February Income Report – $460.03

Making Money from a Food Blog - February Income Report

Greetings! My name is Bjork. I am Lindsay’s husband and the GAO at Pinch of Yum (Google Analytics Obsessor). I write a post once a month to fill everyone in on the behind the scenes happenings at Pinch of Yum.

Lindsay and I thought it would be helpful to share some of our blog experiences for people that are interested in the nitty gritty details of a food blog.

And I am definitely that person who is interested in the nitty gritty details of a food blog.

I often go to blogs and think: “I wonder how much traffic they get?” or “I wonder how they’re monetizing this blog?” or “I wonder how long it will be before Lindsay finds this video and sends it to me?”

So if you’re interested in seeing some of the Pinch of Yum details, you’ve come to the right place!

Here’s the breakdown of February’s income from the blog.

The Breakdown:

Foodie Blogroll – $70.73
Bluehost Affiliate Program – $260
The Thesis Theme Affiliate Program– $28.71
VigLink – $67.50
Google AdSense – $33.09

Grand Total: $460.03

If you want to see an explanation of each income category, check out December’s Income Report.

Things we learned in February

Throttling

We use a really affordable hosting company called Bluehost to host Pinch of Yum.

Bluehost is able to offer affordable hosting because they use shared hosting plans. A shared hosting plan means that the server your website lives on is shared with numerous other websites from around the world. If you have a shared hosting plan you can actually look and see the other domains that share your server. The geek in me thinks this is pretty cool. The URL to do this is below if you’re interested (it’s a free service).

http://www.yougetsignal.com/tools/web-sites-on-web-server/

95% of the time, shared hosting isn’t a problem. It becomes a problem if your site starts to get a lot of traffic, in which case Bluehost is forced to throttle your site in order to let the other sites continue running at normal speed.

Throttling, in very general terms, is when the hosting company purposefully slows down the speed at which your website loads. We ran into throttling after a week when Pinch of Yum got around 55,000 page views. We immediately saw a decrease in traffic, comments, and overall engagement because of the throttling.

After doing a little research we decided the best solution would be to just bump up to a “Pro” level plan with Bluehost. The cost is $19.95 per month (as opposed to the entry level $5.95 per month). One of the benefits of the pro plan is that it ensures that you’re blog is moved to a server that doesn’t have as many shared sites.

If you’re just starting out, a basic shared hosting plan will be perfect. If you’re to the point where you are starting to get a decent amount of traffic and you notice your site lagging a bit, it might be worth it to upgrade to the next level that your hosting service offers.

Google Adsense

After last month’s dismal Foodie Blogroll earnings we decided to do an experiment with Google Adsense. The Google Adsense ad is the image block you see about halfway down the sidebar to the right. Look to your right. Do you see it?

We were curious to see how much a Google Adsense ad that looked similar to the Foodie Blogroll ad would earn.

Even though the AdSense ad doesn’t have as good of a location as the Foodie Blogroll ad does, we still thought it was interesting to compare the numbers.

Adsense earned a little less than half of what the Foodie Blogroll ad did. I think that part of the reason for the lower earnings is due to the fact that Adsense is pay-per-click, as opposed to pay-per-impression (like Foodie Blogroll).

Pay-per-click can be great if you have a site where people are looking to purchase a product or service. However, this usually isn’t the case for people that are reading a food blog. It’s up in the air right now as to whether we will keep using Google Adsense or not.

Tips and Takeaways

Help Your Readers Solve Problems

Lindsay and I have received a handful of emails this month from readers saying thanks for setting up the How to Start a Food Blog and Resources for Food Bloggers pages. It’s interesting, because these are the most profitable pages on Pinch of Yum. 80% of the affiliate sales that happen on Pinch of Yum come from these two pages.

The takeaway from this is that providing your blog readers with targeted and helpful information can also create ways for you to earn money from your blog. You include quality product links for your readers and if they’re interested they buy the product. You get a portion of the sale and most importantly, your readers are connected to a product that helps them in some way. Win-win.

Here are some possibilities for informative pages you could add to your blog:

  • Links to your favorite kitchen gadgets
  • A page listing your most-used cookbooks
  • Videos showcasing your photography equipment and routines
  • Recommendations for products related to dietary needs (i.e. gluten free resources)
  • A page with step-by-step photos of certain cooking skills

The list could go on and on. My point is this: if you’re looking to create an income from your food blog, first think about how you can help people, and second research to see if the service or product you mention has an affiliate program. Often times you might not be able to find an affiliate program for the product or resource you’re writing about. That’s okay! I’d encourage you to still go through the process of creating the resources for your readers. Free help is still worth giving. :)

Thanks

It’s fun for me to have a chance to write a post once a month for Pinch of Yum. As always, please feel free to let us know if there is something we can do to help you out!

