How we made $17,811 in 1 Month on our Travel Blog: June 2019 Income Report
Thanks for stopping by and checking out our June Income Report. Even though we didn’t reach the same revenue numbers as May, our bottom line profit was the highest it’s ever been! (More on that later.)
It’s still feels weird for us to share our income online, but as we explained in our very first income report, our goal is to be a resource and inspiration for other bloggers.
We are so thankful for our travel blog which gives us the freedom to live where we choose and to travel often. And most of all, we are thankful for the connections this platform has given us. Being able to e-meet likeminded people and help them plan the trip of their dreams is what keeps us going each and every day.
June was a great revenue-earning month for us; but before we get into the numbers, let’s recap what we did.
What June looked like for us:
Month in a Glance:
Travel Conference in Nepal
Moving to Bali
Hiring on a new team member!
Travel Conference in Nepal
We started off the month hiking up to 3,300 meters on the Mohare Danda trail in Nepal. We were there on a press trip with the Pacific Asia Travel Association, promoting lesser known areas of Nepal before attending the Himalayan Travel Mart Conference for 3 days in Kathmandu.
This was our very first travel conference and we were very excited to meet fellow bloggers we’ve been “friends” with online for a long time.
Moving (back) to Bali
After the conference, we flew straight to the Bali, and got right back into our old habits. We checked into the same place we stayed at last fall (a co-living and co-working apartment complex) and has a nice cafe and co-working space on the top floor. We’ve hit up our favorite restaurants for smoothie bowls and fresh salads, gotten weekly massages, and have even been able to catch a handful of beach sunsets. Oh, and we worked a LOT!
In June, we create 6 HUGE articles, 2 videos, and completed a couple of partnerships. Considering we started work on the 10th of the month, I’d say that’s not bad. Bali has been a nice place for us to stick our noses in our computers, get stuff done, and plan for the future.
Hiring on a team member!
In our income report last month, we hinted that we were looking to hire some more help… and WE DID IT!
We brought on an Associate Editor, and we couldn’t be more excited because it’s actually one of Katie’s childhood friends (and neighbor), Amanda! We are SO excited to have her on board, and have already been thoroughly impressed with all the projects she is heading up.
The stars aligned, and it worked out that our time in Bali overlapped with her stay. So we had a whole month of in-person work sessions, which was amazing!
Amanda is going to help us focus on many things we’ve been neglecting and dust off some of our old content to give it life again! *insert Ben’s nerd voice* And we’re putting systems in place to track our progress and growth. 🤓
Just a few of the things she’ll be working on are:
Managing guest posts (if you want to write for us, find out more here!).
Updating old content and giving them some much-needed TLC!
Writing new articles
Revamping our Pinterest strategy (She’s absolutely KILLING it already!)
And more! She’s going to be one busy lady :)
June 2019 Two Wandering Soles Earnings:
Important Note: As we explained in our first income report, it has taken us a long time to get to this point. And our goal in sharing this number is not to boast, but to share how we make money in hopes of helping others on this journey (or to answer the question we are constantly getting asked: “So, like, how do bloggers even earn money anyway?!”)
Reading other bloggers’ income reports have helped us a great deal as we have grown our website, and we hope to give back and be a resource for others.
June 2019 Website Statistics
As bloggers, our income is directly related to how many people are visiting our website. So before we talk money, let’s go over our traffic for the month. We’re also sharing how much we grew (or didn’t grow!) compared to the last month.
Pageviews: 285,259 (loss of 6.3%)
Unique Visitors: 187,014 (loss of 3.2%)
Sessions: 228,285 (loss of 3.5%)
Social Media Followers: 29,840 (growth of 1.7%)
Email Subscribers: 11,280 (growth of 8.5%)
Note on June’s Traffic: You’ll notice a slight dip in traffic numbers for the month of June and there are a few reasons for this. First off, there is one less day in June than there is in May. If you add the equivalent of one more day of traffic to our totals, the numbers will more or less align with May’s stats.
