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Monetization Strategy for a Successful Website

SUCHITOTO, El Salvador- I have a friend who tells me that the definition of insanity is a person who does the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. I think she may have been trying to tell me something.

I feel as if I meet this definition precisely as I go into my third year of trying to monetize Vagabondjourney.com to the point that I can make a complete living from it.

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Monetization Strategy for a Successful Website

I am at the three year point of running Vagabondjourney.com as though it were my job, a business of sorts, it is time for a new monetarization strategy.

SUCHITOTO, El Salvador- I have a friend who tells me that the definition of insanity is a person who does the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. I think she may have been trying to tell me something.

I feel as if I meet this definition precisely as I go into my third year of trying to monetize Vagabondjourney.com to the point that I can make a complete living from it. I keep doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results. Perhaps I am insane.

If I keep grinding at it, this site will be sharp soon

My friend Andy Hobotraveler told me once that it is only in the third year of doing business that you begin making money — “You have already made all of the mistakes by then.”

I know that I can do this, and if I can’t then I will just keep trying. One of these days, I am going to get a different result, I am going to check my monthly leadger and realized that I had made the money that I need to sustain traveling with my family fully — happy, and without question that this website publishing project is really worth the time that I put into it.

We are getting closer each month, though there is still a long road ahead.

If you keep working at something you cannot fail. You can only fail when you quit.

Though the person who is often the least sane also tends to be the person who does not think they are crazy.

I think that I am as normal as white rice, this is perhaps my biggest problem: I make complete sense to me: I will keep working 8 to 10 hours a day at this website for a penance until I am successful. Maybe then I will take a day off.

I will not quit, even though I know my own tenacity is beginning to sink my ship. There is only so much of the Vagabond Journey that my wife and family are going to take. I know this. I gave myself one year starting in January. I have 8 more months to make a living of this website — until collective sense rears its head I realize that I need to take a real job and depend for sustenence on a website that sucks in hours of life and spits out dimes and nickles in return.

Though the traffic is always going up. The site is always being improved. Vagabond Journey is beginning to take shape. In point, there are enough signs for me to believe that I can turn this website into a money making machine. We are currently bringing in nearly 3,000 visitors a day, we are almost ranked in the top 100,000 sites on the internet, and we are making money. Each month that goes by, Vagabond Journey brings in more visitors, we make more money.

If I was traveling alone, 90% of my expenses would be covered by the menetarization of the website. My fractions would nearly be constant. But now that there are three mouths that need to be feed, and three pairs of feet that need boots, I need three times as much money — I am getting there, but where I want to me just got three times farther away.

Vagabondjourney.com growing. This is all we need to do. In time, we will be at the top of the mountain, it just takes time to hike the switchbacks — back and forth, back and forth, moving side to side when we just want to go up.


Why do I need to make a living from Vagabond Journey? Why can’t I just blog every once in a while just to enjoy it?

Because I just don’t do things this way. I am and all or nothing person. I have two speeds: full throttle or neutral. I either work all day at something or not at all. I either travel the world perpetually for decades or I don’t travel at all. It is all or nothing.

I have always been like this, I am a man who knows no sense of moderation. This is not something that can be worked out, not something I can remedy, not a pathogen that I can cure: no, it is the way I am wired. I basically only think about one think a day, I have one objective, one project. I either go full speed all the way down the hill or steadily climb up it. There is no in between: either I make a full time job out of this website or I don’t ever look at a computer again.

Though, as I said before, quitting is not an option: so how can I fail?

I will just keep doing what I have done for three years until something gives, something comes together: until I get a different result. I will put up ten pages of content every day, blog twice daily, publish 50 photos a few times a week, answer travel questions as they come in, put up a new Wiki Vagabond guides at each turn, moderate the forum, fill content into the travel guides, try every affiate program out there, try different advertising solutions, and do whatever it takes for me to up my income to the $30 to $50 a day that I will soon need to continue traveling the world with my daughter and wife.


I need to come up with a new plan of attack. I am tired of this insanity.

New Strategy for Vagabond Journey.com

1. Make money- If I am going to run this site to make a living from, then I need to do it — I need to make money. The motivation to make money needs to be the first objective, otherwise this is a hobby. I need to go forth fully with the money making initiatives that I am currently running, and delve into any new one that arises. I have not yet fully developed many of the affiliate programs that I am only currently running at half speed, and I need to strategize to more fully optimize advertising. I need to transform Vagabond Journey into a website that sells as well as one that gives.

I need to make the resources for my family and I to travel from of this website, and this needs to be my main objective: this is my work, I need to make more money from it. It is wholly possible, I have the basic structure down and the traffic base — I have done the hard part, now I only need to cash in my chips.

2. Hire out for coding– I have basic coding skills, I can repair and do just about anything on a website that is not too deep. Though there are some things that I want to do that requires professional coding. If I want to get it done, I need to hire out for it. Waiting around for me to eventually figure it out is too long of a road to travel.

