How I Made $831 from Travel Blogging in October 2019

travel blogger income report - october 2019

My October 2019 income report! This is how I doubled my blog income from September and what I’ll be focusing on in November to continue my momentum into the end of the year.

Hello and welcome to my monthly income report series! These monthly reports are where I go through how I’m building my blog into a business and finally monetizing it after over six years of blogging. 

The purpose of these income reports are to show a realistic picture of what it takes to monetize a blog in 2019, and to keep myself accountable and motivated throughout the ups and downs of this entrepreneurial journey. 

I want to be completely transparent with my blog monetization goals, strategies, and outcomes. These posts are meant to give you an idea of how I make money from blogging and to how to do it yourself if that’s the career path you want.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me over the years how I make money from my blog, and the truth is, my income has always been indirectly made through freelance work.

Yes, my blog has helped me secure freelance clients over the years, but I’ve never focused on making a sustainable income from my blog alone. 

Besides the one off sponsored Instagram or blog post opportunities I’ve had throughout my blogging career, I’ve mostly made my money through freelance marketing consulting work. 

This has allowed me to work remotely and continue traveling and living a life of optimal freedom, but I’ve also realized in the past year that client work is not what I want to be doing in the long term

travel blogger income report - october 2019

I made a decision halfway through 2019 that I want to seriously start growing my own brand and to make a sustainable business through my blog.

My goal is to have more direct passive income coming in from my blog. This will allow me to have more time to build my brand i the ways I’ve always wanted.

It will also eventually allow me give back to the community through passion projects and courses that help others get to a place of sustainable passive income too. 

Now that we know what I’m up to and what you can expect from these monthly reports, let’s dive into October. 

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

travel blogger income report - october 2019
My life for the past few months. I know it will all pay off once I have my passive income streams set up.

 

Here’s a look at my stats from October. 

Income

In October 2019, I earned a total of $831.27.

Affiliate Income

Total = $17.72

Display Ads

Mediavine = $313.55

Sponsored Posts = $500 

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
  • Last web design work = $630.56

 

TOTAL EXPENSES = $835.50

TOTAL NET INCOME = -$4.23

travel blogger income report - october 2019

October Blog Traffic and Stats

*with comparisons to September stats

  • Monthly sessions: 19,268 (-299)
  • Monthly pageviews: 25,594 (+1,840)
  • Monthly users: 17,021 (-30)
  • Social media followers: 51,856 (-266)
  • Email subscribers: 2,220 (+42)
  • Blog posts published/updated: 5 (-3)

 

October Traffic Comparison to Other Months

  • 7.75% increase in traffic compared to September 2019 
  • 1.91% increase in traffic compared to August 2019
  • 4.61% increase in traffic compared to July 2019

 

Review of October Goals 

New site design

As you can probably tell if you’re reading this post right now, things look a little different around here at The Atlas Heart. 

New site design, who dis? 

The number one goal that I wanted for October was for my site design to finally go live. After over 10 months of going through starts and stops, it has been a process to get this new design up and running. 

But, I gotta say, the wait was worth it. I have a shiny new site that I love to pieces.

It still needs a lot of work in terms of building it out more properly, but it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders just to actually have the new design running. 

Update all mega cornerstone posts

I got a big chunk of my cornerstone posts updated this past month, and they’ve already started jumping up in the rankings. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of these hit the first page of Google before the end of November (fingers crossed).

And if that happens, it will be HUGE for my site traffic because they’re all competitive high traffic keywords. 

This was part of my new strategy that I started implementing last month. I wanted to focus on these mega posts that are harder to rank for, but bring in so much more traffic growth if I’m able to get them ranking on the first page of Google.

It’s a riskier strategy compared to going after the easy-to-rank for keywords that would give me small but steady gains in traffic, but it will be well worth it if I’m able to be successful with it.

And, I have a feeling that I will be for the most part, because these mega post are on topics that I already have authority on in Google’s eyes.

I’m going to continue watching my rankings and see how things go over the next month or two, but I have a good feeling about the current strategy I’ve been implementing. 

travel blogger income report - october 2019

Make $100 from affiliate marketing 

I fell short of my $100 goal for October, but I was actually pretty happy with my affiliate income in general this month for having not invested much time in it. 

I only wrote up my first SEO optimized affiliate post a month and a half ago, and it has already reached the first page of Google.

That alone allowed my affiliate income to double for the month, and made me excited about going more full in with affiliate marketing in December. 

I’m still pretty far from making that first $100 per month in affiliate marketing, but this is another area that I’m looking forward to expanding on and building out for my passive income streams.

My first affiliate post that’s now ranking on the first page of Google was my test run, and it’s already working in terms of increasing my affiliate income, which is a great sign.  

Make $500 from Mediavine 

My ad income and traffic from the first week or two of October was pretty slow because my site was still recovering from the late September Google algorithm update and my new site design (which only went live on the 3rd). 

When you release a new site design, it usually takes some time for Google to reindex your site and traffic tends to go down.

