This is our food blog income report for March 2018. 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! Also, why I started a food blog VA agency.
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.
Everyone freaked out over my iced golden milk turmeric latte recipe!
March 2018 felt a lot like settling in with new numbers and a new platform. The rush of January was over, but a higher-than-ever February, followed by a really decent March, let me feel like this might just be my traffic now. Of course, there’s still the summer to, for health food bloggers, dread, but it felt good knowing that my numbers were that much higher than they were in 2017, and there were no New Year’s resolutions to blame!
And March 2018 was super busy for me. It doesn’t necessarily look like it, considering I clocked a tiny amount of sponsored work and no freelance food photography or recipe development (Though we were working on these projects, were did not invoice any in March 2018, so they won’t show up on this report). Instead…
I started a food blog VA agency with my own assistant, Christina. Uh, kind of a major deal. I spent much of March wondering, What have I done and much more of March trying to figure out how it would all work. But more on that after the juicy bit: the numbers!
My traffic in March 2018 still shows an elevation post-January, which I was super excited about. It dipped a bit from February’s numbers, but my expectation going in was that I’d see a super high January, followed by a drop right back to about where my numbers were before 2018 started. Luckily for us, that wasn’t the case!
Even cooler? My March 2018 traffic was 500% higher than my March 2017 traffic. 500%!
Pageviews: 616,029 (for all 31 days in March)
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.
This month, I ramped up my one-on-one food blog and photography coaching program, as you’ll see.
- Sponsored posts: $500. I wrote one recipe for a regular sponsored post client and did one Instagram video this month.
- Ad revenue with Adthrive: $9464.10. RPM (revenue per thousand impressions [pageviews]) = 9464.10/616,029 = $15.36.
- Freelance food photography: none.
- Freelance recipe development: none this month.
- Food Blog & Photography Coaching: $2150. I continued working one-on-one with a variety of food bloggers or beginners, offering–my favorite–an in-depth brand development analysis and thorough panel of growth suggestions. I offer the client my food photography resources like my food photography book and food photography Lightroom presets, included in the program, then work with them each week closely critiquing their recent photos, SEO efforts, and copywriting. We work on new content ideas together, dive deep in their analytics, and troubleshoot their social media efforts. In other words, it’s an extremely intensive, hands-on program for any blogger who wants to level up and take his or her game more seriously. I highly recommend trying it if that sounds like you! You can get in touch with me to learn more.
- Sales: $395. 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: $773.62. 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.
Total Income: $13,282.72
- 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: $110. 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.
- 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: $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. More on that in the next paragraph! cal
Total Expenses: $908
Net Income: $12,374.72
Why I Started a Food Blog VA Agency, 40A.
It seems like years ago that I hired my own assistant, but we’re only just now coming up on a year. Considering how integral she is to the 40 Aprons team, I still remember feeling positively terrified when I decided to hire her. I’d become beholden to someone. I had to bring in enough money to pay my bills… and hers, too! I was now responsible for this contract, as well as leading her in a way that made her efficient but let her feel like part of the team.
But I crunched some numbers and got over it, reminding myself that it would be her job to let me focus on the things that actually make me money or bring me joy with blogging: content creation, contract work, and relationship development. Not scheduling Facebook posts or Pinterest content or project management or tech support. Pass!
And only a couple months later, it was evident just how much her involvement had let 40 Aprons grow. I was seeing better traffic and – hey! – more money, an ROI I just couldn’t deny. But the message I was getting from my food blogger friends about their own VAs was drastically different. They felt like they didn’t know what they could reasonably expect from their VAs, that they couldn’t approach them when they weren’t satisfied with the results, that their invoices were way too often surprises, and that their assistant didn’t seem to have a complete grasp on the platform or feel like part of the team.
Then it occurred to me: Why can’t I replicate my own VA relationship?
We decided we would do a few things differently to make these relationships work as well as it had for me:
- We train the VAs for you and keep them on top of best practices, refining our strategies with social media platform and search engine changes. This is totally off your plate. We also train them on your specific project and help craft a plan for growing your traffic and followings as best we can.
- We build in a couple levels of communication: direct communication with your VA, but higher level strategy and project development communication with both my assistant (And business partner at 40A.!). This means never having to feel awkward about approaching your VA when you feel like you’re not seeing the right results or you want to change or request something.
- We have backups for our backups. If something happens to your VA, you might never even know it! No weeks off, no empty schedules – your project will always be filled. We simply have the hands to do it! And hey… sometimes it might be me scheduling Facebook posts for you. Whatever it takes, we’ve got you covered.
- We offer in-depth social media and traffic analytics each month and a content analysis from none other than ya girl! My background in digital marketing strategy and brand strategy lets me see where to go with your content when it might seem murky to you. And I can’t even do a proper content strategy for myself – it’s too much of the forest and trees thing. Instead, I take advantage of my background and experience as a full-time food blogger, along with my unique understanding of your project, to continually offer content analysis for your content planning and to help us refine our strategy.
- We keep our services affordable, even with all of these extras.
And so far, it’s been working really well. We hear over and over that it’s been such a relief to have all of the benefits of a personal VA with, at the very same time, the feeling of a team and agency behind each blogger. We’ve already grown pretty quickly and are simply amazed at the bloggers we get to join and help grow!
We pride ourselves on letting you do what you love when it comes to blogging; we handle the rest. If you’re ready to pass off some of those tasks that you dread or you feel are simply just not a great use of your time, then I’d love for you to consider working with us. We don’t offer set package prices but talk with each blogger about her individual needs and goals. After that, we develop a proposal for a monthly project and go from there. I really think it could change everything for you!
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.