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.


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


- the number of textlinks within posts


- the number of homepage textlinks


- the number of sponsored posts


– 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


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 :-)


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  1. Jerick

    can’t believe it’s been a year! all the best to the next 1-2-10 years to come!

  2. Diane

    Thanks for divulging all your site stats. It’s cool to see someone being so transparent about this kind of stuff and interesting to me as someone who just started a blog last month. ;-) Congrats on your work so far!

  3. Si

    Wow, thanks for being so honest! It’s really helpful to track my blog’s progress next to yours. Here’s to many more successful years at Backpacks and Bunkbeds!

  4. Neil

    @Diane – Glad you thought so. Good luck with your blogging venture.

  5. Neil

    @si – hope it helps mate. As I mentioned to some people they may seem laughable, but there’s no point me lying about them and they still show growth. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Lucy

    Congratulations on your first year blogging and thanks for sharing this. I’m a month behind you on my site but am getting similar numbers and it’s great to be able to have a comparison (though we all know we shouldn’t get hung up on the numbers it’s one of the most obvious ways to see if you’re actually getting through to people!). Good luck with your next year’s blogging.
    Lucy recently posted..Swimming with stingrays in the Cayman IslandsMy Profile

  7. Runaway Brit

    Thanks for such an honest post. Your stats are not laughable at all, and it is so great for us other smaller-time bloggers (who hope to become big-time bloggers) to see that it takes time to build up good statistics.

    I also have a 9-5 which makes finding the time to blog quite difficult, I’d love to make writing my full-time work but I just don’t have the stats to make it viable yet.

    I haven’t really done much with advertising and sponsored posts yet, TBH honest I’m a bit clueless about setting it up. Maybe one day :-)

  8. Annette | Bucket List Journey

    I very much appreciate and enjoy reading these honest posts about stats. Realizing that building a following takes time, makes me have more patiences with my own numbers ;)
    Looking forward to reading about what the next year has in store for you!

  9. Neil

    @Lucy – It is nice to have something to compare against though isnt it, even if we shouldnt get hung up on numbers. I find blogging a strange one, i’m so used to being graded, from school, uni and now work that blogging for myself in some cases just doesnt feel right. Who’s scoring me … no one thats why its feels weird. Still, lets see what happens in yr2 shall we. Best of luck with your blog.

  10. Nomadic Translator @latinAbroad

    Happy Blogiversary — LatinAbroad and backpacksandbunkbeds have the SAME exact birthday!! Kind of cool ;)

    I wrote a post about LatinAbroad’s first anniversary as well, although not quite as thorough as yours (had to write a comprehensive TBEX 2012 review with it!):


    I guess I have to pay attention to my numbers a bit more =P Learned a lot at TBEX though, so hoping to put some lessons into action very soon.

    To many more decades travel blogging — cheers and congrats! :)

  11. Irina

    Hi Neil,
    First off, this post is incredibly helpful and encouraging! Thank you for being honest! I just started my blog less than a month ago and it helps so much to be able to compare against someone else’s experience. Every time I see other people’s numbers, I wonder how they got there and how long it took. But yeah, the truth is it takes time.
    I also agree, that useful information on places is the way to go. I lot of people write about where to go or what to do, but not many provide actual details like prices, little tips, and useful links.
    I’m happy I saw your post among all the twitter chatter :))

  12. Vicky

    First off congrats on your first blogging anniversary! IT definitely looks like your numbers and readers are growing and that must be both encouraging and rewarding. We have recently started a travel blog so it’s always interesting to see the stats of other bloggers so thanks for sharing this info!

  13. Julie

    It is always exciting to get those numbers up! I am hoping my travel blog will start taking off as well! It has also increased in traffic over the last year. Good luck on your travel writing and journeys! =)

  14. Cole @ Four Jandals

    We really need to organise something with all of us that started around the same time as our 1 year is about now as well. Although have been slack at doing a year post.

    Congrats on the continued growth mate! You can only go up from here.

    Good luck over the next year and into the future and would love to help out where we can (and hopefully vice versa).

  15. Neil

    @Cole – Thanks mate. Yeah wasnt so long ago we were all doing our 6 month posts and asking everyone what we were doing. Seems you’ve figured it out though, best of luck with fourjandals too.

  16. Jason

    Can I ask what proportion of the profits were the sponsored posts?

    Since, I assume, they were to hardest profits to achieve after the site was up and running.

    Thanks for this, v informative

  17. Neil

    @Jason – Sponsored posts made up very little of the money I made, maybe 20%. I wasn’t and am still not that keen on hosting other people’s writing, especially as some of the guest post articles I receive are utter rubbish. I believe its the links the advertisers are after, they dont really care how good or bad the wording around the link is. I’d rather take the link and find a place for it in one of my own posts – but i’m now trying to do less links too after reading the travmonkey article. I’m slowly learning.

  18. Jason

    Thanks for the reply Neil. Glad to hear sponsored content was only a small part, since I agree that’s not an ideal path to follow. Congrats on the blog, it’s a fun and interesting read.

  19. Neil

    @Jason – thanks for you kind comments. Yeah I was pretty naive with guest posts when I first started seeing them in my inbox. Wised up pretty quickly though.

  20. Micamyx|Senyorita

    Happy Blog Anniversary! I rarely check my Google Analytics, but I think I should now lol. Btw, I’m going to UK soon. Meet-up with other bloggers? Hehe cheers to more blogging years to come! :D

  21. jmayel el-haj

    We, like you, check our analytics stats everyday. It is very addictive i must say. (unintentional rhyme there)
    It is refreshing to see some blunt facts on a blog. Helps others to understand this confusing world of sponsored posts, links, stats and SEO.
    Keep at it, you’re doing well so far!

    J & S

  22. The CounterIntuitive

    Great post. No one’s ever said a bad thing about good, steady progress. Did you put that statistics table together yourself or is there a tool/plugin that can amalgamate it all together for you? (particularly the google page rank). thanks.
    The CounterIntuitive recently posted..My Realisation About A Dangerous HabitMy Profile

  23. Neil

    @The CounterIntuitive – Yeah I put the table together in Excel, its pretty easy to keep up to date though. I dont know of a plugin that can do it sorry.

  24. The CounterIntuitive

    That’s a shame, thanks for the info none-the-less. Maybe one day I’ll write a script to pull all this down. If I do, I’ll let you know.
    The CounterIntuitive recently posted..Changes After A Week Of The New ScheduleMy Profile

  25. Sofie

    Interesting overview!
    I’ve made an excel sheet for my states, my partnerships etc but it’s always nice to see how someone else is doing it to add some fine tuning.
    May I ask: do you have some kind of ‘alert system’ set up that tells you when an advertisement (or other deal) is up for renewal?


    Oh and by the way: love the way you write!
    Sofie recently posted..Utrecht: walking along the water waysMy Profile

  26. Sofie

    Oh and I was also wandering: The numbers of your stats are taken at the end of each month?
    I’m still figuring out Google Analytics…
    I just know it could explain way more to me than it does now, but I still have to take the time to really dig into it.
    Sofie recently posted..Utrecht: walking along the water waysMy Profile

  27. Neil

    @Sofie – No alert system, just an excel spreadsheet like you. I haven’t got many advertisements left on here though as I’m slowly cutting them down. Not such a big worry for me now.

    Happy that you like the way I right, thanks taking the time to comment!

  28. Neil

    @Sofie – I set the google Analytics dates from the 1st the to 30th/31st of the month once that month is over, then take the reads.

  29. Sofie

    Aight, thanks for clearing that out!:)
    Sofie recently posted..New York, New York: I shall returnMy Profile

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