Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links to products I highly recommend. If you click on a link and choose to purchase the product, it won’t cost more for you but will help support Bowl of Delicious!
Full disclosure: this post does NOT include a recipe. Sorry about that- I promise I’ll cook something extra delicious and share it with you the next time!
Instead, this post shares how I am making money on my blog. Back in April, I wrote Bowl of Delicious’s First Quarterly Income Report. In that post, I talked about how I made just over $1000 in the span of the first three months of 2015. I’m happy to report that I’ve made almost $400 more- for a total of $1387.54- in the second quarter (April, May, and June) of 2015!!
In this post I’ll break down where that money comes from and talk a bit about what I’m doing to increase my revenue. And by increase my revenue, I really mean increase my traffic, since more readers=more moolah. It is my hope that these kind of posts help other bloggers, or would-be bloggers, see a realistic income report from a new(ish) blog, in order to a) be helpful! and b) help broaden my audience.
If this doesn’t interest you and you’re purely here for the food, I completely understand. Go check out my recipe section and look for something that strikes your fancy, and I’ll see you next time! If this IS interesting to you… read on :-)
In this post you’ll find the following topics. Feel free to skip to any of them by clicking the links below:
- Second Quarterly Income Report (how I made $1387.54 in three months and got paid to go to a party)
- Year to Date (traffic referrals for the year and a comparison of last quarter to this one in terms of revenue sources)
- What I’ve Learned (wins and losses, luck vs. hard work)
- Next Steps (how I am going to drive more traffic to my blog to increase my income)
Here it is! A breakdown of where my revenue came from and how much dough each source brought in. Also, I should probably begin using the word “dough” more often to refer to money because, food blog.
Total Income: $1387.54
Total Views: 210,635
RPM (revenue per thousand visitors): $6.59
And here it is as a month-by-month breakdown:
Guys. I got PAID to go to a PARTY.
Let me explain. Every year, BlogHer has a conference for members of their network- this year’s conference, BlogHer ’15: Experts Among Us, was held in New York City. I did not go. Between the move to Austin this summer and finances (and the thought of going to NYC giving me the heebie jeebies- I’m not a fan of huge cities), I couldn’t swing it this year (maybe next time!). BUT, BlogHer also organized a few different community meet-ups on the road to the conference, and one of them was in Boston in May.
I signed up to go- not only for the networking opportunities, but also for the free taco and mojito bar. Really, they did a great job playing to their audience. Who could say “no” to that?
A few days before the meet-up, I was contacted by a member of She Knows Media (the media company that runs BlogHer) and asked to be a featured expert at the party. My job? Help greet and talk to people, converse about food and tacos, talk about entertaining and blogging, etc. And wear a pretty orange flower. My compensation? $200!
Um, yes please.
We had lots of fun at the meet up, and I met some amazing other local bloggers, including Leslie from Stress Baking, (pictured to the left of me above), and the other featured Expert, Lisa (not pictured), from Panning the Globe. Check their blogs out. We had delicious, delicious food and delicious, delicious made-to-order mojitos. It was a wonderful experience!
This is what I like about belonging to a blogging network. Different than an advertising network (like Google Adsense), a blogging network is much more than just advertising revenue. It runs ads on your site, but also provides you with ample opportunities to network within your niche and opportunities to earn revenue in other ways.
And that’s how I got paid to go to a party :-)
Year to Date
Last quarter (January, February, and March of 2015), I made just over $1000. This quarter (April, May, and June of 2015), I made $1387. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two quarters and some analysis of the two.
First of all, if this looks confusing to you, please visit my first income post to see a description of all of the different categories of income :-)
There are some zeros in my second quarter, so I’ll explain why. In my last income post, I explained that I was not very impressed with Sovrn. So, I got rid of it. Instead, I replaced its advertisement spot with another ad from Gourmet Ads, which accounts for the almost double income from that advertising network! Although I had a sponsored opportunity (categorized under miscellaneous), I did not write any sponsored posts. And unfortunately, I had no affiliate purchases from referrals to Bluehost or the Genesis Framework/Foodie Pro Theme.
And my traffic? Eerily, almost IDENTICAL to my first quarter!
But my RPM (revenue per thousand visitors) went up substantially- almost two whole dollars. That’s a lot when you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of visitors!
So, where do all those visitors COME from? Here’s a peek at 2015’s top ten traffic sources from Google Analytics:
What I’ve Learned
In my year and a half of blogging (I began Bowl of Delicious in January 2014), I’ve learned that I still do not know MANY things. I’m constantly learning more and more about the blogging business world. At times, it feels overwhelming.
