Ah, February. We have a love-hate relationship: it’s a short month, which means less time to earn traffic and income. It’s also the most miserable winter month for me and my mental health, which is made more difficult when I’m self-employed.
Despite these hurdles, this month actually turned out pretty good from a blogging and income perspective. I didn’t travel much, I wrote a ton, and I think I’m set up pretty well to have a kick-ass rest of 2019. Read on to see how February ended up.
- Travel: 🏡
- Blogging: 📊
- Income: 💰
This month’s photos were taken at various points in these first two months of 2019, and the stargazing pics are from Calaveras County and Rancho Cacachilas.
Travel in February
As I mentioned in January, February was planned as a quiet month of travel. It definitely turned out that way – which is good as I have a lot of travel coming up basically every month until the end of the year!
- Destinations Visited: 1
- Salt Lake City
- Flights Taken: 1
- Days on the Road: 3 out of 28
February Travel Highlights & Lowlights
The best travel experience I had in February was… hot chocolate at the St. Regis Deer Valley. As I didn’t travel much in February, I only had a few days and experiences to choose from. But discovering the free hot chocolate bar and looking out over the ski runs was a nice winter experience in the otherwise rainy California winter we’re having.
The worst travel experience I had in February was… feeling quite ill in Park City. I’m not sure if it was an issue with the elevation or what, but part of the time Mr. V and I were exploring Park City I was really wiped out and didn’t feel good.
Blogging in February
February is a notoriously difficult month for travel blogging, because it’s A) coming off the high point of the year in January and B) a short month. With three fewer days than January or March, February almost always looks “bad.” However, this year was a surprisingly strong February!
- Pageviews: 52,733 (↓5% from January, ↑279% from February 2018)
- Unique Visitors: 45,244
- Traffic Breakdown by Sessions*:
- Organic: 26,809 (76%)
- Social: 4,587 (13%)
- Direct: 3,389 (9%)
- Referral: 465 (1%)
- Email: 9 (<0.1%) 😭
- Most Popular Post: The Ultimate 10-Day Pacific Coast Highway Guide
While this is, on the whole, great performance for my blog in a short month, I’m a bit bummed about the email numbers there. I started two new email marketing funnels to try and help my readers get all the info they need and come back to the site again… yet it seems to have had very little impact on my traffic! I’ll have to investigate this further in coming months.
*These numbers will not add up to pageviews, but is a more accurate representation of how I acquired traffic.
Posts I Published in February
My goal this month was to publish a bunch of posts about travel in California, as I’ve lived here for over a year now. I put out three-day guides to Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Siskiyou County. I also published my guide to three days in San Francisco – a post I’ve wanted to write for a long time because I live here now and want people to trust my advice about traveling in the area. Also, I updated my San Francisco packing guide, to compliment that guide and itinerary.
I also updated my Pacific Coast Highway post for 2019. I try and do this every winter as it’s my most popular post by miles and I want people to have the best resources possible.
Freelance Writing in February
I didn’t have any stories published in February, as I’ve been busy on another book project. Hopefully, I’ll have more to share in March!
February Blogging Highlights & Lowlights
This month was good, but there’s always room to improve! I’m looking forward to finding a better balance… you might remember that was my 2018 mantra! (Still working on it, obvs!)
The highlight of blogging in February was… seeing traffic remain strong despite seasonality. For years, I’ve struggled to maintain my momentum in February because of the posts I have and when they do well in Google (Prague in January, I’m lookin, at you!). In November, I wrote a few posts to try and combat this – specifically about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin (which of course occurs in March) and visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington (which occurs in April). These posts, along with strong performance from non-seasonal posts, have insulated me from the double-digit losses I usually see this month.
The lowlight of blogging in February was… struggling with motivation. Despite my awesome accountability group, I really struggled to keep my energy up for writing this month. I’ve noticed this has happened both times I’ve worked on books alongside trying to write posts. (In September & October when I was working on my first book, I hardly wrote posts here at all!) Now I know: if I’m working on a book, I need to give myself a break to avoid burnout.
Business in February
- Advertising income: $925 (↑25% from January)
- Affiliate income: $443 (↑26% from January)
- Product income: $96 (↓41% from January)
- Other income: $0
Total income for February 2019: $1464 (↑17% from January)
(One note I’ve never made… This is NOT my only income source. I don’t want anyone to think I’m living off this much while kickin’ it in the Bay Area. I have several other income streams!)
Business Highlights & Lowlights
The business highlight for February was… income growth over January! In particular, my advertising and affiliate income both grew, as RPMs (rates per thousand readers) improved and I made some optimizations to my affiliate marketing strategy (including the email funnels I mentioned above). That’s obviously working, and I’m excited to see how much my income and traffic will grow as we head into the summer months (typically my peak season in the year!).
The business lowlight for February was… my product income. That $96 earned from my travel journal is a significant drop month over month – but it’s also almost a 50% drop year over year! Amazon seems to be moving my product down the results for ‘Travel Journal,’ and I want to come up with a plan to improve that in the later part of the year.
Upcoming in March
March is going to be the first of… about 10 months worth of amazing travel. On Monday (the 4th), I’m off to Chile for two weeks. I’m spending the first few days in the Elqui Valley – one of the best stargazing destinations in the world. Then I’m meeting blogger friends Ashley, Tim, Julianne, and Kay in Santiago for a week of hiking, wine tasting, and exploration.
Then I’m back in the Bay Area for a few weeks before the end of the month, when Mr. V and I are zipping off to Hawaii. The month ends with us boarding the UnCruise Safari Explorer for a week-long cruise from Molokai to Maui to Hawaii. Bring on the beaches!
Until next month! ✌️❤️✈️