A food blog income report for other food bloggers and internet entrepreneurs. It includes a comprehensive review of how Gluten Free with L.B. is making money blogging in July of 2016.
These reports are written in an effort to offer encouragement (and a little guidance) to other bloggers and internet entrepreneurs out there. I will be sharing the things that have worked here on Gluten Free with L.B. as well as the pitfalls that have been encountered. After all, the best way to learn is from other people!
Don’t have a blog yet but would like to start one? Visit the How to Start a Blog page to create your own in under 20 minutes!
**Psshhh… wanted to make sure you knew! Many of the links below are affiliate links. If clicked on and an item is purchased then I will get a small percentage of the sale–for that, I am super thankful! 🙂
Traffic for July 2016
21,209 sessions (+21%)
*The red marks will be discussed in depth below!
- Google Adsense $15.98
- Gourmet Ads $37.07
- BlogHer $48.65
- Sovrn $19.50
- Swoop $0
- Affiliates $0
- Sponsored Content $0
Total Income= $121.20
RPM = $4.63
*RPM stands for revenue/mille, or revenue/1,000 pageviews. This helps gauge if monetization strategies are improving (making more money/1,000 pageviews) or getting worse. Since traffic varies from month to month, it is good to have a consistent measurement to determine how well your site is generating income.
- Media Temple $36.50
- Get 20% off your first month with this link.
- Mailchimp $15.00
- Get $30 towards your paid subscription when you sign up with this link.
- Food Blogger Pro* $29.00
- TailWind Pinterest Scheduler* $12.00
- Vaultpress $5.00
Total Expenses= $72.50
Total Net Profit = $48.70
A Quick Catch-Up
If you want to catch up and see what GFwLB has been doing for the rest of 2016, check out the income reports from the first half of 2016 here!
Changes Made in July 2016
A New Look and Feel for GFwLB…
She was starting to look a little tired, and a bit thrown together, so it was time for GFwLB to get a facelift!!
Over the past few months, I have spent countless hours trying to “brand” Gluten Free with L.B. In past times I would change up the header and colors on the site to whatever happened to be my fancy of the month. Whether that was mint green and purple one month, or rainbow colors the next, I had no clear vision of what a “brand” really was until I listened to a Food Blogger Pro Podcast on exactly that… Episode #51 with Aaron Scott titled “Building a Brand For Your Business.”
What is wrong with changing your website’s colors every now and then?
Absolutely nothing! If you are blogging for a hobby, or just do it occasionally, with no real intention of building a “business” around it, I say rock on! Keep changing those colors to whatever holiday is around the corner and loving your little piece of the web.
However, if you are truly passionate about turning your blog into something that can generate cash, and maybe even replace your full-time job, you need to start thinking about your “brand.” A brand is not simply a color scheme you choose and a logo you pick. A brand is SO much more than that!
A brand conveys a sense of predictability… That every time an individual shows up they know, to some extent, what to expect. What do you think would happen if Sally’s Baking Addiction one day decided she no longer wanted to post brightly colored photos/recipes of sugary sweets? But instead wanted to take dark and moody pictures of lentil stew and roast beef? Her readers would be confused! They would think they were in the wrong place and would go looking elsewhere for that vanilla cupcake with gobs of sprinkles they were originally in search of.
Let’s do a quick test…
- What color is Wal-Mart’s logo? What do you think about when you see their logo?
- Now how about Coca-Cola’s logo? What thoughts and feeling come to mind when you see or think about their logo?
- And lastly, what about Google’s logo? What comes to mind when you see their logo?
Now yes, all of the examples above are hugely popular brands, but there is a connecting factor with both huge brands and smaller brands… You want your “brand” to evoke emotions, thoughts, and feelings that are in alignment with the product(s) you are offering. Like Wal-Mart. Their blue and white, clean logo portrays ease, simplicity and maybe even a little bit of affordability. Coca-Cola? With their red and white scripty font… how about classic, exciting, bold. And Google’s… a multicolor logo that exhibits inclusivity, something for everyone can be found here.
Where Do You Start when Branding Your Site?
The first place I want you to start when determining what your website’s brand will be is within yourself.
