October is one of my favorite months of the year… which is a good thing, as this month was pretty tough for my business! While my site is still growing in the long term, October continued the trend in September (well, really, it was a trend that started in June) and continued to decrease in traffic and income. That’s okay though: I was busy working to ensure that next year reaches both higher peak traffic and higher low traffic.
Read on to learn how my travel blog, Valerie & Valise, fared in October 2021.
- Travel: 🏡
- Blogging: 👩🏻💻
- Income: 📊
This month’s photos were taken in and around Cleveland.
Travel in October
After two months with a lot of travel – I was on the road for 4.5 of 6 weeks between mid-August and late September! – October was a very quiet month. As in, I didn’t travel at all! That’s okay though, as I had lots of work to do and stories to write. I came home from Alaska with a ton of inspiration and ideas for stories to write; as you’ll see, I kept myself plenty busy with that.
- Destinations Visited: 1
- Flights Taken: 0
- Days on the Road: 0 out of 31
October Travel Highlights & Lowlights
The best travel experience I had in October was… exploring Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This National Park is right near Cleveland, so while I technically didn’t “go” anywhere, it was cool to visit a new place.
The worst travel experience I had in October was… not going anywhere…? I didn’t have any bad travel experiences as I didn’t travel!
My October travel highlight from years past was… visiting Hunstville, Alabama! I got to visit Space Camp, enjoy tons of space experiences around town, and discover that the South is pretty great.
Blogging in October
Oof. This time of year sucks as a travel blogger, especially one who focuses so much on a summer destination like Alaska. (While there are certainly winter travelers, summer travel represents about 90% of the market!) Add in an ongoing pandemic and back-to-school season (which causes a decrease for bloggers in almost every niche) and well, it just kinda sucks! My traffic is still up from 2020 – but back down to the level it was in Summer 2020, and half of what it was in Summer 2021.
- Pageviews: 106,503 (↓18% from September 2021, ↑15% from October 2020)
- Unique Visitors: 94,929
- Traffic Breakdown:
- Organic: 77%
- Social: 7%
- Direct: 13%
- Email: 1%
- Referral: 2%
Most Popular New Post: How to Plan a Trip to Alaska in 2022 (and Beyond)
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 October
As I said, I was busy creating content this month! In addition to the posts listed below, I also updated 8 existing posts.
- A Perfect Denali National Park Itinerary: 2 or 3 Days in the Alaskan Wilderness*
- Flytographer Review: 5 Reasons to Book This Perfect Travel Souvenir*
- How to Make the Most of One Day in Juneau, Alaska
- GlobeIn Review: Global Handmade Souvenirs Delivered to Your Home
- The McKinley Park Hotel: Why Alaska’s Best National Park Has No Hotel
- How to Make the Most of One Day in Glacier Bay National Park*
- 26 Glacier Cruise Review: The Best Way to See Glaciers in Alaska*
- A Perfect Saguaro National Park Itinerary: 2 or 3 Days in the Sonoran Desert
- The 15 Best Things to Do in Sitka, Alaska (According to an Alaskan!)*
- Where to Stay in Denali: The 5 Best Hotels & Vacation Rentals*
- How to Visit the 8 Alaska National Parks (& 9 Other NPS Units)
- The 13 Best Things to Do in Anchorage in the Winter
- 37 Fascinating Facts about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Alaskan Dream Cruises Review: Sailing Through Culture & Wilderness*
- The 7 Best Shoes & Boots for Alaska Travel
- How to Plan the Perfect Alaska Winter Itinerary
As you can see, the majority of the content I created was focused on Alaska. This is in part because I have a lot of deliverables from partnerships I arranged while visiting (marked by a *), and partly because I came home really inspired to share a bunch of new resources. There are lots of articles there that I hadn’t even thought of before my trip that I came home knowing I had to write to help people plan better.
October Blogging Highlights & Lowlights
The highlight of blogging in October was… Being super productive! I published 24 articles in 31 days, which still doesn’t feel quite fast enough – but is also a great amount of new content to help people plan trips. (And to get more traffic and earn from that traffic!)
The lowlight of blogging in October was… losing 53% of my traffic since its peak in May. As I mentioned, my traffic is way, way down from its peak in May (about 224k pageviews that month). I don’t believe I had much to do with this – there are too many external factors to identify any single thing I can fix. Instead, I’m just trying to focus on creating a ton of new content. Building out my catalog of articles will help raise my overall traffic, so that’s what I’m focused on!
Business in October
As you might expect when my traffic falls, my income does too. I’d love to separate my traffic and income a bit more, but haven’t yet mastered this part of my business. This month (November) I did invest in an email marketing course that will hopefully help me improve my email sales – which will help. But for now, let’s recap last month.
October Income Report
- Advertising income: 54%
- Affiliate income: 35%
- Product income: 11%
- Sponsored content/campaigns: 0%
Total income for October 2021: $9,275 (↓18% from September 2021)
tRPM: $89.64 (↑3% from September) ← 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: 97 ← Repeat after me: no site is an overnight success.
Business Highlights & Lowlights
The business highlight for October was… seeing a little traction with a few new products I’m selling. I didn’t have the blow-out sales bonanza I was hoping for my two new products (The Alaska Box and The Great Alaskan Coffee Club) but I did have some sales and that gives me feedback to improve the product going forward.
The business lowlight for October was… falling below five figures in income. October was my lowest month since January, which makes sense given my traffic and the factors affecting it. But it’s still a bummer! Next year, I think one of my goals will be to have five-figure months all year.
Have any questions about this month’s recap? Let me know in the comments.