August 2016 Travel Blog Income Report + Special Announcement
I’m going to begin August’s travel blog income report a little differently with a huge announcement. Those of you who follow me on SnapChat already know what I’m about to announce as I leaked it during my trip to Phoenix earlier this month.
Regular readers of this blog may have noticed some of the family travel posts that have been creeping in since Deacon’s birth. I know that really doesn’t fit the overall beer-travel theme of this blog. However, I can’t help but to write about what I’m living and family travel is what I’m living. Deacon is 11-months old and already he’s been to The Villages, New York City, Carolina Beach, and Phoenix.
Thus, family travel writing is a natural new theme for me as together we navigate airplanes, road trips, time zones, and hotels as a family. While I still plan to cover many of our family adventures here on The Wandering Gourmand, I’m excited to announce that I’ll also be writing for Travel Mamas as their new contributor – the Hungry Daddy – where I’ll be talking about family travel from a Dad’s perspective. Expect my first post later this month. I’ll be sure to share it on my Facebook page.
August was yet another month of rebuilding
As you read in my last income report, our life is upside right now with Shannan’s lay-off and the nose-dive the blog took in July. Instead of making rash decisions, we decided to take a break and contemplate family goals and life directions. Thus, we booked a beach vacation with the conscious effort to unplug completely from work, job searching, and social media. Our goal was to not only be together as a family, but have serious conversations about our plans for the next five years and beyond.
I wish I could say we came away with some great epiphany, but I’m starting to think that form of clarity only happens in the movies. Instead, we came away with a better understanding of what each of us sees for our family’s direction with a raw plan to start aiming our lives in the proper direction. It’s something that we were forced to revisit again after evaluating August’s income and traffic numbers. But more on that later…
Travel Blog Income Report
August was a definite improvement over July, but I’m still $1,500 off from my goal for the month. While this discourages me slightly, August was my second highest revenue-generating month of the year and my most profitable month as I was able to reign in high operating costs that have been plaguing my expense report. The biggest bump was from the elimination of my VA. While she was doing an awesome job, I couldn’t justify her expense with Shannan at home taking the stay-at-home parent duty away from me.
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but my issue with achieving my income goals is diversification of income. While August may be my second best month of the year for income, it was my worst for diversification. A whopping 88% of my income came from freelance alone with 10% coming from sponsored posts and 2% coming from affiliate source. Missing altogether is course income and brand ambassador income.
Good or bad, most of this rests on my shoulders as I had to make some hard decisions over the summer. Even amidst the desperate need for income, I fired two consistent clients. First, I stopped working with two regular blog sponsors. They changed their rules which would force me to write articles that wouldn’t fit my audience. Thus, we parted ways. Second, I stopped working with my brand ambassador client. The longer we worked together, the more I questioned their ethics. Lastly, the course income is gone because I just can’t find the time to implement the marketing plan to launch. It’s a terrible excuse. I know.
Fortunately, my freelance income is up as are the number of clients I’m working with. Currently, I have 10 reoccurring clients. This is the highest number I’ve worked with yet. This is all the result of major hustle in July to beef up my pitching. In fact, I pitched so much, that in August I had little time to pitch new projects as most of my freelance time was filled with writing. That writing, bled into blogging time which also accounts for the lack of posts.
Thus, I’ve reached a quagmire in which I’d love to hear from others in the freelance travel writing and blogging space. As my freelance writing continues to grow, do I start to dial back the effort on my blog? It seems like no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get the blog to take off. I constantly receive positive feedback on my writing (which is why editors are hiring me), but my writing isn’t attracting a community at the blog. However, if I spend more time freelancing, I’m not building anything I own, and the larger pools of money comes from retaining ownership of your work.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment in the comments section below.
Travel Blog Traffic Report
Wowsers is all I have to say about my travel blog traffic report. It has taken a nose-dive over the past few months. There is some good news though – I know what the problem is. My site is so slow that Google won’t even register it. That’s right, when I was signing up for Google Ads, they told me my site didn’t exist to their robots because it was so slow. Which is another reason why I haven’t posted much lately. We are digging into the speed issues starting with caching and image optimization.
I really should have seen this coming. I’ve been so excited to watch the growth in traffic from Pinterest, that I failed to notice Google search completely disappear from my top 10 referrals.
I am quite happy with my top five posts. As the trend has been showing, everything is either recent, a high affiliate earning post, or beer travel related.
- What to Wear in Europe
- 48 Hours in Asheville, North Carolina: A Self-Guided Brewery Tour
- 72 Hours in St Simons Island, Georgia
- Aruba Beer Guide
- July 2016 Travel Blog Income Report
Travel Blog Social Media Report
Also on traffic and social media, you may also notice that Instagram is no longer a social media account I keep track of. I’ve made the strategic decision to quit using it. I’ve never been good at it and had way too many social media channels going between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and now SnapChat. I kept Facebook and Pinterest because of the sheer traffic I receive from referrals, Twitter for the followers that keep climbing, and Snapchat because I have fun with it and can show my personality.
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