The big thing I’ve been talking about for the whole year so far has been the site redesign.  For months there wasn’t any traction but September and October was when things ramped up.  More on that next month.  This month we’ll focus a bit more on how to put together a proposal for a client and bring big value to prove your worth as travel blogger.


Travel Blog Breakthrough really started because one day I had the crazy idea to take all the things I had learned about travel blogging up to that point and share it in the form of blog posts.  This turned into the Travel Blogger’s Toolkit series on Going Awesome Places.

Realizing that this was becoming bigger than what made sense for a regular travel blog, I took the leap of faith and decided to start another blog – this one you’re reading.  I wanted to do more than just toolkit blog posts though and that’s how the podcast started, and these income/traffic reports started.

I may be a bit naive here but one of the frustrating parts about travel blogging is that other bloggers tend to be so guarded with their information, instead of sharing and helping.  My philosophy has always been that we’re all in this together.  The better we can all become as bloggers, the stronger our voice becomes which then increases the amount of opportunities that come for us as a community.  Community is the operative word here.

The first report was all the way back to October 2014 and here’s a quote that I think will resonate with a lot of you.

Above all else, patience has really been the key.  You have to understand that things don’t just happen overnight.  As you’ll see below, it’s taken quite the long time to get my blog up to where it is today.  I know it still has a long way to go to stand shoulder to shoulder with the other titans of travel blogging but it’s all part of the journey.

I think the biggest thing that keeps these income and traffic reports going is the fact that the path to success is really a journey.  I for one am not one of the upper echelon bloggers.  In fact, I have to say that I still suck at A LOT of things.  The key at the end of the day is that these monthly reports are a perfect way to reflect on how to learn, iterate and continuing to do what you love.

As much as these are good ways for me to keep track of my own progress, I honestly do it for you guys.

  1. Because the goal of taking your blog to the next level and making money of it is not as crazy you think.
  2. Because if you’re feeling down and thinking “man this is friggin’ hard!”….well yes it is but you’re not alone. 🙂
  3. And really at the end of the day, it’s about generating conversation and ideas to ultimately hit those elusive breakthrough moments we’re all looking for.

BY THE NUMBERS

Big months in income always coincide to when you finally get paid which in our world doesn’t always happen right away.  You’ll complete client work one month and won’t get paid until 2-4 months later.  It’s kind of the way things go but you have to keep track of it and follow up if you don’t get paid.

October was a month where affiliate marketing continued to stay strong and display advertising as well.  I’ll talk a bit more about where a big part of the “Sponsored Campaign” work below so keep on reading!

October 2016

PROFIT

Note that I’ve converted all numbers into USD just to make it easy. 

Income

  • Sponsored Campaign:  $2,527.04
  • Advertising:  $430.94
    • Monumetric – $384.57
    • Google AdSense – $46.37
  • Affiliate – $244.84
  • Social Campaign – $100
  • Freelance Writing – $96
  • Sponsored Link – $34

Total income:  $3,432.82

Expenses

Total expenses: $163.96

Total profit: $3,268.86

TRAFFIC

Traffic Overview

Going Awesome Places

I’d call this a pretty stable month.  All this of course changes next month with the big launch.  The key to remember here is that I’m working with an average 1,200 sessions a day and the goal is to increase this.

  • Sessions: -101
  • User:  +280
  • Pageviews:  +2,720

Travel Blog Breakthrough

Similar to Going Awesome Places, not to much of a change here.  Keeping these here for posterity.

  • Sessions: -194
  • User:  -157
  • Pageviews: -146


The below concentrates on stats for Going Awesome Places.

Top 10 Traffic Sources

I may have mentioned this before but I think it’s quite interesting to see how dramatically different the landscape is in 2016 over previous years.  Sure my numbers are up especially around organic but look at how Pinterest has completely taken over and ReviveOldPost nullified due to the need to reduce the amount of auto-tweeting and the diminishing of the social networks of Facebook and Twitter.  On the other side, it’s interesting to see that Yahoo and Bing have climbed up so you want to make sure your site is set up for these smaller search engines to crawl your blog.

