Just like that, 2019 is off with a bang! 1/12th of the year has already passed – time flies when you’re having fun and writing blog posts all the time, doesn’t it? ?
For this month’s recap, I’m delighted to share that January was an all-time great month for the blog. So many of you are new readers, I received heart-warming comments and questions, and all the hard work in the past few months is starting to pay off. 2019 is lookin’ real good right now, and we still have 11/12th of it left to experience!
- Travel: ?
- Blogging: ??
- Business: ?
This month’s photos were taken on my various California adventures.
Travel in January
January was a pretty quiet month, following on the pattern I seem to have fallen into of a heavy travel month (December), followed by a moderate travel month (January), and a quiet travel month (February).
- Destinations Visited: 3
- San Francisco (a formal staycation!)
- Volcano & Amador County
- Mount Shasta & Siskiyou County
- Salt Lake City
- Flights Taken: 1
- Days on the Road: 8 out of 31
January Travel Highlights & Lowlights
The best travel experience I had in January was… the moment I walked into our room at the Fairmont San Francisco. On our staycation, Mr. V and I were fortunate to do a combo partnership/gift certificate redemption for a two-night stay. The Fairmont did it right and put us in a stunning high-level corner room. ?? Bravo to their team for understanding how to put ‘influencers’ in a hotel for maximum impact. (Honestly, I would live in that room forever if they let me!)
The worst travel experience I had in January was… being so insufferably sick while traveling to Siskiyou County. I had worked with the tourism board to plan a great weekend trip but was so sick that almost every activity we did was unpleasant (if not miserable). This doesn’t reflect my experience of the towns we visited – but I’m keen to plan a second trip so I can actually enjoy it this time!
A close second is getting clouded out from seeing the lunar eclipse at Mount Shasta. That was the whole point of the trip! I tried to keep good spirits, but I’m definitely disappointed.
Blogging in January
I finally see the light on this blogging journey!
Woo, January bump! January is known to be the best month of the year for travel blogging traffic*, and this January was no exception for me. It was another traffic record-shattering month, and I am so close to a major traffic milestone that I can smell it! (One more day, and I would have broken 50k unique visitors!)
*I also see a massive bump in July (usually higher than January) because I have tons of summer content, so I’m super excited to see how high we go this summer!
- Pageviews: 55,764 (↑44% from December, ↑262% from January 2018)
- Unique Visitors: 48,784 (welcome, new friends! ?)
- Traffic Breakdown by Sessions*:
- Organic: 28,212 (76%)
- Social: 5,197 (14%)
- Direct: 2,817 (8%)
- Referral: 619 (2%)
- Email: 50 (<0.2%) ??♀️
- Most Popular Post: The Ultimate 10-Day Pacific Coast Highway Guide
Last month, I joked about partnering with some destinations to improve my PCH guide since it’s the best post on my site – I’m happy to report I started some discussions there this month!
*These numbers will not add up to pageviews, but is a more accurate representation of how I acquired traffic.
Posts I Published in January
It was a busy month! I published a fair amount:
A Mantra for 2019 for Writing, Travel & Life – a post I write yearly where I choose a new word to guide me through the year
Where to Travel in 2019 (aka How to Spend Your PTO This Year) – a new post this year, where I highlighted 12 destinations, one for each month, that I think you should travel to
Travel, Blogging & Business Recap: December 2018 – this post rounded out the reports from last year
I also wrote a lot about Seattle, including a guide for 3 days in Seattle based on my own time living and traveling there. I updated my packing list for Seattle, as well as my Olympic Peninsula road trip guide (#roadtripqueen). Lastly, I published a brand new article last night about weekend trips from Seattle, with the help of a few blogger friends.
Phew, that was a busy month! (February’s not slowing down! ?)
Freelance Writing in January
I had one story published in January, but I’m ~*delighted*~ by it, so it’s worth being the only one. I had my first story published in the San Francisco Chronicle! This is my ‘hometown paper,’ and the story ran in print! ~*swoon*~
Here’s the digital version: Geek out on outer space at these 5 spots in L.A.
Literally the only photo of me where I don’t look like death; Mr. V inside a cave
January Blogging Highlights & Lowlights
January was a great month – I published a lot and saw my traffic grow. What more can I ask for?
The highlight of blogging in January was… starting to feel like a real big, grown-up blogger. After five years in the space, I’m finally feeling confident that Google trusts me (thanks for those high rankings, Big G!), readers are finding value in my stories (thanks for all those comments), and I do have compelling stories to tell.
The lowlight of blogging in January was… the sucky feeling I got when I worried about meeting my goals with my accountability group. New this year, I’ve teamed up with two fellow bloggers (Ashley from My Wanderlusty Life and Tim from Annual Adventure) to set wagers and be more accountable to our goals. Each week, we set goals and put real hard-earned money on the line to meet those goals. It’s been effective, as I only missed one week’s goals (the week I was sick) but I’ve published a TON. ?
If you’re a fellow blogger reading this, get yourself an accountability buddy and put real dollars on the line. It’s shockingly motivating.
Business in January
I finally feel like I’m on the right path here!
- Advertising income: $740 (↑7% over December)
- Affiliate income: $352 (↑11% over December)
- Product income: $164 (↓71% over December)
- Other income: $0 ??♀️
Total income for January 2019: $1,256 (↓20%* over December)
*Starting this month, I will no longer report on STG income here. This decrease is compared to my V&V earnings in December only, and won’t match the number I gave last month.
Business Highlights & Lowlights
The business highlight for January was… makin’ the monies! With the help of my ad network, Mediavine, My traffic is up 262% from January 2018 – and my earnings are up 366%! Good thing I have all those student loans to pay so I don’t spend my money on anything frivolous… ??♀️
The business lowlight for January was… how low advertising RPMs go in January. You may have noticed that my traffic increased by 44% from last month, but my income only increased by 7%. That’s because advertisers spend waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay less in January than December. Just think how much I could have earned!
Upcoming in February
February is a blissfully quiet travel month, as I mentioned earlier. I’m currently in Salt Lake City for a working holiday trip while Mr. V is here for a conference… and that’s the only travel on my schedule!
March, as one would predict based on my high-medium-low travel pattern, is going to be a bit bananas. ? So I’m taking full advantage of February to do a lot of work and hopefully get ahead on articles to publish during next month’s hectic schedule. I know my accountability group will hold me to it! ?
Until next month!