Below are some of the tools I use on a daily to weekly basis to run my travel blogging business. The links to some of these tools are affiliate links, so if you sign up for them or purchase them, I'll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
I've also added books I've read that have helped me develop my business as well as digital marketing blogs I follow.
Let me know if you have a question about any of these.
Keeping the blog online
Siteground is the third hosting company I tried out and so far, the third one has been the charm. Great support, no downtime and very reasonable pricing. I'm on their Go Geek shared hosting plan, which allows for an unlimited amount of websites, as long as they don't take up more than 30GB web space, which they aren't even close to doing.
This blog is designed using the StudioPress Genesis framework. While StudioPress sells different themes you can use with the Genesis framework, I had a custom theme designed for Wonderful Wanderings. That's the benefit of this framework: you can go anywhere with it… if you know how to code or hire a great designer/coder :)
Keeping the emails flowing
After having used Mailchimp for over four years, I made the switch to ConvertKit because it allows me to tag my subscribers so that I can send very targeted emails without bothering people with things they don't want to read about. It's a bit pricier than other companies, but they're the only company offering the kind of options that they do.
Aside from having a regular business account with my Belgian bank and an international PayPal account, I started using TransferWise as a way to get paid in foreign currency without having to pay any fees. Unlike PayPal, Transferwise doesn't charge a fee when you receive money. Their Borderless account functions as a collection of virtual foreign bank accounts through which you can send and receive money in various currencies. You only pay for transfers.
An additional bonus is that if you're an Amazon affiliate outside of the US, for example, you can receive your Amazon earnings in your Transferwise Borderless USD account.
Sign up here.
Superstar Blogging is a multi-course travel blogging school created by the biggest travel blogger out there, Matthew N. Kepnes from famous Nomadic Matt. His The Business of Travel Blogging course focuses on turning your travel blog into a money making business by creating your own products and working with affiliate partners. It covers all the basics for beginning bloggers, from how to create a blog on WordPress to growing traffic, and ads in-depth information through webinars and interviews. While there are some other features as well, the real gem for me is the secret Facebook group. Read my review of this travel blogging course here.
Looking for something more specific? Superstar Blogging also offers courses on travel writing, travel photography and travel videography for which Matt collaborated with experts in those fields.
Build Blog Freedom
Build Blog Freedom is a course by the Australian blogger and blog traffic expert Sharon Gourlay who earns much more than nice monthly income from her various blogs. She also built and then sold the high-traffic travel blog Where's Sharon. Her course consists purely out of actionnable information and takes you by the hand throughout the entire process of building a money-making site. It's the best content I've found on learning how to do proper keyword research to rank high in Google, how to do affiliate marketing and other tactics to build and grow your blog from scratch.
Click here for more information.
The Effective Entrepreneur
I've been following Taylor Pearson for a while now and absolutely love is thoroughly researched essays – especially those on productivity. So when he created a course detailling is entire process of setting goals, planning actions, reviewing everything and then repeating the cycle to make sure you get the results you're after, I knew I had to get it. If you struggly with productivity and goal setting in any way, I highly recommend this course.
Click here to check it out
Engage! A Storytelling Course for Bloggers
I took Mike's course when I'd already been blogging for five years and was making a full-time income doing so, but during that time, something had always been missing: my story. My blog didn't stand out because I myself wasn't certain what it was all about until I took this course. Mike makes you answer the hard questions and guides you while you construct your story from scratch. The final audit or exam isn't just a wrap-up of the course, it provides you with a reference document you can use for months and years to come whenever you risk getting side-tracked or feel unsure about the direction you're taking. I'd recommend this course to anyone struggling with finding their voice and defining their brand.
Click here for more information.
Other useful tools
Pretty Links is a tool that let's you rename or “style” long and ugly links into something that makes sense. Their free version allows you to organize links into groups and track clicks. The paid version also allows you to export your links to easily change and then upload them again, plus a bunch of other cool stuff.
Geniuslink offers a localization service that allows you to send readers to different website based on the country they're in. If you're an Amazon affiliate, for example, it will send people to the correct Amazon store. It also allows you to send people from one country to Amazon and those from another country to a local retailer, for example, and offers a bunch of analytics.
Books I've read
- Will It Fly?: How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don't Waste Your Time and Money – Pat Flynn
- Purposeful Productivity: A Guide to Goal Planning, Stopping Procrastination and Building Online Businesses – Taylor Pearson
- Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action – Simon Sinek
- Louder than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice – Todd Henry
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life – Mark Manson
- Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives – Gretchen Rubin
- Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive – Charles Duhigg
- You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) – Jeff Goins
- Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
- Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions – Dan Ariely
- The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime – MJ DeMarco
- The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage – Ryan Holiday
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change – Charles Duhigg
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) – Robert B. Cialdini Phd.
- What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How successful people become even more successful – Marshall Goldsmith
- Create Or Hate: Successful People Make Things – Dan Norris
- Ask : The counterintuitive online formula to discover exactly what your customers want to buy…create a mass of raving fans…and take any business to the next level – Ryan Levesque
- Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work – Chip and Dan Heath
- The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
- Content Machine: Use Content Marketing to Build a 7-figure Business With Zero Advertising – Dan Norris
- The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-to-5 – Taylor Pearson
- The 15 Success Traits of Pro Bloggers: A Proven Roadmap to Becoming a Full-Time Blogger – Jonathan Milligan
- The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better to Live More – Chris Guillebeau
- The Happiness of Pursuit: Find the Quest that will Bring Purpose to Your Life – Chris Guillebeau
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King
- The Suitcase Entrepreneur: Create freedom in business and adventure in life – Natalie Sisson
- How to Write Seductive Web Copy: An Easy Guide to Picking Up More Customers – Henneke Duistermaat
- Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator – Ryan Holiday
- Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea – Seth Godin
Blogs I follow
- Matthew Woodward: on SEO
- Smart Passive Income: on creative passive income streams and running a successful online business in general
- The SEMrush blog: on SEO
- Quicksprout: on all things blogging