Analyzing Analytics (and really loving it)

Intro ramblings

I have a few really disjointed thoughts that I’ve been wanting to make cohesive for some time now. I am here today to tell you that they are still not cohesive, nor are they taking any particular form, but I want to write them out anyway.

My favorite blogs are the ones where I can feel the emotion behind the blogger’s post. Writing from the heart is always the purest, and I’ve never been one for banging out posts just for the heck of it (although I agree I could use some discipline with regard to my blogging). A blog I’ve been loving recently is Healthy Crush. Jenny’s tone always strikes something so completely… right… that I find myself nodding along, glued to every word. Reading her posts is fun for me, because I can tell she writes from the heart. And I want to do that, too – my own version of it, of course. (Shoutout to Jenny, another Brooklyn blogger! #BK4Life)

With regard to travel, I’ve always loved reading Rapid Travel Chai. The passion comes through. And the photos…! Stefan is a passionate traveler, and I love reading his takes on unique places in this big world.

More ramblings

With Out and Out, I want to talk more about the destinations I visit, how I get my points, and how I use them – instead of hypothetical uses (although sometimes it’s fun to dream about where you can go with points!).

I have more than enough points for another RTW trip right now. More points than time to do it. So I’m limited to short jaunts. I’ve also been working like a maniac and have been gifting a lot of trips to my friends with my own points and miles. I still kinda feel like I’m always “proving” the value of points and miles within my circle, and what better way than to send someone you love on a free trip?

I will say that the manufactured spend landscape, the one that is growing more dismal by the day, has been discouraging – especially in New York City. I can’t load up REDbird, Serve is getting limited, PayPal cards are still possible but certain CVS locations give me a hard time, etc. But I focus on the positive, and do what I can. Something else will pop up soon enough.

Category bonuses have been a boon. Gift cards from office supply stores, dining on one card, phone bill on another, unbonused spend on yet another. Portal bonuses, order as much online as possible, along with some lucky targeted bonuses, have combined to keep my points balance relatively high. (All things I covered in “How to Keep It Going” in my “NEW?” series.)

And now, analytics

It’s a fascinating landscape out there right now, this travel blogging stuff. I don’t think I’ll ever really figure out my “niche” – and that’s OK. It’s populated with so many players, but I have to remind myself that there is room for every voice and mine is simply another alongside all of them.

So I try to add value where I can.

And wow. 

People are consuming the content on Out and Out in a way that has truly blown me away. No, this is not a #humblebrag, but suffice it to say I am grateful for all the kind support over the past couple of months, particularly with the transition into BoardingArea by Randy Petersen and the whole team there.

I have been noticing many ways that the information here is being used and find it simply fascinating.

For starters, the reach has grown tremendously:

Hi South Africa!

Hi California, South Africa, and the Philippines!

In what world can I have readers from 3 continents visiting here all at once?

I'm social

I’m social

I’ve been trying to up my Twitter presence lately, and am noticing a real spike in social sharing lately, which is awesome.

The other awesome thing is on how many platforms the information is being read.

Sometimes all desktops

Sometimes all desktops

Sometimes desktops and phones

Sometimes desktops and phones

More recently, have noticed more tablets

More recently, have noticed more tablets

As for the United States, I have readers now from every state. How cool is that?



It’s no surprise that most of my readers come from the top 5 most populated states, but what is cool is the order they’re in:


NY #1!

My home (for now) state of New York loves Out and Out, probably because I have so many New York-centric posts, followed by California (hey Cali!), then Texas, Illinois, and Florida. Very very cool.

Other awesome things

I know this will all sound very wide-eyed and newbie-ish, especially when compared with the “big blogs” of travel, but you know what, I still think it’s really awesome. I also think Tori Amos is awesome, and mint chocolate chip ice cream, craft beers, cold mountainous places, and the Club Carlson program. It’s all about finding kindred spirits, right? :p

Another awesome thing I’ve noticed is an uptick in the clicks on the “Support Out and Out” box on the front page of this little blog from those looking for a rewards credit card – which is incredible. Thank you guys for the support!!! I made a separate page to stay within all the program guidelines, which you can find here just in case you’d like to use it. I can’t say thank you enough!

Bottom line

In these past 2 months on BoardingArea, I’ve had as many visitors as I had the previous 2 years from when I was doing this all alone. That’s pretty freaking incredible. Sometimes I feel so grateful that I think my head might fall right off.

I want to strive to post high-quality content, and my credo has always been… I’ll post when I have something to say. If I don’t have something to say, I’ll keep my trap closed.

It’s usually a little more put together than this post right now, but it comes from a good place – one that I’d like to keep mining. And the reader interactions, emails, and random run-ins have been wonderful! If you ever see me out and about, please say hello! (This is thanks to the selfies!)

I’d love to know where you all are from and how you discovered this site. Feel free to comment below, to subscribe via email, or to follow me on Twitter or my mini-diary, Instagram. There is also a Facebook page where my posts show up on if you’d like to keep up with blog updates.

And now back to regularly scheduled irregularity. Let’s get this show on the road.

Love you guys so much! Thank you!!!

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. Not sure if you can put it on your site but I’ve seen other blogs that have the flag counter that tells its readers how many times a computer from that country has visited that site.

  2. Just chiming in to say I found your blog when it was featured on BoardingArea, definitely keep up the good work! As another NYC-based player in the points game of the “out” variety, it’s been fun reading about your escapades. It really is frustrating how tough it is to MS here, though–I didn’t even bother getting a RedBird, and have yet to find a CVS that accepts credit card for the Paypal cards (or even has them in stock). Hoping something new and good comes along soon!

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