Welcome to our 8th month at RecipeThis.com and this is our food blogging and income report for what we got up to in June of 2016.
For two weeks of June we were on holiday in Spain. It was a eight hour drive there and the same back and we stayed at a lovely hotel in the Costa Almeria region of the country that is famous for its yummy tapas and its delightful Spanish culture.
Even though it is 700 kilometres away from our front door it never really feels like there is that much in difference between Portugal and Spain. And from the point of view of someone like me that is very passionate and very obsessed with food it was great to be there.
I ate a lot of tapas and loved swapping the Atlantic Ocean for the Mediterranean Sea. But at the same time as doing all this we were grounded and new we still had a blog to run and that we were not going to allow a holiday to stop our readers from still enjoying the same reader experience.
I send out emails sometimes and I am shocked when I get an email back two months later apologising that they have not responded because they have been on holiday and only just got around to getting back to me. These are the kinds of people that I don’t do business with, because I want to mix with reliable people that I know will get back to me in a few days. Plus with many things being seasonal what I have emailed them about in January would not necessarily apply in March.
But at the same time I don’t work more than an hour a day while on holiday. I plan my blog content in advance and at the time of going on holiday our content was six weeks in advance. Here on our return we were a month ahead with the content for weeks 5-8 already planned and ready to get started on when we got home.
Each day while I was on holiday I sent out my social media updates, answered emails and made sure that everything was running smoothly, all from the comfort of my hotels free Wifi service. Many people would have not even noticed any difference at all and didn’t even know I was away!
But when you fall into the trap of no content while you are on holiday it means that it will have a negative effect on your readership, your SEO and your social media which is never a good thing.
Though what I found made things easier, was knowing that when I got back and had loads of unpacking to do that at least I didn’t have to worry about content that week. I could have an extra week off and then get back into recipe production mode the week after.
So if you are planning on going on holiday this summer, then pre-plan things so that your blog can grow at the same time.
Our Food Blogging Income During June 2016
- Food Blogging Consulting & Management = $2093.84 (hire us by the hour to coach you here)
- Free Physical Products = $298.12 (read all about how to connect with brands even if you have little traffic)
- MediaVine = $124.62
- Sponsored Review = $125.00
- Draft2Digital = $69.42
- Kindle = $51.10
- Social Media Ads = $50.00
- Aweber = $8.70
- Google Play = $3.10
- Amazon Associates = $2.64
- Amazon CPM Ads = $1.17
Total Revenue = $2827.71
Our Food Blog Expenses During June 2016:
- Virtual Assistants = $205.00
- Shutterstock = $135.00
- Tailwind = $107.88
- Bing Ads = $42.10
- Knownhost = $36.00
- Aweber = $29.00
- Sumo Me = $20.00
- Hubstaff = $15.00
- Bluburry = $12.00
- Freelance Writers = $9.15
- Max CDN = $9.00
- Blog Vault = $9.00
- DMCA = $5.99
Total Expenses = $527.24
This leads to a total income from Recipe This For June 2016 of $2300.47
With the income and expenses things are about to change a lot for us at Recipe This. For example due to England leaving the European Union (or soon to leave) the exchange rate between the pound and the dollar is terrible meaning that paying for things is now a lot more than it was before. I was paying lots of bills last week and realised that it cost me $150 more than it did the month before due to the currency differences.
So we don’t want things to cost us more than they should so we are working at increasing our income and on driving down the expenses. So you’re probably wondering why we paid for Tailwind this month?
Well we are all for driving down costs but it also has to be a case of what makes us money or builds up our traffic is worth keeping verses something that isn’t working and is a drain on our finances.
Read How @recipe_this made over $2k Last Month From Food BloggingClick To Tweet
The following will of course be going:
Aweber – We are at less than 1000 subscribers and don’t have the time to work on our mailing list at the moment with us having other priorities. So our lists have been transferred to Mailchimp which is free for the first 1000 subscribers and then we will gladly pay for MailChimp when we need to. But the priority is that we can at least let our subscribers know when we post to our blog.
Bing Ads – The point of Bing Ads was to kickstart our blog from when it started. You can get good PPC (pay per click) for as little as $0.03 and it’s a good way to start when your blog is new. But once your blog is hitting 1000 page views a day and has regular social media shares you really don’t need it. If I am promoting a particular product or bring out my own products I will go back to using it.
Sumo Me – I got Sumo Me as a way to have a social share button on my site for Tumblr and Yummly as many of the sites don’t include this two. But the problem is that $20 a month is a lot just for the sake of 2 buttons that are not user friendly. We have found a replacement and will be rolling it out in early July. But if you are using Sumo Me make sure you’re aware that it is not suitable for using on Tablets and other similar sized devices.
Then from an income point of view we are working more on monetising the site. In the old days we would have gone after banner ad sales from fellow product owners, but with banner ads on their way out we will be looking more at social media mentions, social media shares, recipe featuring reviews of products and of course giveaway events. So watch this space for how we get along.
Recipe This Blog Traffic June 2016
Since we started Recipe This back in mid November every month has involved a traffic climb. I like the idea that you always do that little bit better than you did the month before and you are steadily growing. Then getting those amazing traffic figures that you’re desperate for is not so out of your league.
But June was that dreaded month when you end up with less traffic than the month before.
Well the reason was simple and one many of you that have been around will be aware of and that is the summer crash. The fact that in the summer people are too busy enjoying themselves to care about what to cook and are having their summer nights out, days at the beaches and the holidays.
