November is a month of transitions: from autumn into winter, the start of the holiday season, the beginning-of-the-end of the year and wrapping up all my thoughts about that… It also turned out to be a month of firsts: my first speaking opportunity about astrotourism, Mr. V’s first day at a new job, and our first full month living on our houseboat.
Despite all this, I still spent over half the month on the road – and started to come up with my business plan for this blog (and Space Tourism Guide) in light of the seemingly-countless recent Google changes that have impacted my business and bottom line. As you’ll see, this month improved in some areas – and didn’t in others. Nevertheless, I’m more committed than ever to creating the best content I can about the destinations I know and love, and I hope – as we wind down 2019 and look forward to 2020 and a new decade – you’ll stick around for all the adventures to come.
- Travel: ✈️??
- Blogging: ??♀️
- Business: ??
This month’s photos were all taken on the inaugural sailing of the Norwegian Encore this month. I put a few of Mr. V in too for good measure!
Travel in November
November ended up being a busy month of travel though I hadn’t planned it that way. It was also an interesting mix of trips. From a “business” perspective, it was a month that included a speaking engagement, a conference, and a press trip.
But personally it was stargazing, visiting my favorite city, wedding dress shopping, and a relaxing trip with Mr. V. It’s all about perspective, and I’m going to keep the second one in mind.
- Destinations Visited: 5
- Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas
- Flights Taken: 8
- Days on the Road: 16 out of 30
November Travel Highlights & Lowlights
The best travel experience I had in November was… exploring London on a short stay. Visiting the pub with a good friend, finishing the London Wall Walk, and just feeling at home… Yep, London is still my favorite place!
The worst travel experience I had in November was… being insulted by a fellow speaker at an event. I won’t dig into the details, but the short version is that I was accused of payola in front of a crowd of speakers, and all I can say is that the person in question won’t be included in any story I write – for any amount of money. (Hashtag never insult the journalist you might someday want coverage from.)
My November travel highlight from years past was… my first big trip with Mr. V to Cancun in 2014. That was the trip where we first said ‘I love you!’ Awwwww….
Blogging in November
While traffic continues to be a thorn in my site – somehow I’m down further and further – I’ve been work at other projects over the last few months that I hope will help insulate me from Google’s continual attempts to strangle organic traffic.
- Pageviews: 61,308 (↓7% from October, ↑128% from November 2018)
- Unique Visitors: 52,844
- Traffic Breakdown by Sessions*:
- Organic: 39,148 (80%)
- Social: 4,646 (9%)
- Direct: 4,367 (9%)
- Referral: 750 (2%)
- Email: 233 (<1%)
- Most Popular Post: The Complete Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Guide
*These numbers will not add up to pageviews, but will be a more accurate representation of how I acquired traffic.
Posts I Published in November
Following the traffic slump that started in September and has not improved, I scaled way back on my publishing schedule to focus just on writing about the destinations I know and love – California, Alaska, London, you know the deal:
- 3 Days in San Jose: A South Bay Weekend Getaway
- Alaska Bucket List: 45+ Ultimate Things to Do in Alaska
- How to Do the London Wall Walk: A Self-Guided Walking Tour
- The V&V Gift Guide: 10 Travel Essentials I Never Leave Home [2019 Edition]
- How to Pick the Perfect Color Tieks – For Your First Pair or 50th!
I also updated my big Tieks review for 2020, if you’re interested in seeing how I feel about them now that I’ve gone through two pairs (and just bought my third!).
Freelance Writing in November
I haven’t been focusing on freelance writing much either what with all the travel I’ve been up to… This is something I need to get back to in the new year!
Blogging Highlights & Lowlights
The highlight of blogging in November was… writing some posts I’ve had on my wish list to write for a while. At a certain point, when Google just takes away your traffic, you either give up or you write what you love. I went with the latter!
The lowlight of blogging in November was… traffic, yet again. Nothing to be done about it except try and work smarter and a little bit harder than Google.
Business in November
After a dire looking October, November returns with increased advertising budget – and gift guides that produce affiliate income. I also finally got my first payment for my Central Asia trip, which helped a lot. While my traffic has fallen off from the level of getting sponsored campaigns and trips, I can see why people can level up their income with this type of work.
- Advertising income: $1,924 (↑20% over October)
- Affiliate income: $1,082 (↓4% over October)
- Product income: $26 (↑333% over October)
- Sponsored content/campaigns: $1110 (↑100% over October)
- Blogging product/service income: $500 (↑100% over October)
- Other income: $0
Total income for November 2019: $4,643 (↑44% from October)
Months I’ve been blogging: 74*
*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 November was… income moving back in the right direction – despite traffic doing the opposite. It feels good to know that I can improve income through other areas beyond just relying on advertising income on organic traffic from Google.
The business lowlight for November was… the final death of my travel journal income. Historically, my travel journal has done well in the holiday season, but it has fallen far enough in Amazon’s algorithm that it doesn’t rank well anymore. I have a few projects in mind for 2020 that will teach me more about how I can improve this by next winter!
Upcoming in December
As I write this, I can say with reasonable confidence that December may well be the first and only month of 2019 where I’m not planning any travel at all. I had two trips in the works (a fun NASA Social in New Orleans and an electric National Park road trip), but I’m feeling a bit worn out after the last year and would like to take this holiday season to settle in at home and strategize for the year and decade to come.
That said, the best laid plans often change, so I may end up winging somewhere fun if the right opportunity arises. You know me – I don’t say no to most travel if it interests me!
Do you have any travel plans in December? Questions about this month’s report? Let me know in the comments.
Until next month! ✌?❤️✈️