I always look back at my most recent roundup before I write a new one, just to jog my memory about what I was up to when I wrote the last one. In my January/February update, I was still in the throes of winter in Ohio, and starting to feel hopeful about getting a vaccine before summer.
I feel like these last two months have moved at warp speed; spring came early to Ohio, with cherry blossoms and new buds appearing on the trees weeks earlier than normal. And, of course, the vaccine rollout in the US has moved faster than most of us expected.
Elliot and I are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and to say it's a relief is the understatement of the year.
I know I am very, very lucky to be in the US right now with access to a shot before most of the rest of the world. I'm not taking that for granted, and I certainly don't want to make light of the fact that other parts of the world are still suffering; vaccine inequity is real, and this isn't over.
But after the awful first year of the pandemic that we had here in the US, it's an immense relief that things are finally trending in the right direction for my family and loved ones. (Though we didn't make it through unscathed; both of Elliot's parents ended up getting COVID in March. If you're not vaccinated, it's not time to let your guard down yet.)
But enough about the ‘Rona. Let's get on to the latest update!
March and April: The months in travel
- Countries visited: 1 – USA
- States visited: 1 – Ohio
- Flights taken: 0
- Days spent on the road: 0
I didn't actually go anywhere in the last two months, so I have no travel highlights for you. In March, I was building vaccine antibodies and stressing about Elliot's parents (his dad was hospitalized for a few days).
On a personal note, though, being vaccinated meant I got to actually hang out with some friends and family in April! I drank mimosa flights and ate food indoors for the first time since last year, Elliot and I had friends over for a game night, and my mom, sister and I took my nephew on his first outing to the aquarium.
I know it's not as exciting as traveling somewhere exotic, but it's exciting when compared to the last year. I'm looking on the bright side in that I've been able to work on a lot of new content for my Cleveland site lately!
No travel means no travel lowlights.
March and April on the blog(s)
While my motivation to create content has waned again, traffic to my main site took off in March. Like, we're talking pre-pandemic traffic numbers here, which is pretty crazy since it's mostly only US content getting traffic right now.
Americans, it would seem, are ready to travel – at least domestically – again.
A Dangerous Business traffic: 262,074 unique visitors and 348,995 pageviews in March (which is a whopping 60% increase over February!), and 269,523 unique visitors and 363,047 pageviews in April.
Most popular post: How I Failed at Being a Digital Nomad – After sharing an abbreviated version of this story on Instagram, I decided to tell the whole tale in a blog post. I tried to become a digital nomad back in 2013 – and completely failed at it.
Other posts published in March or April:
- How to Plan an Awesome Trip in 16 Easy Steps
- How to Spend One Epic Day on Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula
- 6 Reasons to Plan a Desert Vacation in the US This Year
- My Favorite National Park Service Sites (That Aren’t National Parks) (updated for 2021)
On the Cleveland blog, traffic saw a little bump in March, and has remained steady since then. My goal of course is to continue growing this site, but I'm pretty happy with how far it's come in the last year!
Cleveland Traveler traffic: 25,031 unique visitors and 35,278 pageviews in March, and 26,538 unique visitors and 35,808 pageviews in April.
Some of what was published:
- 20+ of the Most Instagrammable Photo Spots in Cleveland
- Top 20 Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Cleveland*
- Boba Love: Where to Find the Best Bubble Tea in Cleveland
*This post was written by my friend Kat from World Wide Honeymoon, who freelances for me over on Cleveland Traveler.
March and April on social media
I haven't been putting as much effort into social media lately (especially on the accounts for my main site), simply because I haven't had very much to share.
I've been playing around more with Reels on Instagram and videos on TikTok for my Cleveland account (you can find me on TikTok @clevelandtraveler), but I haven't had anything go viral yet to motivate me to dedicate more time to it.
Most popular post on Instagram (@dangerousbiz) – This photo of Cobh, Ireland, is always a crowd-pleaser, and it was no exception when I re-shared it this year for St. Patrick's Day. I can't wait until we can travel to Ireland again!
Most popular post in Instagram (@clevelandtraveler) – It's always amusing to me to see which photos on my (much smaller) Cleveland IG account will get tons of likes each month. For this time frame, this photo of bubble tea was the winner by a wide margin.
March and April business update
I'm super lucky in that traffic (to both of my sites, really) wasn't affected as much as it could have been due to the pandemic. With traffic, ad revenue, and affiliate sales all on the rise again, I've seen a return to near-pre-COVID income numbers – which I am super grateful for!
A Dangerous Business March income report:
- Advertising: $6,520.13
- Affiliates*: $2,109.11
A Dangerous Business April income report:
- Advertising: $5,332.8
- Affiliates: $2,881.94
- Other: $1,000
(Note that this is my income before deductions/expenses and taxes.)
*Curious about how I make money with affiliates? I actually have a course on that! You can check out my affiliate marketing for travel bloggers course here.
On Cleveland Traveler, I had an income spike in March thanks to ad revenue from December. Otherwise, income is remaining steady on that site, and I think making $1000 per month consistently should be an attainable goal!
Cleveland traveler March income report:
- Advertising: $3,145.79*
*This number is way higher than normal because this is the payout for my ad earnings in December. My Cleveland site sees a big traffic spike before the holidays.
Cleveland traveler April income report:
- Advertising: $781.97
- Product sales: $27
- Other: $500
(Note: A Dangerous Business was started in 2010, and has been monetized for more than 7 years; Cleveland Traveler was started in 2019, and has been monetized for 14 months.)
Making work plans! – The travel industry is slowly starting to creep back into existence, especially within the US. I got hired for a cool Instagram campaign with Booking.com in April, and I have a few work projects coming up in the Midwest this summer. It feels amazing to be talking about work projects again after feeling so much doom and gloom for a year.
Airbnb says bye to affiliates – You all know that affiliate marketing is one of my biggest income streams, and you also probably can guess that travel affiliate sales were pretty dismal in 2020. The one saving grace was that Airbnb launched a new affiliate program last spring, and invited all the travel content creators to join. And with people wanting to book apartments and cabins more than hotel rooms in the last year, Airbnb became an important affiliate for a lot of us.
But after less than a year, the rental giant decided to close down its affiliate program quite suddenly. Meaning that all the Airbnb-focused content they were encouraging bloggers like me to produce for 6+ months became pretty useless from an affiliate perspective.
I of course understand that this is just how business goes sometimes and I can't say I'm surprised that Airbnb would screw over publishers just like it regularly screws over property owners, renters, and local people in the cities in which it operates. But it's possible to be both not surprised and still upset about it at the same time.
When you see me recommending Airbnb a lot less in the coming months, this is why!
Saying goodbye to my virtual assistant – Another “low” recently is that my awesome virtual assistant who had been working with me since November 2019 decided to move on to bigger and better things this spring. She's got her own blog and is now off to travel the world and I'm so excited for her! But I'll definitely miss having her help. I now have to decide whether I need to go in search of a new assistant, or whether I can make do on my own again.
Upcoming this spring
May: West Virginia road trip – Elliot and I are off on Saturday on our very first post-vaccination adventure! We're not going far – just one state south to explore West Virginia for a week. This is a state I've driven through several times, but have never really spent much time in. Now seems like the perfect time, especially since WV is all about outdoor adventures. We're going to go whitewater rafting, do some hiking in the newest US national park, and are even gong to tackle a via ferrata! I'm so excited to have something new to share with you.
June: Wisconsin – I'm definitely planning to get out in the US more this summer, starting with a trip to Madison, Wisconsin in June! I'm planning to drive, so may extend my trip to include some other parts of Wisconsin and maybe a stop in Chicago, too.