Hi, everyone! Today we’re doing something COMPLETELY different from the norm here on Jar Of Lemons: we’re being completely transparent about the behind-the-scenes, how we make money, things we’ve done to grow this little space, and plans we have for the blog. If this doesn’t interest you, that’s totally ok! We have plenty of overnight oats and tacos for ya over on the recipes page. However, if you’ve ever thought about starting a blog, want to grow your blog, or are just really curious about what the behind-the-scenes looks like, then welcome to our first EVER Monthly Blog Income Report!
To be honest, we were a little bit nervous to post this because the LAST thing we want to happen is for this to seem like a way to “show off” what we’re doing or to be focused on money in any way. And to be clear, that’s definitely not what we’re going for! Our goal in these reports is to share the “experiments” we’re doing, what’s working to build traffic, what isn’t working, and how we’re monetizing this little business for the SOLE purpose of sharing what we’ve learned and helping you in any way that we can as you grow your business or blog!
So whether you’re a fellow blogger or just curious about what it looks like on the other side of these recipes, can we just agree for this to be a happy, judgment-free, learning and sharing and growing-together zone? That would be the BEST! 😉 That said, we’re so glad to go through this crazy blogging journey with you guys and hope to be as transparent as possible! If you ever have questions or want to know more about how to grow your blog, feel free to ask in the comments below!
Here’s April’s Monthly Blog Income Report:
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links. These are products that I’ve used before and stand behind!
- A Month Of Healthy Eats Paperback – $162.50
- Sponsored Posts (Social Fabric, Linqia, and brands) – $1,493.40
- A Month Of Healthy Eats Ebook – $38.22
- External Work (food photography)- $156.03
Total Income: $1,850
- Food- $112.71
- Photography – $150.00
- Facebook Ads – $20.00
- Everything Food Conference (travel) – $865.12
- 1&1 Internet – $8.99
- Workspace – $150.00
- Food Blogger Pro (paid yearly)- $0
- Active Campaign (paid yearly) – $0
- Tailwind (paid yearly) – $0
- CoSchedule (<—Trying this out!) – $0
Total Expenses: $1,306
NET REVENUE: $544
A few notes about our revenue! We normally have ad income, but last month we switched over from our previous ads to Mediavine. So far we are loving them! We should start reporting that income soon.
We also experimented a little bit with advertising A Month Of Healthy Eats on Facebook (as you can see in the expenses) through a third party agency. One of the charges was on this month, but there will be more on next month’s Blog Monthly Income Report. This proved to be a little bit unsuccessful, but we’re experimenting with a different approach. Stay tuned!
Since February, JOL traffic has been in a little bit of a plateau. Part of this might have been due to how busy Cody and I were during the month of April! It was our anniversary, we were out of town a lot, and we were in the messy process of house hunting. This resulted in me only posting about 2 times a week, which may have had something to do with it. It might have also been because we started implementing video into old blog posts (like this Healthy Sriracha Shredded Chicken Tacos post) and working on getting our YouTube channel up to speed! Since I (Christine) do almost everything other than the really really techy stuff (that’s Cody’s job, as you’ll see below), this took a little bit of time away from making new recipes and focusing on traffic growth.
We’re still looking into why things have plateaued and plan on sharing some ideas we have for growth in May’s monthly blog income report! Here’s where our traffic came from this month:
Pinterest is always our #1 traffic source! One of the goals we will discuss below is how we’re wanting to improve our Google traffic. We love Pinterest (you can see what we’re pinning HERE), but we want to make sure we’re giving attention to Google as well!
And since this is our first ever monthly blog income report, we thought it would be useful to share our traffic since we first started JOL in June 2015! Also, don’t mind the random point on Thursday, Nov 10 LOL. I guess I accidentally had my mouse over that spot when I took the screen shot! #RealLife
GOALS & TAKEAWAYS
1.) SEO + Google
As mentioned above, one of our goals for the month of May is to start improving our traffic from Google. We’re starting this process by taking old JOL posts and updating them with consistent keywords, proper headings, new photos, adding videos, and re-sharing them to social media. We’ve learned everything we know about SEO and improving Google traffic from the videos and community over on Food Blogger Pro! If you’re starting out and want to improve in this area, definitely join the waiting list!
We’re also experimenting with using SEMRush for keyword research. It’s a great resource for analyzing websites and providing the research needed to determine which keywords are a fit!
