October Income Report – $4,237.45

Making Money from a Food Blog Image - October Income Report

Bjork here, back in the saddle for my monthly income report. I’ll actually be posting again tomorrow, as Lindsay and I have some food blog related news that we’re excited to share. It’ll be my first back-to-back appearance on Pinch of Yum!

Our hope is that these monthly income and traffic reports are inspirational and educational.

Inspirational in that you can see that’s it’s possible to create an income from a food blog and educational in that you can see where the income we’re earning is coming from.

Here is the breakdown for October’s income.

The Breakdown:

Grand Total: $4,237.45

Income as Percentages

October Income as Percentages

Income Notes:

It’s been fun to see sales of Tasty Food Photography hold steady over the past few months. To date the affiliate program has paid out over $1,400. Thanks to those of you that are Tasty Food Photography affiliates! Bluehost earnings are up compared to previous months. I’ll talk more about this in the tips and take aways section below. BlogHer earnings are down compared to previous months. As with any advertising network, there will be times when advertisers aren’t paying as much to have their ads shown. October appears to be one of those months for BlogHer.

Traffic

Here are the screenshots of the Pinch of Yum Google Analytics for the month of October.

Traffic Overview - October

Traffic Sources - October

Traffic Notes:

The organic search traffic continues to grow each month, which is fun to see. When you crunch the numbers from previous months it averages out to around 100 additional visitors (compared to the previous day) that are arriving at the blog thanks to organic search traffic. It’s a good reminder to be intentional about writing posts that are search engine friendly.

Tips and Takeaways

The Teacher, The Landlord, and The Inventor

There have been a handful of people that have asked about how we create an income from affiliate programs with like companies like Bluehost, DIY Themes (creators of the Thesis Theme), or Elegant Themes. The question got me thinking about all the different ways to create an income with a food blog, and how there are distinct differences between each type of income.

It’s easiest to explain the different types of income by comparing them to three types of jobs: a teacher, a landlord, and an inventor. The information below provides an overview of how we create income from affiliate programs and also offers additional insight into the other two types of income streams.

The Teacher

The TeacherThe role of a teacher is, simply put, to teach. :) If you have signed up to be an affiliate for an affiliate program then you need to think of yourself as a teacher. At the very least, a teacher needs three things in order to be successful:

  1. A subject they have an expertise in
  2. A class that wants to learn about that subject
  3. Time to help the students if they run into trouble

The same is true if you’re an affiliate for a product. As an affiliate marketer, you should have:

  1. An expertise or experience using a certain product
  2. Readers that want to learn about that product
  3. Time to help your readers if they run into trouble

That’s what we are doing with the how to start a food blog page. We’ve used all of the products that we promote on that page and often times help people troubleshoot issues they run into when they’re going through the process of setting up their blog.

If you’re not playing the role of teacher on your blog then you’re probably missing out on potential income. Take some time to browser the different affiliate networks listed below and see if you can find some products that you can teach your readers about.

The Landlord

The LandlordThe role of a landlord is to rent their real estate to the highest paying and friendliest tenants. As a food blogger, you need to think of your blog as real estate. We’ll call it screen real estate.

There are hundreds of companies that are interested in renting your screen real estate for advertising. The thing is, not all of these renters are equal. Some will have really annoying or offensive ads that pay a lot of money (for example, online casinos). Some renters have really great ads but will pay little to no money (for example, not-profits).

Your job as the landlord is to find renters that (1) pay an appropriate amount and (2) don’t make a mess of the place.

For Pinch of Yum, we’ve found the best renters to be Blogher and Google AdSense.

The Inventor

The InventorThe role of an inventor is to create a product that helps others solve a problem. With Pinch of Yum, we’ve done this by creating an eBook called Tasty Food Photography. The inventor income is one of the most important types of income to create. It can also be one of the hardest types of income to create.

There is a lot that goes into creating a product. With a book, you have to write the content, take the pictures, edit the content, figure out digital media formatting, figure out distribution and setup payment processing, to name a few.

However, the hardest thing about creating a product is the internal struggle.

It’s that little voice inside our head that says “Me? What do I have to offer. No one would be interested in buying something I created…”

But that’s almost always not true. If I were a betting man I’d bet a serious chunk of change that you know the answer to a problem that someone else has. You just have to figure out what it is. Once you figure out what that is you can put on your inventor hat and get to work.

