Income Reports

September 2016 Income: Attending Food Blogger Conferences!

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Welcome to my once a month income report for bloggers and freelancers. If you’re new here and want to catch up on my progress, feel free to browse my previous income reports here. If you’re looking for help on how to start your blog, or how to increase your web traffic, check out my resources page!
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Hey everyone!!! I know I’m a bit late so please forgive me (by the way, if you’re here just for the food, I’ve got you covered with other recipes here.) I was more than a little busy this past weekend taking in the Food Bloggers of Canada conference – my first conference ever as a professional food blogger, and boy did I EVER learn a few things!

If you’re unfamiliar with my income reports, I decided to start writing them because I was inspired by the ones written on some of my favourite blogs, including Pinch of Yum, The Endless MealPlatings and Pairings and Jessica Gavin. Since I started my income reports back in March 2016 (Here’s onetwo, threefourfivesix and seven), I wanted to make them center around a certain theme. This month, I will be changing things up a bit by doing a two-part wrap up series of FBC 2016!

I’m also going to breeze through my income, traffic and goal round-ups to show you some pictures of the conference and highlight some of my amazing experiences there. A more comprehensive resources article will come next week with some of what I’ve learned in going to my first conference. I know conferences and trips may be tricky to plan and difficult to afford, but I truly feel that you get back out of your business what you put into it. And sometimes, you need to make a big investment in order to grow!

But anyways…

Here’s a breakdown of my income from this month:

  • $100 from advertising (Google Adsense, Gourmet Ads, Chicory and AOL Ads combined)
  • $1122 sponsored blog posts
  • $450 freelance recipe development, writing and photography work

This month, money was a little bit on the low side, even though my traffic is continuing to grow over the long term. There are two problems with my income this month. Firstly, I am not earning nearly enough from the advertising on my site, so I took down almost all my ads this month out of frustration and am switching over to Mediavine, which is supposed to give you way more money. You need a minimum of 30,000 monthly page views to join, and at more than 45,000 page views, I made the cut. Secondly, I feel as though I have been compromising space on my site for a lower amount of money than I’m worth.

I met with Ayngelina of Bacon is Magic and Charlene of Chew Street for a coffee break after our morning workshops at the FBC Conference this weekend and they both really encouraged me to re-evaluate the value of my blogging services, which has led me to raise my prices for sponsored content. Of course, that isn’t reflected here this month, but I have seen growth through this strategy alone for October through the power of negotiation. I will report back for October’s income report on this!

Here’s a breakdown of my traffic from this month:

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I still can’t believe how quickly my Google traffic is growing. Not too long ago back in June, I was at 3000 monthly visitors from the search engine after I did a URL change, and it has now gone up to almost 13,000 visits in September. Currently, I’m sitting at even more for October. Posts I wrote a year ago are only now starting to take off which is interesting – two of my most popular posts are now a Chili Cheese Fries recipe from August 2015 and a Butternut Squash Ravioli from October 2015. People who are searching for these terms on Google right now are landing on my website and this is resulting in increased traffic from Google and more direct traffic. Woo hoo!

I’m a bit disappointed at how slowly my Pinterest traffic has been growing – it is literally going at a snail’s pace. However, it isn’t too bad considering that I had about 500 visits from Pinterest back in March 2016. Six months later and my traffic there has ballooned relative to what it was. I am now experimenting with Tailwind Tribes and long pins in order to hopefully bring more people to my site from Pinterest!

Okay, time to talk goal-setting!

What I Accomplished in September:

  • Continued to build strong editorial calendars by season with recipes that have been well-researched for SEO
  • Continued to create weekly recipe videos
  • Incorporated more personal story-telling and photos into my recipes
  • Started pitching magazine publications (no luck yet, though I did hear back from the editor at AllRecipes thanking me for my pitch)
  • Switched web hosts to increase my site speed (I switched to WP Opt – HIGHLY recommend them! My site speed has increased SO much – I’m talking like 40/100 on Google PageSpeed Insights with Bluehost to 63/100 on WP Opt and I didn’t even have to do anything extra. Do you know how amazing that is for SEO?!)
  • Started taking portrait photography for my portfolio as a new income stream (I volunteer-shot my cousin’s wedding in the summer for experience. Now I am offering free photoshoots to friends and family on a volunteer basis for my portfolio!)

