Digital Nomad: My Second Month of Blogging

Second Month Travel Blogging tea flowers and tablet

Disclaimer: I use affiliate links on my website. For some of the links on my site, if you follow the link and end up making a purchase, I make a small commission at no cost to you. I use this money to fund this website, fix up my van, pay my phone bill, and buy dog food. I ONLY recommend items that I’ve personally used or are very similar to items I use. Any products I use and recommend, I purchased with my own money and am not compensated for my opinions.

Why I’m blogging, and how this started.

(If you’ve already read my first month blog expense report, you can skip to the Month Two Highlights right below).

Writing with purpose and on purpose is new for me. Ever since I was a little girl, I told people I wanted to be a writer, and it has manifested for me in the form of the website you’re reading.  It’s only been seven months since I learned blogging was an actual thing people did. I knew about blogs, but somehow I thought that bloggers were people the internet made fun of, and I also believed that they didn’t make money. I was wrong.

I got into a car wreck almost a year ago now. It derailed the plans I was forming for finally leaving my hometown and getting out. I wasn’t able to watch TV, work, or do just about anything because of my concussion.  I happened upon and started listening to a podcast called The Goal Digger Podcast in my boredom. I learned that, wow, people really do have blogs that are full-fledged businesses. How cool is that? Slowly, my view of how people earn an income was being widened and re-shaped.

I learned that there is a space for every single person to have a blog. Every. Single. Person. So, I took the plunge.

I started my blog because I wanted to do something that had the potential to change my life. Sounds dramatic, I know, but it’s true. My life has been work my ass off, save up enough money to travel, have life-changing experiences traveling, then come home broke as a joke. Rinse and repeat. Working 70 hours a week at a sub-par restaurant was absolutely worth it for the privilege of traveling this planet we’ve all found ourselves on, but I want a better, sustainable, way to live and travel.

In August, 2018 I spent about 6 weeks building my website using Squarespace. Then, I got a little freaked out and put off the writing part of blogging. So, the blogging.

I realized I had to actually do things on my website, and that was definitely the hard part. You mean, I have to put myself out there on the internet for over 3 billion people to have access to? I overcame this fear, finally, and now here I am. An entire two months of blogging has passed. It has been so fun and a surprising amount of work.

Month Two Highlights

Once I started researching blogging even deeper, I discovered income reports, and I found them really inspiring. To potentially inspire others, hold myself accountable, and create something tangible to reflect back on, I’m also doing monthly reports! I am not generating any income yet, so this is my second expense report.

It is possible to start a blog/website/business dirt cheap, but I’ve decided to spend more money in an effort to invest in myself and this website from the beginning.

During my second month I:

  • Added a Recommendations + Gear Guide

  • Created a website for a friend. www.JuliaZaleski.com

  • Had my first traffic spike

  • Reached 45,000 impressions on Pinterest.

  • Set up my email and subscribe feature.

  • Read Girl, Wash Your Face

  • Received my first organic comment

  • Bought the course Instagram For Success

  • I wrote 5 different blog posts/articles! You can click on any of them below to read them.

The Most Important Thought You’ll Ever Have

12 Things I Pack No Matter Where I’m Going

How To Find International Flight For Less Than $300

Digital Nomad: Everything I Learned + Expenses During My First Month Blogging

Quality Gifts for The Outdoorsy Woman

Traffic

I got my very first traffic spike this month! I whipped up an article right before Valentine’s Day hoping to attract readers interested in buying gifts for outdoorsy women, and it worked! I posted my article, Quality Gifts For The Outdoorsy Woman, on February 9th, and on the 10th I received 43 views. I know this is small growth, but it’s growth!

I’m taking traffic seriously, and I’m still learning. You can see from the chart that it’s all over the place. My goal for my second month was was to reach 500 views, and I’m content that I came close at 434.

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That same article I wrote for Valentine’s Day was the most popular this month, and it had over 150 views! My homepage had 86.

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I get most of my traffic from Pinterest, and that means that I’m generating traffic from all over the world. I try to write with this in mind. The United States accounted for only 66% of my traffic during my second month.

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I’ve been ranking in Google. I haven’t quite learned how to see where and what I’m ranking for. Help.

