Bjork here, checking in for the monthly traffic and income report.
Quick back story on these reports: Lindsay and I started this experiment way back in September of 2011. You can check out our first ever income report here. We made $21.97 that month.
I mention that first income report because it’s important to understand that monetizing a blog takes a lot of hard work, dedication, time, and luck. Other bloggers know that there’s a lot that goes on behind each and every post that goes out: lots of testing, learning, changing, staying up late, getting up early, tweaking (not twerking), connecting, and hustling.
Along with all that hard work, it’s important to have patience. We’ve been at this blog thing for a few years. As you’ll see in the image I share later on in this post, it was a long time before Pinch of Yum started to get decent traffic (and therefore decent income). As a matter of fact, Pinch of Yum turned four years old on April 11th! We celebrated by watching Office reruns and eating double chocolate cookies.
In honor of Pinch of Yum’s fourth birthday, I’d like to give a quick shout out to four people that have inspired me in this journey.
- Gary Vaynerchuk – Gary was the first person that helped me understand that you could actually create an income from a blog. His book Crush It was instrumental in inspiring us to take this blog thing seriously. Thanks, Gary.
- Pat Flynn – Pat inspired me to do these monthly income reports back in September of 2011. I’ve learned a ton from him and owe him a huge thanks for the things he’s taught me about doing business online. Thanks, Pat.
- Dan Miller – Dan wrote a book called 48 Days to the Work You Love. It helped me realize that it’s possible to do work you love alongside people you love. It might still be hard work, but it will be work you love. Thanks, Dan.
- Lindsay Ostrom – Lindsay has built this thing called Pinch of Yum in the early mornings and late nights in between her job as a 4th-grade teacher. She works incredibly hard yet is intentional to prioritize the things that really matter. She inspires me. Thanks, Lindsay.
Let’s take a look at the numbers for April.
- BlogHer (now SheKnows) – $5,901.88
- Bluehost – $4,255.00 –> this income comes from a page where we show people how to start a food blog in three easy steps.
- Tasty Food Photography – $4,013.00
- sovrn – $2,585.14
- Everyday Healthy Presale – $2,217.50
- YellowHammer Media – $2,023.16
- Ziplist – $1,925.29
- How to Monetize Your Food Blog eBook – $1,590.00
- Swoop – $953.34
- Google AdSense – $902.04
- The Creamy Cauliflower Sauce eCookbook – $722.25
- Genesis Theme – $469.47
- Elegant Themes – $49.00
- Say Media – $16.67
*We didn’t have the totals for Swoop at the time of publishing this post, so we took last month’s income and adjusted for traffic.
Total Income: $27,623.74
- eBook Affiliates – $1,229.36
- Canon EF 100mm 2.8L IS – $1,049.00
- Food Expenses- $523.58
- Support Staff – $496.18
- Amazon S3 and Cloudfront – $454.29
- Media Temple (Hosting) – $350.00
- PayPal Transaction Percentage – $338.60
- Accountant and Bookkeeper – $362.50
- Misc. Expenses – $107.25
- W3 Total Cache Premium Plugin – $99.00
- MailChimp – $75.00
- LeadPages – $67.00
- Adobe Creative Cloud – $53.55
- PayPal Website Payments Pro – $30.00
- ViralTag – $28.00
- QuickBooks – $26.95
- Time Doctor – $19.98
- E-Junkie – $18.00
- VaultPress – $15.00
Total Expenses: $5,343.24
Net Profit: $22,280.50
Thoughts on Income
You might have noticed a couple of new advertisers in the income list. In this month’s report, you’ll see a company called YellowHammer Media and at the very bottom, you’ll see Say Media.
Our earnings with YellowHammer Media started out strong but dropped significantly at the end of April. We started using Say at the very end of the month, hence the reason for the low earnings.
In last month’s report, Kiersten from Oh My Veggies shared her five tips for blogging full-time. That post (and her eBook, How to Monetize a Food Blog), inspired me to take advertising more seriously on Pinch of Yum.
Kiersten’s first tip is “up your ad game,” which is exactly what we’re doing with Pinch of Yum. In short, we’re testing different ad networks to see which ones pay the highest CPMs. I applied to a handful of networks in April but the implementation process is slow, hence the reason for only having two new networks in this month’s report. After testing the ad networks we’ll place them into our advertising waterfall.
The highest paying ad networks will show first. If they don’t have an ad to show then it will “passback” to another ad network to see if that network has any ads to show. If they don’t, it will “pass back” again to another ad network. The process helps to increase your blog’s RPM without increasing the number of ads that appear on your blog.
