A food blog income report for food bloggers and other internet entrepreneurs. It includes a comprehensive review of how Gluten Free with L.B. is making money blogging in May of 2016.
These blog income reports are written in an effort to offer encouragement (and a little guidance) to other bloggers and internet entrepreneurs out there. I will be sharing the things that have worked here on Gluten Free with L.B. as well as the pitfalls that have been encountered. After all, the best way to learn is from other people!
After over 2 years of blogging, I am nowhere close to being a blogging expert, but I do have some real (blog) life lessons to share. Whether you’re a fellow blogger or just curious about the ins and outs of making money on the internet, read on!
Don’t have a blog yet but would like to start one? Visit the How to Start a Blog page to create your own in under 20 minutes!
**Psshhh… wanted to make sure you knew! Many of the links below are affiliate links. If clicked on and an item is purchased then I will get a small percentage of the sale–for that, I am super thankful! 🙂
Traffic for May 2016
17,510 sessions (+11.42%)
*As you can see in the graph above there was a HUGE spike in traffic on May 28, 2016. I will talk about this spike below!
*Notice how Pinterest has jumped from the #7 source to the #4 traffic source in just one month. An increase of more than 4% of GFwLB traffic!
- Google Adsense $20.02
- Gourmet Ads $25.53
- BlogHer $24.23
- Sovrn $15.14
- Swoop $9.15
- Affiliates $0
- Sponsored Content $40.00
Total Income= $134.07
RPM = $3.10 (+49%)
*RPM stands for revenue/mille, or revenue/1,000 pageviews. This helps gauge if monetization strategies are improving (making more money/1,000 pageviews) or getting worse. Since traffic varies from month to month, it is good to have a consistent measurement to determine how well your site is generating income.
- Media Temple $36.50
- Get 20% off your first month with this link.
- Mailchimp $15.00
- Get $30 towards your paid subscription when you sign up with this link.
- Food Blogger Pro* $29.00
- TailWind Pinterest Scheduler* $12.00
- Vaultpress $5.00
Total Expenses= $97.50
*Will talk about more in depth below.
Total Net Profit = $36.57
A Quick Catch-Up
If you want to catch up and see what GFwLB has been doing for the rest of 2016, check out the income reports from the rest of 2016 here!
A Change in Reporting
Why the change in reporting on the photo collage? (i.e. reporting “Total Income” instead of “Net Profit.”) I recently made a conscious decision to not focus so much on the “net profit” because, quite honestly, it won’t be very much money, if any at all, for the next few months… and I’m OK with that.
Instead, I want to focus on investing the small profits that I do have into growing GFwLB into what I know it can be. This will include experimenting with different blog applications, web designs, food blogger resources, advertising streams, etc.–all in an effort to see what works and what doesn’t without paying so much attention to the bottom line. And of course, I will be filling you in on all of the nitty gritty along the way.
Changes Made in May 2016
Finding an Awesome Virtual Mentor…
This past month has been FULL of valuable learning tools. A little over a year ago I joined a website called Food Blogger Pro. At the time I did not fully utilize the tools and videos they offered and decided to save my $25-29/month and pause my subscription. This last month I have been feeling the need to take GFwLB to the next level and really train myself in all aspects of blogging. Starting back up my subscription was the best decision I made this year! Take a look at all this site has to offer:
- HUNDREDS of video tutorials.
- There are videos on everything from food photography and social media strategies to how to create and sell an e-book. Any and everything you ever wanted to know during your first few years of blogging is presented to you in easy-to-follow video tutorials.
- Connecting with other bloggers just like you.
- Where else can you go that you will find hundreds of other people who are as into growing a food blog as you are?! There is an amazing community forum where people are constantly posting questions and answering them throughout the day.
- Staying on top of the newest info in the blogging world.
- No longer do you have to leave it to yourself to stay on top of the latest and greatest. FBP does a wonderful job of not only posting content about what is going on in the blogosphere, but also making videos to demonstrate how you can implement these changes on your site.
- BuzzFeed and RoundUp Requests.
- Probably one of my favorite aspects of FBP. In the community forums there is one titled “Community Connect and Roundups.” In this forum people will post topics in which they need content for, i.e.- Healthy Recipes for the 4th of July, and members can respond with as many recipes as the have that fit this topic. The author will then pick recipes which they think will fit their post best and either publish it on their own blog or even submit it to BuzzFeed. I have only applied to a handful of these, but I have already been fortunate enough to be featured in multiple roundups. For example, check out this 9 Healthy Taco Recipes post by Jar of Lemons 🙂
Food Blogger Pro was a spin-off from the food blog and website Pinch of Yum. Lindsay and Bjork are the husband-wife team behind both the blog and the membership site. I started following them during the infancy stage of GFwLB and have always aspired to have just a fraction of their success. They openly share what they are learning during their journey through blog posts, podcasts and monthly income reports. They have a TON of knowledge to pass on to fellow food bloggers.
Food Blogger Pro has literally changed the way I think about and do this whole “blog thing”. I couldn’t be happier with it!! This is why I wanted to make sure you knew it was out there. If you have any questions feel free to leave a message in the comments below or send a personal note through the contact form. If you don’t feel like signing up right away, no worries! Bjork does an amazing podcast and has 50+ episodes jam-packed with food blogging information that is absolutely FREE. Simply search for “Food Blogger Pro” in your podcast app, listen up and enjoy the fountain of information that is Bjork Ostrom.
