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August Traffic and Income Report

August Income Report collage images.

Hi there!

Bjork here checking in for Pinch of Yum’s monthly traffic and income report.

We’re playing a little catch up with these reports, so this one is coming out just two weeks after July’s report.

We’ve been publishing these traffic and income reports for over five years, which means this is post #61. You can see all of the past posts here. Before that, Lindsay had been blogging for a year and a half. Add it up and you’ll find that we’ve been working on Pinch of Yum for almost seven years.

I mention those numbers because it’s important to understand how long we’ve both been working on this. It’s taken a lot of time, energy, focus, and luck.

The day-to-day isn’t very sexy. It’s lots of time on the computer: email, Slack, accounting, photo editing, communicating with brands, communicating with readers, social media, developing recipes, etc, etc, etc…

We’re extremely grateful for the opportunities that Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro have provided us, and at the same time we’re extremely careful not to paint a picture of something that this is not. It’s not a four hour work week, it’s not working from beaches, and it’s not automated income.

It’s awesome work if you like it, but it’s definitely work.

The good news is that the platform that we’ve built this on (the internet!) doesn’t have restricted access. If you’re reading this, then you have the tools you need to get started. The cost of entry is insanely low. You can press publish. You can create content. You can share your passion and build a following and impact the way others think about the world.

Is it an overnight miracle? No.
Is it possible? 100%.

Our goal with these reports is to show you the nitty-gritty details of how we’re navigating the path to build “our thing” in hopes that it encourages you to build “your thing,” whatever that might be. Our friends and family can tell you – we’re passionate and excited about people getting to work on the things that they’re passionate and excited about.

Let’s jump into the numbers for August…

Income Report Numbers

Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. All of the products listed below are products and services we’ve used before. If you have any questions about any of the income or expenses you can leave a comment and we’ll do our best to reply.

Income

Expenses

If you’re interested in learning more about some of the ways that you can monetize a food blog, we encourage you to download this free ebook, “16 Ways to Monetize Your Food Blog,” from our sister site, Food Blogger Pro!

a picture of the 16 Ways to Monetize Your Food Blog ebook from Food Blogger Pro and a note that says, 'free download from our friends at Food Blogger Pro'

Traffic Totals

Below are some Google Analytics screenshots from the month of August 2016.

Traffic Overview

Traffic Overview August 2016.

Top Ten Traffic Sources

Top Ten Traffic Sources August 2016.

Mobile vs. Desktop vs. Tablet

Mobile vs Desktop vs Laptop August 2016.
Income Report Takeaways

This month we’re trying something different and we’re going to be focusing on just one takeaway. I’m going to share about A/B testing, why I quit doing it, and why I’m excited about it once again.

A/B Testing

Some of you might remember a few posts I wrote about A/B testing using Google Analytics. Specifically, these two:

For those that aren’t familiar, A/B testing is the online version of a taste test. In a taste test you’re asking people which version they like better: Version A or Version B.

The same is true with an online A/B test. You want to find out version is best: Version A or Version B. But instead of showing one person both versions, you show 50% of people Version A and the other 50% Version B.

How A/B testing works

Here’s a basic overview of how A/B testing works:

  1. Create a new version of an important page on your site
  2. Pick a goal (i.e. sign up for my email list)
  3. Show the old version to 50% of visitors and the new version to the other 50%
  4. The version with the most goal conversions wins
What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing fits really well with our philosophy of 1%∞.

1%∞ (one percent infinity) is all about making small improvements (one percent) every day over a long period of time (infinity). The symbol for infinity looks like this: ∞. Put it all together and you get 1%∞.

Really small improvements on important pages can have a huge impact on your business.

For instance, we’re currently running an A/B test on the Nutrifox home page. The previous conversion rate for free trial signups was about 3%.

Here’s what Version A (original) and Version B (the new one) look like:

A/B Test on Nutrifox Home Page.

We’re still really early on in the experiment, but the new version that we’re testing is converting at 13%. Even if that goes down to 6% by the time the experiment ends it would still mean that we’d be getting 100% more free trial signups with this new version of the home page. That’s a major improvement.

I had fallen off of the A/B testing bandwagon for a while because of the complexity with the way that we used to do it.

I was previously using Google Analytics to run these experiments, but the bummer with A/B testing in Google Analytics is that you need to create a brand new page, which meant you’d have two different URLs with similar content, like this:

yoursite.com (Version A: original page)
yoursite.com/test-home-page (Version B: new test page)

Not only is it a pain to create and publish the new page, but it’s also a pain to make sure that the test page isn’t indexed by Google and that you redirect it back to the home page after the A/B test is done running.

Those are relatively small things, but the friction was enough to keep me from continually running A/B tests on important pages.

Which is sad, because there would have been some massive improvements that could have been made over the past two years.

So what’s the solution?

The most important thing for me was finding something that removed the friction of running an A/B test.

The solution that I found is a software called Optimizely.

It’s a super simple way to set up an A/B test. The two things I like are (1) it doesn’t require publishing a new page and (2) it doesn’t require any HTML editing.

