Hey, guys! This is the March 2017 blog income report. If it's your first time here, it's the once a month that I step out of the kitchen, away from my camera (errr … that plate of food calling my name), and share with you the behind-the-scenes financial details of what it takes to run a blog.
It may seem a little odd that I share what I earn. I get it, we usually keep those numbers private. The thing is, this isn't your average industry. There are so many misunderstandings and false preconceptions about blogging that I think it is important to be transparent.
While it is virtually free to start a blog, as a blog grows, so do the expenses. This month, TEM had almost $700 in expenses, and I haven't included out of pocket food related expenses for recipe testing and development. Luckily, as a blog grows, the income grows, too.
One of the big reasons I share what I'm making here is because I truly love blogging, and want to share that with you. There is always so much to learn and room to grow so that it never becomes dull and boring. It also lets me work from home, which is extra important now that I have a little girl.
Have you ever thought of starting your own blog?
Along with the income report, I also like to share some tips and tricks for food bloggers. This month, we're going to talk about the growing importance of mobile and some changes I made to the mobile version of TEM.
But first, let's get to the numbers …
Total Income: $4,005.93
- SiteGround – $100 – My new and much loved hosting company
- MailChimp – $75 – The company I use to send my newsletter updates.
- 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
- Support staff – $411.75
Total Expenses: $676.73
TOTAL PROFIT: $3329.20
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:
$3,329.20 ÷ 296,283 x 1000 = $11.23
Top 10 pages
Mobile is taking over the world
Over the past five years, mobile use has skyrocketed. Back in March 2012, only 12.14% of the people who visited the blog were on a mobile device. Back then, more than 80% of the times people saw The Endless Meal from the large screens of their desktops.
Since then, the percentage of people visiting TEM on mobile has jumped nearly 350 percent.
So what does this change mean if you have a blog?
You need to optimize for mobile!
If you're like me, you work from a desktop. Sound familiar? The problem with that is that we neglect to see our sites from the eyes of our readers. We don't see what they see. We don't experience the same possible issues that they are facing.
Often, from our wide-screen desktop end, everything looks great. Our sites are easy to navigate, our signup forms are unintrusive, and everything is in its place. All this can change when we grab our phones and head to our sites.
How to optimize for mobile
- Make sure you have a mobile theme.
- This should be an obvious one, but I'm throwing it out there just in case. Most themes now come with a mobile theme so you don't need to get a separate one. If you're not sure if you have one, have a look at your website from your phone. Is the layout different than what you see on your desktop? Great, you have a mobile theme.
- If you don't have a mobile theme, have a look at some of the premium themes at StudioPress, they are some of my personal favorite themes. This blog is built on the Foodie Pro theme.
- Have a prominent search bar.
- Most of us bloggers put our search bars in an easy to see spot in our sidebars. This is great! It lets our readers quickly and easily search our sites. The problem is that most mobile themes push sidebars down to the bottom of the page. Your search bar, along with everything else in your sidebar, disappears. Make sure your search bar is easy to find.
- If your mobile theme doesn't come with a search bar, you can have a developer add one for a small cost. I added a search bar under my header on mobile.
- I use Codeable whenever I need a developer to help me with something that is above my skill level. For design related issues (like adding a search bar) I reach out to Carina Gomez. If you need some help with your site, you can get a $10 off coupon here. ← That's a referral link. I only recommend them because I use them and have been very happy.
- Make sure your newsletter signup forms are optimized for mobile.
- If you have a sticky header form or a popup, it may look quite different on mobile. And remember, if you have a form in your sidebar, it will be pushed below your content on mobile. In other words, it will disappear. Make sure your mobile visitors have as good an experience as your desktop visitors.
- This month, I started using OptinMonster to capture email leads. Using them, it is really easy to create special mobile-only optin forms. Since I started using them in April, I'll talk more about my experience with them (as well as show them as an expense) in next month's blog income report.
When you look at your site mobile, do you see any issues you'd like to fix? When you look at THIS site on mobile, is there anything that makes your experience challenging? I'd love to hear your thoughts on mobile in the comments below!