Hello! Howdy! Hi! Welcome to the first post of the series for SYDE Road – Behind the Scenes. In this monthly series, I’ll be providing updates on what happened the previous month behind the scenes:
Why did I start ‘Blogging Behind the Scenes’?
My absolute favourite posts from blogs (food blogs, financial independence blogs, other travel blogs, and even lifestyle blogs) have always been reading the behind-the-scenes or day-to-day life behind their niche.
I loved learning about how they’ve been feeling for the last month, celebrating their wins, and learning about some of the blogger’s personal lives that just don’t quite fit with their blogging niche on these types of posts.
But most of all, I am 100% an unashamed voyeur addict when it comes to reading up on a blogger’s analytics and income statements. If I could, I’d binge-read everyone’s updates and analytics.
Whenever I read a new blog and I find out they publish these kinds of posts, you bet your butt I’ll be going through their series like the nosy person I am. I’ll stay on their site for several hours starting from their first post and binge-reading up everything they have.
I LOVE seeing progress and nothing is more satisfying than reading about someone’s growth over months of hard work.
Now that I’ve been posting weekly since May 2021, I figured why not give back to the community and indulge others who have a similar addiction as I do?
So without further ado, let’s dive into the contents of this series. Happy reading!
Looking for more Blogging Behind the Scenes updates? You can read them all here.
What I’ve Worked on Behind the Scenes?
From a productivity viewpoint – it’s really been quite a blegh month. No high fives for me this month.
I tried setting myself a goal to and run SYDE Road with a ‘work every weekday’ mentality. Anything would do so long as I was doing *something* for the blog. Whether that was writing a blog post, promoting content, brainstorming new ideas, or working behind the scenes.
The laziness in me won over productive me. For many weekdays, I’d wake up, go about my day, and physically avoid opening up anything related to SYDE Road.
I’d play video games instead or just sit on the couch for hours endlessly watching the latest anime released on Netflix. Then, as the night ended and I headed to bed, I’d just catch myself mentally berating myself while singing the lyrics to Bo Burham’s – Shit song (Wake up at 11:30 Feeling like a bag of shit)
Here’s what I did end up working on when I actually got around to lugging my butt into the productivity chair:
1. Hi! SYDE Road is officially registered as a business!
So many of my hours spent this month went to watching YouTube videos of other entrepreneurs in Ontario go through the exact same process as I did this month.
Sole Proprietor or Corporation? Go with my legal name, or keep SYDE Road? Cost of becoming a business? I had soo many questions!
Anyway, long story short, I decided to start as a sole proprietor and took the plunge and registered SYDE Road as a business in Canada.
If anyone wants an in-depth post on how to register a travel blog as a business in Canada, I’d be happy to share my process, notes, and resources! Just let me know in the comments below!
2. I’m separating! …. my blog expenses from my personal expenses
Seriously, I wish I did this earlier. The same week I received my Business Number, I applied for a business credit card. it takes about 10 to 15 business days and since I registered my business in late August, I probably won’t hear back until later on in September.
Okay before anyone thinks I’m going to start expensing meals, lunches, getaway trips, and my rent onto this business card – I’m not! There’s actually A LOT of nuances that restrict what can and cannot be expensed to a travel blog business. I’m literally just applying for a business credit card to keep track of the basic expenses of hosting and upkeeping this blog! I don’t have nearly enough knowledge at this point in time to even wade around and figure out what can and cannot be expensed for a (currently and hoping to change in the future!) nonprofitable blog.
3. See us in your inbox maybe? I finally have a monthly newsletter!
This month also marks the month where I finally wrestled with my inner procrastinator and decided to set up a mailing list! Is it basic and only sends out a list of posts from the last month in a pared-down email? Yes.
But you know what – that’s way better than just delaying it for ages and spending hours designing a pretty newsletter when my current focus is to develop my writing skills first. So a monthly newsletter will have to suffice for now!
Shameless plug – if you like these posts and don’t want to miss the monthly update, then I highly recommend you subscribe to my newsletter! You’ll get this and a list of all the other blog posts I’ve created for this month sent straight to your email so you’ll never miss out!