3. Form a team- I now have an interface running that could allow for thousands of travelers to blog on VagabondJourney.com. They system is up, it works, I just need to further develop it.

I am working towards bringing together an initial community of around 10 traveling writers to blog their travels on Vagabond Journey. It is now time to get other people involved, to reach out a little more, and to work on this site as a team. I have a WordPress MU system that is up and running. I am willing to give out free WordPress blogs to any person who wants to start blogging on Vagabond Journey.

Even if you are not traveling now, you can set yourself up with a blog to publish your old travel stories or about the ways that you are preparing to travel in the future. Anybody willing to write about traveling, or anything related to it, is invited. If you are interested, just email me, respond below in a comment, or go to GET A FREE TRAVEL BLOG.

4. Alter site content to include more “money” topics- I like to write about how people get fruit out of trees, I do not like writing about cheap airfare deals or hotels. I have no taste for the travel industry. But advertisers do. Ads on a page about cheap hotels in Tokyo will make more money than an article about cockfighting in the Dominican Republic. Selling things makes money, sharing information does not.

5. Optimize site for success- I want either money or content from each visitor — I want some contribution that will allow us to keep going. I need to make Vagabond Journey into more of a give/ take inititive — if readers share content, information, and knowledge, then they can take their fill (if someone makes a donation they have free reign to take everything!). I will keep all the content on this site free, but contributions of money or content are greatly appreciated.

I will optimize the site to invite reader donations, further encourage comments, Wiki Vagabond submissions, travel community forum entries, contributions to the World Travel Guides, and Travel Help assistance — if the site is going to be taken to the next level we need a barrage of user submitted content and contributions.

It is my impression that I can stave off the CPU overuse pressures from my web host for this next year. But next year, Vagabond Journey.com is going to need its own server. This means $200 a month. I need to kick the site into high gear now.

And I need help.

This is the plan, this is the strategy to break out of the round of doing the same thing over an over again while expecting different results — this is our move to break out of insanity.

If you are interesting in helping in any way, please contact me at vagabondsong at gmail.

Thank you, we really appreciate it!

Walk Slow,


Filed under: Blogging, Travel Economics, Vagabond Journey Updates, Website Construction

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3704 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

VBJ is currently in: New York City

7 comments… add one

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  • bicycle luke April 29, 2010, 8:39 pm

    Hi Wade.

    On the topic of a travel blog website that makes money… check out http://www.crazyguyonabike.com for some ideas. It is focussed on Bicycle Travelling but it is a really simple journal site that makes the owner mega cash! He gets around $2000 a month in donations with advertising on top of that.

    There is a page about how his site developed, where you learn it started as his own journal before he started hosting other people’s journals. I can see similarities if you go down the path of hosting other peoples vagabong journeys.


    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com April 30, 2010, 12:17 am

      Hello Bicycle Luke,

      Thanks for this encouragement! How is your next bicycle journey shaping up? Do you have a departure date?

      Hmm… If you ever want to publish your photos travel stories online I know of a place…



      Link Reply
  • bicycle luke April 29, 2010, 8:40 pm

    VAGABOND…. not bong!

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  • bicycle luke April 30, 2010, 4:21 am

    Yeehaa the date is set! Early December im off to New Zealand, then on to Buenos Aires. Will keep you posted.

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com May 1, 2010, 12:52 am

      Sounds great!

      It is looking like our next move may be Morocco, or Japan, or even Australia. We need to make some money. It would be funny if we ended up in your country and you weren’t there!

      This next journey of yours is going to be on a bicycle, right?

      Link Reply
  • g May 1, 2010, 2:01 am

    Wade, check out the videos from the milken institute. They had ceo’s from around the world together brainstorming and networking about the future. A lot of it was about journalism and the digital revolution. Of particular interest should be arianna huffington. the huffington post is now the #2 online journalism site (ny times still #1), she uses 5000 registered bloggers to help contribute. Also ceo from npr was there. npr pioneered journalism loyalty. Be reliable, honest, and forthright about who you are, where you come from (attitudes, perspective ect) and visitors will be loyal to you. Discussion about creating sticky sites. Google ceo said nothing has really changed in 70 years. Good content will always be rewarded; it takes a while but word will get out. If you provide a worthwhile service, people will find out, and some will support you (90 million people sent voluntary donations to npr). Open source is future. To make this great lots of people need to be contributing, you’re the master mind but that’s all. You’re greatest job is to encourage others to contribute. Ideas that were sugggested: open communications with readers, respond to as many comments, emails, etc as feasible, always solicit opinions from readers. Anyhow these are some ideas from the conference, its all online you should watch it and consider just a part of your job. Some of the worlds most powerful business figures are working on the same ideas (just a bigger scale), learn from them. g.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com May 2, 2010, 1:18 am


      You just provided me with a key, of sorts. This was truly good advice, and all good advice, in my opinion, should give its receiver a real hard boot in the arse .

      You did this for me here. This comment showed me a new way not really in syntax, but in the motivation that it provided me with: you really got my wheels turning again.

      This is possible.

      With much appreciation,


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