As November winds down and December begins, I always get a bit thoughtful and reflective. Maybe I’m weird, but I love the end of each year and the start of the next. It gives me time to look back on what I’ve accomplished and set new goals for the coming year. December is an important month because I contemplate my annual mantra for the coming year which helps me detail exactly what I want to focus on.
Since I restarted these ‘monthly recap’ posts in September, I find myself looking forward to writing them. They’re one of the few times I’m not worried about SEO, or promotion, or making people love my stuff. It’s just me, sharing with you exactly what I did this month, and how well it worked. Luckily November was another great month, so I even feel great about sharing how my well efforts paid off.
Travel in November
Starry nights & big trees in Calaveras County
Following several months of pretty crazy travel, it was really nice to have a month off. November was the month I’ve traveled the least since May! However, I was able to catch up on life at home, celebrate Thanksgiving here in Oakland, and blog like crazy.
- Destinations Visited: 1
- Calaveras County, California
- Flights Taken: 0
- Days on the Road: 2 out of 30
November Travel Highlights & Lowlights
The best travel experience I had in November was… stargazing in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. While the star party we attended that evening was fun, Mr. V and I hung around after the event wrapped up and I took some amazing photos of the moon through one of the high-powered telescopes. It was also fun to connect with the astronomers hanging around.
The worst travel experience I had in November was… mixing up my itinerary in Murphy, CA. Even as a ‘pro’ traveler, I make mistakes while traveling. For example, I mixed up the locations for a wine tasting, and made the winemaker wait for me… to never show up! I feel pretty bad about it still, and trust me that I’ll be checking addresses on every itinerary going forward!
Blogging in November
Hard at work capturing the Giant Sequoias
Depending on the distribution of posts on any given blog, November can either be a slow month due to seasonality – or a great month. In my case, it’s one of my great months, because of the very first post I wrote (that still exists). That post is unsurprisingly my most popular post of the month, and helped drive some great growth over October and last year.
- Pageviews: 26,788 (↑29% from October, ↑177% from November 2017)
- Unique Visitors: 23,713
- Traffic Breakdown by Sessions*:
- Organic: 10,946 (76%)
- Social: 1,510 (10%)
- Direct: 1,292 (9%)
- Referral: 588 (4%)
- Email: 14 (<1%) ??
- Most Popular Post: Should You Visit Prague in January? Here are Six Reasons Why
*These numbers will not add up to pageviews, but will be a more accurate representation of how I acquired traffic.
Aside from my email traffic, I’m really pleased with this month. It’s the second highest month I’ve had ever on this blog and a strong signal that 2019 will be another banner year.
Posts I Published in November
Ireland – You’ve probably noticed if you’ve visited the V&V homepage lately, but I shared a lot of Ireland content in November. I wrote a brand new guide for spending 3 Days in Dublin and rewrote my guide to taking an Ireland Road Trip. I also wrote a new type of blog post about what you actually need to pack… for Ireland (big surprise!). I also rewrote my tips for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin and published a St. Paddy’s packing list.
London – I also published a lot of content about London, my favorite city in the world. I poured my heart, soul, and 8,000+ words into 10 Days in London: The Best Things to See & Do, which will hopefully be the only post you ever need if you’re planning a trip. I also updated The 18 Sights You Absolutely Must See in London (it used to only have 14 sights!) and fixed photos on Why St. Paul’s Cathedral is My Favorite Spot in London, because it’s important to keep old posts fresh! Lastly, I published 10 Things You *Actually* Need to Pack for London which I hope will someday outrank the other junky London packing lists currently served on Google’s first page for that keyword.
Freelance Writing in November
Blogging Highlights & Lowlights
The highlight of blogging in November was… a banner month for traffic and revenue. I was really discouraged as my traffic fell in August and September. Honestly, it was probably the result of some Google changes, but it started to reverse in October – and continued to gain steam in November as my Prague-in-January post gained steam. That traffic helped me make some pretty decent income too, which is also nice.
The lowlight of blogging in November was… how long it takes to create great content. I don’t know if you guys know this, but writing these behemoth posts I’ve been producing (3 Days in Dublin, 10 Days in Ireland, 10 Days in London…), they are so time-consuming. Some of these take multiple days of 2-3 hour sessions – and another 2-3 hours to choose and organize the photos! I’m fortunate that my finances currently allow me to focus half-time on my websites and can devote the time, but if you’ve missed those recent posts, go check em out!
Business in November
Mr. V was feeling very JJ Abrams with this lens flare…
In November, I launched Mediavine ads here, after qualifying because Space Tourism Guide is already a member of that ad network. This was a ~*brilliant*~ idea, if I do say so myself. I got set up a few weeks before Black Friday, which is one of the biggest earning days of the year. It’s likely that V&V will out-earn STG going forward too… which I can’t complain about!
- Advertising income: $360 (↑271% over October)
- Affiliate income: $169 (↑107% over October)
- Product income: $215 (↑218% over October)
- Space Tourism Guide income: $634 (↑29% over October)
- Other income: $0
Total income for November 2018: $1,378 (↑87% over October)
Business Highlights & Lowlights
The business highlight for November was… makin’ it rain! ?? Excuse me while I go buy something space-y… I mean pay my student loans… ?
The business lowlight for November was… how much time and work it takes to make this money. I haven’t done the math, but my guess is that my “hourly rate equivalent” for work this month was not too high. Good thing I love what I do!
Upcoming in December
December is shaping up to be another travel-heavy month – similar to September. My current travel plans have me on the road 18 of 31 days. This includes several space-associated trips here in California, a cool space-related consulting gig in Baja California Sur, and a snowy week of family time in northern Minnesota.
While travel is the dream, it actually means I’ll get less time to work my two websites than I want. I’m hoping that I can take advantage of time on flights to stay on the continually aggressive schedule I’ve set for December.
I hope that you’ll keep coming back to new stories this month, but if you see a small gap, don’t worry – I’ll be back. I only have four days of travel planned for January… for now!
Until next month!