What is it that you are uniquely offering to your readers? What thoughts, feelings and emotions do you want to evoke when they see your website, logo, fonts, color scheme, etc.
Are you offering elegant, classy meals with complicated ingredients? Then maybe a scripty font with a light color scheme is your brand’s image. Or maybe you want to post about cheap meals for the college chef? A green logo with bold, easy-to-read fonts may be more your thing.
Do you see where I am going with this? You are not able to choose your colors, fonts, logo, etc. until you know what it is you want to deliver to your readers.
Have more questions about how to “brand” your website?
Be sure to check out podcast episode #51 from Food Blogger Pro with Aaron Scott. It is a must-hear!
Back to GFwLB’s facelift…
As you can see in the image below, Gluten Free with L.B. now has a new logo, color scheme, fonts and overall image. In the “before” screen shot, you may notice that I took more of a “rainbow” color scheme approach. Nothing really seemed to match. Even my free e-cookbook has different colors than my header image on the site. Not to mention, I seemed to be regularly changing my colors, fonts, and header images because I was never happy enough with what I ad. Until… I sat down and made some decisions about my “brand.”
Over the course of about 3 months, I really dove deep into what it was about my site that differentiated it from other food blogs. Was it easy recipes? Was it cheap, budget-friendly bites? Were they classic recipes or more fusion-style cooking? Once I figured out my target audience and “theme” for my site, I set to work on picking colors and designing a logo. Here is GFwLB’s current logo…
What emotions, thoughts, and feelings come to mind when you see this logo?
My hope was that the colors would evoke a sense of approachability. The “Pyrex-style” bowls would make the site seem more traditional, homey, and classic. The simple, non-serif fonts would portray an unintimidating stance to cooking with my handwritten L.B. letting people know there is a real person behind the site. Did the logo trigger any of these thoughts or feelings for you? I would love to hear if they did or did not in the comments section below!
Into the Nitty Gritty of Re-Branding and Re-designing a Site
Throughout the process of tranforming my site, I found a lot of valuable resources. Here are a few that helped me complete such a seemingly overwhelming task:
- StudioPress Genesis and Divine Themes for WordPress – this is the link to the Genesis framework along with the child theme I chose, Divine theme by Restored 316 Designs.
- Everything You Need to Know About Changing a WordPress Theme – an absolute CRUCIAL check list!! Make sure you take many notes of how your site is now and what plugins you have, because a lot of things will change when you update your site.
- Vaultpress – If you do not already have your site backed up…. DO IT NOW!! During the process of changing themese I made an alteration to the hard code that completely made my site crash. Fortunately, I had it all backed up through Vaultpress and was able to refresh my site to its’ old setting in under 30 minutes. Talk about a lifesaver!
- Adobe Color Wheel – absolutely saved my life when choosing a color scheme!! You can choose from complimentary colors, triad, contrasting, etc. Aaron Scott talks more about this in the podcast with Bjork.
- Web Colour Trends – another great resource for seeing what color trends are already out on the web.
- 17 Genesis Themes for Food Blogs, Recipes, Restaurants – a brief overview of 17 of the best child themes available for food-related websites.
- 20 of the Best Genesis Framework Plugins – a roundup of some of the greatest plugins to use with the Genesis framework.
Phew… I could talk your ear off about changing the design of your site!! If you have any questions or comments feel free to ask away in the comments section below or contact me directly by going here. 🙂
Why Promote Other Bloggers Content through Recipe Roundups?!…
Because your readers will love it!! While yes, you do have the potential to direct people AWAY from your site, but remember… we, as food bloggers, are here to give our readers the best resources available!! Giving them a list of 15 Gluten Free Recipes to Beat the Summer Heat could be just what they have been needing during the hot and depressing month of July.
Not to mention, building a roundup of recipes gives you an incredible opportunity to reach out and connect with other bloggers. My tactic for the past two roundups I have done is to first email all of the potential food bloggers that will be featured in the article and ask their permission. This is absolutely KEY here! Give them the opportunity to say no! Chances are, as long as you credit them, their blog and their recipe properly most of them will be more than happy to let you include them. Not only is this e-mail important for permission’s sake, but it also gives you a great reason to connect with bloggers in a more personal way — through their inbox!
