With the summer winding down and my focus on closing out a project I was working on in Calgary, it was good to see that the income and traffic for September was still somewhat consistent.  This was very much a month of going through the motions.  Duck down below to find out how I did!


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

September was a successful month in that I was seeing continued success on the advertising front.  Turning on almost every single lever possible with Monumetric, I was driving in more revenue here than ever before.  I knew this was a double edged sword though.

While advertisers were spending a ton of money on digital and I was seeing the output of that, the one thing that always killed me was just how aggressive the ads were on my site.  So while I was doing well here, I knew that with my upcoming site refresh that I would have to clean up my act and make Going Awesome Places easier to navigate and less ad happy.

September 2016

PROFIT

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

Income

  • Social Campaign:  $500
  • Advertising:  $496.17
    • Monumetric – $425.33
    • Google AdSense – $70.84
  • Sponsored Post – $250
  • Affiliate – $249.53
  • Freelance Writing – $148
  • Sponsored Link – $34

Total income:  $1,677.70

Expenses

Total expenses: $86.96

Total profit: $1,590.74

TRAFFIC

Traffic Overview

Going Awesome Places

Oh the bleeding out in traffic continued in September.  I wouldn’t quite say that it was freefall panic mode for me but I knew that the decline was something that I had to address soon.

Thing is, it wasn’t like I wasn’t producing new content at this time.  I published 7 posts throughout the month which is right on par with my 2 post a week strategy.

The hard part about being part-time on it is that you can only focus on one thing at a time.  If content is where you focus on, then that means you’re not growth hacking.

  • Sessions: -1,866
  • User:  -1,910
  • Pageviews:  -3,114

Travel Blog Breakthrough

Nothing much new here other than the fact that the levels seem relatively consistent.  Some months go up by a few hundred and other months it dips down a few hundred.

  • Sessions: -376
  • User:  -275
  • Pageviews: -558


The below concentrates on stats for Going Awesome Places.

Top 10 Traffic Sources

Again, not too much changes here month to month.  Where some of the dip can be attributed to is in Pinterest.  BoardBooster continues to roll on and do it’s thing without my input which is why I keep getting traffic through Pinterest but I know in the future I need to spend more time here.

Another area I wanted to take look at is just how different these channels differ.  Let’s look at Avg. Session Duration which is the last column.  It is very interesting to see that Yahoo and wowtravel.me traffic spend the most time on site whereas the quality of Pinterest and Twitter referral traffic is quite low.  These users are typically those that will accidentally click on something and close out right away or do a quick scan before bouncing.  The surprise here is Yahoo and while the volume isn’t quite there when compared to Google, these users spend a good 25 seconds longer on the site.

Top 10 Pages

For this month, why don’t we look at bounce rates (second last column).  It’s no surprise that the home page (/) has the smallest bounce rate at 78.22% because most will end up clicking on something to get to an article.  Now if we look at all the mobile links (hildnty), you’ll see those have probably the highest bounce rates.  This may be because of the mobile friendliness (or lack thereof) of the pages or really the difference in behaviour in mobile where the tendency is to quick scan and close.  Aside from the home page, I’d say that the Top 20 HK Restaurant Eat List has the best bounce rate.  It’s a massively long post but users just tend to browse to other pages of the site.

Where Are These Readers Coming From?

Being Canadian, and writing my fair share of home town content, you’d think I get a ton of traffic from Canada.  On the contrary, the US is just such a dominant force when it comes to people on the web searching for travel content.  It’s an undeniable truth that for most, United States is a market that you can’t ignore and you have to almost cater to.

After the US, it’s always a toss up of countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada and the Philippines.  I’ve always chalked this up to my large amounts of Asia related content.  I think it’s funny that such a small country such as Singapore can generate this much traffic.  I believe this comes from just how well-travelled/travel-hungry they are.

Goals here?  I’d love to boost the traffic that comes through from my own country and that may just have to be around content strategy and writing more local related content that do well on search.

SO WHAT?

My random tidbits of gibberish and hopefully helpful information.

What Do You Want To Learn?

Enough of me talking on here.  I want to hear more from YOU.  Where are you in your stage of blogging?  What are you struggling with?  When it comes to income, how has it worked for you so far?  What about for traffic?

Tell me about your successes and failures.

Drop a comment below and I’ll be able to tailor these reports closer to what you actually want to learn about!

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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