November 2019 Travel and Blogging Recap

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After an extremely busy summer and autumn filled with travel, I finally had a whole month off in November! It was a much-needed break, both physically and work-wise – and so of course I immediately came down with a cold the day after I got home from Turkey. Ha.

Luckily the cold wasn't too bad, and I was able to get a good amount of work done throughout the month and then enjoy a nice Thanksgiving at home with family.

My focus this month was on work, including catching up on my Cleveland site.

November: The month in travel

  • Countries visited: 1 – The US
  • Cities visited: Basically just Cleveland, Ohio!
  • Flights taken: 0
  • Days spent on the road: 0

The best thing I ate: I went on a quest to find the best pierogis in Cleveland this month – I've hit up 7 different restaurants serving these Polish dumplings so far. They're a popular and “local” food here in Cleveland, and I haven't hated testing out all the different versions served up around the city.

Pierogis at Sokolowski's University Inn
Pierogis at Sokolowski's University Inn

The coolest thing I did: Just because I wasn't traveling doesn't mean I had a completely boring month! I think the coolest thing I did this month was finally trying an escape room with some friends (a belated birthday present from my husband). I used to LOVE logic puzzles when I was younger, and an escape room is basically like a giant logic puzzle! I loved it, and imagine we'll do more in the future.

November travel highlights

Winterfest in Cleveland – I didn't really have to “travel” too far for this one, but Elliot and I went downtown a couple times in November to check out Christmas-y things in Cleveland, including Winterfest, our annual holiday kick-off event. Along with checking out lots of holiday decorations, we watched the tree lighting on Public Square and some fireworks afterwards!

Winterfest fireworks in Cleveland
Winterfest was fun!

November travel lowlights

Nothing to report this month since I didn't really leave home!

November on the blog

November is usually a pretty decent month for blog traffic and business – it's before the holidays, and also contains one of the biggest shopping days of the year (Black Friday). (There's a reason why everyone publishes a gift guide during this month!)

I focused on work a bit more in November, and published some big posts. (I was also working hard on my Cleveland site, too – check out this monster post over there.) It was a good month traffic-wise – one of my best, in fact!

November traffic: 225,187 unique users and 314,783 pageviews

Most popular post: Alberta Bucket List: 40+ Incredible Things to Do in Alberta, Canada – This massive post is one of the longest I've ever published, but also highlights all the amazing things you can do in the Canadian province of Alberta.

Other posts published in October:

November on social media

Most popular Instagram post: It's been a rough month or two on Instagram; I posted pretty infrequently in November because I'm not loving the platform these days. This photo of me at the Harry Potter studio tour in London was the favorite of what I did post – which is great, because this photo makes me smile so much!

View this post on Instagram

There are some things that I don’t think you’re ever too old for – and pretending to be a young witch ✨ or wizard 🧙🏻‍♂️ heading off to Hogwarts is one of them! As a Harry Potter fan, one of the best things I’ve ever done is spend a day at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, where much of the Harry Potter ⚡️ movie magic happened. It’s a massive facility filled with props, costumes, full sets, and lots of interactive elements to make you feel like you’re 11 and receiving your first letter via Owl Post. I think it’s important to still be able to play and be silly as an adult; most of us don’t do it often enough! I wrote a new post recently about all the fun Harry Potter-related things to do in London (find the link in my profile). Some of them (like the studio tour and themed afternoon tea) can definitely make you feel like a little kid again. When’s the last time YOU did something on your travels that was just pure fun? And would you ever want to go to the Harry Potter studio tour in London? . . . I visited the Warner Bros. Studio Tour on my recent trip to London with @monogramstravel. It’s a place you definitely need to pre-book tickets for, as it sells out far in advance! My #MonogramsInsider tip is that it’s worth it to plan your visit around lunchtime, as the studio has a good cafe about halfway through that serves up butterbeer 🍺 alongside regular food! . . . #harrypottermovies #wbtourlondon #harrypotterfan #harrypotterforever #harrypotternerd #platform9¾ #london🇬🇧 #lovegreatbritain #hogwartsexpress #wheresmyletter

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Most popular Facebook post: You liked this post about ancient ruins in Turkey.

