Eeek! My first ever income and traffic report. I’m so nervous right now.
If you’ve been here recently, you might have heard me whinging about the hand – that I’ve recently had a little op on.
It’s getting better, but I’ve still got over a week until the stitches come out.
Due to the limited movement (and the fact that I’m the type of clumsy person who would accidentally pull her stitches out), I’ve spent less time than usual in the kitchen over the past week.
I didn’t want to miss out on posting though, so I thought I’d change things up a bit, and share some blogging info.
So if you’re here for a recipe, I’m really sorry, and I’ll try to get something tasty up on Wednesday.
I’ve written this post for all of you lovely bloggers out there, in the hope 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’re new to all of this).
The idea for this post came from something that Lindsay and Bjork at Pinch of Yum do every month. They’ve been posting monthly income reports for about 4 years now, and I devour them every single month.
Bjork does such a fantastic job of putting them together and he’s so open with the info he provides that I wanted to share something back.
Now, I’m nowhere near the level of Pinch of Yum. But maybe one day……..
So let’s get straight to it.
I’ve been earning a little money on my blog since September last year (I earned £25.14 that month). Kitchen Sanctuary has been growing, and I’ve also been testing different income streams ever since then. I finally hit the £1000 mark this month for the first time. Yay!!!
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!
- Blogher: £79.49 ($122.98)
- Google Adsense: £84.58 ($130.84)
- Gourmet Ads: £89.91 ($139.09)
- Freelance writing: £822.12 ($1271.55)
Total = £1076.10 ($1664.46)
- FoodBloggerPro (see more info below): £13.65 ($20.83)
- Hosting and backups: £11.39 ($17.43)
- Tailwind (see more info below) £6.02 ($9.30)
- Facebook Ads £11.35 ($17.55)
- Paypal fees £24.26 ($37.52)
Total = £66.36 ($102.63)
Net Profit = £1009.74 ($1561.83)
Further info on Income:
- Blogher: I currently have one small Blogher ad running on the left hand side of my site, near the top. I used to have more, but I found my earnings were fluctuating too much for my liking, so I scaled back to leave me more room to place ads that provide a more consistent income.
- Google Adsense: I have one ad at the bottom of the left hand bar on my site, and another ad in the footer.
I like Google Adsense as I think they pay pretty well (considering they’re not in the best placement). They also don’t have a minimum requirement for the number of visitors you get on you site before allowing you to join. I didn’t like some of the ads that appeared on my site at first, but you can go into Google Adsense and apply filters that dictate the type of ads shown.
- Gourmet Ads: I have two Gourmet Ads on my site, both on the left hand bar. I really like Gourmet ads. They pay pretty well, have good support and they provide info on what advertisers are looking for at a given time – making suggestions on post themes that may result in better returns on the ads on your site. They also provide training guides and I like the user dashboard.
- Freelance writing: I currently write for four other blogs/websites. The number of recipe articles I create and the amount I get paid varies, but October was a particularly busy month. Although I sometimes find that I’m struggling to fit everything in, I do love writing for other sites. All of the people I write for are really lovely, and I’m so grateful they’re even interested in my stuff!
The freelance writing makes up the majority of my income at the moment, and so whilst it’s not earnings directly coming from Kitchen Sanctuary, I know that having my blog is important in getting me this work (kind of like a CV/resume). Out of the four sites I regularly write for, one of them approached me, and the other three came about due to me approaching them.
If freelance recipe writing is something you’re interested in, it’s definitely worth looking around at other popular sites to see if they accept contributors. Send them a message with some ideas and a few links to some of your work so they can get an idea of whether you’ll fit with their site.
Other income streams:
Although my income was limited to adverts and freelance writing for October, there are lots of other ways to earn money through blogging. Some ideas include:
- Ebooks – I haven’t written one yet (apart from my free one), but it’s definitely on my to-do list!
- Sponsored Posts – These are posts where you are paid to write about or promote a particular brand. I’ve done a few of these so far on Kitchen Sanctuary and a few just on the Brand’s website. I only write about products that I think are great, and I really enjoy the creative process of coming up with a recipe that really highlights a product whilst (more importantly) making something that tastes delicious.
- Affiliate links – These could include links to books and other products that you love, or services that your readers may sign up to. Some of the affiliate links I use include:
- This Morphy Richards Slow Cooker that I sometimes talk about in my crockpot posts. The inside pan can be used straight on the hob, which means you can brown everything in the one dish and then stick it straight in the slow cooker.
- This ebook – How I earned $40k in my first year of blogging – by Chelsea Lords from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. She’s doing brilliantly at this blogging thing! I bought her book after a year of blogging and found her advice so useful. I just wish I’d bought it sooner.
- The Food Photography book by Nagi at Recipe Tin Eats. I love her photography style, brilliant advice and her sense of humour. It’s one of those books that you read in one sitting, then refer back to again and again.
- Tasty Food Photography – Created by the talented Lindsay of the Pinch of Yum team. I learned so much from this book and found it helped me to improve my photography and understand all of those complicated settings on my camera (using photos to show the difference that different settings make).
- The Foodie Pro theme (website ‘template’) – which is the one I use for the design of my site. I made a few customizations to it, which isn’t too difficult if you have little to no experience with website design.
Basically you buy the Genesis ‘parent’ theme by StudioPress and then install the FoodiePro ‘child’ theme on top of that.
You can buy both the Foodie Pro child theme and the Genesis parent theme as a joint package from StudioPress.
- I use HostGator to host my site. They’re a good service provider, and the hosting dashboard is fairly easy to use. I got my free Kitchen Sanctuary email address with them too, which is great for making everything look more professional.
- FoodBloggerPro – A totally brilliant blogging site run by Bjork from Pinch of yum. They’ve got all sorts of training videos (photography, photo editing, google analytics, SEO, ebook creation etc) plus a community of bloggers to bounce questions and ideas off. There’s also a Facebook group where we share pinterest pins. Quite a few of the members also have joint pinterest boards that you can ask to join. I signed up to FoodBloggerPro over a year ago, and it’s really useful. There’s a subscription fee to pay – either monthly or annually. Check out this link for a discount code: Food Blogger Pro Membership Coupon
- Tailwind – I use this tool for Pinterest scheduling. They have fantastic customer service, and I love the way you can create board lists, see all your planned pins via the calendar view, and see how each pin performed. They offer a free trial too.
October was the first ever month I hit 100k pageviews (Chris is taking me out to celebrate that one!!). I had some recipes feature in round-up posts on popular websites, which I think really helped. Also, some of my recipes on Yummly have been doing well.
Here’s a screenshot from Google Analytics:
And here’s a breakdown of the traffic sources based on the number of sessions:
Here’s the info on the location of my readers (I always find this so interesting, since I’m based in the UK, and most of my readers seem to be in the US):
- October has been mad busy in terms of school holidays, pesky hand operations, freelance writing and trying to ensure I stick to my regular 3-posts-a-week on Kitchen Sanctuary, which has left no time for working on any other income streams.
During November, I aim to practice some ebook writing by updating my free ebook. Once that’s done, I’m going to finally start going through the ideas I’ve scribbled down for a paid ebook.
- I’m also going to look at adding a few more affiliate links to posts where I think they’ll be useful (for example, links to unusual ingredients or tableware that I’ve been asked about).
- My final takeway? Writing that income report was easier than I thought! Sorry if it was a bit of a brain dump, but I’ll try to refine them and perhaps concentrate on a particular subject/improvement going forward (presuming this report proves to be useful – if I get like 3 views on this post, I might take the hint and quit the brain dump reports!!).