I also noticed that when I had my diet site the same thing would happen. It would go up by 25% in sessions in the first 3 months of the year and then in the summer lose a lot of traffic. And then it would suddenly return again.
But from a percentage point of view our traffic has only dropped by 14% so I can’t complain too much. But on further analysis of my traffic I have found that our SEO, Tumblr & Pinterest traffic is increasing.
Here is our traffic for June 2016:
As you can see it has regular traffic and it is still averaging at 1000 page views a day. When I consider that the site is not even a year old yet I really shouldn’t complain about it too much!
Another thing we noticed is that on previous months we would have a day or two when we went viral and had a 1500-1800 page views and then go back down to the typical 1000 page views days, but we never had a viral day in June. On the plus side this means that over the month that we have been consistent and that our traffic is naturally staying at that level via recipe submissions, social media and SEO.
Here is how our traffic has climbed since we started in November:
When I look back and see all those page views it is amazing to see it growing and if I am ever having a bad day on my site I look at this as it really cheers me up.
I also like the idea that you focus on ten top sources of traffic. 10 types that bring you regular traffic and add up to the majority of your visitors to your site. Some of us will have different results but all in all we will tend to have the same main ones. But as your blog grows you will start to appreciate what they are and then you can work on those and turn that 1000 visitors a month into 10,000 and then into 100,000 and then before you know it you’re getting a million visitors a month to your site.
Here is the top 10 traffic sources for Recipe This:
Well there are technically 11 here but I do count Facebook as one 🙂 and this is not all my traffic from these top 10 here for our blog as we get some for social media from different countries that come in separately.
I will also note that Tumblr was not started until the site was a few months old and with Facebook I put very little effort into it. Then with Tastespotting it goes from a happening site to one without any moderators but as it still brings me good traffic I am happy to keep it!
From a comparison point of view away from cooking I have noticed that no matter what the blog has been that SEO, direct traffic and social media always rules so if you work on those you can’t go too wrong!
Making Money, Food Passion & Customer Satisfaction
If you want to be a successful food blogger then you will want to achieve all three of the above. I would say that number 1 on my priority list when watching new food bloggers is that they have passion. You are going to live and breathe cooking and recipes and writing and researching about them. So if your heart is not in it 110% then you are going to get bored and you will become one of many blogs that has just faded into the web space that has not been updated and then just left to die.
I live for food and it’s the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. On an evening I am always glued to my tablet on social media and there is never a day that goes by that I am not experimenting with a new recipe. In fact some days I can be experimenting with several on the same day. On my days off I will even be glued to back to back cookery shows learning about something that I didn’t know about before.
If you’ve got passion for food then you have got an excellent starting point. From a money point of view (compared to opening a restaurant) it is so much cheaper to set up and you can have an amazing career.
From a making money point of view it is still a great way to make money, you can keep your expenses relatively low and there are endless possibilities for income streams.
Someone said to me during the month of June that I had no passion, was just in it for the money and was a fake blogger. I was rather shocked by the statement especially when they said they were not interested in earning any money from it yet their food blog was covered in ads, reviews and endless plugs for products.
I actually blocked them because I had better things to do with my time on Facebook but it got me thinking that why can’t you have both? Why not have a huge passion for cooking, love writing but want it as a career that you want to make money from at the same time. If you worked in a restaurant you wouldn’t work for free on the grounds that you have too much passion to want to earn money.
So what is the difference here?
On another note, I have noticed lately that money is coming above customer experience in food blogs. It is such a shame because if the reader has a happening blog that they enjoy visiting where they can happily read the content then they can come back time and time again. But if you have a website that is too focused on money then you are never going to build up a long term site.
Last night I was researching about Tailwind via Google and a all of the “how to” style blog posts were from fellow food bloggers. I loaded four in a row and only one of them actually worked.
Here were the problem areas:
- The first was on Genesis and there were HTML errors so the sidebar didn’t load correctly so the page was unreadable.
- The second had all the Sumo buttons running down the left so I couldn’t read the left of the content, they then had 3 different pop ups and a moving ad. The result was that I physically couldn’t read a SINGLE line of text!
- Then on the third it had a pop up come up that wouldn’t go away as it took over the full screen so the red X to exit wasn’t on the page.
When you think that we are all (or the majority of us) get our traffic from mobiles and tablets this is the most important area. As it is people like ME and YOU that spend our evenings scrolling the internet while watching TV and social sharing everything.
At the end of the day I would rather get 20% less subscribers and 20% less income and provide a better over all experience. So if this is you really think about it.
Okay rant over but I am sure you get where I am going with it!
So you’re probably wondering where July is going on Recipe This. Well for starters we love the beach, we love the pool and even better than that we love to relax. The heat in July & August will be in the 30’s and 40’s so we will be avoiding mass cooking just because we can’t cope with how much it heats up our house.
We have written all content now for July and we are nearly done with August. So for July & August we will be sticking to a limit of 30 hours a week and slowly working our way through the September posting schedule so that we are still keeping on top of things.
Our biggest project for July is Pinterest and we plan to get Tailwind moving and getting ourselves on as many relevant groups as we can and then re-posting all our old content to them. This is going to be a very big job and thankfully our son is on summer holidays from school for three months so three brains is better than two.
Thanks for reading our latest income report. I am really looking forward to next month and talking more about growth and seeing what you are all up to.