Travel Blog Statistics: Happy One Year Blogging Birthday

| September 12, 2012 | 73 Comments

Travel blog statistics make us cry and many others quit. But they are a necessary evil which need to be analysed from time to time.

One year ago we took the plunge and switched our 2 month old adventure travel blog to our current self-hosted site here on FourJandals.com. Our first recorded traffic was on the 9th September 2011 so this is what we consider our blog’s birth.

We had written a handful of posts and had no idea what we were doing. But I knew this is what I wanted to do full time as a job. At the time we didn’t know what Google Analytics were, never been on Twitter and my Facebook account was gathering dust.

Travel Blog Statistics: One Year of Blogging

Today we wanted to step back and see how far we have come in the space of 12 months by studying a few of our travel blog statistics. We have included Google Analytics, Twitter, Facebook, our revenue and a few others.

If you are a travel blogger then hopefully this may help you out and we would love your comments below. Especially if you want this to be a regular monthly post.

If you are not interested then normal adventure travel stories will resume on Friday and you can check out our latest scooter adventure in Tuscany or see our cute Highland Cow picture!

Google Analytics

On September 9th 2011 we installed Google Analytics. We had been around for 2 months so Mum and Dad at least knew about our blog but our numbers were crap to say the least.

We had 10 visitors that day but within a month we got a HUGE spike of 300 (we average nearly double that every day now). We honestly thought we had been “discovered” and I was ready to quit my job then. Luckily we didn’t as we soon discovered that tends to happen a lot.

Travel Blog Statistics, Four Jandals Google Analytics

For any new blogger, you will quickly come to love and despise Google Analytics. I still wish I didn’t know what they were as they have caused us too many sleepless nights.

When your visitors are up, life is good. Writing comes easily and there is no stress. When those numbers are down. Well, let’s just say we are not a happy adventure travel couple.

Our statistics are like a damn YoYo.

One day they skyrocket. The next, plunging into a pit of despair. Although it seems that every time we have a spike, we steady off slightly higher than previously. So we have seen steady growth over one year. Ideally we need to turn everyone into regular readers. Then we would be laughing all the way to the beach with cocktails in hand.

And there is hope. If you break it down you can see that we have had over 100,000 visits to our travel blog in just 12 months! While some travel bloggers get those sorts of statistics on a monthly basis we are stoked.  Plus with over 87,000 unique visitors this means 23,000 readers came back for at least a second visit. So we are doing something right.

Digging deeper…

Travel Blog Statistics, Four Jandals Search Analytics

One place we have missed out on traffic is from search engines like Google. For the first 6 months we didn’t know what SEO was.

But we have managed to start consistently driving traffic from the search engines. Now 16% of our visitors find us through keywords. 

They just don’t seem to stick around for very long. They pop in, have a quick look at one or two pages and then poof, are gone like junkies as they search for their next internet fix. Either our writing sucks, or we are not targeting them to stick around on our site. It’s something we are looking at and sorting out over the next few months now that we have a good base for traffic.

Social Media

It seems that the more effort you put into Social Media the more success you have. We just hate that if your existing following is huge on Twitter or Facebook, then because we are all sheep, the faster your social media empire grows.

We are playing catch-up.

Plus we recently found out people are gaming the systems. Did you know that you can actually buy Twitter and Facebook fans? I know, disgusting right. But it happens a lot. Luckily PR and Travel companies are wising up to these sorts of tactics.

Twitter

Unfortunately we cannot check our stats from all the way back to when we started. But we have been using SocialBro for over 6 months and this records all our statistics.

Travel Blog Statistics, Four Jandals Twitter Stats

Back on the 11th March 2012 we had 1187 followers. Today we have 4758 twitter followers.

We have pushed Twitter over the last few months and our growth has been from regularly seeking out other travellers to interact with. We also participate regularly in travel events such as #TTOT and #FriFotos.

Our next few goals are to slowly personalise our twitter account because to date it has been all over the place. So if you are not following us yet, head over to Twitter to join our travel community.

