Happy New Year! This is Jason here, the husband who handles the technical side of the blog while Jessica is off creating delicious recipes for you. For over two years we have been openly posting our monthly income reports for all to see. Why would we do such a crazy thing you ask? The transparency holds us accountable, and it motivates us to show progress.
These reports cover the revenue and expenses of running Jessica’s blog while also keeping you updated on our traffic and social media following. If you’re not interested in the business of blogging, that’s okay. We just want you to know that we’re working extremely hard to bring you consistent quality content.
We started this food blog in 2012 making no money and this month surpassed $4,000. We both have full-time day jobs, and our little toddler James keeps us on our toes. We then juggle our schedules like crazy people to publish three quality recipes per week, but you know what? We enjoy this blogging thing, and we’re very grateful for those of you who follow along with us. Cheers to the new year!
Alright, ready to take a look at the numbers…
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.
Total Income: $4,194.36 (+45.7%) — last month: $2,879.67
- Consultants – $1,000
- Food – $365.58
- Props & Materials – $107.99
- Facebook Ads – $68.23
- MailChimp – $50.00
- Synthesis – $47.00
- BoardBooster – $30.00
- OptinMonster – $29.00
- Food Blogger Pro – $25.00
- CloudFlare – $20.00
- Zapier – $20.00
- SurveyMonkey – $19.00
- Grammarly – $11.66
- QuickBooks – $10.36
- Buffer – $10.00
- TailWindApp – $9.99
- Adobe Creative Cloud – $9.99
- MiloTree – $6.00
Total Expenses: $1,839.80
= NET PROFIT: $2,354.56
Top Traffic Sources:
Rolling Traffic Comparison (YOY):
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.
- Facebook – 23,841 (+2,488)
- Pinterest – 14,183 (+1,906)
- Google+ – 4,969 (+41)
- Instagram – 4,657 (+597)
- Newsletter – 3,649 (-13) –Deleted 211 inactive emails
- Twitter – 1,546 (+741)
- YouTube – 623 (+24)
- StumbleUpon – 174 (+10)
- Tumblr – 118 (+77)
- Bloglovin’ – 94 (+1)
Total: 53,854 (+12%) – last month: 47,982
OVERVIEW ON INCOME & TRAFFIC
The end of the year and 4th quarter is always a favorite time for food bloggers. Revenue from advertising is at its peak and company marketing budgets need to be exhausted before the new year starts. Traffic also tends to be higher as everyone turns to the web looking for holiday recipes. We had a 25% bump in traffic compared to last month, and those extra 30,000 visitors helped increase display ad revenue.
This month we decided to change the format of our daily emails. We have an RSS Campaign setup with MailChimp that sends out an email to all our subscribers every time we publish a new post. Previously we would send out the entire post including all images and text. We were curious what the backlash would be when we changed to a shorter style. You know what? Nothing, not a single complaint or a spike in un-subscribers.
We implemented the shorter-style emails on Dec 7th, and here’s a comparison of 25 days before and after the switch:
The new format has increased traffic to the blog by 90%! The benefit of getting more people on the site helps increase revenue. We’re not necessarily chasing the money with this blog, but additional income earned allows us to reinvest back into the blog for things like video outsourcing, software, and theme updates.
The last several months Jessica has made it a point to revisit old recipes and blog posts to refresh them with new content and photos. However, some recipes posts were so overly complicated and beyond the point of repair. Instead of keeping low-quality content that no longer fits with the direction Jessica is going, she kissed 13 posts goodbye and removed them from the blog.
Here’s a collage of a few older and uglier recipes no longer on the site:
Deleting recipes was something we have been considering for some time but were too hesitant to follow through. We thought since the content was already created and the work was done why should we remove it and create missing URLs. In the end, quality control was more important. Jessica only wants to show recipes that she feels confident that you will enjoy.
There were 12 blog posts for the month of December which was on par with November. We were very happy to finish the year strong and look forward to the new year. We anticipate a dip in revenue starting in January as we enter a new quarter, but from experience, the new year starts off with an uptick in traffic. So we’ll see how that goes next month.
Hope you all had a great holiday season! James, Jessica, and Jason (me) at the Irvine Regional Park:
As always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read our report. I look forward to updating you again next month.