Hello! This is Jason checking in for our monthly traffic and income report. I’m Jessica’s husband and behind the scenes guy involved in all the “technical stuff.” Once a month I enjoy my brief moment in the sun by being featured on the homepage. WooHoo!
Okay, enough of that, now down to business. These monthly income reports are our motivation to see how far we’ve come, and to shake our heads at how long things have taken. We track the stats and strategies we’ve implemented so we can learn from our history, but also to share tips that we’ve picked up along the way.
Back in June of 2014, we committed to creating a series of reports that would journal our progression regardless of whether we were doing well or not. We thank you guys for allowing us to interrupt the regular flow of recipes for these progress updates.
This March was filled with a new set of highs for both revenue and traffic, score! But behind the scenes, this blog came to a screeching halt for about a week. This unexpected blog-vacation was because our iMac video card decided to raise up a white flag and declare no more editing photos. We barely completed one of our sponsored posts on time. I’ll touch on this in a moment.
If you have any questions or comments on the content below, let me know. We always appreciate hearing from you. I will also do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.
Alright, let’s get into the numbers, shall we…
Please note we do make a small commission from each affiliate link listed here, but we want you to know that we stand behind the products we recommend.
- Sponsorships – $530.00
- Sovrn – $364.26
- Gourmet Ads – $184.49
- Gamut – $116.93
- Swoop – $113.63
- BlogHer – $93.10
- Adsense – $65.32
- Amazon – $25.76
- Etsy – $1.40
- YouTube – $1.05
Total Income: $1,495.94 (+17%) — last month: $1,258.28
- Food – $406.71
- Props & Materials – $61.43
- Synthesis (Hosting) – $47.00
- OptinMonster – $29.00
- Food Blogger Pro – $25.00
- MailChimp – $25.00
- SurveyMonkey – $19.00
- Grammarly – $11.66
- QuickBooks – $10.36
- TailWindApp – $9.99
- Adobe Creative Cloud – $9.99
Total Expenses: $655.14
= NET PROFIT: $840.80
Top Traffic Sources:
We show this stat every month. RPM is revenue per thousand impressions. This is a helpful metric to determine what the income is per 1,000 pageviews. It is calculated like this: RPM = (Revenue / Pageviews) x 1,000.
Here are the number of fans, followers, and subscribers for the various outreach efforts we have. Our goal is not only to increase pageviews on our blog but to also grow our digital tribe.
- Google+ – 4,860 (+21)
- Pinterest – 4,428 (+655)
- Newsletter – 1,839 (+305)
- Instagram – 1,653 (+829)
- Facebook – 1,352 (+42)
- YouTube – 527 (+11)
- Twitter – 440 (+25)
Total: 15,099 (+11.3%) – last month: 13,211
OVERVIEW ON INCOME & TRAFFIC
March was a good month for us, similar to February, we had another sponsored post receive a paid promotion on Facebook. This helped increase pageviews and ad impressions which equated to increased revenue. These spikes in traffic are certainly nice, but we don’t expect them to happen all the time, so we’re bracing ourselves for when pageviews drop to normal levels.
Stress Level Rising
Speaking of sponsored posts, we got accepted to create a recipe for Italian Frittata and it had a tight deadline. We took the photos of the meal and downloaded them to the computer like usual. However, the next day when I was ready to edit the photos our iMac was acting very strange and it was painfully slow. I decided to restart the machine as that’s typically the first response every IT professional will give you.
Except, this time, the computer never booted up. It got stuck in a restart loop of death. That’s my technical term for it. The machine would restart, the Apple icon would display, the status bar would load as if it was going to boot up, but then it would automatically shut down and restart again. This happened over and over.
I spent an hour on the phone with Apple support and they tried all sorts of techniques to boot it up but unfortunately, none of them worked. They feared the worst as the internal hard drive could have been corrupted and we were afraid we’d lose everything. Luckily, we had a 4TB Seagate external hard drive that was hooked up to save a Time Machine computer backup, so I wasn’t panicking yet.
I had to bring it to the Apple Store and they diagnosed the machine with a broken video card. A huge sigh of relief as it wasn’t the hard drive, but the turnaround time was 5 business days to fix. The sponsored post was due in 6 days. Our external hard drive was formatted to only work with a Mac so I couldn’t even access the files at my day job.
In the end, everything worked out fine, but dealing with the hassle, computer repair cost, and scrambling around trying to figure out a backup plan (had we not gotten the computer back in time) was not fun. Ideally, we’d like to buy a Mac laptop just in case the computer dies again, but that’s an expensive investment at the moment. Instead, I’m looking into Cloud based backup solutions so we can at least retrieve the files and work from a PC if we had to. If you’re not backing up your files, you should think twice and make a plan if your computer crashes or gets stolen.
Adding Food Expenses
Last month I touched on this thing I was calling The Rule of One’s. It embraced the notion of One Recipe, One Pageview, One Improvement at a Time. Each new post you create provides the potential for increasing your traffic, but it also allows you the opportunity to make small improvements along the way. In our case, I thought it was about time to make these Income Reports even more informative. For this month and moving forward we are going to show the cost of food and props such as bowls, plates, table cloths, etc.
I wish I could say that the ingredients for each new recipe magically appeared every time we opened the refrigerator door but the fact that it doesn’t means we have to pay out of pocket to get them. Technically these are business expenses. From a moral perspective we weren’t ready to show the food expenses because we didn’t want to see a big fat negative net revenue each month. However, now that we’re making a little more money I think the time has come. Hopefully, these new numbers will shine even more light on the true cost of running a food blog.
Although this does involve a few extra steps. We opened a separate bank account and a new credit card specifically for Jessica’s Blog. Previously, the food and prop costs were muddled together with our personal household cost of living. Now each time Jessica goes to the grocery store to buy food she needs to split up the transactions into blog purchases and general family purchases.
We also set up a QuickBooks Online account to keep track of expenses and to upload receipts. This provides us with a clearer picture of our blog business and a more accurate profit and loss statement.
There were 14 blog posts for the month of March which was the same as February. This month our pageviews continued to improve upon last month’s numbers. We’re still making the conscious effort to make improvements and learn new things. In fact, Jessica has even taken it upon herself to start photographing recipes. You heard that right! There are two recipes on the blog for April that she took the photos of and even edited them in Photoshop! Can you guess which ones they are? I’ll fill you in more on that next month.
March was a special month, and one of those moments where the internet world meets the real world. Jessica’s FoodBloggerPro friends Beth (Eat Within Your Means) and Raquel (My California Roots) met for the first time. They were all attending the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim. We were delighted to host Beth at our house during her time away from Oregon, and it was funny to find out that Raquel’s parents live just down the street from us.
For me, it was finally nice to meet both of them as well, although I was on babysitting duty so our time was limited. I look forward to conversing with them more and meeting new food bloggers at the Everything Food Conference in Salt Lake City this May. Counting down…
As always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read our report. I look forward to updating you again next month.