Running a travel website is a great way to become location independent and live your life wherever and however you want. It does make you dependent on a wireless connection a you certainly can't live off the grid, but at least you can write your computer off on your taxes.
Obviously your first step was to make a website and hopefully it doesn't suck. If it sucks, then you need not worry about monetization, rather spend your time getting more traffic. Just because people can click your ads doesn't mean they will. Especially if your content is so bad it repulses then to the back arrow faster than 2 girls 1 cup.
If you do have an idea that is unique and ready to go(like 2G1C), then consider these options. Some I have personally implemented on one or more of my websites while others I don't feel are the right options for what I offer.
Google Adsense - The obvious choice for an online revenue source is Google Adsense. Google is, in my not very informed opinion, the leader of pay per click advertising. The good side is that Google is a very well known company and people seem to trust them.
Adsense is an easy program to sign up for, making it great for newbies to see what ad styles and locations ads work best on their particular webpage. It is a good learning tool to see what your site is worth and it integrates with Google's other tools, allowing you a good view of what you can do to make your site more valuable.
My advice: If you have good quality content, people will read your website. The more the people read, the more the people will click the ads and buy whatever it is that website is selling. Then your websites "real estate" is worth more because it brings in money from advertisers and you eventually makes you more money.
How to not make money with Google Adsense is to click your own ads or tell your friends to do the same. This is a very short sighted tactic and you'll be dropped from Google for life.
Amazon Associates - Amazon has their associates program which allows you to pimp out Amazon goods and receive a percent of the profit. This is ideal if you're doing product reviews or recommending something to your readers. After the review, the reader clicks the product which send them to Amazon, and they purchase some stuff. The perfect plan, right?
This, I found, was very slow going to make money right off the bat. I think it also doesn't help that the method Amazon also requires orders to be made within 24 hours of clicking the item on your website for you to get credit for it. The plus side is that you also get credit for every other thing they purchase in that 24 hour period.
As for me, I sell a few things and it puts an extra couple bucks in my beer fund at the end of each month, but I am far from retiring.
Zazzle - Create your own products or artwork then sell them for as much of a markup as you want. Wow, now you're an artist. This method can work, if you have a lot of clever ideas or photography which you think is worth buying.
After you spend a bit of time setting up your Zazzle store, you then have to promote it either on your website or across the web. If you have a group of people, fans, or followers you can pimp your items to them, as they are already familiar with your product.
The downside with Zazzle is that there are tens of billions of products on Zazzles website, so you should have a way to market your products better than the next guy or you will fall into the clutter and be another unsuccessful Zazzler. Welcome to the masses.
What I do find rewarding in selling on Zazzle is the compliment I get from seeing a photograph I took get sold. I think it is an honor that someone somewhere in the world thought it was worth purchasing my work, and that, in my mind, is what makes Zazzle worth doing.
Commission Junction - This is like Amazon, but so much bigger. It is an affiliate scheme where you sign up and select from hundreds of companies which you would like to promote. You then select the links or banners that they offer which you can then display on your website. Then sit back, relax and watch the money roll in. You will likely die of starvation before you even see your first check, so don't yet quit your day job.
A lot of websites use commission junction because they do all the work for you. They keep track of clicks, leads, and sales all in one account so you don't have to log in to every companies affiliate program individually.
Write an eBook - It's the easiest way to get published, write it yourself and sell it as an ebook. The most important question here is what are you going to write about?
I have never writtenan eBook, nor do I think I will ever have time to do one, but Jose Gonzalez wrote an article on How to Create an eBook, and he is smarter than I am.
There are a few other travel sites that offer eBook sales, and they do OK. Again, nothing to retire from, but may be worth the investment.
This is just a list of a few places to start your quest for earning money online. If you are starting out, I suggest you get good content first, then look into one or two monetization methods to compliment it. See what works, and go from there. Good Luck moving forward.
Run a Travel Website - How to get started and find your way in the over saturated world of online work
How to successfully Work Online - Our Travel Droppings team has an interview with a successful online working traveler
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