It’s hard to believe that as I write this, half of 2015 has already gone by — where did those first six months go? This month has been one of my best, and I’m very excited to share the results with you, but first: THANK YOU. Each and every reader, commenter, lurker, subscriber and follower is why I write, and I’m proud to share the journey with you so far.
Blog Performance Last Month
It was a great month! Getting featured on The Muse as part of their list of the “51 Coolest Side Projects We’ve Ever Seen” was a huge boost — it was like I was trending for a moment!
- As I hoped, I had two “good” months in a row: I broke 2,500 unique page views in June; in fact I had 4,437! What a great feeling, to demolish a goal!
- Last month, you all contributed 29 comments on the 11 posts I wrote — and most of you were repeat commenters. Basically, you all rock.
- As a result of The Muse coverage, I had 61 new email subscribers last month. Some people get this every day, but I’m so grateful to each and every person who was willing to open their inbox to my goofy, weekly digests.
In short, it feels so good to kick butt on my goals, and it’s almost entirely thanks to you, my readers. More applause!
On the whole, this month was a lot of fun — it was great to travel and plan upcoming trips, it was great to write (a lot, though most of it is still unpublished), and it was great to connect with new people who find what I’m doing to be interesting and intriguing. There’s still plenty of room to grow; I’ll never boast that I’m the biggest or best, but honestly, I still love what I’m doing and I know in my heart I’m producing the caliber of work and writing that I want. The rest after that is just fun!
Blogging Lessons Learned Last Month
- There’s Enough for Everyone – Over the past few months, I’ve struggled as I’ve seen newer, less professional, and often — I hate to say this because it’s really hard to quantify the statement — lower quality writers gaining massive success by my own standards. Then I remember why I write here: it’s not to get free trips or see the world. I know I’m going to do those things anyway. For me, I write V&V because I love writing. As long as I’m creating good writing, that’s good enough for me. That said, that means there’s plenty enough for everyone: we all have our own goals and we can all work toward our own success. The internet is big enough for all of us!
- Just Keep Swimming – Sometimes, you just don’t want to write. For a day or two, that’s okay. At a certain point though, you have to just keep pushing, writing, editing, taking photos, etc. Creative muscles like those we use for travel blogging have to be worked regularly, stretched, and occasionally rested. Be sure to find a balance, and just keep at it as long as you love what you’re doing.
Blogging Costs Last Month
Half a year has come and gone since I started these financial reports. I originally started them for two reasons: to find out more about my own spending, and to share with others how I was achieving some of the results I detail in my “Month-in-Review” posts (coming in a few days!). So far, I’ve learned a lot, and I hope you have too. Here’s the latest installment in the Cost of Running a Travel Blog series.
|Item||Raw Amount||% of Total|
|Total Spent in Month||$516.52|
Line Item: Administration
Still no spending here. This month felt really busy, and aside from writing and managing social media, I didn’t have a ton of extra time to devote to it.
Line Item: Facebook Ads
I spent only ~$20 this month boosting posts to my fans — usually just in the form of photos from my travels. It didn’t have quite the same effectiveness as last month, but I still saw nearly 10% increase in my Facebook fans. I’ll take it!
Line Item(s): Google, Pinterest, Twitter Ads
No, nope, no way. I’m still struggling on figuring out how to make these effective in either gaining followers or driving traffic to my blog.
Line Item: Giveaways
I didn’t do any giveaways this month; I’m always on the lookout for new partners though. I’m thinking of doing one of those collaborative giveaways where a bunch of bloggers get together and each chip in a small amount to buy a big prize. Interested? Comment below and I’ll follow up!
Line Item: Store
No expenses here, though I’m pretty sure I have a bunch coming in July; it’s about every three months or so that I have to update my listings!
Line Item: Travel
I had two big travel expenses this month: round-trip tickets to New England in September, and my expenses while traveling aboard the Rocky Mountaineer. I’ve struggled to figure out how to consider airfare costs in this table, because technically the money is spent even though I’m not enjoying the spoils of it for a few more months. Travel nonetheless dominated my expenses, and I never feel bad about that!
Line Item: Other
I spent my standard $10 for Buffer, and $20 for SumoMe’s List Builder Pro… which I finally tried using, and had basically no success with. I think I just don’t have enough traffic to justify the costs of those Pro perks.
This was a pretty good month, despite how busy I’ve been with professional things and actually traveling. Here’s what I’m taking away as lessons learned:
- Sometimes, it’s okay to not spend a ton of money or time on your blog — as long as you’re still enjoying the work, it’s worth it.
- Up to a certain point, all free options are worth it. I didn’t start paying for Buffer for almost a year after I first signed up; I didn’t pay for Facebook ads for over 15 months; I don’t need to pay for SumoMe List Builder Pro yet… At some point your traffic will justify the costs, and until then, save all your money and travel!
Predictions for July
- I’d like to spend $25 on Facebook ads again this month. It seems like a lot over the course of the whole year, but I really like feeling like there’s growth on that channel.
- Publish my quarterly income report sometime in the next week. I haven’t run the numbers yet, but I think it’s going to be interesting to compare my spending for the first few months of the year to the income I’ve earned. Be sure to keep an eye here on the blog for that!
Goals for This Month
- Break 3,000 Unique Pageviews – I’m going for three months in a row of good traffic and views. Can you help? Suggest me to family & friends!
- Connect 3 New Partnerships – Part of the bread & butter of the blogging business is partnerships. I’m hoping to finalize at least three new partnerships for coming months… and I’m really hoping to get a new giveaway partner soon!
- Write 2 “Chapters” of the Mentorship Program – This is all a bit hush-hush, ya know? More coming soon…