It’s kind of how life is for a blogger in the summer. Most of the travel opportunities come in the summer and when that happens you end up having to play a lot of catch up after trips. May was just one of those lulls that you hit as a blogger when you hit the road and don’t get to build on leads and opportunities. This month however, things picked up again thanks to sponsored posts and social campaigns.
INCOMEHere’s a breakdown of how the blogs did in the month of June.
Note that I’ve converted all numbers into USD just to make it easy. For each line also note the figures in parentheses which represent the change from this month to the previous. Keep in mind that even though something might show up as *NEW*, it may be an income stream I’ve had in the past.
THOUGHTS ON INCOME
New work started coming in after a quiet May. The thing with blogging is that you’re never down and out. You just have to keep doing your thing, write kick-ass content, make new connections and good news will come.
The following are my current ad networks ordered by the income they drove in.
#1 The Blogger Network
The Blogger Network (TBN) is king again! Despite lower filled impressions and page views, I was able to make more than the previous month thanks to improving eCPM.
In other big news, towards the end of June, I worked with the TBN team to get my mobile experience up and running using their new beta called Flight. Essentially, I’m serving up my Going Awesome Places mobile pages through TBN’s Flight which is mobile optimized, sleek, easy to navigate and also easier to monetize. The issue with most responsive layouts in WordPress is that they essentially strip out all the ads. When you look at AdSense stats by device, you’ll see that nothing gets served on mobile so revenue opportunities are lost. Flight is all about reclaiming those lost opportunities and improving the mobile experience as a whole.
#2 Google AdSense
Some of you have asked me why I continue to use Google AdSense. Maybe I am misinformed but I feel that I’m still getting decent return on it since there is pay tied to CPC. That means that I get paid when someone clicks on an ad unit. Since I don’t bring in massive amounts of traffic like how other big blogs do, it’s hard to rely on impressions. Instead, if I can get $1-5 per click, I can complement the revenue I’m making via impressions.
No real surprises here. My ad units above article continue to do very well compared to the sidebar. An interesting question to ask is whether it’s worth considering eliminating sidebar ads completely and only have in-article ads (above, in-line and below).
I don’t know how I didn’t see the pie-chart option earlier! This makes it so much easier to read right? From here you’ll see that text and rich media ads get served up the most as Google has figured out what works best based on my placements.
As I mentioned above, the key thing to grasp here is that all my ad revenue comes from desktop just because my mobile layout drops all ad units. The intent with TBN’s Flight is to be able to to strategically place ads without disrupting the reading experience on all mobile devices.
This one is just for fun. I’m surprised to see India up there but the rest is in line with my traffic by geography.
Yes Sovrn/Meridian finally updated their platform to be able to pull reports on custom dates!!!
This is the first time in awhile where this wasn’t last place but that isn’t saying much. Whenever I get a chance to, I’m going to pull out these placements. Although to be honest, I’m probably going to time this with the site refresh which is going to happen sometime this fall.
If you look at the dashboard below, you’ll see a complete drop on July 9. I really can’t explain it other than their network going kaput. At first I was worried it was related to site downtime I didn’t know about but I don’t see anything in my Google Analytics.
Spoutable’s been a big point of contention on the blog just because it does get intrusive as a full page takeover. The way it gets triggered is when you start moving the mouse towards the top right corner (exit intent). However, readers have mentioned to me that it was being triggered way too easily. I took that advice and reached out to Spoutable to make adjustments to the algorithm. I also asked them to add a limit to only show the ad unit once every 24 hours at most.
June’s performance drop is definitely related to some of these changes but I know Spoutable is also tweaking eCPM optimization on their end.
I’ll definitely have to keep my eye on this for the upcoming month. If the user experience continues to be a problem, I will also have to think about removing this network.
Affiliates can be very lucrative but takes effort to build into your blog writing strategy in terms of incorporating links and driving the type of content you write.
