June 2021 Valerie & Valise Income Report

Once is an outlier, twice is a coincidence, three times – that’s a pattern. That’s how I’m feeling this month as I look at my traffic and income, and am awed at how far this site has come in the past few years. The beginning of July marks the anniversary of when I left my last full-time role to strike out as a full-time blogger/freelance writer – and I have so much more freedom (both personal and financial) than I ever did when working for other companies.

While there are no big surprises in this month’s income report and recap, I’m glad to share that my business has grown consistently – and has a good foundation for that growth such that traffic and income aren’t super volatile anymore. Now, I’m preparing to keep all my other sites humming – and a big project related to these recaps that I’m hoping to share in the next few months.


  • Travel: 🚗
  • Blogging: 📊
  • Income: 🏆

Travel in June

Photos from Chagrin Falls, the only destination we visited this month.

After moving cross-country in May, Mr. V and I stayed close to home for all of June. In fact, the most travel we did was one day trip to Chagrin Falls, Ohio – about 30 minutes south of Cleveland.

  • Destinations Visited: 1 – Chagrin Falls, OH
  • Flights Taken: 0
  • Days on the Road: 1 out of 30

June Travel Highlights & Lowlights

The best travel experience I had in June was… our day trip to Chagrin Falls. It’s the only travel we did, but it was good to get out of town and see somewhere new.

The worst travel experience I had in June was… not traveling more! We really miss the American West and are already planning of ways to get back (temporarily and permanently!).

My June travel highlight from years past was… my five-start trip to Tahoe in 2019. I went on this insane press trip to stay at the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe, go out boating in a Mastercraft from the private lake club, and horseback riding north of the lake. It was, all around, a blow-out trip, and I’d love to go back.

Blogging in June

My new coworker is too cute!

After two banner months – April and May – I was worried about June traffic, especially after the Google Core Update started at the beginning of the month and it was clear my site was affected. It turned out well enough, though this month reminded me that this blogging thing is a never-ending project to both create new content and keep existing content updated. I’ve got lots to do!

  • Pageviews: 202,003 (↓11% from May 2021, ↑128% from June 2020)
  • Unique Visitors: 173,115
  • Traffic Breakdown:
    • Organic: 77%
    • Direct: 14%
    • Social: 7%
    • Email: 1%
    • Referral: <1%

Most Popular New Post: The 23 Best Coastal Towns in Washington on the Pacific & Salish Sea (Thanks, Google Discover!)

New Posts I Published in June

I wasn’t quite as prolific in publishing this month as in recent months, though I’m really pleased with the diversity of destinations I shared stories about this month. Here are the new posts I published, in case you missed any of them:

  1. 3 Days in Reno: The Best Things to Do in the Biggest Little City
  2. The 23 Best Coastal Towns in Washington on the Pacific & Salish Sea
  3. Alaska on a Budget: Costs to Visit & 15 Ways to Save
  4. The 13 Best Day & Weekend Trips from Honolulu
  5. How to Make the Most of One Day in Sequoia National Park

I also updated a few posts to help Google (and you, dear readers) like them more:

  1. The 9 Best Things to Do in Long Beach, WA for a Weekend Trip
  2. 10 Essentials You Need to Pack for Alaska
  3. The 6 Best Things to Do in Sedona: Itinerary for a Perfect Weekend

While this isn’t as many articles as in months past, it’s still an average of two per week – which is a very healthy cadence of publishing!

June Blogging Highlights & Lowlights

The highlight of blogging in June was… staying above 200k pageviews despite the Google Core Update. I definitely have some work to do to help keep my site in Google’s good graces, but staying above this milestone makes me feel confident that my site has hit a new level and will hopefully stay there!

The lowlight of blogging in June was… losing traffic/getting hit in the Core Update when it seems like everyone else benefitted. I’m the only blogger I know who got hit, and it was only on this site. That’s disappointing as I consider this to be my best site and the one I do my best SEO work on. We’ll see though – in their next update (expected this month), Google may roll back/change some of the updates from June, and maybe I’ll improve again.

Business in June

Photos from some of the local parks in our area.

Despite a drop in traffic, I actually earned more income than in May (based on cash received) and almost the same amount as May (based on accrual to be paid in the future). That obviously feels good – this is a productive website that both readers and business partners find valuable. It also allows us to live comfortably here in Cleveland – though if you know Mr. V and I, you know we’re always pushing to grow even more!

June Income Report

  • Advertising income: 62%
  • Affiliate income: 32%
  • Product income: 1%
  • Sponsored content/campaigns: 3%
  • Blogging product/service income: 2%

Total income for June 2021: ↑17% from May
Months I’ve been blogging: 93*

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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.

Business Highlights & Lowlights

The business highlight for June was… seeing how much this site has grown in a year. Last June was the first time I ever passed five figures of income; this site consistenly earns above five figures now. Heck, based on a cash accounting system, I’ve already “earned” more this month than I did in June!

The business lowlight for June was… watching my product income drop off entirely. I’ve been playing around with some of the products I offer and prices for them… it seems that may have dried up my funnel entirely. I’ll be doing more experimentation to prepare for the Summer 2022 season!

Upcoming in July

Viewing the 2021 partial solar eclipse!

We don’t have any major trips planned in July; I have two big trips to Alaska planned in August and September that we’re prepping/saving up for. However, we will end the month by driving out to New Jersey to see some family, and that’s a big highlight we’re looking forward to.

What summer trips do you have planned? Or, are you sticking close to home still? Let me know in the comments!

Until next month! ✌️❤️✈️

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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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