Earning $1K/Month Through Affiliates & Ads With My Niche Travel Site

Published: October 14th, 2023
Agness Walewinder/Cez Kro
Founder, Etramping
started January 2021
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello! We are Agness and Cez, the founders of Etramping and we share a common passion and love for travel. Etramping was started in 2011 and started as a personal site to share budget travel hacks for backpackers who travel on a tight budget. Since then, we have branched into a lot of other types of content and shared our experiences with various unique and exotic destinations, some of which include:

  • Unique Itineraries for different cities and destinations like Germany and Korea
  • Helpful travel hacks and tips we’ve learned over the years
  • Ways to travel on a budget
  • Buying guides for different travel gear

After traveling for so many years, we’ve learned a lot of important lessons. We started Etramping to share those lessons with others, and to help our readers accomplish their travel dreams! A lot of our readers are aspiring adventurers, so we want to encourage them to explore the world and have their adventures.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Our idea started back in 2011 when Agness took her first trip to China. With nothing but a bag of luggage and a Lonely Planet book, new experiences awaited her. She wanted to learn more about different perspectives across the globe and hopped on a plane to pursue it.

For Cez, he bought a one-way ticket to Vietnam with $400 to his name and hasn’t looked back since.

Our first issue when we started traveling was money. With little to our names, we had to quickly learn how to backpack on a budget. We became experts at it, continuing to travel for as little as $25 per day. When we started Etramping, this was the majority of our content. We shared our experiences traveling with so little, yet gaining so much.

As we grew our audience, we were able to earn more money on the road and check off more stops on our destination bucket list.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

Building Etramping back then was an exciting journey of learning and exploration. When Cez first initiated the idea, he was new to the world of website development. At that time in 2011, there was a burning desire in him to grasp the intricacies of building a site, while Agness was fueled with the passion to document and share her enriching travel experiences in China.

Cez built the initial site using Joomla. The decision was primarily influenced by the platform's flexibility and its capability to act as a social media hub for travelers, complete with blogging features. But, like any novice, there were challenges.

The web was our primary resource for learning, filled with forums, tutorials, and community discussions on Joomla. Through trial and error, Cez managed to put together the first version of Etramping, allowing Agness and other travelers to share their tales and adventures.

The success of the website, especially after Agness's blog gained traction, was beyond our initial expectations. In just a year, we witnessed an influx of traffic and realized the potential of the platform. The website's growth and evolving needs led us to make the strategic decision to transition from Joomla to WordPress. WordPress, known for its user-friendly interface and a vast array of plugins, seemed a fitting choice to transform Etramping into a dedicated personal travel blog.

Post the shift to WordPress, our focus was refined. We pivoted towards writing about how one could traverse the world on a meager budget of $25 a day or less. And it wasn't just about writing; we embodied this mantra, proving that budget travel was not only possible but also immensely rewarding.

Since its inception, Etramping has undergone multiple iterations. Each iteration aimed at improving user experience, providing richer content, and staying aligned with our evolving brand identity. Today, looking back, it's heartening to see how a simple desire to learn and share has blossomed into a thriving community of passionate travelers.

Continuing from our journey, our enthusiasm wasn't just limited to writing. We had a fervent passion for photography, capturing moments that told stories even before words did. Agness played a pivotal role, ensuring that our publication schedule remained consistent. It didn't take us long to recognize the undeniable power of consistency. Through observation and analysis, we discerned that this regularity was not just about keeping our readers engaged but played a vital role in search engine optimization (SEO).

As we delved deeper into understanding the mechanics of online traction, SEO emerged as a cornerstone. This newfound insight and our accumulated experience led us to establish Big Wall Consultancy, a digital marketing agency based out of Singapore. Our dedication and strategies bore fruit, and at our zenith, Etramping garnered a whopping half a million page views in a month! On average, our traffic oscillated between 30k to 80k views monthly, a testament to our efforts and the bond we forged with our readers.

Soon, we started writing reviews for different travel products, like best travel backpack with wheels or best travel water bottle. This allowed us to work alongside some great brands while still recommending helpful products to our audience. We connected with the brands through regular outreaches.

