Income and Traffic Report #24 – December 2016


Welcome to the 24th entry into our monthly income and traffic report!

In this monthly update we share our traffic, earning, and spending figures from the previous month so you can get a glimpse inside the business of travel blogging. In addition to sharing these for your use, by publishing our information we are also able to stay on track with our own goals for our business.

Living the Dream’s December 2016 Traffic

page-views

Our traffic for Living the Dream this month was approximately 42,000 page views- up 7% on a per day basis from last month and up 38% from December of last year.

December is one of those months where we are coming off of the annual fall / early-winter slump and see a slight rise in traffic, so we were not surprised by this increase. What was surprising, however, was that we had a jump in the final days of the month on the order of 15%, with traffic increases coming from Twitter, Pinterest, and Google. Considering we’ve put a lot of work into these three networks in the previous months, and will be focusing on them heavily throughout 2017, it is possible that some of our changes are finally showing positive results. January should show more progress on this one if we’re on to something.

On the Discover the Burgh front, our traffic for the month was 41,000 page views- down 13% on a per day basis from last month. One of the biggest reasons for this slump was that during the Christmas season we had a huge spike of traffic, but the week of Christmas our site was absolutely dead. Being hyper local, we’re not surprised by this as everyone is spending time with friends and family and not going out in the city. But much like Living the Dream, the last few days of the month had a huge increase in traffic on the three networks mentioned above, with our Google traffic doubling for the last five days of the month.

We’re very much looking forward to what January brings.

Living the Dream’s December 2016 Income

income

December was a great month for us on the affiliate marketing and CPM front as the Christmas shopping season brought a huge number of shoppers making purchases through our sites. Our Amazon CPM rate jumped to almost 50% higher than our set-point, and some days we were clearing $20-$30 in affiliate sales.

That being said, we had virtually no income besides these, which is both good and bad. Good because our CPM and affiliate ad work is improving, bad because we are not bringing in other income streams (which is a 2017 goal). Either way, our income is going up, and that’s okay by us.

Total income: $967

Affiliates: $295
Image Sales: $250
Hotels: $27
CPM Ads: $395

Note: Our income and expenses factor in both of our websites, not just Living the Dream.

Want to support our site in your travels? Our Blogging Tips and Advice page has affiliate links to all of the services we personally use and recommend when blogging and our Book Your Trip page features all of the travel services we personally use when on the road. By making a purchase through our links we’ll receive a small commission and the price you pay should not change.

Living the Dream’s December 2016 Expenses

expenses

We’ve been talking a lot in these updates about us reverting to a new “baseline” spending target, which is right around $850 per month. We were so close in our spending in November and December that it was almost scary- just about $3 different.

Total Expenses: $859

Articles: $200
Pinterest: $150
Mailchimp: $75
Hosting: $200
Facebook: $219
Domain Renewal: $15

Goals for 2017

Last month we did not do much as we took a much needed vacation to end the year. That has come and gone and now we are ready to start 2017 on the ground running. In this month’s update, we want to focus on our overall goals for the year over our standard focus on what we’re doing for the following month.

So, what are our goals for 2017? Here we go:

  • Increase both site’s traffic to over 250,000 monthly page views (a ~5x increase each). This will be achieved by the below tasks.
  • Increase Living the Dream’s Twitter and Instagram accounts to 100,000 fans each (a ~5x increase each).
  • Overhaul Living the Dream’s Facebook page as it is currently dead. We may be starting over there with a fresh account and a new ad campaign (and page theme) while also keeping the old one alive.
  • Increase Discover the Burgh’s Facebook account to 250,000 fans (a ~4x increase) and Instagram to 30,000 (a ~6x increase).
  • Increase Discover the Burgh’s newsletter to 25,000 subscribers (a ~4x increase).
  • Continue work on our SEO overhaul on both sites to try and increase Google traffic by 4x each.
    • On Discover the Burgh we’d go to 2,000 daily page views from Google, and Living the Dream to 5,000.
  • Sell out of our display advertising segments on Discover the Burgh to bring in a new $10 CPM revenue stream on this site.
  • Speak at one conference locally and one nationally to improve outreach on our sites. Negotiate at least two press trips for 2018.
  • Get in shape and drink less(-ish). One personal goal for the year because why not.

But what about our travel plans? Well, we have the following in store for 2017 and beyond between ourselves and our staff writers:

  • We just returned from a family trip to Puerto Rico where we visited San Juan, Fajardo, Luquillo, and Vieques island. Expect a lot of posts over the coming weeks.
  • We are planning two trips for 2017- a long weekend in Havana, Cuba, and a trip to Morocco.
  • Staff writer Kendrick will be on his RTW trip throughout the year and has a lot of awesome articles coming your way.
  • Staff writer Rylei has ended her RTW trip and is finalizing her remaining articles from Africa and her new “home” in Europe.
  • We are pre-planning a huge trip in early 2018 using only reward points, and are currently deciding between Micronesia, Palau, Tahiti, Seychelles, or the Maldives. Any thoughts on where we should go?

2017 is going to be a rough year where we work incredibly hard on the back-end of our sites, but if all goes well, 2018 will be incredible on the front-end for you!

 

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