How Megan Starr’s Shuttle Blogs Earned $700k+ in 2023 From Commercials and Associate Advertising



Like loads of go back and forth bloggers, Megan Starr has all the time had a zeal for go back and forth. However Megan isn’t like maximum go back and forth bloggers.

Fourteen years in the past, she packed up her issues, left her house state of Virginia, and moved to Norway. That turned into her house base for touring, and she or he began a go back and forth weblog known as Megan Starr

to report her adventures however had no intentions of ever turning it into a real industry.

Firstly, it used to be a former USSR nation weblog, and she or he additionally wrote broadly about touring to puts like Kazakhstan, Romania, Armenia, and Croatia.

When she in spite of everything learned she may flip it right into a industry, issues in reality took off.

As of late, she has expanded her portfolio to 4 go back and forth blogs, will get over 7 million periods in step with yr, and can shut out 2023 with an source of revenue of over $700k.

Stay studying to determine:

  • What websites she created and why she began them
  • The place her source of revenue comes from
  • Her major advertising and marketing methods
  • Her ideas on Search engine optimization
  • Her way to key phrase analysis
  • How she builds hyperlinks
  • Her content material advent procedure
  • Her way to electronic mail lists
  • The assets and gear she makes use of
  • The largest problem she’s confronted
  • Her biggest accomplishment
  • Her major mistake
  • The recommendation she would give to different marketers

Meet Megan Starr

I’m Megan, a blogger and virtual marketer from Richmond, Virginia (however residing in Europe for the final 14 years).

Rising up, I used to be all the time fascinated about go back and forth and you must catch me sitting within the again nook of the library studying go back and forth guidebooks about Scandinavia and different puts that appeared slightly far-flung to me on the time.

I performed school basketball for some time, were given my level, after which ended up in Ohio prior to selecting up and transferring to Bergen, Norway.

And, a majority of these years later, I’m nonetheless in this facet of the pond! I’ve a visa and condominium that ties me to Frankfurt, Germany… however I purchased a space final yr in Rovaniemi, Finland, so I’m there slightly incessantly, too.

I celebrated my fortieth birthday this yr (it feels bizarre writing that!), have a spouse (he’s British), and am child-free through selection. However, I do plan to undertake some other canine one day if issues figure out.

Why She Created Her Websites

I created my weblog about two years prior to transferring to Norway… so kind of 16 years in the past! It used to be an approach to life weblog in the beginning after which more or less transitioned into an expat and go back and forth weblog after I moved in a foreign country.

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It used to be simply me on the time.

I believe I’m one of the most few bloggers who in reality blogged out of hobby and as a passion without a intentions of monetizing it.

Norway used to be so pricey after I lived there, so I discovered myself in former Soviet nations within the east since the Norwegian kroner went so much additional there.

So, I began running a blog about this a part of the sector and had grown a horny target audience round my rambles.

I used to be the primary blogger to in reality write about Abkhazia, numerous Ukrainian locations, Belarus, and so on. with on-going go back journeys and constant content material. I combined this content material with Norway guides and expat rants.

In 2017, I used to be and not using a Schengen visa and doing 3 months stints in puts like Bulgaria, Romania, Armenia, Croatia, and Kazakhstan.

Lenin statue Arin Village Armenia 1 2 1

I determined to monetize my web site with commercials simply to provide myself a buffer since I used to be residing out of resorts, hostels, and Airbnbs.

When I monetized the weblog, I used to be ready to make it a full-time process straight away as I had unknowingly constructed up site visitors through the years when doing it merely as a passion. My first (and best) advert community has been Mediavine. I’m of their Mediavine Professional for 2 of my websites.

Aram joined in 2018 and we began an Armenia go back and forth web site, Absolute Armenia, as he’s Armenian. It’s occupied with tourism building within the nation.

