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July Goals + First Travel Blog Income Report

Welcome to our very first blog income report! We’ve been meaning to get back into sharing our personal and blogging goals again. This time we also want to start sharing ways we’ve been making money through the blog, the challenges we faced each month, lessons we learned, and finally to celebrate successes however big or small.

How we made $17,571 last month travel blogging • Our first blog income report • How can you make money blogging • Blogging Tips // Local Adventurer #travelblogger #blogincome #blogger #travelblogPin

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Originally Published: July 24, 2018

July Goals + Our Very First Blog Income Report

Why We Share Our Income Report

If you’re new here, you might be wondering why on earth we would share something so personal. We’ve been hesitant to share our income reports for the last 5 years, and we’re super nervous about this post, but since we’re all about trial and error, let’s see how it goes! We’re putting out these income reports for these following reasons.

To Show You How We Make Income Blogging

We always want to be 100% transparent about how we make money through this blog. The amazing thing about the blogging world is that every blogger we’ve talked to does things a bit differently. There are also countless ways to grow and improve your business. When we started, we made most of our money through affiliate sales. Since then, we’ve shifted heavily to sponsored content. A big part of this is because my background is in sales and it’s what I’m good at. You can learn more about my sale method below. As time goes on, this will continue to change, but we want to share how we focus on our strengths to effectively meet our goals.


Whether you have a blog or are starting a blog, we want to show you that you can make a career out of blogging.

Even if you don’t want to blog, there are a ton of ways to be financially and location independent and we hope to inspire others to go after it too. If you want to keep your day job, blogging can be a great way for you to make some extra side money.

Esther started the blog 6 years ago and I joined her full time 4 years ago. Even until last year, our parents were worried about us financially, wondering when we would stop “playing” and start taking our lives and work more seriously. Neither of us ended up being “good Asians” (namely a doctor, lawyer, or engineer). It’s an unconventional job and most people don’t understand all the work that goes on behind the scenes.

We love that our jobs give us flexibility in what we do, but being your own boss isn’t all that it’s cut out to be either. You have to be disciplined and work hard at your business to grow it. 

Note: There are a lot of great blogs and resources out there about blogging, but the tough part is that it’ not always replicable unless you also want to start blogging about blogging. We wanted to show you that it’s possible to start a blog on other topics and still make a living.

To Track How We’re Doing

Esther has always liked sharing goals online and tracking them. It helps her with accountability. We’re constantly tweaking trying to improve the blog. Looking at these numbers will help us learn whether we’ve been making the right changes. It’s amazing to see how the sources of income have changed over time and to see where we still have room for improvement. Ultimately, our life goal is to make enough to live on half our income (right now we’re at 30%), where the rest will go back into the community or support organizations we love. 


Since this is our first income report, we’re going to share our first 6 months of 2018. Moving forward we’ll do them monthly and go into greater detail. Keep in mind that this is our 6th year of blogging and our first month Esther tried monetizing the blog, she made less than $20.


Ads $2,841.95
Affiliate $2,859.64
Sponsor $1,375.00
Total $7,076.59


Ads $3,269.61
Affiliate $584.85 
Sponsor $23,210.00
Total $27,064.46


Ads $6,427.33 
Affiliate $3,416.67 
Sponsor $22,212.88
Total $32,056.88


Ads $3,457.04
Affiliate $903.99
Sponsor $3025.00
Total $7,386.03


Ads $3,615.46
Affiliate $838.98
Sponsor $0
Total $4,454.44


Ads $6,073.04
Affiliate $1,048.50
Sponsor $10,450
Total $17,571.54

In case you’re unsure of what each of those categories are, here’s a quick definition of each:

  • Ads – The banners that you see on our blog (side, bottom, in the blog posts)
  • Affiliate – If you purchase products from sites we link to, we get a small percentage of that sale at no cost to you.
  • Sponsor – Destinations, brands, and products that we partner with to create content on our site.


First, roughly 30% of our income goes to taxes.

The rest is coming soon! Still looking through all our receipts.