My challenge for you for this month…
Find what resonates with your audience and give them a recipe roundup that teaches them more about this topic!
Why was GFwLB Traffic Cut IN HALF this month?!…
What happened to the 40,000+ pageviews GFwLB had in June of 2016?… A silly mistake that I made on the site over 2 YEARS AGO is what happened!!
With all of these income reports I have really been digging deep into the numbers and analytics. I kept wondering why my pageviews/session was ALWAYS over 2.0? Other bloggers, who have MUCH better sites than I do, that are super easy to navigate, were still generating under 1.5 pageviews/session.
Being a bit hesitant, I started to do quite a bit of digging. Soon I realized the Google Analytics tracking code was installed twice on GfwLB! Way back when, in March of 2014, I added a nifty little plugin called All In One SEO Pack. Filling in all of the information I could, I never stopped to ponder what placing my GA tracking code into this plugin would do. I went on my merry way, never realizing I now had 2 tracking codes that registered 2 pageviews every time 1 person landed on 1 page. Aye, Yai, Yai!!! (Ricky Ricardo from I Love Lucy… Any Lucy fans out there?!)
Devastation does not even sum up all of the emotions I felt… saddened, frustrated, even a little embarrassed. Having what you thought was your blog’s traffic being cut in half overnight was a hard pill to swallow. Quite a few tears were shed, I might have said I was quitting “this whole blog thing” a few times in there, and then I went to sleep.
When I awoke I felt refreshed. It is as if a blog fairy spoke in my dream and reassured me: my “traffic” has not gone anywhere. The same wonderful people who have been coming to my site are still coming… all of the hard work I have been doing did not evaporate into thin air… It was a simple change in numbers. And that is when I realized, it really cannot be all about the numbers.
A whole month later I can tell you with certainty, Gluten Free with L.B. is still living and breathing and growing at a steady pace. And you know what, I lived through it, too.
Going Forward with these Food Blog Income Reports…
After my little faux pas, the one thing that really sucks (pardon my “French”) is that the analytics are a little off. As you can see in the chart above, the pageviews were obviously affected, but so was the bounce rate and pages/session. Until GFwLB gets a little more time under its belt, I will not be able to dig too much into the bounce rate and pages/session. And as far as reporting traffic, I will focus a little more heavily on “sessions” throughout August until we establish a new baseline for pageviews.
The Importance of Focusing…
A very short, but highly crucial topic I want to touch on.
Do you ever feel that at the end of a day, or designated “blogging period”, you seem to have been sooooo busy but yet didn’t get that #1 thing done on your list? It is easy to busy ourselves with the menial tasks of blogging… Sharing on social media, commenting on other bloggers’ sites, pinning on Pinterest, etc. etc. What is difficult is sitting down to write a 2500+ words food blog income report, creating that difficult recipe, or writing an e-cookbook. But these latter tasks… these are the ones that make a difference. These are the things that will make you feel like you had a “successful” day, not just a “busy” day.
By no means am I saying social media is not important, or meeting other bloggers is a waste of time. What I am encouraging you to do is to set your priorities.
At the beginning of every month, I sit down and write 5 big objectives for the month. This can be anything from filming 2 “tasty-style” videos to sharing on Facebook every day for the month. I write them down and look at them throughout the month to see how I am progressing. From there, each day I make a list of to-dos. The most important, not the most urgent, item goes at the very top of the list. It takes a bit of self-control, but I make myself tackle that item first thing.
What I have come to realize is if you get the most daunting task done first, it opens up your mind and lets it run freely. Instead of worrying or planning how you will get that important task done, you tackle it head on and then focus on the lesser tasks of the day.
What’s going on for the month of August?
- What exactly is SEO, why is it so important and how can you better your Google rankings?
Connecting with like-minded peeps…
- The importance of seeking other bloggers in your area to bond with!
Quick and “tasty” videos…
- Why is video so important and how am I doing it here on GFwLB?!
YAY!! You made it to the end! Once again, I give you a virtual smiley face sticker for sticking around. 🙂 If there was something I touched on in the post but you would like more information about, please comment below and I will give more details in the next post or send you a personal e-mail response.
Until next month’s report!