All of this month’s profits from Pinch of Yum will go to an orphanage in the Phillipines called the Children’s Shelter of Cebu. It’s an amazing place. Feel free to check it out. Lindsay and I will be going there this summer!

P.S. Lindsay has been working really hard on a Food Photography eBook that should be wrapped up by the end of the month. As one of the first people to review the eBook, I’m excited to tell you that it’s super practical, easy to read, and helpful for anyone who has ever wanted to improve their food photos. Stay tuned for more details!


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Comments

  1. Hey, I dont have a food blog, but I wanted to say thanks for the tip about providing something useful/helpful to your readers with an affiliate process connected to it, definitely something I can incorporate into my site!

  2. Very interesting to see how much income you get from those two resource pages, thanks – as ever – for sharing!

  3. Holy cow. That’s a great number! It just keeps getting bigger! Thanks again – as always – for all the pointers!

  4. Bjork, I have absolutely no interest in tech details or income reports, but I sure am interested in two hardworking folks who are invested in transparency, publicly demonstrate integrity in business, and creatively merge skill, hobby, and philanthropy. Thanks for being a beacon of generosity.

  5. Love seeing all the deets!

  6. Thank you for posting these every month! You guys teach me so much and inspire me to grow my blog traffic!!

  7. The throttling thing is interesting to me b/c I use bluehost too on the normal plan and ran into that a few months ago even when I was getting maybe 15K pageviews a week, but before I installed a cache plugin. Once I did that, the throttling has been much more minimal even though my traffic has increased significantly since then so I haven’t had to jump up to the more expensive pro option yet. Thanks for that link to see who shares the server with you, I’m totally going to check that out! Love these reports, I always learn something new, keep them up!

  8. I really enjoy reading your posts (I’m a Google Analytics dork to the core, having been a web analyst) and seeing how you earn money on your blog. I am working on starting my own mostly-food centered blog and the tips I have gotten from your site are wonderful and helpful! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Karan. Another fun analytics tools I’ve been playing around with is called clicktale.com. We don’t use it on Pinch of Yum, but I’ve used it on a small website I’m working on just as an experiment. It records live video of the user coming to your website. There’s a free version. It’s pretty limited, but still fun to play around with. Just a quick tip from one analytics dork to another. :)

  9. That’s fabulous that you’re making a decent amount from the Bluehost affiliate program. I was with them for hosting services about a year, and it was great for a year. Then it went south, quickly. The throttling, the downtime, it was a total mess and I had to move to another host but while they worked, they worked great and the price was right.

    I love these monthly recap posts!

    • Hi Averie! Thanks for the comment. What hosting company do you use now? Has it been a good experience with the new hosting provider?

  10. Wow, thanks so much for doing this post every month to let us know where your revenue comes from and the pros and cons of using each type of money earner. I’m pretty new the blog world and have earned basically zero dollars but I have a feeling that has to with not hooking up with the right sites. I just got into the Foodie Blogroll publishers program so hopefully that’ll bring in something. I look forward to reading your report for March. Any useful tips you have are greatly appreciated!

  11. Thank you…this is so interesting and inspiring!

    I also just wanted to comment as a long time lover of your blog who just now noticed your pug love and realized the immense cuteness of your dog. Adorbs.

  12. Wow – good for you!! You guys are doing great with this!

  13. Love that you’re sharing this! I find it so fascinating. I wish my fam had a GAO, but for now I’ll learn from this. Haha. Cute pug video!! That’s so funny.

  14. Thanks for continuing with these posts, I really enjoy them and love the way you two work together, and how your total support for Lindsay comes through in these short posts. Keep up the awesome work :)

  15. kale @ tastes good to me! says:

    Thanks so much for the info! Very generous of you to give tips that can help other bloggers. :)

  16. Came here from Pinterest (sweet potato recipe ;)) and just read all your great information. Off to click all your ads since you have such a great way of spending your money!

  17. I love it when you talk nerdy to me! Keep up the good work my friend!

  18. came across your site researching how to make $ from a food blog. interesting and resourceful site that you have! im inspired too about the Cebu orphanage (my family is from the P.I.)

    • Really?! That’s awesome! Have you been there? I’d love to hear more about your Philippines experiences/knowledge as we are going there in a few months!

