August 2021 Valerie & Valise Income Report

Well, here we are: the 18-month mark of the pandemic. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year and a half, and I’m still here, reporting on my little travel site which has undergone the most dramatic rollercoaster of its 8-year career – and there’s no end in sight.

For this month’s recap, I’ve got some good things to report, and also some that are not-so-good. This is part of the journey of being self-employed and a business owner, but it’s still tough to recognize that not every month will see growth in every area of the business.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in. Here’s my August 2021 recap.


  • Travel: 🏔🐻🐋
  • Blogging: 📉
  • Income: 💰

This month’s photos were taken in Alaska! If you can believe it I took about half of these photos myself… I’ll let you guess which ones 😉

Travel in August

As I mentioned last month, July kicked off a few months of travel – and I was feeling really optimistic for a minute there, thinking we might be returning to a sense of normalcy in that part of my life. (It goes without saying that this is clearly not the case, since several trips I was considering and planning have already been rescheduled due to the pandemic resurgence.)

Despite that, I did have a really great month for travel: in addition to starting the month on the road, I spent 10 days in Alaska on a sponsored trip. It was so good to be back there after 18 months away, and I have a ton to write now that I’m home… but as you’ll see next month, I don’t currently have time to dive into those due to one last upcoming trip.)

  • Destinations Visited: 7
    • Cape May, NJ
    • Anchorage, Whittier, Valdez, Fairbanks, Denali, & Talkeetna, Alaska
  • Flights Taken:
  • Days on the Road: out of 31

August Travel Highlights & Lowlights

The best travel experience I had in August was… spending 10 days in Alaska. All of it, but especially hiking and seeing Denali and fireweed ice cream and reindeer sausage and the cool morning air. I can’t wait to be back in a few days (spoilers for next month!).

The worst travel experience I had in August was… rescheduling an upcoming trip to Washington State where I was scheduled to speak at a conference. The fourth wave takes its first victim on my travel calendar…

My August travel highlights from years past was… flying to London for my year abroad (2012), kicking off our European adventure on a Greek cruise (2016), and seeing the solar eclipse in Oregon (2017). Augusts have been good to me!

Blogging in August

After a banner summer, we’re now moving into autumn, also known as the plague of almost all website owners. In the travel industry, demand drops in a normal year when the kids go back to school; this year, that’s compounded by the huge resurgence of the pandemic. That’s very clearly reflected in my traffic this month, which is down double-digits from last month and down almost 30% since my peak in May.

  • Pageviews: 163,775 (↓12% from July 2020, ↑47% from August 2020)
  • Unique Visitors: 139,307
  • Traffic Breakdown:
    • Organic: 80%
    • Social: 7%
    • Direct: 11%
    • Email: 1%
    • Referral: <1%

Most Popular New Post: The 23 Best Coastal Towns in Washington on the Pacific & Salish Sea

How do I keep track of all these stats? I’ve got an organization system!
Check out my course:
The Blogging Organization Success System

New Posts I Published in August

I actually only published one new blog post in August, because I decided to take a break this month (and in September) to focus on traveling in Alaska and researching for new posts:

And to be honest, this story was written by my copywriter – not me. I just didn’t have the energy or mental space to push through content creation this month, and having our new team member to help carry the weight has been really helpful.

August Blogging Highlights & Lowlights

The highlight of blogging in August was… being able to take off a few months and have the ship keep sailing straight. The odd part of blogging is that the work I do today generally only pays off in a few months or years; nothing I do today has an immediate impact on my success. In the same vein, the work I’ve done over the past 8 years is what allows me to be successful now, and it means I can take breaks when I need them without traffic or income falling right away – and that’s a really nice benefit.

The lowlight of blogging in August was… a lack of vision and energy to create content. While you might expect me to say that my low traffic is the lowlight, but I’ve come to expect that my traffic will decrease in the autumn. It was certainly exacerbated by algorithm updates and pandemic problems, but it was also expected and thus mentally manageable. I say that – and yet I still lacked any energy to create content, so maybe it did impact me after all!

Business in July

Despite the tough numbers on the scoreboard for traffic, my income actually did pretty well this month. I was fortunate to see a big bump from Tieks, one of my top affiliates, as they ran a huge campaign. This helped compensate for (and actually exceed) the standard traffic-based losses I always see when my traffic goes down. That plus some sponsored campaign payments helped diversify my income too.

August Income Report

  • Advertising income: 55%
  • Affiliate income: 38%
  • Product income: <1%
  • Sponsored content/campaigns: 7%
  • Blogging product/service income: 0% ← with the impending launch of Site School, I’m going to stop reporting this since it won’t be part of V&V anymore!

Total income for August 2021: $15,670

tRPM: $95.68 (↑38% from July) ← This is a new metric I’m sharing, that I use to compare the value of my traffic month-over-month.

Months I’ve been blogging on V&V: 95 ← Repeat after me: no site is an overnight success.

Business Highlights & Lowlights

The business highlight for August was… a really strong income month (despite falling traffic). No complaints if the money keeps coming in!

The business lowlight for August was… really low product income. This is 100% due to traffic decreases, which is a bummer since products are supposed to be less traffic-dependent!

All in all, August was a pretty good month, even though not everything was rosy. There are lots of universals about being a website owner and an entrepreneur, and the roller coaster-i-ness of it all is definitely one of them. At least it keeps life interesting!

Have any questions about this month’s recap? Let me know in the comments.

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Valerie has been blogging since 2001, and has been running her oldest travel blog for a decade. You can find her across the internet on her various niche sites, but she started Site School to help fellow bloggers grow and create better content.

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