Welcome to the 39th entry into our monthly income and traffic report!
In this monthly update we share our traffic, earning, and spending figures for our blogs 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.
March 2018 Traffic
Our traffic for the month of March was approximately 73,752. This was a monster increase of 23% on a per day basis from February, and up just under 44% from March 2017. It was also our best month by far.
This increase was primarily due to Google, and while we would like to take all of the credit for our newest SEO campaign, we have to be honest in stating that we just started it!
Yes, we only got around to optimizing about 10 posts in March (falling well short of our goal), and while we saw an immediate increase in traffic to these posts, we simply saw a massive rise in traffic overall (that was reported by many travel bloggers, not just us).
This gives us a lot of hope for our latest SEO plan, even though we’re still just getting started.
On the Discover the Burgh front, our traffic was 94,600 page views- up 20% on a per day basis from February.
We saw an even better jump in Google from our local blog, almost a 100% increase on some days, which we attest to the fact that Pittsburghers are finally waking up in spring. (Our traffic always seems to slow down in January/February).
But what is truly shocking here is that on some days our search traffic was almost high as our Christmas peak, which means that we also got some SEO improvement in our more conventional, non-seasonal articles as well.
Since our next category in this report is always income, you know what we are going to say about that.
March 2018 Income
Our income for March was $4,454- our second best month ever. This was only behind November 2017 when we had two rather large sponsored post orders.
But while this is the second largest income month we’ve had on paper, it is the largest we’ve had on what we would deem reliable income (namely affiliates and ad income).
Our breakdown was the following:
*CPM Ads: $2,693
Note: The above income is booked income, not received. Payments often range from just a few minutes to 90 days after being booked.
To start with the breakdown, we had a freelance order for $500. I can’t share the source of this one yet, but we’re really excited about it (in fact, probably our best one yet in terms of the outlet). In due time we will share more here.
Our affiliate income was a huge rise from previous months as we had a couple payments come in that were from sources we quite frankly forgot we had implemented. In all likelihood some of this came in from prevous months, but we’ll take it all the same.
We’ve also seen a rise in some of our more reliable affilaite streams, like Amazon and HotelsCombined, based on some of the SEO changes we’ve made. More traffic to converting posts = more conversions = more money. Yes!
Finally, we come to CPM ads, where we’ve had another awesome win this month.
The first, and the most obvious, reason for this is that we had a record traffic month on Living the Dream and traffic on the higher end of recent averages for Discover the Burgh. That, naturally, lends itself to good ad revenue.
The second reason is that Mediavine changed their ad structure around a bit and we optimized the new settings on our Top 50 or so posts. By doing this, we increased our site RPM by 50% overnight.
Yes, overnight. No, I am not even kidding (see Mediavine chart above for Discover the Burgh).
In what is perhaps the best part of all of this, we did this in the last week of March. So while we’re celebrating going from $60-$70 per day to $100-$120 per day on Mediavine reliably, our March CPM ads above only factored in a week of it!
We should have a 20% rise from there in April if our current traffic holds steady (and our jaws can be collectively found on the floor).
Records are made to be broken, and we’re ready for it in April.
March 2018 Expenses
Our expenses for the month of March were roughly $1,785, with the following breakdown:
*Facebook ads: $227
*Social Warfare: $58
Well, base spending was fun while it lasted.
I kid, I kid. I actually was planning for this for a while. We needed to upgrade Angie’s computer as hers was essentially a glorified brick (try doing anything on that) and we had some annual renewals come up as well.
Likewise, we bought a subscription to Keysearch to help with our SEO overhaul and it is already paying itself off through some of the improvements mentioned above.
Moving forward, we expect our baseline to be about $100 or so more each month as we’re going to be joining a few more programs and professional associations that have been on our to do list for a while.
Got to spend money to earn money, friends!
April 2018 Goals
Our goals section is following a similar pattern now. First we talk about our goals from the previous month, then we give an excuse for why we didn’t do it, and then we make up goals we kind of know we’re not going to achieve in the next month.
You can already tell what is about to happen.
Yeah we did not do any of our March goals, well, mostly.
We had every intention on working through Keysearch through 50 or so posts, but we only got through 10. The culprit here was the Mediavine change which took over things for a week or so as we saw it as immediate ROI- which turned out to be the case.
So April we’re going to dive into Keysearch more and hope to work through more posts, generate more traffic, and more money.
As for our outreach campaign on our local blog, well, the recent revenue jump has us thinking about approaching this one a little differently now so we’re going to pause this for a few more months.
April is going to be a month in the weeds, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Looking For Past Reports?
Unlike other websites who host an article series on this topic, we only have one article for our travel blog income and traffic reports.
We do this for a number of reasons, but it is mostly because we do not want dozens upon dozens of posts on our site to this one specific topic.
To compensate for this, we update this article every month based on our current data and share a graphical summary of our previous 24 months on a rolling basis. If you have any questions about data from a specific month we are happy to share more details via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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