If you come here for the recipes, this post might not be interesting to you. I promise, it’s a once a month thing! This post also contains a number of affiliate links.
This is the first month I will be publicizing my blogging income and traffic report. You might be wondering why I am doing this.
I was inspired by the awesome folks over at Pinch of Yum. Lindsay and Bjork have done an amazing job of growing their blog over the years. Instead of hoarding their secrets, they have generously shared their experiences. They are so dedicated to helping food bloggers that they created Food Blogger Pro.
Food Blogger Pro saved me a lot of time when I was first setting up my blog. I learned how to make my blog SEO friendly and how to drive traffic to my blog. I even learned how to take better food pictures. If you are just starting out as a blogger, I highly recommend you join the community over there. It’s a very valuable resource.
Due to Lindsay and Bjork’s transparency, I was able to visualize a future with blogging as a primary source of income. It’s not something that happens overnight. Pinch of Yum was already clocking in about 50,000 page views a month when they started monetizing. I’m nowhere near that, but my traffic is growing steadily.
Although I am treating The Blenderist as a business; I’ve learned that the way to make a living as a blogger is to make great content. Content is the focus here. During the first 6 months, I focused on creating quality posts. I spend a lot of time analyzing my traffic to figure out what my readers want. I’ve learned that my readers love raw vegan foods and low-carb desserts. Those terms come up frequently in my search results.
I’m currently working on a couple of product ideas that I plan to offer for sale on the site. One is an e-cookbook, the other is a product for food bloggers. When those go live, I’m hoping to see a boost in income. Until then, the only income I’ve brought in so far is from ad networks and affiliate sales. If you are looking for information on how to make money from a food blog, I recommend the book “How to Monetize your Food Blog” . It’s got a lot of useful, step-by-step information on how to set up your ad networks.
This first report will show my income and expenses for my first 6 months of blogging. I will be doing monthly reports going forward.
Let’s take a look at my blog traffic from March through to August…
Not bad, you have to start somewhere! This is how it breaks down on a monthly basis (numbers rounded to nearest 100)…
- March – 2,700 pageviews
- April – 10,200 pageviews
- May – 8,100 pageviews
- June – 7,200 pageviews
- July – 7,400 pageviews
- August – 16,200 pageviews
The spike in April is due to a feature on the Redbook site and a post on Finding Vegan. In August, I had a recipe featured on Mashable and Finding Vegan; that really boosted my traffic.
Now, let’s look at the income I made from blogging during this time period…
First of all, this report includes all my start-up expenses. I’m not including food costs at this time because I am currently making recipes with food from my personal groceries. I will eventually start including food and tableware in the expenses.
Total Income: $85
|Media Temple Hosting||$54.00|
|Food Blogger Pro||$76.00|
Total Expenses: $397
Balance: – $312
This number is not a surprise to me at all. When you start a blog, you need to spend a little money to get things set up professionally. I decided to save some time by purchasing an excellent wordpress theme called Foodie. Once I purchased the theme and the Genesis framework , I customized it with a logo and header designed by Chris, my partner at RXVP.
One thing to note is that my income from Gourmet Ads only represents a couple of days of traffic. I installed Gourmet Ads on August 28th. I anticipate a larger payout from them in the months to come.
Let’s take a look at where my blog traffic is coming from…
I’m pretty pleased to see that my organic traffic is high. People are finding me through Google and other search engines. Hooray! My top referrers, with the exception of Mashable are photo sharing sites. I post photos on those sites and people follow the links to see the recipe.
I definitely see some areas for growth. Many bloggers find that Pinterest is their top referrer. My pinterest stats are a bit sad, so I’m actively working on them. If you are reading this, you should follow me on Pinterest. 😉
What I have learned about blogging so far…
I truly believe the first 6 months are the hardest. There is a lot to learn and it’s easy to get discouraged. I was lucky to find a community of bloggers willing to help and advise me.
It takes time to accumulate enough content to make your blog “sticky”. Keep writing!
I was fortunate to get some validation in the form of press from a couple of bigger media outlets that motivated me to continue. I have never sent an email to a writer or company asking for publicity. I will definitely be proactive about contacting the press in the future, but I know I need more content before I am aggressive about this.
The feedback I receive from readers on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest really keeps me going.
I promised myself I would only blog if it was fun for me. There are times when I don’t feel like writing a post or photographing a meal, but overall I love the challenge. It has given me an opportunity to learn some new skills (food photography, wordpress customization) and practice some old ones (writing, cooking).
The challenge will be to make the blog sustainable (generating income) without sacrificing user experience. For that reason, I would love it if my readers messaged me if they ever found an advertisement annoying or inappropriate.
If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them below!