June 2018 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats

  • Monthly Pageviews: 507,134
  • Daily Average: 16,904
  • Monthly Sessions: 369,253
  • Monthly Unique Visitors: 289,474
  • Social Media Followers: 271,892
  • Email Subscribers: 8,379

Blog News + Goals

Blog Goals
  • ☒ Get one week ahead on editorial calendar
  • ☒ Slowly expand our team so we have more time to work on the big picture of the company.
  • ☒ Building our affiliate sales again.
  • ☐ Launch our e-course to bring in another revenue stream.
  • ☐ ​Test out one new marketing strategy
Life Goals
  • ☐ Read one book
  • ☒ Start a new hobby – hip hop classes
  • ☐ Finish bouldering a V6 (Jacob already did one)
  • ☐ Take one day off each week
  • ☒ ​Call home once a week
What’s Been Working on the Blog

It’s probably pretty obvious but I’ve been focusing on building long term brand and sponsor relationships. In the past we did more one-off deals, but we really wanted to work with fewer partners at a larger scale. It’s been going really well so far!

The other big shift we made this year is our ad strategy. In the past, we avoided putting ads on our site. Esther is very visual and wanted to focus to stay on the reader experience. This is always a push and pull for us. We’re now looking for the right balance. With a steady ad revenue, it takes the pressure of doing other projects we may have been on the fence about just to bring in revenue and focus on creating better content that we’re most passionate about.

Lessons Learned + What Didn’t Work

We’re spread too thin! We did a massive rebrand and rebuild of our site that took a lot of time. We’ve also been traveling a lot, so it’s hard to stay ahead. It seems like all we can do is keep up with the day-to-day.  As a result of our shift in focus, over 60% of our revenue is sponsored content now, which is great because our goal was to build that side of the business. On the other hand, our affiliate marketing has fallen by the wayside.

Popular Posts from Last Month

Visiting the Fly Geyser in Nevada? Save this pin and click through to find out everything you need to know before visiting. This natural wonder is on private property but you can book tours and do a nature walk. Learn more about this nevada geyser, find out what you should pack, get photography tips, and tips on how to avoid ticks // Local Adventurer #localadventurer #travelnevada #dfmi #nevada #flygeyser #blackrockdesert #desertPin

Last month, we took a trip to Reno to do the road trip to Burning Man. We got to see Fly Geyser for the first time, which we were so excited about. We also took a day trip up to Boston for a sponsored post with Zipcar but otherwise we’ve been at home trying our best to. keep up with the blog.

Best Marketing Tip This Month - Backlinking

The one thing that has made the biggest difference on our blog last month was making time to put backlinks in our top 50 recently most popular posts. It’s something that has been on my queue for months, but this month, instead of focusing on putting out new content, I decided to work on backlinks.

What You Do: Go to Google Analytics and see your top 25-50 posts for the past 3 months or for just the last month (we did both and they differed slightly). Add backlinks to your newest posts starting from the most popular moving down.

Our Results

We started putting the links in on the 12th, and the pageviews have been increasing since. This means that people are sticking around for more than one post. We went from a 1.33 average pages per session to 2.70.

Ask us anything! We’ll be featuring questions and answering them each month on these reports.

How to Work with Sponsors

I’ve been working on putting together my process for anyone interested in growing that part of their business. I plan on sharing my sales method and teach you how to approach brands. It’s currently in Beta mode, and I would love for you to ask me any questions you have on this topic. Sign up for e-course notifications here.

What have you been up to last month? Any fun plans next month? What are some of your goals next month?



Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 25 travel blogs in the world. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city every year and currently base themselves in NYC.

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Samantha

    Love how open you guys are! I think when I first found your blog, you were at around 100/150k PVs, half a million is amazing. I think if I had any questions, it would be how you guys not only manage brand partnerships but actually get brands to pay you what you’re worth. I’ve worked with different bloggers, and it’s amazing how of two bloggers with similar stats and audiences, one can barely be scraping by and the other is pulling in $10K monthly at least.

