Time flies when you’re having fun, right? I started London On My Mind in the middle of a global pandemic when I was really uncertain when my next trip to London might be – and here we are two years later! I’ve had the chance to visit London again, and am planning return trips in the year to come.
In this post, I’ll cover how much progress LOMM site has made since it launched in January 2021. It’s hard to believe that the simple idea of spinning out my London posts to create a new site has turned into its own healthy part of my portfolio; LOMM is my #3 site overall for traffic and earnings.
If you’re curious what I’ve done and where I hope to take it in the next year, read on!
What are these Case Studies?
As a reminder, I do case studies for almost every site I’ve created, at the 6-month, 9-month, and 12-month marks. Then I switch to every six months for the next year; you can expect reports at 18 months and 24 months. If a site reaches its two-year mark and I plan to continue writing, I’ll switch to annual reports. Here are the ages of each site and its current status:
- Valerie & Valise – 9 years – annual
- Space Tourism Guide – 5 years – annual
- Discover Sausalito – 3 years – semi-annual
- Follow the Butterflies – 2 years – semi-annual
- London on My Mind – 2 years (this post!) – quarterly
- Great Plains Travel Guide – 22 months – quarterly
- Soup Whoop – 21 months – quarterly
- Jordan Traveler – 20 months – quarterly
- Eat Like Bourdain – 19 months– quarterly
(Links will take you to the full list of reports about that site!)
Fast Facts about London On My Mind
Here’s a quick glance at the stats for London On My Mind at its first anniversary:
|Date First Published||January 1, 2021|
|Articles Live (as of 1/1/23)||155|
|Monthly Pageviews (last 30 days)||40,140|
|Maximum Pageviews (in last year)||67,165 (September 2022)|
|Google Traffic (last 12 months)||89%|
|Amount Earned (total)||$12,898|
In the rest of this post, I’ll dive more into the history of the site and where I hope it goes in the year to come.
History & Status of London On My Mind
As you might have noticed by following my various case studies over the past year I’ve been sharing them here on Site School, I’ve been paring down some of the projects I launched in 2021 – and others have continued to remain a focus and grow.
Of those remaining sites from my big 2021 cohort, London On My Mind remains the best success: it topped out at almost 70,000 pageviews in September, before experiencing (what I assume is) a seasonal dip. As of writing, January 2023 is up almost 200% from January 2022 (and December 2022 was up 250% over December 2021), so I’m confident it will be a powerful site in the year to come.
In my last recap, I said “I’m excited to see where the site can go in the future,” and this remains true; my guess is that the site will break 100,000 pageviews in April or May.
As I mentioned, LOMM had a basic content strategy to begin with, but now has a large number of categories it covers, including “things to do,” “travel tips,” and “where to stay,” among others. (I covered a full list in my 18-month recap if you want to see them all.)
With another six months under my belt, I can tell you one thing: it’s really hard not to write content for locals. I’ve been struggling to keep my content strategy focused on providing resources specifically for North Americans planning their first trip to London (that’s the persona I have in my head for my readers) – it’s easy to be swayed by potentially bigger and more enticing keywords that actually draw locals.
What’s so bad about having local London readers? Two primary things: first, the ad revenue for these readers is lower, so even though I might get more traffic – it won’t be as valuable for the business. Second, locals are less likely to return, engage by commenting, sign up for emails, etc. They both “make” less, and “give” less as readers.
While I’m slowly moving toward creating more content that might attract locals too, I’m always trying to understand whether the intent behind keywords I’m targeting is something a traveler would be most likely to ask.
This section of my case studies has morphed over time, but I find it most helpful to both reflect on the strategic takeaways I had in the past and what I’ve learned since.
Seasonal Content is a Winner
I mentioned this six months ago, and I stand by it: seasonal content comprises about 10% of my traffic right now. This might not seem huge – but it’s also traffic I’d just be leaving on the table if I wasn’t writing posts like Visiting London in April and 15 Spooky Spots & Haunted Places in London.
Additionally, once you write seasonal content the first time, usually keeping it updated is much easier going forward: you put in 100% effort the first year/season, then only put in 30-50% effort again to get the same amount of traffic.
💡 If you cover a topic that has seasonal or monthly changes, consider creating content to target each of those terms and keep it updated annually.
Special Events Can Provide Big Wins
If you’re open to seasonal traffic, I’d also encourage you to consider “special events” traffic. At this point, I am the only London blogger who has written a post about How to Plan a London Trip for King Charles III’s Coronation, and it’s become my #2 post (and we’re still 5 months from the coronation!). I have experienced this kind of boost over on my Space Tourism Guide site too (with astronomy events) but I didn’t realize it also worked for travel sites and special events.
💡 I’d encourage you to consider what, if any, special events make sense for the topics you cover, and add content helping people plan for them to your site.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
Don’t get me wrong: I love London – but I can kill that love pretty quickly by being obsessed with what all the other creators are doing.
There’s the site that posts 2-3x per day every day, and gets over half a million pageviews per month.
There’s the blogger with a killer YouTube who earns $10k per month from her products.
There are the many, many influencers who live in London, creating incredible video content every day.
I was really bummed that my September 2022 trip didn’t produce more content, but J and I got food poisoning during our trip and lost over 2 days of the 5 days we had to spend sightseeing in London… this was devastating for my plans this year, since I now don’t have hardly any video content – and I know Instagram/YouTube is the way to start standing out and building really strong partnerships when I want to visit.
Anyway, I don’t really have a solution here: just a reminder that constantly comparing yourself to your “competition” is a hard way to run a site. Try to just keep your head down, do your thing, and do it as well as you can.
Oh, and give your kitties lots of pets to make you feel better. (This message brought to you by Annabell.)
Well, here we are at the two-year mark! As I mentioned at the top, two years is the point at which I decide whether to stop or continue a site. (Unless it’s just really not doing well, in which case I’ve pulled the plug earlier on some sites.)
As you might guess, I have no intention of quitting LOMM at this point! It’s a strong site, and I look forward to helping it grow in 2023. Here’s what I’ll be focused on to do that…
Scaling my Content Team
Even without video, I know that publishing more content will help the site grow faster; if we could go from 2 articles per week to 5 articles per week, we’d have 150% more chances to get new keywords and more traffic.
I’d love to bring on a second writer who can help boost up the production of the site this year, though I’m not sure when that might happen. (Inspired by writing this, I just posted a listing for it! If you want to write about London and get paid for it, let me know in the comments.)
Email Email Email
My list has grown from 10 to 1000 in the past year – not particularly impressive, I admit.
However, I’m now at the point where A) I am paying for my email list and need to start getting something back from them and B) it’s time to optimize to get a better signup rate (than the – checks – 0.46% I’m currently getting – yikes!).
I haven’t been focused on email for LOMM, but this is the year that’s going to change!
I would really love to focus on social media, specifically Instagram/Reels, in the next year, but I’m honestly the most uncertain about this goal of any that I’m focusing on. I really need more raw material – video – to be able to do reels well, which means planning another trip. I know I’ll be visiting London in August for a friends trip, but would love to get out there sooner to get more video to start working with now.
In any case, I’m looking to hire an Instagram video editor soon, and will have them work with what we’ve got to start trying to create reels and grow my audience on Instagram.
As you can see, my focuses are not that different than they were six months ago; LOMM has become a healthy, mature site that I look forward to stewarding in years to come. I won’t be providing another update on this site until the 3-year mark, but you can always ask me in the comments how it’s going – or join me over in the Site School group on Facebook. Have any questions about how my London site has grown in the past two years or what I’m focusing on next? Let me know in the comments!