Agness was actively messaging those companies that matched our values our audience and whose products we admired. She would get in touch with them mainly via e-mail and if that didn’t work, she would use specific social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. In this way, we were slowly but surely building up meaningful relationships with brands we love! We sought some specific brands at first, and before we knew it, brands started to reach out to us instead.

There were a lot of tough lessons to learn on the road, and if we could help even one person with the knowledge we had, it was worth it.

Because most of our income comes from affiliate marketing, there weren’t many capital investments needed to get started. It just took a long time and effort to get the site popular enough on Google to monetize it in that way. Setting up affiliate programs on a niche site is a progression.

We began with Google AdSense, a user-friendly tool that offers modest earnings for sites attracting about 1,000 visitors per month. The real game-changer for us was Mediavine, an ad management company we partnered with four years ago.

After meeting their traffic requirements and integrating their code, our ad revenue skyrocketed, yielding monthly payouts between $500 and $2000. For affiliate link management and tracking, tools like Pretty Links or ThirstyAffiliates are invaluable. While starting may yield modest returns, with persistence and the right strategies, earnings can grow significantly.


Describe the process of launching the business.

Launching the business itself wasn’t particularly difficult - it was growing and maintaining it that took lots of work. From starting with basic content to adapting to audience needs and wants, it took a lot of research, commitment, and consistency to get to where we are today.

Once we started getting more popular with readers and on Google, we were able to start monetizing the site using affiliate marketing and some ad revenue. Our journey in ad revenue primarily revolved around Amazon Associates, complemented by platforms like CJ.com and Shareasale.

These affiliate programs, being free and easy to set up, offer a convenient starting point. However, it's vital to generate consistent sales to keep them active. Over time, our earnings grew gradually as we tailored our strategies to our audience's preferences. A significant boost to our approach came from the Authority Hackers online course, which provided invaluable insights into effective affiliate marketing.

For those new to the realm of affiliate revenue, patience is crucial. Begin by understanding your audience and consistently producing quality content. Additionally, consider investing in educational resources, such as the Authority Hackers course, to streamline your journey. With dedication and the right guidance, that first ad revenue dollar is within reach.

From there, we continued to grow and expand the site to grow our income. You may not see many great rewards at first - but sticking with your passion will lead you to success in the long run.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Changing up our content has helped a lot over the years. Consistency is nice, but so is branching out. We’ve been able to attract more readers by sharing new tips and content that interest a wide variety of people. From budget travelers to those dreaming of a luxury beach trip, we’ve got lots of content to satisfy.

Once we grew an audience of adventure travel lovers, we started thinking about what they wanted. We figured out that they wanted tips on their travel journeys and advice on different products to buy to make their trips even better.

This is when we started moving from sharing only our own experiences to sharing our advice from years of travel with others. Sharing more of this information each week helped retain customers as they kept coming back for the information they were searching for.

When it comes to growing your website, really think about what it is that your audience wants. If you keep doing the same thing over and over, they’ll tire out eventually. If you can always give them something new and exciting, they’ll always be interested and entertained.

You can also look through reviews and comments in your posts to see what readers have questions about. Those tend to be some great content ideas for the future.

In terms of marketing our content, we’ve never done paid link-building for Etramping. We couldn’t afford it in the first place, as travel blogging wasn’t exactly bringing in enough to monetize our passion project.

Instead, we turned to natural link-building approaches that didn’t cost anything besides an investment of our time, expertise, and writing skills.

Writing and submitting high-quality articles to different websites helped get our name out there, as did collaborating with other travel bloggers by inviting them to write guest posts on Etramping. We could then promote their work on our social media channels, and they would share it on theirs too, helping to bring in more readers.

Once we got a bit more established, we started joining as guests in podcasts and online interviews to share our travel knowledge and experiences to further get our name out there. These were all great sources of natural traffic, so we didn’t have to pay anything to grow.

We recommend looking for those free opportunities out there as you develop your site, as there’s a lot more than you think!

You will likely face irregular working hours and need some serious self-control to set your own pace. Plus, you need to be committed to always improving your craft.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today, we no longer focus on budget travel. Now, we like to focus on intense and unique trips that can inspire others. Our goal at this point is to discover the fascinating little parts of the world that few have discovered and to encourage others to experience the vastness of the world.

