How I earnt $4048.12 Passive income in 1 month with under 40K page views!

how to start a successful travel blog

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I thought long and hard about writing this post. You see I’m very British and the British stereotypically don’t like to talk about their salaries. It’s considered a bit of a taboo.

But I figured, how can I show you the potential money-making power of affiliate marketing without laying all my cards on the table with at least one income report?!

So I decided to put my Bristish hangups aside to show you how you can make a good solid income without having HUGE page views.

The reasons I wanted to share this with you are;

  • Because income reports helped to motivate me when I was a beginner
  • I want to dispell the myth that you need hundreds of thousands of monthly page views to make a decent income.
  • I want to dispell the myth that you have to do lots of sponsored posts to make any income as a new blogger.

So drum roll, please…

In November 2019 I made $4048.12 in Passive Income.

And I didn’t do a single sponsored post! This was 100% Passive income.

cartoon depicting a man under a pile of money enjoying his passive income

(I should add this is the money earned to date rather than received in my bank. If someone cancels something they have booked through my links, there’s the possibility I could lose some of the commission. )

This income can be broken down into 3 sources

  1. Affiliate income from the travel blog $3021.99
  2. Ad revenue from the travel blog $876.89
  3. Affiliate income from the brand new Passive Income Superstars blog $149.29

This is based on the following Pageviews;

Travel blog: 37,285

Passive Income Superstars: 1253

Total: 38,538

As you can see, my page views, whilst respectable, are not huge. Why? Because I started my blog 2 years ago and only really taught myself about Search engine optimisation about 17 months ago. My traffic has grown quickly since then – in fact, it’s grown by 500% this year alone.

This is great and has allowed me to jump onboard the much-cosseted Mediavine ads network. BUT, if I relied on my page views for ad revenue alone at this point in my blogging career, I’d still be surviving off baked beans on toast all month.

You see, affiliate marketing accounts for almost 80% of my total income.

With an average ad revenue of $23.52 per 1000 page views, my blog actually earns an average of $105.04 per 1000 page views.

Why am I telling you this?!

Well, because YOU can do it too.

Have a fairly new blog with 5000 page views a month? Cool, you could be earning >$500.

10000 page views? You could be taking home >$1000 extra next month.

Or maybe you’ve been doing it a little longer and you’ve hit 100K page views a month? You could be taking home a 6 figure salary!

I’m certainly not saying it’s easy. You can’t just expect to drop a few links and see the dollars start rolling in.

You DO need a solid strategy and you have to be willing to put in the work.

But the beauty of affiliate marketing is that the work you do today will continue to reward you in months and years to come.

Still with me?

Good!

Let’s break down how I earnt my income this month so you can see how you can apply the same principles.

But first, take a moment to sign up for my FREE 5-day affiliate marketing challenge to get access to some of my best tips! I’ll wait…


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Strategies I used this month

Optimising Ad revenue

I joined Mediavine in August after reaching the required 25,000 sessions a month to sign up. After months of working my butt off to get the required traffic, I was disappointed when my first days RPM was just $5!

Mediavine reassured me that it would increase over the next few months but in the meantime, not content to wait, I worked on optimising my site to ensure I was getting the most out of my ads network.

These are the things I did which made a huge difference to my RPM.

  • I increased the size of my text and line-height.
  • I made sure all of my paragraphs are short with plenty of white space
  • I added videos. I created one video which is like a promo slideshow for my blog using Lumen 5. To get a better uptake, I am making more specific, relevant videos to add to high traffic posts.
  • I changed the number of ads to unlimited but kept the density average. I didn’t want to crowd my article with ads but I often write very long articles with 4000+ words so it made sense to make use of the full length of the post for ad exposure.

Making the most of the sales

November can be great for affiliate marketers with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sending online shoppers into a spending craze.

black friday deals for bloggers

I started preparing for this busy shopping period several weeks ahead of time by contacting the sellers via email to inquire about their offers.

I used this to create a Black Friday deals round-up post for both blogs. I kept logging in to edit this almost daily as new deals were announced.

Check out my Black Friday for bloggers roundup.

I then shared this post on social media and to my email lists. I created plenty of pins which I started circulating about a week before Black Friday and optimised the schedule to make sure they were distributed throughout the week using my fave Pinterest tool Tailwind.