Speaking of RPM…
RPM stands for page revenue per thousand impressions. Or, in other words, RPM shows you the average revenue you earn from every 1,000 page views on your blog.
If you want to learn more about RPM (and some other important advertising terms) then be sure to check out this post on Food Blogger Pro.
Everyday Healthy Presale
On April 28th (Lindsay’s birthday!) we did a presale release of Lindsay’s newest eCookbook, Everyday Healthy. The thought process with the presale was twofold:
- It allowed us to build some buzz around the product before its official launch.
- It was something that Lindsay could easily and naturally mention at the end of posts leading up to the launch as she did at the end of this post and this post.
Here’s the process we used to run the presale:
- We decided on the incentive: The $19 package would be discounted to $10.
- I created a simple verification PDF in Pages for people to download after the purchase: You can click here to see what this looks like.
- I uploaded the PDF to E-Junkie just like you would an eBook. (If you want to see the step-by-step process for doing this you can go through the Selling your eBook course on Food Blogger Pro.)
- I used this tool to create the “Add to Cart” button.
- Lindsay wrote the presale blog post and created some images to go along with it.
- We published the post. 🙂
- When someone purchases the presale package they are emailed the confirmation PDF and their email address is recorded in E-Junkie. We’ll use these email address to send out the Everyday Healthy eCookbook and add-ons when the product launches.
Overall the presale process has gone pretty smooth. We’ve had a few people follow up and ask why they didn’t get the product, which made us realize that we could have been more intentional about communicating that they wouldn’t be receiving the product until May 12th, when the eCookbook will be released.
If you’re interested in becoming an affiliate for Everyday Healthy you can check out this affiliate page for more information!
Below are some screenshots from Google Analytics. You can click on these images to view a larger size.
Top Ten Traffic Sources
Mobile vs. Desktop Traffic
I usually don’t include the screenshot below, but I thought it would be fun for people to see. This is the traffic to Pinch of Yum over the past four years. Starting in April of 2010 until the day I wrote this post (May 8th).
You can click on the image to see a larger version.
Traffic – April 2010 – April 2014
RSS Email – MailChimp and LeadPages
I dedicated an entire day in April to switching over the Pinch of Yum email RSS to MailChimp. We had previously been running RSS email through Feedburner. The good news with Feedburner is that it’s free, the bad news with Feedburner is that’s free. In many ways with Feedburner, you’re getting what you pay for (at least when it comes to the email side of things).
The transition process wasn’t too complicated, but it took some time. The general step-by-step looked like this:
- Export RSS email subscribers from Feedburner.
- Import that list into MailChimp.
- Create an RSS campaign in MailChimp and assign it to the list that was just imported.
- Turn off the Feedburner email list.
- Turn on the MailChimp email list.
We have a relatively small email list considering the traffic that Pinch of Yum gets (at the time of writing this post we had 7,500 RSS email subscribers). The open rate is pretty good (42%), but we could really improve on the number of subscribers.
The first step we took was to make the signup option more obvious. We’re using LeadPages and integrating it with MailChimp in order to get this signup box in the sidebar.
You can click on the image below to see the same box that people would see if they clicked on the button in the sidebar.
That opens up an opt-in box like this:
At this point, we’re using an eCookbook that has the top 25 posts from 2012 as the lead magnet for signing up for the list. This is actually the same eCookbook we use as inventive to like Pinch of Yum on Facebook, but we’ll soon be pulling back on that Facebook marketing approach. As many of you know Facebook is making it harder and harder to reach followers without paying to get their attention, so we’ll be switching our focus to the Pinch of Yum email list.
The next step will be creating a similar signup box that we’ll put at the bottom of blog posts. This has been a long time coming, so I’ll be excited to get that in place soon.
Those are the updates from Pinch of Yum! Thanks for checking out this month’s report.
Because of You
It’s really true. It’s because of you (yes, you!) that this thing we call Pinch of Yum can exist as it does today. Thanks so much for reading, tweeting, commenting, emailing, and sharing these recipes with your families and friends. We love hearing from you!
We’re using a portion of this month’s income from Pinch of Yum to support special projects at the Children’s Shelter of Cebu, an orphanage where Lindsay and I lived and worked for a year.
This month we’re supporting CSC by purchasing new bunk beds and sponsoring “outings” so that kids can get out and do some fun things with their teachers and houseparents. This is a picture of Lindsay’s students on one of the outings we did to the mall and the arcade last year. Fun times for the kids (and the adults)! You can learn more about CSC’s special projects by visiting this page on their website.