I can’t believe it! My blog has been going for 5 years now! The date came and went a couple of weeks ago, but I still wanted to take a moment to mark this occasion.

I am proud of the fact that I have kept this blog completely ad-free and non-monetized. I earn nothing for the content I post. And after 5 years of consistently posting at least every other week, there’s a lot of content.

This means my posts have naturally been picked up by search engines and are still offering people some of the best tips on travel hacking and travel in the countries I’ve visited. Although modest in comparison to other travel blog giants, I am proud to share for the first time some of the analytics that represent my totally organic readership!

Why This Blog Is Different

Eating blue popcorn in Hawaii

A lot of bloggers spend hours on developing perfect search engine optimization for their blog websites to maximize traffic. They ensure every aspect is on point, from alt tags on their photos to the best phrasing for their headings and subheadings.

Many bloggers work hard at this because they seek to monetize, or develop a passive income, from the revenue they receive through ads or promoting products and companies in their posts.

For Deviating the Norm, I wanted my posts to be as authentic as possible. This meant not commercializing in any way. Everything I discuss on this blog are my real experiences, from positive reviews of dive companies to negative reviews of backpacking products. At the end of the day, it’s my opinion, but I always try to encourage people find their own path. After all, that’s what deviating the norm is all about. I am here to present all of the information I would want to know ahead of time as a traveler. But visitors to this site can take that information and make their own decision.

Casual Blogging = Minimal Effort

Chilling at the beach in Curaçao

Chilling at the beach in Curaçao

For me, commercializing would not only be dishonest, it would take a commitment level that requires more time and energy than I am willing to put in. Writing these posts, with the research and depth and accuracy that I put forth is time enough!

I have managed to garner a pretty large readership despite minimal effort put in. I don’t say I put in no effort—because I do. I regularly promote my new posts on social media. I stay consistent and as relevant as I can for Google to still pick my posts up. I do try to use some tricks of the trade in my posts, such as buzz words and popularly searched questions used as my subheadings.

But that’s it! And it’s yielded some results that, as a blogging hobbyist, I am quite proud to share!

375,000+ Words Written

Over 5 years, I have posted 252 times. Starting December 2016, I committed to posting every other week after I finished weekly (or more) posts about my 2014-2015 trip around the world. I stayed absolutely committed to regular blogging. As a result, I produced a lot of content in the last few years!

At an average of 1500 words per post, I have written over 375,000 words for this blog. And I don’t plan to stop!

 
 

This must be why Google gives this blog so many top hits!

15,000+ Unique Visitors Per Month

Since my very first post on July 31, 2014, I grew my viewership completely organically. With minimal promoting and no monetizing, I now have a fairly consistent number of visitors at well over 10,000. My best month so far was the month of June of this year at over 15,500 unique visitors per month. That means my content is reaching over 150,000 unique individuals every year!

 

Unique Visitors is an estimate of the total number of visitors that reached the Deviating the Norm site in the selected time period. A visit is a single browsing session by the same user.

 

Popular Content Is Logical

One of my favorite pieces of data to look at with my blog is to see which posts are the most popular.

The top 10 popular posts rotate slightly from month to month. The posts people like the most typically correlate by month with the most popular destination I have been to for that month. For example, two of my posts about travel in July (Don't Go To Niagara Falls On July 4th Weekend and Why July is the Worst Time to Visit New Orleans) shot up in popularity in the month of June this year.

 
 

My other post that seems to get a lot of attention is my SIM card post. This is a very common question for travelers because their smartphone bills tend to shock them when returning from overseas. To avoid that shock again, readers seek information about how to prevent roaming charges and other fees. Practical guides on what you need to do for popular questions like this seems to get the interest of a lot of Google searchers.

SIM card questions are my most recently popular direct reader questions via email.

Reader Questions Indicate Interest

I usually get about one email a week from a reader.

There has been a steady flow of these emails for the last 2 years. To me, this is a major indicator that I am providing good content. It is good enough that people seek me out for more. These readers take the extra time to navigate to my contact page and direct a question to me.

 
 

I always try to answer their questions with 24 hours, in great detail, and with helpful/supportive images. I have always enjoy helping people and this is just another way of sharing what I know so fellow travelers can enjoy make the best decisions about their own travel paths.

I Am Proud!

I don’t normally brag like this. In fact, I never share stats about my blog . But I am proud of this work and felt like sharing the above accomplishments after 5 years. Even if small in the grand scheme of the blogging world, it’s pretty fun for me to see the results. Especially because I just really love traveling the world and sharing my experiences so others can feel encouraged to deviate, too!

So Happy 5th Birthday to DTN!

And to all my readers old and new—THANK YOU! You keep me feeling like I am not posting into the abyss.

To another 5 years…

❤️ Rikka