Today we’re talking food blog income! If you’ve ever wondered how a food blogger makes money, are wanting to grow your traffic, or maybe even start a blog, these monthly blog income reports have tons of resources and tips. You can check out why we started these income reports in our first one (Monthly Blog Income Report – April 2017)! As a reminder, these monthly blog income reports are NOT about the money, but are instead a way for us to share how we’re reaching our goals as a business and what we’re doing to grow. They’re a way for us to be transparent with you guys in order to (hopefully) help you achieve your blogging goals!
If you have any questions or thoughts, be sure to let us know in the comments below (or email us over on the contact page). We want these reports to be helpful to you guys!
Here’s May’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 – $316.94
- Sponsored Posts (Sway, Social Fabric, Linqia, and brands) – $544.40
- A Month Of Healthy Eats Ebook – $95.85
- Amazon Affiliate – $67.91
- Svorn – $26.05
- Gourmet Ads – $50.11
Total Income: $1,101
- Food – $314.19
- Facebook Ads – $139.80
- 1&1 Internet – $10.99
- Travel – $87.40
- Food Blogger Pro (paid yearly) – $0
- Active Campaign (paid yearly) – $0
- Tailwind (paid yearly) – $0
- CoSchedule (<—Trying this out!) – $0
- Miscellaneous – $17
- Createspace – $33.88
Total Expenses: $603
NET REVENUE: $498
This month we played around with Facebook ads again (more details in last month’s report). It was much more successful this time around! The first time around we used a landscape photo and basically just linked to the book, which proved to be somewhat useless. With this ad, we spent a lot of time designing an ad with portrait photos and a more helpful description! We also upped our budget and installed the Facebook Pixel so that it would have time to really zone in on targeting the right people. Facebook ads seem to be a little bit of a science to us, so we’re not sure if we’ll really ever get into them, but they’re fun to experiment with!
This month we also received our last little bit of ad income from our previous ad companies, Sovrn and Gourmet Ads. While we loved working with these companies, we recently switched over to using Mediavine (since they handle all ad placements and optimization). We’re loving them so far and you should see them start appearing in next month’s report!
Traffic increased about 50% from April to May! This is exciting news, as we were just talking about how our traffic was unusually low in April. Welcome to the rollercoaster world of blogging! 😉 Here are a few reasons we think there was an increase this month:
1.) As you will see in the graph below, there was a significant increase in direct traffic. This was almost completely due to ONE recipe! We think that maybe it’s because this was a strong meal prep recipe, causing our audience to bookmark it or save the link somewhere so that they can go to it every Sunday/Monday as they prep meals for the week. We’re not totally sure, though! Investigation to be continued.
Moral of the story? Make more “savable” recipes! Recipes people will come back to week after week!
2.) Google traffic is starting to increase! As you can see right after April 29, there is a small annotation. This annotation notes the day we switched all of our recipes over from the EasyRecipe plugin (which is no longer supported) to WP Recipe Maker. Not only that, but we also spent time filling in all of the categories (such as calories, time, servings, etc). As you can see, it’s already made a big difference as far as where we stand with Google!
Goals & Takeaways
Last month we wanted to improve SEO, and so far it’s looking good! Between using SEMRush (a keyword research tool + SO much more), updating old posts, and switching over to WP Recipe Maker, we’re starting to see improvements! We also wanted to grow our YouTube channel, so we installed HelloBar to help us convert more of our audience into YouTube subscribers. It’s a slow growth, but it’s growing!
Our goal for next month may come as a little bit of a surprise, but we actually want to take a semi-break and take it easy. WHAT? We know, we know. Just hear us out! We’re all about working hard to achieve goals, but right now we are under what is known in the food blogging world as the “Summer Slump”. Basically, the majority of food bloggers see a pretty significant decrease in traffic during these months and aren’t getting as many sponsored posts, so it’s the perfect time to optimize old content, plan for the fall, and work on those “I’ll get to it later” tasks. So that’s where we’re at!
We have a large list of small tasks that need to be tackled, updates here and there, and planning for the fall. We plan on continuing to post 2-3 times a week through the summer, but hope to find some time to visit our families and rest a little bit. We’ll let you know how it goes! 😉
TECH STUFF FROM CODY
Hey, hey, Cody here! Last month, I finally made my debut on Jar of Lemons (Thanks, Christine!). I was so glad to be able to share with you some of the tools that we use here and the importance of backing up your computers. In case you missed it, you can read all about it in April’s Income Report.
Ok, now to the good stuff! But first, a little story. Here at Jar of Lemons, my duties are typically all things technical – basically making sure things are updated and running as smoothly as possible for you guys. One day, I got a frantic call from Christine telling me that, “nothing is working on the site! It’s ALL GONE!!!”. In my mind this is how I pictured her reacting:
“What do you mean?”, I asked her. “Nothing is there, it’s all gone!”, she said again. I could hear in her voice this was a big deal. Let’s face it, if you lose your web site, you’re starting over from scratch. All of your hard work is gone! Thankfully I calmly assured her everything was ok and was not lost. How did I know this? Because I had been doing daily backups of Christine’s website, plugins, database, and images (since day one)! And now, I got to be the hero… except for that I’m pretty sure it was my fault that it broke. 🙁
Sometimes weird things happen. You update a plugin and it breaks your site. You’re working on the site and accidentally delete something super important … (😳 guilty!) Also, sometimes data just becomes corrupt. It happens, but with with a good backup tool you’ll be able to recover quickly and be back up in no time!
There are so many awesome tools out there! A quick search of “wordpress backup plugins” will yield a ton of results. For now, I wanted to tell you about the tool that we have chosen to use. It’s called updraft plus! There is a fantastic free version as well as a full featured premium version ($70). This plugin has 5 stars with over 2500 ratings to date. Once you install it, there are a few settings you should go over before you get started:
The first screen gives you a detailed report of your backups. This is also where you will be able to run the backup manually, restore from a back up, or actually create a clone of your files for migration purposes.
The second tab will show you your existing backups as well as a subset of items you can download or use to restore to your site. You might not want to restore everything if you only had a plugin go bad, since this could take days!!! This is where the subset of items really comes in handy.
Finally, the settings tab. This is what we decided to do: A daily backup of files and the database for 12 consecutive days. Once a backup reaches thirteen, it’s deleted and a new one takes its place. We decided 12 because it was about two weeks worth of backups which gave us some time to find out if something had happened and enough time to go backwards and restore before the event that broke our site occurred. This has served us well, as I have had to restore things on multiple occasions. Keep in mind however, that you are backing up your entire site with all of it’s files, folders, and images. This could be quite large over time! This is another reason we chose 12 to keep the backups at a minimum. You can back up right to your server or choose from a number of services to keep your backups safe!
I hope this tip helps. It’s a real pain when something goes wrong and you have to figure out what broke your site, or worse when it just goes down for whatever reason. A good back up plan like I’ve outlined here will help you get back up and blogging in no time! Until then, happy backing up, friends!
Have questions or thoughts about this month’s report? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!