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I am SO EXCITED to share some BIG income news with you. I’ve been waiting on the edge of my seat since the end of September to write this post so I could double and triple check my earnings.
Sorry. I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. If you’re new to Bowl of Delicious, and you are confused right now, here’s what’s happening. Every three months, I post a quarterly income report on how I make money from blogging. Running a website takes a lot of time, and while my full-time job currently is teaching (high school art), I consider blogging to be my hobby that turned into a side job. I write about my income to help other people who are also interested in beginning a blog to make some extra money (because can’t we all use a little help in the money department?).
If you’re here just for the recipes: please visit my recipe archive!
But if you’re interested in how everyday bloggers like me are able to generate a (realistic) income, read on or browse my other income reports.
In this income report, you’ll find:
- My goal update (also known as the BIG INCOME NEWS!) and what’s next for Bowl of Delicious in terms of goals
- Income Report (breakdown of revenue sources per month)
- Info about a new partnership/revenue source: Chicory
- Answers to your questions/concerns from my previous income reports, including:
- An update about Sovrn (an advertising network that I previously stopped using but started again, now that I actually know how to use it)
- Insight into Bowl of Delicious’s expenses
My Goal Update!
I’m happy to report that as of September 2015, I have met (and exceeded) that goal! Three months ahead of time! I made $1,167.29 in September alone!!!!!!!! This was achieved through both advertising prices being much higher in the month of September and a boost of traffic from Pinterest on my super popular Crispy Oven Baked BBQ Chicken Post.
I know what you are thinking, and the answer to your question is: yes. Zach and I have turned one of our rooms into a money pit and sometimes we just go in there and swim in all our extra money. We’re also planning on buying a yacht and taking a year (or seven) off from work to travel the world. Maybe we’ll buy an exotic pet. The possibilities are endless!
But seriously, this is huge. Huge because running this blog is hard (but fun!) work, and I feel like I am (finally, after almost two years) being paid fairly for my time (I work on it for about 10-15 hours a week, which equates to an average of about $20/hour at $1000 per month). Huge because blogging costs money (hosting, camera, ingredients, photography props, etc.) and it looks like a new computer may be a necessity in the near future (my current one is freezing up even as I type this, probably partially due to the fact that I have literally thousands of high resolution photos of food on this thing). And huge because even if we wanted to make a room into a pit of money, we cannot right now, because we are building a house and don’t live there yet. All of this extra money is helping us to be able to put a full 20% down, which is very hard to do for average first-time homebuyers with today’s economy.
In addition, I decided when I set this goal that if I achieved it, I would begin donating a portion of my profits to someone else who needs it. If you follow my facebook page, you probably have already gotten wind of the fact that I love animals. I post potentially an equal amount of adorable animal videos as I do about food. So, for the month of September, I donated a portion of my profits to a local animal shelter.
Oscar approves :-)
Up next: my goal is to maintain my income of at least $1000 for the rest of 2015. September-December are usually very high months in terms of income because advertising prices are better (for the holidays). January tends to dip quite a bit- often, up to half. So, I would love to keep increasing my income for the next few months so I begin 2016 with an income of at least $800. Yay for new goals!
Third Quarter Income Report
Here’s a breakdown of my total quarterly income for the months of July, August, and September of 2015:
Total Income: $2,248.80
Total Views: 336,140
RPM (revenue per thousand visitors): $6.69
And here’s a breakdown of each month’s income:
New Partnership and Revenue Source: Chicory
This quarter, I partnered with a new company for another source of income called Chicory. (For more information about the other sources of revenue, please visit my first quarterly income report or click on the links next to the income list above.) Chicory is a company that works with grocery delivery services, such as PeaPod and Amazon, to order ingredients needed for a recipe directly from the recipe website. For example, if you visit one of my recipes and scroll all the way down to the printable recipe card (like my latest: these delicious oven roasted chicken thighs), you will see a blue button that says “get ingredients.” By clicking this button, readers can easily order all of the ingredients for the recipe they are viewing.
Chicory pays partners according to an eCPM algorithm. Bloggers are paid a rate based on a combination of different factors, which include impressions of the recipe (how many people view the Chicory button), clicks (how many people click on the button), and grocery orders. While it is certainly not my biggest revenue source, there is absolutely no upkeep or time spent on the plugin once its installed since it’s automatically added to the recipe cards. And, it’s a hugely useful tool for those readers who get groceries delivered, making Bowl of Delicious much more user-friendly!
