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Blog Income and Traffic Report November 2015

blog income and traffic report nov 2015Time for the blog income and traffic report November 2015.

Sounds like that’s a thing already doesn’t it. However this is only my second income report (check out my first one here).

I’ve been blogging for 23 months now. That’s 23 months since I wrote my first ever blog post. At that point I had no idea what was involved or what I’d be getting myself into. We’re talking:

  • A kitchen that always seems to be piled high with dirty dishes on every surface
  • A utility room packed to the ceiling with props (or tat as Chris calls it!)
  • A refrigerator that generally always has at least two types of dessert and lots of little pots of leftovers (very bad for my willpower)
  • Making Chris and the kids (with bottom lips stuck out) wait for their dinner until I’ve photographed it
  • Editing photos till 1am because ‘I just need to finish this little bit’
  • Long To-Do lists – where I never seem to be able to tick off more than the first 3 items

BUT…

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my job, and I’d still be creating and photographing recipes even if I won the lottery. Being able to earn an income by doing something I love makes me feel very privileged indeed. Thank you for coming to visit my blog and helping me with that!!

This post is aimed at any of you lovely bloggers out there who are just starting out – or even if you’ve been at it for a while. My hope is that taking a peek at some of my inside info might help you in some way (and be sure to check out my How to Start a Food Blog post if you are new to all of this).

Income Breakdown

I managed to make it over the £1000 mark again yay!

October and November have been very busy for me, and my schedule for December is already crammed full, so I was reasonably confidant of hitting the £1k figure again. I’m fully expecting it to drop quite substantially come January, but that’s ok and I’ll tell you why later on in this post.

Note – there are some links in this post that are affiliate links – which means that if you click on them and then sign up to the service/product I’ll get a small commission (at no extra cost to you of course). If you do click through then thanks!

Income:

  1. Blogher: £80.73 ($122.02)
  2. Google Adsense: £81.14 ($122.64)
  3. Gourmet Ads: £98.79 ($149.32)
  4. How I earned $40k in my first year of blogging affiliate sales £19.86 ($30.02)
  5. FoodBloggerPro affiliate sales £3.85 ($5.82)
  6. Sponsored Brand work £390 ($589.48)
  7. Freelance writing: £734.45 ($1110.10)

Total = £1408.82 ($2129.40)

Expenses:

    1. FoodBloggerPro (see more info below): £13.65 ($20.63)
    2. Hosting and backups: £11.70 ($17.68)
    3. Tailwind (see more info below) £6.02 ($9.10)
    4. Facebook Ads £5.96 ($9.01)
    5. MailChimp £13.71 ($20.72)
    6. Traffic

      I just about managed to scrape 100k page views again. I didn’t think it was going to happen, but Buzzfeed came to my rescue, along with Fitnesss magazine – who re-posted one of their roundups from a year ago on Hot Smoothies (my specialty!).
      I mentioned last month that I was going to get Chris to take me out for a meal to celebrate, but instead he surprised me with a new DSLR camera!! I’m still in shock! This is the one he bought me (don’t tell me the price, I definitely didn’t look – that would be rude).

      Here’s a screenshot from Google Analytics for November:

      Kitchen Sanctuary traffic November 2015

      And here’s a breakdown of the traffic sources based on the number of sessions:

      Kitchen Sanctuary traffic referrals Nov 2015

      Quite a reduction in the number of views from Yummly this month (it was more like 11.5k last month). I haven’t be using Yummly as much in the last month due to time constraints, which may be one of the factors. Also I had one or two of my recipes appearing on the first page of one of the yummly categories last month, but they seemed to have moved further down – which I suspect is the main reason for the drop in traffic from there.

      Here’s the info on the location of my readers:

      Kitchen Sanctuary - geography Nov 15

      Take Aways

      What happens when the busy spell is over?

      November has been a really busy month again – and I’ve spent the majority of my time creating recipes for Kitchen Sanctuary or other websites/brands. I knew it was going to be a stretch when I agreed to take on additional work, but sometimes you’ve got to just get on with it – even if it does mean working daytime/evenings/weekends for a while. If I want to turn this into a long-term career I’ve got to know that I can earn money. However, that doesn’t mean selling my soul. One of my core principals is that I’ll only create sponsored content for brands that I know and like, and I’ll only write freelance for people and publications that I like. If it doesn’t fit with my family and Kitchen Sanctuary then I’ll (politely) refuse.

      The extra work I’ve got on until Christmas does mean other Kitchen Sanctuary work has fallen down the priority list.  Once we get into January, I’m expecting things to quieten down a little. This will no doubt mean a fairly large drop in income, but I intend to use the extra time I’ll have to work on other Kitchen Sanctuary specific areas – which will hopefully have a direct or indirect impact on longer term income.

      For example:

      • I’ve got a hard deadline to get the new version of my popular recipes ebook out in January. I’m hoping this will help me to increase my mailing list subscribers.
      • I’ll be reviewing my advertising strategy – which includes ad companies and ad placements on the blog.
      • More work on real-time and scheduled social media. I currently use Tailwind to help me to schedule Pinterest pins, and I use HootSuite for Twitter scheduling. I’m pretty good with scheduling pins on Pinterest, but I struggle with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter updates. If I’m mad busy, I sometimes end up forgetting to post anything for days, and then I’ll do 5+ in a day to try to catchup! That’s a cycle I intend to break!
      • Training – Books, videos and e-courses. I get a lot of on-the-job practice, but I would like to spend some more time doing some intentional training on photography, videos, ebook creation, monetization strategies etc. Right now, I’m pretty much limited to listening to podcasts whilst I’m doing something else (usually photography or the dreaded washing up).

      Hosting

      One big thing I did get the chance to work on during November (actually it was mostly Chris, but I helped a bit) was to move hosting providers. I was previously with Hostgator, and whilst I found them ok, I was getting frustrated trying to get to the bottom of a few issues I had with the blog and my Kitchen Sanctuary email account. So in November I moved over to SiteGround and honestly I couldn’t be happier. My site is so much faster to load and the customer service is the best I’ve ever come across anywhere!

      There’s a really useful chat function, and one of the support staff stayed on the chat whilst I was completing the information for the move just in case I needed him.

      The entire move was issue-free with no downtime.

      I had a question about my email account the day after the move was completed, and I expected the service to be slower once they’d got my custom, but it was just as brilliant.

      I’m currently on the GoGeek price plan at £9.75 ($14.75) per month – which, although it says is suitable for ~100k visits a month, I’ve been told can actually take more than that. So I don’t think I’ll need to upgrade any time soon.

      They use a caching system called Cloudflare CDN which caches your site all over the world – making it faster for your viewers – wherever they are. I’ve noticed that my site is loading substantially faster now.

      Well. I’ve come to the end of my cup of tea and my Dairy Milk, so I’m going to sign off now.
      I hope you’ve found this useful, and I’ll be back with another income report in 2016 (OMG! Need to get my Christmas tree up!!)

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