Who Else Wants 200,000 Blog Readers a Month? Travel Blogging Tips from Nomadic Matt

Want to get blogging tips from bloggers with a proven track record? Blogging Success Stories is an interview series to introduce you to other successful bloggers, motivate you to keep blogging and send you away with actionable blogging tips.

To that end I've been grilling alpha travel blogger Mathew Kepnes aka Nomadic Matt.

Matt's been blogging away for four years now while traveling the world, funding his nomadic lifestyle from his writing and blog. Matt writes mainly about budget travel and has also written four eBooks including How to Travel the World on $50 USD per day and How to Make Money With Your Travel Blog.

Here's more about Nomadic Matt's blogging success story along with some handy blogging tips.

Let's get personal! Where do you live? Are you single/married/with kids….

As a nomad, I live nowhere though I am currently in Sweden for the next couple of months to relax and get some work done. I'm single.

That sounds like fun. What's your blog about? Who reads Nomadic Matt? How long have you been blogging?

I've blogged since April 2008. My blog is about budget and long-term travel. I show people you don't need to be rich to travel. My tagline is that I will help you travel cheaper, better, and longer. It's read by a variety of people who want to save money on travel. Most of my readers are between the ages of 25-40.

How often do you update your blog and how many unique readers does Nomadic Matt have each month?

If I am productive and on top of things, I update my blog two to three times per week. I have about 200,000+ unique visitors per month.

Where do most of the Nomadic Matt readers come from? Google search, other sites, guest posts, social media outposts?

My breakdown is 50% search, 30% social, 20% direct traffic.

You get a lot of search traffic to Nomadic Matt – can you tell us a few popular key words or phrases you rank well for or is that something we bloggers should keep secret?

I rank well for “tropical islands”, “backpacking Europe”, “how to find a cheap flight”, “things to do in Iceland” and many, many more.

Do you have a big email list too?

I would like to think so. I mean I have the most out of any travel blogger but I am sure it's small compared to other large blogs.

Tell us about your blogging successes so far. What kind of good things have come to you from blogging?

Blogging has changed my life. I've met some amazing people through it. That's been the best part of blogging – being able to meet so many epic people. More than that, blogging has allowed me to become my own boss, live on my own terms, and achieve a success I never imagined.

Do you make a full-time living from blogging? You seem to be quite open about your income so please share that here if you don't  mind.

I make a full-time living from my blog. The Nomadic Matt site is the sole source of my income. I won't give an exact number but I make just over six figures per year with my job.

How exactly do you earn money from your blog? Affiliate sales, products, services, advertising or other? If it's a combination of things please break it down roughly into percentages.

I make most of my money through my ebooks as well as my sponsorships. They account for roughly 50% of my income. The rest comes from a mix of affiliate sales, consulting work, and Adsense sales.

Can you tell me a bit more about how the sponsorships work?

The ads on my blog sidebar are all official sponsors of my site and pay me a flat fee per month to be that sponsor. I do not do sponsored posts. I only work with brands I use in my travels. We do partnerships that include ads, social media, giveaways, and cross promotion.

That sounds great. Now, let's move on to your blogging tips. What are your recommendations for other bloggers who want to monetize their blogs?

You don't monetize a blog, you monetize an audience. If you don't have an audience, you can't make any money. Focus on building your audience before you focus on making money. If you primary goal is to make money, you won't succeed as a blogger.

Blogging is all about the soft sell and if you are solely seen as only being interested in money, you'll turn people off.

Do you think the travel blogging niche is over-crowded now? Is it harder to get a big audience for new travel bloggers today than it was four years ago or easier because there are more readers and more social networks? Is it possible for small bloggers to overtake the big boys or will blogging always be something of a pyramid scheme?

There are many successful new websites that have come online in the last year. It's not impossible to “overtake the big boys.” You just need a good design, good writing, and to do something different from everyone else.

If you are trying to make yet another budget travel website, you'll fail. But if you go narrow and deep, you'll succeed.

Tell us your best blogging tip for new bloggers

Network, network, network. The best way to get known so to work with other people who are. You can have the best content in the world but if no one reads it, then what's the point?

The one piece of advice I give to people is to network. It's the single best thing you can do to grow your blog. It has led me to interviews, guest posts, and speaking gigs.

Have you got any writing tips?

Get an editor and write blog posts well in advance. I look over my early work and I just smack my head at how I thought it was good. In fact, I am constantly trying to go back and rewrite old posts. The more you write, the better you get but it still helps to have another set of eyes reading your posts to catch any mistakes you make. Additionally, write blog posts in advance so you can set them aside and come back to them with fresh eyes, further catching mistakes and improving your posts.

How about productivity tips?

Turn off Facebook and Twitter!

Gosh, I feel like you've spied on me! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us your blogging success story, answer these questions and share your blogging tips so generously. We really appreciate that. It's fabulous to meet a happy, successful blogger, especially in the travel niche which is my first love as those of you who hang out on my travel blog Get In the Hot Spot know.

blogging success stories nomadic mattBe sure to check out Matt's travel stories and tips at Nomadic Matt or connect with him on Facebook, or Twitter. And if you're serious about travel blogging don't forget to check out his ebook How to Make Money With Your Travel Blog where you can glean more of his blogging smarts.

What are your big take aways from Nomadic Matt's blogging story and tips? Did I miss any juicy questions? What would you most like to ask him?


  1. says

    I loved that quote about monetizing an audience too and it’s so true. My blog’s growing but I don’t advertise much of anything at all and won’t until I have a bigger audience.

    Terrific interview, Annabel.