Also, last year we experienced a similar stagnation in traffic during the month of June, but traffic really shot up during the month of July and August (which we are already noticing). Travel blogging is quite seasonal so there will be flat months and months of growth.
Here’s a few snapshots of our June 2019 Google Analytics. Click on any image to view them in a larger size:
TOP TEN TRAFFIC SOURCES
MOBILE VS. DESKTOP VS. TABLET
TOP TRAFFIC CHANNELS
Let’s Break It Down!
Now that you know a little bit about why we’re sharing our income and how many people are visiting our site, let’s get to the good stuff and show you where that money came from…
Have you heard of Affiliate Marketing? It can be a complicated thing to master, but at its core, Affiliate Marketing is simply recommending a product or service to others, and being compensated in return.
WHO ARE OUR AFFILIATES?
We work with more than 30 affiliate programs. They range from large companies like Amazon to independent tour companies we have gone through and just LOVE to promote because we had a great experience.
We work with a lot of affiliate programs, but some that did well for us in the month of June were:
J-Rail Pass (train system in Japan)
12go.asia (Transportation in Asia)
June was an okay month for affiliates relative to our previous growth streak. In the coming months, we will be prioritizing the reviving of our old, dead content to drive more traffic to these affiliate articles.
Advertising continues to be a major source of income for us. We work with Mediavine, a 3rd-party provider who basically does all the work for us.
June was one of our highest months yet for advertising, even after we lowered our ad rate. As expected, the last two weeks in June the ad rate really increased because it was the end of the quarter.
July we continue to find the balance between user experience and revenue. However, since it is the start of a new quarter, we expect the numbers to be lower since advertisers tend to restart their marketing efforts mid-year.
Sponsored Posts / Brand Partnerships: $150
For June we had published a social media campaign on our Instagram Stories from one of our favorite travel companies who reached out to us. It was a really natural fit and we had fun doing it. If you follow along on our social media you may have noticed it.
Unlike affiliate and advertising income — which are passive once set up — partnerships often require a lot of work. We always want partnerships to come from a place of authenticity and we are guilty of spending too much time making sure the content we create is exceptional.
Blogging is an funny industry when it comes to brand partnerships because everyone has a different idea on how much bloggers or influencers should make. If you are looking into doing more brand partnership, we recommend to be honest with yourself on how much time and effort you will actually put into a campaign and then price your time accordingly.
BONUS: Free Stuff: $0 value
We never include free travel or products in our income because even though it’s a nice bonus, it doesn’t pay the bills. In June, we did not do any exchanges or comped trips.
Note: We did travel to Nepal for a press trip (late May – early-June) but those figures are in May’s Income Report.
Our Blogging Expenses: $207.45
Running an established website can be expensive. Some of these costs happen on a monthly basis, while others are one-time expenses.
MailerLite: $50 – This is the service we use to send emails to our subscribers.
Gmail Suite: $12 – We pay for our own branded email addresses
Notion: $4* – Software to organize projects and tasks
Virtual Assistant (VA): $303 – We have a lovely assistant who helps us with tasks like managing Pinterest, working with guest authors, and optimizing our site.
Tailwind: $10* – Software for scheduling pins on Pinterest that we could not live without!
KeySearch: $8.45* – Game-changing SEO tool that assists in finding keywords
Hosting/Domain: $17.50* – The cost of just keeping this website live
Epidemic Sound: $15 – Royalty free music our YouTube videos
Amazon Prime: $10* – We use this for the cloud storage for our thousands of photos! (Plus, the quick delivery comes in handy when we’re back home in the US.)
Photoshop & Lightroom: $10 – Photo editing software
Allianz Travel Insurance Yearly Policy*: $37.5 (since traveling is part of our job, we need travel insurance)
*monthly cost of annual payment
Our Net Earnings for June 2019: $17,603.55
After you subtract our website/blog expenses, we netted a total of $17,603.55 for the month of June 2019. So even though our revenue was less than May, our overall profit was this highest it has ever been!
June Travel Expenses
We are very grateful for the opportunity to be part of the press trip to Nepal and we learned a ton from the travel conference and other bloggers.
