This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
The first in a series of food blog income reports, I want to share with you that you can make money blogging! This is the Food Blog Income Report for January 2019.
I've been pondering starting income reports for some time now, and decided to finally take the leap. Because, 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. Which I do.
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. So I hope I can inspire to follow your dreams, or at least give you something interesting to read....LOL.
I'm not going to sugar coat anything in these blog income reports. I may have made revenue in January, but after expenses I'm in the hole. 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)
January 2019 Blog Traffic:
I started Went Here 8 This in October 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.
From the beginning of November 2018 to the end of January 2019, I have DOUBLED my traffic. Most of this is due to an intense focus on SEO (search engine optimization) - as you'll see below, more than 50% of my traffic comes from Google.
My total page views for January were 60,407.
My traffic for January 2019 came from the following top 5 sources:
- Organic: 52%
- Social: 29%
- Pinterest: 69%
- Facebook: 28%
- Twitter: 2%
- Buzzfeed: 1%
- Direct: 11%
- Referral: 5%
- Email/Other: 3%
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.
January 2019 Income Report
I had made small amounts on my blog for the past 6 months, but only averaging around $50/month. In December, I qualified for Mediavine (an ad network) and that has become a game changer.
In January 2019, my blog income and expenses were as follows (note some of the below links are affiliate links - I earn a small commission if you buy through these):
- On page advertising (Mediavine): $582.42, with an average RPM of $12.18. This RPM is low, but January typically has very low RPMs after the holidays. Hope to see this start to increase in the coming months.
- Sponsored Posts: $275.00
- Amazon Affiliate Marketing: $146.66
TOTAL INCOME: $1,004.08
My total expenses for January 2019 were $2,976.01, but this was an anomaly due to some cash outlays I made (new camera, lenses, lights, SEO audit, tech support, etc.). The February income report will better reflect normal monthly expenses. (note some of the below links are affiliate links - I earn a small commission if you buy through these).
- Hosting (Cloudways): $12.80. 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.
- Food Blogger Pro Membership: $23.25. Learn more about Food Blogger Pro.
- Social Warfare Pro: $2.42. A lot of people have jumped ship on this plugin for social sharing, but I still love it and will continue to use it.
- Tailwind: $19.98. An absolute must for scheduling Pins on Pinterest. 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.
Total Regular Monthly Expenses: $199.42
One Time Expenses for January:
- New equipment and services: $2,466.59. This was for the purchase of a new camera, lenses, photo props, lighting, SEO audit services and material to make photo backdrops. Yes, that means I am working hard to improve my photography.
- One time tech support to have some items tweaked on the blog: $310.00.
TOTAL EXPENSES FOR JANUARY: $2,976.01
So for the month of January 2019, I am showing a loss of $1,971.93. But like I said, that's due to out-of-the-ordinary expenses I made.
**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 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 $126.48. We do, however, eat all the food I make for the blog.
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.
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 month of February, 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 gets 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.