In a good month, we can get a traffic of 30,000 visitors a month. On social media, we have over 50,000 followers. The key here is being consistent and extending your brand across many platforms. We all have Twitter (X), Instagram, and Facebook for starters. Don’t limit yourself and make sure you build on the content that gets the most response from followers.

Our blog has a Domain Authority of 50 and a Domain Rating of 58, and we want to continue to improve that.

Going forward, we want to continue using our platform to encourage readers to take a leap of faith. It’s not always about luxury, all-inclusive vacations. It’s about having the guts to get on a plane with a one-way ticket and see things you’ve never seen before. That’s true freedom right there.

We also want to continue giving our audience what they want. We plan to continue offering tips, guides, and product reviews so new and experienced travelers alike can have the best experiences possible. The more we learn ourselves, the more we’re able to share that with others.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

There are lots of things we’ve learned since starting Etramping. Some of these lessons came from missed opportunities we discovered way later.

For one, we could’ve had the opportunity to start a YouTube channel documenting our travels to further show our audience our adventures. Though we love blogging, video-making would’ve been another direction we could’ve explored.

Another challenge over the years was to not compare ourselves to other travel bloggers. It can be very easy to see someone else’s great ideas and success and wonder if you’re falling short, but this type of thinking isn’t very productive (or healthy).

We had to learn over the years that our content is just that - ours. Doubting yourself won’t help you grow, so focus on your strengths and build your confidence along with your skills.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Google Workspace - So many apps on Google Workspace are great for collaborating with others, such as brands or guest writers.

WordPress - WordPress is our web content management system! We use this for all of our sites.

Ahrefs - Ahrefs is a great tool to track our website’s growth and do some solid SEO research. It’s a must for anyone wanting to seriously start their site.

Vocus.io - Vocus.io is an email tracker that we use to track emails coming in and to create email campaigns. There are a lot of great tools you can use with this site.

We also try to use a lot of social media, including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. They’re affordable and easy ways to attract more readers and grow your audience.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

We have several influential books we love, but two of our favorites are Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and Winter 8000 by Bernadette McDonald.

Into the Wild is about the adventures of Christopher McCandless, an American traveler, and self-proclaimed “Supertramp” (a name that inspired the name of our site!). Though his story had a tragic ending, his commitment to traveling and following his dreams by traveling across the American wilderness continues to inspire many.

Winter 8000 is a story about a trip that is not for the weak - it’s based on a real story in which a team climbs all 14 mountain peaks over 8000m tall in the dead of winter. It pushes you to realize that you’re capable of more than you believe. Plus, it makes other types of travel seem much less intimidating!

We also like to follow inspirational people, such as Niall Doherty. Niall is a fellow travel blogger Agness once met in Amsterdam, and was one of Cez’s biggest travel and business inspirations when he first started blogging. Niall is an impressive traveler and spent three years traveling without flying, and shared a bit about that with us on our blog.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

If you’re just getting started, remember that passion is key. You need to love what you do. If you don’t, you’re going to have a hard time keeping it going and making it fulfilling.

We also can’t overstate the importance of consistency! It’s so easy to think that the little things don’t matter that much, but in reality, they all build up over time. Tiny steps every day can be so powerful in bringing you closer to your business goal. Never neglect well-being and taking care of your health on the road. It's necessary to make it sustainable in the long run.

Running your blog or business is harder than it looks. It’s not just writing a few posts and shutting the laptop. You need to take your work seriously to make it grow. You will likely face irregular working hours and need some serious self-control to set your own pace. Plus, you need to be committed to always improving your craft. There’s always something new to learn, don’t be afraid to seek out those bright learning opportunities!

If you want to take this on while traveling, keep in mind that there are opportunities out there, but you’ll need to follow the above advice here too. Consider other freelancing opportunities like writing or photography to make money while you build your site or business. Now more than ever, there are plenty of opportunities right on your computer. Take advantage of them.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

While we aren’t hiring at the moment, we do love to accept guest posts! You can learn more about writing a guest post on Etramping.

This is an especially great opportunity for those looking to grow their site or audience. We love to give SEO juice to others when we can!


Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!