Why the sudden spike in traffic?!…
Around mid-May I started to notice a bit of traffic coming my way from StumbleUpon–I had no idea what this referral site was?! (Later I realized I must have lived in a social media closet throughout college since it was apparently quite the rage 6-8 years ago.) I set out to figure out what I could about this “new” social media site. Once I discovered how to “stumble” different sites, “like” them and then categorize them accordingly, I waited in anticipation to see what would happen… Nothing. For a few days, I received maybe 4-5 referrals to the site.
And then, magically, one of the 4 recipes I “stumbled” started to get TONS of traffic! “WoooHooo!!!” I thought. Where has this unicorn of a social media sharing site been these past 2 years? (Right here in front of my face, apparently.) As I watched the numbers climb on my real-time traffic reporting in Google Analytics I felt a little wave of nausea. Am I cheating the system?! Does it count if I was the initial person to discover my content and submit it to StumbleUpon?!
“…I felt a little wave of nausea.”
Within the next 2 days, the traffic from SU began to quickly subside. It was then that I decided to do a little investigating. Were the people who “stumbled” my page actually sticking around? I looked into Google Analytics to see what their behavior was when interacting with my site. Complete shock and horror overcame me. They were only there for 1-2 seconds?!
The way in which SU works is that hundreds, even thousands, of people are shown webpages while going through a StumbleUpon journey. If they don’t interact with your page they simply click the “Stumble” button and are navigated to the next page. What may initially seem like a sudden increase in people wanting to see your page is in fact just a sudden increase of people being forced to see your page. The two are very different.
“What may initially seem like a sudden increase in people
wanting to see your page is in fact just a sudden increase of people
being forced to see your web page.”
Bottom Line: While only 1 of about 5 recipes I submitted to SU actually received this huge amount of attention, I am hesitant to submit any more. With very short site session duration from SU referral traffic you risk endangering your SEO rankings. Google is starting to give more credit to sites that are engaging readers. If a reader only stays on your page for 2 seconds they obviously didn’t engage much at all. So for now, I will be investing my time in other social media endeavors. Such as…
Using TailWind to Increase Pinterest Traffic…
Let’s be honest. No one has time to sit on their computer and pin randomly throughout the day. Even if you do, that’s most likely not what you want to be doing with your time. After trying out a couple of different pin schedulers I finally bit the bullet and decided to go with Tailwind Pro ($12-15/month.)
There were multiple reasons I chose Tailwind instead of the other I was currently using (Ahalogy.)
- Set intervals for how far apart certain pins are scheduled.
- Ex: I schedule a picture from the post Copycat Mongolian Beef. I am then prompted to choose which boards and to set an interval, if I wish. My pins can be scheduled anywhere from a minimum of 1 hour apart up to 90 days apart. Talk about scheduling into the future!!
- Tailwind has some pretty awesome insights.
- In the dashboard you are able to see how many repins and followers you gained in the last week as well as how those compare to your average. A number-geek’s dream!
- Super easy integration with your browser.
- Not only is there a browser extension that is simple to use, but a little button also comes up on any picture that you hovered over. This is incredibly useful when looking through your previously pinned pins and selecting which ones you would like to pin again. Simply hover, click, and schedule!
- If you don’t like where it’s scheduled, you can drag and drop to a more desirable place.
- In the image below you can see the schedule dashboard. On the far right you will see my pins that are pending being posted. If you don’t like that a pin is going out at 3:32 PM you can drag and drop it to the 8:17 PM time slot and Voila!
If you want to find out more information about TailWind be sure to check them out by clicking this link here. For your first 100 pins it is absolutely free! This will give you a chance to see if you like the application before you ever pay a penny.
Organize your Food Blog Life with Asana…
I. AM. IN. LOVE. With a calendar. Is that crazy?! Perhaps. But I am telling ya’ll–it’s awesome!! For the past few months I have been encouraging you to make an editorial calendar. I even posted a very cluttered, but a very real, snapshot of what my calendar looked like from March 2016. Sometimes clutter is OK, but other times it gets to be too much.<– That is how I was feeling. While exploring the wonderful site that is Food Blogger Pro, I came across a video tutorial about how to use Asana. What in the world is Asana?! It is an incredible calendar that will help you keep your blog life on track.
“I. AM. IN. LOVE. With a calendar.”
Within Asana you have multiple ways in which you can organize your tasks. You initially start by creating projects, i.e.- blog posts, social media, website admin, etc. Within each of these projects you are then able to create different tasks and even subtasks. You assign them a due date and they are instantly inserted into your calendar. But wait! What if I change my mind and want to post those “Chipotle” Chicken Fajita Bowls on Monday instead of Tuesday?! Simply go into the calendar view and drag and drop. My editorial calendar just got a bit tidier. 🙂
If you’re interested in learning how to use Asana, Food Blogger Pro has a fabulous video tutorial series that teaches you all of the ins-and-outs.
When to Post on Facebook…
There is honestly no rhyme or reason to why I believe these times and days of the week work best, but this is what I have had success with on my own Facebook page.
- Sundays and Mondays are pretty popular days for recipes since most people are preparing their lists for what they will make during the week.
- Around 11:00 AM and 5:30 PM tend to work pretty well on most weekdays since people are hungry for lunch and perusing food pics on Facebook or relaxing as soon as they get home from work.
What times have you seen work best for you?
A Look Into the Future
What’s going on for the month of June?
It’s OK to not just post recipes!…
- Why a variety of post types can actually increase your traffic.
There is always something new to learn…
- Resources to help you grow as a blogger.
How GFwLB tripled it’s income in one month…
- Taking a look at different avenues for obtaining income on a blog.
YAY!! You made it to the end! Once again, I give you a virtual smiley face sticker for sticking around. 🙂 If there was something I touched on in the post but you would like more information about, please comment below and I will give more details in the next post or send you a personal e-mail response.
Until next month’s report,