It comes at a cost ($50 per 1,000 page views), which isn’t cheap. That’s why it’s important that you’re only using this for high-value pages, which brings me to my next point.

Our Action Plan For A/B Testing

Here’s our action plan for A/B testing. My goal is to keep it really simple to start.

  1. Identify high-value pages and their goals
  2. Setup (significant) A/B tests for high-value pages
  3. Let the test run until a winner is found
  4. If the new design wins then update the high-value page with the new design
  5. Repeat

1. Identify the high-value pages and their goals

Here are the high-value pages that we’re starting with.

And here are the primary goals for each of those pages:

  • Nutrifox Home: Sign up for a free trial of Nutrifox
  • Nutrifox Free Trial Sign Up: Sign up for a free trial of Nutrifox
  • Food Blogger Pro Home: Sign up for the waiting list
  • Tasty Food Photography Sales Page: Purchase Tasty Food Photography

Each one of those pages should have a goal.

The easiest type of goal to track is a URL goal. For instance, after someone signs up for something they usually see a confirmation page like yoursite.com/thanks-for-signing-up.

You can use that URL as your goal, as the only people that land on that page should be people that have successfully signed up. This is how we determine the success of those pages.

2. Setup (significant) A/B tests for those pages

Significant is an important word with this step. The general idea is that you don’t want to test tiny things like changing a button color or a single word.

You want to make significant changes, like switching out headlines, changing the structure and layout, or trying new colors. These changes are relatively easy to make within Optimizely.

3. Let the test run until a winner is found

This is the easy part. You just let the test run.

One thing to note is that with every test you’ll be able to pick a significance level.

The significance level is essentially saying “we’re this confident that the results of this test are due to the changes you made and not due to chance.”

Significance Level.

For the tests we’re running we’re using a 90% significance level.

4. If the new design wins, then update the page with the new design

If the winning version is the new design then update the page to that new version.

Congrats! You’ve just increased your conversion rate.

5. Repeat

Rinse and repeat. Your new goal is always to beat the previous winner.

Conclusion

If you have high-value pages, it’s time to start running A/B tests on them. The improvements you’ll see with the performance for those pages will almost always be worth the time that you spend setting up and running the tests.

Because Of You

It’s because of you that this thing we call Pinch of Yum can exist as it does today. Thank you so much for making these recipes, leaving comments with your love and feedback, sending emails, following on social media, and sharing this food around the table with your families and friends.

Every month we use a portion of the income from the blog to support a special project at an orphanage that we worked at for a year called The Children’s Shelter of Cebu. We view it as a donation from the POY community, not just Lindsay and me since you all are a vital part of keeping this little corner of the internet going strong.

This month we’re supporting CSC by donating to their meal fund. Every child at CSC gets three solid meals a day. All 90+ of them! That’s a lot of hungry mouths to feed and we’re honored to be able to help put food on the table for these kids.

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10 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi Bjork and Lindsay! It sounds as though you both are doing well I’m glad to hear. I confess, I haven’t read all 61 of your income reports, but I’d say I’d come pretty close! And each time, I glean something new from them. It’s interesting to me how you make your $$ have changed a bit over time. And that’s not such a bad thing! My husband and I are starting to generate a comfy side income for the extra’s in our life from the blog ~ and we’re just deciding, ugh, should we put everything we make back into the blog? We’re starting to see, especially from your output that maybe it’s vital to invest a little more in ourselves. So I always appreciate reading about how you’ve spent $ to make dollars. Have a fabulous week!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    hey Bjork! Just curious…do you both consider Lindsay’s workshops to be separate income/expenses, or are those included in the statements above? I realize you keep FBP separate, so I was wondering if you guys had decided to separate the workshops as another ‘business’ as well?
    Also, thank you for the use of emoji’s to keep the attention of folks like me on these income reports LOL <3 love it.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am a year and a half into my blog and I still haven’t figured out how to monetize but reading these monthly reports keeps me going. Thanks for sharing! Your fans appreciate it!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Alycia

    I liked it better when you were more transparent about how much money you were making, instead of listing everything and making us do the math. A profit of $35k a month is amazing. Why not just say that, instead of all this stuff that doesn’t really say anything? It’s a food blog, does anyone really care about takeaways? I do like that you donate to CSC every month. I wish that was at the top, not under all this stuff.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi Bjork and Lindsay. I started my blog almost 3 was ago and am inspired by your success. I come back to your blog to learn tips and am always impressed! You do a great job and your blog reflects that. So glad I found you on Pinterest!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Question: When you started getting a ton of traffic, what hosting did you upgrade to in order to make sure that you were able to handle the traffic and keep your site up and running?

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    nean

    i am reading this from downunder, and have just read the comment that you donate to CSC. Please tell me this is a charity and not the technology company who hours wise abused my husband (bed at 3.30am, back after 40min train to start at 6am – day in, day out) – then they try to put on a happy face – oh hell no. So glad he and the rest of the team left them high and dry. Bastards!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Bob

    Why make us total your income and expenses manually?

    Provide a total for each and the resulting net please.