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A Couple Travelers By The Numbers: April ’13 Income – $4906

If you are interested in business, internet marketing, and making money online – please check out my blog, SelfMadeBusinessman!

Hello All!

Income report came a little late this month but it was for good reason – we were waiting on a few things to come to closure so that we could introduce them to you in this article. Let’s dive in!

Social Media: Is Print Media An Option?

After the big feature on Nomadic Matt, Vicky and I did some brainstorming about other avenues where we might be able to spread the word about our blog. We decided to see if we’d have any luck in print media aka newspapers. We often overlook these and I think it has to do with this idea in our head that we’re not doing anything that unique or interesting, largely because we’re surrounded by other travel bloggers who are doing the exact same thing we are. We often forget that not everyone is traveling the world and some might find it interesting. Also, not every newspaper has to be the Boston Globe – there are a lot of other smaller newspapers where our story might be a good fit, especially if they have a travel section.

So we reached out to about 15 or so newspapers. It’s very easy to find contact information for newspapers online. A quick Google search is all it takes.

The end result, is that none of the papers expressed interest in featuring us. Downer.

But, I still think the idea has merit, which is why we’re mentioning it. In fact, I know it has merit because I just saw the other day that Johnny Ward from OneStepForward was featured in the Chicago Tribunal – and Johnny doesn’t have much to do with Chicago, last I checked.

So think about it – start with your local paper and move upwards from there.

Buying Our First Product: TweetAdder

I had two main focuses on Social Media, work on the new twitter product we bought and try to build our newsletter.

I had read about this twitter product, Tweetadder, from a post on how a guy got 10k twitter followers in one year. I generally tend to be pretty skeptical about online products because so often they tend to be garbage, but I liked the sound of this one. The concept was pretty simple. It’s an automated process for following and unfollowing users.

If you go online and look into how to build a bigger twitter following, most people are going to tell you about running a good twitter account and tweeting interesting stuff. While that’s good advice, the honest answer is the quickest way to build followers is simply to follow people yourself. The more people you follow, the more people follow you back.

The “problem” with this, is that it’s good to keep your ratio of following:followers less than 1 so you don’t look like a spammer. Also, following people, say several hundred at once, can take a decent chunk of time if you’re doing it manually. This is where Tweetadder comes in – you can upload followers of any twitter profile you know, and then systematically and automatically follow them while your computer is on and connected to the internet. Then, a few days later, you can unfollow the people who didn’t follow you back.

Simple – right?

Vicky and I decided to give it a try because we love automating things we do anyways. It does come at a very steep price of $57, however, we found this coupon to get 35% off. So we bought it.

So far the results have been pretty good. It took us a little bit to get the hang of us, as we didn’t realize that the computer had to be on and connected to the internet in order for it to work. However, now that we’re rolling we made significant increases to our twitter followers and can follow hundreds of people at the click of a button and then unfollow the nonfollowbackers a few days later, also at the click of a button.

If you’re interested, check it out here!

A Lesson In Newsletter Building 

My next task was to build our newsletter (which, surprisingly, we don’t send out, but I guess we’re waiting for like 500+ people to justify the work). I made a couple changes to the sidebar box to make it a bit more prominent as a start. Then I downloaded this plugin, which adds an opt-in check box after comments. If you want, it auto checks to “yes”. I’ve found that this actually works pretty well, and in only a few weeks after installing this plugin we went from 90 to 130 subscribers – I can only imagine how much better off we’d had been If we had always had it on. Of course, I do wonder how many people are being “tricked” into signing up, aka, not noticing the check box and just posting their comment. But since we don’t send out a newsletter right now and it’s pretty easy to unsubscribe if we do, I’m not too worried about it.

On a side note, I find it really surprising that people sometimes unsubscribe from our newsletter despite the fact that we don’t even send one out. How does that even work?

