It’s always great to hear about the many different success stories in the world of blogging and affiliate marketing. Instead of providing a valuable resource article of my own, I thought it would be nice to share one from someone else. In this article by Marina Samorosenko, the founder of the frog-travelers.ru travel blog, we will take a look at how they were able to re-adjust their profession and goals by taking advantage of what affiliate marketing and the internet has to offer. Enjoy!
I majored in economics, so I worked as an accountant and immersed myself in online business in 2013. I created the first website after reading about WordPress and domains in a few days and started posting my articles – one every three days. There were a few twists regarding the content, on the way to my realization that it was my main business and source of income, during the three years after I started. Now, I run four projects together with my husband, all of which have grown from a hobby to our main source of income.
Right now, I’m focused on frog-travelers.ru, my personal travel blog where I share my real travel experiences. I love doing it because it’s always unique – my personal story is only mine, so the content is always fresh and can’t be found elsewhere on the internet.
At some point, I wanted to hire a copywriter, but after a few attempts, I realized that my comments and edits take the same time as writing an article from scratch.
In addition to Frog Travelers, I have written travel guides for Cyprus and Abkhazia, as well as a guide for car rentals abroad.
Each project has around 3,000 visitors per day now, and it’s mostly organic traffic from search engines.
The main source of income for projects is affiliate programs.
I work with Travelpayouts, an affiliate marketing platform that brings together large brands such as Booking.com, Aviasales and others, and I enjoy that it has one entry point for everything – programs, statistics, tools, etc.
Before the pandemic hit, I was making about $2,000 per month through my websites. With the onset of the pandemic, income fell to almost zero, then there was a sharp jump due to traffic from an article about Russia, and income partially recovered with it.
Now the situation is gradually stabilizing, in May 2021 the total income amounted to more than $800.
The season can also affect traffic and can help decide which content we promote. The main countries I work with are Israel, Jordan, Cyprus and Abkhazia. Accordingly, the highest income falls in the period from April to October.
Now, during the pandemic, content is performing especially well in Cyprus, since it is one of the few open countries, as well as articles about Russia.
CPA vs CPC
We mostly earn money with the CPA model, with additional revenue through context advertising. I tried posting some sponsored content and worked on link building but quickly quit as I didn’t feel comfortable publishing content from others on my personal blog.
I think the CPA model works best for the travel niche since you can earn money even with a small readership. I earn money even with a website that receives only fifty visits per day.
Context ads, even in the best of times, haven’t brought me more than $120 a month, so I’m using it as a small part of my income.
In addition, context ad banners can distract users from target actions and they often leave the websites feeling overwhelmed.
Affiliate marketing has become almost passive income for me: my high quality long-reads generate new leads and money from search engines, which allows me to focus on other things. The last half a year I haven’t done anything with the websites, but am still seeing the money come in.
I work with different categories of programs. I earn on tours, экскурсиях, car rentals, insurance products, and more.
I work with a variety of advertisers, as well. For each link, I pick the most relevant piece and offer a few options. I don’t care about my fee as much as the relevance to my readers.
My favorite affiliate programs are ones that focus on car rentals.
- Write articles for your users and study their interests before writing.
- Show not only the pros, but also the cons of different options.
- Make affiliate tools (for example, links) as visible to users as possible, making them stand out from the rest of your content.
- Place several affiliate links in one article. On average, my blog articles contain about five links. Put a small caption for each one telling the user what they will get if they click on it.
- Try not to overload pages with too many dynamic aspects and widgets. Compress images and any other elements that could add extra weight to the page.
- Links for products such as car rentals, train tickets, airline tickets, bus tickets, etc work great with articles such as “How to get there.” They are also great for generating traffic, as they attract all kinds of visitors, not only tourists.
- Look at the services like you are their client and focus on exciting features.
- If the service does not have an affiliate program where you can earn revenue, but it can be useful to users, keep links to it in your articles. User trust is important and hard to get.
- Use deep links. For example, if your article is about a city, drive traffic to pages related to that city, not just a homepage.
- For some destinations, only certain advertisers may work for your readers. Evaluate what different advertisers offer from the point of view of the client. Perhaps a program you had in mind has a non-compete clause and you’d better to recommend another service.
In addition to the niches that we are already focused on, I’m also looking into compensation for flight cancellations, bus trips (especially for European countries), and partnerships for selling tickets to upcoming events.
I also plan to develop content related to domestic tourism. In the current reality, this will be a kind of safety cushion that ensures a stable income. Even in pre-pandemic times, from time to time, some travel options were closed, and now the situation with foreign travel is especially unstable.
I am also considering covering some Asian countries in the future, as this will be beneficial for traffic during different seasons. It can also help with diversifying traffic sources.
If you’re just getting started, I recommend starting with quality content first. Secondly, you need to think about how to monetize it. I also recommend seeking advice from experienced webmasters in order to learn first-hand about the nuances of working in affiliate marketing.
This affiliate marketing and blogging reference guide has been provided by Marina Samorosenko, the founder of the frog-travelers.ru travel blog.