In September 2022, Clive shared insights about how he makes money through his website caminodelrey.es. He talked about how to earn on local attractions, how he creates content, and why he prefers to use affiliate widgets instead of links. For tips from him and other experts, check out the webinar Earn on Tours & Activities: Top bloggers and brands share strategies.
How It Started
I am a firm believer that a local knows the best information and has the best knowledge of a given area. I have lived just a few kilometers from Ronda for the last 15 years so I have experience of the area. I have known the Caminito del Rey for many years and walked/scrambled/hiked it many times before it was repaired and reopened to the public. It is also just a few kilometers from where I live. I have traveled to almost all of the natural and national parks in Spain over the last 15 years. For those reasons, I decided to create my projects Ronda Today, Camino del Rey, and Wildside Holidays and share my expertise with the audience.
About the Projects: Monetization, Content Creation, Traffic Sources
I have been running my projects for over 12 years now. The largest number of bookings comes from this site https://www.caminodelrey.es/.
This destination is very popular and also there is a daily limit of entrance tickets. My website is written and designed to help the English language visitor find alternative ways to get an entrance ticket when the official online system has none left to sell. I didn’t realize how popular it really is until I deployed GYG on the site and saw the daily ticket sales.
The largest number of bookings comes from the post “Get your guide for the Camino del Rey.” It is pinned to the top of the home page and is the first thing people see when the homepage opens. Many people have found the site because of disappointment at not getting tickets on the official site so they are a very filtered and targeted audience.
The help page presents alternative ways to get tickets “No tickets for the Caminito left online? No problem (hopefully)” performs equally well and has high rankings in the search results, as is the main instruction page for getting tickets “Booking the Camino del Rey (how to buy a ticket.” The top three best-performing pages with information about hotels and affiliate links to Booking.com include posts: [list]
I participate in the Booking.com affiliate program and partner with Travelpayouts, particularly with the GetYourGuide affiliate program.
The Travelpayouts partnership platform gives access to over 100 travel brands, including well-known names, such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Rentalcars.com, and many more.
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Adsense also generates income for my websites.
I research and write all of my own content with 90 percent of the images also taken by me. No helpers and no freelancers are involved. I get quite a few offers of guest posts which I almost always refuse unless the content is totally relevant to the site. The same goes for affiliate programs: I only join offers that are highly relevant to my content and will be helpful to my audience.
Most traffic from search engines come to the specific information pages due to the well written and informative content. I also use the Yoast plugin to help with SEO. After I write and publish a new article I then share the link across Facebook, Twitter, and more recently Linkedin. I also post sometimes on forums but always with respect and not in a spammy way. I have dabbled with Quora, but am not keen.
The homepages of the three sites are never below 1.5k users for a month and individual pages such as the two posts helping book tickets mentioned above rarely fall below 3k. In total, the three sites are around 50k users a month.
Recovering From the Pandemic
The pandemic totally destroyed my income streams across all of my websites. They depend on English speaking travelers visiting this part of Spain. Income literally went to zero for an entire year. They are returning slowly and site traffic is almost back to normal but hotel reservations are still very low. I don’t expect them to generate an income until at least the spring of 2022 and, of course, this all depends on borders and travel restrictions due to Covid. I suppose traffic is back to normal because though people are not yet making reservations they are still researching for future trips.
Recipe for Success for Affiliates
Choose a Relevant Niche and Affiliate Program
It has to be something that you are interested in and would search for yourself. That way you have the passion that gives you the energy to create good and interesting content. For me, there is only one rule. The affiliate program must be relevant to your site content. My Caminito del Rey site, for example, would not be a great place to sell Norwegian fjord cruises or hire cars in Australia. Keep it simple and concentrate on your niche.
Create In-Depth Content
First-hand experience is always the best and it’s easier to write about a place that you have personally visited. If you haven’t visited the place that you are writing about then in-depth research is the key. Email people or contact social media groups for further information. Current and updated information is an obligation if you are informing people about a destination.
Don’t Hesitate to Start
Go for it! Sometimes people think the internet is already full of everything and there are no new ideas, but there are a lot of niches and subjects. Sites come and go all the time as well and people seem to give up too easily. Keep the passion and think local!