As a poet, fictionist, and an essayist, it is ingrained in us that it is one of our duties to write about and write for our own people. My people, in this context, means my fellow Filipinos and their own brand of triumphs and sorrows.
Perhaps I’m too individualistic or selfish or self-centered or narcissistic to task myself with such an arduous duty. What I can do is to attempt to write my own sorrows and triumphs and the immediate people’s surrounding me, hoping that these resonate to some.
I somehow extended this principle to content marketing aka my travel blog. Without any solid understanding of how affiliate marketing, pay per click, and their ilk, I mainly wrote lengthy travel guides about my home country, the Philippines, hoping to help fellow Filipinos wanting to travel around our home country. And that’s the operating word: to genuinely help. Without any conscious intentions of monetizing my more than decade-old travel blog.
I did try. Once.
Back in 2016, I had quite a following and some viral pieces on my blog, mostly rants on how it was to be a female solo traveler from a developing country in a white-dominated travel space. I thought the spike of the traffic was more than enough to get admitted in the Mediavine program. But I got rejected. Why?
Most of my traffic came from the Philippines. I shrugged it off. I could not be bothered any further. My travel blog was not my main income anyway.
But it could have been.
But the more I got into content and SEO strategy for work, the more I realized why not use my travel blog as a jumping board for content and SEO strategy? Like seriously, an SEO strategy for a small travel blog like mine?
Here is a screenshot of Google Adsense earnings for a small travel blog that has about 10K views a month.
What to bear in mind: the traffic is mainly from the Philippines since I’m still in the process of overriding the hundreds of content written about my own trips around the country. The traffic from the Philippines and the corresponding Google adsense earnings:
And here is the traffic from the US and the corresponding Google adsense earnings:
Yes, despite the substantial disparity between these traffics, ads earnings from the US are substantially higher because North America does spend a lot on Google ads.
And if I want to ride this and stop being stubborn, I have to write content with North Americans and Europeans in mind. What do they search? Where do they travel? What do they want to know?
So I entertained these questions and pivoted the direction of my blog and prioritized writing content on my trips around Europe.
And slowly but steadily, the pivot works and changes the direction of my blog.
Overall, majority of the traffic still comes from the Philippines, but most of 2023 and this year, the content I’m writing is primarily catered towards the destinations Americans and Europeans travel.
Major wins in 2023: I doubled my traffic within six months of understanding Google algorithm and truly put the SEO work.
So I’m beaming with positivity that my travel blog on solo traveling and my other family travel and homemaking blog will provide a decent passive income by the end of the year.
I’m certain of that.