Income Reports

April 2015 Valerie & Valise Income Report

April, my beloved birthday month and second favorite month of the year (I’m partial to Autumn and October) has come and gone! Here’s a checkin on my various stats and such in the past 30 days.

Last month wasn’t as good as March, but still good!

  1. I had 2,448 unique pageviews on this site last month — obviously not a ton by the standards of some bloggers, but it’s showing some consistency on my end, so I’m happy with it. Thanks so much, all you readers!
  2. This month, I switched from WordPress comments to Disqus, and it seemed to increase my comment rate for the month! I had 26 comments on 14 posts, not including my own comments — many were follow up comments, meaning you’re notified when I reply (which is why I wanted to try Disqus). Thanks so much to all who took the time to comment: TomWillful Dad, Eve, ZaschaGrietjaHollyCharlesLukeMaaikeLizNorman, and Rocky Travel Blog.
  3. My goal was 25, but I only had six people sign up for my mailing list. If you haven’t yet, please email or message me on social media and I’ll get you added!

Last Month’s Performance

It was a good month — just like last month I saw low page hits, but good traffic… maybe you’re all just enjoying the main page… 😉. All in all, I’m pleased with my results; I seem to be establishing some benchmarks in terms of web performance, and have had good growth on my social channels. There’s still plenty of work to do, but I’m happy to do it for this site (which I love!).

Blogging Lessons Learned Last Month

I really can’t believe April has come and gone so quickly — I feel like it flew by and I let my priorities slip a little bit. Luckily that isn’t totally reflected in the numbers by which I measure my own performance, but I still want to keep the quality and frequency of my work up to my own personal standards.

  1. Whatever you do, do it well: Part of the reason I wasn’t writing as much last month was that I didn’t feel like I had a lot to say. I guess in some ways it’s good that I didn’t try to force myself to write when I knew it would be crap. A good rule of thumb: if the article is crap, don’t hit “Publish.”
  2. It works if you work it: Much like many other commitments we make in life, a travel blog responds proportional to the amount of effort put into it. If you write infrequently, shoddily, or in an unethical way, you won’t do as well as someone who writes high quality, frequent, and useful/honest posts. Or so I keep telling myself.
  3. Say Yes: Sometimes things will come across your plate — like a recent mixer I attended with Wyoming Tourism — that I didn’t expect or necessarily think I was a good fit for. I went anyway, had a great time, made good connections, and now have another trip in mind for sometime in the future!

Blogging Costs This Month

And just like that, one-third of 2015 has come and gone. I’ve been tracking my blogging expenses for four months now, and I hope they’ve been a bit insightful. I’m doing this in part to keep myself accountable to both spending for my blog and not spending too much on my blog; so far, I’m leaning far toward the latter by not giving it nearly the resources it needs to grow. This month is much as previous ones… I’m hoping to make things more interesting in May, but read on now to see how it went.

ItemRaw Amount% of Total
Administration$0.000.0%
Facebook Ads$6.021.5%
Google Ads$0.000.0%
Pinterest Ads$0.000.0%
Twitter Ads$0.000.0%
Giveaways$0.000.0%
Store$0.000.0%
Travel$156.2037.6%
Other$252.9060.9%
Total Spent in Month$415.12

Line Item: Administration

While I did spend a bit on expenses related to other sites I run, I didn’t spend any on V&V this month. No predictions for spending next month either!

Line Item: Facebook Ads

This was definitely a bit of residual spending from March — I didn’t run hardly any ads and failed to do testing to help my Facebook following grow. Fixing that in my content calendar now! I already have six posts queued for boosting (as of the last 30 seconds when I went and did it!).

Line Item(s): Google, Pinterest, Twitter Ads

Hmph. I feel like there are missed opportunities here. Maybe I will just do a followers campaign on Twitter or something, just to try it? Also, maybe I have some Adwords credit laying around.

Line Item: Giveaways

No giveaways last month — and I still need to announce the winners of #100TravelQuotes, eep! I have a giveaway coming this month… not sure when it will be announced though!

Line Item: Store

No expenses here!

Line Item: Travel

Woo! I booked a trip to San Francisco next week, so I’m finally getting on a plane for the first time in two months. You know you have a travel addiction when that feels like way too long!

Line Item: Other

(1) Buffer’s Awesome plan = $10.

(2) Travel Blog Success = $242.90 as part of a 30% off campaign. So far, I am not doing nearly enough in the program, but I hope to get to it more consistently in the future! Don’t we always say that?

Takeaways

This was an interesting month — I’m not totally sure how it slipped by without my paying attention and capitalizing on the time. Here’s what I learned.

  1. You don’t have to travel to be a travel blogger (thanks, Christine!). There are TONS of ways to make content that don’t require being on the road constantly.
  2. You do need to travel to be a travel blogger. You can’t build an entire site without ever documenting travels in real time. You don’t have to be on the road constantly, but if you aren’t constantly pulled to try and be, you’re probably in the wrong field!

Predictions for May

  1. $30 on Facebook Ads. Boom.
  2. Research/trial campaigns on both Twitter and Google. Unknown amounts; not much.
  3. Additional travel expenses for Memorial Day trips.
  4. $0 on Giveaways, but one coming soon! I love when awesome companies give me awesome things to give to you awesome people.
  5. Potentially beginning to report on income in addition to expenses (great idea, Liz!)

Blogging Goals for This Month

I actually have an additional goal, in addition to the three above:

  1. I would love to get above 2,000 unique views on the site again next month. I want to be able to make consistent projections based on that number!
  2. I wasn’t as good about writing in April as I’d like; I’ve set a goal to get my rate of publishing up!
  3. Obviously my goal of 25 was a bit too ambitious… let’s see if I can get 15 new subscribers for my weekly newsletter!
  4. I would like to comment on one travel blog each day… if I’m asking for comments as a metric for my own performance, it should be something I do for others too!

See you next month!

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