Hey, friends! Welcome to the May edition of the Food Blog Income Report. This is the one time a month where we do a quick detour away from recipes and I share with you some behind the scenes details of what goes into running a food blog.
First, I'll share the blog's income and expenses. I know we're always taught that it's bad manner to talk about how much money we earn, and normally that's true. I'm breaking with tradition here because this is an industry so few people understand. Before I started blogging I had NO IDEA how a blogger could earn money or what kind of expenses they would have.
If you've ever thought of starting your own blog, don't be put off by all of the expenses I've listed here. When I first started, my expenses were less than $10/ month. At that point, the only thing I was paying for was hosting, and I only needed a basic, inexpensive plan to get me started.
Are you a blogger? If you are, I've got one simple tip for increasing your RPM's. Since implementing this tip a few weeks ago, my RPM's have shot through the roof. Technically, I should be sharing it in next month's report as it's happening in June, but I'm too excited about the results to wait.
I've also created a workbook you can download. The link is below the tip near the bottom of the page.
Have you ever thought about starting your own blog? If you have, I teach a course called #OhMyBlog that guides you through the process starting a blog quickly and easily. Check it out and let me know if you have any questions about it!
A question for the bloggers: Are you using a recipe plugin that you love? I'm looking for a new one and would love your recommendations!
Let's start with the numbers …
Total Income: $4600.72
- SiteGround – $90 – My new and much loved hosting company
- MailChimp – $85 – 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
- OptinMonster – $16.58 *NEW*
- Support staff – $826.00
Total Expenses: $1,106.57
TOTAL PROFIT: $3,494.15
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:
$3,494.15 ÷ 277,625 x 1000 = $15.59
How to (Dramatically) Increase your RPM's
Please excuse the click-bait title. If I wasn't so excited about the early results of these tips, I'd tone it down a notch.
Here's the deal … normally, The Endless Meal's ad-related RPM's hover around $10. They could be $1 more or less, depending on the month. Overall, they're consistent. Since implementing these tips I'm about to share, they've jumped to $18. That's a HUGE increase!
See why I'm so excited?
You should know, these aren't tips that I've come up with all on my own. AdThrive, my truly awesome ad company I feel so fortunate to be a part of, shared some tips on how to increase ad-related RPM's by optimizing the top 10 blog posts. These are the tips that I implemented.
Note: I had said tip (singular) at the beginning of the post, and now I'm saying tips. The first tip is the one that has shot my RPM's through the roof. The rest of the tips I've listed here are best practices. If you're going through your top 10 posts, it's a good idea to review all of them and update them at the same time.
What's the #1 tip?
Increase engagement. ← That comes directly from the super smart people over at AdThrive.
Basically, keep your readers on your page longer and encourage them to actually READ your posts. The longer your readers spend on your page, the more ads they will see and the more money you will make. So how do you do that?
Here's what you're going to do:
Visit your Google Analytics dashboard and pull up the data for your top 10 blog posts. You'll find this info by following Google Analytics → Behavior → Site Content → All Pages. I changed the date range to include the top 10 posts over the past two months.
Once you have that information, begin optimizing each blog post.
- Increase the length of the post. This is the one I spent the most time on in every top 10 post.
- Aim for at least 750-1000 words per page.
- Add new and valuable information.
- Include new tips or feedback that your readers have shared with you.
- Make sure to break up long paragraphs into shorter, easier to read segments. This is better for SEO, too!
- Add a strong introduction and conclusion to your post.
- Include a call to action or ask your readers a question.
- Add a header that includes your focus keyword. This is 1-2 lines of text ABOVE the first image in your post. Including that keyword first is important to your SEO as Google doesn't see images as content.
- Add internal links. These internal links are important both for SEO and to help keep readers on your site.
- Link to similar blog posts and related content on your blog.
- Consider adding teaser images of related posts. I updated my top 10 to include links to similar recipes at the bottom of each page.
- Check existing links and make sure they open in a new tab.
- Include a Pinterest-friendly, vertical image. I'm currently testing a new Pinterest image as the first image in the blog post. You may want to add one at the end or hide it so it is only shown as an option when someone clicks their Pinterest button. See this post to find out how to hide an image in a blog post.
- If you have a food blog, consider adding nutritional information to your posts. I use Nutrifox to add a nutritional label to my recipes. It's the easiest option available!
- Edit and reupload and older images.
- A few of my top 10 posts had pretty bad images attached to them. Rather than retaking the photos (which is on the to-do list) simply editing the photos made a huge difference. Increasing the exposure, clarity, and contrast and decrease the highlights turned terrible photos into not-so-bad photos in only a few minutes.
- Add or edit your alt tags. Having keyword-rich alt tags is important for both Google SEO and Pinterest. The alt tag is what will become the Pinterest description. Pinterest is a search engine (like Google) and uses the description to figure out what your image is about.
- Bonus tip: copy and paste the short header paragraph you created for the top of your post into the alt tags. This will save you tons of time!
- Consider adding an email signup form to each page. There are many ways to do this. I use OptinMonster for most of my forms, but also have direct links to my signup form in MailChimp.
Here's the workbook:
To make the process of updating your top 10 posts easier, I've created a simple Excel spreadsheet for you to use. You can download it here. To use it, add the name of the blog post in the lefthand column and a Yes next to each task when you complete it.
It's the exact same workbook that I've been using. If you have any other updates you would like to do, add the task to the top row. I've added a column for video, as I'd like to see a video in each of my top 10 posts.
I would LOVE to hear how these tips work for you. Let me know in the comments below!