Month 10 Food Blogging & Income Report – August 2016

How To Start A Food Blog | Food Blogging Income Report August 2016

Welcome to our 10th food blogging and income report for August 2016.

Not only do I share my own income reports as a way for me to be accountable and to stay on track, but also because I know how much they can help other people. I know this because I have spent years reading income reports and then using the income reports as a way to grow my own blogs. This is not just since we started Recipe This but long before then.

Firstly with the traffic, you get to learn how people are generating their traffic and what they are doing to improve on it. You get to learn if they spend money on their traffic and what has been the most powerful source in their traffic outlet and how they are improving on it.

From an income point of view, it gives you lots of fresh ideas and places that you can earn a living from on your blog. As bloggers (not just in the food niche) you get to see where the best places are for sponsored opportunities, what advertising networks people are using and what affiliate programmes are working for them.

Add to these discovering good products to buy from peoples expenses and you have a huge source of information that you are essentially getting for free.

You also get to watch the mistakes that others are making to make sure you do a better job yourself.

I first published an income report on my diet blog at the beginning of 2014 and since then they have become part of my blogging adventure. I may even add that it’s the part of my blogging calendar that I look forward to the most. That is because I can put it down in writing what I have done to improve on the month before and if I have had a good traffic or income increase then it can give you a real buzz.

So go out there and read as many income reports as you can, as they can be a huge learning curve for you. Though, on the eye of caution be careful what you sign up for from links that you read. We have noticed a surge in low quality products being advertised on income reports that pay well to the blogger but are rather useless.

Anyway I am sure you really want to know all the gossip of what we have been up to this month so read away…..

Our Food Blogging Income During August 2016

Total Revenue = $2309.56

Our Food Blog Expenses During August 2016:

Total Expenses = $537.12

This leads to a total income from Recipe This For August 2016 of $1772.44

August has become a crazy month. Anyone that said that running a food blog was easy was lying to you. 10-12 hours a day is more like it. There is the testing recipes part which is actually the easy part as we get to sample great food. However with there being three of us two can be in the office while the other is cooking, so the cooking part never really feels that bad.

But the technical side, admin side and marketing side of things can be incredibly time consuming. I must spend hour after hour promoting the site, writing content and seeing how the site can be improved.

I could easily be in the office at 8am and leave it at 8pm without having a lunch or dinner break and eating at the laptop.

But I absolutely love it and food blogging and I were meant to be together. I get to talk about food all day long, sample it in between, promote food, and talk to brands about food.

So if you are thinking about a food blog or wondering what kind of effort goes into it, then it is more than you could possibly imagine.

Read How @recipe_this made over $1.5k Last Month From Food BloggingClick To Tweet

Income Changes

This is our very first month of only accepting paid sponsors on our blog. We have said a big fat goodbye to offering free reviews and we are now taking the sponsored opportunities side of our blog really seriously.

In the beginning we felt that unless we were getting 30,000 page views a month then we shouldn’t be demanding money for reviews. We also felt that like if you were a model you need to have a portfolio to showcase and by doing lots of free reviews (in exchange for products first) it gives us a chance to have something to show off to future brands.

This is part of owning a blog that terrifies a lot of people. They don’t know what to say to brands, what to ask for and even what to charge. But the worst thing that could possibly happen is that the brand will say NO.

Surely we can all live with some level of rejection?

I have had this a few times this month:

“We don’t pay for reviews but happy to send it to you for you to review on your blog”

I never once heard that my fees were too high or that we didn’t have the correct demographics or that our site was rubbish or anything like that. There will be some brands that will never respond to you and there will also be those that will send you a reply and things will just not work out with that brand.

From years of experience in blogging (not just in the food niche) there will be brands that will send you a follow up message 3 or even 6 months later and say they were too busy but would like to see your media kit now.

Well these are the brands that I walk away from. If they can not respond to you within 3 working days then they lack reliability in the long term and are really not the kind of brand you want to showcase on your blog. If they treat you like this then how will things work for your customers?

I pointed this out to a cauliflower rice brand during August and was sent a very vile and unprofessional response, so it does show that I was right.

But the brands you do work with can be amazing. I have partnered with quite a few this month and they have all been amazing to work with.

