In this post, I share my first *QUARTERLY* food blog income report (Q1 2022) 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 post may contain affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission when you click on the links and make a purchase. I will never recommend products and services that I don’t support 100%. You can read my full disclosure here.
Hello, Friends! This is my second blog income report and my FIRST quarterly report. If you want to read my first-ever income report, check it out here: December 2022 Income Report.
In December (my last income report), I had just been with Mediavine for 10 days and my RPM’s were LOW as I still ramped up. Mediavine does warn that it takes several months for RPM’s to reach your blog’s potential, as advertisers get to know your blog and content.
Throughout January, February and March, both my traffic AND my income/RPMs made nice gains! In March, I officially surpassed my income as a part time teacher! Not saying much, but it was definitely a milestone for me! #teacherlife
WHAT I FOCUSED ON THIS QUARTER
This quarter, I wanted to put my head down and focus almost 100% on creating good, solid content (blog posts). I spent a ton of time doing keyword research (I am still ONLY using Rank IQ and Keysearch) to write posts I knew I could rank for.
This quarter I published 25 brand new recipe posts. For the vast majority of the posts, I used the Rank IQ keyword library. For ALL of the posts, I ran them through the Rank IQ Content Optimizer tool which has been a Godsend in getting important LSI keywords in all of my posts!
The vast majority of the posts I have written using RankIQ keywords, are ranking on the first page of Google within a month. It’s an incredibly powerful tool.
Producing good quality, rank-able content has really been paying off. My traffic increased over 30% from January to March and my organic traffic is staying consistent at about 70%.
I also made it a goal to do the dreaded task of rewriting/optimizing/photographing old posts. Some posts were total rewrites and some, I just ran through the Rank IQ Content Optimizer and added a few things here and there.
So far, I have gained rankings in most of the posts I updated in Q1, so I am definitely seeing the value! I only updated 6 posts in the first quarter, but plan to get to more this next quarter!
Work Life Balance
I honestly don’t know if I am ever going to figure this one out! As an entrepreneur (SOLOpreneur), I have to do all the things. I am also a fairly NEW business owner so as I get everything ramped up, it’s A LOT OF DANG WORK!!!
Working for yourself and starting a business where there is no true “quitting time” everyday can be tough as well! Especially Type A people like myself who just want to get things done!!
I haven’t gone completely insane yet and I think two things have helped:
- Having a clear work flow. I plan to write a blog post about this soon. But basically, it’s just all of my weekly tasks, broken up by day. So for example, on Mondays, I JUST shoot and edit. On Tuesday (since I also teach that day), I JUST post in a few Facebook groups and post a web story. On Wednesdays, I make web stories. You get the idea.
Breaking up ALL THE TASKS until smaller chunks that I can check off every day helps keep me laser focused.
- Grace: As much as a struggle with this, I have been better at giving myself grace when “all the things” aren’t checked off my list. People will visit, we’ll have all day gymnastics meets and soccer tournaments, and I just have to be OK with that.
This is harder for me than it should be!
Q1 2022 TRAFFIC SUMMARY
Social: 14% (Breakdown: Pinterest 55%, Facebook 44%)
Ads: No surprise that most of my income comes from Mediavine ads (I was accepted on December of 2021. You can read the full post on how I got to Mediavine in one year here).
First quarter are the lowest RPM months for Mediavine (AKA: Less money!), but I have been pretty happy so far with my average RPM hovering around $30. I am excited to see what Q3 and Q4 bring!
What is RPM? Find out in this article from Mediavine: What is RPM?
Affiliate Income: As I mentioned in my first income report, 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, but they just announced they are raising them back up a bit, so I might try to be a bit more strategic about it in the coming months.
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!
I will never, ever sell out to affiliates I don’t love just because they offer incredible affiliate payouts (Bluehost, I am looking at you)!
Q1 2022 TOTAL EXPENSES: $1,301
Monthly Reoccurring Expenses
Adobe Lightroom (monthly): $10
Blog Hosting (WPOpt, monthly): $13
Keysearch (monthly): $17
Canva (monthly): $12
Rank IQ (I switched to a lower tier plan in March): $49 for two months, then $29 in March
Pretty Focused Course (monthly until December): $199
Facebook VA: $200
New External Hard Drive : $60
Q1 2022 NET PROFIT: $7,982
Note that this “profit” does NOT include taxes, I currently set aside 30-35% of my net profit for taxes.
TOTAL PROFIT: $7,982
Recurring Expenses: As a newer blogger, I try to keep my overhead LOW. So my reoccurring expenses are minimal! Without my monthly Pretty Focused Course payment I am paying off, my reoccurring expenses are less than $100/month!
Investments: At this point in my blogging career, when I make investments in my business, it’s for one of two reasons: 1) Necessity (I HAD to invest in more external storage for my photos!) or 2) Something that is specifically related to driving income.
I feel like we, as food bloggers, want to grab “all the shiny” things…and waste so much money while doing it.
For example, the Pretty Focused photography course is something I needed to invest in to improve my photos and help me land sponsored opportunities.
I also made my VERY FIRST HIRE!! I hired a VA to help revive my DEAD Facebook page. I originally wanted to hire someone to take over my Instagram, but I decided that is less of an income-driver than Facebook *can* be….for me, at least.
Eventually, I want to grow my Instagram to stand out to land brand deals, but I would want to hire someone to take that on and financially, I am just not there yet.
Last month, I mentioned that my number #1 goal in 2022 is to start diversifying my income so I don’t get too reliant on one income source (AKA: ads!!).
I invested in the Pretty Focused course to open up avenues for more sponsored work and possibly creating and recreating recipes for other bloggers to purchase.
The other income stream that I literally stumbled upon was Pinterest Creators! Some Pinterest business accounts have an EARN tab. I believe you need at least 1000 followers and the program is still rolling out, so if you don’t see it just yet, KEEP CHECKING!
Every month, they will post different Idea Pin “tasks.”
For example, one task is “Create one Idea Pin each week in April.” There are certain, broad guidelines such as using video and being original content, but it’s pretty loose!
The payout for completing the task is $1,300. Not too shabby for 4 Idea Pins.
I JUST started with this, so I will keep you posted. So far, I have made $250 making one Idea Pin, and the others are still in the approval process.
This month, I have the potential to make $5,100 through the Pinterest Earn tab. Soooooo I am putting some solid effort into creating Idea Pins this month because it is potentially INCOME DRIVING!
If it turns out to flop, that’s OK, too. Since I have posted these Idea Pins and have been a bit more active on Pinterest, both my Pinterest followers AND direct traffic to my website have seen steady growth!
We shall see!
I hope you enjoyed this food blog income report! I plan to continue to post these reports quarterly. In the meantime, if you have questions, feel free to drop me a line at: [email protected].
XO ~ Casey