Bjork here checking in for the monthly traffic and income report here on Pinch of Yum.
We’ve done these reports for quite some time now. Our first one was almost four years ago when we were just starting to figure out this “blog as a business” thing.
We’ve continued publishing these reports every month, regardless of if we’re on vacation, working on a big project, or 32,000 ft in the air (like we are right now! we’re on our way to Cebu City , Philippines).
Every month we take a moment to pause, gather up the stats for the previous month, jot down a few things that we learned, and then publish it here on the blog.
Our hope is that these reports (1) help you and (2) encourage you.
Know that it takes a long time and a lot of work to bootstrap a content-based website like a food blog, especially if you’re doing it on your own.
Do your best to enjoy the process, stick with it, learn from others, and avoid the comparison trap as much as possible.
Let’s take a look at the numbers for January…
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 my best to reply.
- Tasty Food Photography Workshops – $29,317.05
- AdThrive – $14,553.74
- Bluehost – $7,590.00 –> this income comes from a page where we show people how to start a food blog in three easy steps.
- Gourmet Ads – $6,354.90
- Yellow Hammer Media – $5,540.35
- Tasty Food Photography – $4,239.80
- Amazon Associates – $3,330.36
- sovrn – $2,262.98
- Swoop – $1,375.73
- Sponsored Content – $1,000.00
- How to Monetize Your Food Blog eBook – $550.00
- Genesis Theme – $423.41
- Food Innovation Group – $237.98
- Elegant Themes – $230.50
- Go Sugar Free Course – $87.25
- ActiveCampaign – $32.13
- AWeber – $14.40
- Justworks – $7,832.98
- Studio Remodel – $7,724.69
- Studio Rent & Utilities – $3,698.08
- MacBook Pro & Accessories – $3,679.81
- ActiveCampaign – $1,138.03
- Amazon S3 and Cloudfront – $1,037.30
- eBook Affiliates – $888.45
- Food Expenses – $707.10
- Media Temple (Hosting) – $590.74
- PayPal Website Payments Pro – $293.47
- Misc – $113.85
- Adobe Creative Cloud – $107.43
- Dropbox – $99.00
- FacetWP – $79.00
- LeadPages – $67.00
- Zapier – $50.00
- PayPal Transaction Percentage – $30.00
- Shoeboxed – $29.95
- Hotjar – $29.00
- E-Junkie – $28.00
- QuickBooks – $26.95
- VaultPress – $20.00
- SumoMe – $20.00
- Buffer – $10.00
- Backupify – $9.00
- Board Booster – $5.00
Below are some Google Analytics screenshots from the month of January 2016.
Top Ten Traffic Sources
Mobile vs. Desktop vs. Tablet
Ads are a drag when it comes to page load speed, which is a drag when it comes to SEO because Google loves fast sites.
Pinch of Yum has never been a fast site.
It’s kind of like me.
If you see me running by myself I don’t seem slow, but if you see me running next to someone fast you start to wonder if I have sloth legs (I don’t).
Same idea with Pinch of Yum.
It gets along fine with load speed, but if you put it next to a fast site you realize how slow it actually is. There are a few reasons for this (lots of big images, for one), but the biggest issue is ads.
We work with AdThrive to do our ad management and they recently implemented some new ad tech (they call it LightningLoad) that has really helped speed up the page load speed on POY.
Take a look:
We pushed out this new ad technology at the same time we pushed out the new theme, so it’s impossible to completely separate the two when it comes to performance. That being said I think the major impact is the new ad technology, not the theme.
What is that Justworks line item at the top the expense list?
If you’ve followed along with Pinch of Yum (or Food Blogger Pro for that matter) you know that we’ve been slowly hiring and building a team for each business.
Grateful is an understatement to describe how we feel about working with FBP and POY team members.
As we started to hire, we quickly realized that building a team comes with a lot of paperwork and compliance stuff. Keeping up with it became a part-time job, even though we have just a few team members. Medicare and Social Security and Workers Comp and Federal Income Taxes and State Income Taxes and lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
Justworks handles all of that stuff for us and helps to make sure we’re compliant with all of the federal and state regulations.
When you see this line item in the expenses, it’s covering a few things:
- employee/contractor salaries
- fees for Pinch of Yum in a given month, including Lindsay’s salary
Lindsay’s salary, you ask?
Pinch of Yum is set up as an S-Corp LLC. If you’re just getting started with your blog biz then a plain ole’ LLC probably works fine, but once you build it up to a certain point it makes sense to switch it an S-Corp, at which point you’re required to pay yourself a salary as an employee of the business.
I’ll save you the boring-ness of explaining why an S-Corp LLC might be a good fit for business (and when), but you can check out this article for a more thorough explanation. Then check in with your tax professional. 🙂
*Note: I’m (definitely) not a tax expert, so be sure to double-check with your accountant before making any changes to your business setup.
We’ve started to use Hotjar polls quite a bit throughout Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro.
Have you seen the one on this post?
It looks like this:
These polls have been a huge help in getting feedback from readers (on Pinch of Yum) and from members (on Food Blogger Pro).
Note #2: Be sure to check out the FBP podcast interview with the found of Hotjar, Dr. David Darmanin.
The purpose for these polls is simple: We’re looking for ways that we can improve.
In this case, we’re looking for ways that we can improve these income reports.
Here are two responses that stood out to me as I was recently looking through the results:
Actionable, easy-to-understand tips for improving your blog. Thanks for the great idea #46 and #50. 🙂
Here are three action items that you can apply to your blog this month.
Action Item #1: Start tracking your page load speed.
Here’s where that’s located in Google Analytics:
You can find ways to improve your blog’s page load speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Action Item #2: Treat your biz as a biz
If you’re building your blog as a business you need to treat it that way.
If you haven’t opened a separate bank account start by doing that. Make all your business purchases from that account and have business income deposited into it.
If you already have a separate bank account setup then your goal is to ask your tax professional what type of business structure you should have (it shouldn’t be too complicated).
Action Item #3: Setup a Hotjar poll and get feedback from your readers
Feedback is valuable because it helps you improve quickly.
You get feedback. You implement it. You see how people respond. You ask for more feedback. You implement it. You see how people respond. (repeat)
Want an example?
The reason I’m doing these three actionable tips is because of feedback that we received from readers (see Hotjar Polls section above).
There are lots of poll type software services available, but Hotjar is free (and really easy to use).
Because of you
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post Lindsay and I are (literally right now… as I type this) over the ocean on a flight to Cebu City, Philippines to spend some time at an orphanage called the Children’s Shelter of Cebu.
While we’re there we’ll be taking photos, shooting video, planning with the staff, and playing endless rounds of very sweaty tag with the 80+ kiddos that call this orphanage their home. Lindsay has set aside time to share bits and pieces of the story of CSC with you next week via some cute-kid-overload pictures and posts, so stay tuned.
Please know – we’re deeply aware of and humbled by the fact that one of the reasons we can make a trip like this in terms of time, flexibility, and finances is because of you – the reader, sharer, commenter, or silent follower of Pinch of Yum. Your support and participation in the POY community reaches beyond just this website.
We’re so incredibly grateful for you!