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It was April. Nobody traveled. Everyone felt antsy about it. I celebrated my birthday and kept blogging.

What else can I say?

TL;DR: 

  • Travel: ??‍♀️
  • Blogging: ?
  • Income: ?

This month’s photos were taken on trips in past April trips. The featured image was taken in Milwaukee doing yoga on my 30th birthday.

Travel in April

UnCruise Hawaii - Day 5 - Valerie with Frozen Pineapple
Exploring Hawaii in April 2019
  • Destinations Visited: 0
  • Flights Taken: 0
  • Days on the Road: 0 out of 30

As the Shelter in Place order is still in place in the San Francisco Bay Area – and will be through at least May 30 – the furthest I traveled from home in April was to Home Depot in San Rafael. (Sidebar: did you know that home renovation is super popular during recessions?)

That said, I have no gorgeous travel photos to share, no flights registered, no time on the road clocked. I’m starting to feel wistful about airplane food and flight delays, which really shows how my perspective has changed!

My birthday was late this month and I really wanted to go somewhere – just a short drive, ya know? It was our 6th week of ‘lockdown,’ and even an hour or two in the car would be a great escape. But then I thought about how the virus doesn’t take a break just because it’s my birthday, and I wouldn’t want to be the reason anyone else got sick – nor do I want to get sick myself. So I stayed home. (And you should too! Stop going non-essential places!)

April Travel Highlights & Lowlights

The best travel experience I had in April was… riding my bike to the post office last week. I hadn’t been on my bike in a few months and it felt great to have the wind in my hair and fly across the pavement. It’s the little things, people.

The worst travel experience I had in April was… not traveling.

My April travel highlight from years past was… UnCruising in Hawaii (last year), celebrating my 30th birthday at the Wizarding World in Hollywood (2017), and kicking off my long-term travel adventure with Mr. V in New Orleans (2016). April has usually been a good month for travel – I guess I just needed 2020 to take the month off! ?

Blogging in April

On Cartagena’s colorful streets in April 2017

While this month’s numbers don’t look great, I’m actually really happy with them. What you can’t see in losing another half of my traffic from March to April (putting me down almost 75% since January!) is that we hit rock-bottom mid-month. Even if people aren’t booking trips right now, they’re starting to think about and research them – and that’s showing in small signs of growth!

  • Pageviews: 30,850 (↓44% from March, ↓62% from April 2019)
  • Unique Visitors: 87%
  • Traffic Breakdown:
    • Organic: 74%
    • Social: 11%
    • Direct: 10%
    • Referral: 4%
    • Email: 1%

Most Popular New Post: The 17 Best Stops on the Pacific Coast Highway

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Blog Posts I Published in April

I firmly believe that the travel bloggers who keep producing content right now will be best placed to win market share when people can travel again. To that end, I’ve been writing a ton:

I also shared an update in my 40 Before 40 series on my birthday and rewrote my posts about visiting the San Juan Islands in Washington and did a big overhaul on my beloved Pacific Coast Highway guide.

April Blogging Highlights & Lowlights

The highlight of blogging in April was… knowing that people are still interested in travel, even if they can’t go right now/this year as planned. It gives me energy to keep writing even if people don’t use my recommendations untily 2021.

The lowlight of blogging in April was… realizing that the Alaska 2020 summer season will basically not happen. I’ve been advising readers to hold reservations in August and September, but I think that 6-week window is the absolute most we’ll get this year – if it happens at all. (I’m still planning to go on my Alaska cruise in September if you want to join me!)

Business in April

St. George - Featured - Valerie in Red Cliffs
Among the Red Rocks near St. George, Utah

For the first time in a long time, income and traffic are behaving slightly differently. As I mentioned in last month’s recap, income falls first and more dramatically – and takes longer to recover.

This month, my income fell again (as did traffic) – but here’s the important part: income did not fall more than traffic fell. I think the majority of my income losses have happened (in % terms). While the raw $ amount is still lower than March, I’m actually earning more per visitor (tRPM) this month than I did last month.

April Income Report

  • Advertising income: 18%
  • Affiliate income: 70%
  • Product income: 4%
  • Sponsored content/campaigns: 0%
  • Blogging product/service income: 8%

Total income for April 2020: $2,496 (↓29% from March)
Months I’ve been blogging: 79*

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*I share this number so you can see how long it has taken to earn this much. ‘Overnight success’ usually requires years of hard work – this blog is no exception.

Business Highlights & Lowlights

The business highlight for April was… seeing tRPM rise. For those who aren’t in my Blogging BOSS course, tRPM stands for “total revenue per thousand visitors,” and it’s a handy metric to understand how much money I make for each person reading my blog. It’s a metric I came up with myself, and I’ve found it super handy for understanding my site performance especially compared with other bloggers who are generous enough to share their income and traffic stats too.

Anyway, tRPM rose 27% from March to April – buoyed by one of my biggest affiliates, which always sees a spike in sales around Tax Refund Season. However, 2020 is different because taxes weren’t due this year in April (we’ve had an extension in the U.S.) so this bump was only partially explained by that.

The point is, I made more money per person, even though fewer people came to my site. That’s a win!

The business lowlight for April was… seeing ad revenue fall to half of the percentage of income it was before Coronavirus. Since advertisers don’t want to or can’t run ads due to the coronavirus, my ad revenue lost a significant chunk of ‘market share in my income breakdown (falling from 36% of March income to only 18% this month).

The main concern here is a lack of diversification. Diversifying my income streams has been an ongoing part of my blogging strategy and something I recommend for all bloggers. I don’t want to be too reliant on affiliate income – so I need to work on increasing other pieces of the pie (Products is my big focus right now…) to help ensure I don’t lose everything if something changes in my affiliate marketing setup.

Upcoming in May

My plans: Stay home. Shelter in place. Save lives – including my own and my neighbors. Go kayaking in the new kayak Mr. V and I bought. Sit up on the top deck on our new patio furniture. Write about Harry Potter and space and possibly more Tiki drinks.

You?

Until next month! ✌️❤️✈️

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