Income and Traffic Report #26 – February 2017

Welcome to the 26th 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 February 2017 Traffic

Our page views for the month of February were approximately 46,500- down approximately 5% on a per-day basis and was up approximately 32% from last February after accounting for Leap Day in 2016.

The biggest change in our traffic from January to February came from Pinterest as we had a few days in January with a rather viral pin that contributed to a decent chunk of our traffic. While we still receive a good percent of our traffic from Pinterest in any month, this change was enough to account for the slight drop we saw.

On the Discover the Burgh front we had another record traffic month at 63,500 page views. This was equivalent to a gain of about 17% from January on a per-day basis. The biggest driver of this jump was a huge influx of new Google views thanks to us targeting a few high traffic, low competition keywords in our local marketplace. Yes, switching keywords around really caused a big jump fast!

Overall, I’m very pleased with how the traffic on Discover the Burgh has responded to our SEO work, and am hopeful that Living the Dream will get there in time with our target on some more competitive (yet more lucrative) keywords.

Living the Dream’s February 2017 Income

Our income for the month of February was approximately $1,100, with the following breakdown:

Adsense: $156
Amazon CPM: $245
Amazon Affiliates: $188
Other Affiliates: $222
Direct Advertising: $300

We are starting to see more advertising inquires on Discover the Burgh, which means that we should start seeing our direct advertising revenue start to rise over the coming months.

Our test for changing our Amazon CPM advertising rates is just a few days away from finishing and we’ve noticed a decent gain in our revenue by decreasing our CPM rate (from $2.00 CPM to $1.25). It is a bit counter-intuitive, but a higher CPM target and lower fill rate does not bring in more revenue than a lower target and higher fill. We’re very much looking forward to publishing the results of this one in a post in a few week’s time!

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 February 2017 Expenses

Our expenses for the month of February were $725, with the following breakdown:

Staff Articles: $150
Hosting (2 sites): $200
Mailchimp: $75
Facebook ads: $252
RSS Feed Renewal: $48

Overall, our expenses for the month were still flat based on our spending targets. Our Pinterest VA took this month off (which is one possible reason for our decrease in Pinterest traffic over our standard gains), so we diverted some of that money into more Facebook ads although our overall spending was down slightly- not that we’re complaining.

March Goals

We spent most of February working on completing the most recent phase of our SEO overhaul, and added target keywords and interlinking into our 750+ articles across two sites. As this amounted to hundreds upon hundreds of new keywords and probably 5,000 internal links, Google has some catching up to do.

We’re going to pause our SEO work for a month or two to give Google some time to respond to our changes so we can take stock in how they’re working. All signs point to good things, but we want to give it time anyway.

In the meantime, we’re going to shift focus to increasing affiliate sales moving forward and we have started a huge undertaking to add affiliate links into our top performing articles, create new product directories, and more. Hopefully they’ll all be integrated by the end of March and, if all goes well, producing results too!

Finally, we’re heading to Cuba at the end of the month for a much needed long weekend away from the office. We’ll have our monthly summary up a few days late in April!