It is June 2012 and by my reckoning that makes this wordpress travel blog about a year old.  One yeah in which I’ve learnt so much … blah blah blah.  I wont bore you with my inner most thoughts about the blogging world.  I poured my heart out about my travel blogging worries 6 months ago and little has changed to be honest.  It still all scares the crap out of me.

This is a numbers post.  To some of you they may seem minute and laughable, but just maybe this post will provide some incouragement to some of the newer bloggers out there than growth even though sometimes slow, is possible.

Vital Stats:

I used to (still do to a point) really obssess over stats, I am a regular visitor to google analytics.  Even now when I see a newer travel blog getting more hits than my site I wonder what it is that i’m doing so wrong.  Its a disease, I cant help it.  But, if you’re not getting mega hits, do not be discouraged.  Growth can sometimes be slow, especially with so many excellent travel blogs around nowadays.  At the risk of making myself look silly (not for the first time), here are my vital stats.  My site isnt massive, but notice  how its continually growing in one way or another.  I’m not one for patiance normally, but in this case slow and steady is the way forward.

  Jun-11 Jul-11 Aug-11 Sep-11 Oct-11 Nov-11 Dec-11 Jan-12 Feb-12 Mar-12 Apr-12 May-12
Visits 117 326 587 569 943  858  762 1356  896 1171  1047 1653
Pageviews 372 926 1607 1300 1837  2001  1806 2849  1825  2362  2158 3155
Page Rank 0 1 2 2 2  2 2  2 2 2  2 2
Alexa Ranking  -  - - 700011 564763 483996 470524 45892 423819  395584 420075 630122
Alexa UK  -  - - - - - - - -  55972 66394 107926
Twitter Followers 48 180 365 570 689  812  915  1039 1123  1234 1279 1389
Facebook Likes - - 15 29 37 44 49 55 70 85 104 122
Top Travel Blogs – Google UK - - - - -  - - - - #63 #34  
Top Travel Blogs – Google USA - - - -  -  - -  -  - #146 #147  

 *Top travel blog UK/USA stats as per TravMonkey.com

 so … 10285 visits and 22198 different page views by 7228 unique visitors.  Ok so my bounce rate is pretty high but if you’d have told me my blog would have got 10,000 hits in its first year I would have laughed in your face … and then given you a small towel to wipe the wee bit of gob that might have landed on your boat (boat = boat race = face –> cockney rhyming slang).  Sorry about that, unintentional i promise.

 

Advertising and Making Money:

I’m not going to lie, i’d like to make a wee bit of cash monies from this site, and i have opened my site to advertisements in the hope of doing so.  Dont get me wrong, I didnt start this blog with the idea of making shit loads of cash from it, I think money making from blogs is one of those things, once you realise its possible and you hear of other people doing it you kind of think why not.  Why shouldnt you get some reward for putting so much time and effort into your blog?  Ok you could argue that the reward it the satisfaction gained from having people read and comment on your work, but running a blog costs money also.  I’m just saying that it doesnt hurt to be able to make some cash from blogging, it shouldnt be the reason you start a travel blog, but if it can fund your travels and develop your site as a resource I cant see the problem with it. For example I have a strict rule whereby anything I make from blogging can only be spent on travel or travel blogging related purchases i.e. my wordpress theme and fixing my blog when it fell prey to the white screen of death.  (The white screen of death is a real thing!  I havent just made it up for the purposes of this post.  Google it if you dont believe me.)

I’m not a full time traveller, I have a 9-5, but i’m not mega rich either so a blog that can support me on my 25 days annual leave would be just lovely.

15

– the number of adverts I have had placed on this site

9

- the number of textlinks within posts

3

- the number of homepage textlinks

3

- the number of sponsored posts

£950

– the amount of money I’ve made in 12 months blogging.

Maybe I shouldnt have divulged that figure, but ah well too late now.  Its out there.  Making money from your blog is an interesting subject.  Paul from TravMonkey.com (link to article) wrote an interesting article on advertising and textlinks which has made me think more carefully about what I will link to my site in the future.  Luckily I was smart enough to negotiate start and end dates for all of my adverts.  I know beggars cant be choosers, but when some of my links come up for renewal i’ll have a careful think about whether I want to try negoatiate an extension on them or not.

Other Random numbers

8 – the number of social networking sites i am a member of

6200 (ish) – Number of tweets

539 – The most visits i’ve had to my site on any one day

839 – The number of times my most popular post has been visited

23 – The most comments recieved on any one of my posts (admitedly half of those are probably my responses).

2 – PR events I’ve been invited to (thanks @backpackerbecki)

16 – The number of other travel bloggers i’ve interviewed

1 – Sponsored accomodation offers (thanks @roomorama)

633.5 – The number of miles i covered whilst recently diving around Ireland

27 – The number of countries i’ve visited in my life

1 – The number of days this site has been down since launch.  Beware the White Screen of Death!

1 – The number of times this site has been hacked

46 – The number of categories I use on this site

15 – The number of awesome travel bloggers i’ve met in person

194 – The number of posts on this site

Summary:

OK so maybe I will do a little blub/rant on what has been a pretty cool year.  Like many I probably came into this blogging business a bit blind.  I like writing, I like travel, and I like building websites.  There wasnt a plan as such, we dont all have plans for world domination like @willpeach, I’ve just been going with the flow.  Its only in the last 3 or 4 months that I’ve realised that I really want to make a go of this and turn it into something thats a bit more than just a hobby … I even invested in business cards, wtf!  Ironically, since i decided that I want to make a real go of this site, the number of comments and retweets has fallen, so maybe i’ve started doing something hideously wrong?!  Chances are (very high chances) it probably wont become a full time thing, but if it acts as a route into the travel industry that would be great. 

I’ve made more than a few mistakes in the past 12 months in the way I write and how my site was set up, but looking back I also think my writing (although still pretty informal) and post structure has come on quite a bit.  I used to pretty much just scribble diary entries, but now I’m focusing more on tips, directions, maps, costs etc.  Basically making my posts a bit more helpful, rather than just stories.  I think that in order to develop my site needs to become more of a resource, rather than just a collection of stories from my travels - this may all sounds pretty obvious to you, but sometimes I’m a bit slow on the uptake.  That said – counter argument – I see a lot of blogs where ‘thoughts and feelings’ posts do pretty well, so maybe its not all about directions, costs and advice in order to be a sucessful travel blog.  I hope i’ll find a nice balance for this site eventually.

Anyway, onwards and upwards.  Over the next 12 months I have a few more travel plans, and although I have the 9-5 to balance, I still think I can offer something in terms of becoming a valuable travel rescource, we’ll see huh!? 

*If you have a comment on this site or a recommendation for futrure posts I would love to hear it.  Comments on advertising and analytics would be great also, so too general chat, please just leave your comment below and get some comment luv whilst you’re at it :-)