My oh my it’s been almost 6 months since I’ve been able to finally chain myself to a desk and crank out new income and traffic reports. Travel Blog Breakthrough has totally been put on the back burner and I’m so sorry! Sadly, time has been pretty limited through most of 2016 and when push came to shove, I had to focus more on the opportunities that came through to Going Awesome Places. The most important thing is that I’m BACK! While I could cop out and just lump everything together to close out 2016, I’m going to go through each month to give you a better sense of how the year played out for me. So here goes…let’s turn on the time machine and jump back to July 2016. *crank switch*
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.
- Because the goal of taking your blog to the next level and making money of it is not as crazy you think.
- Because if you’re feeling down and thinking “man this is friggin’ hard!”….well yes it is but you’re not alone. 🙂
- 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
Writing these income reports is my way of doing accounting. I have a nifty Excel spreadsheet to keep track of everything. As you grow, you’ll want to consider tracking things yourself as well.
Overall, I’d say that I was pretty happy with my July results. The biggest change this month was in how much affiliates had grown. A year ago, I was pulling in on average $50 in affiliate revenue. The reason for this sudden growth is really a credit to Affiliate Window. They are hands down the best affiliate network I’ve worked with so far when it comes to travel (I review it here).
The truth is that I get a referral fee for every sign up that I get through readers of Travel Blog Breakthrough. What I’ve learned about affiliate marketing is that success doesn’t hinge on some crazy technological implementation where you try to get people to click on your links. Instead, it’s more about a purposeful mindset to incorporate affiliate links naturally throughout your writing. Your hit rate is going to be small but if you have good content and people want to learn more (in my case, learn how to make money blogging), you’ll slowly start driving incremental revenue.
Note that I’ve converted all numbers into USD just to make it easy.
- Twitter Chat: $550
- Affiliate: $467.73
- Advertising: $213.24
- Monumetric – $141.17
- Google AdSense – $72.07
- Mentorship – $181.62
- Sponsored Link – $34
Total income: $1446.59
- Hosting – $57.34
- Tools (BoardBooster, AWeber, FMTC) – $33.96
- Podcasting – $15
- Mentoring (Sohelpful.me) – $9
Total expenses: $115.30
Total profit: $1,331.29
Going Awesome Places
The steady decline continues. While certainly the only factor, I felt that my lack of focus on producing more content and growing other channels of traffic resulted in the slow decrease in traffic. June saw a dip of 2,261 sessions and this only propagate into July. A concern? Yes but in my situation there wasn’t much I could do other than to continue to create new content at a level I could sustain. The silver lining here is that pageviews continued to grow.
- Sessions: -1,242
- User: -908
- Pageviews: +2,093
Travel Blog Breakthrough
Now this is an interesting case study on what happens to a blog when you fully neglect it. With littler to no activity on any front (content or social), I was able to maintain a relatively consistent level of traffic. Comments also continued to pour through via my Paypal post which honestly might be the biggest reason why people land on the site.
- Sessions: +116
- User: +15
- Pageviews: +22
The below concentrates on stats for Going Awesome Places.
Top 10 Traffic Sources
Not a whole lot of changes here from the previous month. The traffic make up is largely the same with no shifts in ranking.
Top 10 Pages
Changing this up this month, I wanted to take a look at my top trafficked pages. Not a whole lot of surprises here but it is interesting to that my Top 10 Things To Do in Shanghai post has dipped significantly where it was once a juggernaut in driving traffic from Google.
What is all of that traffic directed to pages that have hildnty? I explained this before but essentially I was still leveraging The Blogger Network (now Monumetric) to help serve a mobile optimized site. It wasn’t the most ideal solution but the theme I had on Going Awesome Places was pretty terrible so it was the best interim solution.
My random tidbits of gibberish and hopefully helpful information.
Ghosting on Twitter
The update in July is that I still had no luck fixing this issue. I kept reporting my grievances here every couple of days as checking “From: @yourhandle” on Twitter and getting friends to check proved that I was still being ghosted. More updates on this in August!
How Do You Keep Your Blog Alive When You’re So Damn Busy?
Well isn’t this just the million dollar question? 2016 was a huge challenge for me because with a full time job, it was so hard to dedicate time to blogging. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this. You work 9AM-5PM and then you have to go home to cook/eat/gym and then somehow squeeze in some time to write from what…9PM – 2AM?
Sound unhealthy? That’s kind of how the year worked out for me where I was really stretching myself thin to keep things going. Now you can appreciate why TBB took a dive.
While working your ass off is one strategy, the other thing I told myself at the beginning of the year was that I was going to focus on projects that were the most “bang for buck”. I wanted to work on things that would make an impact on my brand and also had the most dollar value in exchange for effort. That is why, I completely cut out press trips and the small projects that would bring in income but would be in the category of “more trouble than it’s worth”.
How does this apply to you? Okay it probably doesn’t because every person’s situation is different. As a part-time blogger, you really have to make a decision about how active you want to be in your blog or let it go stale for a bit of time (as was the case for TBB). Do you go from 2 post a week to 1 post a week or 1 post a month? It’s your blog. You decide!
At the end of the day, think about the “why you blog” and what your focus is. Is it money? Is it more travel? Is it to help others?
If I can be an inspiration to anyone, it’s the fact that if you build up your brand and automation systems/processes, blogging can truly be a source of income.
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.
2 CommentsLeave a comment
I love how honest you are, it’s extremely refreshing and really helpful too! Otherwise people like me are constantly running around thinking we must be doing something majorly wrong.
Thanks for being a reader Asma!