One of the most affordable ways to start creating an income as an inventor is to write an eBook. It’ll take a lot of hard work, but the good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started. I don’t have room in this post to show the step-by-step process for creating an eBook, but I will provide the three essential pieces that we used create and distribute the eBook we sell on Pinch of Yum.

  1. A word processor (we used Apple’s Pages and converted it to a PDF)
  2. A distributor (we use E-junkie)
  3. A payment processor (use use PayPal Payments Pro and Google Checkout)

Your Food Blog Resume

The majority of food bloggers are only playing the role of landlord. They’re renting their screen real estate to companies that pay them a certain fee to show ads.

Far fewer people are playing the role of teacher and inventor. If you’re looking for ways to increase the income from your blog I’d encourage you to add the “jobs” of teacher or inventor to your to your food blog resume.

I’ll Be Back

To quote the great Arnold — “I’ll be back.”

Lindsay and I will be back tomorrow to fill you in with what’s been going on behind the scenes here at Pinch of Yum. Talk to you soon!


More from Pinch of Yum

Comments

  1. Wow! Great job. I actually gasp every month when I see the total. :)

    I’m confused by the BlogHer numbers. I have more than half of the pageviews that you do, but my income wasn’t nearly near half of yours. Last month was actually pretty bad. I opted out of political ads, rated R movies, lingerie and floating layers, but I don’t think it’d cause such a difference. Any ideas what could be the problem? It sure is frustrating!

    • I’ve heard that blogs are like taxes (but the opposite I guess). Most companies have pay brackets based on your size which doesn’t exactly pan out to normal-people math (like you are half as large so should get half as much…). It made a lot of sense to me… bigger blogs get paid significantly more than average-sized blogs, or so the rumor goes!

  2. I love these – they’re so incredibly insightful. Thank you for posting.

  3. So insightful! Thank you. Also, I’m so incredibly impressed with you both. Teacher, Landlord, and Inventor: You have it down!

    I am curious though–how do you earn revenue from the theme? Is based on others purchasing this theme based on your recommendations?

    PS. I seriously love your blog. You do indeed have so much to offer!

  4. I love these posts, you guys. I think it is fabulous of you to share so much knowledge!

  5. Very informative. I like the visuals of thinking about everything as teacher, landlord, or inventor. You all have done a fabulous job of all three! We hope to expand in each of these areas in the coming months. Thanks for your awesome blog and all the helpful information!

  6. Thanks Bjork! These are some of my favorite posts. Excited to see what you have to share tomorrow!

  7. Such an insightful post! I always look forward to your income reports!

  8. I always love your monthly recaps and breakdowns. I have heard from others the same thing about BlogHer right now so you’re not alone.

    Question for you and you may have covered this before – but when doing google searches for recipes, sometimes I’ll search and let’s say it’s for apple pie – and I search it and the first 10 results will likely have photos next to the recipe; many times they are from bloggers or else the big sites like allrecipes, foodnetwork, etc. Those are what I click on b/c they have photos. Your posts come up in google searches with images; and some bloggers even with the same recipe plugin – some will come up with images, some won’t. Any thoughts, plugins, etc you know of about it all? Sorry for the long question!

    • Great question Averie. What you said is so true about clicking on the recipes with photos. It’s a huge advantage. Three important things.

      Important Thing #1

      As you mentioned, it’s important to use a recipe plugin. We use EasyRecipe to format our recipes. Plugins like EasyRecipe format the text in a way that tells Google that it as a recipe.

      Important Thing #2

      A little trick is to add the word “photo” to the image’s class attribute. Might sound scary, but it’s actually pretty easy. When you click on the HTML tab of a post and look at the HTML code for your image, you’ll see text that looks like this:

      ‹img class="aligncenter photo size-full wp-image-7086" title="Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Peanut Butter Muffins" src="pinchofyum/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/chocolate-chip-muffins-82.jpg" alt="Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Peanut Butter Muffins" width="600" height="900" /›

      Do you see in the first part where it says class="aligncenter photo size-full wp-image-7086"? Adding the word photo tells Google that you want that image to be the one that is shown in the search result.

