This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
Here is the monthly Food Blog Income Report for December 2019 - follow along with me to see how I'm growing my blog into a business!
Another 100k+ pageview month which is awesome. I am however, mentally preparing myself for the January slump. I expect RPM to be around 50% of where they have been in Q4, as well as a decline in traffic. But it's ok, I'm expecting it. RPMs will likely start to climb back up in February, and I am hoping to continue to see 100K pageview months going forward.
Blogging is definitely a long game. While I'm not sure it will ever fully replace my income, the extra side income will certainly help me attain the goal of early retirement that much faster.
Why I Started Went Here 8 This
To be candid, the reason I started my blog was to make money.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE food blogging. Creating new recipes, photographing them and getting to share them with the world is a passion of mine. I want everyone to be enjoying their food as much as I do!
That said, food blogging is HARD work, especially while working a full time job. It really only leaves me with early mornings, evenings and weekends to work on the blog.
I have always had the goal of retiring early from my day job. But in order to make that happen, I needed to start generating some income on the side, and what better way than to start my own business?
I'm here to tell you that you can do it. If I can do it, you can do it.
I'm not going to sugar coat anything in these blog income reports. I have been in the red most months. That's because I live by the philosophy that you have to spend money to make money.
Yes, you can start a blog for a minimal amount of money. But in my opinion, if you want to see serious growth you:
1) need to spend SOME money. Not all the money, but you will need to make some investments in your business; and
2) be willing to work harder than you've ever worked before. Food blogging is competitive. But there definitely is a lot of money to be made.
These income reports are going to show you how much money I really make, before and after expenses. (but before taxes) I strongly believe the investments I make in my business today will pay off in the future.
I started Went Here 8 This in December 2016, but didn't have a CLUE what I was doing until mid way through 2018. I have used a lot of resources to include attending blogger conferences, joining Food Blogger Pro and reading as much as I can in Facebook groups and other media to learn everything I can about making this blog a successful business.
December 2019 Blog Traffic:
December started out a little slow, but I definitely started seeing some increases in traffic toward the end of the month. There was a Google algorithm update towards the end of December that seems to have affected me positively (at least for now), plus we're starting to roll into Q4 which should bring significant increases in traffic.
My total page views for December were 143,318.
My traffic for December 2019 came from the following top 5 sources:
- Organic: 60%
- Social: 27%
- Pinterest: 75%
- Facebook: 24%
- Twitter: 1%
- Direct: 10%
- Referral: 2%
- Email/Other: 1%
One of my goals for 2019 is to improve my link building so I am able to get more traffic from other sites, as well as look better in the eyes of Google. If you want to learn more about link building, check out this presentation given by Casey Markee.
A couple example of some articles I wrote to help with link building are below:
December 2019 Income Report
Thanks to the holidays, my income skyrocketed this month. Like I said earlier, I'm trying not to be overly excited because I know it will drop off start January.
In December 2019, my blog income and expenses were as follows:
- On page advertising (Mediavine): $4,510.99, with an average RPM of $39.36.
- Amazon Affiliate Marketing: $239.59
- Other affiliate marketing: $19.80
TOTAL INCOME: $4,770.38
My total expenses for December 2019 were $2,956.99; (note some of the below links are affiliate links - I earn a small commission if you buy through these).
- Hosting (Cloudways): $12.50. Good hosting is a must. If you're on Bluehost, you're going to want to switch now. Cloudways is a great option to make sure your site is always up, and also helps site speed, which is extremely important.
- WordPress Support Plan: $113.00. I use Nerdpress to manage all the technical/security aspects of my website. Because me and tech do not get along. It's better if we have space.
- Imagify Image Compression: $4.99. If you're not compressing your images, you need to be. This is a great plugin that doesn't affect the quality of you images too much.
- Social Warfare Pro: $2.42. A lot of people have jumped ship on this plugin for social sharing due to security issues, but I still love it.
- Tailwind: $42.42. An absolute must for scheduling Pins on Pinterest and participating in Tailwind Tribes. I also use it to schedule Instagram posts.
- Link in Profile: $9.99. Includes an option on Instagram for people to click on a link to bring them to this site.
- Lightroom CC: $9.99. I use Lightroom for ALL my photo editing.
- Askimet: $3.00. I use this to protect my blog from spam.
- Virtual Assistant Services: $805.00. I have two Facebook VA's because I DESPISE Facebook. It has saved me a huge amount of time and I can't wait to hire more help for social media so I can focus on content creation.
- SEMrush: $99.95. After Keywords Everywhere went to the paid version, I decided to take the leap to SEMrush. It's totally worth it!
- Video Expense: $1,003.58. So I tried my hand at video and just hate doing it. So I decided to start hiring it out. Hopefully I can continue to afford it after the holidays!
Total Regular Monthly Expenses: $2,106.84
**Note: many of the above expenses I pay yearly to get a discount, but have annualized them so you can see what the monthly expenses come out to.
I bought a new lens (100mm Macro - I am in loooove too) for my camera for $753.17. This is technically a capital expense, but to keep it simple I'm just going to consider it a regular expense for this income report. Yes I am an accountant and a nerd.
I also purchased some new dishes for the ingredients shots I will start doing in February for $96.98.
TOTAL EXPENSES FOR December: $2,956.99
For the month of December 2019, I am showing a profit of $1,813.39.
I did not include food expense in the above. I do deduct food expenses on my taxes so if you want to know what I spent, its $17.88 (I took most of the month off). We do, however, eat all the food I make for the blog.
During the month of December, I spent an average of 5-10 hours a week working on the blog. I tried my best to take most of the month off to regroup and gte ready for the new year!
Want to know what the best plugins are? Check out this post for the Top 10 Essential WordPress Plugins for Food Blogs.
**In December, I signed up for a WordPress support plan with Andrew Wilder from Nerdpress. My site speed has increased immensely, which I fully believe results in higher traffic. If you're not tech oriented, I highly recommend checking out one of his support plans. (I'm not an affiliate, I just love the service he provides)
Read More Income Reports:
January Income Report
February Income Report
March Income Report
April Income Report
May Income Report
June Income Report
July Income Report
August Income Report
September Income Report
October Income Report
November Income Report
What Am I Doing for Next Month?
In January, I had an SEO audit with Casey Markee which is the best thing I have done for my blog yet. I highly recommend his services if you want to grow your blog. You can find him over at MEDIAWYSE.
So, for the rest of the year, I will be working hard to improve the SEO on all current and older blog posts. SO. MUCH. WORK. You'll get to see the outcome of this in the coming months income reports so make sure you check back next month to see how it's going!
Want to Make Money Blogging?
Just get started. Seriously. Dive in and learn everything you can possibly can and get that blog up and running. Hopefully this income report will inspire you to do so.
Because like I said, I knew NOTHING when I started. And if I can do it, you can do it.