My Goals for October:

  • Change ad networks to Mediavine to increase ad revenue
  • Continue to find new ways to diversify my income in relation to work I’m already doing on the blog (e.g. freelance photography/videography, cooking workshops, social media work, etc.)
  • Enhance the quality of my videos by purchasing a portable hot plate and lighting
  • Continue to pitch ideas to all kinds of food publications to increase my freelance writing and photography income
  • Collect market research to better understand what kind of recipes my audience wants; could also use this kind of info for e-books I want to put out in the future
  • Create a portfolio tab to replace my Work With Me page 
  • Continue to increase my web traffic by creating more Google-friendly recipes
  • Start reading inspirational books and learn more about tried-and-true marketing strategies

OKAY! Phewwwww. Now that we got that out of the way, I want to share some pictures from the astounding Food Bloggers of Canada conference. I will probably do another post next week (*update* I DID – check out what I learned here) on the key tips and tricks I learned as a blogger and the concrete steps I will be taking to maximize my goals for the upcoming year, so stay tuned for some more Blogger Resources!

Until then, here are just some of the amazing experiences I had this weekend:

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Dennis Prescott’s food photography talk

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My amazing room at the Delta Hotel

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My city!!!!

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Coffee break!

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Claire Tansey’s talk…SO inspirational!

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Breakfast sponsored by Breville!

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Dinner hosted by Canadian Lentils at Montecito – that steak was something else!

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New friends!

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Lunch sponsored by Canadian Turkey!

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Views from my room!

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Friday night’s dinner!

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The lovely Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen!

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The Zucchini Boat bites I created for Half Your Plate’s Friday night cocktail booth!

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Ready to go!

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And there we are, the end of Income Report #8. Thanks so much for reading!

Anything I missed this month? Want to know more about FBC 2016? The next FBC conference will be held in Ottawa and early bird ticket sales will start soon so I hope to see more of your lovely faces there! Please check out what I learned from the conference here. 🙂  If you have questions or comments I would LOVE to hear from you in the comment section!

*There are no direct affiliate links in this post, but there may be some located in other pages I have linked to in this post

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Kelly
    October 26, 2016 at 15:06

    Great post! Very inspiring for someone like me whose been blogging for quite a while but hasn’t really focused on making money from blogging, which I know I really should do. You said you’re seeing better results from Google through better SEO optimization and research, were/are there any resources you used that helped you see those results that boosted your traffic? I’m in the beauty blogging field but I’d like to get better at my SEO.

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      October 27, 2016 at 15:09

      Hey Kelly! Thank you so much for your kind words! I honestly have picked up SEO tips from just about everywhere. I think the best thing you can do to grow is to read income reports. I have a few linked at the top of this post, but here are a few more blogs that have been helpful for giving tips and tricks:

      http://www.pickledplum.com/blog-income-report/
      http://www.thewickednoodle.com/find-best-recipe-keywords-food-bloggers/

      The thing is you really need to read through everything. People may give out helpful tidbits here and there so I would absorb every ounce of info you can like a sponge. I have a few other income reports where I share my strategies and goals that may also help for you to look over for SEO. The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is to just create good content, and searchable content, and having a fast website among features from bigger sites like Buzzfeed. All those things are great for SEO. Editors from Buzzfeed, HuffPost, etc. are tend to look through the Food/Style/Craft Gawker site and will choose the best photography to feature, at least from my experience. If you have great photography and writing I also find you get featured and discovered more easily so that also really helps. It’s all these tiny little things that add up over time I think!

      I’m still no expert and am still growing so it takes time once you start making your work better too. Every day I strive to better my styling, get a more attractive photo, etc. I don’t know anything about beauty blogging so I would also see if there are income reports from those in your niche that are finding different tips and tricks to getting more traffic!

