August 2020 Valerie & Valise Income Report
Here we are: approaching the end of the summer. Can you tell from the leaves beginning to turn orange and brown in my photo above? Some people will lament this Lost Summer; as I look back on it, I feel fortunate that my perspective is about how life continues to surprise me, and I’m able to continue making memories even when it feels like we’re living in the Upside Down from Stranger Things.
August is not typically one of the best months for my blog, but this month it turned out to be – another thing I’m grateful for. I’ve connected with so many people through this blog and it continues to bring me joy; here’s to making it to/through the final stretch of 2020.
Before I forget: please make sure you’re registered to vote, and your voter registration is up to date. This year’s election has wide-sweeping implications – including on our freedom and ability to travel the world. Click here to register/update your registration.
- Travel: 😱
- Blogging: 🥈
- Income: 💰
Travel in August
This year was a mix of travel experiences: I started the month on the final day of our road trip honeymoon, and had several other reasons to travel this month too, including work and family. While I didn’t expect to be back to traveling so much, so soon, I’m glad to be back “on the road” (literally and figuratively!)
- Destinations Visited: 4
- Sequoias National Park
- Three Rivers, California
- Olympia, WA
- Door County, WI
- Flights Taken: 4
- Days on the Road: 11 out of 31
August Travel Highlights & Lowlights
The best travel experience I had in August was… going on my first press trip since the beginning of the pandemic. I was invited to visit Door County, Wisconsin with a group of fellow journalists. It was wonderful to go out and explore the world again – even if we did have to wear masks and use a lot of hand sanitizer!
The worst travel experience I had in August was… traveling for a family medical emergency. A few days after returning from our honeymoon, Mr. V and I turned around and headed back to the Pacific Northwest: his dad had a medical emergency that required us to be there in person. It was the kind of travel none of us love doing.
My August travel highlight from years past was… seeing a total solar eclipse in Oregon in 2017. I’ve had some amazing travels in past Augusts (Greece, Romania, Iceland, Central Asia, London, Alaska, around the Pacific Northwest…), but nothing compares to the wonder of totality!
Blogging in August
Woo-ee! August looked questionable at times, but in the end, it finished strong. This month is typically the first month I see a downward trajectory in traffic based on seasonal changes in destinations I write a lot about. This year, I’ve been fortunate that Alaska travel hasn’t been as popular as usual (boo, lost traffic!) but other destinations and experiences (road trips, national parks) have more than made up the difference.
- Pageviews: 111,085 (↑13% from July 2020, ↑23% from August 2018)
- Unique Visitors: 97,608
- Traffic Breakdown:
- Organic: 77%
- Social: 10%
- Direct: 12%
- Email: 0.6%
- Referral: 0.6%
Most Popular New Post: 9 Epic Seattle Road Trips to Plan Right Now
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Posts I Published in August
After taking the month of July off (a much-needed break in the final weeks leading into the wedding + time off during our honeymoon!), I was back at it in August:
- How to Make Alaskan Blueberry Zucchini Muffins – My first recipe! What do you think?
- How to Plan a Leavenworth Bachelorette Party Adventure – Based on the mini-bachelorette I planned for myself before the wedding.
- An Epic 5-Day Southwest Road Trip & National Park Itinerary – Based on our honeymoon road trip and a few other trips I’ve made this year.
- How to Make the Most of a Half-Day at the Grand Canyon – Also based on our honeymoon.
- When is the Best Time to Visit Alaska? Here’s the Answer – Answering an important question!
- Instant Camera, Vintage Style: Is the Polaroid Now Worth It? – Justifying an impulse buy but also trying to help you make a smart decision about this potentially fun camera.
I also updated two posts this month:
- The 9 Best Things to Do in Mount Shasta for a Weekend Trip – One of my most popular California posts!
- “Should I Visit Alaska This Year?” Here’s What I Suggest – An update for a post I wrote at the beginning of the summer, extending my pandemic recommendations through the remainder of 2020.
August Blogging Highlights & Lowlights
The highlight of blogging in August was… having my second-highest traffic month of all time! After a record high in January 2020, I’m totally chuffed to be back in that ballpark in August – especially after the chaos that 2020 has been for all travel bloggers!
The lowlight of blogging in August was… seeing email traffic slip significantly. I’ve been working hard at my email strategy over the past year and it looked great for a while… both last month – and again, even more, this month – my email traffic is decreasing despite my traffic growing. Here’s hoping I can turn it around this coming month!
Business in August
Though I’ve dropped back below $10,000 per month in income this month (read more), I’m continuing to report the percentage change each month. In reality, the $10k mark was arbitrary and isn’t particularly relevant to understanding my income. Instead, I’d like you to focus on the breakdown of income sources.
As you’ll see, my income is pretty “non-diversified” – it primarily comes from two sources: advertising and affiliates. Even though I have seven income-producing affiliate relationships, this means almost all of my income is tied to my traffic. Now that we’re moving into my “slow” part of the year, I’m likely going to feel that on my bottom line.
August Income Report
- Advertising income: 41% (7 sources)
- Affiliate income: 54%
- Product income: <1%
- Sponsored content/campaigns: <1%
- Blogging product/service income: 5%
Total income for August 2020: ↓24% from July
Months I’ve been blogging: 83*
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*I’m adding this number going forward so you can see how long it has taken to earn this much. ‘Overnight success’ usually requires years of hard work – this blog is no exception.
August Business Highlights & Lowlights
The business highlight for August was… success with the new Airbnb Associates program. I was frustrated switching all of my Airbnb links to their new system, but I seem to be earning a lot more this way. We’ll see if it actually pays out this much!
The business lowlight for August was… giving up a mentoring client early in our working relationship. You may not know I offer 1-on-1 mentorship to fellow bloggers; I had a new client that it just wasn’t working with, so I ended up having to refund their initial payment. That took my product/service income down significantly!
Upcoming in September
September is shaping up to be another month of travel, if you can believe it!
It looks like I may have another work trip to Wisconsin in the works, and Mr. V and I will be headed back to Seattle to finish up some family/friend/wedding stuff. Lastly, we’re planning a weekend trip (by car) to Crescent City, California. I’m excited to get back to this upper corner of California and pump up my Pacific Coast Highway resources for the area.
Do you have any travel planned this month? Near or far? By plane or car?
Until next month! ✌️❤️✈️