How I Made $523 from Travel Blogging in November 2019

november 2019 income report - travel blogging

My November 2019 income report! This is what I tested out in terms of monetization in November, including what did and didn’t work increase my blog income.

Hi friends and welcome to my monthly income report series!

These monthly reports are where I give you an honest look into how I’m building my blog into a business and finally monetizing it after over six years of blogging.

I wanted to start putting together these income reports for my own accountability, but also to show others how to go about monetizing their blogs – whether they’re a newbie or have been in the blogging game for years.

In general, these posts are also a good way to keep track of what I’m trying in terms of monetization and what is and isn’t working the best for my website.

My goal is to be as transparent as possible with these posts to give you a good idea of how much work goes into making a successful blog, and the different income streams that are out there for bloggers.

My main goal at the moment is building my passive income so I’ll have more time to expand my brand and make this blog better in the process.

And, you know, to also make a livable wage in San Francisco (easier said than done).

So, without further ado, let’s talk about November.

If you want to see my first, second, and third income reports where I explain the different revenue streams I’m building in more detail, you can find that here, here, and here.

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep writing these income reports and providing free travel advice and tips. 

november 2019 income report - travel blogging

Income

In November 2019, I earned a total of $523.36 from my travel blog.

Affiliate Income

 

Total = $43.38

Display Ads

Mediavine = $429.98

Freelance Writing = $50

Expenses

  • Adobe Lightroom (for photo editing): $9.99
  • Canva Pro (for designing pins): $12.95
  • Keysearch (for keyword research): $34
  • Ahrefs (for more in-depth keyword research and SEO optimization work): $99
  • ConvertKit (for email campaigns): $49
  • Yoast Premium – 1 year renewal (for SEO work) = $66.75
  • Tasty Pins (for Pinterest SEO) = $29
 

TOTAL EXPENSES = $300.69

TOTAL NET INCOME = $222.67

 

november 2019 income report - travel blogging

November Blog Traffic and Stats

*with comparisons to October stats

  • Monthly sessions: 19,086 (-182)
  • Monthly pageviews: 23,507 (-2,087)
  • Monthly users: 16,868 (-153)
  • Social media followers: 51,796 (-60)
  • Email subscribers: 2,245 (+25)
  • Blog posts published/updated: 3 (-2)
 

November Traffic Comparison to Other Months

  • 8.15% decrease in traffic compared to October 2019
  • 1.04% decrease in traffic compared to September 2019
  • 6.40% decrease in traffic compared to August 2019
 

november 2019 income report - travel blogging

Review of October Goals

Update/write more mega cornerstone posts – I was originally thinking of updating four more mega cornerstone posts in November.

This was a good idea in theory, but these posts take up a lot of time and energy (about one week to write).

I realized it would be smarter to first see how my initial batch of cornerstone posts perform in Google before investing another month’s worth of time in another four.

Right now, they haven’t been going up in the rankings as fast as I was hoping (although they’re getting closer to the first page). So, I only wrote up one cornerstone post in November about Montreal.

Write up four guest posts for blogs that have a high domain authority to continue improving my link profile – I quickly set up four quality guest post opportunities for November at the end of October.

Then, I got wrapped up in Pinterest work (more about this below), and moved back to California from Mexico for the holidays. You could say that life got a bit crazy for a couple of weeks.

With that said, I was still able to finish two guest posts in November, and I plan to finish the next two in another week or so.

Make $500 from Mediavine – OMG I was so close to hitting this goal in November. It’s probably partially due to this being a good time of the year for ads (holidays and all), but my RPM increased a lot in November.

I ended up making $429.98 in Mediavine income for November. Only $70 short of my goal.

Reach 50K pageviews – Unfortunately, my mega posts haven’t hit the first page of Google still and most of my energy went towards Pinterest work this month instead of writing blog posts.

Because of this, my traffic stayed stagnant and even decreased a bit with my pageviews rounding out to 23,507 in November.

Again, I’m not worried.

I have confidence that my mega posts will eventually get to the first page of Google and give me a big traffic bump. It might just take a little longer than I was estimating.

SEO is really all about patience.

Start implementing first 1/3 of new Pinterest strategy – I initially thought I would get through the Pinterest work by working through it gradually, a couple of times a week.

But, I’ve been all about batching work lately and decided to go full in with Pinterest work in November.

This month, I had 200 old blog posts for which I did Pinterest keyword research and wrote new descriptions. I already designed the first template worth of 200 pins and I have four more template designs that I’m working on.

I’ve already scheduled out the first template of 200 pins, so the new Pinterest strategy is being implemented as I write this.

All of this is to say that I blew my Pinterest goal out of the water this month, and spent a lot more of my time on it than I initially thought I would.

And now I’m wanting to finish all Pinterest work before the New Year, so I can focus all my energy on affiliate marketing for the start of 2020.

This includes having all of the new pins scheduled out through the first quarter of the year.

By doing this, it will allow me to not worry about Pinterest work as much, but still hopefully drive serious traffic to my site in the first few months of 2020.

