Hey, friends! I've set down my camera (and, err, my fork) to share with you July's blog income report.
This is the once a month series here on TEM when I share with you some of the behind the scenes details of what goes into running a blog. You'll get a look at how a blog makes money and what expenses a blog has. I know it seems a little strange to get so up close and personal with finances. These are things we normally politely keep to ourselves, after all. But there are a few reasons why I choose to share these with you.
1. To bring transparency to a field that is not well understood by most people. Here's the truth: before I started blogging, I had no idea how you could make money from a blog. I might have guessed by selling ads, but I didn't understand how that worked. I would never have guessed that bloggers also make money by working with brands. This is the sponsored post line in the income section. When I work with brands (like I did with Tre Stelle to create the Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Feta Dressing recipe) the brand pays for that exposure. I love collaborating with brands as it allows me to share some of my favorite foods with you – and earn cash from it. I see it as a win win.)
2. To keep me on track. Yep, you read that right. These reports are partly selfish. The parts I love most about blogging are creating the recipes, taking the pictures, and connecting with readers (that's you!) online. Crunching numbers and analyzing data isn't my favorite part but, since this blog is my business, it's an important part. These income reports force me to sit down each month and analyze what's working, and what's not.
3. To (hopefully) convince you to take the leap and start your own blog. I love having a blog. While it is a lot of work, it also gives me a ton of freedom in my life. I get to be my own boss, spend time with my daughter, choose my own schedule, and holiday when I want. I get to be creative every day. I'm constantly being challenged to learn new things. Last year, I created a course to help new or want to be bloggers with the process of starting and growing their blog. It's my way of sharing the love of blogging with you.
As well as the income report, I also share some blogging tips.
This month, I decided to switch email newsletter providers. If you've signed up for my newsletter (which you can do here. just sayin') you may have noticed a few changes this past month. Below the income report, I'll tell you all about why I made the switch from MailChimp to MadMini and how my experience has been with them so far.
Let's start with the numbers …
Total Income: $5,933.16
- SiteGround – $90 – My new and much loved hosting company
- MadMini– $59 – *NEW*
- Tailwind – $10 – Pinterest scheduler – LOVE them!
- Vaultpress – $5 – Backs up all TEMs files.
- Teachable – $29
- Adobe Premiere Pro – $19.99 – What I use for video editing.
- CrashPlan – $5.99
- CloudFlare – $20
- OptinMonster – $16.58 – what I use for my newsletter signup forms
- Support staff – $406.53
Total Expenses: $662.09
TOTAL PROFIT: $5,271.07
Note: The income reported here is in USD. Although I am Canadian the majority of the income I earn through TEM, and my expenses, are in American dollars.
RPM is a handy formula to calculate how much money your blog is earning. The acronym stands for Revenue Per Mille, or revenue per thousand pageviews.
Total Profit ÷ Total Pageviews x 1000 = RPM
Using this formula we can calculate The Endless Meal’s RPMs:
$5,271.07 ÷ 259,620 x 1000 = $20.30
Why I switched to MadMini
I had been using MailChimp as the blog's email newsletter provider for as long as I've had this blog. Or at least since I started sending out notifications when I post new recipes. MailChimp was great to start with. It's free until you have more than 2,000 subscribers (which is a huge number for a new blog) and it's easy to set up and start using.
I started using MadMini for two reasons …
1. Money. As your subscriber list grows, it gets expensive. Based on the amount of traffic I was getting from the newsletters, I was only barely breaking even. At the time I made the switch, I was paying $95/ month to MailChimp, and making around $105 per month from the traffic it sent. Based on the current number of subscribers on my list today, I would be paying $125/ month.
With MadMini, I'm paying only $59/ month, and have room to add over 3,000 more subscribers before I bump up to the next tier. It just makes sense.
2. Customer service. MailChimp's customer service is barely ok. It's not great and it's not terrible, but it is far below what I consider acceptable. Emails take a long time to be answered and were often not answered accurately. What sealed the deal was being told it was not possible to create groups based on the types of recipes a reader is interested in receiving. (Note: it is possible by using groups.)
When I reached out to MadMini with some pre-sales questions, I literally received an email back within two minutes. I was blown away.
I had the same experience while transferring the lists and setting up new email templates. Each email I sent was answered promptly and in detail.
Why MadMini was a smart move
When I moved to MadMini I created a system to allow subscribers to choose the types I recipes they want to see. Many of the people who read TEM follow diets that restrict what they eat. I know that someone who follows a vegan diet wouldn't want a recipe for a juicy steak showing up in their inbox. And I would guess that someone who eats paleo wouldn't be interested in a quinoa salad recipe.
Now, when someone subscribes to my list, they can choose to receive all the recipes, or they can choose which recipes they want based on their diet. They can also change their preferences at any point. I've accomplished this by creating lists for different diets. Unlike MailChimp, MadMini only charges once for each email address no matter how many lists that address is on.
Here are the stats …
Since switching to MadMini and giving subscribers the ability to choose the types of recipes they want sent to them, the open and click rates have gone up and the unsubscribe rate has gone down.
- The open rate has increased by 25% – this is called ‘Views' in MadMini.
- The click rate has increased by 80% – this is called ‘Engaged' in MadMini.
- The unsubscribe rate has decreased by 78%.
While I was expecting the results to be positive, I was blown away by how much better the newsletters perform when subscribers are given the option to choose lists.
Takeaway: give your readers the ability to get the recipes they want.
Have you tried segmenting your lists? Do you think it would work well for your blog, too?