Welcome to our 23rd food blogging and income report for September 2017.
This month I wanted to talk to you about something that is close to my heart and how doing it correctly has given me the best traffic results and the best social shares out of all our blog posts.
Something that I have often seen been done so bad, it looks like SPAM on other blogs and how you must move out of this toxic practice if you want your food blog to grow and grow.
I am talking here about round ups. I love round ups and if you don’t know what they are, then basically they are a list of recipes featured together that people can browse through. They are also known as blog lists.
Don’t correctly, they can add amazing value to a food blog, but done incorrectly and it just feels like you have spammed the internet with your rubbish in the hope that your round up will be successful and your blog will take off from it.
Here are some examples of some of mine:
Between these 3 above they have received more than 200,000 social shares. The bottom one didn’t take too long as it was just 7 recipes, but the 2 above it with 101 recipes took quite some time to do. As I recall between the 3 of them we are probably talking about a month of hard work.
But with anything in life (not just blogs) you get back from something what you put into it. If you spend 10 minutes doing a round up then unless its some good old fashioned luck then the chances are, you wont achieve remarkable results.
But you probably want to know why I call it toxic?
Well that is because bloggers see the success of round ups and want a piece of the action without putting the work in.
This results in poorly put together lists with very little photos and many of the links being used on identical lists elsewhere.
It reminds me of 10 years ago when PLR was the in thing. It was before the Google updates and when spam sites were the norm. You could buy PLR articles for as little as $1 for 10 of them and then copy and paste 10 articles onto your blog in 10 minutes. Add a stock photo and you had your content. People didn’t care about quality they just wanted traffic from Google.
Google got wise to this rubbish and even though you can still buy PLR rubbish today, its not as common as it once was.
So when I noticed the mass selling of round up lists for bloggers it felt like PLR had made an unhealthy come back.
An example of this is virtual assistants selling the lists. They sell lists of recipes for a particular in season theme. So this might be 10 pumpkin recipes with it being Halloween season. Or in December loads of Christmas craft ideas.
Then these are sold to people and they literally copy and paste the results over into WordPress and BANG they have a round up.
Never mind the fact that another 30 people have the same results.
The reason my own round ups above have worked out so well is because they are unique, carefully crafted by myself with a lot of hard work and have pictures on them that are very easy to share on social media. There will be several images (not just the one) and they will be mass shared among all the social media channels and then drip fed through the system. Then if one of the images doesn’t take off then another one will.
Its also about having a theme. Such as my 101 recipe feature which I will be doing time and time again.
But most of all expect to make enemies. You can’t please everyone. When I did my 101 Instant Pot Recipes round up I got a very big enemy. Someone that I eventually blocked on Facebook because she would angry face every update of mine and accuse me of stealing peoples recipes and photos. All because I never included her in my round up. For the record though, I didn’t include her because he recipes sucked and there was always someone moaning about them and the pictures were awful.
I also myself get shared on at least 10 new round ups everyday and it is quickly becoming a great long term source of traffic. So if you want to grow your traffic on your blog then look firstly at round ups as an easy entry to high traffic numbers.
Plus it is a great way to get people to share your content. As long as it is not a spam round up we will always share posts that we are featured in.
So before you spend $5 on a round up list, then think again. Do it yourself. Spend the evening on Pinterest on your phone choosing recipes you want to use and then write it yourself. Make sure there is a decent amount of text so that people will share it and so that it will do well in the search engines and go for it!
Start a new trend of your blog and look for round ups targeting keywords you already rank for. For example we do very well for Airfryer potato recipes and Airfryer chicken recipes so we created round ups based on our content with these in mind.
Our Food Blogging Income During September 2017:
- Google Adsense = $865.33
- Sponsored Content = $768.00
- Amazon Associates = $407.68
- Amazon CPM Ads = $261.60
- Free Products = $205
- Kindle = $194.83
- Draft2Digital = $72.34
- Google Play = $18.43
Total Revenue = $2793.21
Our Food Blog Expenses During September 2017:
- Virtual Team = $914.37 (read here how I outsource to the Philippines)
- WP Recipe Maker = $103.98
- Knownhost = $67.50
- Screenshot Monitor = $34.77
- Bluburry = $12.00
- Buffer = $10.00
- Blog Vault = $9.00
- Nekkra UG = $5.00
Total Expenses = $1156.62
This leads to a total income from Recipe This For September 2017 of $1636.59
You’re probably thinking….how did that site earn so much from sponsored content last month and about 85% less this month? Well the truth is that we tend to have 2 good months and then a slow month and then that is our general rule.
