This is our food blog income report for January 2019, outlining 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! Also, how I started focusing on SEO and the difference it made.
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.
My Burger Bowls with Special Sauce from January 2019 are become reader faves!
Hey, hello, HOWDY to January 2019. If you’re a comfort food blogger, you’re probably like, “Uh, why are you so excited. January is the suck.”
And if you’re a health food blogger, you’re like “Yippee ki yay, I’m here, and I’m ready!”
As I mentioned in my January 2018 income report, January for health food bloggers is like go time. I have the opportunity to grow my email list, social media platforms, and overall blog traffic significantly this time each year, and this January was no exception.
My traffic in January 2019 was super exciting. Why?
I’ve been doing the health food blog thing long enough to expect a big bump in January, but I was still super anxious about it actually happening. And I wondered if maybe the bump I had last year would be the same as I’d have this year, like that’s just the max amount of people doing a Whole30 or going paleo or just eating clean? But…
Not so! My pageviews increased by 72% from the previous year.
Pageviews in January 2019
Here’s my overall traffic in January 2019, compared to the last 31 days in 2018.
And my traffic increased 72% from this time last year. Pretty exciting, considering last year was such a huge bump for me. You can read more about that in my January 2018 income report.
I don’t include any of my freelance work that isn’t completely related to my blog and my online presence. For example, I don’t include any income I might make from 40A., my food blog virtual assistant agency. Is my experience as a blogger related to 40A.? Of course! But is it completely related to my blog? Nah, so it’s excluded it.
This month, I was still halfway on maternity leave, so there isn’t much sponsored, freelance, or coaching income.
- Sponsored posts: $1125. Yes, I way, way, way underprice myself out of sheer habit. I’m working with CookIt Media to improve my outreach and to fix that.
- Ad revenue with Adthrive: $26,732.74. RPM (revenue per thousand impressions [pageviews]) = 26,732.74/659,151 = $14.61. January RPM sucks.
- Freelance food photography: none. I’m actually trying to move away from freelance work.
- Freelance recipe development: none.
- Food blog retainer clients: $400
- Food Blog & Photography Coaching: $1800. My rate for coaching actually increased January 1, 2019, and I had one previously quoted client confirm in the new year. Coaching will continue to increase in price, so if you’re interested, take advantage now!
- Beautycounter affiliate income: $86.38. I absolutely adore Beautycounter products, but promoting them is just not super natural for me (like it is for me to promote Thrive Market). I see so many unbelievable consultants within the healthy food blogger niche and am so jealous! Alas, it’s probably just not going to be the right sales platform for me.
- Thrive Market: $3840. I’m a partner with Thrive Market and make a bit of money whenever someone signs up for a trial through my link. I was a Thrive shopper before they reached out to me, and I cannot overstate just how much I love this company!
- ButcherBox: $420. I started partnering with ButcherBox in January after I tried their product and totally fell in love. This is also a fantastic affiliate program with a high payout per sale, and the product is so awesome that it’s just beyond easy to sell.
- Sales: $897. This number includes all the items I have for sale on my site, like my digital cookbook The Paleo Instant Pot, my food photography presets, and my ebook Improve Your Food Photography Almost Instantly.
- Amazon Affiliate sales: $1324.29. 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. My Amazon affiliate sales are decreasing, since I’m actively prioritizing my relationship with Thrive Market.
Total Income: $36,925.41 *has heart attack*
- 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: $150. My list is so important to my traffic, but that focus has made it pretty large. I use Mailerlite because it does the job, and I really don’t feel like I need any fancy capabilities with my list. My subscription went up $20 this month because I reached 30,000 subscribers that month.
- 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.
- Later.com: $10. This services allows us to schedule my Instagram posts and include a link in bio.
- Food blogger VA: $700 My assistant helps me with finding social media links to share, on photo and video shoots, and on a million other things. She’s made the biggest difference in my business and what I’m able to do and earn, and I really think everyone needs a virtual assistant.
- Pinterest Specialist: $200. I have the best Pinterest specialist ever, and she designs the strategy for us at 40A. She handles all my Pinterest activity, and I beg her everyday to stay with me forever.
Total Expenses: $1153
Net Income: $35,772.41
So… I had my best month ever (by a lot!) with a tiny baby at home, just watching people make my Egg Roll in a Bowl, and feeling damn good about the focus on SEO I’d implemented earlier last year.
Early last year, I became friends with another food blogger, Erren from Erren’s Kitchen. Erren was (and still is) working on a major SEO project and was already seeing massive results, and she convinced me to do the same. This meant learning efficient keyword research, as well as writing posts differently and updating old posts.
So I took that on, like, uh, 6 months pregnant. Really good time to do that, or, if you ask my husband, maybe not the best time, but here we are. We made it, right?!
That means I made a massive spreadsheet of my top posts, as well as the ones I thought were really awesome recipes with significant potential, and updated each with new photos, video, copy, and instructions. I reshot multiple recipes each week, sometimes having to re-reshoot a video since my giant belly was in the way of a very important shot, staying up late to get them cranked out.
The way I saw it was… if I put in this time and effort now, I’ll have a stronger platform on which I can ride through Q4 2018 and January 2019. And you know what?
It worked. It really, really worked.
Look at this. You know my pageviews were up 72% from the previous January but a deep dive into my analytics makes it even more interesting:
If you’re a current food blogger, you know the drama Pinterest is giving us. All the changes! It’s hard to know what to do and what works anymore. In fact… my new users from Pinterest dropped dramatically in January 2019 compared to January 2018.
But my traffic from organic search results more than doubled. 136% increase! Whoa.
Not only is this increasing my domain authority, but it’s balancing out my traffic streams to be not so totally dependent on viral pins. By focusing on SEO, I was able to offset a major dip from an otherwise reliable platform.
And also, 136% increase! Bottom line? SEO is everything.
Food Blogging & Photography Coaching
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Whether you need help crafting or scheduling social content, implementing SEO updates, reaching out to brands, or, well, anything you can think of that might support you as a food blogger, we’ve got the right person to join your team! My food blog virtual assistant agency is made up of the most talented food bloggers, ready to join your team and help you do more of what you love, less of what you don’t, and make more money doing it. Click here to reach out and get a quote.