My click rate on Google is actually pretty good, and I had a small amount of traffic from Google. I am working on getting better in this area.

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website

I spent some time tweaking my website. I noticed that few people were sticking around once they were on my website, so I experimented with different ways to add related posts into my articles. I also added a section to my homepage that leads to my about page. I went into a lot of detail in my about, and I don’t know if I wrote too much or not, but I like it so far.

I added a Gear Guide + Recommendations page for my favorite books, beginner climbing gear, and travel/backpacking gear.

I accidentally messed up my mobile navigation bar while going through the backend of my website and learning what I can change. It was impossible to navigate on mobile, and more than half of my visitors are on a mobile device, so I reached out to Squarespace and got this fixed.

Now that I’ve been using Squarespace for a while, I feel really comfortable crafting my website. I reached out to a photographer friend of mine to ask if she needed a website for her business. She said yes, and I offered to create her website for free.

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It was partly to see if I could do it, and partly to start building a portfolio of websites I’ve created to open up the possibility of being hired to create websites. I’m super proud of the end result. If you are looking for an amazing photographer or just want to see the second website I created, you can go to my friend Julia Zaleski’s website here.

Pinterest

I’ve been improving my Pinterest strategy. It’s not as easy as I thought it would be. I’ve created about 40 more graphics to add to my Pinterest and tailwind. I’m getting better at creating graphics, but I haven’t discovered the design that works best to convert scrollers into clickers.

I added many pins related to gift giving before Valentine’s Day, and they did really really well.

I received over 45,000 Pinterest impressions during February!

My top pin is just a picture I took while in Torino, Italy. I don’t know why it ranks so high, or why so many people are interested in it.

I ended the month with 29 Pinterest followers.

One of the most important things to do is seek out and get accepted to group boards. During February, I got accepted to two group boards. I’m very excited to be a part of these and see how my traffic grows.

You can find my Pinterest here.

The screenshot below shows my Pinterest impressions from February.

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Course: Instagram for success

Courses have been so helpful in teaching me how to grow this blog, but it has also been important to create the mindset of growth. This doesn’t always feel like it’s going anywhere, but I know this is the very beginning, and I have to keep trying to see growth and progress. With that in mind, I bought another course!

I’ve been following @heleneinbetween, and I often look at her website for advice on blogging, how to monetize, and generating traffic. She started her blog after falling in a rock climbing accident and breaking her legs. I find her story really inspiring, and she’s so good at what she does. Her website and her Instagram are beautiful.

She has a course that’s open for one week a year called Instagram For Success. I took the plunge and enrolled. It is gigantic, and I haven’t even made it 10% of the way through. I enjoy Instagram, and I am not bad at it, but I want to be better, have better engagement, and use my Instagram to grow my website. If you’re also looking for more advice on blogging or Instagram, her website is full of great information. Click here to explore Helene’s website.

first organic comment

There are many rites of passage in the online world that I’ve become a part of. I experienced a very exciting one! In my second month of blogging, I received my first organic comment! I’ve had a few comments from people I’ve reached out to, but this one was from someone that found my blog organically, enjoyed it, and commented because she liked it so much!

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Work/life balance

There were and are days that I sat on my couch all day with the TV on quietly in the background while I wrote articles and worked on other aspects of my website. On these days, I wondered if I should’ve spend the whole day doing this. I listened to a podcast this month about an Olympian. One of the things she said is, “Olympians don’t have balance. We’re all in.” I thought, “Damn. That makes sense.” I realized that some parts are my life will be more balanced than others. I also listened to a podcast with Chris Burkard. He’s an amazing adventure photographer. He talks about how the difference between successful people and everyone else is that the successful people were willing to give up parts of their lives to focus their energy into what it is they really want.

I believe life happens for us, not to us. I believe that nothing is supposed to be hard, and we often make it harder than it should be. I also believe in inspired action. My inspired action is starting with this website.

Part of giving certain aspects of my life up to focus is deciding what is a non-negotiable. I’ve picked climbing and Ava. Climbing is something that gets me out of the house, makes me sweat/get stronger, and it’s also very social. Ava doesn’t give a shit about this website, and she definitely is not understanding when I sit on the couch staring at this screen instead of paying attention to her. So, I’ve started taking her for walks a few times a week, and I’ve taken her to a few coffee shops while I work.