While I have put more thought into affiliates this year since Affiliate Summit, there’s still a lot more work to be done. For instance, I’d love to make it easier for my readers to make bookings from the blog. I would also love to write more pieces down the road that focus more on product or hotel reviews.
I’m back in business with CopyPress. While the rate I get paid at isn’t the greatest, it’s nice to be able to bring in consistent income by writing 2-4 pieces for them monthly.
Whether it’s sponsored posts or social campaigns, this side of the business is hands down the most lucrative and a lot of times the most fun to be involved in. Through networking such as my involvement in Travel Massive and using platforms like IZEA, brands have been approaching me about working with them on marketing campaigns. It’s definitely gratifying to receive the recognition that your own blog is a worthwhile means to get the message out.
TRAFFICHere’s a look at my traffic numbers from June.
Going Awesome Places
Stagnant for the most part with a minor decline. There was only one day that broke the 1,000 session mark. That’s a problem and I’m hoping to change that real soon. I’ll tell you when I figure out how 😉
- Sessions (-158)
- Pageviews (-739)
- Bounce rate (+1.42%)
Travel Blog Breakthrough
I continue to see growth in TBB is what continues to push me to build it further. The next step is to figure out a way to grow it exponentially. Social media presence is something that has been lacking so I’ll be looking into that the next couple of months.
- Sessions (+552)
- Users (+516)
- Pageviews (+93)
- Bounce rate (+7.80%)
TOP 10 TRAFFIC SOURCES
This is a part of the analytics that I always keep a close eye on because diversifying traffic away from just relying on Google is so important in order to grow.
- Pinterest is on the rise again! While there was a dip in organic traffic, Pinterest more than made up for it.
- The numbers are strikingly static across the board for all the other traffic sources.
TOP 10 KEYWORDS
Some observations about search queries for May:
- As another reader mentioned, perhaps I should seriously consider doing a top Airbnb list for major cities because clearly my Copenhagen one is doing well. Definitely didn’t expect that but in hindsight it makes sense.
- People are actually searching “going awesome places”. That’s gotta mean something right?
THE TBB PODCAST
I haven’t recorded a podcast in awhile and I know you’ve all been waiting. I have a few interviews lined up but I’m hungry for more guests! If you’d like to be on the show let me know!
I also have a HUGE favor to ask of you guys. If you haven’t yet, could you head over to iTunes and leave a review on the Travel Blog Breakthrough podcast? Still don’t quite have enough for reviews to show up but I am oh so close!
About the course: I go in depth into the 10 tools that all of you bloggers need to know about. I introduce the tool, talk about why it’s awesome and then show you how to set it up and use it as I would.
For a limited time, I’m offering the course for $15 to all of you super fans. Use code TBBUDEMYJUNE. There are only 10 codes and it expires August 20, 2015.
I’m also giving away this course for FREE for the first 5 readers that e-mail me….and GO!
WHAT’S NEXTJuly is going to be an interesting month to recap just because there was a massive shift from writing to video for Competitours. I’ve been working insanely hard on video in 2015 and the hope is that there’ll be big gains down the road.
As I head into August, I’m hoping to catch up on a lot of writing and prep for the last big trip of the year in September – Peru.
3 key takeaways from June
I always get questions about what’s the key to making money blogging and I’ve boiled it down to three things.
- Be a good travel blogging citizen – The more good karma you spread around by sharing fellow blogger’s people’s work and helping others, the more others will be willing share opportunities with you.
- Consistently network – You really don’t have to be a blogging superstar to get on press trips and be approached for sponsorships. If you make the right connections, make a good first impression and have a solid fit, that’s all it takes. So put yourself in a position to network and keep doing it.
- Focus on blogging and not making money – As much as I talk about strategizing different ways to make money, the effort you put into making your blog better and more valuable is what you really should be focusing on. Because at the end of the day, the blog is the tangible asset that makes what you have monetizable (Is that even a word? It is now.)