  19. Thank you so much for these income reports! I actually came across Pinch of Yum looking for ways to increase traffic to my blog on google. I love seeing how people make money on blogs. The nerdy engineering side of me loves seeing data. You have so much great easy to understand information here. I had been playing around with the idea of adding VigLink to my blog and was just waiting to hear a good review of it. Thanks again!

    • Hey Sarah! Thanks for dropping by and saying hi. Glad to hear from a fellow data nerd. :) Let us know if there is something else you’d like to see in the monthly reports.

      P.S. I checked out your blog. Your house is awesome (this is a manly way of saying it’s super cute).

  20. Great posts – it really is incredibly helpful to find a post that describes/explains various income streams and how they are working out for you. I don’t have any advertising on my blog yet but have considered getting started with it. A couple quick questions – how many foodie blogroll ads are you running? Just one? I had never heard of VigLink before but just clicked over to that site and am just wondering how you feel about it? Worth looking into?

  21. Hello,

    I stumbled upon Punch of Yum today and am so happy that I did. Thank you for posting such helpful hints as to how to monitize your food blog. I am excited to implement some of what you have shared and hope that I may have some of the same successes that you have.

    I have question for you. I noticed that you have KISSinsights on your page. Has that helped you? Is the basic (free) plan worth getting or did you find that one of the monthly plans was more helpful?

    If you would be so kind (and if you have a moment) I would love some feedback about what you think of my sight.

    All the best,
    Kelly
    The Food-Minded Mama

  22. Really dumb question here…
    Your site has been so informative. This bluehosting thing. I currently have blogger/Google. What is the advantage to bluehost? Also, does throttling happen on blogger? (yeah, that may be a dumb question, I’m not sure I even know what I’m talking about)…
    Here’s my scenario. The months of February-early March my traffic rose from about 4000 a day to upwards of 18000 per day. Stayed there for about a month (averaging 10-12K per day). Suddenly, I’m now at 3-4K a day again. Literally overnight. THoughts? THANKS !!

    • Aimee! Your comment made me laugh out loud. I feel like I don’t know what I’m talking about most of the time, either. I’ll refer you to Bjork for this one. :). One a side note, those are some great numbers!

    • No dumb questions Aimee. You know that. :)

      The decrease in numbers could be due to numerous things.

      If it is related to where your site is hosted, it would be that your blog is being penalized in Google due to slow page load speed.

      You probably won’t notice a huge page load speed difference if you switch from Blogger to a Bluehost hosted blog. It would probably be a bit of a headache actually with not much reward. However, if you notice your site really loading slow then it might be worth switching to a VPS (see march’s income post). Google penalizes sites that don’t load very fast.

      You can check your page load speed here:

      Just FYI – Pinch of Yum scores an “A” for a PageSpeed grade and “C” for a YSlow grade.:

      I’m not sure how Blogger handles sites that suck a lot of bandwidth (get a lot of traffic). I’d be making it up if I gave you an answer. :) It’s very possible that they don’t penalize them at all.

      In an attempt to make this the world’s longest and most scattered reply of all time I’ll add one more thing. You should check your analytics to see where people were coming from when you had a lot of traffic. Was it all from Google? Was it from Pinterest? Did you have a link featured on http://www.pugs-r-us.co.uk/ ? That might help explain things a bit.

      Congrats on the solid traffic. Shoot me an email if want to chat more – bjork@pinchofyum.com

  23. Such an informative post. It’s so helpful to read about the results you get and the considerations that you make to maximize your profits. Thank you for sharing these things.

  24. Hi Lindsey, Thanks you so much for this useful article. I have searched a lot about food blogger and their income, but I didn’t find any single article which actually giving any useful information except yours. thanks again for sharing.

  25. I am new to writing and I have been thinking about starting a cooking blog. These are excellent tips. I will definitely try to follow some of these tips when I make my blog.

  26. I have not launch my blog yet but I have listed it in Bluehost, as you suggested, to reserve the name of the blog. I’d like to know how many recipes do I need to launch my blog. Thanks for your help. This blog is very generous to wannabes. God bless you for what you and Lindsay are doing in Cebu. It is a beautiful place though I have not gone down there when we where living in Manila. The beaches are beautiful. Most of the Spanish food have been ingrained in their culture, that was during the days of my grandmother. I’m now in my 50s, so count back. Thanks again.—Jean

  27. I have a food blog and I am planning on doing exactly what you guys are doing but in Nigeria. Going back to school to get the hang of social entrepreneurship on a larger scale. Hope it all works out. I loved the tips from your blog. Thank you so much :)

  28. This is amazing. I now will follow every post you do for the simple fact that you willingly provided new bloggers like me with this information. You have no idea how helpful this is. Thank you!

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