making interesting content is hard work!

What I can say is that typically my income is now much higher than 2.4c per day and peaked (after my March-April trip to Malaysia) at a massive 12.8c per day – a 500% increase in income!

So what have I “earned”?

Jul 1, 2014 – Jul 31, 2014 $2.43
Jun 1, 2014 – Jun 30, 2014 $1.73
May 1, 2014 – May 31, 2014 $3.93
Apr 1, 2014 – Apr 30, 2014 $2.75
Mar 1, 2014 – Mar 31, 2014 $1.12
Feb 1, 2014 – Feb 28, 2014 $2.97
Jan 1, 2014 – Jan 31, 2014 $0.88
Total: $15.81
Daily (211 Days) $0.07


I think that says it all, AUD0.07 per day on average for the 211 days through until the end of July 2014.

As you can see the income is sporadic and based heavily on how much effort I put into content and also into promotion.  The Renault information certainly boosts the Google rankings and generates traffic but it’s also complex research to generate.  Travel writing doesn’t generate much traffic, but I haven’t written much yet, and honestly really would need to start pushing it harder.

income is sporadic and based heavily on how much effort I put into content and also into promotion

What I do know and understand is that to build revenue I need to start pushing better content related advertisements. Perhaps Google Adsense isn’t the cash vehicle it’s cracked up to be?  I presume using better targeted programs would work, or having a greater level of hits would drive up traffic?  Maybe infusing some Airline ticket search engines would work, they can generate a decent return, assuming someone uses it to buy themselves tickets!

No matter what the outcomes are for me what I can definitely say is that unless a person has a lot of time on their hands and a fairly sizeable chunk of cash to spend on promoting their travel blog they’re not going to be living high on the proceeds of their words!

I’m also very happy to say that the experiment continues with my 7 cents per day almost 300% more than when I started!

Thanks for the Clicks on the ads and thanks for the page views.

Setting up this Blog – aka How Awesome is WordPress?

When I set out in my mind to create a bit of a travel back in early 2012 for Kitty and I to use while travelling through Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong I quickly threw one together using the “Build me a WordPress Blog” type function within my GoDaddy account.

The result was functional and quite neat.  However the automated offering meant that it didn’t update as cleanly, nor did plug-ins work exactly as expected.  Probably because of the version/update lagging.

So upon our return (and despite the lack of use) I jumped onto and grabbed the latest release and ran the install over the existing one, suddenly we had a cleaner interface, and every plug-in we wanted just worked.  We still hardly used it though 🙂

So when it came time to make this Blog dream a reality I reached for the same tool.

Well lets put this into a timeline:

  1. 3pm – Decide today I’m “Going to do it”
  2. 3:15pm – Buy Domain using GoDaddy (already have an account so that’s just a few clicks)
  3. 3:30pm – It probably didn’t take 15 minutes but there’s always a minute or three between clicking the “Shutup and take my money” button and having the domains available to bind to the hosting control.  Anyway I did it.  Now I can hear you screaming “You host with Go Daddy? What are you?  Stupid?” – Yeah it’s cheap and somewhat cheerful, but it works for me.  I have more hardcore Hosting through which has been excellent for a number years.
  4. 3:45pm – The Domains are bound to the file system, the permissions set so the config script can do its thing.  The MySQL Database created.
  5. 4pm – I’ve hit the Install page and bam the famous 5-minute process works.
  6. 6pm – I’ve tweaked the design, set up my preferred initial plug-ins, written a page and a couple of posts.  I’ve also fed the fleet of cats and tinkered with settings on our other WordPress site.

Yeah it’s safe to say that 3 hours go-to-whoa for anything in IT is not too shabby, especially when it’s multi-tasked around other things.  The result, while not bespoke is neat and clean, much better than my stagnant design skills could achieve and best of all everything is just a one-click config away.

So yes, I rate WordPress, and I rate it highly.