Facebook

Facebook is another tricky one to follow but we can at least have a look at what we have currently. That way whenever we get around to having a look in the future we will know what we had to date.

Travel Blog Statistics, Four Jandals Facebook Stats

We recently installed a Facebook ‘Like’ pop up on Four Jandals. While some people hate it, most don’t seem to mind. And it has tripled our fans to 771 in the past three months.

We also ran a couple of Facebook Ad campaign which has hugely increased our total reach in the past week. Not that it seems to have increased our likes too much. But it was interesting to see how just a few dollars can affect your overall reach.

We plan on creating a niche travel community by posting a couple of times a day on our wall with photos and cool adventure activities we find from around the world. Especially tips from our readers. So why not give us a “LIKE” on Facebook if you haven’t already.

Other Stats

There are a bunch of other statistics to measure our success by and these are just the favourites.

Worldwide Alexa Ranking: 60,100.

Sites Linking in: 388.

Google Page Rank: 3

Domain Authority: 40/100

Page Authority: 50/100

mozRank: 4.74

Revenue

We started advertising and monetising our travel blog quite quickly. Our first advertising was actually in December 2011. But we are very careful about who we choose to advertise with.

Revenue to date: $4,750.00

It is interesting to note that since I started working full time on the blog we have actually found it harder to find advertisers. Apparently that is due to lots of advertisers running out of advertising budgets but hopefully it picks up soon.

We are also exploring a couple of longer-term sponsorship deals at the moment so it is all looking positive.

Summary

While we are reasonably pleased with our current stats we are never satisfied. In fact, I don’t think any travel blogger would consider that they had reached as far as they possibly could.

We have a loooonnnngggg way to go until we catch up to some of our favourite travel bloggers. But we will keep plugging away at what we are currently doing.

With a new travel community website just launched – Top 10 Things to Eat, See and Do Everywhere – we have a lot of work ahead of us with various projects. But we will continue to create awesome engaging content for you and building a strong travel community around our Four Jandals brand.

For now, thanks for all your support to date! 

If you want a breakdown every month then tell us in the comments now!

About the Author ()

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

Comments (73)

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  1. This is extremely interesting to me. It confirms pretty much everything that I’ve discovered myself over the last 3 months I’ve been seriously posting to my own blog. My vote is that you keep up these kinds of posts as I reckon many people find them aspirational and inspirational. Over at Backpacks and Bunkbeds there’s a similar series that is closer to my own experience/lifestyle but yours is equally fascinating and useful. Nice one guys!
    Chris Booth recently posted..Three of my favourite Japanese castlesMy Profile

  2. Congratulations on your one-year anniversary and thanks for sharing these stats! You guys are doing great! Cole, I’d love to talk to you more about what you’re doing with your social media business and how that’s going. I’ve recently started my own company as well and thought maybe we could connect. Email me when you get a chance if you’re interested at ellen.small.billard (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!
    The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) recently posted..10 reasons we’re looking forward to living in ChinaMy Profile

    • Thanks Ellen. To be honest we are not doing anything just yet with our social media business but we want to start something up. I want to get a group of bloggers together and start a business with all our expertise together!

  3. bronwen burmester says:

    Mind boggling info you have gathered and we continue to wish you well and repeat how much we enjoy following your travels. Of course it goes without writing that I would much rather catchup in person!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Dave says:

    Nice work guys! I love seeing this stuff but I can’t speak for everyone. It’s so interesting the way you describe traffic but I completely agree. It’s gradual…but not. It’s like all of the sudden you get a spike and then it kind of is always higher than it was before. Then you plateau a bit, another spike, repeat – like stairs.

    I will have to take a look at social bro because I haven’t seen that before. If you have any tips on growing followers or getting those spikes to happen be sure to include them!
    Dave recently posted..We’re Shipping Up To BostonMy Profile

    • Thanks Dave. We actually got the idea from you guys as we have been following you closely for the last few months. Ours is constantly spiking but it slowly levels out like you say. SocialBro is great for managing who is and isn’t following you on Twitter. Great way to cut people if they don’t follow you back. We do it a lot.