Because of this, I knew that I would probably take a hit in traffic for the first part of October, but I’m glad that I saw that traffic recover and then some in the second half of the month.

This allowed me to just surpass my Mediavine income from September. It’s still a couple hundred short of $500, but I’m confident I’ll surpass that goal in November. 

Reach 25K sessions and 30K pageviews

As I mentioned above, my traffic was pretty slow and stagnant for the first part of the month because of my new site design release, but it started getting more momentum towards the end of October. 

I still fell short of improving my monthly sessions, but I did increase my pageviews by over 1,000 for the month. 

Now that Google has had some time to crawl through my new site and I’ve recovered a lot of the keywords I initially lost in the last algorithm update, I’m excited to see how I can improve my traffic in November. 

Implement new Pinterest strategy and increase traffic by 10% from Pinterest 

I really got into the nitty gritty of Pinterest strategy this month.

I redid the Pinfinite Growth course completely and I came up with an actionable strategy to implement. The only downside is that it’s going to be a lot more work to implement than I initially thought it would be. 

I’m estimating it’s going to take me about 13 weeks (working on Pinterest two days per week) to set up the strategy properly. However, if all goes well, it could do wonders for increasing my traffic on top of my organic Google traffic.

And, once the strategy is in place, it can basically run on autopilot while continuing to hopefully bring in more traffic every month. This is another area that I’m looking forward to doubling down on in the coming months. 

Make at least $700 from The Atlas Heart

DONE!! I was able to make over $800 in October, thanks in large part to a well timed sponsored opportunity that came my way. But, still, I’ll take it! 

My next goal is to make over $1000 from my blog, so let’s see what I can do with November. 

travel blogger income report - october 2019

What Worked

Mediavine 

Mediavine is still my biggest driver of passive income, and I’m still seeing my RPM ($ per 1,000 impressions) go up most days which is a good sign.

As I’ve said in my past income reports, it usually takes a few months after you sign up with Mediavine for your RPM to be optimized completely for your site.

I only signed up for Mediavine at the end of August, so my ads are still being optimized for my site. 

It’s a good sign that I’m still seeing my RPM trending upwards, which shows me that it’s not done being optimized yet. My average RPM in October was $16.27 compared to $15.39 in September.

And that’s including the huge drop in RPM I had for about a week at the start of October when my site design first went live.

My next goal is to reach an average of $20 RPM, which will allow me to make around $500 for every 25K sessions on my blog. 

SEO Work

I’ve been working on a lot of link building and niched SEO optimized content to create more authority around my url on Google, and it has been going well so far. 

I’ve recovered a bunch of keywords that I lost in the last algorithm update and I’ve seen my mega post rankings trending upwards and getting SO close to the first page of Google. 

I’m going to see how these continue to do as we go into November. 

Affiliate Marketing

My affiliate optimized test post showed me that my affiliate strategy could work really well if I were to double down on it.

Right now, my biggest focus is growing my traffic to improve my Mediavine income and to become more of an authority on California travel.

However, I think that once I start focusing more on affiliate marketing, it could be another solid passive income stream. 

What Didn’t Work 

Affiliate Marketing

I was originally thinking I would spend more time on affiliate marketing in October, but it was too much to focus on optimizing my mega posts and figuring out my affiliate strategy at the same time.

As I mentioned above, I think this could definitely do wonders for my passive income if I go full in on it, but I wasn’t ready to do that in October. 

With that said, I already have my first round of affiliate posts researched and ready to be written. I’m estimating that I’ll be able to start writing these up in December, after I’m done with my first round of mega posts. 

What’s Next for November 

November 2019 Blog Goals

  • Update/write more mega cornerstone posts – In October, I updated four of these (about one per week). In November, I want to keep to the same schedule and get another four updated/written before the end of the month. 
  • Write up four guest posts for blogs that have a high domain authority to continue improving my link profile. – I already have four opportunities set up for November, and now it’s just about writing up the posts and getting those published. 
  • Make $500 from Mediavine – In order for this to happen, I need to be making at least $17 per day from ads. Right now I’m averaging at around $12/day.
  • Reach 50K pageviews – This sounds like a huge jump since I’m only at 25K right now, but if my recent mega posts hit the first page of Google, I think I can make this happen. 
  • Start implementing first 1/3 of new Pinterest strategy – it’s going to take me 13 weeks in total to flesh it all out, but I want to get a good chunk done in November, even if I won’t see any direct traffic increase coming from Pinterest until a later date. 
  • Make at least $1000 from The Atlas Heart – I would love to hit the $1000 mark for November, potentially through a combination of sponsored posts and passive income. 

 

travel blogger income report - october 2019

Overall, I was stoked with my progress in October. It has been a lot of head down work and long hours at my computer to really go full in with my current strategy, so it’s the best feeling in the world to actually see it pay off.

The momentum might be slow at the the moment, but my biggest concern is making sure that it’s continuing to go up, which it thankfully is.

And, to make sure that I’m setting myself up to have a killer business year in 2020. There will be more on that in next month’s report. 

Until next month! 

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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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