    • says

      Hi Maureen,

      I waited two years before “monetizing” and I still hate that term:)

  2. says

    Annabel, Another great helpful piece. Everything said makes great sense especially having your own niche. This is why I have combined my two pastimes – travel and family history in my personal blog.
    Thanks for sharing your network! Fran

  3. Carolyn Terry says

    I’m working on getting an editor as we speak. Thanks for another great post!

  4. says

    Hi Sue,

    Great interview! Thanks for interviewing Matt and posting it here, and thanks Matt for sharing your very useful tips.

    I love this “You don’t monetize a blog, you monetize an audience. If you don’t have an audience, you can’t make any money.” So true! Now … to get that audience!

    • says

      Hi Carolyn,

      Thank you for being first to comment and breaking the ice:)

      I love that quote too. What’s interesting is that the money doesn’t need to be raised directly from that audience but by offering a connection to them and your recommendation to other brands.

  5. says

    Great interview. Those questions were bang on what I would have wanted to know about.

    • says

      Hi Bobbi,

      Great to see you here! I wish I’d asked more – I could grill successful bloggers all day – but you have to pick and choose:) Glad it hit the spot.

  6. says

    Excellent post, I love stories about people who do what they want, travel and enjoy the world and still make money without having to get a job… Excellent interview and very very inspirational!

    Matt came up with a very powerful statement that I love, ‘You don’t monetize a blog, you monetize an audience.’ Seriously good way of looking at it.

    Today I also read Pat Flynn’s post where he said about the old saying ‘The money is in the list’ ,…Pat said… ‘I eventually learned that the money isn’t in the list, but the money is a byproduct of how helpful I can be and what kind of relationship I have developed with my audience’

    These two sayings have really summed up what blogging is and should be about.

    I shall share this post and I will also be trekking over to your travel blog and Matt’s. Thank you

    • says

      Hi Andi,

      Great to see you here. I am a big fan of Pat Flynn too:) Look forward to seeing you on both my blogs!

  7. says

    Really enjoyed reading this, love how bloggers share their information. Am still such a newbie! But realized I do have experience with books so am writing bits about that in a spirit of sharingness. Thanks Sue and Matt.

    • says

      Hi Seana,

      Well, we’re all learning, I think it’s important to remember that and the most successful bloggers will be constantly analysing what they’re doing to see if it’s working or not, tweaking and improving.

      You have fabulous book writing experience and writing skills and are doing a brilliant job on your blog. I love it:)

  8. says

    This is fabulous. I’m a long-time reader, first-time commenter, as they say, but just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy a peek into the minds and techniques of successful bloggers.

    And to echo many others, I loved the point Matt made about monetising an audience, not a blog. It’s a shift in perspective that’s driven me to keep building my audience before worrying about income.

    And slowly, but surely, I’m getting there…

    Thanks again! 🙂

    • says

      Hi Brooke,

      Thank you for chipping in, I love that:) I generally find I get less comments on these type of posts but good to know it’s not because people aren’t interested in them.

      So glad you’re making progress towards your own blogging success story.

  9. says

    Great interview with very open yet indeph questions and answers. Will sure to check out his blog.

    With the mobile marketing gaining its momentum and popularity, it would be great to know what is Matt’s view on this channel of monetization.

    • says

      Hi Richard,

      I’m not sure. I do have a post scheduled here about getting blogs mobile friendly but not sure about the monetization side of that.

  10. says

    Nice interview,

    I have heard that travel blogs can become quite successful, though, I was not too sure how earning could be made(with smaller sites)…

    Also, considering the size of the larger travel orientated sites, I thought that this particular area would be tough to break into……

    Then again, what better way(and time) to write blog posts, than when you’re having a great time traveling and seeing amazing destinations…

    One thing for sure, there will not be any lack of inspiration to get the writing juices flowing…..

    • says

      Hi Danny,

      I think it is tough – but great to know it can be done and that you’re inspired to get writing:)

  11. Ozge Kaptan says

    I Like your interview really. And its encouraged me. I have a brand new blog and i’m a beginner level blogger 😀 I dont wanna give my blog adress. May be next time if you would like . I just wanna congrulate you.


  12. Josh Cintron says

    Well done. I set aside my written post for a day or so, come back to it and find that the writing wasn’t as good as I thought it was. Thanks for tips.~Josh

  13. says

    Thank you for making this interview with Matt and sharing it to us. This is a booster to us most especially new travel bloggers like me. I’m also concentrating on my content and always improving my writing skill.

  14. says

    That is fabulous!! Really cool. since i am kind of new in this field so it is surely very helpful to me. other than this, getting inspire by other success stories makes me full of confidence. I’d like to thank you for presenting this interview 🙂 Have a nice day!

  15. says

    i like the networking part ”Network Network Network”, once i read in one successful blog that a ”Mediocre writer who is friend with all the memembers of Technorati 100 will get easily more popular then the great writer who has no friend at all”, after reading this interview i got one more solid proof of the importance of network.
    Thank Matt and thank you.
    Keep up your good work and keep inspire us 🙂

  16. says

    Great Inspiring story Sue, It just shows that if you are passionate about your niche then you are going to get succeed but if you pretending to be an authority of the niche of which you don’t know much then your blog posts will reveal the truth So don’t blog about something which you don’t like instead blog about your passion and success will be your
    Rohit Singh recently posted…10 Blogging Tips For Small Business OwnersMy Profile

    • says

      That is so true, Rohit!

      Thanks for leaving a comment,

  17. says

    Great to read that Nomadic Matt is able to do what he loves full time. I never really paid much attention to motoring my blog so it’s to hear “You don’t monetize a blog, you monetize an audience. If you don’t have an audience, you can’t make any money.” its a great piece of advice.

  18. says

    I must say that Matt is a very great Blogger and he’s very successful in this field. I also read about his blogs, and it really helps me in making my travel possible.

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