Welcome, friends! If this is your first time reading an income report, you’re probably wondering why on earth it is even appearing on a food blog. And, yeh. It’s a little random. But here’s why – I started blogging back in 2008 and have had a ton of fun with the site in the mean time, but last year (August of 2014) I decided to buckle down and take this seriously. So even though I’ve made money in the past, occasionally even a decent amount, before August it had never been more than a hobby.
I knew I wanted to track my progress (or what I hoped would be progress) and after reading Pat Flynn’s income reports, decided to do it online. I am hopeful that by taking the time to write everything out and analyze it each month, I will better learn and grow – but also that what I learn along the way will be helpful to other bloggers also trying to make the leap from hobby blogger to professional. I can say that it’s been almost a year now and I love being able to look back and have a concrete record of what I’ve done.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to hit me up in the comments or send an email. If you just want to see the money deets, scroll on down!
June was not great with traffic and also nothing special with income, but not terrible either. Still not making the gains I would’ve hoped to at this point, but I made more than my new arbitrary minimum acceptable amount ($1,500.00) so I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.
I spent a decent amount of time going through old posts and re-editing, re-shooting some where the photography was just retched, and then feeding them back into Pinterest. I’m hoping they’ll get some renewed attention. If it works, this is an easy way to have “new” content. I’m hopeful because I think many of my articles lost traction when the “long pin” became standard.
I’ve also learned that if I change the date on my posts to a current date they will go out through my RSS feed again and be sent out in the newsletter as a new post. (If you do this, make sure it doesn’t change your permalink. Blogger never changes the permalink once it’s published, but I can’t say whether this is true or not for other platforms).
PadSquad did pretty well this month and while I don’t personally love the look of the mobile site (it’s really really ad heavy), I haven’t received any complaints and I haven’t seen a downward shift in traffic. So, at this point I’m glad we made the shift. Especially since this should help bring my up in the google mobile search results (mobile friendly sites are ranked higher in search results when using a mobile devices as of April 2015).
I’m still with The Blogger Network (TBN), Gourmet Ads, Infolinks, and Adsense as well, although I’m seriously considering paring down on my desktop ads. I feel like the site is on the cluttered side and it appears the bulk of the revenue is going to be coming from mobile ads so maybe making the desktop cleaner looking is the way to go. I’ll have to think on this one.
Influencer Networks/Sponsored Campaigns
I worked with the usual suspects again this month, Social Fabric, Clever Girls, and Izea. I’m starting to get direct offers from Izea which is pretty cool because they tend to be better than what’s offered in the dash, and sometimes they’re negotiable. I was also chosen for another paid Facebook campaign which brought a nice little boost in traffic (appears as P-0465 in the traffic report images below). I signed up to join the Brand Meets Blog influencer network on advise of another blogger, so hopefully that will bring in some new opportunities.
So you know that I have pretty good Facebook engagement (seriously, Facebook is my people, I love the group I’ve cultivated there), but I struggle with gaining followers. I still think a lot of the problem is the disconnect between my page there (which is called April’s Little Family after my original blog) and my brand name here. You can’t search for Mama Loves Food and just find my page. Well, you can find “my” page, but it’s an empty page that I just grabbed so no one else would.
In some ways it’s worked to my advantage because the April’s Little Family page is more familial and personal feeling, but I definitely believe I’m losing (or at least not gaining) audience members at the rate I would if the page was properly named. So, lesson to folks who are just starting a Facebook page. Think long and hard on this one and go with the brand name you think has the most longevity!
All that said, I’ve stumbled on an awesome way to gain more page likes! It’s really really simple, and I’ve been getting a lot more likes than usual since starting this method. All you do is click the link under any (every) post you make that says how many people like the page and it will bring up a list. To the right of each person’s name it will say whether they already like your page OR it will give you the option to invite them to like your page! (see screenshot below) If you click “invite” it will send a message to them saying something along the lines of “April’s Little Family thinks you would like their page!”
Honestly, before stumbling on this discovery, I didn’t even realize people who weren’t page members ever liked my posts! But they do! And chances are, if they like one of your posts, they’ll like others. So once a day now, I go through and do a bunch of inviting. Not everyone I invite accepts, but a lot do!
As far as Pinterest goes, I’m still learning but I think I’m making some progress. I found a group on Facebook called Pinterest Collaborative Boards and it’s a place where folks who are looking for contributors to group boards will post (and conversely where folks like me who want to contribute to group boards will go searching!).
So via that group, I’ve been able to join more group recipe boards and in turn been able to schedule more of my pins to go out. Also, like I discussed briefly above, I’ve been going through old (pre-pinterest) posts and updating them with new long Pinterest-friendly pins so hopefully they will gain more traction (example: here).
Adding the Buck Books affiliate link to the bottom of my newsletter is definitely one of the smarter moves I’ve made recently. It’s literally cutting my newsletter cost in half. Not that MadMimi is crazy expensive, on the contrary, it’s very affordable compared to other services, but still. I don’t want to pay more than necessary!
The other thing I talked about in my intro is that I’m moving older revamped posts up to the front page and this causes them to go back out in the RSS feed and be delivered via email. Which is an immediate 75 – 150 extra pageviews. Not mind-blowing, but definitely something!
