This is our food blog income report for December 2017. This food blog income report shows you how much traffic we had, what money we made, where it came from, and what it cost to run our site. This food blog income report is awesome for food bloggers looking to expand and monetize their blogs!
If you’re interested in growing your blog’s traffic and revenue, make sure to sign up for Cheryl’s Food Blogging Bootcamp! This six-week course contains Cheryl’s method for growing food blogs in quality, revenue, and traffic, and contains everything you need to know for better, bigger food blogging. Click here to learn more.
Most food bloggers in December:
“OMG my RPM is $20 and my traffic is up 1000%. I can literally pay off my car with this month’s ad revenue.”
Clockwise from top left: Paleo & Vegan Peppermint Frosted Brownies | Whole30 Instant Pot Bone Broth (That Gels) | Easy Prime Rib Recipe with Au Jus and Perfect Creamy Horseradish Sauce | Whole30 Cranberry Chicken
Health food bloggers in December:
“My January traffic is going to be great… right? Right?!”
I worked hard this December to keep pumping out Whole30 and paleo recipes that would appeal to the winter festivities, but it was a lot like treading water. No one was making my egg roll in a bowl or my Mexican chicken stuffed sweet potatoes. Nope, they were–hey, like us–eating chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls at the 3rd office party of the month and binging on takeout leftovers at home.
And, hey, my January traffic was phenomenal. It was more than great for me. So you know what I might do next December, instead of trying to capture the holiday audience? Prep for Whole30 January, y’all. Ya live and learn.
Not to say I won’t be making all the paleo treats, but my focus next year might just be blowing your New Year’s resolutions out of the water.
All of that to say this: my RPMs (revenue earned per 1000 pageviews on my site) were at a seasonal high and my traffic was pretty good – it increased after Christmas when people were presumably preparing for a Whole30. Most of the sponsored work I was offered was for products that don’t jive with my niche: sodas and sugars and things like that, so I passed on most of it. I had a good chunk of freelance food photography this month, which helped a lot, and I’d like to be more intentional about that in the future. More than anything, though, I’m working to increase my sponsored work intentionally and find awesome brands I love to work with who pay me what our content is worth. We’ll see.
On to the numbers!
My traffic stayed steady throughout most of December and started increasing the day after Christmas, when people were patting their bellies full of stocking candy and bemoaning that second slice of red velvet cake. Ultimately, my pageviews were, comparing the first 30 days of December to all 30 of November, more than 8% higher.
I don’t include any of my freelance work that isn’t completely related to my blog and my online presence. For example, this month I worked on my nonprofit client’s year-end campaign. I’m sure my blog had some sort of influence when they hired me, but it’s not directly related, so I don’t include it. On the other hand, my freelance food photography is a direct result of my online presence, so it goes in the report.
- Sponsored posts: $775. I had two small sponsored posts go live in December, and they were both on the lower end for me budget-wise. I work with one client multiple times a year and set this rate before I had the traffic I do now. Raising this income is by far and away my biggest goal for 2018. I’m trying to be deliberate and follow only strategies that are time efficient, too. Stay tuned; hopefully I’ll have good stuff to report!
- Ad revenue with Adthrive: $6902.84. RPM (revenue per thousand impressions [pageviews]) = 6902.84/375,763 = $18.37. My RPM was a little higher in November; I’m curious whether this is due to the drop after December 25th or something else.
- Freelance food photography: $1700. I’ve worked this particular client for years, and they found me because of my blog, way back when.
- Sales: $1240. This number includes all the items I have for sale on my site, like my food photography presets and my ebook Improve Your Food Photography Almost Instantly. My cookbook The Paleo Instant Pot launched this month, so this number reflects sales after that release.
- Amazon Affiliate sales: $423.08. This is what I make when anyone purchases something using a link from my site. It doesn’t cost the buyer anything else, but gives me a small portion of the sale as a referral fee for the purchase. I’ve been wanting this number to be higher, and I’m seeing nice growth right now… but it hadn’t happened as of November 2017.
Total Income: $11,040.92
- WPOpt: $43. I adore my host, and they keep my site running super fast. They even include an https certificate, so I didn’t have to deal with any headache at all. They offer different levels for different traffic volumes, so there’s something for everyone. I probably need to upgrade soon, but I still feel like WPOpt handles the volume well at the level I pay for. I highly recommend them.
- Mailerlite: $65. My list is so important to my traffic, but that focus has made it pretty large. I used Mailerlite because it was so affordable, but I’ll likely be switching to Mailchimp or ConvertKit soon.
- Adobe: $50. I pay for the entire suite of Adobe apps, because I do so much design, photography, and videography. For my blog I used Premiere Pro, Lightroom, Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator, so the $50/month deal is great for me.
- LinkMyPhotos: $5. This services lets me link my Instagram photos directly to my blog. A lot of people use LinkInProfile, but LinkMyPhotos is half the price and does the same thing.
- Food blogger VA: $600. My assistant helps me with finding social media links to share, on photo and video shoots, and on a million other things. She’s taking on new clients right now, too, if you’re interested! She’s awesome; check her out.
Total Expenses: $763
Net Income: $10,277.92
This time last year, I was terrified. I’d quit my day job just as we were moving into our brand new home. I was hoping I could just make it work on my freelance income as I’d done in the past, and I was considering going full-time with an agency.
This, however, is the one year anniversary of the moment when I went, “Wait… I think I can actually make this work.”
I’d just started posting Whole30 recipes and was beginning to think that they might do well for me. I was just about to post one of what would turn out to be a very popular recipe, my Whole30 zuppa toscana, and I began to think, “What if I put as much energy into my blog as I did into working for my clients?”
So that’s what I did. I gave it the ol’ college try, and I ended up making more than $11,000 off of my blog just one year later. I learned a few other things along the way, picked up practices and commitments that helped me go from “My blog pays out Netflix bill” to “My blog pays all our bills,” and I feel this undeniable need to share that information with other bloggers who are ready for their blogs to take them to that next level. And hey, guess what! I’m still taking on a couple guinea pigs for my food blog coaching program at a reduced rate, before we turn it into a formal group coaching course and program. You should get in touch if you’re interested!
And you know what? I really dig the next level. It’s rewarding financially, creatively, and there’s a respect that comes with it that I didn’t experience in my past.
There’s less selling yourself to people, and more of them wanting to buy you.
There’s also a helluvalot of people who don’t believe what I do is an actual job that takes actual time and makes actual money, and I’ve become a little shy about explaining what I do. I can see the light sort of dim behind people’s eyes when I tell them; they think, “Oh, that’s cute!” Like I just told them I sell weight loss pills out of the trunk of my car.
But all of the freedom and flexibility and genuine passion that I have for what I do makes up for these people times four thousand million bajillion. It’s getting to start a food blog and restaurant design agency with the best designer and developer you’ve ever met, it’s taking on clients whose work you really admire and helping them craft the perfect presence for their brand, it’s getting to talk about food all day long and getting weird new products in the mail every day to try.
I’ve said it before but damn, it’s just the best job ever. ❤
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.