2014-Dececember-Google Analytics-Traffic-Sources

From December 2014

Top 10 Pages

In October, I turned off The Blogger Network’s mobile web solution, Flight, so you’ll notice that all references to hildnty are gone (essentially mobile redirects).

Does Age Matter?

Yes and no.  In the past I haven’t paid too much attention to the age demographic of my readers but it’s interesting to look at once in awhile.

With Google Analytics’ (GA) recent updates, they’ve made it super easy to slice your data into things like demographics and your readers.  In the past I had to do a convoluted process involving Quantcast but no longer thanks to GA.

The clear takeaway from these numbers is that my main age group is 25-34 which is just about where I thought I’d be followed by 18-24 and 35-44.  From here as you look at the Behavior columns, it’s interesting to note that the 35-44 group looks more engaged with smaller bounce rate, more pages/session and longer session times.

So how does this matter?

Somewhere that you’ll need to enter in demographic information is when you create ads or sponsored posts.  I’ve always just kind of guessed what age group to target but with information like this and behaviour data behind it, you can make better decisions.  For targeting, I’d start with 18-44 for a large range but if you’re looking for a smaller range and higher engagement I’d bring that to 25-44.

 

SO WHAT?

My random tidbits of gibberish and hopefully helpful information.

Putting Together A Proposal

A big chunk of October’s campaign income came from an unexpected income from Salkantay Trekking after they saw my work in the Inca Trail Guide.  We hopped on a Skype call and talked about how we could work together and eventually put together a proposal that included what I’d be able to offer this company in exchange for compensation.

The below is a sample proposal document I put together for all my clients where I have the opportunity to dictate the terms.  It’s your opportunity to flex your professionalism, experience, and organization.  This is your chance to list out the work you’re willing to do based on your strengths, what makes sense for the brand’s objectives, and your strengths.

The hardest part of all this is figuring out how much to charge.  There’s two parts to this.  1) Have an idea of how much you charge for each line item based on what the market is charging and 2) Know your client and your gut feel of how much budget they have.  Sometimes you can even ask straight up what their budget is to get an idea of what you have to work with.  That’s a much bigger discussion for another post but hopefully this gives you something to work off of.

My mentality has always been: “The worst they can say is no”.

Enabling Site Search Analytics on Google Analytics

Now I didn’t know this and you might not either but by default, GA doesn’t have site search enabled.

What is site search?  Almost every single blog has a search bar built-in.  This is a feature that allows your readers to search your entire site for content that they’re interested in.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what people type in there?  That’s what this is for.

All you have to do is follow the screenshot below to turn it on.   When you open up GA, go to your settings and look underneath the column “VIEW”.  Once you’re in “View Settings” you’ll be able to see this page.  The only thing you need to know is how your site’s URL looks after doing a search.  For my blog, search results look like:

http://goingawesomeplaces.com/?s=iceland

The s is the query parameter in my case and that’s what you put in that field.  That’s it!

Want To See More From Travel Blog Breakthrough?

If you’ve found TBB hugely valuable over this past year and want to show your support, I’ve created a Patreon page where you’re able to show you love for as little as $1.

Of course, I wouldn’t expect you to do so without getting anything in return and so you’ll find several tier levels similar to Kickstarter where you can basically pick a package to get even MORE out of Travel Blog Breakthrough.  I’m committing to amp it up and for those that are truly committed to taking your travel blog to the next level, there are now ways for you to get access more of me.

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Will Tang

I'm the writer behind Going Awesome Places and through its growth, I've learned a heck of a lot from trial and error. I have a passion for helping others succeed and through TBB my hope is to empower you with what works (and what doesn't) so you know exactly how you can take your blog to the next level.

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