43

Should You Start Your Own Points Blog?

A new points blogger is born every week. They all give more or less the same response about why they started a blog: “I wanted to share this hobby with my family and friends,” “I’d like to share my obsession with others so they can travel free,” etc. The question is: Is it necessary for you to start you own points blog? With so many bloggers giving the same response and writing about the same topics (I admit, I’ve fallen into that bucket from time to time), this is a legitimate question to ask.

If you’re thinking about starting your own points or travel blog, here are a few questions to consider:

1. Why do you want to start a blog? You can easily point your friends and family members to one of the veteran points and miles blogs to learn about this hobby. After all, that is how you learned about the points and miles game, so why not direct them to the same resources that were helpful to you?

If it’s affiliate revenue you’re after, keep in mind that the banks are tightening the noose on bloggers. Just this past year alone, Chase dropped some major bloggers from its affiliate network. Other banks may decide to follow suit. Aside from the imminent danger of being dropped for no reason at all, the banks may decide you’re not producing enough leads for them, or they may decide not to accept you as an affiliate at all because your traffic metrics aren’t up there with some of their other affiliates.

After I was dropped from Chase’s affiliate program (in the middle of a trial period), I kept blogging. Personally, I find it rewarding. I don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to it, but when I’m able to post something and people respond to it (both positively and negatively), I feel a sense of accomplishment. There is something inherently satisfying about producing content that people respond to.

2. What are you offering that is different? It’s important to determine your niche. Rick writes about traveling cheap, Lucky writes about First Class travel, Mommy Points writes about family travel, and Rene focuses on Delta Skymiles. What differentiates your blog from the rest of the pack?

3. Do you have time to write a blog? Sure, Gary makes it seem easy when he posts half a dozen times a day despite working a full time job and running a side business. But blogging requires alot of time – not just for writing posts, but generating ideas for new posts. Those of you who subscribe to or visit my blog daily can attest that there are sometimes long stretches of time between new posts. This is either because I have nothing to write about or because I simply can’t find the time. There is a 3-page document on my computer with ideas for posts. The reason they haven’t made it onto this blog yet is because finding the time to flesh these ideas out into content that is interesting to readers can be challenging.

4. Do you have thick skin? As you scroll down to the comment section of your favorite blogs, you’ll notice among the fanfare there are often disparaging comments. Some of them are legitimate criticisms, while others are vicious and completely out of line. Is your heart going to drop down to your stomach any time you read one of these comments? What if you get hateful email messages from internet trolls who simply don’t like you or are jealous of your platform? If you are remotely human, these things are going to bother you, but you need to bounce back quickly and recognize that these attacks are not personal. Moreover, if you met these people in person, they might be very pleasant and even compliment your work. These attacks are more a reflection of that person’s poor character than your own. The question is, can you handle it?

5. Do you have other options? You can start off asking some of your favorite bloggers if they are open to accepting guest posts. I can attest that it’s tough to consistently produce new content, and based on the occasional hiatus on some of my favorite blogs, I suspect others are having the same problem. If some of my readers had an interesting post they wanted to share, I’d be open to putting it on my blog. It never hurts to ask. This is a great way to get your feet wet, evaluate the response you get from readers, and decide whether you want to do this on a regular basis.

Have you thought about starting your own points and miles blog? What are some of your reasons or concerns?

Subscribe via email for more points, miles and free travel

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Ariana Arghandewal

43 Comments

  1. I have been thinking of starting a travel blog. Not because i think i can make a lot of money on affiliate links ( my credit stinks, how could i advise on the best credit card) but, because i think i can offer something different.

    It seems so many blogs talk about the same airline alliance or same hotel chain. I’m a total airline miles whore but i pick hotels based off price and convenience and am not captive to any chain.

    Picking a name for a blog is really tough. I thought about FlyinFool and reserved the web address, but, i mean come on, how is anyone going to take me seriously with fool in the name? ADD/ADHD and procrastination don’t help wither. I’ve been back from Singapore for a month and can barely get past the first few sets of photos for a trip report. Now nasty comments i can deal with. I get enough hate mail as it is due to my commentary on Facebook travel pages.

    • @ CDKing, lmao! I kind of like FlyinFool. Combined with your sense of humor, it could work. Once you get started on your report, you’ll gain momentum. The important thing is to start.