4. Dipping my toes into affiliate networks
So… I signed up for a couple of affiliate networks! Hang on Maria, why did you sign up for an affiliate network when you’re still just starting out and when barely anyone is reading a post for more than 30 seconds? (You’ll see the stats shortly in the analytics and income section!) Will anyone even click on those links at all?
Well… that’s a good question! Right now, I’m not in affiliate networks for the money (yet)! In fact, as I was browsing through other travel blogs, I learned that there’s a whole bunch of affiliate networks out there that offer a variety of different products and services.
Unfortunately from what I’ve seen most of the products that I personally use and love aren’t listed anywhere on the networks. So yes, while I am signing SYDE Road up for affiliate networks, chances are you won’t actually see any product links for a good while – though I do want to keep an eye out for future things!
Achievements and Struggles of the month
- Like I mentioned earlier – I finally got around to setting this blog up as a business! Hooray!
- CPU and memory resource limits – my hosting site has been notifiying me of 100% CPU and memory maxing out… but I have less than 40 posts on my blog??? How is that even possible? I spent a couple of days trying to troubleshoot it – and I’ve still failed to figure it out. So for now I’m just monitoring things. If things get worse I might need to seek professional technical help
- Reels and TikToks are NOT easy. I can easily spend half a day struggling with captions, music selection, clip selection, etc. only for it to turn out as a glorified slideshow. This definitely takes practice and dedicated hours to do it right!!
- How to… improve DNS load time? – According to webpage analytics, my website can take almost 11 seconds to load! That’s SO SLOW. I figured out that one of the major reasons is because the DNS load time is taking too long. I spent a few days looking into this. Did some tweaks, so hopefully the website loads faster for everyone!
Personal Life Updates
BUT!! on the personal side – this month has been pretty great!
- Angelo and I went on a couple of dates (i.e. Limone-free) around the city (some planned, and some surprise ones!)
- We finally got a table and some chairs for our balcony!! (This has been 2 years in the waiting – not because we’re home decor snobs, but simply out of sheer laziness – but so happy we finally have them!)
- Took in our neighbour’s dog for a few nights as they went on their mini vacation
- Met up with a friend who recently moved to Toronto
- Finally seeing some major progress on Limone’s heel walking
Despite the rainy weather we’ve been getting here in Toronto, we managed to squeeze a lot of outdoor activities in this month.
SYDE Road – Analytics and Income Update
In August, SYDE Road earned me about CAD 11.25 or USD 8.95.
- Advertising: CAD 11.25
- Affiliate: $0.00 (naturally since I just signed up for it this month and I haven’t written a single article with any affiliate links yet)
Okay so first of all – YAY for me! Considering I’ve only just started out blogging once a week since May and I’ve been generating less than $1.00 a month in advertisement ad displays, I’d say making ANYTHING over $1 is some huge progress for me.
Including this month’s earnings, I have earned a total of CAD 33.66 or USD 26.79 with Google Adsense (though of course that probably doesn’t really count since I can’t cash anything in until I reach the USD 100 mark…)
This month’s SYDE Road expenses cost me CAD 64.37 or about USD 50.00
- Google Domain: CAD 1.42
- Green Geeks Hosting: CAD 2.95
- Business Registration: CAD 60.00
….now that I’m a business should I start including the portion of the Internet fees into my expenses? haha… a girl can potentially dream! I’ll keep that out for now since SYDE Road is still very much in its infancy and I don’t feel particularly great ‘tracking my Internet time’ for ‘work’ right now.
I received a LOT more traffic than I expected with my Perseid meteor shower post. For most of this month, traffic has mostly remained at 45-50 visitors a day. But on August 12, literally the day of the meteor shower, I had almost 230 visitors!
Holy smokes that definitely blew my expectations out of the water. I mean everyone did say that blogs are a marathon and not a sprint so if anything I was just hoping for a steady rise in traffic on a month-to-month basis.
So how much traffic did I receive in August 2021? 2,122 page views.