November business update

November was a pretty good business month; income wasn't record-breaking or anything, but I got a LOT of admin-type things done.

Income report:

  • Advertising: $6,276.37
  • Affiliates: $4,533.11

(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes.)

Business highs

My Morocco tour is on sale! – Did you hear? You can totally travel to Morocco with me in March 2020! I've teamed up with my favorite tour company, Intrepid Travel, to plan a 10-day trip around southern Morocco including a food tour in Marrakech, hiking in the High Atlas Mountains, an overnight in the Sahara Desert, time on the coast, and more! The tour is already more than half sold-out (it went out exclusively to people on my tour interest email list first), so if you're interested in coming, learn more here!

Bloghouse applications open – In other exciting news, I'll be mentoring again at Bloghouse, my favorite travel blogging event of the year! Bloghouse is a small retreat/conference for travel bloggers, and the 2020 version is going to be in Buffalo, New York. Applications are now open – find more details here.

Bloghouse Buffalo

Finally hiring some help – The Type A business owner in me resisted hiring out anything more than one-off projects for a long time; but it's stupid to continue spreading myself so thin and neglecting major things that need to be done. So I hired a virtual assistant and a Pinterest management team! These awesome folks will be helping me with a lot of the behind-the-scenes parts of my business, and I'm excited to have some things taken off my plate (and to finally get around to several tasks that have been languishing on my to-do list for way too long).

Business lows

Scary Google updates – There was a massive Google algorithm update in November that negatively impacted a LOT of bloggers. I wasn't actually one of the people severely affected by this update, but it rattled me nonetheless to know that a lot of my traffic could (quite literally) disappear overnight. I already do my best to not rely on a single income stream, but this is a good reminder that I need to continue to innovate, diversify, and not get too comfortable in this ever-changing digital environment.

PS – I know this monthly round-up is being published here on A Dangerous Business, but would you be interested in site/business-related updates from my second niche site, too? Big things are happening on my Cleveland site as well!

Cleveland Arcade
Lots to share from Cleveland, and the journey of starting a second site!

Upcoming in December

There's more on my Cleveland to-do list in December, a bathroom renovation at my house coming up, and one quick trip to a place you might remember from earlier this year:

Scottsdale, Arizona – After really loving my time in Scottsdale during Bloghouse 2019 back in June, I'm headed there again next week with two other bloggers to discover even more about this desert oasis. Our trip will focus on why Scottsdale is a great winter getaway, and we maaayyy be spending an entire day at a spa, which I'm definitely not mad about.

And remember that you can follow along in real-time with all of my adventures through my IG Stories on Instagram!

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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7 Comments on “November 2019 Travel and Blogging Recap

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  1. Definitely interested to hear how your Cleveland site is doing! Especially if you’re going to separate out the earnings so we can see what comes from which site. I’ve been wanting to start a more focused niche site for aaaaages but I’m dragging my feet on committing, especially when it comes to the topic, so it would be interesting to hear how this is going for you.

      Yes, I’ve been thinking of doing this! Some of the income (like from affiliates) might take a bit more work to separate out, but my Cleveland site just got accepted to Mediavine, so I definitely want to do more with it! I also think it’s cool to apply everything I’ve learned from starting my first site to this second one; I’ve found everything SO much easier the second time around.

        I’d love to hear about it too, Amanda!! Especially (like Ali) I am considering a second site… #torturingmyself

    I don’t even have a big Instagram following and even I noticed a huge drop in the likes on my photos so I can imagine how frustrating that must be for you! I just came back from my Egypt trip with Intrepid, inspired by you! I chose the 8 day adventure trip and it was amazing. Really happy I went. I’m currently trying to get to all 50 states so might do Ohio next – can’t wait to check out your Ohio site as well.

      So happy to hear that about Egypt, Heather! The history there is just staggering, isn’t it?

    I’m also agonizing over hiring someone for Pinterest! I know I’m leaving a lot of traffic on the table by not letting an expert handle it. I look forward to seeing how it goes for you!

      I get decent traffic from Pinterest, but I’m TERRIBLE about pinning consistently. And I actually just don’t like using Pinterest in general. So it’s worth it to me to hand all that off to someone else so I can free up that time for doing things I enjoy a bit more.

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