If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If it did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
– Charlotte Bronte
(UPDATE: We earned $25k from our first year of travel blogging. Read the post here.)
Like every travel, blogging felt to us like this new voyage. A new kind of trip.
That quote above summarizes what blogging has taught us for the last 5 months. And if you are trying to decide if blogging is for you, or have already made the jump but feeling that you’re somehow alone in the journey, then here’s what happened behind the scenes. This time, it’s raw and honest, and not just the technical things. If you want to know how to make money blogging these days, click here.
If we have previously written all the honest reports and made you feel that everything came to us easily, then we were so wrong. Today, we share to you a very raw and honest report. What travel blogging feels like, what it can do to your life, and why you should jump to doing it.
It’s been a challenging journey, but I would say that it has transformed us to a better version of ourselves. Nothing perfect, but in a wonderful journey. In fact, it’s been exhilarating, and we definitely learned a lot about ourselves.
So, before all the learnings, let’s start with some technical aspects of the blog. Here’s what our traffic has been for the last 5 months:
In summary, since we started, we were able to build an average of about 17K in traffic monthly. We recently went to a one month trip in Asia, when our traffic went down to 15K, but even then, it’s not our weakest month, so it’s pretty solid. There are certainly so much room for growth, but we are happy to build this foundation, and we know that this is just the beginning of the next phase for the blog.
Email subscribers – We are at around 980 email subscribers right now, which is another great way to measure the blog’s growth. Our email open rate is around 20-30%, and for the 5-day FREE email course, the open rate was around 50-55%, which is a pretty high percentage.
Income – From $1,100, we earned around $1800 last month. Another great sign that our work is improving. This time it was a mix of the following:
- Instagram Consulting and Management for Businesses
- Sponsored Posts
- Additional Social Media Work (other channels)
Domain Authority/Page Authority – We are now at – We were able to build a strong and solid SEO backbone for our website, in just a couple of months. Again, not perfect, but solid enough that we are getting views from Google already.
A lot has happened, and it’s been almost half a year since we built Gamintraveler, and right now, we just want to share to you the journey so in the end you can decide for yourself, if this is something you also want to do.
1. How the blog maintained an average of 17K monthly views, even with one month dedicated to travel
We were able to build a system for us. From deciding what story to write, what title to use, what keywords to use, and thinking if those keywords will support the main theme of the blog, competitive enough to reach a good traffic from Google, and how that story can be written to well served you, our readers. We then have a system to follow for our promotion, and we can monitor from there if we will hit our monthly traffic target, or if we need to exert more effort. SIMPLY, we already have a method that works, which we have already tested when we traveled one month, and spent less time working on the blog
2. How we started earning under the blog’s name
Through the traffic, social following, and the methods we learned during the past couple of months, we were able to build our portfolio and able to work with brands and businesses. We offered social media consulting and management, blogging and outreach work, sponsored posts (yes, we can get paid to write a sponsored story for a good SEO benefit), and sponsored travel deals. And we were able to test this kind of work to know if we can bring our work with us, if we decide to travel while working. That means being able to travel and bring our work with us, one of the main goals of why we started the blog.
3. How we were able to reach a good no. of following on social in a short amount of time.
If you signed up for the 5 Day email course, you will get information about a lot of the strategies we’ve been using to grow the blog. Check out how much our social media channels have grown.