Ebook[This space was left intentionally blank.]
I haven’t done anything new with affiliate links, but Amazon has added a shortlink to the top of the Associates task bar and I am absolutely loving that feature! Have you used it yet? So much easier!
I’m just going to make a list here of resources for now, but at some point I’ll have an ongoing post to point you toward rather than burying this stuff in an income report. Some links are affiliate links.
Mad Mimi (email marketing)
GoDaddy (web hosting)
Gleam (pop up captures, contest entry hosting, etc)
Hello Bar (bar at the top of your website for promoting posts/gathering data)
Shareaholic (easy share/print buttons)Conversions Box (Facebook like popup)
PicMonkey (online photo editing)
Canva (ebook/pamphlet/poster creator)
Creative Market (source for custom fonts, graphics, etc)
DaFont (source for fonts)
Swanky Prints (vinyl backdrops/fake wood)
Peek Prints (vinyl backdrops/fake wood)
Lowel Ego Lights (daylight mimicking photography light)
Daylight bulbs (daylight mickmicking flood lights, I put these in my kitchen)
Canon Rebel xsi (my camera, I could write an entire post about my love for this camera)
Canon 40mm lens (best. lens. ever.)
Fiverr (hire help starting at $5/task)
Basic tripod (for video and shots that need a steady hand)
Social Fabric/Collective Bias (influencer network)
Izea/Social Spark (influencer network)
Blogher/Sheknows (influencer network)
Clever Girls/Fanny (influencer network)
Pollinate (influencer network)
One2One (influencer network)
Tapinfluence (influencer network)
Linqia (influencer network)
Sverve (influencer network)
Tomoson (influencer network)
Find Your Influence (influencer network)
Link Vehicle (influencer network & affiliate hub)
Markerly (influencer network)
Business2Blogger (influencer network/job board)
Pinterest for Business (social media)
StumbleUpon Ads (social media)
Tailwind (Pinterest scheduler/social media)
Board Booster (Pinterest scheduler/social media)
PubExchange (traffic exchange network)
BuckBooks (affiliate marketing for inexpensive books)
Amazon Affiliates (affiliate program for Amazon merchandise)
Share-a-Sale (affiliate marketing hub)
Affiliate Window (affiliate marketing hub)
E-junkie (affiliate marketing hub)
Commission Junction/CJ Affiliate (affiliate marketing hub)
Gourmet Ads (advertising network)
The Blogger Network (advertising network)
Infolinks (advertising network)
Adsense (advertising network)
Adthrive (advertising network)
Padsquad (mobile advertising network)
Food Blogger Pro (food blogging course)
How to Grow Your Blog, Advice from 30 Top Bloggers (ebook)
How to Grow on Twitter (ebook)
Blogging on the Side (ebook)
Tasty Food Photography (ebook)
Pat Flynn Podcasts (podcasts on blogging/earning money online)
Food Blogger Pro Podcasts (interviews with successful food bloggers)
Thoughts and Things to Do:
Even though I’m not seeing the level of traffic I had hoped for after eleven months fully invested, I do feel like I’m doing a lot of great learning and networking. Which is super important. Also, I’m still having fun and enjoying this space. So, that’s a big deal, I think.
As for goals, I definitely still want to give this place a facelift. You may notice that I tinker a bit here and there, but I don’t feel like the space suits me the way it once did. So, that’s a big thing I want to tackle. Also, definitely still the ebook. I want to get it done. (Really!). I’d still also like to explore more affiliate options and see if there are any good fits for me – especially if I’m going to possibly wean of some of my desktop ads. And of course I will continue to update older posts!
Longer term goals are still pretty much the same, so I’m just copying them from last month as a reminder to myself:
Getting a YouTube channel up and running – adding recipe slideshows and maybe some short cooking demonstrations.
Putting together a series of ebooks and an affiliate network to sell them.
Hiring a second VA to take care of additional administrative items and for submitting posts to food sites.
Starting and selling a line of Mama Loves Food merchandise.
How about you? Did you try something new this month that worked? Do you have any questions about what’s happening here? Hit me up in the comments!
JUNE 2015 – EARNED: $1,716.93
Money I earned during this month, but have not necessarily been paid yet. For example, most advertising companies don’t pay until 30 – 90 days after your impressions, and many sponsors don’t pay until your post has been live for 30 days.
Google Adsense: $20.13
The Blogger Network: $98.43
Gourmet Ads: $19.25
Social Fabric: $770.00
JUNE 2015 – COLLECTED: $1,894.43
Money that actually made it into my pocket this month.
The Blogger Network: $212.16
Gourmet Ads: $56.83
Social Fabric: $950.00
JUNE 2015 – EXPENSES: $473.88
Izea membership: $1.00
Groceries/post items: $157.88
JUNE 2015 – NET PROFIT: $1,420.55
JUNE 2015 – TRAFFIC: 59,718
JUNE 2015 – FACEBOOK:
August 2014 – $227.49
September 2014 – $664.88
October 2014 – $797.11
November 2014 – $1,095.85
December 2014 – $2,880.00
January 2015 -$2,589.78
February 2015 -$1,231.07
March 2015 -$1,439.08
April 2015 – $1,331.40
May 2015 – $2,313.64
Make sure you’re following me on Facebook for regular food and family updates!