      Might try and get into more tips writing as I know other bloggers like it. Just doesn’t quite fit with our theme…

  5. Laurence says:

    Oo, great job putting this stuff together. I am a bit of a stats nerd – I guess it’s the computer science degree in me :) I echo’s Dave’s comment above – traffic seems to come in spikey blobs, and then level back to a level slightly above that which it was before. There’s no short term route to success.. quality content brings readers, and that takes time to put together. Interested to see were you guys are in a year :)
    Laurence recently posted..A recommended itinerary for a day in BarcelonaMy Profile

    • Thanks mate. Would be great to see more people do this but I know some are quite secretive about their own stats! I would like to do this monthly but also don’t want to get too much into blogging on our site when we are an adventure blog haha.

  6. Neil says:

    “reasonably pleased” – you guys are kidding right? These stats are savage and make mine look like trailer trash! What you’ve achieved in just a year is utterly incredible!! I’m sure most newbie bloggers dream of year 1 stats like this so you guys should be immensely proud. All I can add is congrats and here’s to another 12 months growth.
    Neil recently posted..Plaza De Santa Ana, Madrid – a pickpockets playgroundMy Profile

  7. Turtle says:

    Congrats – you guys have done such a good job over the past year. I think it’s a credit to the quality of your content!
    Please don’t do it monthly, though… you’ll just be rubbing it in to the rest of us! :)
    Although, in seriousness, I’d love to hear more analysis of what you think is working and not working for you.
    Turtle recently posted..A close shaveMy Profile

    • Cheers Turts (can I call you Turts?). Would actually love for someone to sit down with me and have a chat about our content. Sometimes I am reasonably pleased with it. Other times I just push publish as we are past our own deadlines. Not ideal. Definitely happy to analyse different strategies further now too with traffic. It was the first time we actually stopped and did it properly. Surprising and useful.

  8. Jo says:

    Cole, they are a lot of NICE numbers and for only one year! well done you should be very happy with yourselves indeed.

    Very much a newbie blogger myself I’d be interested in what do you attribute your first big spike to?
    Jo recently posted..Dancing Saints of the Corpus Christi FestivalMy Profile

    • Thanks Jo that means a lot. Our first spike came through StumbleUpon. No idea why or how it happened but that seems to drive a lot of our spikes. We don’t do anything special with it, they just seem to happen. Luckily it levels off each time a little higher :) Would you like to see more of these sorts of posts do you think? Are they useful?

  9. Well done Cole & Adela! You guys have achieved a lot in a year for sure, and this is a very interesting post. It’s cool to see some openness and transparency in terms of traffic/revenue reports. Keep it up!
    Tom @ ActiveBackpacker recently posted..Exploring Holland’s Windmills: Visiting The KinderdijkMy Profile

    • Thanks Tom. Not many people are very open but we might as well all be I think so that we can learn what works and what doesn’t. Would you like to see more of these sorts of “how to” or “mistakes made” type posts?

  10. Sophie says:

    Congratulations, guys, you’ve done well for just a year. Best of luck forward :)

  11. Ashley says:

    I just started my blog two weeks ago so this is really encouraging- it’s amazing how much progress you’ve made in just a year! Your blog is really fun to read so great job Cole and Adela!
    Ashley recently posted..The ABCs of TravelMy Profile

  12. Thanks for the great article. I have now been travel blogging part time for the past 9 months and seeing your stats fills me with a higher confidence that I am on the right track with my blog. As you said there are many components to driving traffic and I have also been experimenting with SEO, Pinterest etc over the past few months and hove found that it definitely makes a difference.

    Please keep posting monthly, I will definitely be interested in watching your journey!

    By the way is it just me or does anyone else have a problem with viewing your blog through Google Chrome? I have to copy and paste the web address to Internet Explorer to see your articles… and it doesn’t happen with any other blog I follow.
    Pretraveller recently posted..Are You Ready to Go? Your Pre Departure Checklist.My Profile

    • No worries mate. We are just trying to be as open as possible. Seems to be that, the more time you invest, the greater the returns. Will look at doing some monthly blogging tips etc.