When I look back on this part of my life, what I did on my website will be a blur, but I want it to still be filled with sweet moments of pushing myself physically in climbing and loving on my dog during the prime years of her life.

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One thing that has suffered is my health. I ate out quite a bit, because I was out quite a bit. I haven’t been very active other than going to the climbing gym. I gain weight very easily, and, wow, I have gained weight. It is partly stress, and it is also because I’m still learning how to invest so much time into this and have a work/health balance. I’ve only every had part-time jobs, and this was important to me, because I felt unhealthy when I worked to much. The goal is to grow this website to a point where it creates a full-time income with part-time investment.

If this sounds impossible, I highly recommend reading The Four Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join The New Rich. This book really shifted my mindset around work and how we can craft our lives.

Email

My main goal for this month was to set up my email. I had some technical difficulties learning how to do this, but it’s all taken care of now! I added a subscribe button to the footer, and I have a contact page for anyone just looking to reach out to me instead without subscribing. I’m so excited to discover the great people that come to my website, read what I’ve taken the time to write, and like it enough to stick around and subscribe!

If you’re one of those people, you can subscribe right here!

Expenses

Developing a money mindset is work. I check in with myself often to understand if I’m feeling abundant or lacking. Want to know a secret? You can feel abundant with $20 dollars in your pocket, or you can feel lacking with $2,000,000 dollars in your bank account. It’s possible to make more money, but learning to feel good about where you are in your finances should probably come first.

Before I purchased Instagram For Success, I was feeling like spending $200 at once was a little scary. To shift my mindset, I thought about how I know I can always make more money, I’ll make my $200 back by implementing the course, and if I ever want to get to a point where I have and spend more money, I’ll have to be comfortable with spending way more than $200.

Part of working on my money mindset is learning how to budget without freaking out about running out of money. Sometimes, when I choose not to spend money of something, I feel that I am shrinking back into an unhealthy mindset. So, for next month, (March), I’ve challenged myself to spend zero dollars on eating out and work on the mindset of healthy budgeting. I can go to the grocery store, but that’s it. I am happy to spend money that adds value to my life, but eating out every day doesn’t. Also, I’ve been to my local coffee shops so often, that I don’t think they care if I come and sit without ordering anything.

If you also want to go to a coffee shop without feeling obligated to buy anything, just order a hot water with lemon. You can leave a tip if you want, but this way the barista just assumes you’re being healthy or are on a cleanse.

Working at Amelie’s French Bakery in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Working at Amelie’s French Bakery in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Here’s the breakdown of this months expenses:

Total Expenses: $486

I’ve included books in my income reports, because I consider reading as a part of investing in myself. When I’m investing in myself, I’m investing in my business. I saved money by purchasing yearly subscriptions to Tailwind and G Suite. Keep in mind that if you’re interested in also starting a blog/website/business it can be done with any budget. I’m spending money to invest in myself knowing that it will pay off later.

GOALS

I’ll be doing these recaps each month to hold myself accountable, to be able to look back on them and track my progress, and to inspire others. My first months recap is here.

My ultimate personal goal is create a life that allows for a nomadic lifestyle, slow living, and intentional actions/choices.

My business/blog goals reflect my personal goals. I am working to create location independence and financial independence.

I want to create an abundant full-time income from this website.

I want to read books that inspire me.

I want to spend more time with my dog.

I want to spend summers enjoying the midnight sun in Scandinavia.

I want to go deep into the forest beyond wifi.

I want to experience the digital nomad lifestyle and work alongside other digital nomads in beautiful cafes around the world.

I absolutely want to spend more time volunteering on farms.

I’m on my way.

Happy Travels!

Recommended Reading From Month Two of Blogging:

The Most Important Thought You’ll Ever Have

12 Things I Pack No Matter Where I’m Going

How To Find International Flight For Less Than $300

Digital Nomad: Everything I Learned + Expenses During My First Month Blogging

Quality Gifts for The Outdoorsy Woman