How This 33-Year-Old’s 2 Travel Websites Earn Up To $6.5k/Month Via SEO and Her Podcast

Kat Weiss Butler can trace her love of travel all the way back to 2012 when she spent a semester abroad in France as part of her university studies. 

Bit by the travel bug, she had a very hard time settling into her real-life accounting job after graduating as it took her away from her passion. 

Kat launched her first blog back in 2017 and lived as an accountant by day and a travel blogger by night. Although that blog didn’t work out, she didn’t give up.

A few years later, she felt inspired while planning her wedding and decided to give blogging another shot with a couples’ travel blog called World Wide Honeymoon

When she started to get some traction, she launched a second blog, France Voyager, so she could share her love of traveling around the country.

Today she runs the two blogs and a podcast and brings in between $5,500 and $6,500 every month.

Keep reading to find out:

  • How she navigated her job search
  • How she managed work and her passion for travel
  • How she came to start her couples’ travel site
  • Where her income comes from
  • How she pivoted during the pandemic
  • How much traffic her sites get
  • Her main marketing strategies
  • Why she launched her podcast and how she uses it
  • Her thoughts on SEO
  • Her approach to keyword research and link building
  • How she grows her email lists
  • Her favorite resources and tools
  • Her biggest challenge
  • Her greatest accomplishment
  • Her main mistake
  • Her advice for other entrepreneurs

Meet Kat Weiss Butler

I was born and raised in Kentucky in a small, rural town about an hour southeast of Cincinnati. 

I’m the youngest of three and discovered my love of travel back in 2012 when I spent a semester abroad living in Grenoble, France. I traveled as much as I could, and even after I graduated from university, I spent 5 weeks solo backpacking around Europe. 

Today, I love traveling around the world with my husband, Chris, and I have 2 blogs: World Wide Honeymoon and France Voyager, as well as a podcast dedicated to couples’ travel called the World Wide Honeymoon Travel Podcast.

In my free time, when I’m not working or traveling, I love working out and running, watching period drama shows and movies, and cuddling with my cat, Professor. 

I currently live in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Why She Created Her Site

It was back in 2016 when I was working at a Big 4 public accounting firm and I realized I hated it. I had just come off the busiest “busy season” of my life, where I was working upwards of 100+ hour work weeks. I was burnt out and drained.

I knew I couldn’t do it anymore, so I started interviewing for other jobs in the area. There was one that looked appealing, but I really only wanted it because it offered ample time off so I could do what I loved most: travel. 

When I sadly didn’t get that job, the recruiter told me it was because I didn’t seem that interested. 

While I felt terrible that I came across that way unknowingly, he had a point. I hated accounting and wasn’t interested in it. My then-boyfriend (now husband) encouraged me to look into what I did love doing and try pursuing that. 

But I still felt lost career-wise. I had no idea what I wanted to do. 

I spent most of my life working as hard as possible to get scholarships, degrees, etc. to work at one of the best accounting firms in the world. Could I do anything else? 

Then, during my next job interview, a person asked me what my absolute dream job would be. I accidentally blurted out that I wanted to be a professional travel blogger. The guy appreciated my honesty (because who really wants to be an accountant?) and I got the job. 

Then, it hit me. If this is what I really wanted, why wasn’t I fighting tooth and nail to make it happen? So, I would come home from work from my new 9-5 less stressful accounting job to try building up my blog from scratch. 

And I started… Kat and a Backpack. 

As you can imagine, creating a travel blog in 2017 about general travel wasn’t going to work. Add on the fact that I had no clue what I was doing, and my traffic was basically friends and family. 

But it was around this time that I got engaged and started wedding planning. I quickly realized how expensive that was and started travel hacking and collecting points to be able to get business class flights for our honeymoon to Southeast Asia. 

It was then that the idea of a couple’s travel blog and subsequent podcast (which came out in 2019) was born. I wanted to talk about romantic destinations and great ideas for couples that don’t necessarily break the bank, especially after wedding planning. 

I’ve had that blog since 2017, and in 2021, I began France Voyager because I wanted to have a more niche blog, but also get to share my love of France travel with the world! 

Now, both of these blogs are on Mediavine and are quite successful both in ad revenue and affiliate income

How Much She’s Making

Between both blogs, I make about $5,500-6,500 per month. However, I just got France Voyager onto Mediavine in December, and haven’t received my first pay for that yet. 

I would say that my ad revenue is about 70% of my income, while my affiliate revenue makes up about 29%. I make a tiny bit of ad revenue from my podcast (around 1% of my monthly income). 

My affiliate revenue mostly comes from Stay22, Amazon, CJ, Awin, Get Your Guide, and World Nomads. 

It increases each year with more work and blog posts. I really started to find my groove around 2019 after I was able to quit my job and we could live off my husband’s income for a bit. 