I also announced deals as they came available using direct affiliate links on Facebook and Twitter.

The outcome was that I made $1429 during the last week of November which made up 45% of the total month’s income so all that preparation and hard work paid off.

Black Friday isn’t the only opportunity to make the most of the sales. Keep an eye out for great Christmas deals, January sales or mid-year sales. Sign up for newsletters for the brands you promote so you can be aware of any sales they are doing before they happen.

Focussing on a few products but selling them well

I personally choose to promote a small number of products with my travel blog. This way I can really focus on making the most out of each programme so I can maximise my sales.

I’d rather become an expert in the products I sell rather than spreading myself too thin promoting lots of products that I don’t understand as well.

With my travel blog, I promote a lot of group tour companies. By focussing on these, I have built up a reputation as someone knowledgable about group tours. As such, I sometimes get people referred to me from other bloggers who know I’ll be able to answer their questions which usually ends up in high conversion rates.

Read my Ultimate guide to affiliate marketing.

Using a mixture of high and low-value products

A lot of people focus on small value products and hope to sell them in large volumes. This can work but you are going to need to get a LOT of eyes on the product.

I find it much easier to generate good revenue by promoting high-value products. I convert fewer sales but each one is far more valuable to me.

You don’t need hundreds of thousands of page views to make high-value sales. Instead, you need one well written, well-researched article which reaches the right people at the end of the buying cycle when they are very close to being ready to make a sale.

Reviews are great for this as people start to search for product reviews when they are already tempted to buy.

One of my best-converting articles started making me in the region of $500 per month when I had just 5000 page views in total.

That particular article was SEO optimised but the keyword I was targeting only had a search volume of 280/month. However, I knew that those 280 people were very close to being ready to purchase. I just had to demonstrate, using my own experience, why they should go for it.

The lower value products I sell, for example, day trips through GetYourGuide will convert more sales but each is worth less money to me. BUT, I can include links to GetYourGuide in almost any travel article and so I get a lot of eyes on these links and the money does add up.

I would urge you to use a mixture of large and small value products and don’t get too het up on search volumes when you are searching for a keyword. The person’s intention is far more important than the number of people passing through.


Optimising affiliate articles for SEO

Whilst I’ve just said keyword volume isn’t so important for affiliate marketing, this does not mean that you can avoid doing Keyword research.

Let me give you an example.

I love my camera the Sony A7iii and I could write a review on it. People searching for ‘Sony A7iii review’ are close to being ready to buy AND its a high-cost product. Great.

BUT, here’s the problem. Every other blog owner with a Sony A7iii has had the same idea. It has a difficulty score of 53 and the websites currently ranking for that term are huge. There’s no way I can outrank them.

screenshot of keysearch showing high difficulty rating

Would I still write the review? Hmmm maybe. I can probably get some click-throughs from Pinterest or from other posts on my website where I mention my camera.

But it’s never going to be as valuable to me as a keyword with 280 search volume but a difficulty score of 20.

You’ll need to get creative trying out different options to find those ‘unicorn keywords’ which are going to convert sales. You absolutely need a keyword research tool to help you achieve this. I recommend Keysearch.

Sharing affiliate reviews into relevant groups

Another tactic I love using, especially during sales, is sharing these review articles into relevant Facebook groups which allow link sharing. Always check the group rules first!

For example, I went on a cruise in the Galapagos Islands and wrote a detailed review of the company I sailed with. I then shared this article with a note highlighting the current offer price, into any Facebook groups about The Galapagos Islands.

This tactic usually converts really well as the audience are already interested in visiting the Galapagos Islands and I am solving a problem for them.

Want more affiliate marketing tips? My course Affiliate Marketing Superstars is coming out soon! Take a sneak peek here

exploring the galapagos islands in a dinghy which i reviewed to convert affiliate sales

Hopefully, this post has given you some ideas about how you can create more passive income with your blog. At the very least, I hope it’s dispelled the myth that you have to have heaps of traffic to earn decent money through Passive income.

Want more tips like this? In which case, you can join my affiliate marketing Facebook group.

Read next…

Have you got any other affiliate marketing tips you can share with us in the comments? How did you do this month? What are you going to try next month? I’d love to hear from you!

And don’t forget to pin this article for later! Thanks, you’re a star!

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