Hey there! This is Kristen, the gal who's usually sharing her recipes with you. Today I'm stepping away from cooking to share a little behind the scenes look at what's going on here on TEM.
When I started these income reports back in March 2012, The Endless Meal earned $12.37. What a change! Over the past (almost) three years, TEMs income has slowly and steadily been increasing. Food blogging, or any kind of blogging, is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes time, hard work and dedication. It also takes love … love of food, learning, connecting, people and more learning.
More on that further on …
December is always a bit of a funny month. In some ways, we ramp into high gear with Christmas shopping, parties, cooking and holiday cheer. On the other hand, we're slowing down, enjoying the moments and wrapping up work before the holidays.
Blogging during December always seems to reflect the same duality. There's the extra cooking, writing and general busyness that comes along with getting ready to take a few weeks off work. There's also a lot of time spent doing quieter work like reviewing, analyzing and goal setting.
One of the biggest goals I have for TEM in 2016 is to diversify income streams. Right now, the vast majority of the income earned comes from the sale of ad space. I'd like to change that. One of the exciting things that I've been working on is developing an online course designed to help people start their own food blog. It's called 5 Days To Your Own Food Blog, and for a limited time I'm offering it for free. If you're interested, you can sign up here.
Let's get to the numbers …
- Gourmet Ads – $331.81
- Conversant – $293.59
- Sovrn – $52.43
- Switch Ads – $195.98
- Say Media – $257.32
- Sulvo – $56.30
- Other – $31.68
- Sponsored Posts/ Photography/ Recipe Licensing – $485
- Affiliate Sales- $20.10
Total Income: $1,753.21
- Media Temple – $45.83 – My web hosting company – they are AWESOME!
- MailChimp – $50 – The company I use to send my newsletter updates
- OptinMonster $21 – Popup plugin and sign up forms
- Tailwind – $10 – Pinterest scheduler – LOVE them!
- Vaultpress – $5 – Backs up all TEMs files
- Support staff – $303
- Facebook Ads – $65.23
Total Expenses: $500.06
TOTAL PROFIT: $1253.15
Note: The income reported here is in USD. Although I am Canadian the majority of the income I earn through TEM is 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:
$1253.15 ÷ 212,159 x 1000 = $5.90
Top 10 Traffic Sources
If you look at the top 10 traffic sources above, you'll see that four of the top 5 traffic sources are direct or organic. This is awesome.
Organic refers to traffic from search engines. You'll see that Google, Bing and Yahoo are all on this list. What Google Analytics means by (direct) / (none) is either that a visitor came directly to your site, or Google has no idea where they came from. Most likely it means that they've typed your URL into their address bar or bookmarked your page. Occasionally it can mean that they came from a shortened URL, clicked on a link from a PDF, or a few other scenarios.
Having 66.52% of traffic come from either organic or direct sources means that TEM is less reliant on the up and down swings of referral traffic.
Imagine if 2/3 of your traffic came from Pinterest, and then Pinterest blocked your site.
So how do you increase your organic search traffic?
Increasing your organic search traffic is all about SEO. Here are a few tips that have worked for me:
- I HIGHLY recommend you install the Yoast SEO plugin. It's what I use and have had excellent results with it.
- Use Google Keyword Planner ever time you create a post. Use it to choose the best possible post title for your recipe.
- Get friendly with your chosen keyword. Use it in the title, your URL, the first paragraph, put it in your recipe summary, meta data and as often as you can throughout the post (without sounding too weird, obviously.)
- Use Google Trends when you're planning your editorial calendar.
What's not working
Nearly 75% of all the income earned on TEM comes from advertisements. There are several problems with this.
- Ad prices fluctuate, and publishers (that's me, and you if you publish ads on your blog) have very little control over this. It means that month to month our earnings will change, and there's nothing that can be done about it.
- Advertising is constantly, and rapidly, changing. It can be challenging for a publisher to stay on top and effectively use this medium for income.
- It is extremely time-consuming to constantly monitor and adjust ads. For a food blogger, this means that in order to maximize your potential earnings from ads you'll have to divert your attention from elsewhere. If creating recipes, taking photographs and connecting with readers are your strong points (and I'm guessing they are) then spending all your time monitoring ads is likely not the best use of your strengths.
- Ads can be annoying to visitors and slow down your site. Lots of ads can potentially frustrate your readers and send them looking for new blogs to follow.
Luckily selling ad space is not the only way to earn an income on a food blog. Here are a few other possible ways to make money with your blog:
- Online products (eBooks, printables, guides)
- Affiliate sales
- Sponsored content
- Brand ambassadorship
- Photography / Recipe licencing
- Membership site/paid for content
- Coaching/ consulting/ speaking
- Physical products (books/branded clothing/ branded food)
- Software development (an app for your site)
At the beginning of this post I talked about goal setting and that my goal for 2016 is to diversify The Endless Meal's income streams. I've decided to focus on the first three possible ways to make money on your food blog: online products, affiliate sales and courses.
One of the ways I hope to accomplish this goal is by sharing my passion for blogging. To do that I've created the online course 5 Days To Your Own Food Blog. It's a step-by-step guide to that leads you through all the details of starting a food blog. It's delivered over a 5 day period by daily emails and is also accessible via a special, member's only section I've created here on TEM.
Right now I'm offering the course for free. Any profits I earn from this course will be from affiliate sales from a few of the links. As with any affiliate sales on your blog, it is very important that you truly support the businesses you're recommending. Your reputation relies on it.
Thank you for reading this food blog income report. If you have any questions about any of the content make sure you reach out in the comments section below!