2018 was our 6th full year of early retirement, world travel, and blogging. We’ve now been doing this longer than time spent in high school, college, or in my first real job.
Most of the content I’ve written comes from trying to figure things out for myself and our family, and then sharing the outcome. It’s helped create an exciting community of early retirees, tax geeks, expats, world travelers, nomadic families, and adventurers.
Although the blog became a profitable side business back in 2014, any financial benefit was mostly accidental. I typed some words, talked to some reporters, added some links, and (virtually) cashed some checks.
This year I put more hours into creating regular content, as I was trying to figure out a bunch of new things with taxes, travel hacking, and our life direction.
This seems to be a good approach – 2018 was the most profitable year yet.
First, let me say thank you! I love the questions and comments that we get with every post, and the forum posts about your advances and successes. Thank you for being part of the Go Curry Cracker Community!
Now, let’s talk numbers.
The following table shows raw blog traffic and profit, with estimates for hours of my time invested based on number of posts. I’ve never tracked hours per se, but this seems about right. (Due to guest posts, hours may actually be estimated high.)
|Year||Page Views||Profit||PPM (Profit/1k view)||Posts written||Hours "worked"/week||$/hour|
Page views were up significantly in 2018, and revenue scaled with it. I was secretly hoping for a double double, but an increase of 40-50% seems OK too. I experimented with some Facebook advertising early in the year, but it was basically just throwing money away, so this is 99% organic growth.
2015 was still our biggest traffic year, which was a stroke of luck with media exposure. We were simultaneously on the front page of Forbes and Yahoo (250k page views in one day!), and had major exposure all around the globe throughout the year. This year we were featured in Time Money and ABC World News Tonight, but the early retirement story doesn’t seem to generate as much buzz as it did a few years ago.
I shared a bit about what I did to grow traffic here.
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook followers have all jumped in the last year, which is nice. I post more regularly there, so if you want to turn your GCC experience up to 11 please follow on those platforms. (pretty please.)
Email list growth was also up, but I trimmed 2,000+ subscribers as I didn’t feel like paying to send emails to people who don’t read them. A lot of times these get caught by spam filters.
As of January 7, 2019, we have:
- 16,563 Facebook likes
- 10,017 Email subscribers (double opt-in)
- 7,237 Twitter followers
- 5,075 Instagram followers
- 449 Posts in 99 Topics by 161 Members on the GCC Forum
The really cool thing with Social Media is that sharing cool and interesting content generates a ton of page views. On a couple press pieces on mid-sized media sites, I’ve actually been able to send more traffic to their sites than they have to GCC. It’s fascinating how that works.
Btw, if you aren’t on our mailing list, you can signup right here:
This is what revenue looked like in 2018 from each source:
Advertising – $33,900 (context based ads)
Credit cards – $22,360 (FREE travel! Retail price on our latest rtw trip was $7,000. We paid $200.)
Personal Capital – $8,400 (great cash flow and investment tracking tool. And it is free. Read my review.)
Blog hosting – $3,200 (our web hosting company. Read my post on how to start a blog.)
Convertkit – $1,083 (our mailing list tool. It’s great!)
Shopping Portals – $980 (see how to Never Pay Retail Again via sites like Ebates and Befrugal)
Traveling Mailbox – $970 (our digital mailbox, read my review)
Amazon.com – $857 (books and stuff)
Elegant Themes – $665 (our blog Theme provider)
World Nomads – $274 (travel insurance)
Betterment – $130 (this still surprises me)
Other – $7,103 (income from other blogs)
Total – $79,922 (A 40% increase over last year – full 2017 revenue details at that link.)
Not shown in the numbers above are cost savings we get through AirBnB, Raise, and Uber referrals. This is money we didn’t have to spend thanks to readers signing up and using their services.
Most interesting to me (and maybe other bloggers) is the Other category. This is income from other people’s sites and blogs. Both Personal Capital and FlexOffers share revenue when you refer new affiliates.
Our expenses run <10% of revenue, which reduces total profit to ~$75,000. I’ll know more accurately once I do this year’s taxes. About half of our expenses are for free rent. The remainder is primarily hosting and email. I also pay GCC Jr modeling fees.
I have a long list of blog posts I want to write or have partially written, and will continue to share regularly throughout the year. I think of writing topics faster than I write.
SEO is something I’ve never really paid attention to, and my advertising company has signed me up for training with an SEO expert. Sounds like a good cure for insomnia, but maybe I’ll learn something that will help boost some views from Google.
I also have scratched out some ideas for helping people learn travel hacking. I’ve individually helped a couple hundred people over the past few years, so maybe I can automate that a bit.
Overall, I expect my non-blogging goals to consume way more hours in 2019, but I will be continuing to invest a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in GCC. Or at least what I can do with a 4 hour workweek! Traffic and revenue might go up, might go down, where it stops nobody knows, but hopefully it helps a few people along the way.
Thanks for reading! Here’s to 2019 being the best year yet!
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