Build Your Own Profitable Travel Website

If you love to travel and have gathered a wealth of tips, tricks, and inside information on a specific destination, why not put some of that wealth in your pocket?

It’s totally easy to make money by setting up a small website that’s rich with info travelers need to get the most out of their vacation as far as the best hotels, the best restaurants, worthwhile attractions, hidden gems… you get the idea.

As the old saying goes, information is power. Or in this case, information is money!

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If you have just one hour a day to spare, I can show you how to create, develop, and run a passive, profitable travel website. It’s easier than you think. And after it’s up and running and generating money, it won’t even require one hour a day. Try a couple of hours a week.

(And if you’re not much of a traveler, you can still get in on the action by writing about your hometown – assuming it’s somewhat of a travel destination.)

Pick Your Destination

I don’t know about you, but I love to travel to sunny, tropical places. When I was a boy, my family made annual pilgrimages to Disney World in Orlando. Years later, when I was out of school and ready to start an adult life of work and responsibilities, I got sick of the cold winters in the North and decided to move. Where did I move? Orlando, of course! Maybe it was those fond boyhood memories, but Orlando – the land of Mickey Mouse and Shamu – seemed like the ideal place to live and work and play.

After I moved away from Orlando for a better job, I realized that I had amassed a treasure of knowledge about one of the most-visited cities on the planet – not only had I visited there frequently when I was young, I had also lived there as an adult. Surely that knowledge would be useful to others.

The best way to exploit that knowledge and help others at the same time would be to build an informational website where I could share the special insights I had collected over the years – and make money at the same time! I’m setting it up now, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

I’ll show you how the money comes into play in just a moment – but first things first. You have to pick the subject for your website.

When you pick the focus of your own money-making travel website, I suggest you go with a place you’ve visited a few times so you have a feel for it. Of course, with the right research – totally possible with the Internet – you could write about a place you’ve visited just once.

It also helps if you enjoyed your time there – passion for your subject is easy to pick up on from a reader’s point of view. And don’t think you have to limit your scope to one town or city; a website that offers information for an entire region, like the Southwest or the French Riviera or the entire country of Costa Rica, for example, can be just as lucrative, if not more so!

I also suggest picking a place where people frequently travel. It doesn’t have to be the land of Disney World, but it will help boost your profits if you cover a popular tourist destination. Think New York City, Hollywood, Paris, Yellowstone National Park, Maui…

Now that you know where your focus will be, it’s time to set up your website. You can use Blogger.com for a totally free solution – even hosting is free. Or you can go to GoDaddy.com to pick your URL, or domain name, for about $10, and hosting, about $50 a year. Then you can use user-friendly WordPress to manage your site.

Then you have to create content for your website. This can be articles, blogs, videos, or podcasts.

Creating this sort of content is free. The only cost is your time. And don’t worry about being an expert. Amateur videos – just you narrating over footage of some local hotspots – is fine and even preferred by some viewers. And as long as your articles are informative nobody cares if you’re no Nobel Prize-winning novelist.

Promoting Your Website

Now that you have your website stocked with valuable information, it’s time for you to start making some money, right? Well, yes and no. Before you can start using the revenue strategies I outline below, you first want to get some traffic on your site.

Use search engine optimization (SEO) to get your website listed higher in search engines like Google and Bing. This is where a variety of media on your site comes in handy. Search engines love videos and podcasts and having these on your site is one of the easiest SEO methods. Also, submit your site to be indexed by the search engines. Most people will get to your site through search engines.

Increase your web presence by commenting on articles related to your site. Offer to guest blog for another person’s site. Try to engage your readers by asking them questions and setting up forums. This will help to create an online community of people interested in your niche. Link to some of the bigger, established sites out there; this not only lends you some of their credibility, it also means they’re more likely to link to your own site. This could send huge amounts of traffic your way.

Time to Make Some Money

Whew! Now who’s ready to start making money?

As a travel-centric website, your website already fits into a very profitable niche: tourism. More and more these days, people are turning to the web to help plan their trips. Think about the last vacation you took: how did you book your flight and hotel? How about a rental car? Directions to points of interest? I know for me, I did every single one of these through the web. And you are in a unique and desirable position to gain from this.

I’m talking about affiliate advertising. Here’s how it works: someone is planning a trip to Orlando and because I followed good SEO practices, my website is the first one that pops up in Google.

They’ll click through to my site and there, along with the many informative articles and video clips, will be links to other businesses I have an affiliate deal with. If that person clicks on any of these advertisements, I get a cut of that deal.

So if someone is browsing my website and decides they’re ready to book a flight, hotel, etc. they can click on the links on my site to my affiliate partners. Whatever money they spend on that other website, I get a percentage of.

Priceline.com and Expedia.com both offer affiliate programs.

Instead of charging a company for advertising space on my site, it’s a much better deal for me to go the affiliate route. It’s no work for me and my commission is guaranteed! It’s literally win-win. And as a travel website, you can market to a very targeted audience: car rentals, hotels, area attractions, links to retailers like Amazon.com, where your customers can buy travel books, or even Clickbank.com, which also sells travel guides to select destinations. In all cases, once someone buys something by clicking through your website, you are making money.

What if a company you approach doesn’t offer affiliate programs? That’s when the old model of charging for advertising space works best. You’ll basically charge a flat fee for other companies you’ve vetted and approved of to advertise on your website. It can be a great arrangement. They provide you with their ad and link and after thirty seconds of work on your part to slot it in, your job is done.

Once you have a proven audience and a reliable stream of users on your site, you’ll be able to name your price. I’ve made money many different ways in my life (all of them legal, of course) but this one is my favorite. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy making money by writing about something they love? If travel is a passion of yours, I highly recommend this exciting, easy, and fast way to financial gain.

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Best of luck!

John Hollister

PS I’ve just given you all you need to know to start your own money-making travel website. But here are a few resources to help get you going and to stay inspired.

Resources

Profit Sources

http://www.expediaaffiliate.com/

www.priceline.com/affiliates/

http://www.amazon.com

http://www.clickbank.com

Inspiration for Your Content

http://www.tripadvisor.com

http://www.condenast.com/

http://www.virtualtourist.com/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/

Set Up Help

http://www.godaddy.com

http://www.blogger.com


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