Here are some more stats for the voyeuristic folks out there:
- August Page Views: 2,122
- Unique Sessions: 1,628
- Sessions: 1,824
- Social Media Followers: 127 followers = 11 (TikTok) + 83 (Instagram) + 31 (Twitter) + 2 (Pinterest)
- Email Subscribers: 0 (there was 1 that signed up but did not confirm for opting in to my newsletter *sobs* please confirm your subscription!!!)
In August 2020 I had maybe 5-10 blog posts floating SYDE Road created back in 2017. Naturally, traffic to the site was pretty much dead, and my stats reflect that. Last year this month, I had a grand total of… 257 page views. SO if we compare last year’s August to this year’s August… well, that’s almost an 830% increase in traffic from just putting out more content.
Okay before anyone rains on my parade – I’d just like to point out that progress is progress! I’ve been spending a lot of my time home alone writing so I’m literally my own cheerleader.
Can I keep up this traffic number next month? I’m a bit doubtful. By the time fall rolls around most people have wrapped up their summer vacation. Local Ontario Travel likely won’t pick back up until the fall colours begin to show in October. Realistically if I see more than 1,000 page views next month I’ll be giving myself a high five.
What Worked Last Month
About 67% of my traffic and earnings are directly attributed to timing my 15 Places to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower in Ontario one week before the peak date and letting organic search do its thing. Thanks to the midmonth search boost, my monthly ‘profits’ increased skyrocketed from my usual CAD 0.80 – 1.00.
This was clearly a seasonal post that only increases in search frequency when we’re close to the Meteor Shower peak date, so I’m definitely making a note to revamp this and potentially add more details to it for next year.
The last 33% of my traffic and earnings was surprisingly from my Guess Where Trips Review post. The company has been recently featured on a variety of news sites and breakfast television including Breakfast Television at the end of this month so reviews for their trips have seen a recent rise, and I guess I’ve also been enjoying the rise in page views thanks to the additional publicity as well 🙂
Misses Last Month
Since June I’ve been talking to Angelo about a potential ‘summer night aesthetic’ post highlighting all the cool places that he and his models have visited around Toronto for some really crazy gorgeous night shots. After a lot of hemming and hawing, and deliberating on asking his models for permission to post their photographs on this site, I ended up dropping the topic for this summer.
I’ll keep this idea tucked away for next year and hopefully by next summer I’ll be able to sort out my own anxiety and shyness and work up the nerve to ask for permission and get it done!
Psst! Did you enjoy the blog income? Want to keep up with my progress? Consider signing up to receive a notification whenever the next Behind the Scenes Post drops!
I have a few content ideas planned for September including summarizing our final August Hipcamp glamping trip. However, everything’s literally just floating lazily around in my brain. They’re literally on the same level as thoughts like “oh is the garbage chute broken today? Should I try taking the trash out?” aka. my blog ideas have zero sense of urgency or planning. I have literally been taking each week at a time and posting whatever I felt like.
For the month of September, I’d like to at least start writing down or drafting down some kind of plan to help me:
- Better plan helpful, seasonal content
- Take a deeper look into how affiliate links work
- Figure out if there’s anything I can create as a downloadable content
Angelo and I will be reaching our 10 years (dating) anniversary milestone next year! Our anniversary isn’t until May 2022, but we’re looking at potentially travelling somewhere epic to celebrate and take some couple shots around the world.
I’d really love to have some cute couple shots of us before I get too many white hairs on my head and before Angelo starts balding hahaha (to date we probably only have about one or two shots of us as a couple each year that’s not taken as a selfie on a phone – so… I definitely do feel the lack of ‘together memories’ looking back at our photos!)
…and this concludes my first ever Behind the Scenes post! As I’m posting this I can’t imagine there being much present interest but honestly, I do wish more bloggers started these types of posts before they started earning their first $1000 just to showcase the super early beginnings! So I’m here to showcase it all from our very very early beginnings to however far this travel blogging journey takes me!
Want to read more Behind the Scenes posts? You can find them all here.
Have a question about what goes on while blogging behind the scenes? Let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them to the best of my abilities!