September 2016 Income: Attending Food Blogger Conferences!
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!
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 Meal, Platings and Pairings and Jessica Gavin. Since I started my income reports back in March 2016 (Here's one, two, three, four, five, six 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!
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:
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:
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