Make at least $1000 from The Atlas Heart – Since I didn’t take on any sponsored work this month, I fell short of my goal to make $1000 from The Atlas Heart. In November, I made a total of $523.

One thing I’m really happy about though is that I’ve managed to increase my passive income every month since starting this monetization journey, which is huge.

Really good passive income coming in from my blog is my end goal. So, even if it takes a little longer to reach my income goals, I know it will be worth it if it’s based on passive income.

november 2019 income report - travel blogging

What Worked

Mediavine – My Mediavine income is still going strong. I was happy to see my RPM (revenue per 1000 impressions) consistently go up this month.

I’ve heard that’s usual for November and December due to the holidays, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to keep it above $20 per 1000 impressions after the New Year.

To give you an idea of how much my RPM has improved since I started with Mediavine, here’s a rundown of the numbers:

  • August = $12.18 RPM ($95.33)
  • September = $15.39 RPM ($301.11)
  • October = $16.27 RPM ($313.55)
  • November = $22.53 RPM ($429.98) !!!
 

Affiliate Posts – I’ve only written one affiliate post since I started my monetization work, and it is already bringing me in $30/month from Amazon Associates.

I know this probably won’t always be the norm since that post has a really good conversion rate. But, this one post has already shown me the power of affiliate marketing when you do it right.

Because of this small but important win, I’ve decided to put more of my energy into affiliate marketing for December and the first quarter of 2020.

I’ve now tried out mega posts and a new Pinterest strategy, and now I’m ready to tackle affiliate marketing for my next attempt at monetization.

And when I say putting my energy into it, I mean.

This is of course all dependent on how well it goes as I’m publishing these posts, but I’ve already done the keyword research for 100 different affiliate posts that I could write in the next few months.

My plan is to write up nine in December. Stop and reassess how these did and which type of affiliate posts seem to do best with my readers.

And, if all goes well, I plan to write up around 90 affiliate posts for the first three months of 2020 – or one affiliate post per day.

It’s a challenge that I’m excited to tackle.

How much could these 100 affiliate posts improve my income if I’m dedicated to head down and extremely focused work over the course of a few months?

I’m not sure yet, but I’m looking forward to testing out this type of monetization to see how it goes.

november 2019 income report - travel blogging

What Didn’t Work

Mega Posts – My initial 10K+ word mega posts have taken longer to rank than I was hoping.

I wanted to test these ‘mega posts’ to see how they would do in the algorithm. At the moment, I’m not quite sold that they’re the best use of my time.

They’re still going up in the rankings, but they have been moving a lot slower than I initially thought they would.

We’ll see in another month or two if these were a failure and I need to reassess this strategy, or if they are a good tactic but just take longer for Google to rank them where I want them to be.

Right now I’m not going to invest more time in mega posts until I see real return on this first test batch.

Pinterest – Okay, to be fair it’s hard to tell if the Pinterest work I’ve done so far is working or not.

I spent a decent chunk of November doing the keyword research, prepping, and designing the first 200 pins I’m focusing on for my new Pinterest strategy.

I only implemented the strategy about a week ago, which is still too soon to tell if these pins will make a splash in the Pinterest algorithm like I’m hoping they will.

With what I’ve been reading recently about Pinterest SEO, it’s similar to Google SEO with needing time for pins to rank properly.

I’ll have a better idea in another couple of months as to whether Pinterest has been a good use of my time or something I should drop all together.

In November, my Pinterest traffic was fairly stagnant. I’ll be keeping a close eye on it in the coming months as my new pins are published to my boards.

november 2019 income report - travel blogging

What’s Next for December

December 2019 Blog Goals

  • Write up nine affiliate posts.
  • Publish my end of year post and reflections.
  • Finish all Pinterest work and have pins scheduled out through the first quarter of 2020.
  • Reach 30K pageviews.
  • Reach $600 in income from Mediavine.
  • Reach $800 in income from just passive income from The Atlas Heart.

Even though I made less in November compared to October, I was really excited about my progress this month.

This is due to the fact that even though my total income was less, my passive income jumped up by about $150 compared to last month.

In case you didn’t read my last income report, the only reason I made over $800 in October was because of a well timed sponsored campaign I did on Instagram (aka not passive income).

This is all to say that I’m focusing on the metrics that matter the most for why I’m doing this monetization work – kick ass passive income coming in every month. 

And, if I look at those metrics, I’ve improved my passive income every single month since August, when I first started diving into blog monetization.

I also think it’s important to try out a lot of different tactics, some of which aren’t usual in the blogging industry, to see what sticks.

Once I know what sticks from personal experience, I’ll be doubling down on it like cray.

I’ve looked at these past few months as my exploratory phase to really get a good idea of what is going to give me the growth I want in 2020.

It’s all a learning process, but I think it’s about loving that process and making the most of it to figure out how to succeed.

In my opinion, this is what separates the people who say they want something and those who actually do it. 

I’m ready to finish the year strong and set myself up for the best blog year yet in 2020. I look forward to updating you on my progress in another month!

x Mimi

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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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