Just think for every bad experience with a brand that you have, you will have four good ones.

If you have zero traffic remember to start off with some free products to build up your business (like I originally outlined here) and then go for it with the paid reviews once you are getting 1000 page views a day.

I am also going to focus on this in more detail in the Podcast next month where I will be sharing with you what it is like to get sponsored opportunities especially when you have a low traffic site like my own.

We have also had our best ever month when it comes to Draft2Digital and it has well and truly taken over the Kindle. If you do have an ebook on the Kindle then I highly recommend you also list it on D2D. The benefit of them is that even though you earn about 15% less per ebook sale they have the power to get you everywhere. Forget signing up for Smashwords where they have an issue with every part of your ebook with D2D it is really straight forward and they put your ebook on a range of channels including Ibookstore, Barnes & Noble and Scribd.

Recipe This Blog Traffic August 2016

We had a traffic slump in June while our summer recipes were slowly taking off, then in July we had a great month thanks to working heavily on Pinterest and Tailwind so what was going to happen in August? As in the month that everyone complains about as being a useless low traffic month?

Here is our traffic for August 2016:

How To Start A Food Blog | How we got 56000 page views from our 10thmth old food blog during July 2016.

As you can see that not only did our traffic increase but it increased by 30% in one month. Yes you read that right I didn’t mean 3% but actually 30%.

Our overall traffic grew by a third and it was so exciting watching the Google Analytics everyday as our traffic got better and better. We had our highest traffic day so far and were really excited, and then a week later we beat it again. It was so special to say that we have had more than one 2000 page views days in the summer.

Here are our top 10 traffic sources for RecipeThis.com during August:

How To Start A Food Blog | Our Top 10 Traffic Sources At RecipeThis.com.

You’re probably wondering what caused the traffic increase. Well all our top four traffic sources increased throughout the month. It wasn’t that we had a really special day on Google or that we went viral on Facebook or on Stumbleupon. It was more a case that four traffic sources grew naturally.

We have moved from being http://recipethis.com to https://recipethis.com. We actually moved because we changed payment processors and the new one required the site to be a secure https. But when we made the decision Google told us that it would see an increase in our search engine traffic.

For the month before the move our SEO traffic looked like this:

How To Start A Food Blog | Our SEO traffic before moving to a https.

Then after 30 days on the new https it looked like this:

How To Start A Food Blog | Our SEO traffic 30 days after moving to a https.

Our other traffic sources that had a good increase were Pinterest, Tumblr and also direct traffic. Get a system in place with Tumblr so that you are submitting to the recipe submissions and also that you are taking part in the community and are not just in it for yourself. With direct traffic though it is hard to 100% monitor it but we do believe the increase is partly down to the success of our Podcast and also down to the success of our Instagram account that is now at 9000+ followers. But with direct traffic you are going in blind so you never truly know!

There has been a lot of talk recently about Pinterest and it reminds me of the Google Panda update several years ago. Back then Google went heavy on those that were keyword stuffing and not offering value to their readers.

Well with Pinterest it has gone after those with huge descriptions of their pins and cut them down a lot. This means that you only have a short space for your pin description before it disappears. So remember to not follow the herd and keyword stuff. If you have keyword stuffed on Pinterest then its time to re-write your pin descriptions!

I have also found that Pinterest doesn’t like being manipulated therefore make sure every pin that you have is not a skinny long graphic. Everyone and anyone is doing this so that their pins get out in the world of social media MORE. Where as if you go back to variety you will find your Pinterest traffic will repair itself naturally.

I use skinny graphics but the difference is:

  • I don’t have it on every blog post
  • Mine don’t look like everyone else’s as they are unique
  • I probably have one in 50 that is of the SEO shape

I have also run experiments on Pinterest and other social media channels and have found that the basic recipe images without writing on are the ones that have gone viral.

Variety Is The Key With Blogging Traffic

How To Start A Food Blog | What our traffic at recipethis.com looks like.

What used to freak me out on my old diet blog was how the traffic varied. I think it was 85% made up of Pinterest & Google and that scared the life out of me. What if something happened to Pinterest? I was in the top search rankings because of my big viral backlinks from Pinterest, so if I lost Pinterest I would lose them both.