While most of the costs — from the airfare to the hotels and tours — were provided, there were some expenses we incurred. There were a few meals, drinks and entertainment we paid for out of our own pockets, which is expected for travel conferences.
Costs of traveling in Nepal (2 people during a 2-week press trip): $497.38
Our Goals for next Month
We release these income report late in the month, because we have wait for our affiliates to report their numbers. Since July is almost over (how is that possible?!), these goals are for August, which will be a change of pace…
We will be traveling for almost the entire month of August and we’ve already got those nervous/excited jitters going in our bellies.
First, we are going to East Java in Indonesia then back to Bali for for a few days. After that, we will be heading to Japan for a 3-week trip exploring some places we didn’t get a chance to visit last time we were there. And at the end of the month, we’re flying back to the States!
It’s going to be jam-packed, but we’re pumped to explore some new places and return to some favorite spots.
Last month follow up: We hired on an Editor (as we explained above)! This is going to be huge for us and our growth. Amanda will be helping us coordinate guest posts, updating old articles, creating new articles and organizing our content calendar. We’re super excited our team is growing and can’t wait to see the results!
Next month goals: Since we will be on the move quite a bit, our goals are to:
frequently update social media (follow us on Instagram to find out where we are)
take detailed notes of our travels to make writing articles easier (we are not great at being consistent with this)
coordinate with our team so they can continue following our content calendar, even when we can’t keep up with it!
Last month follow up: We didn’t exactly do yoga 3 times a week as we hoped, but we did go at least 10 times, including one anti-gravity class! Katie finished her guilty pleasure book and I’m halfway through mine (I like to really focus on the words I’m reading… a.k.a. I read slowly). We were able to explore some more of Bali we’ve been meaning to see like Ahmed, Sideman, and areas outside of Ubud.
Next month goals: Like I said, we’ll be pretty go-go-go in the month of August, so hopefully we can make time to:
Finish reading another book (I’ll finish my first one!)
Meditate at least 15 days in the month. We’ve started the Calm app and really like it so far. It’s going to be more difficult than usual to make sure we do it since we’ll be constantly on the move.
Enjoy travel. I’ll explain…
This may sound really strange, but recently traveling has become more work than play. The butterflies we used to feel when hitting the button to buy flights and scoring the last room in a nice hotel has started to… diminish. And we don’t want that to go away. We’re so thankful for being able to turn our greatest passion into our careers, but that now means our passion comes with HUGE amounts of pressure to do things right.
We still have plenty of little trips for the rest of 2019, but August might be our last big trip for the year. We want to take it all in and appreciate each moment exploring these places and really enjoy travel again.
Lessons from this month
Cleaning up: Growing up in a family with 4 kids, our house could get a little messy at times. But we always managed to clean up all our toys, homework, clothes and junk by the time we had friends or family come over to the house.
I feel like I may have carried that undesirable trait over into our blogging business. When it was just Katie and me, we had our own system to get things done. We would divide up tasks and I felt the processes were moderately efficient.
It wasn’t until we started showing our newly-hired editor how we go about creating articles and updating old content, when I really noticed we did not have a good system in place at all. This was kind of embarrassing to me since my background is in systems engineering.
Let’s just say, we’re on our way to creating better, more organized processes, and it makes my nerdy engineer brain very happy!
A change for our Income Reports
We really hope you have enjoyed these monthly income reports and have learned a little more about travel blogging. Moving forward, we’re going to post income reports on a quarterly basis. We’re doing that for a few reasons:
It will help us focus more on our travel-related content, which we know you love.
The travel industry tends to be quite seasonal, so it is a better representation of our traffic and income to report on it seasonally.
Blogging takes time for big changes to be made. Since we plan our projects on a quarterly basis, this way we will be able to report on an entire project and not just the status of it.
If you want to be updated when we release a new income report, please sign up for your Blogging Tips email list. We’ll even send you our intensive 7-day Blogging Bootcamp series on how to bring your blog to the next level.
We truly hope this income report has been informative (and/or interesting!). We’d love to hear any thoughts or questions you may have. Comment below and we’ll do our best to get back to you!