Welcome to our 20th food blogging and income report for June 2017.
For this month on our food blogging income report, we decided to talk about something that nobody else ever talks about and is often considered forbidden in what is allowed to be said and what isn’t.
The downside of being a food blogger:
Viral – It’s not all sunshine and skittles
You can have a great month and have a wonderful time and then another month things can go wrong and you can often wonder if the job is actually worth it or if this is what you actually signed up for.
These are all things that have happened to us in June that we wanted to share with our fellow food bloggers, so that if you too are having a bad day then you know that you are not alone. We are in the same boat too.
Fraud from 123-reg.co.uk
If you don’t know who 123 Reg are then basically they are a domain registrar. They specialise in the UK domains market and they were who I used to buy my very first domain name with. I must have bought 10 with them altogether over the years and up until June I had very fond memories of them.
Well in June they took money out of my bank account for a domain name without our permission. It was for an account that they admitted we didn’t own, that we had nothing to do with and wouldn’t even tell us what it was for.
We were last customers of theirs a couple of years ago and don’t even have an account with them now. We must have exchanged 30 emails with them to the point of shear frustration, each time being told that they were not willing to help, because of the data protection act. In other words one of their current account holders had used our bank details and were protecting them, by refusing to give us the info of what we had paid for.
I find it rather disgusting that you can be charged for something, refused a refund and being told that you will never find out what you have actually paid for.
In the end we gave up, but we met several people online with similar stories.
It was actually only a small amount of money, less than $15, but it’s the fact that big companies think that this is acceptable behaviour, and the frustration that they wont tell us what we paid for that bugs me.
Freebie Seeking Brands & PR Companies
If there is something that winds me up the wrong way it is this. Why on earth do these brands think that we will work for free?
I can understand if you contact a brand and then they say that they have no budget left for advertising, but when they contact you, because they realise you are a top blogger in your micro niche and then expect you to work for free then that is a totally different cattle of fish.
When I get these emails asking me if I will do things for free I can never decide how to respond or what to say. I mean it really depends on how sarcastic I am feeling on a particular day. Sometimes I will just trash the email and not even bother getting back to them, other times I will be polite and other times I am super sarcastic.
But I think it is worse when the brand has money and that you can bring them a lot of traffic and sales.
There was one particular brand that contacted me in June (well technically it was their PR team). I have worked with their competition and not only brought their competition over a million page views, but I have made a lot of sales. On top of this I know I could also make the competition the same amount of money if not more.
I am actually talking about Airfryers. I get more than 150,000 page views a month for them and a huge amount of sales and everyday I get the same comment from my readers:
Thanks so much Sam, if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have even known what an Airfryer was, it has changed my life.
Many come in like that every day and my readers trust my brand recommendations. So when someone that knows I can achieve great things for them expects me to work for free in exchange for an Airfryer, then I end up feeling like I am going to explode in a big fat rage.
I may also add this brand has the funds to pay its bloggers what they are worth. And that makes me even more mad. I mean if they can’t afford it, then fine ask but if you can, it shows you that you think a blogger is like your own personal intern and shouldn’t be valued for their work.
On this occasion with this brand, they sent the gadget to my cousin in the US (I live in Portugal) along with a few other products that they also wanted content written about. The RRP of them was about $500. For us to do them a recipe for each of them would have cost them about $5000.
And when I asked for payment she pointed out the value of the products and that as they wont be paying that we should send the stuff back. I declined and sent them a very snotty message.
I pointed out that I can’t split the products into pieces and have them ship the goods to me, pay my graphics designer, pay my social media manager, my social media assistant, myself, my husband and my son. Especially given that the goods are only 10% of our fee.
Its not that I am totally against doing freebies. As I wrote this early on my blog and I a big fan of them. But its like a model that wants a portfolio before they head out to big modelling agency. You want to say I have worked with X,Y and Z and this is what I achieved. Do it before you have any traffic and as a way to land you amazing customers further down the line.
My policy is to do it until you hit 30,000 page views a month or have a good social following. This means that I did it from the November starting the blog up to the May of the summer after. In that time I got a great ice cream machine (RRP $2000), slow cookers, pressure cookers, blenders, mixers and so on.
As I was building up a kitchen gadget blog I needed kitchen gadgets and a lot of these products that I got for free would have a value of over $20,000 when combined.
Plus I took a few other freebies for a mention in my ingredients list. For example I love coconut oil and coconut butter and is very expensive to eat regularly. So I had 2 separate brands send me 6 huge jars each that covered a years supply. Then when I used coconut oil in a recipe, I would link to an affiliate link for it on Amazon.
