Growing The Blenderist – April 2015 Income Report

This is my once a month, super-nerdy post for other bloggers. If you come here for the recipes, you might find this post boring. I’m sorry! This post is all numbers and blog geekery. This post also contains a number of affiliate links.

APRIL-2015-INCOME-REPORT-01

 

If you read last month’s income report, you will remember a steep drop in traffic. This trend continues but I’m not mad! I’ll explain in detail below!

If you have been following my income reports over the past several months, you will know that I spent a lot of energy growing my traffic through an aggressive pinterest strategy. That strategy involved pinning my own recipes to group boards multiple times a day. It really worked, my traffic grew along with my ego!

Then, in March, some things changed on Pinterest. I noticed a bunch of popular group boards were overrun with spam and they were no longer generating good traffic/repins. A lot of bloggers I know started grumbling about their numbers dropping due to smart feed. I started to get nervous. I started to worry that Pinterest would penalize me for pinning so frequently even though I always followed the rules of the group boards. I scaled back, way back! I went from pinning 70+ times per day to about 20 per day. I use ViralTag to schedule my pins so I can space them out at reasonable intervals.

As a result of my reduced Pinterest activity, my traffic has dropped off. It would be easy to panic at this point and start pinning frantically to get the number back up, but I am taking a different approach. I am trying to move away from traffic dependent income (ad networks) and move towards income from affiliate sales, freelance/contract work and original products. I’ll talk a bit more about this new income strategy in a minute. Let’s take a look at the numbers for now!

How many pageviews did my blog get in April?

April-Traffic-Report

Here is a breakdown of traffic over the past 6 months:

  • Nov. 2014 – 20,532 pageviews
  • Dec. 2014 – 35,209 pageviews
  • Jan. 2015 – 65,174 pageviews
  • Feb. 2015 – 64,777 pageviews
  • Mar. 2015 – 56, 370 pageviews
  • Apr. 2015 – 37,709 pageviews

So, you can see I had a biiiiiiig drop! If you look at the breakdown, you will see that my Pinterest traffic is about 50% of what it was in March (21, 333 referrals).

April-referral-traffic

Am I sad about this? A tiny bit, but I feel better when I look at my income!

Income:

Adsense $0.76
Sovrn $10.75
Gourmet Ads $48.07
Food Blogger Pro Affiliate Program $17.40
BlogHer $24.94
Freelance/Contract Work $415.00

Total Income: $517

Expenses:

Media Temple Hosting $9.00
ViralTag $9.00

Total Expenses: $18

Balance: $499

Now we are really cooking! If you look at my RPM, you will see significant growth. RPM is a term that means Revenue Per 1000 Pageviews. This is what the last 6 months look like…

  • Nov. 2014 – $3.06
  • Dec. 2014 – $2.95
  • Jan. 2015 –  $2.7
  • Feb. 2015 –  $3.02
  • Mar. 2015 – $2.9
  • Apr. 2015 – $13.24!!!

So, how did I go about making more money on less traffic? The answer is freelance/contract work. For the purpose of these reports, I’m only including freelance/contract income that directly relates to my work as a food blogger (photo assignments, workshops, consulting, strategic partnerships). This does not include income that comes from my other freelance activities (commercial acting or marketing/branding work). April is the first month that reflects income from this type of work but it won’t be the last. I have some great opportunities on the horizon!

In conclusion:

I have a big confession to make. This website is not my passion. I consider it my sandbox. It’s a place where I can play with monetization strategies and develop my skills as a blogger. My true love is chocolate and that is why my new site Chocolate Codex is getting more of my attention these days.

It’s been weeks since I posted a recipe on The Blenderist. The time I have spent here has been focused on optimizing areas of my site to improve affiliate income opportunities. An example of this can be seen on this page: http://theblenderist.com/mykitchen/ 

I designed that page to share my favourite kitchen tools and encourage Amazon Affiliate program sales. We shall see if it works. I also plan to redesign my Blogger Resource Page for similar reasons.

Blogging can be a real grind when you are chasing traffic. I’m hoping a combination of Affiliate Income and Freelance work will allow me to get off the traffic treadmill. I’m glad I put in the work to get where I am, but I don’t want to burn out.

As I write this, I’m getting psyched up for a vacation/research/work trip. I was asked to facilitate a workshop for female entrepreneurs in Palm Springs. That is going to be a lot of fun! Then, I’m going to tour Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle on a hunt for chocolate! Whoo hoo!

-Jasmine

 

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