It gave me time to learn SEO, marketing, and how to write and edit, which made a huge difference in more traffic. This, in turn, meant more money. 

Obviously, in 2020 I took a huge hit, but I pivoted to creating more local and US travel which helped a lot. And my income increased further after 2021 once I started France Voyager and had another blog for ads and affiliates. 

Even compared to this time last year, I’m up 35%. I’m hoping to break 5-figures a month eventually, but it takes time and there’s a bit of a learning curve. 

I work about 30-35 hours a week nowadays on my business. 

And when I’m on the road I try to only check emails, take notes, and take photos. I do most of my work while back home. 

Before I streamlined things a bit, I was working between 40-50 hours a week. 

How Much Traffic Her Sites Get

France Voyager gets around 40-50,000 pageviews a month, whereas World Wide Honeymoon gets around 60-70,000 pageviews a month. 

The podcast gets around 6-7,000 downloads per month, with around 200-300 downloads in the first week an episode is released.

Kat’s Main Marketing Strategy

SEO is my main strategy. I love using KeySearch for keyword research and make sure I incorporate plenty of my keywords within a post while also keeping it natural. I also try to provide as much quality content as possible. 

It also helps to have a fast website. Don’t get a theme that slows the site down, and it’s worth it to pay someone to fix things to keep everything moving quickly. 

I’ve found that staying the course, tuning into SEO tips from places like Mediavine, and going through old posts to update them really helps. Then, I can figure out how to make my posts better so they’ll rank higher. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. SEO can be a bit of a mystery at times. 

But another great marketing strategy I found by coincidence is my podcast. Podcast listeners get to know you personally in a way that many blog posts can’t do. 

Most people coming to read a blog post are coming in from Google and want an answer to a particular question like “How do I spend 3 days in X.” They want useful information and helpful tips, but not necessarily your personal stories. 

However, in podcasting, people enjoy the personal stories. They like getting to know Chris and myself and our banter back and forth as we discuss travel tips, embarrassing moments, and our personal experiences traveling somewhere. This builds a bond and our listeners are our superfans. 

They reach out the most, subscribe to everything, and read the blog a lot. This is great because if they are considering going somewhere, they check out the blog and podcast first before anyone else. Podcasting doesn’t earn much money directly for us, but we’ve been able to build the best relationships with our listeners and make money from the indirect traffic it drives to the blog. 

Her Thoughts on SEO

For World Wide Honeymoon, I get a lot of traffic both from SEO and Pinterest. For France Voyager, most of my traffic comes from SEO, so it’s very important.

Again, keyword research is key. You need to know how often people are looking for your keyword, what your competitors are like, and what your chances are for ranking. 

Then, it’s about quality content. Create quality content that answers exactly what the user is looking for and it helps. Again, SEO can be a bit of a mystery, but I recommend purchasing a course or book to learn more about how you can better use it for your blog. 

I loved Make Traffic Happen’s books, but they are sadly no longer available. 

Also, having a niche really helps for SEO. World Wide Honeymoon used to be about travel itineraries with a light sprinkling of couples’ travel tips and honeymoon stuff. That doesn’t rank much, though, compared to bigger sites. 

Instead, I started focusing more on honeymoon-specific things along with my itineraries to rank more.

So I knew going into France Voyager that I would stick to just France and write some fantastic content about France to inspire people to go there and plan their trips. 

Keyword Research

I use KeySearch as a keyword research tool. My process isn’t terribly complicated. I have an idea of what I’d like to write about based on my niches and where I’ve traveled. 

So I type in keywords and see which have the higher search number with less competition. 

Then, I write down as many suggested keyword variations that KeySearch tells me and make sure to incorporate as many of those that sound natural in my blog post as possible while still providing quality content. 

Link Building

I should probably do better at this, but I mostly just use Facebook link building groups where people will put out a call for collab posts. You suggest a destination for the collab and you write a 200-300 word blurb and send a photo for the collab post and they’ll include a link to a relevant post. 

Is it the best? No, but it does build links back to articles, which is always good for Google. 

I used to do guest blogging for links to blog posts, but I don’t do that anymore. First of all, that’s a lot of work for $0. Secondly, I could just as well write that for my own blog and get the ad revenue and traffic rather than have it go elsewhere for my hard work. 

Her Content Creation Process

I try to post a new blog post each week for World Wide Honeymoon and 2 to 3 times a month for France Voyager. I list out potential article ideas and try to write the following month’s articles the month before.

For example, I wrote all of my articles for February back in January, edited them, and already scheduled them out. Now, in February, I’m working on March and some of April, as I like to have blog posts go live even when I’m traveling, which I will be soon. 

I have 268 posts live on World Wide Honeymoon and 56 live on France Voyager.

Her Email List

I have almost 1,000 subscribers on World Wide Honeymoon and almost 100 on France Voyager. To be fair, I really didn’t start doing email stuff with France Voyager for a bit. 