In an ideal world you want to be able to have it spread across the board. This means that I am incredibly happy at the pie chart above. It is very even in numbers and you know if you lost a source of traffic that you could still rely on the others.

When you are building up your own traffic think beyond just the search engines, social media and the photo submission sites and see where else you could naturally grow on your blog.

I would always expect the search engines and social media to rule the day, but at the same time you want your other areas to grow too.

What If?

Now this is the theory or the scientific approach that I plan to take in September. If you can increase your traffic by X amount if you do Y, then what could you achieve if you also did Z?

If you worked on one new income stream or traffic source every month then where could you be in just a month from now?

For example you have five top traffic sources on your blog and then a sixth that you just can’t be bothered with. Well what if you really worked at that number 6 and it then became your number 4? It could then increase your traffic by as much as 200% over the next few months.

Also imagine if you are doing all the work yourself and you suddenly hired a full time outsourcer and all of a sudden there was 120 hours a week to dedicate to your business instead of 60 then how far could you bring your business?

Well this is just the tests we will be doing ourselves over the coming months. We have hired 10 new virtual assistants in the last month and are working with them to bring the boring traffic sources to life and working more on our income. I am sure there will be a case study coming your way soon when we talk about what we achieve.

What’s Next?

Next on the agenda is to have a baby. I am writing this on the 1st of September in advance as you never quite know when the special day is going to be upon you. My due date is in 24 days time and it’s a mad rush to do what we can work wise before it actually happens.

Today I was writing two recipes out for mid October so that I can get ahead. I also plan to do the October Podcasts next week and this blog post here (the income report) is the last of the September blog posts that I am writing.

I also have an outsourcing team to train up and to get started in promotion on new channels. So it is all about crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s.

After that we will be working on our November month which will be dedicated to celebrating a year of RecipeThis.com and to say that it will be a year old will be an amazing achievement. It only feels like yesterday that I was writing up my Airfryer potato wedges recipe for the blog and that was our first ever recipe.

Meet The Milners

Samantha and Dominic
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Dominic & Samantha Milner are the founders of RecipeThis.com. They love cooking, blogging and being full time parents to their three food obsessed kids. They cook with their kitchen gadgets everyday and love sharing their homemade recipes. Their favourite foods include chocolate, air fryer burgers and macaroni cheese. You can learn more about them here or you can sign up for their free newsletter here.

2 comments… add one
  • avatar Christina Sep 11, 2016, 8:11 pm

    A few questions from a fellow blogger: 1. How do you know what is best to charge for your time for a sponsored post. For example, I don’t want to go too low, but I want to realistic. 2. Do you reach out to companies for reviews, etc. what do you say? Or do they reach out to you.

    • avatar Samantha and Dominic Sep 12, 2016, 3:14 pm

      Hi Christina,

      No i dont mind at all you asking. I have actually just recorded my Podcast for the 2nd of October which is just about sponsored reviews and such like. My son is due in less than a fortnight so I am trying to be organised 🙂

      In regards to your questions I always say that it depends on the assets you have. By assets i mean what brands will gain from you in the sense of traffic, seo, social media, shares etc. So if you have a very low social media following then you only have your traffic to offer. Or you might have a really big exposure on Pinterest in which case this can be highlighted.

      If your traffic is your only asset I would aim for $1.50 CPM so for 30,000 page views a month you can charge $45. Then if you have an asset I would increase it to $2 ($60) and then each time you hit a traffic milestone increase your prices. For example we currently charge $75 based on our minimum traffic but when we reach 75,000 monthly page views we will increase our rates to $100+.

      But I wouldn’t charge less than $75 due to the effort involved.

      When I reach out to brands I point out what is in it for them. For example i reached out to a coconut oil brand and pointed out I was having a month dedicated to Paleo and how well my Paleo recipes had done so far and showed off my SEO results and also the results from the Paleo pinterest group boards I am on.

      I am also starting to get brands reaching out to me.

      It is also a good idea to look at upsells. If you are charging $100 for a review what else could you offer the brand to increase your rate up to $200? such as extra social media exposure, having it listed on the top of your Facebook page for x amount of days and so on.

      I hope that helps you.

      kind regards

      sam
      X

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