Facebook – From 336 followers in Nov 11 to 1741 in 5 months
A growth of 518%
Instagram – 1884 Followers on Feb 8, now with 17.5K Followers
A growth of 929%
7,986 Followers on Twitter
78.8K Impressions in the last month; Account 10.8K times visited
Pinterest Average Daily viewers of 4,332 for the last month
4. How the blog slowly became a big part of each one of us, and shaped our relationship in a different way
Now this one’s something really personal. You know that saying that you can’t fully worked on something, expect results, and only give half your heart into it? That definitely has been our experience so far. When we started, we knew we had goals and targets we want to reach, and we knew what we wanted, and that if it will not work, it’s a project we can always stop doing. However, as we grow the blog, and work hard to learn and achieve all the things we wanted to achieve with it, the blog has been growing inside of us. Now, it’s actually one of the biggest parts of our life. Even our relationship. It’s our “baby”, as some passionate entrepreneurs will put it. We take care of it, nourish it everyday, and in turn, it has changed us to who we are today. For example, I started thinking about travel another way. Before it was traveling, and just moving around when I want, and now, I have to think about brands I can work with, or how I can take a picture or tell a story, so that you can be inspired of what I am doing, and eventually make a choice if you want to travel this way yourself. Before, it was all about what I would get for myself when I’m traveling, but now, it’s what would the readers get and feel when I tell them my experiences while traveling in this particular country. My purpose of travel became bigger, and it has changed how I look at travel, and generally how I think about my life. Years ago, I would’ve told you I will never be a Pinterest guy, an Instagram guy, and now, I actually create relationships from social media channels, and luckily, get the chance to meet some of them in person.
5. How no. 3 was actually scary, challenging, and yes, difficult
Is growing into this traveler / blogger / digital nomad life scary? You bet it is Now, I’m pretty sure no one has jumped into the digital nomad lifestyle before without ever feeling scared that the choice might not be for them. It is quite scary. After all, it is still a general feeling to be working from an office. Luckily when Rachel and I met, we were both working for ourselves. Rachel herself has already been immersed to her own journey of building all of her work online, and hasn’t worked in a regular office for years. (Plus you should hear her speak. She doesn’t sound Asian at all). In our third month of blogging, we knew that even if it’s a lot of work, even if it’s scary, we know that life is generally like this. Travel is generally scary and unpredictable too, which is actually a big part of the adventure, and building a blog is a different adventure in itself. It can be scary and difficult, and believe me, we have our own share of dark moments, when we wanted to just leave it all behind, and go back to our old lives. But at the end of the day, we choose to be here. Rachel likes to put it this way – It is a daily choice. Sometimes, it is conscious. Often times, it is subconscious. It is definitely hard work, takes a serious amount of time, and when you do that for something, you are definitely giving a part of yourself. When you see the results, when you see the person you’re growing into, you can decide if it is for you. For us, it’s been a very different path, and it has changed the dynamic of our relationship, but now, we can say that it is something we definitely want to grow more. This is why we continuously make guides, and aim to teach other people who aspire for the same to share what we have learned.
6. How we went thru, failed, and kind of succeeded at no. 4
For us, the journey wasn’t a failure. We look at failure as part of a series of many things that leads to your goals. It is neither good or bad. What’s bad is when you decide to quit on something, and that quitting makes you feel miserable. And for now, we know that this is something will be working on for a good long time. We are excited and at the same time afraid of the possibilities. But we never let any of our fears take us down.
7. How hungry we are to start igniting a community of travelers + working nomads. Or whatever freedom means to you.
Now, we are ready to make this to a full on community of like-minded people who wants to support each other. Build a blog, build a lifestyle around your passions, make serious money to support our future travels and life, and at the same time help and inspire people – now that’s another recipe of a great adventure and we’re ready to jump on it. No pretensions, but a community surrounded by people honest to share what they are going thru, and help each other grow.
8. How we made a pact that we will continue working on all these resources and guides for you, even if we are sometimes afraid you won’t like or need them.
Yup. So many things. Traffic, income, but MOST importantly, stories that might be happening in your life, too. If you’re a travel blogger, aspiring to be, or super successful, know that in one way or another, we are linked, and we feel and experience the same things.
This is a beginning of a new adventure. And we want to work with you, on this. We developed a roadmap where you will have a guide on houw to build foundation for your blog, a solid foundation that you can use and resuse. The 90-Day Roadmap + Accountabilty Partnership. Together, we will work weekly on tasks that will be given to help build a stong identity and foundation for your blog, what your unique offer is, and how you can use that to help people and earn so that you can build a lifestyle you want. Whether its travel or a passion project that will make you free and happy.
If you want to have more inspiration of travel life-style, check Drew´s story who´s has been traveling around 80+ countries around the world.
We are so happy to work with you, and share a big part of our story to all of you. Thank you and see you soon.
To happiness and freedom, and with love,
Ruben and Rachel x