    • The guys from The Motely Fool might disagree with you that the name is not taken seriously. You could always blog on Alaska Airlines – no one is doing that to my knowledge.

    • I also like the name FlyinFool. I wouldn’t worry much about having fool in the title. It didn’t hurt the Gardner brothers when they started The Motley Fool.

    • @ TBB, not trying to scare them off just giving them something to think about. 🙂

        • The way I see it, they’re giving you new material. Speaking of which, when is the “worst of” section coming back?

        • I just got me one of these new fangled computers and learned how to cut and paste.So I think i’m ready to start my own points/miles bog, don’t you think?

          • are you doing this to help others fly for free? Hell No, jus want some dough, gotta go.

          • AND I PROMISE NO PICTURES OF HOTEL TOILETS ON MY SITE

  2. Everyone should start their own blog. Its the future, so that you can both follow your passion, and control your own words. Instead of posting comments on other peeps blogs, or interest boards, pound out your own entry and link back to whatever ‘original’ content you are responding to. Anyone doing it for monetary consideration deserves the disappointment that’s coming to them.

  3. I used to have a personal blog before, mostly for personal writing and a public diary of sorts. I kept it up for a while, maybe 2 years (and some friends and family follow it), but then I just didn’t have the time and energy to do it. I thought about starting a travel blog, but the market is too saturated – I think, and a lot of the same things are already covered. It made no sense even though I thought it could be potentially generate income through affiliate links as a side hobby. Alas, I determine that the rewards is not worth the time it would take the start, invest, and maintain a blog, as I have too many other things to do and explore. I decided I’m just better off enjoying the useful blogs that already exists. 🙂

  4. Great post – thank you. I just recently started getting heavily into points, miles and credit cards and I found the universe of what was available out there to be overwhelming, especially when factoring in all the great opinions I find on all the travel blogs.

    I actually just started my own blog about 15 days ago. The reason why I started it was to catalogue my own thoughts – since everything was just so overwhelming I felt the need to write stuff down, and as long as I am going to do the work I may as well make it available to everyone.

    I do agree with you though – it does consume a lot of your time, and Gary makes it seem incredibly easy. 😉

  5. I plan on creating a blog that has a unique niche, and hopefully will get it up and running by the end of the month. Expect fresh content, and a blog that has content/posts to keep readers returning. 🙂

  6. I have had a cheapie Go-Daddy based website and forum for birding and eco-tourism since 2008. I have always been motivated by wanting to preserve wild birds and discourage trapping and poaching by getting more people interested in eco-tourism. A blog was the natural offshoot of my original site, I didn’t know it was so easy to work with WordPress or I would have done it ages ago. Go-Daddy sites are a PITA to maintain. I use miles and points to get there and get free hotels at gateway cities and small eco-lodges to see the birds. I know I won’t make anything on affiliate links but hopefully I will help save some wild birds! I have a very distinct niche and don’t write for newbies wanting free trips to Hawaii and Europe; but people already “in the game” and want creative ways to use their miles and bird lovers who can’t afford to pay for tickets to the exotic places and want to get some easy miles to get to birding destinations.

    • @ Miles To the Wild, very noble cause. You left out your site link, so I’m adding it in.

      • Thanks PointChaser. There’s been controversy over putting links on other blogs so I wasn’t sure if I should link it.

        • You absolutely should. There’s nothing wrong with promoting your site, especially when its related to the topic you’re commenting on.

  7. Well said. The other big challenge is writing for all. If you write to “101” then some are upset you focus to much on the new. If you go too far in to “201” info then then new yell how about you make this so hard to understand. It takes more time than most will ever know to do what we do. Thanks! – René

    • Spot on! I am actually wondering if I should write some 101 stuff for someone who has just started, but I would hate to rehash something that is already so well engrained in my mind. Besides, I don’t exactly have a loyal reader base for now anyway 😉

    • @ DeltaPoints, agreed. I started with alot of beginner’s stuff, but now I’m always wondering “will this seem elementary to my readers?” It’s definitely a balancing act.