2.) Growing YouTube
Another one of our goals is to grow our YouTube account. At this moment, we have an amazing community of 17 subscribers (we love each and every one of you amazing peeps and are so grateful for you)! We know that longer videos tend to perform better on YouTube, so we’re brainstorming ways that we could create long (10-minute ish) videos that help or inspire our followers in some way. More on this coming soon!
Next up, Cody will be talking about a few things we do to make sure our content is safe and always available! He does a lot of the behind the scenes techy stuff, so I’m excited for him to share what he knows with you guys. If you have any blog/tech/wordpress/coding type of questions (or any questions at all), be sure to include them in the comments below and we’ll try to answer them in next month’s income report!
TECH STUFF FROM CODY
Hey hey! I’m super excited to finally get to introduce myself to you all. My name’s Cody, Christine’s husband/fellow JOL worker/tech support/taste tester/leftover food eater. I’m a total foodie and enjoy all types of food. My motto is, “I’ll try anything once 😬”! I love to travel and believe that the best way to experience a new place or culture is through food. I’ve been involved with music and technology professionally most of my life. You might not have known that I was even a part of JOL, but I’ve been secretly behind the scenes making sure the web site is optimized and running efficiently!
As Christine mentioned, April was a super busy month for us. Now that things have settled down I’m excited to share with you some tips and tricks that I’ve found to help things run more smoothly around here on Jar Of Lemons. If you have any questions or you are wondering how or why we do things, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!
Backup Backup Backup…
The most important thing you should consider when starting your blog is your backup plan. You might be asking yourself, “do I really need to back up my files?”. The answer is absolutely yes! You invest a lot time and money into gear and resources to make awesome recipes, crafts, or whatever you niche is, and it would be a shame for those beautiful pictures and hard work to go down the drain because you never had a backup.
There are two types of backups you will want to consider.
- Computer backups
- Website backups (coming in next month’s report)
The more you get into blogging, the more files you will begin to accumulate (trust me, you should see how many files Christine has!). Any time you work with images, video, or audio, there will a be a slough of files that will follow each project. You will have font files, logos, and other brand specific items that if lost could be costly and very hard to get back. Solution: I suggest a full computer backup! Here is a quick rundown of some options you can look into.
While this is a MacOS specific service, it is free and already included with your computer (if you have an Apple computer). All you need is an external hard drive and you can start backing up to it!
After you set up Time Machine, it automatically makes hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for all previous months. The oldest backups are deleted when your backup drive is full. The only downside to this is that your backups remain on your external hard drive, which is risky since it could potentially crash as well.
CrashPlan (this is what we use on Jar Of Lemons)
CrashPlan is very similar to Apple Time Machine, but it is available for both Mac and Windows platforms. Like Time Machine, if you have an extra hard drive that you want to back up to you can do that for free, or it also offers affordable backups to the cloud for a monthly fee (this is our preferred method and what we’re currently using). There are two versions you will choose from depending on your needs, and both offer a free 30 trial.
CrashPlan Home: If you own a hobby blog and are not considered a business, CrashPlan offers you their home edition. Options include:
- Free – free local backup to an external hard drive.
- Individual – free local backup plus unlimited cloud backups for 1 computer for $5/mo*
- Family – free local backup plus unlimited cloud backups for 2-10 computers for $12.50/mo*
CrashPlan Business: If you are a business with a team, then this option is for you. It has more features that a business would need in order to maintain its backups.
- Pro – Unlimited computers for $10/mo* per device.
* prices at the time of writing
By having a good backup plan you will save yourself both headache and heartache in the event that something happens to your computer and your lose all of your files. It’s so worth it!
Check back in next month’s blog income report for what is equally important if not a tad bit more, backing up your website. Let’s face it, if you lose your web site, you’re starting over from scratch. It happens, but with my help you’ll be able to recover quickly and be back up in no time! Until then, happy blogging, friends!
IN OTHER NEWS
We just got back from Everything Food Conference and LOVED it. If you’re a food blogger and want to grow your blog quickly, we definitely recommend attending in the future! And if you want to know what to do while you’re in Salt Lake City, be sure to check out our post about it here. 😉
What did you you think of this month’s blog income report? What questions do you have for us? How can we help you? Let us know in the comments below!