Don’t do a review for a free sachet of salt or for a jar of tomato sauce, as you are worth a lot more than that. I had a minimum threshold of $100 when doing it and only ever did 3 a month. But they have paid for themselves in how much I made back as an affiliate.
But NEVER do it once you have traffic. Because you are hot property then and are worth a lot of money and people will pay the big bucks for you.
I just wish more and more bloggers that are established would charge a fee, as they are ruining it for everyone else.
But I may have had this happen just once this month, but I have also had several clients confirm orders and pay me what I am worth, so if this is YOU just think only 10% of brands will treat you like you’re the poop on their shoe.
I actually see posts from my fellow food bloggers complaining about it everyday. I am friends on Facebook with 1500 fellow food bloggers and it is the main complaint.
There was one just yesterday. They were offered just $50 for a recipe post including pictures and social media. I thought this was crazy. I too was offered a lower rate for a review of a product yesterday of just $100.
We kind of get used to turning them down each day, but I must admit I spend more time on emails with speaking to brands than anything else and it can be exhausting at times.
Burn Out Syndrome
Another big issue as a food blogger is to hit a huge burnout rate. That feeling that you constantly feel tired all the time. I was complaining to Dominic about how tired we constantly feel and he pointed out, that its because we never stop, not that we have some kind of awful illness.
In a typical day I will be up at 8am not in bed until past midnight. Then I will spend the day working, in between that looking after 3 kids (including a colicky baby) then on top of that we never have evenings to relax.
You see we will work from 9am to 8pm, then we will move to the sofa and work on our social media via our tablet or our phone. We will then work on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter work from there. We will also use that time to do any keyword research for new blog posts, research for new posts or whatever else needs doing.
And that is how we are 7 days a week.
We are getting desperate now for our annual holiday. Come early September we will be going to Spain for 2 weeks and that is all we talk about. After all we have not had a Sunday off since Easter.
But even though we work 7 days a week, we do so as our full time job and I couldn’t imagine having a full time job and doing this. It would finish me!
We have though made the decision to reduce your content to be content free on a weekend, but because I am addicted to watching my blog grow, I have now increased my content for during the week so that the content is longer and with better social media images. So let’s see how that goes ?
We live in an online world when everything is faceless. This means that people will say things to you by email, that they would not normally say to your face. The favourite is of course the blog commenting. There are many people that I know that will simply delete them, get upset about them and then not tell anyone else.
One that I got recently I shared on Facebook as I felt it was a little racist because I was not American, or that they expected all blogs to be American (I am not sure which?).
And you can see a screenshot of it below:
If this happens to you, then you can either publish or delete. Its your choice. Just try not to let them get you down.
Warrior Forum Internet Marketing Spam
If there is anything that is damaging towards our business as food bloggers it is this. The Warrior Forum (if you have not discovered it yet) is spam city. It’s a place to go if you want to gain bad information about making money online, is a place where people hang out to make spammy affiliate marketing sites. It is also the place to be if you want to pay $1 an article or get a rewrite of some poor bloggers quality work.
I used it when I had an internet marketing site as it was the perfect place for selling social media ads for my Twitter account as it was around 2009 when Twitter was just exploding.
But now you look at it and there is ebook after ebook for sale teaching you how to create a recipe ebook in 30 minutes.
As a result the Airfryer niche (which I dominate) has gone from 2 ebooks for sale (mine and someone elses) back in 2013 to 112 of them in 2017.
I checked out the competition a few weeks ago and found that spammy after spammy ebook with the recipes of mine and fellow bloggers recipes. They were slightly re-written to save them being flagged, but the truth was that they were other peoples work.
They then sold for 99 cent and of recent months has been ruining my quality ebook sales.
But these same people that are taking over the ebook sales on Kindle are also taking over our websites too, with quick re-writes of our work. It means that your ideas will constantly be copied and that many people will be put off by food blogs.Read How @recipe_this made money from their food blog last month From Food BloggingClick To Tweet
Sadly we will have to plough through and hopefully the spam sites will eventually die a slow death. But they do have this opinion though that if they put 400 word recipes out every day, that after 6 months they will be millionaires. So some will leave, we just hope that more leave, than those that start.
Plus I did an interesting experiment this month. I downloaded 200 ebooks from the free days on Amazon to see what the quality was like. And found that:
- Only 2 had recipe images
- Only 4 was free of typos
- Only 5 had full recipe instructions
That is so sad out of 200 ebooks and shows that if we work hard and produce quality we will stand out from the crowd for the right reasons.
But instead of spending the day depressing you here is what we came here for….
