Travel Blog Income and Traffic Report #27 – March 2017

Welcome to the 27th 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 March 2017 Traffic

Our page views for the month of March were approximately 51,200- down approximately 0.5% on a per-day basis from February. This traffic was up approximately 32% from March 2016.

We had very little change from February to March in our traffic sources, and our Google traffic was up slightly while our Pinterest traffic was down slightly. The latter was due to our Pinterest VA having to take an abrupt break, which we have decided to maintain throughout 2017 for personal financial reasons. Hopefully we’ll be able to take over some of this manually to keep the traffic going, but we will see!

On the Discover the Burgh front we had a huge month thanks to a viral Facebook share and received 199,600 page views! This was a gain of 184% from our traffic in February. As with most viral bursts, this one was not really the traffic we wanted and was mostly bounce traffic, but the ad income did go up a bit which I’ll never complain about. When we level out we hope to be at around 125,000 to 150,000 page views per month of quality traffic- not a bad gain from the viral share (and a huge jump in Google views, too!).

Overall, we’re still struggling in growing our traffic for Living the Dream, but Discover the Burgh does not seem to be approaching a cap anytime soon at all. I’ll take that for now!

Living the Dream’s March 2017 Income

Our income for the month of March was approximately $1,286 with the following breakdown:

Adsense: $218
Amazon CPM: $395
Amazon Affiliates: $143
Other Affiliates: $390
Freelance: $130
Book Sales: $10

Overall, I really like this jump quite a bit. The CPM ads were definitely up from the viral surge (but due to the bounce rate was lower than I’d have hoped as only a small percentage of our ads likely triggered) and we’re seeing a huge gain in referrals now that people are starting to plan summer travels as well.

Our next big test will be to move away from Amazon and Adsense CPM ads altogether and join a private ad network for higher CPM rates. We’re in the process of negotiating with a network right now, and hope to have them integrated within the month (if not early May) to supercharge our earnings!

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

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Living the Dream’s February 2017 Expenses

Our expenses for the month of March were approximately $998 with the following breakdown:

Staff Articles: $300
Hosting (2 sites): $200
Mailchimp: $75
Facebook ads: $245
Social Warefare Plug-In: $58
Flickr Renewal: $45
PTBA Renewal: $75

As we mentioned above, we are no longer working with our Pinterest VA for the rest of the year (unfortunately), which decreased our spending slightly on what we call the “staple” spending. This offset the higher staff article spending we had for the month as Rylei submitted her final articles for us from her long-term trip. We also had a few one-off renewals such as a plug-in, Flickr, and our professional travel blogging association membership which pushed us up overall.

Moving forward we’re going to have a lower than average spending from ceasing work with our VA, but we will be using this money for other projects in the near-term like moving to secure servers (which we hope to do one per month in April and May). We shall see!

April Goals

Our primary goals for March were to sit back and let our SEO changes take hold as well as integrate affiliate links into our top performing articles.

This was mostly all accomplished by the end of the month before we went to Cuba (yay!) and now we’re going to spend a bit of time collecting data on sales and tinkering with it to make more conversions (plus add more affiliate links when we find them).

Our major project of the month is going to be playing catch-up on writing articles as we have about a dozen or so we still need to write for Discover the Burgh, a few more we need to write from our recent trip to Puerto Rico here, a couple blogging articles, as well as a ton of new ideas from our trip to Cuba!

Aside from that, we hope to be fully integrated into our new ad network by the end of the month and also have one, if not both sites migrated over to secure hosting to further increase our SEO rankings.

A light month indeed.

Check back at the beginning of May to see how we did!