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October Traffic and Income Report – $18,734.27

October Traffic and Income Report collage images.

Hiya friends!

Bjork here checking in for my monthly Pinch of Yum cameo. You can usually find me hanging around the Food Blogger Pro blog, but once a month I get to stand in the bright lights on the Pinch of Yum stage and talk about all things blogging and business.

We’ve been doing these traffic and income reports for over three years now. Some of you have been along for the entire ride (thanks!) while others might be reading these for the first time (welcome!).

One thing we always try and communicate in each report is the insane amount of time and energy that it takes to build a blog into a full-time source of income. When you look at the archives page for these reports it can seem like we grew Pinch of Yum pretty quickly, but the reality is that it was a really slow and steady process.

It reminds me of what Mark Zuckerberg said in a recent Q&A session when someone asked him what he thoughts about The Social Network, the movie that (supposedly) told the story of how he built Facebook.

“I think the reality is that writing code and building a product and then building a company actually is not a glamorous enough thing to make a movie about.

“So you can imagine that a lot of the stuff they probably had to embellish and make up. Because if they were really making a movie, it would have been of me, sitting at a computer coding for two hours straight, which probably would have just not been that good of a movie and these guys, I think, want to win awards and sell tickets.”

Mark Zuckerberg

A Pinch of Yum movie would look pretty similar, and I’m guessing the same would be true for other full-time bloggers. A lot of emailing, post writing, picture editing, ad network tweaking, server troubleshooting, and general computering.

We love what we do and are really thankful that people come to the blog to read the posts and make the recipes. We’re deeply grateful to you (yes you!) for following along or checking in on what we’re doing from day-to-day.

We just want to make sure that we don’t paint a picture of a scene that doesn’t exist. Building a blog is like building any other business. It takes time, energy, commitment, and the willpower to do things when you don’t really want to. But if you stick with it for the long term (like 3–5 years, not 3–5 months) and get a little bit better every day then it’s completely possible to build a blog into a business.

Easy? No.
Possible? You bet.

With that in mind, let’s jump into the numbers for October.

A quick 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 I’ll do my best to reply.

Income

Total Income: $29,040.30

Expenses

Total Expenses: $10,306.03

Net Profit: $18,734.27

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'

Thoughts On Income

BlogHer and Display Advertising

In addition to having a hefty month of expenses, our display advertising income was significantly down in October.

BlogHer is usually our number one income earner on Pinch of Yum, but as you can see, it took a huge dive, which is a little bit disappointing considering the fact that the fourth quarter is usually the best performing month for ad networks.

This month BlogHer only brought in about $3,000, as compared to last year’s October report when we earned $7,345.31 with BlogHer even though we had 858,736 fewer pageviews that month.

Ouch.

If we would have had that same CPM with BlogHer this month we would have earned a total of $11,796.95.

My initial reaction after calculating those numbers? We need to move networks nowwww!

But after I took a step back and pondered a bit more I realized that, although I’m sure there other display ad networks that may be performing better, the reality is that switching networks to get better results from our display advertising wouldn’t work in the long run.

The bottom line: we need to replace traditional display ads.

It’s a bit unnerving to type that out, especially considering the fact that 46% of our income at this point comes from ad networks. If we were to stop using display ads now it would be like giving ourselves a significant pay cut.

Revenue Categories as Percentages

Income Categories as Percentage.

The Sigmoid Curve

This is the only real “tip” that I’m sharing in this post. It’s really important and I don’t want you to miss it.

I want to talk to you about the Sigmoid Curve.

Don’t you love saying that?

No? Just me?

Something about how it rolls off my tongue feels good. Not only is it a fun phrase to say, but it’s also an important one to understand. This video does a good job of explaining it:

https://youtu.be/iJmvTJ4VSxo?rel=0

I learned about the Sigmoid Curve a few days ago over coffee with my good friend Joe Cavanaugh (the CEO of Youth Frontiers – my first “real” job!). Thanks, Joe!

Here’s what a Sigmoid Curve looks like:

Sigmoid Curve Example.

The Sigmoid Curve can be used to help conceptualize a weird phenomenon that we all know exists (but don’t necessarily know why): In order for a business (or a musician or non-profit or church) to sustain growth it needs to embrace change and the possibility (probability?) that it will need to leave what’s working in order to start something new and avoid the inevitable decline.