Our Food Blogging Income During June 2017:
- Sponsored Content = $1656
- Free Products = $560.00
- Google Adsense = $533.34
- Amazon Associates = $345.88
- Amazon CPM Ads = $150.49
- Draft2Digital = $76.00
- Kindle = $68.52
- Google Play = $25.13
Total Revenue = $3415.36
Our Food Blog Expenses During June 2017:
- Virtual Team = $538.00
- Tailwind = $119.00 (our yearly membership)
- Facebook Ads = $89.00
- Knownhost = $49.50
- Studiopress = $33.71 (this is us paying for the new theme you currently see on the site)
- Screenshot Monitor = $15.00
- Bluburry = $12.00
- Buffer = $10.00
- Blog Vault = $9.00
- Nekkra UG = $5.00
Total Expenses = $880.21
This leads to a total income from Recipe This For June 2017 of $2535.15
I fellow food blogger friend of mine posted on Facebook last week. I love her updates as she is very quirky and so funny. In between her comments about bad dating experiences she will share about the ups and downs of blogging. And what got my attention last week was her mentioning why it is in the summer when sponsorship payments are low, is all the annual bills due?
Well I can totally agree. We had business insurance, annual Tailwind and our car needing work all in the same month. Plus it is at a time when you are up and down with sponsored work.
This time of the year is the scary time. The time when you don’t know how much traffic or income you’re going to make because its summer and people don’t care that much about recipes.
Our highest traffic keyword is a soup keyword, so apart from the increased Aussie visitors I have right now, that one is as dead as a doughnut. But our chicken recipes and our potato ones are still doing really well.
This is because chicken and potatoes never go out of season. They are a dream food combo and everyone wants them. In fact we actually had chicken and potatoes for lunch today!
On a plus point our traffic has been a little lower this month (with it being summer) than our previous months and is our 2nd lowest traffic month of 2017, yet its our highest Adsense month ever. This is because we work with quality over quantity and get the best for our positions without running the experience for the reader.
Recipe This Blog Traffic June 2017
We are still working away on our traffic and enjoying its growth. Its that time of year that we find (before summer hits) when our traffic can be slow in progressing. People don’t really know what to do, or what season they want to enjoy as they wait desperately to get the barbeque out!
Here is our traffic for June 2017:
Our traffic is still on the up down summer months and we are looking forward to when September is here and all our comfort food suddenly becomes popular again. We have a lot of soup fans, casserole fans and pot roast fans and we want the search volume for these to hurry up back!!!
Here are our top 10 traffic sources for RecipeThis.com during June:
I love this section. But it is properly really boring. We always seem to have the same top 10 each and every month. But doesn’t that also shout out consistency too? Google always rules and then the 2nd and 3rd spot are argued out between direct traffic and Pinterest. Then its good old Facebook along with a few like Yummly, Tumblr and smaller search engines.
Here is our SEO traffic from Google Webmaster Tools account:
I love my Google Webmaster Tools. Its tells me everything that I want to know about my search engine traffic. Dominic looks at the technical elements such as the links structure and if everything is working correctly and then I look at the numbers.
After a new campaign I will look and count up the amount of SEO positions I now have for my chosen keywords. I can then see the long term traffic from it and also see how my old ones are doing.
It really can be an interesting insight and I suggest that you analyse your stats on Google Webmaster Tools at least once a week.
Our Whole 30 Themed Month
We did something crazy on RecipeThis.com in June. We had a diet month. Yes I know totally out of season and should have been done in January and you know why we did it?
Well of course we wanted to lose some weight, but the main reason was going back to standing out from the crowd. Everyone is doing it in January and then we get to get the best ever SEO positions for it well in time for January and then in January we have some excellent content to repromote to our readers.
We already rank for about 18 Whole30 keywords, so this time we give ourselves a full month dedicated to it and get to see what ranks the best and what to put more effort into.
We have done many other themed months in the past and they are incredible. Not only do your readers love a theme that they can get excited about, but it’s the best way you can get sponsors for your blog. So just think about how you can bring a theme to your blog.
I can’t say anything about it now, as its too early and someone might steal my idea, but I have a planned theme to run for the whole of next year. Its very niche specific so that means a lot of content that I might have done, I cant do now next year.
So over these next few months I will be working on what I can’t publish next year and deciding on my final content calendar for 2017.
And on another note we are now on our new theme that I talked about last month. You can buy it from Studiopress and it is really cheap for the quality of the theme. You see it is Pat Flynns old theme and he spent months planning it with his design team and I reckon at the time it would have cost thousands to have made and to make his site mobile friendly. We haven’t explored all its features yet, but we are up and now when we get time we will do the finishing touches!!!
And on a final note we are working on Facebook Ads for the first time in the history of RecipeThis.com and we will of course be sharing the results with you over the coming months…..