Revenue of $4,000/mo
Email list size of 1,450
Founded in 2016
Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?
We are Coralia (Cory) and Gergely (G) a married couple from Bristol, UK who now travels the world full time. We quit our day jobs in February 2014 to focus on our digital agency in the UK. This enabled us to have the financial freedom we needed to be able to travel the world.
Cory is a law graduate who started working in the digital industry in 2011. She is a self taught UX designer, a path which led her to be a Creative Director.
G is a computer science graduate who worked as a software engineer for the past decade. She is a technical geek who seeks to adopt the latest technological advancements and implement them on our website.
We met in Bristol, UK in 2013 and later that year we co-founded our digital agency, 42droids. We started traveling together in 2014. Our blog, You Could Travel, was created in April 2016 as a way to document our adventures abroad.
You Could Travel is a soft adventure travel blog geared towards inspiring others through information packed articles that revolve around travel guides, recommendations, and tips.
Less than 2 years later, You Could Travel now receives over 130k monthly pageviews with 75% of its traffic coming from organic searches. We worked with world leading brands including Emirates, Universal Pictures, Ali Express as well as many tourism boards and small businesses.
Our blog is read by 25-34 years old couples from USA, Japan, UK and Australia who seek mid-range options for their upcoming, off the beaten path trips. Our readers are extroverts who love to experience the world and keep their friends and family updated about their adventures abroad.
Since we provide honest, comprehensive guides and itineraries, we are a trustworthy travel website which doesn’t write the usual fluff. As such, our audience is loyal and is happy to book flights and accommodation based on our recommendations. Through our blog, we now make an average $4,000 a month.
What motivated you to get started with the blog?
In December 2015 we went on a long trip to Japan. When we arrived, we realised there wasn’t enough information online about the country. We started taking lots of pictures of things we found interesting and unique and made notes of all the things we searched for online but couldn’t find relevant answers for.
Upon return, we decided to design and built our blog, You Could Travel, which focused exclusively on Japan. We wanted an informative blog targeted at couples interested in soft adventures. Basically, we were our own target audience. We wrote exactly what we would have wanted to find online to help us plan our trips.
One month later, we landed our first sponsorship which gave us the needed push to create an actual business plan. At first, it was a little difficult to juggle both full time jobs. Both, G and I were in charge of running the Creative and Technical departments at 42droids on a full time basis, whilst also trying to run a full time blog. Our digital agency was our main source of income, so naturally, it had priority over creating and promoting content on our blog.
In February 2017 we started focusing on SEO for our blog, and by June, the blog’s pageviews boomed. We created content and affiliates strategies and by the end of 2017 we were already close to 120k monthly pageviews which exceed our initial estimations and milestones.
What is the revenue model for the blog?
We make money through affiliate income and strategic partnerships on our blog. We have various revenue streams for You Could Travel, including sponsored posts, media creation and branded campaigns. We also sell our beautifully crafted guides via our blog.
Because we have digital agency experience, we love working with brands and tourism boards to create targeted promotions to increase their sales. The goal of a branded advertising campaign is to favorably develop brand image and awareness. We love doing this, it’s our professional background and we speak marketing.
We got our first sponsorships in month two of blogging. It wasn’t paid for, but the total package was worth $800 which was an incredible success given the age of our blog. We started making actual money from our blog in August 2016.
Through our blog alone we now make an average $4,000 per month and as we grow, we expect this to increase steadily.
The best advice I can offer is to treat your blog as a business. Make a business plan from day 1 and figure out who your target audience is. Have an end goal and continuously check your progress by measuring your milestones. Implement A/B testing and stick to what works. And hey, don’t forget to celebrate successes!
What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?
It’s super important to have a plan and focus on SEO. The more your domain ages, the more you write and the more you invest into your website, the more traffic you will get. Make sure you keep your website user friendly, have a good, mobile friendly theme. We picked great hosting from the start to, ensure our website is super speedy and invested time into making You Could Travel into a recognizable brand.
Doing collaborations with other bloggers and networking is also very important as getting quality backlinks plays a major role in optimising your content for search engines.
We started by creating good content and promoted it on all social media channels. We also got in touch with various tourism boards and asked them to give us feedback on our posts. This ensured our content is accurate. Some tourism boards shared our content which created a snowball effect for our social accounts and led to various partnerships and an increase in brand awareness.
We find guest posts to be an important strategy, one which we still apply to our blog today. We like networking with like minded bloggers and create long term partnership and friendships.
One thing we didn’t do well, was to grow our subscribers list! This is something we just started implementing and so far it’s going well. This was an oversight on our part, but we now created landing pages to capture subscribes.
Nothing happens overnight. It took us almost two years to get to where we are today. Give it time and patience, and it will happen. And as already mentioned, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a plan in place.
How have you grown the email list?
Unfortunately, here we are, 2 years later with only about a 1000 subscribers on You Could Travel. This is not something we focused on until recently, when we finally created a strategy around it. We now have dedicated landing pages to capture subscribes and it’s going well. We will continue to tweak our ideas until we find what works best.
As we are quite new to this, the best advice we can offer is to create a persona for your email list and figure out who would subscribe and why. Reverse engineering the process works best in these cases.
How do you write great content that performs well?
We have a whiteboard with our upcoming subjects and places we want to write about. Once we pick a subject, we do our research to ensure there is a gap in the market and a need for our article. Ultimately, we want to add value to our blog.
Once we have a title, we create the h tags for our article so we have a structure in place, then we start filling in the gaps. We write informative guides from our own perspective, and include small stories and adventures as they happened to us.'Try to be yourself and treat your blog as if you would tell your friend a story.'Click To Tweet
We try and make sure our content is not just information heavy, but catchy and emotional where needed, so our readers can connect with us.
At the beginning of any writing career, it’s natural to want to imitate a successful voice or a successful blogger. Try to be yourself and treat your blog as if you would tell your friend a story. As you write more and more, you will inevitable find your own voice and find that something which makes you unique.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
The biggest challenge was finding time to run two business in just 8 hours a day. It took us a few months to balance our personal and work life. Of course, if I could go back, I would focus on growing our email list from day 1.
We didn’t start networking until month 6, looking back, we probably should have started a little earlier.
As with every business, every day is a learning opportunity, something which we really love. It also poses various challenges but it’s part of the process, so best to embrace it, do the best you can and learn from any mistakes.
The key to achieve the end goal is to stay focused and follow your business plan.
Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Joining relevant Facebook groups has helped us a lot as we could network, find out about new opportunities and keep track of current trends.
We are fortunate enough to have digital agency backgrounds which meant we know exactly how to create business plans and target the right readers right away. If this wasn’t the case, we would not hesitate to invest in courses or pay for one on one coaching. We believe that every business requires investments to become profitable.
In terms of our content, we focused on a great niche, Japan, just as the Tokyo 2020 became a done deal. This means that hopefully we got in front of everybody else and will already be a well established voice just in time of Tokyo 2020, so readers will prefer us over our more recent competition.
What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?
What nobody tells bloggers is that time is the most valuable asset, so it should be used wisely. Basically, don’t do anything which is not to your business advantage and don’t work for free.
There is no such thing as free lunch. As bloggers we never get anything for free but work very hard to deliver. In fact, at the beginning of our careers, we overdeliver and undercharge.
I would say that bloggers should do their research and consider their real value before they pitch.
When creating a blog, find a niche and figure out if there is a gap in the market for your blog.
Where can we go to learn more?