      If you don’t use this code then Google will usually just default to the first image in your post.

      Important Thing #3

      Know that Google does as it pleases. :) Sometimes you’ll have all of the pieces in place but for whatever reason Google will not show an image along side the search result.

      Here’s more info if you want to dive a bit deeper: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=173379

      • Hi Bjork,
        This is kind of a dumb question, but do you have to use a plugin for the image to show up?

      • Ok so I just went back into my uploaded photo info and realized the key word PHOTO wasn’t appearing
        ‹img class=”aligncenter photo size-full wp-image-7086″

        It was just showing up as
        ‹img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-7086″

        So I manually inserted the word photo in a recent post I published a few days ago and we’ll see if that changes anything.

        I use the Ziplist Recipe plugin but the weird thing is there are plenty of bloggers I know how use it, and some of them their recipe image shows up on google searches, and for others, it doesn’t. Weird.

        And just as a hunch, the ones that it does show up, I’d be hard-pressed to think they are actually inserting that word PHOTO in their images in their post every time. There has got to be a better fix…but google is weird and you just never know how it’s going to behave with one blog from the next. Or how one WP blog that uses the same plugin is going to behave from the next. So many variables.

        I realize this is a long comment but posting it here rather than private email as maybe it will help someone else, too.

        Thanks!

        And I had actually researched that link you sent me before you even sent it. I have tried to figure this issue out for awhile!

        • I actually do manually enter that word into every picture that I want Google to show for each recipe. Annoying, yes. And it seems to work for some posts and not others, like Bjork said. Whether or not other bloggers are doing that also is questionable. You’re so right about Google behaving differently. :) Thanks for your comment and sharing what you’ve found!

        • Hey Averie – Thanks for the comments. As you mentioned, it might be helpful to others.

          Here’s a quote from Zip List about optimizing the photo of a recipe post:

          “Place the photo of the completed recipe immediately after the post title and before your ingredients section.”

          - http://get.ziplist.com/partner-with-ziplist/create-well-structured-recipe

          However, sometimes you might not want the first photo in your post to be the one that Google uses. For instance, let’s say the first picture on one of Lindsay’s posts was of the friendly rooster down the street. Cool image, but not the one that we want Google to show when displaying the recipe on a search results page.

          In cases like this we add “photo” to the image’s class, which helps to clue Google in on the fact that this is the image we want to show up, not the first one that appears in the post. Although not essential, Lindsay adds this even when the first image in the post is the image we want to show up in Google. I don’t think it hurts to make it as clear as possible. :)

          Thanks again for the comments Averie.

  9. This is pretty neat. I knew that people made money off their blogs, but I’ve never seen any type of breakdown before! Thanks for sharing.

  10. I think it is amazing of you to do these income reporting posts. I’m going to go and read through the whole series. It’s a great learning tool. Thank you!

  11. This is personal, but you all seem really upfront. I noticed that your posts used to say “all this money will be given to something cool”, and they don’t anymore. I am making the assumption that now you are making some real-people money you are keeping it (which I think you should). In my mind the blog is a big part of why you all can live in a foreign country and help out those super cute kids… I’m not asking what you do with the money. What I am asking is the money still going to the charity or is your time now going there?

    • Hi Melissa! You’re right – we did donate all the money from Pinch of Yum to CSC (the orphanage) before we moved to the Philippines, and now, like you said, using the earnings as an income helps enable us to live and work here. I think our general outlook on Pinch of Yum has changed from a source of “extra” income to a potential full-time income. Hope that makes sense. Thanks for asking!

      • You are wonderfully successful and roll out some mighty tasty recipe with perfect pictures. I think you SHOULD be full-time if you can because you are good at it, and let’s be honest, we’d all benefit if you were blogging more :) I felt rude after asking, so forgive me on that. I email this post to my husband every month to help show him that blogging and making an income does happen. So thanks for the great input, recipes, and motivation! – Melissa

  12. Its a very nice topic and good information shared by you. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us.

  13. Wow thanks Bjork…you truly are a teacher, this information is golden and I look forward to expanding on the info you provided here…please keep these post coming!

  14. Yes another brilliant post Bjork. I love your monthly income posts. So great to see you guys doing so well! I’ve sold two of your eBooks so far and get sooo excited when I get the email. It’s such a brilliant little book.