The last thing I tried was buying a pop up, which I got for about $20 on pop up ninja. Pop ups are known for being annoying but also converting well. I wanted to see if it would help at all to just throw one up, without a free product to give away or any catchy call to action. I installed it and watched as about 100 people looked at it and rejected it.

Fail.

But that’s OK. I’m sure the pop up will come in handy in the future. The lesson is that you can’t just stick something in peoples’ face and expect them to say yes – you have to entice them no matter what. Unfortunately, we don’t have anything enticing (at least, I’m out of ideas) so for now, no pop up!

Traffic: What Happens The Month After A Big Feature?

I was very interested this month to see how traffic panned out, a month after our big feature on Nomadic Matt. While that did bring us thousands of extra pageviews, the real questions is how many readers it brought us – something that can only be evaluated after the interview has had time to die down.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that we still had over 20k pageviews for April, compared with only 12k in February (the month before the Nomadic Matt feature).

I’m beginning to feel like traffic often comes in hurdles, and once you can get over one you can remain at the next level until the next one comes.

We also did a good job keeping up with an interview this month.

Guest posts and interviews this month:

Business: Experiencing Success Working With Other Blogs

April was a very strong month and our second highest to date after a small decline from March. This is largely in part to our brokering initiative, which we started two months ago. To clarify, we’re working with other travel blogs to promote their blogs to our extensive list of advertisers on a commission basis. In April we worked with four blogs and brought in over $5k to be divided among all of us. This is double what we achieved in march. We’re continuing this in May and have added an additional two blogs to our line up which I hope will make May a record month in this respect. To keep up with all of the activity we hired an additional assistant who is largely responsible for writing.

One thing I realized, however obvious it may sound, is that if you are hiring someone, say a contractor, on an hourly basis and you only utilize them when there is actual work to be done, then you aren’t actually paying anything extra to hire someone else but you are getting things done faster. This is a little counter intuitive, at least, compared to what we are used to. Normally, we think more employees = more costs, but that’s only true if they’re say, required to show up to work 9 to 5. On the contrary, if I have say 6 articles to be written, then if one person writes 6 or two people write 3 and they receive the same wage, the costs are the same, but the turnaround is twice as fast. Neat huh? Just goes to show that you shouldn’t be afraid to take on more assistants if there is actually work to be done.

The Best Investment You’ll Ever Make

Traveling has resulted in a lot of time to read. Recently, I’ve been focusing exclusively on books about business and entrepreneurship. I know, boring huh? Vicky laughed the other day when she saw me reading a book on “The Art of Productivity”.

One thing I’ve really taken to heart is that the best investment you can ever make is an investment in yourself, because the potential is limitless. This means buying books, signing up for courses, anything that could potentially educate you. The thing is, the internet has created a new generation of people who want something for nothing. We tend to think that we can just get everything for free – the information is out there somewhere, and we tend to undervalue information based courses and products that aren’t free, thinking we “can probably find it on the internet”.

I think this is really shortsighted, for a few reasons.

  1. Not everything really is on the web.
  2. Even if it is on the web, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to find it.
  3. Even if you could find it, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to actually sit down and do so and that it can be done in a timely manner.

Sometimes, it’s worth paying just to have the information gathered and presented to you in an organized way.

If you are running a business it’s important to be investing in it and it’s always important to be investing in yourself. That’s why Vicky and I bought Tweetadder, because, in the long run, we’re confident that we can make that money back in the form of increased traffic and, frankly, even tweets if we wanted to go down that route. Yes, we could do all of this ourselves manually, but why?

Vicky and I also signed up for Ramit Sethi’s Earn1K course, which is a course about freelancing and earning money on the side, and a rather pricey one at that. Now, to be honest, we both feel this course is pretty crappy and not worth the money, but it has a full money back guarantee anyways and I’m glad we gave it a shot.

If you’re looking for something simpler, here’s a great investment – take someone out to lunch. Not just your friend, but someone who’s brain you want to pick. I really do like this article on the best $20 you’ll ever spend. Things happen when people get together and share ideas. Consider this recent email Vicky and I received.