    Also if you need book recommendations, I’m currently listening to a memoir called Tango Lessons by Meghan Flaherty, and loving it. For something wayyyy lighter, there’s a super cute YA novel called “To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved” by Jenny Han. I’m mostly reading it because it’s an Asian-American girl getting the rom-com, chick-lit treatment, and it’ll be a Netflix show!

    1. Esther JuLee

      Thanks for sticking by us, Samantha!!

      Those are great questions! Jacob is actually amazing at working with brands and building long term partnerships. I’m more of the creative, so I probably would be barely scraping by if it wasn’t for him. haha

      I’m looking into those books right now. Maybe starting with the YA novel. haha I need something to ease me back in again.

  2. Kristin

    Oh, man, I had a bunch to say but Erika said most of it, better. You guys do such a great job of balancing out the most beautiful elements of blogging and still keeping it real. It’s been so much fun watching Local Adventurer expand, and I’m loving getting a peep into the business side of things. We know you guys don’t just keep it together with duct tape and pixie dust, that there’s a lot of work that goes on in there, but it’s nice to get a better understanding of just what work it is!

    1. Esther JuLee

      Thank you, Kristin! I’m especially so grateful that you’ve been so supportive over the years. Yes, for sure. So much is going on behind the scenes.

  3. Erika

    First of all: I’m just so excited and proud of how far you guys have come! I also love that you’re mixing your goals into this as well — and not just ones about the blog. But more than that: you’re showing income reports in a niche where no one really talks about it and you hit the nail on the head about there being a lack of info about people making money UNLESS they are blogging about blogging. It does make one wary of taking that advice because niche/topic does matter and not all methods work for all people! So I’m excited about this! Also love the redesign of the site and yayyyy! I’m just so happy for you guys, always cheerleading here from afar! Woot woot!

    1. Esther JuLee

      Thank you, Erika! Your comments are always so encouraging. You’re so right. Honestly, the easiest way to make money blogging is to have a blog that sells making money on blogging. I think travel is definitely one of the hardest niches to be in. Travel brands are so reluctant to pay travel writers and influencers because there are so many people out there willing to do it for free. You really have to be a lot more creative about it and sometimes it just means you have to pitch a lot more than if you’re in other niches like beauty, fashion, mommy blogging. haha if only we were more fashionable!

    2. cathy

      The idea behind making money blogging about something other then “how to blog for money” definitely resonates with me as well. The whole idea is like a “Catch 22” . You have to make it as a blogger to be an “expert” on how to make money doing it. No one listens to somebody new without the income reports to back them up. Who can blame them? I’m a total newbie, having a ball doing this, but also stumbling around a bit trying to keep my ducks in a row and decide what to do next. Also, I’ve had a very difficult time deciding on what “niche” I should write in and then how to narrow that “niche” into something at least unique enough to get the views, etc. I need to grow. Exciting, and totally overwhelming. I really like your site. Very down to earth and approachable. I’m based in Michigan and feel like the best thing for me at this point is to write about my home state because it’s what I know best. I travel, but they are trips I take. I’m not an on the road traveler. Hope I can make this work.

      1. Esther JuLee

        Hi Cathy. Thanks so much for your comment! As far as niches go, I loved blogging about anything and everything and it took me about a year and a half to figure it out what niche I wanted to hone in on. You’ll know along the way and it will be a mix of what you’re passionate about and what you’re an expert on. It is true that there is a bit of a catch 22, but I think even if you’re one step ahead of someone, you have something valuable to offer your readers. Plus, it might be much more relatable than someone who’s six years in. I pretty much have to remind everyone that our growth was slow and steady, required lots of patience, and I had so many doubts along the way. I can’t ever promise that it will be easy, but I really hope you stick with it and make it work too! :)

  4. Jessa

    I love this!! Thanks for sharing in such detail. I have been following y’all for a long time. I’m debating on getting back into blogging. I have had a stop/start relationship with blogging.

    1. Esther JuLee

      Thanks, Jessa! I hope you get back into blogging, but I get that sometimes we reevaluate our lives and it’s not always the most important. Hoping these posts will also be a way to remember all the things that are important and why we do what we do. And you know what? Most days I still have a love hate relationship with blogging haha.

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