  15. Awesome job guys. We’re experimenting this month too. Just got out of our contract with FoodBuzz and are trying some non exclusive networks combined with some other ad sources including viglink. Thanks for opening up so much so we all can learn how to better monetize our websites. Cheers!

  16. i love these posts – so generous of you to share your knowledge with others!

  17. I’ve been trying to figure out ways to improve my organic search traffic. Any tips aside from SEO optimization? I only get about 200 hits from Google every day and I feel like I’m missing out big time.

  18. Someone mentioned the dreaded “T” word and so I have to ask…how do taxes work for this? Do the different revenue streams give you tax forms at the end of the year or is it completely up to you to keep track? Or, since it’s on the internet is it tax free (like how amazon doesn’t need to charge sales tax)? If it’s a long a boring answer you can email it to me :)

    Miss you both more than you can imagine. Glad that even with all the changes in your lives while in Cebu you had the determination to not let this blog (and all the follow-ons) fall away. This is great stuff!

  19. I always look forward to your monthly reports, it’s just so inspiring! I still have a long way to go, and I appreciate learning from your tips. Thanks!

  20. Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies says:

    I love these posts, but the comments are just as informative. Thanks for all the hard work!

  21. You guys are doing amazing, so happy for you that you are making a decent income from your blog!! Thanks for the little tutorial in the comments about adding an image to your html code. So I looked mine up but my image html is different than yours

    Where would I put the word photo in this? Thanks in advance for any help you can give!!

  22. Brenda Kula says:

    I’m so thankful for your being so transparent about this. I was divorced last year, and four months ago I fell and broke both sides of my ankle and had to have surgery. I’m still learning to walk, and need desperately to make money from my blog. However, I’m not a food blogger, but a home and garden blogger. Hoping to learn from your teachings.
    Brenda

  23. As a blogger/affiliate I’m very impressed by your progress from $21 to the $1000s p/m that your earning today. What’s most impressive is the diverse streams of income you’ve set up i.e. direct ads, affilaite marketing, your own products services, etc. This post stood out becuase you’ve categorised this work into a memorable parable (teacher, landlord, inventor) which I can easily remember for building my own online income

    Thanks,

    Lewis

  24. Fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing. I am trying everything hard to learn everything to monetize my blog. I will be studying all of your wonderful information to see how to apply it to my own blog.

    Thanks,
    Laura

  25. This post was extremely helpful! I really like the breakdowns and the analogies you used. I found the site through the ebook and am so happy I did! I will definitely be a frequent visitor.

  26. nicholas szumowski says:

    my wife loves your recipes and showed this post to me a couple weeks ago. I have to say it is a great resource for myself, and one which I have shared with some friends and clients who run various websites. thanks for being open and honest about your process. all the best!

  27. Hi,
    Love your blog! I am wondering what advice you could give me about taking this course. http://momblogmoneyblog.com/. Is it a wise use of money? I have blogged for quite awhile now and would like to set it up to create a much needed income, but I do not want it plastered with unsightly ads. Any advice is much appreciated! Sue

  28. Hey Bjork. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on web traffic tipping points. Looking back at your blog’s growth it seems like there was a serious snowballing effect. I’m curious if you think there were a few key moments (tipping points) that made a big difference….or, alternatively, if it has just been a steady incline the past year or two. That would make for a very interesting income report article methinks!!

    • Hey Eric. I was working on the Google Analytics course for Food Blogger Pro today and thought of your comment. I did some digging and found a definitive moment in the data that could be considered a tipping point.

      March 8th, 2012.

      Lindsay’s post on healthy sweet potato skins was pinned by Jane Wang. Sound familiar? It didn’t to me either.

      Turns out she is the mother of the founder of Pinterest and at the time was in the top 10 most popular Pinterest users (maybe she still is, not sure). See Mashable article here. See her Pinterest page here.

      After March 8th there was a noticeable and lasting increase in traffic.

      Pinterest. I tell ya…

  29. How many pageviews did you get when you were starting out? I’m on my second month and averages 100pageviews a day. I can’t imagine how it can grow to 459,000 pageviews like yours. Am I on the right track.

  30. Hello very nice website!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing ..
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