This article was originally published on https://www.google.com/ads/publisher/stories/honeymoon_goals/.
When Jim Campbell started planning his honeymoon, he couldn’t find a website dedicated exclusively to the art of the post-wedding vacation. So he did what any marketer and website developer would do: build his own.
“I thought, if two million people get married in America each year and they spend an average of $6,500, it’s a multi billion dollar industry that is relatively underserved. There are dozens of popular wedding-specific websites, but very few dedicated to honeymoons,” he says.
He first wrote posts and then hired subject matter experts in the travel and wedding industries to contribute, creating original content on his site, Honeymoon Goals, that was dedicated to honing in on the tips and tricks of honeymoon planning.
Navigating the pandemic
Though he created Honeymoon Goals four months before the global travel lockdowns that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, he didn’t give up. “Building a travel site in the pandemic was tough, but it was a side job and I kept plugging away.”
Since then, the site has grown dramatically. Over the past three years, Honeymoon Goals has helped over one million people plan their honeymoons by discovering top honeymoon destinations and learning about all the steps that go into planning a successful getaway.
“There are so many booking and wedding sites out there,” Jim says. “And what I’m trying to build is something that fills the gap that I experienced. If someone looks up a honeymoon destination they should be able to see what are the top recommended hotels in that destination and receive expert advice from a honeymoon specialist on that destination.”
With travel restrictions gone and people excited to start planning again, Jim has seen his website grow. “It went from slowly growing to taking off once people started traveling internationally again. Now that the website has a larger user base, I’ve been able to expand on the content that people are most interested in, like all-inclusives.”
“Ads have allowed me to focus less on the ups and downs of the travel industry and more on creating the best content for honeymooners to help them plan the best trip of their lives.”
Honeymoon Goals takes off for post-wedding destination seekers
With the site relying on commissions for booked travel with travel partners, Jim learned during the pandemic that the bookings – and revenue – could fluctuate dramatically. The experience prompted him to look into ads while continuing to produce content.
He started with AdSense, and loved it. “I was blown away by how seamless and easy it was to use,” he says. “With one line of code I was able to select where on my site to put ads and which types of ads to display, it was a great experience.”
The ad revenue has been a game changer for his business especially since partnering with Mediavine, a Google Certified Publishing Partner, who helped him boost his revenue by 21% in the first month. And he’s seen his site takeoff, providing him with baseline income that was fundamental for him to continue to grow the website.
“Ads have allowed me to focus less on the ups and downs of the travel industry and more on creating the best content for honeymooners to help them plan the best trip of their lives,” he says. “It’s allowed me to keep the site running without being reliant on the volatile nature of the travel business.”
Expanding into other wedding content
Though Jim is the only full-time employee, he has a team of six contractors, including writers and a social media manager to keep the site running smoothly. He and his team are building Honeymoon Goals out to be a leading website to plan and book your honeymoon and expanding into new areas. “Honeymoons are just a step in a long series of very important life events,” Jim says. “I decided to build out additional websites to provide the same guidance that HoneymoonGoals.com provides honeymooners. RingGoals.com helps men navigate possibly the craziest purchasing decision of their life, buying an engagement ring. WeddingGoals.com is a wedding website that piggybacks off of Honeymoon Goals’ partnerships and primarily helps people plan destination weddings. My goal with this suite of ‘Goals’ websites is to help people navigate a transformational period in their life with the best advice possible.”
As for his own honeymoon journey, Jim says he still feels like he’s on his honeymoon. He’s also planning a second honeymoon himself after his first one was cut short thanks to the pandemic. “Luckily,” he says, “I know a lot of good places to go!”