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When I was looking for ways to grow my travel writing income, my son-in-law suggested I start a blog. At that time, I had no idea what a blog was all about. Yet just months later, I found myself on whirlwind press trips, chasing bison in South Dakota, zip-lining through a cave in Kentucky, and racing a dragon boat in Wisconsin. I’ve been having the time of my life, revving up when most folks my age are slowing down. Who knew that life at 60 could be so exciting? When I lost my day job a year ago, I knew I didn’t want to go back to yet another corporate job, commuting four hours every day, living only for the weekends and an occasional vacation until I was 70. I wanted to live my life-long travel dream. So I plunged into growing my blog and looked at exactly how to make money from a blog. Here’s a quick rundown on what I’ve done so far to turn my blog into an income stream: Google AdSense Google AdSense, those ads that you see in blog sidebars that change each time you log in, was the first way I started earning money. I followed Google’s simple instructions for adding advertising to my site. I chose where on my site I’d put the ads and determined the size. The ads that show up are relevant to what the reader views, and I get paid based on the number of clicks on the ads. How excited I was when I saw the money start adding up, trickling in at first and then increasing as my blog continued to grow. Affiliate Programs With affiliate marketing, I can choose the ads I want to place on my website. I was accepted into a couple of different affiliate programs, and then by advertisers within the affiliate networks. I insert the code for an ad anywhere I want it — sometimes sandwiched in the text of my blog post. I choose the ad size and whether I want a graphic or text only. I get paid a commission when someone purchases an item from the advertiser within a specified time period after clicking on the link. The income isn’t as regular as with Google AdSense, and it takes a little more maintenance work, but when I do get a commission, it’s worth the effort. Amazon Associates This is a type of affiliate marketing, but once I was approved by Amazon, I didn’t have to be reapproved by each advertiser. I choose specific products to advertise. I’ve only placed a couple of links to Amazon products on my web page sidebar to get started, but I plan to add an entire page to my website for travel-related products that can be purchased through Amazon, products that I personally have used and enjoy. And who doesn’t shop through Amazon, especially around the holidays? Now that my husband is semi-retired, we’ve made it our mission in 2015 to increase the income from my blog. Some of the things we’re working on are sponsored posts, ambassadorships, and selling e-books (we’re in the process of writing our first), and using the blog as a springboard to score other writing opportunities. Although I started my blog to earn extra income, when the offers for free trips started coming in, I couldn’t turn them down. Was it a mistake to focus on the travel instead of the income these past two years?  Absolutely not. I’ve created great memories on these trips, doing things I never dreamed of doing. Continuing my exciting adventures and making more money at it is a dream come true. Share on Facebook [Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up today here and we’ll send you a report, Get Paid to Travel as a Travel Writer, completely FREE.]

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