Hi Dave and Vicki!

I just wanted to drop a note to thank you; since meeting up with you and chatting about income strategies etc my income has increased substantially. Even just learning one or two things about how someone does something just a little bit differently can make the difference! Just wanted you to know that your transparency and willingness to share information has made a difference! Thanks again.

This blogger invited us out to grab dinner and treated us to a drink. We got to talking a bit and exchanged some ideas. I guess they’ve turned out to be helpful – at least paying back for the beer.

On the reverse end, Vicky and I just had a great dinner with someone she found on Couch Surfing. We’ve talked about Couch Surfing quite a bit on this blog, but what people fail to realize time and time again is that it doesn’t HAVE to be about free accommodation – you can just message someone who looks interesting and ask them if they want to meet up. Thanks to this concept, Vicky and I met our first native Cambodian. He also works for an NGO, and was able to enlighten us on the current state of Camboodian politics, human rights issues, and NGOs – now that’s a dinner well spent!

Experimenting With Adsense

Up until recently we didn’t bother to try monetizing with Google Adsense on our travel blog. We use it on Vicky’s food blog and it seems to work OK, but she gets over double the page views that our travel blog gets. We had also heard that the click rate on travel blogs is particularly low. Still, after we hit 20k pageviews, we decided that it was time to try for ourselves – so we stuck a vertical adsense ad on the side, just to see what would happen.

I was pretty surprised to see that the click rate was higher than what we get on the Food Blog.

So, this month, we report our first adsense earnings. Again, while this is small compared to our overall earnings it’s completely passive. Also, there really are so many great things you can do with a couple hundred bucks a year, I can fund the creation of a new site (or buy one outright), take a course, etc. All of these can lead to much bigger and better things – so I never scoff at any money someone is willing to throw at me. Still I do think there are better options that we could be doing with that space, which leads me to my next thing…

Breaking Into Banner Ads

Matthew Woodward has been teasing me in his income reports for the last two months about how we’re leaving money on the table with our two blogs. I’m sure he’s right – I definitely think we could be getting more out of the blogs. The question is what are the different things we could be doing and how do we balance that with the time investment? For example, last month we added the shop to our blog and in April, we made our first sale of $13.50. While this is a relatively small portion of our income, it is passive and it’s nice to be earning affiliate income for a change aka something Google won’t punish us for.

Our next focus for this month is going to be banner ads, starting with the sidebar. I really like this for several reasons.

  1. Sidebar ads are nonintrusive.
  2. People tend to rent the space monthly, so they can be a great source of recurring income.
  3. They’re not against Google’s policies.

So, we have the real estate on both our blogs and the question is how do we fill them and what companies to seek out. Well, we purchased another plugin that we’ll be updating you on in the next income report, as well as mentioning our successes and failures in reaching out to companies – you can be sure we won’t hold back.

OK, enough rambling, here’s what everyone wants to see!

Social Media

Website Statistics

Page Views - act apr

sources - act apr

Google Page Rank: 3/10

Domain Authority: 41/100

Advertising

Total Revenue: $5,575

ACoupleTravelers – $4905.82

  • Direct Advertising: $2515
  • Google Adsense: $13.32
  • Direct Advertising Other Blogs: $2,364
  • Affiliate Sales: $13.50

AvocadoPesto – $669.13

  • Direct Advertising: $450
  • Google Adsense: $90.9
  • BlogHer: $54.30
  • BuySellAds: $20
  • Affiliates: $53.93

Total Business Costs: $400

  • Warrior Forum Membership: $47
  • Other: $20
  • Plugins: $44
  • Virtual Assistants: $289

Total Value Received: $54

  • Sorya Kayaking In Kratie Discount- $54

Find previous traffic updates:

Previous Income Updates (Food Blog)

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37 Responses to A Couple Travelers By The Numbers: April ’13 Income – $4906

  1. Great update as usual guys! Where is the ProBlogger traffic coming from? Do you have a guest post with them?

    As for the checkbox newsletter signup, I’ve found that I began getting a lot of signups, followed by unsubscribes on the same day. And I don’t even have my box checked as a default. My theory is that it’s the comment bots doing it…

    What percentage to you charge the other bloggers for ad deals?