If you are a food blogger who wants to add the Chicory plugin to your website, just fill out this form and apply to be a partner. Be sure to mention me in the referral line: Elizabeth from bowlofdelicious.com.
Answers to Your Questions/Concerns
I’m starting a new section on my income report that respond to a few of the questions/comments from my prior income report. Here are two questions that I thought were great, and one that really kicked me into gear and caused me to earn much more money this quarter than I would have otherwise!
From Jason on my first income report: Hi, thanks a lot for sharing this info. But, I have to tell you that you’re making a huge mistake by taking Sovrn out your ad network pool, and you shouldn’t advise others not to use. I only get a fraction of the traffic you get – less than 1/5 – but I make more money from Sovrn in less than a month than what you did for a full quarter. Are you using CPM floors and passback tags? If not, that’s why you don’t see good earnings from them.
When I first read this, I have to admit I was taken aback. I thought: I’m writing these posts to help people- not steer them the wrong direction! And: What in tarnation are CPM floors and passback tags?!
So, I set out on a quest to figure it out. And I am SO happy I did. I’m keeping Sovrn as a revenue source for the foreseeable future. In case you don’t know what CPM floors and passback tags are, like me, here’s a brief summary.
CPM Floors: CPM is the amount of money you get per thousand views. Some ads will pay only a few cents per thousand views, while others will pay up to ten dollars. When you set a CPM floor, you designate a minimum CPM rate of ads that are allowed on your website. I set mine at $2.49. That way, no “cheap” ads appeared on my website, taking up space that could otherwise be earning more money.
Passback Tags: When I first tried Sovrn, I was disappointed at their fill rate (this is how frequently an ad shows up- if there is no ad available, it will show up as a blank space and no revenue is earned). Their fill rates were, and continue to be, only about 8%. And when an ad doesn’t show up, you lose out on revenue! This is where passback tags come into play. You can assign a back-up ad tag (such as from Google AdSense) to display when Sovrn doesn’t have anything to put up. This ensures you are making as much money as possible.
By using CPM Floors and Passback Tags, I was able to earn a fairly decent amount of money from Sovrn, without sacrificing too much of an income from my backup ads assigned through a passback tag, since their fill rate is so low. It’s MAGIC! If you don’t have this on your website, I highly recommend adding it. Play around with different CPM floors and keep track of your earnings to see what works best for you.
I’m happy with the amount I made in September, but I don’t seem to be making anywhere near as much as Jason reported making, and I’m not sure why. If any of you have any insight in making Sovrn work well for your website, I’d appreciate if if you left a comment below!
From Sakeenah on my first income report: Hi Elizabeth! I was looking at your blog and dishes and I have been thinking of starting my own food blog within the next few months. However, I do have a question for you about your quarterly income report, are you deducting the amount of money that you spend on buying the food and ingredients that you use to cook with from this report? On average per month, how much do you estimate that you spend on buying the food and supplies to cook with if you don’t mind sharing. Thanks!!!
Blogs like Pinch of Yum include their income AND expenses on their monthly reports, and it’s probably something I will do in the future, but haven’t yet. The reason being: I don’t spend much on my blog right now! I’m a very frugal and not risky person, so for the time being I haven’t spent much money.
There were some initial startup costs (hosting, camera, theme, etc.), but I don’t have anything that I spend consistently on a monthly basis besides food (and the occasional cute decorative dish or something for photos). And because I would be buying the food anyway, regardless of the blog, I haven’t put it on these reports.
But I do actually keep track of what I spend, for my own records, on food that I cook for the blog and any other supplies (for tax purposes). On average, I spend about $100-$150 on food per month that I use specifically for the blog. When I get back from grocery shopping, I grab a highlighter and highlight the things I’m going to use that week for the blog, tally up the total, file the receipt, and add the total to my income spreadsheet. Right now, my blog is a hobby. For taxes, you can still deduct things spent on a hobby if you make money from that hobby. Eventually (hopefully soon), I want to make my blog into a business, and tax deductions will become even more important.
Well, that’s it folks! Please leave your comments and questions below- I’d love to help you out if I can, and maybe even feature your question in my next income report! And if this has inspired you to start your own blog, be sure to check out my tutorial on how to start a blog in three easy steps :-)