  • Reply
    Julia (@imagelicious)
    October 26, 2016 at 20:07

    I can’t believe we didn’t meet during conference! I love all your goals and the article is so well thought out. I may (and by may I mean will) steal your goals and ideas… I’m still growing so I can’t apply to mediavine yet, so it’s my goal. Maybe we could do a collaboration at some point if you are interested:)

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      October 27, 2016 at 11:41

      Hey Julia – yes for sure!!! I can’t believe we didn’t get to meet either, I’m going to be sure to be on the lookout for you at next year’s conference! I love your photos so I’m sure you will grow to that point very soon 🙂

  • Reply
    Ayngelina
    October 26, 2016 at 22:54

    Woot! I’m so happy you’ve committed to charging what you are worth.

    Also I’m with MediaVine and I can’t say enough good things about them

    It was so good to meet you. Let’s do it again soon when I don’t have to drink coffee.

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      October 27, 2016 at 12:19

      Well thank you for your advice Ayngelina!!! I honestly can’t tell you how life changing it has been so far! I think when you commit to quality work you get stuck in the “I’m still learning” stage and don’t think to bump your prices as you grow. You definitely helped my confidence 🙂 And yes, I totally want to go for drinks sometime soon! We should plan an evening!

  • Reply
    Bonnie
    October 27, 2016 at 03:39

    Hi Taylor,

    Great post on FBC conference, can’t believe we didn’t meet!! I was only there for the Sunday session though. I only started blogging maybe 2 years now and only taking a bit more seriously now and focus on it and your blog was inspiring to take it to the next level. I was planning on trying online magazine but haven’t tried yet. We should connect one day since we both live in Toronto. I’m planning on attending the Ottawa conference next year for both Sat and Sun. Can’t wait!!

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      October 27, 2016 at 12:21

      Oh no!!! So glad you are coming next year Bonnie, I can’t wait to meet you! I think it is totally worth coming for the whole weekend – though it was a smaller conference it was still pretty huge and hard to meet everyone. I keep running into new people even as I was leaving on the Sunday it was so awesome but overwhelming at the same time. Needless to say, SO much learned this past weekend 🙂

  • Reply
    Erin @ Platings and Pairings
    October 27, 2016 at 12:28

    Great work Taylor – I’m so jealous of your Google traffic!!! I really need to work on upping my Google game. Plus, it looks like you had an amazing time at the conference – It looks like a great one. All that food… Oh, and thank you for the mention!!!

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      October 28, 2016 at 11:07

      Hey Erin – if you ever need any SEO tips don’t hesitate to reach out! And no problem – I absolutely love your blog <3

  • Reply
    Natasha
    October 27, 2016 at 12:53

    I think you’ll be happy with Mediavine – I just made the switch myself and really like them. I’ve been using Board Booster for a few months now, and it’s helped my Pinterest growth a lot. Send me an email or PM me on FB if you have any questions about it. I’d love to hear more about the FBC conference in next month’s report. Looks like you had a great time!

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      October 28, 2016 at 11:04

      Hey Natasha! I probably will reach out actually, thank you! I’m kind of confused by what Board Booster is and how it helps. I feel like I’ve already invested a ton in Tailwind but if there’s something else out there that helps I would love to explore additional options. And yes, please do tune in for next week’s post! You should really consider attending the conference in Ottawa next year. I know it’s far but it’s made SUCH a difference in my upcoming plans and I can’t emphasize enough how life-changing it was. I would also love to attend the Chopped conference. Jessica of How Sweet It Is spoke there and she is literally one of my blogging idols!!!

  • Reply
    Ganesh Iyer
    November 1, 2016 at 16:01

    Very inspiring and provides me motivation to continue with my work. I just do youtube and Adsense. I am glad I ran into your blog.

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      November 3, 2016 at 12:09

      Thanks Ganesh, so happy to hear that! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mushrooms Canada
    November 8, 2016 at 09:43

    Great recap Taylor! It was such a pleasure to finally meet you and I hope we can catch up again soon!!

    -Shannon

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      November 8, 2016 at 10:18

      Thanks so much Shannon! 🙂 I was so happy to finally meet you in person – if you’re ever in Hamilton I would love to catch up and go for coffee sometime!

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