  8. My new blog — Fishing4Deals.com — has been running for exactly one month. The focus is: travel cheap, save money, have fun. I plan to run a series of posts about Priceline bidding strategies for various historic hotels or destinations. My notion is “travel for the rest of us.” I use Priceline and miles to afford visits to family. Heck, I don’t even know where the Maldives is. But I can offer perspective on how the travel industry views loyalty programs and hints on quirky attractions. It is definitely a slog to attract readers. I like your suggestion about guest posts as a way to gauge interest.

    • @ Fishing4Deals, that would be a good topic to cover. Look forward to reading it!

  9. A lot of good thoughts here. The reason I started my website, Street Smart Traveler, was actually to help me keep track of all these frequent flyer blogs. My bookmarks and RSS reader were out of control. Ha ha.

    I just wanted a simple website to save, search, and share my favorite articles about frequent flyer miles. Since I’ve got some web design skills, I built a website to do those things. If other people find the website useful, that’s great too.

    You’re definitely right about having a thick skin. I once left a comment on a blog (not PointChaser, someone else’s). While the comment was meant as praise, it was misunderstood by other readers as an insult, and they flamed me. I e-mailed the blogger to clarify. He graciously accepted my apology and said no harm done; he recognized that my comment was a compliment.

    What you said about addressing readers with different levels of experience was important. I’d say the front page of my website is more aimed at intermediate-level readers who want to keep up with news. They don’t need background info on how to apply new techniques. For example, they don’t need step-by-step instructions on manufactured spend; just let them know what new prepaid debit card is working well, and they’re off.

    However, in my videos I’m gearing more toward beginners since they’re coming in via YouTube. Like you said, you can’t control who stumbles onto your blog, so sometimes people will get annoyed if something is too advanced or too basic for them. That can’t be helped, even if you put a big, flashing tagline on your blog saying, “This is for beginners / This is for experts.” 🙂

  10. “Moreover, if you met these people in person, they might be very pleasant and even compliment your work. These attacks are more a reflection of that person’s poor character than your own. ”

    Yet another guy with a snide remark and then “Can we not get along” spiel to sneak the acerbity in. Poor character is when someone fakes cards to cut through airport security lines and then blogs about it for the whole world to do a similar douchebaggery. Apparently “disclosing” makes link farming all genuine because you know readers need to be “educated for themselves” to not click them if they don’t want to. Just lay down the mines and leave it on others to dodge them.

    This is why I (and I bet 100s of others) like George’s blog. Call it like we see it with no hidden conflicts of interest clogging articulation of thoughts.

    The attempt to judge character appeared to be a narrow jaundiced viewpoint and was the only disappointment from this otherwise good article.

  11. I really wish someone would do some research/trip reports on Satena and ADA in Colombia. No one needs to see another review of Lufthansa First. At this point, it’s done. On the other hand, there are some exciting and interesting destinations that can only be reached flying some airlines that would make the avgeeks geek out.

    Number 2 is paramount.

    • @ harvson3, I’m all for off-the-beaten-path reviews. If you want to write one, I’m open to putting it on this blog.

  12. I just like writing about the Caribbean and posting pictures of the beach 🙂

    And I like to provide strategies so everyone can do the same. It’s quite fun 🙂

  13. Very good points! I started mine because I have learned much (and still learning!) in trying to help others and because there are a lot of runners that travel all the time at great expense. To try and help them lower or eliminate the high costs is a great feeling. However, it is difficult when you have a niche blog because you do get traffic and questions that are outside of your area of focus. Yes, I can direct them to one of the fine veterans (and I do) but they are reading and following me for a reason so I try to have some general material as well so that (hopefully) anyone can find something useful.

  14. I am starting a new blog shortly, called THE HORNEY TRAVELER. It is about finding broads abroad…….. My first piece which I am writing right now, is about hooking up with foriegn chicks who don’t speak a lick of English, only the language of love. It’s going to be a very touching piece, keep your eyes open for THE HORNEY TRAVELER, coming soon to a computer screen near you.

  15. Hi, Ariana! Just came across this post. I’m guessing, the follow-up was inspired by all of the drama I managed to create! 🙂 I think this is an excellent post and a must read for anyone, thinking about travel blogging. So many, many, many blogs ! I actually asked myself all of these questions. And I’m still not sure, if I can add anything worthwhile and unique, even though I’m already blogging! Glad I found your site. You are a true gem in this hobby!

Leave a Comment