How It All Began
Girl Takes Mundo here, or, as those who know me before I became a travel blogger, Chris Davila. I’ve had the pleasure of temporarily calling 67 countries “home”, but Guatemala is where my family is from, America is where I was born, and the UK is where I currently reside.
Let me share with you how I became a travel blogger. I hope that my story will inspire you to embrace blogging while also teaching you the lessons I learned on how to make additional income to fund your hobby.
Let’s start from the beginning. Long before creating the girltakesmundo.com travel blog in 2017, the travel bug had already bitten me as a child. Before starting my blog, I had already been solo traveling for seven years.
Like many influencers, I didn’t intentionally go down the path of becoming a travel blogger, let alone trying to monetize my blog despite coming from a background in communications and marketing. I was on a simple journey exploring my hobby and traveling the world.
My first iteration of what would become the Girl Takes Mundo blog came about during the seven years that I was solo traveling. In an effort to implement safe solo traveling practices, I began sharing the travel itineraries that I would create for my solo trips with my family and close friends. These itineraries included cities I was intending to visit, attractions I wanted to see, and flight/ accommodation information, including booking details.
I figured this would:
- Help put my loved ones at ease since I was a woman traveling alone.
- Give me a master source of where all my travel plans could be found.
- Provide inspiration to loved ones, should they decide to visit these cities themselves.
So How Did the Girl Takes Mundo Blog Come to Be?
I was your stereotypical corporate American workaholic. I loved my job, but was burning out and had a travel addiction. 15 vacation days per year was simply not enough, so I began to daydream of a life where I took a sabbatical to travel the world.
Eventually, I knew it was time to make my sabbatical dream come true even if it came at the cost of my job (as sabbaticals are unimaginable in the USA). I took the leap because I wanted to set the trend, not follow the trend. I wanted to show those around me that, if I could follow my dreams, they could too. “If I can do it, you can too!”
This sabbatical is what catapulted me to launch the Girl Takes Mundo blog. I knew the workaholic in me couldn’t possibly fathom the idea of traveling the world and not doing anything more. Since I wanted to inspire others to travel and, more importantly, follow their dreams, a friend suggested that I continue to create my itineraries but publish them online.
At this point, I had no intention of becoming a travel blogger. Even with my professional background, I didn’t think I had what it took to become a proper travel blogger. Anyone else heard of “imposter syndrome”?
To my defense, my initial entries had no direction. My blog felt like a journal of my time in each country that I visited, sprinkled with hints of places for people to visit, stay, and eat. See one of my early posts.
Over time, my country guides and blog entries were further developed to better serve the other travelers I met as well as visitors to my website, who would contact me via social media asking for country-specific tips, recommendations for activities, and places to stay. The improvements I made to my blog posts at this stage in my journey as well as driving people to my site resulted in more organic search traffic.
How I Monetize My Blog with Affiliate Marketing
While I may not have wanted to recognize that I was on my way to becoming a bonafide travel blogger, my Google Analytics Performance stats were proof that what I was writing in my blog posts is what people wanted to see. All directions pointed to monetization, implementing strategies for traffic growth, and accepting that I had indeed become a travel blogger.
If I was seeing an increase in website traffic (an average of 25,000 web impressions per month), why not link out using an affiliate link to a hotel that I stayed at, a tour I really enjoyed, or the car company I found that offered me the best deals for my own trips.
I also joined Travelpayouts, an easy-to-use digital partnership platform that is perfect for travel bloggers at any stage in their career.
With Travelpayouts, I was able to include affiliate links from trusted travel brands that I already used to book my own travel and was already linking in my blog posts, such as Viator, Booking.com, and Rentalcars. The best part was that, now, I was actually getting paid a commission to include these links in my blog.
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Do you have a blog already? If so, that’s fantastic! You’re already off to a great start! My best advice for others is to start early. Even if you don’t think you have what it takes, don’t wait as long as I did. Start leveraging the vast amount of free resources available and use your blog to test out strategies that can help you grow.
If you’re already blogging, then why not have your work monetized in some way. It’s a no brainer, especially since we often hear about how important it is to have various streams of disposable income.
Specifics of Girl Takes Mundo
SEO implementation has been critical to my growth, not only for optimizing my articles to rank higher in search engines, but for driving traffic to Girltakesmundo.com.
When writing, it is essential to start by finding keywords that can be built into your article. For my keyword research, I use Moz Keyword Explorer and Google AdWords Keyword Planner.
The best affiliate SEO tip, when it comes to keyword research, is to select keywords with a volume in the 40s or lower. When you have low domain authority, using lower volume keywords in your article means less competition when trying to rank higher for that keyword in search engines.
Now that you have completed your keyword research and selected keywords, let’s have these keywords work for you! Use your main keyword in the title and URL (if possible) and include the other selected keywords in your subheading and throughout your blog post. Top tip, don’t forget about writing your meta-tag, as this is used by search engines to understand what content is on your post and gives your post better chances of ranking in searches.
My last word of advice around SEO, which I can’t stress enough to blog writers, is that SEO is useful to rank in search engines, but in order to retain visitors on your site, the content on your blog must be written with the reader in mind (not the search engine).
This is the fun part! As I mentioned earlier, your content is what will keep visitors on your site once they have clicked and are reading your post.
For topic selection, keep your audience in mind and give the people what they want. My earlier content wasn’t giving my audience what they wanted, which was my biggest challenge when it came to content creation. Presently, I select topics or include details that I, as a traveler, would want to know, such as destination guides for each country I visit and travel resources like my “Top Tips to Start Solo Traveling” and “How to Work and Travel at the Same Time” articles.
Searching Google is the ultimate cheat to see which articles are on top and identify questions being searched by users. This can really shape your article and determine what content should be included in your post.
For content created to promote specific blog posts or the Girl Takes Mundo site via social media, I research the latest trends and determine which topics may be missing that my site or posts can provide to drive the audience back to Girltakesmundo.com.
More importantly, I stay true to myself and create content that will reflect my mission and the mission of Girl Takes Mundo, which is to inspire others to travel and follow their own dreams.
Advice For Those Who Want to Become Travel Bloggers
I encourage any aspiring blogger to focus on the right formula:
- Creating the right content for your audience
- Implementing SEO keywords/practices
- Leveraging affiliate marketing links in your blog posts
I followed the above formula and started to see girltakesmundo.com transform from a regular travel blog to a source of income that helps me earn money to continue to do what I love: travel.
It’s very important for travel bloggers to stay up to date on digital practices while implementing said practices into their websites. I can provide advice on some good courses:
- Creating Digital Content by the University of Leeds
- Google Analytics for Beginners by Google Digital Academy
- SEO Fundamentals from SEMrush
See below for the online resources that I use to stay up to date with the latest blogging practices:
After all has been said and done, I’ve accepted my role as a travel blogger, transformed my blog posts to better serve my followers, and begun to see results by monetizing my blog with affiliate marketing and the right blogging formula. See for yourself how much my posts have changed from my early days of blogging.
So, to all bloggers wondering if they have what it takes, I say to you: “If I can do it, you can too!”