Welcome to our 9th food blogging and income report for July 2016.
July was the month that I was always going to get excited over doing an income report for. That is because it is summer and it is the time of year that everyone in a lot of niches complain that their traffic takes a hit.
I still have admin access to my old diet site for example and have noticed that the site traffic has halved now that people don’t care about their waistline and are out enjoying themselves.
The same can often apply to the recipe niche. Unless you are in the grill, barbeque or camp food niche you are bound to suffer at some point. Or you might be hard at work on your traffic and it is not increasing as much as you would like it to.
For us we took our first bumpy ride with our traffic in June and saw our traffic dip from 36,000 page views one month to about 31,000 the month after. Apart from June we had always climbed every month so this worked as a good reality check.
But this is something you have to expect with a food blog and you can read the income report below to see how things went in July and also for us to talk through our latest plans for the blog and our impending arrival.
Our Food Blogging Income During July 2016
- Social Media Advertising = $550
- Food Blogging Consulting = $539
- Sponsored Reviews = $345
- Free Physical Products = $327.39
- All In One Social Media = $325
- MediaVine = $79.96
- Kindle = $61.62
- Draft2Digital = $39.16
- Google Adsense = $19.72
- Amazon Associates = $14.52
- Amazon CPM Ads = $8.16
- Fiverr = $4.00
- Google Play = $3.10
Total Revenue = $2316.63
Our Food Blog Expenses During July 2016:
- Virtual Assistants Team = $262.45
- Shutterstock = $135.00
- Knownhost = $55.45
- Hubstaff = $35.42
- Freelance Writers = $27.27
- Statusbrew = $25.00
- Social Warfare = $21.30
- Bluburry = $12.00
- Max CDN = $9.00
- Blog Vault = $9.00
- DMCA = $5.99
- IZEA = $5.00
- Nekkra UG = $5.00
Total Expenses = $607.88
This leads to a total income from Recipe This For July 2016 of $1708.75
We still feel at the moment like we are going through a lot of changes. It is because the blog is now 9 months old and we are moving from building up our site to monetising it in the long term.
It is like the first year is all about putting the roots down for a successful long term food blog and then as our traffic grows we can work more on the monetisation and the traffic in the long term.
Here are a few things we are doing this summer:
We are moving RecipeThis.com onto a https secure domain instead of a http – this has already happened we are just keeping an eye on things for errors and issues.
We are now on the next package up on our hosting. This is because we are on a VPS and with over 200 posts on the site we are taking up a lot of room. The traffic hasn’t grown that much in one month, but because we have upgraded we have found that our site now loads quicker.
Read How @recipe_this made over $2k Last Month From Food BloggingClick To Tweet
We are also expecting to do a change of theme very soon. We put our current one on because it was quick and easy. But now we are growing and are thinking about the future we need something better. So we will be saying “bye bye” to StudioPress sooner rather than later. We will also be sharing videos of our move to show you how easy it is to move onto a more advanced theme, so watch this space!
We are expecting…..that is a baby if you have not guessed!!! A baby boy will be joining us next month so we are a mad quest to get ahead on our blogging content calendar so that when he does arrive we will still be able to run our blog as usual!
Oh and with all this going on we are still managing plenty of trips to our favourite beach:
If things are not working ditch them:
We have officially left Aweber after more than a decade with them. We have used them since we started building a mailing list for our first ever blog back in 2005. There were several reasons for this and for us to move onto MailChimp and they included the following:
They no longer pay a fair rate to affiliates – we received an affiliate cheque from them for $52.20. They only offer payment by cheque to us and didn’t actually bother telling us that they will no longer pay the US cheque fees at their end and leave us to pick up the tab. This means that we got 25,28 in Euros ($28.39) and based on exchange rates it should have been about 46€ so this is quite a difference for what we should of got. A bit like saying that there is a 46% surcharge on getting a cheque from them and this is frankly not worth the effort.
They no longer offer value for money – When I look at putting webforms on my blog I find that Aweber’s are not mobile responsive and never seem to work right. They also charge me $29 a month for what MailChimp gives me for free.
More about our new income streams
We have also been working on our income this month and now have a range of pages set up for taking advertising payments. Plus we also have a Media Kit! Exciting stuff and its nice to be earning money from the sponsored side of things.
