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Okay, friends, you asked for it! Or rather, I asked if you wanted it, and you said yes!

If I wrote monthly travel/income blog posts, would you read ’em?

Part II: Reply & let me know if you’re a blogger or non-blogger…

— Valerie Stimac ? (@Valerie_Valise) September 19, 2018

Without further ado, I’ve put together some notes on September 2018, and all the travel, blogging, and business therein.

Travel in September

Space Needle Lower Deck
The view on the Space Needle Lower Deck, with the new glass floor.

This month was the most traveling I’ve done in a long time! I had a lot of ‘events and occasions’ going on, which meant I was on the road far more than I usually am – or than I prefer to be. Yes, there is such a thing as too much travel!

  • Destinations Visited: 5
    • London – my five-year MBA reunion
    • Portland (Oregon) – a friend’s wedding
    • Seattle – a work trip to see the new Space Needle
    • Barbados – for the SATW annual convention
    • Dominica – a conference post trip
  • Flights Taken: 11
  • Days on the Road: 18 out of 30

September Travel Highlights & Lowlights

The best travel experience I had in September was… Gosh, this is a hard one! If I have to pick just one, my five-year MBA reunion in London was a joy. I planned the event and it brought together friends from around the world, many of whom I hadn’t seen in that five-year timeframe! People flew to London from as far away as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Dubai, and Paraguay.

Hult Reunion Group
The classmates who came together for our five-year reunion.

The worst travel experience I had in September was… waiting out Tropical Storm Kirk in Barbados instead of traveling to Dominica. “But you were stuck in paradise!,” you’re thinking. Paradise in a tropical storm means wind and rain, friends. I did catch up on work at least!

Blogging in September

Exploring Barbados - Kerrick James
Exploring Barbados – Photo by Kerrick James

After a banner summer (July was the highest traffic month I’ve ever had), my traffic has been tapering off. This is mostly because the keywords I rank for in Google are heavily focused on summer destinations, like Alaska and the Pacific Coast Highway.

Posts I Published in September

3 Days in Kent, Washington: A Foodie Getaway from Seattle – This post about my trip to Kent in August was the only thing I published! It is one of the ones I’m most proud of this year though, as my photography (especially food photography) continues to improve. I think I did real justice to this destination, especially for Seattle-area travelers who love food!

I also had one freelance story published in September: San Francisco is creating its own ‘High Line’ to rival NYC in Lonely Planet News.

Blogging Highlights & Lowlights

The highlight of blogging in September was… spending time focusing on some planning for content over the coming year. As you’ll see below, realizing I only have winter and summer keywords means that in autumn and spring each year, I’m going to experience “traffic slumps.” I spent time looking at my list of “destinations to write about someday” and researching when they are popular. I’m also planning to try and cover them to help balance my traffic over the whole year.

The lowlight of blogging in September was… realizing I’m uneven in the destinations and seasons I can earn traffic for. SEO for travel destinations is a game of seasonality, and I didn’t quite realize how much of an imbalance I had. Now that I’m aware, I can start planning to try and insulate my site from these big seasonal swings.

Business in September

Portland - Mt. Hood River Crossing
Blogging is like trying to cross an icy stream on a rickety fallen log.

To be honest, I tried to write this post a few days ago, and when I started researching how other bloggers share “monthly reports” and how much other bloggers are making, I was so ashamed that I decided not to do the post at all.

But many of you bloggers are like me in that you’re not earning a lot, and we should talk about that. Even a few hundred dollars of income is still worth reporting on – and celebrating!

Income Report

  • Advertising income: $66.16
  • Affiliate income: $134.80
  • Product income: $155.36
  • Space Tourism Guide income*: $82.78
  • Other income: $0.00

Total income for September 2018: $439.10

That’s enough for a plane ticket!

*I’m not going to break out the income sources from Space Tourism Guide in these posts, but as I do run a second site that creates income, I want to make sure I’m transparent on sharing that info!

Business Highlights & Lowlights

The business highlight for September was… working through (part of) the book Expert Secrets by Richard Brunson. My boyfriend recommended this book and it’s been a fascinating read (so far). It’s teaching me a lot about how to create “something” people want – and why this site has for the most part been a failure so far. As I enter my 6th year of blogging this month, it’s good to finally be learning some of these business skills!

The business lowlight for September was… seeing my Adsense income plateau. The difficulty with advertising is that it’s correlated to your traffic. If your traffic goes down, your earnings go down. Since September saw less traffic to this site than August, I made less advertising income.

Upcoming in October

October is my “blogiversary” month – I’ve been blogging for FIVE YEARS as of October 21, 2018! ?

While my site is small for being five years old, it’s mighty, and it’s growing. My traffic has improved tremendously in the past 12 months – and even more in the past 18 months! There’s still a lot of room to grow, which is inspiring (and also a little depressing because there’s lots of work to do).

I don’t have much travel planned in October, to be honest. The one trip on the books is to Huntsville, Alabama for a space-themed press trip. From October 11th to 17th, I’ll be joining five other bloggers for a week of sightseeing and space fun. Stay tuned on social for real-time posts! ✨

The other big thing on my plate is that my book manuscript is due on October 31st. I haven’t shared much about this project, but I’m excited to share that – assuming the editing process goes smoothly – I will be a published author in 2019! When I can share more, trust me I will… in fact, I’m not gonna shut up about it!

Until next month, I hope you keep traveling (or at least stay inspired to keep planning your next trip)!

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