    Matthew Karsten May 6, 2013 at 7:56 AM Reply
    • The problogger traffic is coming solely from a comment I left on a post on how to make money blogging. I wrote that we were doing exceptionally well and linked to our January income report. I tried to do similar things on other pages ranking high for make money blogging, but no success.

      We go 50/50 on all deals, but we also guarantee a minimum for each one ($80) so it usually ends up being 60/40.

      Dave and Vicky May 6, 2013 at 8:47 AM Reply
  2. Looks like another great month! 🙂

    I need to work on my newsletter. That is something that I’ve been putting off for quite some time.

    Michelle May 6, 2013 at 8:29 AM Reply
    • In the internet marketing world the newsletter is considered the ultimate goal. Then again, we’re one to talk. We need to take our own advice sometimes!

      Dave and Vicky May 6, 2013 at 8:48 AM Reply
  3. Great update as usual! I’m excited to see the breakdown of some of the testing you guys are doing. Keep up the great work!

    Neil May 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM Reply
  4. I had a message in my email about your newsletter. I opted out, I’m not a fan of newsletters, I’m really only interested in notifications of new posts. Just so you know! I also don’t think free ebooks as enticements work. If I want to subscribe to a blog, I will, I’m not interested in ebooks. But maybe I’m not a representative cross section of your audience! That Tweet tool was recommended to me this week buy a guy I know personally who makes a fortune through blogging and has done for years, glad to see you like it. I may take his advice and get it, but I’m rubbish at Twitter. Well done again you two! I’m starting to make money and get the hang of this blogging thing now, it’s been great following your progress.

    Alyson May 6, 2013 at 9:33 PM Reply
    • Thanks alyson, if you can dig through it I’d be interesting to see what the message was? I’m assuming it was the confirmation email after you left a comment, but want to make sure.

      Dave and Vicky May 6, 2013 at 9:58 PM Reply
  5. Hey guys,

    Great work, your income reports are always such a great source of inspiration.

    Keep up the good work.

    J From Travel on Inspiration May 7, 2013 at 6:36 AM Reply
  6. Great post as always guys

    Savi May 7, 2013 at 10:07 AM Reply
  7. Very interesting update on your income. Tweetadder is a great tool to use, many top bloggers are using it. I can see that you are not making any money from adsense, I believe not many are. Direct ads would be better bet.

    Shalu May 7, 2013 at 11:30 AM Reply
    • Yep, I have already taken adsense down and am looking into what can be done with that sidebar space!

      Dave and Vicky May 7, 2013 at 11:33 AM Reply
      • In fact, I too have shifted an adsense unit from the sidebar to elsewhere. Lot of space is now left to be filled. I think its a good move.

        Shalu May 7, 2013 at 11:36 AM Reply
        • If you have any tips on filling that space, let us know!

          Dave and Vicky May 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM Reply
          • Dave and Vicky, of course I will. Looking at ways to do something with it. Great space area for affiliates such as hotel booking space etc.

            Shalu May 7, 2013 at 11:59 AM Reply
  8. AMAZING income report again 🙂 Glad to see that you’re doing so great. I love the long introduction with the breakdown of what you’re trying and what’s working for you. That’s such an inspiration. 🙂

    I don’t think I quite understand what you’re doing with other bloggers. Hmm.

    Good luck! 😀 Can’t wait for next months report 🙂

    Celia May 7, 2013 at 1:11 PM Reply
    • Hey Celia – we work with other bloggers who are interested in breaking into this type of advertising but are not sure where to begin. We promote their blog to our extensive list of contacts (currently 800+) for a commission. We handle the communication and the article writing. Cheers!