We are also fully set up with some new gigs on Fiverr for selling our social media advertising.
Though with most of this we have only just got going on it so it is still early days and it feels weird talking about it, when we feel like we have not really got very far with it!
We just need to get a few more graphics sorted out and then we can promote it and really get the sales moving.
We have also left MediaVine now and we are comparing how things are working without it and how going it alone is going to work out. We will of course be back in about 90 days with our results so that you can see for yourself whether MediaVine is for you or not.
Recipe This Blog Traffic July 2016
Okay so last month we had our slump when we had our very first month when our traffic went down instead of up. We put it down to the summer slow down and thankfully we are back with a bang this month!
Here is our traffic for July 2016:
As you can see we have increased on the slump last month and we are up 3000 page views on our best month. A lot of our new traffic sources have had a big improvement in the first few days of August therefore we expect next month to be back to traffic increasing again which is great for us!
Here are our top 10 traffic sources for RecipeThis.com during July:
One thing we find really interesting is that as your site grows (even in the early days) you can see that your top traffic sources stay the same. They have a month when they shuffle around and one out does the other, but generally speaking those places will be there for life.
I imagine that 2 years down the line my top 3 traffic sources will still be Google SEO, direct traffic and of course Pinterest.
There is this expectation with having a blog that every now and again you will have a big traffic hit. You will wake up to find out that you suddenly have 1000 page views from Stumbleupon, Facebook, Yummly or even Tumblr. I have had this happen to me in the last 9 months for each of those sites and it is very nice to see. But then the next day it is back to normal again and you’re previous traffic comes back.
I haven’t had one of these for a couple of months and instead I am finding that my hard work is paying off instead and I am constantly growing which is so much more special to see. So I will keep on working at it and will celebrate every jump in traffic no matter how big or small it is.
I would love to work more on guest posts but at the moment it is time thing, even though each time I have done one, I have always had excellent long term traffic. I find that quite often when it comes to an online business (no matter what niche it is) that it is all about time and money as to what you can achieve.
But having said that, for a food blog that has just reached its 9 month anniversary this week I shouldn’t complain too much!
Tips for avoiding a seasonal slump
Okay so seasonal slump can happen to any of us. To avoid it though means to constantly be working on your site so that you are one step ahead of everyone else. As a food blogger you just know that for certain times of the year it will not take much to keep going, yet at the other times you have to really work at it.
My number #1 tip for avoiding the traffic slump is to stay seasonal at the same time as being true to what your site is all about. If you have a Paleo food site then how are you going to make July interesting? How are you going to keep up with what people are looking for?
For example our summer when it is known to be quieter has been all about ice cream for June, copycat summer recipes for July, in August it is all about summer food such as burgers and salads where as September will be about man food giving us a chance to explore seasonal changes and still be half summer and half autumn. Then as we enter the winter months we will have a lot of one pot cooking, Thanksgiving and Christmas themes and then in January we will return to a diet theme with it being the biggest diet month of the year.
But I have seen the people that are complaining about having a big traffic slump are the ones that have soup and thanksgiving recipes on their blog in July. As long as you keep up with the demand of what people want right now, then you will ride out the storm!
My number #2 tip for avoiding the traffic slump is to work through seasonal holidays so that your recipes are planned around specific dates. This is the holiday calendar we use and it’s a great way to get in on the moment.
What caused our traffic slump?
I would call it our transition period. We were on holiday for 2 weeks of June so we couldn’t work on our site as much as we had wanted. It was also our first summer so we were waiting for the first of our summer recipes to be ranked by Google. But to say we came back the next month and that it was our only month we had ever gone down in traffic, then we couldn’t complain too much!
Next on the agenda is to work further on our social media and SEO. We have a change of theme planned for the site that is going to keep us busy. We are also looking through and analysing our traffic to see how we can improve what we already have. We already know Facebook, Tumblr & Pinterest work as traffic sources but we want to improve on them.
We are also in the process of hiring some interns to help us grow our blog. They will be focusing on social media, advertising sales, PR and our Podcasts.
So exciting stuff ahead! We would also love to know what your plans are and what you plan next on your food blog. Over to you……….