So I often get asked “how do you make your money online?”
I had the same question when I was starting out online. I knew I wanted to run a travel blog, but I never had a clear business plan. I’m sure there are a lot of you out there in the same position as me.
In order to share my experiences and hopefully inspire some people to make the same changes I did, I’ve decided to start publishing a monthly report. These reports will cover how much money I’m making through Discover Your Indonesia, what I’m trying to do and the lessons I’m learning as I monetize my blog.
A Few Basic Facts
I thought I’d start at the beginning…
Once upon a time Before I started Discover Your Indonesia I was working in the marketing department for a large IT firm in the corporate sector. It was a fun job, yet I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world.
I decided I needed to make a change and started this blog. High five to me 🙂 Discover Your Indonesia is now more than 3 years old now. The site gets almost 30,000 unique visitors a month and I’ve started to partner regularly with hotels company’s involved in the hospitality industry.
Most of the income I currently make comes from my travel consultancy work. This is where I team up with local travel agents and independent tour operators in an area to offer their services to visitors to Discover Your Indonesia. I then make a commission from every sales generated through the website.
Blog Income in April
I earn most of my money through my travel consultancy service, with B2B (business to business) commissions that don’t cost my guests anything.
April has been my best month to date for income. I made more than USD 1,529 from Discover Your Indonesia, which is more than March. While traffic is stagnant the business is doing well and at the moment and it’s growing quickly, which is great. I also have lots of ideas of where to go from here with the website.
|Travel Consultancy||USD 1,236|
|Freelance Writing||USD 281|
|Affiliate Income||USD 37|
|Hosting with Traffic Planet||USD 25|
I use Traffic Planet Hosting because Discover Your Indonesia is now receiving almost than 30,000 unique visitors a month, so I can no longer used shared hosting. I recommend the service for anybody looking to upgrade their hosting provider.
At the start of April I was feeling tired. I’d just come back from a two week road trip around East Java where I worked with Tugu Hotel Blitar, Tugu Hotel Malang and Shangri La Surabaya and visited Bromo, Ijen and a bunch of cool places. Even though I was tired I still worked with a few company’s this month.
- Jeeva Beloam: An awesome luxury beach camp in the South of Lombok. Just what I needed to recharge my batteries. Find out more.
- Pelindo 3: I visited the newest commercial ports managed by Pelindo 3 in Surabaya. I had mixed feelings before I went, but it was actually impressive. Find out more.
I was also asked to do a talk at a University on ‘How to Make Money Blogging Online,’ which I turned down due to previous engagements.
If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I recommend using Hostgator. You can start a blog from just $5.95 a month. You will receive a free website worth $15 if you purchase through my affiliate link. While you can get free hosting, I really recommend self-hosting as it is more professional and there are more ways you can make money from your blog.
I made a lot of changes to Discover Your Indonesia in March. I worked with two great WordPress designers (get in touch if you need some design work) to launch a new listing page template and tour page for Yogyakarta. The new tour page replaces the old tour page, which was difficult to navigate.
These changes to Discover Your Indonesia will hopefully improve user flow through the site and just make it easier for people to find information. I’m already receiving less questions from people who are booking tours through me, so it seems to have worked. This also saves me a lot of time, which is so important as I’m a one person business!
I did a lot of research on the different kinds of tour listings available before pushing the changes (nobody seems to have settled on a good format for tour listings). The good thing is now that I have this in place I can use the same pages for East Java and Bali, which should see more growth.
The last change I did was to make my advertising a bit more obvious. I’ve now added banners on the side of the posts, which link to the tour pages. Since making this change I’ve already seen an increase in orders, which just goes to show you need to SHOUT THE SERVICES YOU OFFER FROM THE ROOFTOPS.
Seriously, if people don’t know you’re offering a service how do you expect them to order anything from you???
Since January I started to focus on freelance writing to help me diversify my income. Two companies that I am currently working with now are Swiss Contact on a tourism project and I regularly post for Jalan2Men. I know there’s opportunity for growth here, it’s just a case of balancing my different interests (if you have any freelance writing projects you need a writer for get in touch).
New Content on DYI
April was a busy month for blogging and I published a lot of new content to the site. I published a total of 24 articles to the site and received one guest post. I should really get more into guest posting soon as I’m posting a lot of content without doing much promotion.
- 15 Things to do in Malang
- Experience the Adventure of Coban Sewu (this waterfall was amazing).
- Hotel Review: Tugu Hotel Malang
- Falling off the Grid in Karimunjawa (guest post)
- Hotel Review: Shangri-La Surabaya
- Hotel Review: Jeeva Beloam Beach Camp
- Yogyakarta Day Tours (a total of 10 new articles)
- Yogyakarta Package Tours (a total of 8 new articles here)
As part of the overhaul of Discover Your Indonesia I changed the way I’m taking bookings. I added a few new WordPress plugin to the blog called Form Craft. This replaces Google forms. Form Craft has changed my business and saved me so much time (my most valuable asset). It’s actually AMAZING.
Form Craft has tracking so I can see impressions and conversions, it integrates with my email provider, there’s a custom auto responder and all of the forms can be easily edited. This plugin has made taking orders so much easier, plus I can finally see stats; 2.1% conversion rate.
The second plugin I added is Master Slider. You can see how I’m using it here, Best Hotels Near Malioboro. My gut instinct is this slider will improve commissions, because it lets me add more photos as well as social proof about the hotels. Will give you more feedback next month.
This is the first time I’ve shared my income report online. I’m a bit nervous about being so honest about how I’m earning money and the tactics I’m using. I hope you find this post useful and it answers a lot of the questions you might have regarding how to make money from blogging.
How did your month go? Are you planning to make a change in your life?
If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I recommend using Hostgator. You can start a blog for just $5.95 a month. You will receive a free website worth $15 if you purchase through my affiliate link. While you can get free hosting, I really recommend self-hosting as it is more professional and there are more ways you can make money from your blog.