We love travel and we love blogging. We initially started TravelWithBender.com as a way to keep in touch with family and friends as we traversed the globe. We didn’t want to repeat the same stories to everyone so we wrote about them. Soon enough we realised that more strangers were reading our posts then friends.
And the site evolved into what you see today.
In just 2 short years we have won a number of awards, been featured on national primetime television news, interviewed dozens of times and promoted by world-renowned travel organisations like Lonely Planet. But most importantly, we’ve inspired regular readers just like you to get up, get out, and explore this amazing world we share.
We love reading the regular feedback from readers about the amazing experiences they’ve had. And they knew it was possible, because we did it too.
This blog has transformed from a simple hobby for Erin into a real business with an astonishing influence. Erin and I now spend every spare moment thinking and talking about how we can make our blog better for you. And in order for us to put more time and energy into this we need to make some more dollars out of it.
It’s something we’ve very carefully considered. We do not want to damage the trust we’ve built with you over the last 2 years.
All the articles we write are transparent, helpful and honest – no fluff. And on top of that our blog posts have always been and will always be free.
As we continue to explore new ways to generate income, I want you to be completely assured that our integrity and honesty are more important now than ever.
So don’t worry, we’re not selling our soul.
One recent feature we’re trying is the display banners on the right side of the blog posts. These are usually links to 3rd party websites that we’ve either personally used or like and that will be relevant for you. We’re trying to make those super relevant so you won’t even think of them as “ads”, but rather just a few “useful links”. For most of those advertisers, we will receive a small commission if you purchase a product or service through their website. It won’t cost you any more, and you are helping to support our blog.
It’s important to us that these don’t feel intrusive or irrelevant, and they look elegant, so please contact us any time with your honest feedback.
You may find similar kind of links embedded within the body of some of our blog posts. Like the above banners, these provide us with a small commission. But it’s important for us to say that we’ll only refer 3rd party companies that we feel are a perfect match for our readers, and ones that will deliver a high quality product or service that will reflect well on our name. We are in this deal for the long haul, so there’s no shortcuts here.
Similar to the banners and affiliate links, from time to time our advertising partners will provide discounts to our readers. If we feel they are a good fit these may be promoted within a blog post, product review, on social media or via our email newsletter. Again, these will only be super relevant.
If we find a travel-related product that we really like, we may write about it. The seller may pay us a small amount in return. However, we always write clear and honest reviews. There’s no selling out here. If we like something, we’ll say it. If we don’t like it, we’ll say it too. They understand they are paying for a review, not praise.
This is an emerging area for the blogging industry. Companies like themidgame connect bloggers with sponsors. In return bloggers can utilise their influence with their audience. This arrangement is not done with any SEO benefit for the sponsor (so it completely complies with Google’s guidelines), and it can provide a useful income stream for the blogger. The network makes a small cut from the sponsors, and the rest of the income goes to the blogger.
Currently they only have a few sponsors on board, and hopefully this will continue to grow in the future. I would welcome this kind of accountability that the blogging industry needs, and seems to be the next logical progression in the maturing of the industry. We’ll continue to work with sponsorship networks, but always with the sole focus of giving the absolute best to our readers... and nothing less.
At some point down the track, whenever we have enough time, we are considering creating our own digital product. This could be a book or guide. Our ideas are fairly fluid, but if you have any feedback let us know.
I’ll be honest. It’s not easy to make a lot of money being a travel blogger. Most bloggers generate their primary income away from their blog (as I have as a web designer), or utilise it as a way to generate leads for a complimentary business. Having been involved in online marketing for over a decade, I can think of many other ways to make money that are much easier.
Things We Won't Do
There are a few things that we’ve definitely crossed off the list:
- We’re not going to be a travel agent for you. Sorry, we don’t have the time.
- Take you on guided tours around the place. There are plenty of great tour guides who can do that.
- Copy and paste tacky Google AdSense ads across the site. Just not going to happen.
- Sell our blog to someone else. We are the product, there’s only one family like us!
- Post articles about things we haven’t experienced. It’s not our style. We only write about real experiences we’ve had.
As we try new methods for generating an income from this blog, it will always be a secondary priority after providing you with the most useful and honest articles that will help you on your dream trip. That will never change.
Erin and I appreciate you being on this journey with us and taking our advice to heart. It’s always a thrill to help. And I’m confident there will be many more wondrous adventures ahead because you are travelling with The Benders!
Side note: As always, we are upfront and honest about our opinions. Themidgame have contributed towards this post, but have had no say in what we’ve written about them.