After reading other travel blogs doing the same thing, I have decided to write up a review of the website for the last year. It may be something that is useful to other bloggers to compare how they are going and to give ideas of what they can and maybe shouldn’t do. It is also a great opportunity for us to reassess what we are doing, analyse what is working and what is not.
There are many aims of this website. Primarily it is document all the travels we have done individually and as a family, for ourselves and to show our family and friends. More broadly, having put a lot of effort into creating this site, we hope it becomes a useful resource for others. We want to share our travel experiences and share advice from what we have learned. Lastly, it would be nice to earn a little money from the website, and help fund further travels (perks would be nice too)! Thankfully making money is not our only goal, for if it was, we have failed miserably.
This site has been online as thistravellife.com since 2015, though this is the first year we have done a review like this. Prior to the current incarnation, our travel website was the more specific thisbalilife.com while we were living there, and also a lot of previous content was published on thetravelalmanac.com, which is still around in a different form.
Where We Travelled
As this is a travel blog, the important thing is that we continue to travel. We actually had two overseas family holidays this year, more than we usually plan to. In April we went to one of our long-time bucket-list items, New Zealand, then in October we spent a week in Phuket Thailand. Rob also headed out on his own, to Lombok, Indonesia with some mates. We also had several trips around Western Australia; a family get-together at Fonty’s Pool, our annual weekend away with friends at Margaret River, and another friend trip across to Rottnest Island. All up a very busy travel year, even by our standards. See our annual family letter for more of what we were up to this year.
We have built up the site
We posted nine new travel articles in 2019, for a total of 281 blog posts published. We also expanded our directory of places, so we now have seven destination summary pages for countries we have visited, and continue to transfer static pages (such as these diaries) to the WordPress blog.
Did we have any visitors?
The Travel Life had a total of 11,130 unique page views for 2019, that’s a little under 1000 pages per month. The Bali House Creatures article accounted for a quarter of all traffic. The most popular pages were (in order of popularity):
- House Creatures in Bali
- Favourite Historic Towns of Australia
- Bali Coffee In Many Ways
- Australian Big Things
- This Travel Life Home Page
We have 127 people liking us on Facebook. We made nine posts throughout the year, the post that got the most traction was a few photos from the south island of New Zealand (reached 119 with 95 engagements).
We posted images on Instagram 35 times in 2019, for a total of 323 posts. We had close to 500 followers by the end of the year, reaching a target goal. Our photo of the Nugget Point Lighthouse at sunset, from our trip to New Zealand, was our most popular Instagram post.
We Still Don’t Earn Much
Despite some decent traffic, our earnings are fairly dismal. We are getting all our income on this site from Google Adsense advertisements, for a total of just $22.76. This is hardly a dent in our spending. There are quite a few costs running a travel blog. There are the blog hosting expenses, which is about $5 a month and about $20 a year for domain name renewal. In addition, there are home office expenses such as internet connection, and the cost of travel! If we were to do all the sums (which we are not!), we would be a long way in the red.
Next year we plan to work a lot on boosting this income. That will include a lot of affiliate links, as this can be a lot more lucrative. We also aim to target increasing the blog traffic through the social channels – boosting Instagram and Facebook followers and building up our Pinterest boards. We also aim to create a regular newsletter, and for that, we need some subscribers.
And of course, adding lots more good quality content (including jazzing up some old and incomplete posts). There are a lot of blog posts in the draft stage. We are still catching up with blogs posts from Europe in 2017, though we eventually plan to publish blogs from that trip. We also want to move some old static pages to the blog, and more articles from the old Travel Almanac site.
In terms of travel plans for next year, we plan to focus on going local. We have always planned to do a sequel to our Around Australia Trip from 2008, this time with older kids. The time seems right for them to take a few months off school and see more of Australia.