I hope everyone is enjoying this slower time of the year and the wind-down to 2016! This time of year, I was get a little thoughtful about the blog. It was 5 years ago today (December 27) that I pushed Publish on my very first post and I love to think about where things have come and where I want to take them into the next year. Today is such a time!
Blogger Honesty and Reality
A LOT of Words!
This post is post number 2,994 for me – in 5 years on a part-time basis. Since I tend to be a little long-winded, I would put an educated guess that each post averages 750 words. That is a little over 2.2 million words! In those 2.2 million words, I have had a lot of room for growth and work on finding my voice in blogging. I have not published everything that has come over my computer for sure but things that I felt were of interest to my readers as well as things I had an interest in.
A LOT of Numbers!
This year has been the biggest year – by far – on the blog with an increase of almost 60% in the number of pageviews over last year and a 17,000% increase from my first year! I am very thankful to each and every person that has visited for sure!
As long as we are talking numbers, I was also share a little bit about revenue on this site. This site is supported by 2 things – advertising and affiliate commissions. Both of those are numbers that I cannot really give specifics on per confidentiality and such but I will say that the site receives more money from, say, a credit card application referral than it does from a single visit to the site (and by that, advertising)!
I am fortunate to be a part of BoardingArea which has a tremendous support team that handles all of the behind-the-scenes stuff so I can focus mostly on the writing and content. They handle dealing with advertisers, design, technical issues and overall support. On the affiliate side, that is something I am free to engage in on my own. Between the advertising and affiliate income, I am fortunate to be able to earn some to help with my time on the site, some travels for more posts, and, as of late, to help my contributing writer, Dustin.
And now, I swing the post to the Blogger Honesty part. It is very easy to chase numbers in the blogging world. I mean, something semi-newsworthy comes out and it seems like many bloggers (including me) tend to try and rush to be the first to put our special spin on the issue or news. In some cases, that does benefit my readers. In other cases, I choose to pass on some of those things because I do not feel it really provides the kind of content that regular readers and others that visit may be here looking for. There are some fine blogs that cover the insider angles on certain travel companies and they do a good job.
Read My First Post: Running the World for Less
Chasing the Numbers & Back to Reality
It is hard sometimes to work on posts that may take a couple/few hours to write and then only see a small fraction of the number of views that some airfare sale post gets, especially when the airfare post takes all over 10 minutes to write! Of course, from a time/money perspective, it makes more sense to drop the more time consuming posts for those flash posts!
But, I started this blog for two reasons – because I was constantly getting asked the same questions by friends and family and wanted to direct them to a single place where I could answer those questions, and to help the running community to travel to races and other fine places for less than what many are paying. This is an area where I can have a unique voice in comparison to the gift card space where there are dozens of blogs with coverage there.
Playing with Balance
However, it takes time to reach that niche market of travelers and I cannot do a good job of that if I stay away from those posts because they do not bring initially high pageviews. Yet, I have also seen a nice community of readers that come to this blog on a daily basis to read and see what is coming out and I certainly do not want to see you all leave!
So, for 2017, I am going to make a more concerted effort at staying true to my blog and that means I will be writing a lot more posts about running and travel for running events. This will include such things as the major marathons around the world, how to get there on the cheap, where to stay, reviews of these racing events, little-known races and how to get there and many more things within the running/travel realm.
There are hundreds of thousands of runners who travel to run races or just run in unique places and I know that the majority of them are spending a decent amount of money to do that. I want to help them be able to do what we all enjoy doing – traveling for much less.
With all of that said, I will not be forsaking the kind of content I have been posting here for years either! That running aspect will be in addition to the things that I continue to find useful for the readership here in the space of miles, points, deals, and travel reviews. But, I will not be so anchored to chasing what I feel will be a popular post versus what I feel can be a useful post.
So, I just ask that you join me and help me out with some advice as I work to make this work better in 2017! One of the hardest things there is for a blogger in this space (I think) is to stay true to the original purpose and mission of the blog. I know it has been that way for me! It can be easy to chase the quick advertising/affiliate money versus the long-term resourceful content and I want to be able better balance the two.
Thanks for hanging with me through this long post (told you I was long-winded!)! It is great to have so many kind readers like I have here and I hope to help you much more in 2017!