This excerpt from a post on dumblittleman.com (he’s actually pretty smart) does a great job of explaining this:

Successful individuals and organizations are self-reflective and constantly monitor their own position on the Sigmoid Curve. However, to be truly successful is to go even further – it is to jump off the current curve when it is nearing its peak and start on the bottom of another curve. This can be very hard to do, because just as you are reaping the rewards of your work and application, you find yourself at the bottom of another learning curve. This entails more pain, since growth always involves pain to some degree. It doesn’t appear to make sense to change just as you are doing so well, reaping the rewards of your efforts. There is even, perhaps, a sense of loss – why throw away something which is mature and bringing a reward for something untested and new?

Here’s where I feel like the monetization strategy is at for Pinch of Yum on the Sigmoid Curve.

Sigmoid Curve Monetization Strategy.

We’re at a point now where the curve for our primary way of creating an income (banner ads) has matured. Ads have worked, they are still working, and they will continue to work for a while, but they are not necessarily something that will significant improve and develop our income over the long term.

So what does this mean?

It’s time to start a new curve.

To be clear, I’m not talking about Pinch of Yum as a whole – I’m talking about how we create an income from Pinch of Yum, and within that, I’m talking specifically about the role of banner ads.

While it’s disappointing to think about the decline of the traditional banner ad curve, we know that the long term picture with a new income strategy looks good – if not even better – than what we’re doing now.

Here’s what it will look like if we successfully innovate our monetization strategy with Pinch of Yum:

Sigmoid Curve Monetization Strategy Moving Forward.

It’s exciting to think about forging a new path and how those new income avenues could make Pinch of Yum a better place for us and our readers.

rpm

RPM stands for page revenue per thousand impressions. RPM shows you the average revenue you earn from every 1,000 page views on your blog. It’s a helpful metric because it allows you to see how effective you are at monetizing your blog.

Below is the RPM that we had for Pinch of Yum in the month of October.

October RPM for Pinch of Yum.

The biggest contributor to the drop in this month’s RPMs, when compared to last month’s, is a decrease in overall advertising income, as well as a decrease in sponsored post payments.

Traffic

Below are some screenshots from Google Analytics. You can click on these images to view a larger size.

Traffic Overview

Google Analytics Traffic Overview.

Top Ten Traffic Sources

Top Ten Blog Traffic Sources.

Mobile Vs. Desktop Traffic

Google Analytics - Mobile vs. Tablet vs. Desktop.

In Case You Missed It

I publish weekly posts over on the Food Blogger Pro blog. Here’s a recap of some of the important concepts we talked about in October.

Video Gear

As we’ve started to shoot more video we’ve had more and more people ask about what equipment we’re using. This is a simple post that talks about what we use and how we use it.

https://www.foodbloggerpro.com/blog/article/recipe-video-gear/

Final Cut Pro X

We use FCPX to edit the videos that we’ve been recording for Pinch of Yum. This post covers three super simple tips for editing your YouTube videos in Final Cut Pro X.

https://foodbloggerpro.com/blog/3-quick-tips-final-cut-pro

The Meta Description

Do you know what the meta description is and how it impacts how your blog shows up in Google search results? If not then you should be sure to read through this post and watch the video that shows you how to find the meta description for any webpage.

A Real Office

We moved into a “real” office! Not only will this prove to my mom that I’m not at home playing video games all day, but it’ll also be a great way to take Food Blogger Pro and Pinch of Yum to the next level.

Because Of You

It’s because of 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.

…No, seriously. Let that sink in. THANK YOU.

This month the special project that we’re focusing on is buying food for the kids at the Children’s Shelter of Cebu, an incredible orphanage in the Philippines where we lived and worked for a year. Many children arrive at CSC from situations in which they were without food – begging, looking through the dump for food or things to sell, or relying on a few grains of rice as their only nutrition. But this life-saving organization provides ALL 80 KIDS with three meals a day, 365 days a year. The money given to this special project is used to help pay for the food that will be made into those healthy meals, keeping the kids well-fed and thriving.

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53 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Alina

    I am so sorry to read about the dip in your income, but I am excited to continue reading Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro as I know that you guys will come up with new ways to monetize your blog (and teach us while doing it :)).

    In the last month I have been implementing several SEO techniques that I learned from you and I am very pleased to tell you that my readership increased, I have new clients, and overall things are on the right track.

    Thank you! I love your work!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Same here, used some of your SEO techniques and found them helpful.

      This was my fav POY income report to day. I love the gratitude spilling and gushing out all over this post……grateful people go so much further in life…..

      And the raw honesty. It IS possible to make $$$$ from a blog, but you you point out it takes 3-5 years not just 3-6 months. I needed that today. I am starting to generate a small income from my blog but it’s totally different from the ways POY makes $$$, and that’s ok. You just gotta find what works and will work for your blog.

      Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Bjork, YOU ROCK! I had never heard of the Signoid Curve prior to this but I just learned so much in reading this post. I think I’m on the downward curve right now because I had been steadily increasing but I seem to be going down on income lately. I just got accepted to BlogHer after buying How To Monetize Your Food Blog so I hope that will help me!

    Thank you so much!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thank you for writing these reports and being so honest about everything. You have really inspired me to begin to take my very modest boutique blog to the next level – one step at a time. And I truly appreciate that. Thank you for the behind-the scenes look at the *real* effort it takes to organically build a blog.
    Warm regards, Jess.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This post is exactly what I needed today. I got accepted to BlogHer last month and was over the moon about it, but a little bummed about what my revenue ended up being at the end of the month. I remembered you talking about viewability in one of your previous income reports, so I’ve been working on that, but this was really reassuring. I’m hoping it’s just a fluke month on BlogHer’s end… but we’ll see.

    I’m excited to see what you end up doing to diversify your income. As a smaller blog, I’m doing freelance work to supplement and trying to figure out how I can do sponsored posts with BlogHer. Other than that, diversifying income on a blog is tricky. I’ve got an idea for an eBook rolling around in my head, so that may help if I have the opportunity to make it happen. I can’t wait to hear more about what you do!

    Thanks again for doing these every month! They are so incredibly awesome.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Congratulations on getting onto BlogHer. Was this your first attempt? I have tried a couple of times but was rejected. I am thinking my traffic might be too low.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Hi Pragati! Definitely NOT my first attempt! In fact, I applied in March, got rejected, and the emailed me in September saying that they could fit me in. Before this, I think I’d applied once or twice. My traffic is nothing to write home about (500 views or so a day?) so who knows what the right equation is!

      2. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Yep I also was told I needed at least 5000 visits a month. I actually appreciated that they provided feedback rather than a flat no.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kathleen @ Hint of Joe's

    Great info as always. Thank you for the monthly reports. I always find them super informative, and look forward to them each month.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Bjork, once again you have re-inspired me. I so look forward to reading these every month as it helps me create a long-term game plan in my head. Kudos to you and Lindsay for doing so much of the groundwork for all of us! It makes it much less intimidating for us newbies to push forward into the great unknown.

    Also, I love the end of the reports, where you give a peek at how you’re giving back. It always makes me cheer you guys on even more, because the more successful you are, the more others benefit.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thank you so much for the first bit about the time it takes to run a blog! I think this is so incredibly important because, not to put anyone else down, but I’ve see a ton of “Blogger Resourses” that go a little something like this:
    “start a blog in 15 minutes and change your life!”
    I wish that was a joke, but I actually read that this week. Being a blogger I know that is just not reality at all. Not even close. Sure, there may be a few people whose blogs blow up quickly but 99% of the time that’s not the case. And even the people who do well from the jump are still putting hard work into it. I guess what I’m saying is it us better to tell the truth about blogging and how much work it takes then to pretend like your life will change overnight as soon as you click that blue host link. Thank you for spreading some blogging truth!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Amen to the Sigmoid Curve. Without the ability to adapt and change, things won’t progress. You and Lindsay have blazed the way for many of us, (you’re a pioneer, how does it feel!?), and it’s exciting to think that not only are we just getting started but you truly are as well.

    Working on our October income report now, glad I got your newsletter this morning as I’m now feeling a little more inspired. 🙂

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    You guys are such an inspiration!!! It’s awesome to see two people who are successful yet are still striving to grow, learn more and change things up!

    Your income reports are actually what finally pushed me into starting my own blog. I had been wanting to start a personal finance blog for over a year, but it wasn’t until I found yours that I really thought “Ok, I’m doing this.” Thank you for being so open with this kind of stuff!

    Happy to be following along!! Thanks!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yes! The Sigmoid curve! This makes so much sense, and it is TOTALLY fun to say. 🙂

    I was recently accepted to BlogHer publishing network, and I was over the moon excited. Then I heard SO many bloggers complaining about the terrible October numbers, and that deflated my enthusiasm quite a bit. It actually makes me quite nervous that I just signed a 1-year contract, and they have my top three ad spots locked down, even though other networks (Sovrn/Lijit and Gourmet) are out performing BlogHer for other bloggers. I am not sure what is going on, or why things have fallen off the proverbial cliff when it comes to ad revenue, especially for the top player, BlogHer.

