Is it worth it to start blogging in 2023?

I have a love-hate relationship with my blogs (both this and my lifestyle blog, and now my personal finance blog,  If you check my blog post archive here, you will see that there are times when I would publish a post once a week; there are times when it's once a month; and in 2020, I only published one post for an entire year!😳 Yikes!

It's no question that maintaining a blog takes quality content, consistency, and strategy to succeed. It takes commitment.  You have to invest money, time, and a lot of effort to see some profit. Yes, you read that right. There's money involved to keep this blog running. There are domain and hosting costs, for starters, not to mention the expenses associated with the computer, cameras, and software needed to produce quality content that educates, entertains, and/or inspires whoever stumbles into this tiny space in the interwebs. 

Of course, there's the option to let this blog die, especially in this age of social media and the rise of "social media influencers". Anyone can use any platform to deliver a message. There's Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and even podcasting tools available out there... mostly free.

So the question is:

Is it worth it to start blogging in 2021?

Taken during a trip to Hong Kong, 2016

When I wrote about why I blog,  I mentioned 5 reasons that made me decide to keep blogging:

  1. To learn
  2. To connect
  3. To share a message
  4. To build a name and potentially earn additional income
  5. To keep me accountable

For the purposes of this blog post, however, let's focus on reason #4:  to earn.  Because let's face it, we won't invest our time, energy, and money if we don't see any potential return in the future.  

If you're considering starting your own blog as an additional income stream, chances are you may have come across tons of articles that claim to earn a decent income through blogging, allowing content creators to live off earnings through the blog. 

How to Make Money with a Travel Blog

What started out as a hobby turned out to be an additional income stream for me. Here are some ways I earned through this blog:

1. Blog as a portfolio for freelancing

When I started blogging in the early 2000s, I wrote about random stuff. Niching wasn't a thing back then. It was just my online journal. I posted poems, jokes, rants, stories, etc. It was in 2011 when I started to meet other bloggers and thought about taking it a little seriously. I started Travel Jams to focus on travel-related content, and I also organized my other personal blog to showcase my other skills. 

I was a couple of years into freelancing then, working as a medical transcriber. I wanted to transition into writing and social media-related work. So I used my blog posts as writing samples for potential clients and used my own website and social media pages to practice WordPress, SEO, Google analytics, social media marketing, and other skills I needed to learn to transition from medical transcription to social media marketing. I used my own site and social media accounts as work samples when I started, and then built my portfolio as I had paying clients later on. 

2. Press trips and campaigns

This is by far my favorite way to earn through content creation! 

This may be the most fun way to earn as I get to travel AND get paid (with cash and/or ex-deal arrangements), but it's also admittedly the most labor-intensive. Whether it's invitational or a deal made through pitching, bloggers need to negotiate deliverables and set expectations for the content to be produced. Then during the travel stage, which can be anywhere from 2 to 7 days, we make sure to capture whatever is on the list of deliverables -- photos, videos, stories, social media posts, etc. 

Taken during a trip to Hong Kong, 2016

Over the years of maintaining this blog and working with fellow bloggers in my network, I was able to travel to Palawan, Surigao, Hong Kong, and many others without spending a lot of money. Brand partnerships with airlines, hotels, and tourism offices made this possible. With some blogger friends, we were also able to organize #TravelMindanao, an advocacy campaign to show the world the best of Mindanao and to capture the attention of potential tourists through the use of social media by spending 30 days on the road to cover 8 provinces in Mindanao.  

3. Sponsored posts and brand collaborations

As I have been grounded when the pandemic happened, a chunk of my blogging income is through sponsored posts (advertorials) and brand collaborations.

Worked with a local maker of personalized passport holders, 2017

With research showing that influencer marketing is here to stay, bloggers need to step up their games to catch the attention of brands they want to work with. Whatever your niche is, there are opportunities to earn through sponsored posts. You don't need a gazillion followers to start earning.  😉

A word of caution though: If done poorly, sponsored posts tend to turn off readers. Audiences don't want to be sold to.  That's why I follow seasoned influencers' advice to be very careful with choosing brands that I work with. I only accept offers if it comes from a brand I know and love, and is aligned with what my readers would be interested to know. Remember to provide value

4. Through ads placements and affiliate marketing

To be honest, when I started blogging, I felt icky thinking about placing ads and affiliate links on my blog as an income stream. Eventually, I learned to embrace this. I just make sure to stick to my simple rule: I only work with brands that I use and like. For affiliate marketing, for example, I will only provide links for products that I actually bought.  I worked so hard to build my personal brand, I wouldn't want to tarnish my reputation by lying just so I could make money. 

5. Speaking engagements and consulting

As I started to build my online presence, I never imagined that I'd get to a point where I get invited to speak at events. Through years of experience, I have been able to talk about blogging, freelancing, social media, and influencer marketing. I have also worked with local and international clients as a consultant on their digital marketing strategies. 

There are still a lot of ways to earn through blogging. So to answer the question at the beginning of this post, it's a big YES. It is still worth it to start blogging in 2023. 

I am grateful for how this passion turned out for me. That's why I am sharing my journey as a content creator here. I may not have millions of readers and followers, but I have found ways to monetize my online presence. 

As I advocate for financial literacy, I am always open to helping anyone interested in building a blog as an extra source of income. Feel free to reach out, and let's talk. 

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