      Not sure why you are having the Chrome issue. I only use Chrome and it works fine? No one else has ever raised that issue either.

  13. Kudos to you for not only the anniversary (are you sure its only a year, I feel like we’ve been acquainted longer than that!), but also for being so upfront with your progress. I say that because it is nice as a fellow blogger to see how well I am doing when compared to my peers, and to help establish my own goals for improving…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Bouchon Bakery – Proof Heaven Really ExistsMy Profile

    • Well it is a year since we started recording analytics. Technically our first post was around July but I don’t count those ones because they were hugely sporadic (and crap) haha. It would be nice to see a lot more openness between bloggers at the same level so we can compare what works and what doesn’t.

  14. Natalie says:

    Congratulations!!

    Party time for your first birthday!

    I kind of have a love/hate relationship with my blog where some days I really want to press the delete button. However it has bought me a lot of freelance work and 75% of my client base is now about the niche that I focus on so not all is bad. I find that every week brings something new when you are blogging and it is addictive.
    Natalie recently posted..The Colourful Wooden Mosque of MaralMy Profile

  15. alex says:

    Hi guys! congrats on an awesome year!!! it’s super helpful to see these stats because it’s both educational and inspirational.

    now that i’ve started my new website i just listed my first month’s stats as i was also proud. hope in 11 months, my numbers will look like your :-)

    keep up the good work :-)
    alex recently posted..Travel Makeup: Pinterest Pics of the WeekMy Profile

  16. RyukyuMike says:

    Big congrats and a job well done. I’ll share this around and be looking for you on Facebook.

    Cheers,
    Mike

  17. Melvin says:

    Well done and congrats! You do a fab job with your site and your results are really good for just doing it a year! Keep it going!
    Melvin recently posted..A Trip Around East Asia, For £20 – at Spitalfields’ TeaSmith in LondonMy Profile

  18. Hey guys,

    interesting to see those things in such a detailed way!
    I experienced that you should always include your Social Media Stats if it comes down to pitch something – especially video: there are a lot more visitors/viewers that come to see your videos only through videoportals like vimeo & youtube.
    The same goes with Twitter & Instagram. The reach is much bigger than we often think – the numbers from GoogleAnalytics should never stop us to create cool personal content our readers like ;)
    BackPackerSteve recently posted..Budget Check: Porto,Portugal [Video]My Profile

    • Thanks mate. We always include stats in our pitches as the PR people love to see the results. Definitely need to get a few more views on our Videos (once we make some decent ones haha). See you soon.

  19. Really cool to see all the statistics! Not that non-bloggers understand many of them, but we do :) Funny to compare all those :) Good luck for the future :)
    crazy sexy fun traveler recently posted..Get the first impression of BudapestMy Profile

  20. They are some great stats there. Hope it continues to grow for you guys and we will definitely check out your new website. Our stats are still quite low but hopefully it will grow over time. I can’t believe your blog has only been running for 12 months! Also I never realized there was a #FriFotos on twitter. We started doing our own Foto Friday feature a few weeks back so this will certainly help.
    Stu @ WheresMyPassport recently posted..RTW Travellers: Two 4 TravelMy Profile

    • Glad we could introduce you to #FriFotos Stu. It is a great little community on Twitter. I can’t believe it has been over a year. Sometimes feels a lot less and often a lot lot more haha.