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A few yr later, the Virginia web site, Virginia Shuttle Guidelines, and my Hawaii web site, Subsequent is Hawaii, had been began as my target audience used to be taking a look to stick in the USA on account of the pandemic and I sought after to create content material which may be used briefly and be of objective right through a unusual time on the earth.

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How A lot She’s Incomes

I don’t in reality overview each and every weblog on how a lot it makes since I run 4 (possibly I must!) however in keeping with Mediavine, here’s a breakdown for 2023.

Please take into accout we had been annihilated through the HCU in September 2023 at the Virginia web site and additional through the October 2023 updates at the different websites.

2023 Numbers (thru mid-December)

– Megan & Aram: $239,021.25 (4.6 million periods)
– Subsequent is Hawaii: $42,137.34 (887,567 periods)
– Virginia Shuttle Guidelines: $96,982.84 (1.9 million periods)

In 2022, we made $518,817.86 on Mediavine commercials around the 3 blogs (with the Hawaii web site now not being monetized with commercials all the yr).

In 2022, we didn’t focal point an excessive amount of on associates as advert cash used to be lovely excellent and we took on numerous paid tasks in Armenia. I don’t have the precise quantity, however I consider we made about $150,000 on associates in 2022 (I didn’t use Affilimate all yr, so it’s exhausting to get the quantity).

However, in 2023, we centered so much on associates and feature these days made $270,173.26 in keeping with Affilimate (the associate instrument we like and use). 

Affilimate Screenshot 2023

Affilimate does now not come with a few of our associates, alternatively. It’s lacking our Amazon, Information to Faroe Islands, Welcome Pickups, and Manawa. Jointly we almost definitely made some other $12,000 throughout the ones platforms.

In general, for 2023, our showed source of revenue is $700k+.

Megan Aram 2023 Mediavine screenshot
Megan & Aram Mediavine source of revenue
Next is Hawaii 2023 Mediavine screenshot
Subsequent Is Hawaii Mediavine source of revenue
Virginia Travel Tips 2023 Mediavine screenshot
Virginia Shuttle Mediavine source of revenue

As for site visitors, prior to the updates in September 2023, we did somewhat smartly.

Now I’m ready to look how issues shake out as soon as this settles a bit of. We misplaced about 85% of site visitors at the Virginia web page and an even quantity at the Hawaii web site (which used to be in truth down about 80% prior to HCU on account of the fires on Maui).

I used to paintings round 15 hours an afternoon on my websites a few years again!

Now, I’m slightly running as I’ve spent numerous time at the highway this yr. I’m hoping to get into one position and will paintings a bit of extra constantly once more (even though with out the ones 15-hour days)!

Megan’s Best Advertising Technique

My level is in advertising and marketing and I’ve all the time had a knack for figuring out the purchasing procedure, which I in finding more or less is going over the heads of many different bloggers. I principally simply focal point on myself and what I will give a contribution to the internet and vacationers.

One technique I’ve all the time been lovely fascinated by is figuring out the aim of each submit I put in the market. When figuring out the subject, I do know whether or not it’s going to be occupied with advert cash, associate source of revenue, or just simply there to strengthen different posts at the web site. 

I additionally write an even choice of posts that in reality aren’t nice for monetization however they land customers at the weblog and that’s the objective, before everything.

For associate source of revenue, top-fold bins were tremendous useful for me. I believe I used to be the primary blogger to position those around the weblog again in 2019 and it used to be simply an concept deliberate out through my Get Your Information supervisor and me as we all know that round 80% of folks don’t scroll previous the highest display screen on their mobiles (or desktops).

I’d say those bins have accounted for 70%+ of my associate source of revenue. I’m these days seeking to scale them again a bit of in 2024 and disposing of ones that experience now not transformed as I had was hoping. Underneath is an instance from an editorial about Reykjavik in iciness.

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The Significance of Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization is in reality necessary, however I’ve more or less stepped again from the on-page facet of it this yr.