But I HAVE learned that there are two main indicators of success with blogging:
- Hard work
- Luck, as a result of hard work
Now, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that for me, the work that I put into this blog is not hard in a negative way- it’s super fun! Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing it. Especially because I’m a high school art teacher in real life- which is VERY hard. And also fun.
But it IS diligent.
Here’s a bit more information about the diligent work I put into this blog.
I create new content for my blog 2-3 times per week, and NEVER less than one time per week. In order to be part of BlogHer, I am obligated to post a minimum of one time per week. In addition, when my blog was only a few months old, I made the mistake of not blogging for a week, and witnessed my Google rankings plummet. Since my number one source of traffic is from Google searches, I can’t afford to not post at least once per week!
But blogging is so much more than posting, as I am figuring out. It’s about making friends- visiting other peoples’ blogs, joining facebook groups, and networking within your community. It’s about being active on social media- before my blog, I almost never posted anything on facebook. Now, I post two or three times a day on my facebook page! It’s about data analysis (clearly). And it’s about constantly learning about new technology, apps, plugins, and ways to make your blog grow.
So I work hard. I work diligently. And I get paid for it! I probably put about 10-12 hours of work a week into my blog, but I love it. This means I’m getting paid about $10/hour, if I average about $400/month and 10 hours/week.
Not bad, considering in the beginning I was getting paid about fifty cents an hour :-)
But the monetary gains I saw in income this past quarter were very luck-based. I was lucky to be offered the sponsored opportunity through BlogHer. The advertisers for BlogHer paid a lot more- more than usual- per impression, so that was lucky. I got featured on buzzfeed and other sites with lots of traffic, which then drove some traffic to my blog (but no more than usual).
But the thing is, I wouldn’t have had that luck without the hard work I’ve been putting into my blog!
Traffic. I HAVE to increase my traffic. From the results of this past quarter, I really should have made about the same amount of money as the first quarter since I had the same amount of traffic. But, there was some luck involved :-)
In the last income report, I mentioned that I was going to do a few things. Here’s an update on them.
- I said I was going to post 2-3 times a week. And then, I moved across the country and started a new job. That did NOT happen. And in order to not make myself go crazy, I’m going to stick with 1-2 times per week moving forward. I want to keep liking blogging!
- I said I was going to take more photographs in natural light. I’m definitely doing that. The Texas natural light is so, so much better than Massachusetts, even in the summer! As a result of higher quality photographs, I’ve noticed an increase in referrals from sites like Pinterest and Foodgawker.
- I said I was going to boost my facebook page by being more active on it. Yup, did that! I’ve been focusing on posting 2-3 times per day on my facebook page and have seen the benefits of it. At the end of Quarter 1, I had 658 likes. At the end of Quarter 2, I had 860! And, spoiler alert: I have 951 as of this very moment!!! Woo hoo! This was definitely a win.
- I said I was going to write an e-book in order to create an additional revenue stream. Hah. No. That did not happen. Moving across the country took up a teeny bit more time than I anticipated. Plus, every time I went to start to work on it, I just didn’t want to. I’m going to put this on hold for now- again, I want to continue liking the blog, and not resenting it!
OK. So what’s next?
I have a goal from Quarter 1 that is still the same: By the end of my second year of blogging (December 2015) I will be making at least $1000 a month from my blog. Even though I’m not tracking at the rate of growth presently that I will need, I’m going to keep the goal for now.
But I’m also going to make a secondary goal: that by the end of my second year of blogging I will increase my daily traffic to an average of at least 4,000 views a day. At the end of the second quarter, my daily traffic rate was about 2,000 views per day.
Revenue can be wishy-washy and luck-based. Traffic is much more within my control. So here’s what I’m doing this quarter to help increase traffic to Bowl of Delicious:
- I’m forging ahead on the Facebook bandwagon. I’ve developed a routine of posting in the morning, afternoon, and evening on facebook, for a minimum of three times a day. I’ve also begun using instagram to automatically post to facebook for me to make it a bit easier. The more active you are on facebook, the more fans are able to find you. The more facebook fans I have, the more traffic I will get to my blog when I post a direct link back to it.
- I’m pinning on Pinterest like crazy. Similarly to facebook, the more pinterest followers I have the more traffic I will see to my blog! I started the quarter with about 450 followers. I’m pinning multiple times per day and have organized my boards by adding descriptions to them and choosing pretty cover images. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Well, that about wraps it up, folks! I hope you’ll continue following along with me as I try and grow my business. I’ll see you next quarter for my third income report! Until then, think high traffic gains :-)
Leave your comments, feedback, and/or questions about any of this below- I’d be happy to help as best I can!