This is because we will blast out an email to brands that we want to work with and then we will end up full for months and then we will do the same thing again. So right now our team is selling sponsored content for us for December-February and we are currently full up until the beginning of December.
Normally just food blogs with millions of page views a month are sold up this far in advance so we must be doing something right!Read How @recipe_this made money from their food blog last month From Food BloggingClick To Tweet
Adsense = our highest income stream
Now this has never happened to us in 12 years working on the internet. Our 10 year old Adsense account was actually the highest income on our monthly report. Advertising has always won on our blogs or the sale of ebooks or consulting, so to see this looks really weird.
If you’re starting out on Adsense, it always feels like a lifetime waiting to hit your first payout of 70€ so to say we hit this on day 3 and had the equivalent of 11 of these minimum payments a month sounds AMAZING.
Recipe This Blog Traffic September 2017
We had another quarter of a million page views this month. It feels like we are finally getting there with our traffic. We are 2 months away from our 2 year anniversary and it feels like all the sacrifices we have made to build this blog have been worth it.
I just wonder where we will be at this time next year.
If you are in a rut or you feel like your blog is going nowhere or are even thinking of quitting, then just think where you could be a year or two from now.
Or when you have those jealous moments of someone’s Facebook likes and then you realise their blog is 10 years old, then just look where you are going and what the future holds for you.
Here is our traffic for September 2017:
In case you’re wondering we are back in Facebook Jail and STILL smashed the 250,000 page views. So things are really not that bad after all!
Here are our top 10 traffic sources for RecipeThis.com during September:
We are heading back into Airfryer food obsessed season so this means our Airfryer round up that we are featured in is back in our top 10 results.
As well as this we have had good traffic from all the usual places such as Facebook, Pinterest, the search engines and of course Yummly.
I have seen a lot of reports from my fellow food bloggers of a slump on Pinterest. Well we went viral and had our very best Pinterest month:
As you can see from the screenshot we have a regular weekly traffic for ages, then a big boost for a couple of weeks and then back to its normal traffic again.
I have also heard on the grapevine that a lot of people have had their Pinterest account banned for spamming. Well when I have investigated it I can see why. When you are posting the same pin to multiple Pinterest boards at the same time and someone sees your profile it looks like spam.
However if you do it like we do it, where you pin the same pin but spread it out over every 3 hours with Tailwind then it looks natural and you have plenty of variety. Then each time we have a new post coming out, every graphic from the post will be spread out to all relevant groups.
Like you can see here:
I get the pins ready and then when our son comes home from school he does the Tailwind scheduling for us. Actually, as I am writing this income report he is next to me doing todays recipes to all the boards.
Or if you don’t post to your blog as frequently as me, then you can look at setting new pins to once every 24 hours or even once a week. Ours on average is set to about every 2 hours. But with the amount of pins going through the system we never have to worry that they repeat themselves.
So make sure that you spread them out and then your account will NOT get flagged.
Here is our SEO traffic from Google Webmaster Tools account:
I love my SEO. It’s my favourite stat that I check on my blog. I like to know what is on the front page of Google, how well the main niches are performing, what isn’t on the front page of Google (but fingers crossed will be soon) and of course my click through rate (CTR).
Someone asked me a few days ago what a good CTR should be and this is what I said to them:
First of all CTR refers to the percentage of people that click through to your post after seeing it in Google.
If you’re in the top 3 positions in Google then you should be getting a 40% click through rate (or higher). If you’re in 4 to 10 on the first page then you can expect around the 20-30% rate. Plus if you are not on the front page of position expect it to be below 10%.
Here you can see 2nd page of Google positions and they range from 2% up to 20%:
Or these first page positions on Google that range from 84% down to 68%:
If you are not seeing these kinds of results then you need to be improving your descriptions in your meta descriptions.
Our top secret 2018 plans are taking up all our time at the moment. We have new camera equipment for it, an updated mobile phone, even a tripod and some accessories. We won’t be announcing on the blog what it is until mid December so watch this space.
It’s actually so secretive that the only people that know is us two, our eldest son and my parents. Talk about keeping things quiet!