I run a couple of area of interest blogs and on the ones websites, I write about the whole thing referring to the locations, so losing time curating Search engine optimization-heavy articles simply isn’t the most productive use of my time.

At the major web site (Megan & Aram), I take advantage of it slightly bit extra as this can be a common go back and forth web site. However, I figured that Google is sensible sufficient to appreciate what’s excellent and now not excellent content material without reference to overdoing it on key phrases and semantics.

I assumed that till the Useful Content material Replace in September 2023 – now I’m really not so certain!

I in finding off-page and technical Search engine optimization way more necessary than on-page at this level of my running a blog adventure so I generally tend to focal point extra on that.

Key phrase Analysis

I take advantage of Semrush and can do analysis when important, however I’m at some degree the place I simply write no matter fills in a content material hole at the blogs.

The one factor I in reality use it for is that if I query how an target audience searches for one thing. I can analysis that and write down other permutations of items simply to make sure I’m the usage of the appropriate terminology and words.

My target audience is closely American, however I’ve been out of the USA for see you later now that I every so often disregard how we word issues.

Lenin statue in Yerevan Armenia

I don’t generally tend to take a look at the contest, but if I see sure blogs within the height effects, I every so often shudder as I do know they’re exhausting to overcome (normally as a result of they’re excellent!).

However, I typically nonetheless write the submit as a result of I determine if I will get a small piece of the “pie,” I nonetheless can revel in a bit of of good fortune at the paintings put forth.

Hyperlink Construction

I don’t hyperlink construct a lot. I can every so often cross into blogger teams and put a request for a couple of contemporary swaps on content material, however then I typically disregard about it through day after today and not get again to the submit.

I do a little collabs with different bloggers when becoming, however it’s a long way fewer in this day and age than prior to as I don’t in reality see the worth.

Her Content material Advent Procedure

The primary web site has about 800 reside articles, Hawaii has about 100, and Virginia about 200. The Armenia web site has round 200.

In regards to the content material advent procedure… that is one in every of my weaknesses.

After I’m developing an editorial from scratch by myself, it’s nice. However, we have now a staff of writers and it is going thru a procedure that may be a bit of mentally chaotic for me as I organize all of it.

I’ve a VA developing briefs for the writers, then I assign the content material. As soon as completed, it is going to our editor and content material supervisor, who gets it in WordPress for me and able to move.

I then cross in and upload non-public perception the place I will after which put up. This procedure is a long way too complicated and slightly frankly, isn’t running all that smartly because it has left me with 300+ articles in draft as a result of I will’t get to all of them by myself. So, solving that is some other 2024 objective.

I’m additionally horrible at discovering time to replace guides. My new objective is to concentrate on that extra, as smartly.

As for EEAT, I’ve some writers who’re mavens on sure locations and Aram is a professional on others.

For me, I am getting my EEAT from my travels in puts. I cite my errors and my wins in an overly authentic approach.

Whilst I’m excellent at this on my major web site, I in truth have failed at this at the Virginia web site (and portions of the Hawaii web site). It’s one thing I’m solving now. I want to supply higher perception and guidelines for folks.

Her Electronic mail Lists

That is almost definitely my greatest failure in running a blog.

Whilst I began out as any person who had dependable readers and a neighborhood, I don’t anymore. I more or less sponsored clear of that taste of running a blog (regrettably).

I acquire emails slightly right here and there at the blogs, however I’ve by no means accomplished anything else with that checklist and I’d really feel uncomfortable unexpected readers from 2 years in the past with an electronic mail.

I perceive electronic mail advertising and marketing and feature even accomplished it for manufacturers, so that is lovely inexcusable. In all probability a 2024 objective?

Her Favourite Assets

Ahead of beginning a go back and forth weblog (as a industry), I’d be informed a bit of concerning the buyer before everything.

Outline your supposed target audience, perceive the purchasing procedure, and observe go back and forth developments a bit of. 