      Dave and Vicky May 7, 2013 at 1:15 PM Reply
      • Oh, wow, great idea! I will have that in mind when our blog grows. 😀 Thanks for that answer. Take care.

        Celia May 8, 2013 at 6:40 AM Reply
  9. Thanks for the mention – when we hook up I’m going to take you through optimising the blog to extract value at each and every opportunity in terms of trust, relationships, social activity, traffic and maaahoneys =D

    Matthew Woodward May 9, 2013 at 1:04 PM Reply
    • nice, well be in the UK in oct. see ya then if not sooner!

      Dave and Vicky May 9, 2013 at 9:10 PM Reply
      • Hopefully we’ll hook up before but I would be happy to show you the UK – I know Manchester like the back of my hand and can show you the beauty of Cheshire.

        Email me your plans for August – All I know at the moment is I will be in Europe a lot that month but the final plans of where and when in that period aren’t finalised so I can work around your current plan with ease!

        Matthew Woodward May 10, 2013 at 8:12 AM Reply
        • Aren’t you in Europe all the time being in the UK?

          Right now all we know is that in August we are going to be in Germany. We’re flying out of London on Aug 22nd so we’ll be making our way to London August 18th ish. We’ll email you when we know more specifics – feel free to propose something as well!

          Dave and Vicky May 10, 2013 at 8:33 AM Reply
          • Hahaha I suppose so but it doesn’t really count 😛

            At the start of August I will be doing-

            5th aug manchester > prague
            7th aug train to jaromer, brutal assault festival
            11th aug train back to prague, fly home

            Matthew Woodward May 11, 2013 at 7:24 AM Reply
            • Alright we’ll keep that in mind. Worst case scenario we can do a factory tour of Manchester 😛

              Dave and Vicky May 11, 2013 at 7:40 AM Reply
  10. Thank you for sharing all this valuable information.
    Congratulations on purchasing TweetAdder! This is a great tool and we are using it too
    http://beinginawe.com/how-to-get-more-twitter-followers-using-tweetadder/
    Good luck in your adventures.

    Always following,

    Gadi & Tun @BeingInAwe

    BeinginAwe May 9, 2013 at 5:08 PM Reply
  11. This was very interesting and will take note of it if ever I do take up blogging or being a digital nomad and the likes.

    Btw, I read the earlier comments. According to an American friend who traveled with a tour group in the UK – when they were in the tour bus, the guide said that the UK is not Europe (and that people from the UK don’t consider themselves Europeans). 😀

    Katie May 11, 2013 at 1:47 AM Reply
  12. This is my first time reading your income report posts and I really have to say thank you! This sort of real world info is rarely seen so openly on the web. I really appreciate it – as someone who has her own website, is looking into starting up a blog with friends, and also works in digital outreach (looking for relevant and quality guest post / sponsored post opportunities for other companies). BTW, I may contact you soon for something 🙂

    Jessica May 17, 2013 at 4:47 PM Reply
  13. Wow. I had to double take…$4,906 US dollars from a travel blog??? Is this for real?? That amount of money would keep me travelling for 4 months!!! There has to be something I’m doing wrong on my travel blog then, been travelling for 10 years now (across over 70 countries), writing about it for 6 years on my blog and tried a lot of ways to monetise it without success. I don’t take much notice of statistics or analyse anything, maybe it’s something I need to start doing. Although graphs and charts are not my strong point – they confuse me. Thanks for sharing this post – would be interesting to know if many other travel bloggers have managed to make so much online in one month. That’s just unbelieveable!! Safe travels, Jonny

    Jonny Blair May 21, 2013 at 10:41 PM Reply
    • Indeed it is! read the monthly income reports for details and I’ll follow up with your email, cheers!

      Dave and Vicky May 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM Reply
  14. Pingback: Income Report Roundup - May 2013

  15. This is the first time am really taking out time to read your income report, and am impressed on how you get your direct advertisers.

    Congrat on your earnings.

    ceejay joe May 30, 2013 at 3:26 PM Reply

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