In this post, I share my very first food blog income report to give bloggers a peek into what it takes to run a food blog and a little sense of where blogging income comes from. Note that income is different than profit! I will break down both my food blog income, but also expenses related to blogging.
This is my VERY FIRST FOOD BLOGGING INCOME REPORT!
I chose to start writing these blogging income reports this particular month because it was the month I was accepted into the Mediavine Ad Network and started making a consistent income. I started my food blog on January 1, 2021 and reached Mediavine traffic levels in November of 2021. More details and tips on how I did that in this post: How to Qualify for Mediavine in One Year.
I have been family and hobby blogging on and off for over 12 years now!! I knew you could monetize a blog with affiliate links and ads but I really never knew HOW to gain traffic….and I never cared! I was just having fun sharing things with friends and family!
I honest to goodness never heard the term “SEO” until February, 2021–a month after I started Get On My Plate. I was just posting my favorite family recipes and sharing them on Facebook.
I had 1,600 page views in January of 2021…which isn’t THAT bad I guess, considering it was just friends and family!
I had 1,600 page views in January of 2021.
Once I learned about SEO, my organic traffic just kept increasing steadily.
When I took Cooking with Keywords and got super serious with SEO in September 2021, my traffic exploded! In September of 2021 I had 11,189 page views (21% organic traffic). In November I had 67,735 page views (40% organic traffic).
In September of 2021 I had 11,189 page views. In November of 2021 I had 67,735 page views. YAY for SEO!
Ummmm….YAY for SEO!!!
Why are you sharing your income reports?
I know income is very personal. But I share these details with you for a few reasons. I think a lot of it is the teacher in me. I want to be encouraging and helpful and show you the possibilities. I know when my traffic hovered around 5,000 page views, I loved reading food blog income reports for inspiration!
I also I want you to realize how far you can come in JUST ONE YEAR!! I didn’t know what SEO was in January and in November, I qualified for Mediavine! YOU CAN DO THIS!!
I also want to tell you that I do not blog full time. As I pointed out, I am a teacher (special education/learning center) and I work 3 days a week. I also have three very active kids–one in competitive gymnastics which is all kinds of cray! So I work on my blog on my days off and on the weekends and evenings, early mornings…whenever I can.
I work hard. I’m not going to sugar coat that. It’s a CRAP TON of work. But I LOVE IT!
Now that you have a little background on where I came from (#humblebeginnings–lol!) and why I am sharing these details, let’s take a look at the numbers:
December 2021 Traffic
I applied to Mediavine on November 20, 2021, when my traffic was a little over 50,000 sessions. My ads started running on December 21, 2021. I had a little over 55,000 sessions in November and that quickly jumped to 76,000+ in December! Thanks 4th Quarter!
I was so happy I got at least 10 days of Mediavine monetization in Q4!
When I got close to Mediavine levels, I knew I needed a traffic boost, so I started religiously posting in Facebook groups and making Google Web Stories.
Although organic traffic was still my #1 traffic source, Facebook really gave me the boost I needed.
Facebook Referrals: 9%
December 2021 Gross Income
Mediavine Ads (10 days of ads): $564.27
Sponsored Post: $1,200
Affiliate Income: $341.93
Ads: I was thrilled ads started running on my site right before Christmas to take advantage of that little traffic spike! RPMs weren’t sky high for me in December (about $18), but everyone says it takes awhile for RPMs to ramp up, so I wasn’t expecting anything too crazy.
Sponsored Post: Sponsored posts are what helped my blog be somewhat profitable, even in they very first year. I did 6 sponsored posts in 2021 and for most of them, I applied through a network: either Quotient or Social Fabric. I have had great experiences with both companies.
I actively applied to opportunities in Q3 and Q4. And though time consuming, it definitely paid off! Opportunities in Q1 have nearly disappeared since ad budgets are spent, but I expect they will ramp up again soon.
Note that my Instagram and Facebook followings are dismal, so it goes to show that you do not need big social media following to get sponsored posts! Typically they use your photos to promote their brand on their own website and social media channels. So in that case, it doesn’t matter what YOUR following or traffic is!
You can see here how President Cheese used my photo and recipe for their recipe collection on their own website. I also wrote a blog post for them.
Affiliate Income: I don’t actively strategize on affiliate income. I do put affiliate links in my posts here and there when I really feel like it will benefit the reader. Amazon has cut their profit percentages A LOT in the past year, so I really don’t give it too much thought.
If there is a product or service I LOVE LOVE LOVE and they happen to have an affiliate program (for example RankIQ , Cooking with Keywords or the Pretty Focused Photography course), I will share those. But I really have to love the product or service!
December 2021 Expenses
Adobe Lightroom: $10
Blog Hosting (WPOpt): $13
Rank IQ: $49
Pretty Focused Course Payment: $199
Tasty Pins (Yearly Renewal): $29
Photography Gear (Expo Disc and Diffuser): $90
TOTAL EXPENSES: $419
December 2021 Net Profit
Note that this “profit” does NOT include taxes, I currently set aside 30% of my net profit for taxes.
TOTAL PROFIT: $1,687.20
I try to keep my overhead LOW, since this is my first year of blogging. I think being SMART about expenses is important, especially if you’re not making money yet.
On the other hand, you also have to realize that YOU ARE A BUSINESS OWNER. Business owners need to invest in their businesses. Business owners also need to be smart about what they invest in!
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in ALL THE SHINY OBJECTS! Try to be smart and wise with your decisions. I talk about this more in this post: 18+ Affordable Resources for Food Bloggers.
Recurring Expenses: The first FOUR expenses on the list, are monthly reoccurring expenses. I just started RankIQ in December and I am kind of addicted, so I am guessing that will also become a recurring expense as well!
Tasty Pins was up for yearly renewal in December, so that was an annual expense.
Investments: I also invested (wisely!!!!) in the Pretty Focused photography course and that will be a recurring expense for 12 months (unless I pay it off sooner, which I might!).
Last, I needed a few more photography items so I picked up an Expo Disc and Diffuser from Amazon.
Now that I have crossed the dreaded “Mediavine requirements” (I call it the “Mediavine hamster wheel” because that’s how you feel when you’re trying to reach 50k!!!), I need to start thinking bigger and long term.
My number #1 goal is 2022 is to start diversifying my income so I don’t get too reliant on one income source. Most bloggers rely mostly on ad income, and while the income is great, in this business, things can change in a heartbeat, so it’s so important to have multiple revenue streams.
I will keep you posted!
I hope you enjoyed this food blog income report! I plan to post these reports quarterly. In the meantime, if you have questions, feel free to drop me a line at: [email protected].
XO ~ Casey