The First year of Travel Blogging – what happened and our new plans
Gamintraveler started in Nov 11 2015, and frankly in just well over a year, there have been so many things that happened – both good and bad. The first week of the New Year has passed by, and now that our minds are totally back to work, we think it’s the perfect time to tell you what can happen in your first year of blogging, in case you have been planning to start one, already in your first year of blogging journey, or are feeling nostalgic and want to see what happened in our journey. Let’s visit the highlights (good news first right?). If you want to know how to make money blogging this 2017.
Our blog has reached over 77K unique set of eyes this year. Woohoo! Now, it’s not too much compared to a lot of the high profile bloggers we know, but it would be a dishonor to our hard work and to all the amazing people who have visited us this year (that’s you!) to not feel thankful about this. It’s super crazy. We’re seriously two people who started with a few travel stories, a dream of creating an income solely out of our storytelling – it is just insane. We’ll never thank you enough. We beat ourselves so hard often times, and we put pressure on ourselves about work, when we know we’ve actually established something. This year has been one of our successful years, especially in the working online part (more details later), and there’s just too much to be thankful for. And YOU have been a big part of it.
Here are a few highlights of our blogging work and how we have achieved these views:
You can see that there are definitely many highs and lows. We focused a lot of our energy in promoting the blog in the first few months, when we started getting 18,000+ views monthly, and the last couple of months, the monthly traffic has been less than that. On the business and earning side of things, the last part of the year was actually when our most earnings came through, mostly from our management and consulting work for Instagram accounts.
Social media plays a lot for us in attracting traffic. We haven’t invested any money yet on online ads, so this is an amazing feat for us. The organic searches we are getting from Google has also slowly increased which has been one good result of our blogging efforts this year.
And if we’re talking about social media, here are the top 2 channels bringing traffic to the Gamintraveler blog. Now, earnings wise, we would say that it’s actually Instagram that has been bringing most of our earnings this year. The traffic from the site has not been directly related to income for us, however, it has a direct effect on understanding our readers, so we can serve better stories and information.
For example, in the screenshot below, you will see which posts has garnered the highest views from readers. From here, we get a much better understanding of who are the readers of the blog, what information they are looking for, and what interests them. Also, it gives us a view of what we should plan to write and talk about next time and if we need to put more of our efforts in any certain topics.
How much did we exactly earn from our blogging?
Blogging and working online is very inseparable for us. Since we started blogging this year, we have put a lot of investment, energy and focus on studying how to create a solid income online. There are certainly so many income streams you can start online, and we are looking forward at experimenting and creating multiple income streams for us. This year, our focus has been mostly on our Instagram consulting and management.
This year, we were able to earn around $25,000 from all our online and blog work put together. Out of the whole year, I was in Spain for 2 months, traveled around the Baltics, Russia and Central Asia for another 2 months, got invited to fly to Dubai for a week (sponsored 2-way plane rides and accommodation), and stayed in the Philippines from August. We are based in the Philippines now, and during our travel down time, this is when we do most of our work. This is not to say we stop working. We actually ALWAYS work. Our travel habits have changed since we started working more. We had to stay in more hotels and actually need to connect to wifi everyday. It is not worse, definitely not. We are so blessed that we can travel for in another way, partnering with hotels for content and promotion. For our last trip in Asia, we were able to secure sponsored accommodation across various countries – Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. These sponsorships are done in exchange of blog work, social media features and content for them. The hotel partnerships doesn’t earn us money (yet), but this massively decreases our travel expenses.
Believe it or not, traveling in Asia for a month, we spent around $700 (including two-way airfare for the both of us). The main expenses we have were the transportation – planes, ferries, some buses (in areas we can’t really hitchhike). The next one would be food and beers. ha! Asia can be cheap, depending on the type of travel you’ll be doing. Asia can be really cheap, depending on how you want to travel. And since we’ve been missing a lot of the adventure we had our previous trips together, we made it a point to hitchhike a lot on this trip – saved us a lot of money! And all this money goes to a fund that we can use when we are traveling in much more expensive continents, like in Europe next summer.
Right now, the bulk of our income (around 4-5K monthly) comes from our Instagram Consulting and Management business. About 4 months in on our blogging, we were seriously thinking and studying up on ways we can get more traffic to our blog, and only then did we come across one great course on leveraging Instagram for business.
If you’ve heard about Nathan Chan of Founder Magazine, (@foundr, on Instagram), he built the course after getting 10K Instagram followers in 2 weeks, and built massive businesses and campaigns, all launching them through Instagram. We signed up for the course, applied everything we learned, and built our following to 50K after a few months.
More importantly, we started working with businesses online who needed more time to focus on the other parts of their business, while we help them build their Instagram following, and generate sales from their Instagram accounts. We managed Instagram accounts, and also offer consulting for bloggers and other solo Instagrammers who want to improve their game, and business through Instagram.
Below are some of our favorite Instagram shares!
Challenging moments of this year
I think if we have to summarize the most challenging parts of this year, it was to balance that fear and the feeling of being tired about all the blogging and social media work that we had to do. After all, we are still on our first year. We’ve accomplished quite a few things, but we know that to stay having a business and work online, you can’t stop. You have to continue growing and working hard, and that means hours and hours of studying, and client calls, and working – hard but worth it. Yes, I admit that I miss the life of not thinking about generating too much income. Saving enough because I know that I can travel the world simply and very cheaply. (Click here to read our most popular article on 28 ways to sleep for free when traveling). But knowing that there’s a new world today, where you can build a career and business online, and take it anywhere with you, is just amazing. It’s definitely a knowledge we want to pass on to our little one, and something we want to impart to all of you. (Earlier this year, we started a 7-day free course on how to build your blog from scratch and get 18K views in 90 days).
Goals for this year
Sometimes, we feel uneasy sharing our goals online to all of you. These are the moments we feel the most vulnerable. What if at the end of the year we don’t get the goals we published online? Are the people going to judge us? But we realized, there’s nothing in life that can be accomplished without first getting clear and solid on what you want to achieve. And we trust that if you’ve reached this point, reading this full review of our year, you are either 1) very interested in building your own solid business online or 2) genuinely interested to hear and follow our journey — and that is something we are incredibly grateful for.
So here goes..
This year, we want to learn how to earn much more online, build a more solid business, and create digital and physical workshops. I have been able to talk in front of a few people in some places in Russia, to talk about how I travel to many countries through hitchhiking, and was featured with in local Russian TV channel to talk about travel and what I think about their country. It was such an amazing experience since it was my first time traveling in Russia.
We definitely want to improve our photography and videography, to be able to share to you much more amazing content. Do you know how frustrating it is to stare at an incredible sunset and not share to you how it really looks like? It’s definitely our goal to be better with our gear, and our skills to be able to share to you all these travel adventures. I’m sure that filling yourself up with so much travel inspiration will really make you plan your next worldwide trip!
Rachel is definitely excited to travel to her first continent after Asia, and I am so excited to be with her and share new travel moments with her. We hope to travel around Europe. There is just so much genuine beauty, culture, and history in all corners of the earth, and these are moments we want to document, for you, for us, and for anyone with the heart of a wanderlust.
We hope you learned something from this post. These posts are usually something we are very nervous to share about, as it reveals so much information about us, our work, and our inner dreams. But we’re happy to know that there is a community here who is willing to dream with us, follow our journey, and even implement the steps we have done to build a travel lifestyle! Follow us as we do our best to document every step of the way for you!