As far as growing it, for World Wide Honeymoon, I do have a freebie people can get when they subscribe. I also use Mediavine’s Grow subscribe widget. It automatically inserts it into my blog post where they think it’ll do best and it works. 

I only use Mediavine’s Grow subscribe widget for France Voyager and no freebie. I find that I’ll get more people unsubscribing to World Wide Honeymoon after I send out my monthly newsletter because they only wanted the freebie. 

Instead, almost none of my subscribers from France Voyager unsubscribe when I send monthly newsletters because they signed up specifically for these updates. 

I guess I also do use a Mailerlite subscribe form at the bottom of my blog posts, too, which does bring in subscribers sometimes, but not nearly as many as Mediavine’s widget. 

Her Favorite Resources

If you’re trying to build a travel blog, I recommend getting the Superstar Blogging Course. That’ll help you get your website up and running. And investing in an SEO course is helpful, too. 

Then, I would attend travel conferences like the Women in Travel Summit, TravelCon, TBEX, etc. This gives you a chance to get to know others, create friends and mentorships with other bloggers, and network with brands and tourism boards.

Her Go-To Tools

The three most useful tools for me include KeySearch, Adobe Lightroom, and my planner. 

KeySearch is my go-to when it comes to performing keyword research. It helps me see what my chances are for ranking and compares the competition including their keywords, their domain authority, how many links they have, etc. 

It gives me an idea of how I can create something better and how I can get it to possibly rank. 

It also gives me related keywords to use as well. 

Adobe Lightroom is a must for editing photos. I take photos both on my iPhone and Olympus Camera, and photos from both always need a touch of editing to make them look as good as reality. 

I don’t like to overedit, but I do like to make my photos sharper and engaging. 

And lastly, I live by my planner. I have a big weekly/monthly planner where I write my goals for the year and then divvy out what I want to do each month based on those goals. 

Then, I figure out what to do each day to reach my monthly goals. I love having something to scratch off at the end of the day, it’s so satisfying. And I list out everything I need to do the next day so I can fully turn off and not think about it that evening. 

Her Biggest Challenge

I feel like the biggest challenge is making the first dollar online. It took me a full year to earn just a single dollar, and after that, it got a lot easier. 

During the process of learning how to make money online, you learn how to perfect your skills as a writer, marketer, planner, etc. There’s a lot of growth that comes with just trying to earn that first dollar. 

Once you’ve done that, it is easier to keep earning more. 

You learn how to grow your audience and monthly viewers until you can finally get on an ad network, you figure out how to properly incorporate affiliate links to generate sales, and you learn to create value for readers. 

But the time frame from saying you’re going to start and getting to a point where you actually earn money is a challenge.

Her Greatest Accomplishment

Oh goodness, I feel like any time a reader or listener reaches out and thanks me or says they took my advice. I feel so grateful. The fact that someone actually took the time to read the things that I wrote or listen to the things that I produced means so much. 

I literally wouldn’t be doing this full-time without their support.

Getting positive feedback means so much to me and keeps me going, even when things get tough. 

What She Wishes She Knew When She Started

I wish I had known that this is not a get-rich-quick scheme by any means. It truly is a labor of love. 

I’m just now surpassing the income I made in my old career, and I’ve been doing this for 7 years! Things just take time. 

But not just that, your success is not measured by someone else’s. If someone started around the same time as you and is doing far better, that’s okay. Trust me, there are plenty of other people who aren’t in that spot, too. 

It’s like running a race. There will always be people ahead of you and people behind you. However, if you just keep going, you all can reach the end goal! 

Comparison is the thief of joy. The only thing you should be comparing is your current self to your past self. Compare how much you’ve grown and you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come! 

Also, celebrate every win! Celebrate every new subscriber, an increase in pageviews, more income coming in, etc. It helps keep you going to celebrate every accomplishment, both tiny and large!

Her Main Mistake

Starting a business that earns zero dollars is a vulnerable place to be. And sadly, there are a lot of people who like to take advantage of that. 

I wasted quite a bit of money on a “life coaching” course, and I almost got sucked into a pyramid scheme-like thing that didn’t look that way at first. 

I even paid for a course on how to grow my Facebook page, only for it to be basically how to buy followers, and by the time I realized it, I had all these random followers who weren’t my target audience at all. I’ve still not been able to clear them all out. 

While I do recommend investing in courses and books that will help you grow your business, please do your research, ask around, and ensure the people selling the course actually know what they’re talking about. 

Don’t purchase a course from someone who is only successful in their business because they claim to make you successful in your business. Make sure they are successful prior to their course. 

Her Advice for Other Entrepreneurs

Don’t give up! Sometimes things don’t work out and you’ve got to pivot a bit, but don’t give up! 

Stay on the course and you’ll get there eventually. Just be willing to learn from your mistakes and course correct along the way. 

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


© 2024 · AIVision