This is my first ever Food Blog Income Report starting with May 2019! I’m sharing how much money I brought in this month, where it came from, my expenses, and my blog traffic. It feels so strange sharing this information. I’m a little nervous as I type this out but if it means helping beginner food bloggers monetize their blog, as it did for me, then I’m willing to push past those fears!
How long I’ve been running Butternut Bakery
Before we get into this, it’s important for you to know how long I’ve been at this. Growing a blog and an income can take time and that’s definitely the case for Butternut Bakery.
The official start date of the blog is June 2018. While I had been sharing a couple recipes on a Squarespace site beforehand, I don’t count those days as relevant to these reports since there really wan’t any traffic to make note of. I was just kind of floating in internet space at that time.
I also regret those Squarespace days…which is why I wrote a whole post on How to Start a Food Blog so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
I’m still working a full time job
I also want you to know that I STILL work an 8-5 job while running Butternut Bakery on the side. I’m sure many of you reading this are in the same situation…worried if you’ll be able to grow a successful food blog while earning that full time pay check.
I won’t sit here and say it’s easy, but I’m living proof that it IS possible. Could I leave my full time job now? Sure. But I also have student loans to pay off (how millennial of me) and some major life expenses coming up to where the blog income just wouldn’t be enough to cover all of that…at least right now it isn’t.
Prioritizing my time and working with intention to grow my blog
Since the time I spend on Butternut Bakery (BB) is limited, I knew I needed to work strategically in order to get the most out it. I also know exactly where and how I’d like to earn my income as it pertains to the future of BB.
My goals are two fold:
- Increase my blog traffic – Growing my traffic will allow me to earn more ad revenue. This is something I’m very focused on and can be very lucrative when done right. The downside is that it takes TIME. I’m playing the long game with this blog…hustle hard now so I can work more efficiently later.
- Strengthen my sponsored work – This is another source of income that seamlessly weaves into the work I’m ALREADY doing. Again, I try to get the most out of my time and sponsored work kills two birds with one stone. My priority is to consistently share quality content to my readers and if I can make extra income working with brands that I love…it’s a no brainer. This is something I hope to continue to grow and strengthen for BB.
Other than that, I’m very choosy about the work I do outside of those two sources of income. I do some freelance photography for one food blogger but that’s it. It’s all I have time for. I could add in some freelance content creation, more freelance photography, or recipe development for others but again, NO TIME. That’s why I had to hyper focus my attention and time so I don’t spread myself too thin.
Ok, now let’s get into this. Can you tell I’ve been stalling? It’s a little scary pulling back the curtain…especially because I don’t really know if it’s good or bad. I’m just out here trying my best!
And since I haven’t been blogging for a full year just yet, I don’t have annual metrics to compare. Next month I will, though! But my traffic for May 2019 has been one of my best months yet.
This month was really strong for Pinterest, compared to about 9,300 users last month. My Fresh Strawberry Sheet Cake took off VERY quickly which is rare for Pinterest…it usually takes some time for a post to gain any traction.
I’ve also slowly but steadily increased my organic traffic. I finally have a couple recipes that are on the first page of Google (yay!) which has brought in a decent amount of users.
Top 5 posts for May 2019:
- Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
- Edible Brownie Cookie Dough
- Burnt Basque Cheesecake
- Fresh Strawberry Sheet Cake
- Mediavine (my ad network) – $869.45 at $11.67 RPM
- Sponsored Content – $3,650.00
- Freelance Photography – $460.00
- Amazon Affiliate – $34.02
- Kickbooster (Replica Surfaces Affiliate) – $27.98
- TOTAL INCOME – $5,041.45
This has been my highest earning month yet. I increased and prioritized my sponsorship outreach which paid off. I realized I had severely under priced my work and started only working with brands that were willing to pay my fee.
I’d also really like to increase my affiliate sales but it’s something I struggle with. I plan on diversifying this strategy over time but I have seen a small boost in sales since adding my shop page.
- Baking Supplies – $214.21
- Tailwind – $147.17
- Sitelock – $50
- Mailchimp – $50
- Bluehost – $14.99
- Adobe Photography Plan – $10.78
- TOTAL EXPENSES – $487.15
I’ve been trying to keep my expenses at a minimum which means canceling my very expensive SEMRush account (for keyword research). That saved me $100 each month but I’m finding the free platform just isn’t enough…I might have to bite the bullet and pay for it again.
Tailwind is what I use to schedule and manage all of my Pinterest activity. I honestly can’t live without it, especially because I’m handling all of my Pinterest marketing by myself right now. This month cost more than usual because I upgraded my account and switched to an annual plan. I was paying about $15/month but since upgrading and switching to annual billing, I’m saving a bit of money.
Sitelock is a new-ish expense that saved me in an emergency situation. My site had been hacked and I had zero protection on it. DON’T DO THIS! Sitelock fixed my site so fast and they continue to protect my site from any potential threats.
Mailchimp is what I use for my email list and newsletters. The larger my list gets, the higher the monthly cost is. That’s why I’m pretty diligent about clearing out my list so I only keep those who actually open my emails.
Bluehost is the platform that hosts my website. I haven’t had any issues with it although as my site gains more traffic, I may think about switching to more robust service.
This Adobe Photography plan is really all I need for my editing software. It gives me Lightroom and Photoshop.
NET INCOME: $4,554.30
Why am I sharing this with you?
Income reports are something that completely changed my mindset when it came to blogging. Not only did they help me discover how to monetize my blog, but it also opened my eyes to the endless possibilities. When you’re first starting out, everything can seem so overwhelming but the clarity of these reports really helped center my focus.
Most importantly, this is not to show off AT ALL. And PLEASE do not ever compare yourself to others. Whenever numbers are involved, it’s easy to fall into that trap but we’re all in different stages unique to our paths.
My income reports (yes, I plan on sharing more) are to be used as a resource and nothing more. There’s no rubric to food blogging but these reports help shed some light on how to operate a successful blogging business.