  21. Angela says:

    Interesting what you are doing on your new travel community, I bookmarked it and will be signing up. I think it’s very good that bloggers get together and share their expertise and tips, I’ve decided to focus more on my blog, so more content and definitely more social media. Looking forward to be sharing some content on your 10-thing community!
    Angela recently posted..Delicious and healthy, taste tapioca with me in Fortaleza (VIDEO)My Profile

    • We are quite excited about the new site. Hopefully we will see a lot of posts up there soon. One of our big things we want to promote is that if you write an article you can link back to your own blog within it etc. Lots of lovely linking as a “reward” for your article :) Hope you write some articles soon Angela. And some beautiful photos please ;)

  22. Congrats guys!

    You’ve done very well for your first year :)

    • We have been lucky that you, among others, have helped pave the way to make it easy for us! Would love to work closely on partnerships and collaborations with fellow bloggers. If you have any ideas etc then just sing out :)

  23. avaapollo says:

    I certainly wish I was getting that many visits! Great job! I totally agree, my self esteem seems to yoyo with Google Analytics
    avaapollo recently posted..Encore Beach Club Review: The Best Pool Party in Las VegasMy Profile

  24. Congrats on the one-year anniversary! I love that you’ve done so well with your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Those are two things I tend to neglect.
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..From Cranes to Caves: Unique Accommodations to Live Like an EccentricMy Profile

  25. As a stats-obsessed travel blogger, I totally dig this article and am inspired to do a similar run-down, myself! Thanks for letting us inside the inner lair of your numbers.
    Lillie – @WorldLillie recently posted..Beautiful Wedding Photos for My 500th Blog ArticleMy Profile

  26. Arti says:

    Happy Birthday to the 4 Jandals :) And those are impressive stats! I would love to monetize my blog too but seem utterly at loss how to go about it. Would love to have some tips :)
    Arti recently posted..Technological Marvels: Japanese Automation and InnovationMy Profile

  27. Congrats on your first year of enormous growth! Thanks for being willing to share your numbers and how you got them. Best wishes for an even better 2nd year!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..PANAMA Photos- Glamping, Fishing, Dolphins & RainbowsMy Profile

  28. Simon says:

    Amazing, guys – congrats for a successful year of travel blogging! Posts like this one are so incredibly useful for others to benchmark against. And I learnt a lot about some things I should look into – SocialBro, Facebook ad campaigns, etc.
    Simon recently posted..Is Stonehenge the dullest attraction ever?My Profile

  29. Twana Bernstrom says:

    I just want to say I am just beginner to blogging and absolutely enjoyed your web page. Likely I’m likely to bookmark your blog . You actually come with remarkable article content. Appreciate it for sharing with us your web page.

  30. Ishwinder says:

    Congratulation guys! Your website is so inspiring! I am following your twitter and will keep returning as and when you update. keep going! keep travelling!

  31. Joy says:

    Congratulations! This is amazing progress. Thanks for sharing all your stats. It’s fun to look at all the numbers – especially when they’re improving. It’s really helpful to see them laid out like that. I would love to see them monthly or even a monthly / weekly post with blogging tips. :-)

  32. Looks like you are doing great, I was a little surprised you don’t get most of your views from search engines as that’s where most of ours come from :). Keep it up!

    • To be honest we really didn’t know anything about SEO when we started. Definitely seen a swing towards Google traffic over the last couple of months! We are also really active with social media and that is where we get a lot of referrals from.

  33. Ally says:

    I love seeing other blog’s statistics. I’m just beginning so its good to see how others are doing and what to aim towards, although my first year mark is quite a ways off still.

  34. Thanks so much for posting this! It is inspiring and extremely helpful, especially as we’re just now starting to pay attention to our google analytics. I hadn’t heard of SocialBro before, so we’ll def. be checking it out! Thanks!!
    Casey @ A Cruising Couple recently posted..Taiwan Calla Lily Festival: Frolicking PermittedMy Profile

  35. Thanks for this. I now know what a decent growth rate looks like.
    Julio Moreno recently posted..Nature Photo of the Week: Episode #2 – The Hungry, Hungry, CaterpillarMy Profile

  36. Rob Marks says:

    Congratulations on your one year anniversary. Thanks for sharing your struggle with analytics. I am struggling just to get a foothold in the blogosphere and it certainly can be intimidating when you see some of the more established bloggers results. But if you keep feeding the pipeline with quality content I have no doubt that your numbers will continue to grow.
    Rob Marks recently posted..Route 66: Rest StopMy Profile

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