Then sign up for some Fb teams and be a sponge… however now not an excessive amount of the place you emulate any person else’s complete industry. Yours can be other, it doesn’t matter what you to begin with assume.

Megan in Greenland

Additionally, take what many of us say with a grain of salt. A large number of folks in those Fb teams fabricate their numbers and studies, sadly.

Then ask a hit folks what errors they made and the way they’d do issues otherwise.

Her Cross-To Equipment

Affilimate is superb for monitoring associate source of revenue and person movements, Semrush for Search engine optimization stuff, and I simply began the usage of RankIQ to replace previous content material and it sort of feels lovely nice thus far.

This is all running a blog stuff… I suppose I don’t in reality use a lot else outdoor of labor!

I take advantage of Asana to regulate my staff.

Her Largest Problem

Truthfully, that may be Google.

I’m enjoying in any person else’s sandbox and I think a bit of insecure about that and don’t find it irresistible. I don’t love social media and am at an age the place I simply really feel a bit of apathetic about Instagram and stuff and I refuse to dive into that to diversify my source of revenue (which I want to do to really feel a bit of extra safe).

I do like TikTok as a person, so perhaps I can give {that a} shot.

I even have struggled as a result of I didn’t construct my staff proper and scaled within the fallacious route.

I’ve numerous folks doing the “identical factor” and now not the issues that in reality want to be accomplished or are useful for me. I’m restructuring in 2024, in consequence.

AI may be leaving me a bit of involved. Whilst I in finding the solutions AI is giving laughable, it additionally leaves me squirmish.

Thankfully, go back and forth is typically now not an “impulse” purchase, so I think there’s nonetheless a spot for go back and forth running a blog.

But if I see one of the stuff in the market that used to be obviously created through AI, I actually really feel dangerous for the traveler who’s the usage of their hard earned cash and holiday time and making plans with data that can fail them in the end.

Her Largest Accomplishment

For me, it’s now not running for someone else. I love to name my very own pictures. If I fail, it’s on me. If I be successful, it’s additionally on me.

And I will have a good time my successes with a travel someplace with out being worried if I exceed the two weeks of holiday I’d have if I labored for any person else.

What She Needs She Knew When She Began

Since I began way back, even prior to Instagram used to be a factor, I don’t assume I will say because the trade has modified such a lot!

However, I do want I had monetized previous. I used to be so hesitant as I felt my passion can be misplaced when the weblog turned into a role.

That by no means in truth took place… If truth be told, it made my go back and forth extra useful and I now step into the ones museums and sights I wouldn’t have stepped foot in prior to as I want to clutch a photograph and enjoy where myself.

Her Major Mistake

Now not development an electronic mail checklist is up there! I’m hoping to rectify this in 2024 (now not protecting my breath despite the fact that, as it is a objective once a year for me).

I additionally want I were extra hands-on with my content material in the previous few years at the Virginia web site. I’m updating it now and notice how horrendous numerous it used to be. Truthfully, I’m ashamed, as a Virginian.

Whilst I believe Google were given their HCU replace very, very fallacious, I believe my Virginia web site being impacted used to be warranted and a excellent kick in my butt to mend my content material technique for long term posts.

Her Recommendation for Different Marketers

Industries alternate. I’ve been thru a minimum of 3 primary shifts in go back and forth running a blog and all 3 times I’ve idea my international used to be going to finish and I’d lose all source of revenue.

Adapt to these adjustments or you are going to be out of a role.

And whilst folks may also be mad at Google or different causes for the ever-changing trade, we need to notice that this occurs in each unmarried trade on the earth… now not simply the internet.

Kyiv Ukraine 2011

You probably have one thing to supply the internet or your possible target audience, hop on board. There’s all the time room for extra when you upload price. 

Pageant assists in keeping me on my feet and if folks click on on a weblog that isn’t mine, a minimum of they clicked a weblog and now not a Reddit discussion board or Tripadvisor web page, which means running a blog nonetheless serves its objective and I will stick round slightly longer.

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