If you follow my twitter feed, you'll know that I'm one of the columnists for new travel tech media website Tnooz. Agreeing to do this gig took some thinking. I get no remuneration for doing it (yet). And you know how much I HATE free. Shouldn't I stick with what I'm doing on Travelblather instead? Writing for Tnooz though gets me a far bigger audience - which is nice - and a degree of credibility that I didn't have before.
My first post on Tnooz evoked quite a lot of comments - it's titled The Internet Is Ruining Travel Journalism. One of the comments was from Christine Gilbert - who writes an interesting blog called Almost Fearless. (In July 2008 she quit her high-powered job, sold her stuff and dedicated herself to travelling and blogging about her experiences.)
Her comment on my post (slightly abridged - underlining mine):
.... your personal site, (ie this one, Travelblather) could be making you $1000/mo. You’re a great writer, you have the credentials and you write interesting posts. So why aren’t you one of the most popular travel writing blogs out there? Well it’s on typepad, you don’t update often enough and you need a new design. If you networked a bit with other bloggers, then you’d start building a loyal and rabid following. Heck, when you do post everyone comes running… but you don’t take it seriously as a way to make money.
That’s the problem with all travel journalists who complain about the internet– they don’t actually take it seriously. Meanwhile, people with no journalism background are building sites and doing well, because they think about it completely differently.
Some challenges, some nice compliments and some pertinent advice. I do actually take what I write here really seriously. That's partly why I don't post that often. I only want to say stuff, when I feel it's worth saying. I take time to write posts. Partly I think because I am a journo at heart, I craft stuff and tinker with it more than perhaps I need to. Do I think about this blog differently from someone like Christine? That's a really interesting question for consideration sometime... Does having a more focussed financial imperative mean the content suffers? I honestly don't know. (Interestingly Christine doesn't run ads on her blog - instead she chooses to let people make a donation via Paypal should they want to.)
Sure I'd really like this blog to earn me that $1000 a month. I do wonder if Christine really is earning $1000 a month in donations - but she has over 3000 readers subscribed to her RSS feed and 30,000 followers on Twitter... so maybe she does.
I have no idea how to monetize this blog... I use Google adwords and that gets me about $2 a month.
Christine seems to suggest in her comment that it's about posting more, using a better platform (ie WordPress) and networking. Is that really all it takes? (Actually, that could be a lot of work - networking could be a full time job I guess.)
So... can anyone help me? If someone can help me migrate this blog to WordPress (keeping the current URL structure so I don't lose links) and show me how to set up proper advertising deals or find other ways to earn income I will share revenue from the site 50:50 for the first 6 months. Assuming Christine's numbers are correct that would equate to around $3000.(Heck if they really do help me I'll share income for the first couple of years. Seriously.)
Assuming anyone is prepared to share their secrets of monetization... I'll of course post about it here. (Unless they are so fantastic I become RICH.... Cue manic laughter, fade to black etc.)