    It is disappointing, but I know you guys will find a way to make things work. Life is uncertain and unpredictable! Success is all about being agile and able to adapt.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am SO glad to hear I was not the only one bummed about BlogHer in October. I had nearly double my normal traffic (a HUGE record that I was psyched about!!) and earned almost the exact same amount (from BlogHer) as I did in September. Bummer. I’m eager to see what you guys think the next stage is, as I agree that banner ads really are on the decline. It’s scary, because they’re so familiar and easy right now… taking that next step is a challenge.

    Thanks for reporting back to us — it really makes my job much easier. And that is me admitting I’m lazy… oopsies!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi Bjork!

    Just wanted to say that you guys are awesome and it’s why I linked to you on my new post.

    I appreciate the transparency as well.

    I moved out months ago from our office to take things remotely, but Im starting to miss the office feel (and just so my mom can think I dont just play video games all day)

    Seeing you guys move into a new office makes me want to go back..and I probably will next year.

    Thanks for this! Always love the income reports!

    PS. I just subscribed to FoodBlogger Pro now!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I am a long time lurker but I wanted to reach out and say you two are doing great! I am so thankful that you post these income reports. They are very educational and keep me motivated to keep dreaming about the possibilities.

    Hopefully, this is just a one month drop and things will ramp up again. I think it’s a scary time for a lot of people involved with BH ad network (due to the recent acquisition) but I remain optimistic (as I generally do) that things will work out once all the merger details are worked through. Only time will tell.

    You are asking all of the right questions and thinking about the right things for your business. Keep evolving, leverage what you’ve built and reach the next level. You can do it!

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Great post! The problem with the curve is that it’s quite difficult to figure out when you reached the 75% mark and to know when to step back and re-innovate. In hindsight it’s always easy to say “ah, damn. In spring we should have started working on a new monetization strategy.”

    Anyways, it still makes sense to have this in mind. I think the biggest take away for me is that things always change and embracing change is key.

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi there Bjork.

    With only 2 months behind me since I started my blog, I have a new-found admiration and respect for commited bloggers who offer up so much of themselves and share freely experiences, knowledge and talent. Lindsay’s food is fabulous as always and I so appreciate the factual learning from your candid reports. As I’m nowhere near the Sigmoid curve, I’ll focus on consistantly improving the quality of content. You guys are a brilliant team.

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I read your blog regularly and always appreciate your recipes and commentary. I’ve learned a lot from your experiences and your products. Thank you taking the time to give us the insights into managing and growing your business.

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    LOVE LOVE LOVE these income reports and all the knowledge you share, so thank you! On my blog I just had to move around my ads based off of your whole beautiful ‘landlord’ analogy where one is the landlord of one’s site…so now I have an even different way to look at it an improve. Thanks again!

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Always appreciate these reports – you’re always so open and honest – I have to admit I recently got accepted by Blogher too and have been quite surprised that I’m earning more from Gourmet Ads (and even Adsense – virtually). I always seem to hop on the bandwagon when things are just about to decline … lol!
    Anyway, another great motivating post. I especially appreciated the reminder that blogging is a 3-5 year thing, not a 3-5 month thing. My blog isn’t a year old yet, and I’m still enjoying it very much, but it really is a whole lot of work at this stage for no significant pay-back (monetary, at least).
    Thank you!

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo

    “Ziplist – $784.86” that is a pretty good chunk of change. I am wondering, what will happen to that income now that ZipList is no longer supporting the recipe box and shopping list platform? I received an email today regarding that and first thought was how it was going to affect the bloggers that generate income with their program.

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I love reading your income reports and I love how honest you are in them. I’d never heard of the Sigmoid Curve but love that now I know about it – it explains lots of things in life so simply! I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a dip in income – how frustrating for you – but I’m looking forward to seeing how you rise to the new challenge that has presented itself to you.

  21. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Woooow,

    This is great, even though it might be low, you guys should be happy. There are bloggers like me trying to get 1k a month

  22. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thanks for sharing! I noticed a huge decline in revenue from BlogHer last month as well. So frustrating and disappointing.

    The insight on the Sigmoid Curve is very cool. Never knew about that.
    I feel like I’ll be leaning towards other revenue streams and have got things brewing in my mind that I need to get started on.

    As always thanks for sharing! It’s so good to hear from people that are willing to share the ups/downs and ins/outs.

    Have a great week!

  23. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hey !
    I wanted to thank you so much for the tips you share ! I am a big fan !
    I was wondering if you use youtube monetisation or if you include it with the google adsense ?
    Thanks and see you…