Welcome to my food blog income report for Q1 2023! This Q1 2023 income report is to give bloggers a peek into what it takes to run a food blog and a little sense of where blogging income comes from. Q1 was not as scary as I made it up to be in my head. I will also get totally real with you and talk about how I figured out MY WHY this quarter!
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Hello, Friends! 2023 is FLYING by…how is it APRIL already?! In terms of blogging, I was happy to see low January and February RPMs go away–lol! March and April so far, have been much better!
I’m back to recap Q1 with this Q1 2023 Food Blog Income Report. Woo hoo! I get so many sweet messages from you all when I post these reports and I truly hope they help. Please know that I appreciate you being on this journey with me SO MUCH!
I also hope you realize this blogging thing is trial and error! I can show you what I am doing that works, but I will also share things with you things that have flopped, too! So thanks for joining me on this ride!
You can see all of my past income reports on this page!
WHAT I FOCUSED ON THIS QUARTER (and what I didn’t)
Content Creation, of course!
This quarter, I still pumped out as much new content as I could…does anyone else feel like if you stop creating content that you blog will just DISAPPEAR off the internet?!! HAHAHA–maybe it’s just me!
I will say, that my laser-focus on creating quality content my first two years of blogging is one of the main reasons for my success. Sooooo, if it’s working, I really don’t want to change it up too much 🙂
This quarter, I published 19 brand-new blog posts and updated 3. Here is the breakdown by type of post:
- New Recipe Posts: 19
- New Non-Recipe Posts: 3
- Updates to Old Posts: 3
What’s changed is the amount of actual WORK I am doing to create this content….keep reading.
My laser-focus on creating quality content my first two years of blogging is one of the main reasons for my success.
After investing in some artificial light supplies last quarter, I made the decision in Q1 to totally drop photography. It was a big decision. However, my life has changed a bit this quarter. I used to have weekends to shoot several recipes–now, that’s gone away completely.
While I love recipe creation, I don’t love photography. So I have hired a couple of photographers to recreate the recipes I develop. So far, it’s been a relatively smooth and seamless process.
The only tough part was learning to be very specific when writing a recipe while in development instead of just scribbling in a notepad…other people have to be able to read it! HA!
New Income Streams
I mentioned wanting to create new income streams in my Q4 2022 Income Report. This quarter I decided to FINALLY DO IT! I launched my 1:1 Blog Coaching and a Digital Product Shop! Ok, “shop” might be the wrong word because there is only one product in it right now, but let’s call it a work in progress!!
Both of these were a labor of love to get up and running but SO HAPPY I did it!
One of the most important qualities a blogger can have is the ability to see the big picture and change and pivot with the current situation
Q1 2023 TRAFFIC SUMMARY
Page views month over month have dropped slightly. The January to February drop I expected but March was slightly lower, too. I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly where the drop is coming from (besides just typical seasonality), but I haven’t come up with anything really concrete.
It could have been part of the Google updates that have sent my rankings slightly up and down, but no one can be sure! I will continue to monitor traffic and see what next quarter brings. In the meantime, I will keep creating more quality content and diversifying my revenue!
If I ever get down about my traffic numbers, all I have to do is look at the numbers in parenthesis showing where I was last year at this time!
This business isn’t always upward momentum….it comes with ups and downs and ebbs and flows. One of the most important qualities a blogger can have is the ability to see the big picture and change and pivot with the current situation.
The numbers in parenthesis represent 2022 traffic for that same time period.
Pageviews: 500,180 (99,213)
Sessions: 441,467 (87,843)
Pageviews: 422,031 (104,926)
Sessions: 375,352 (92,530)
Pageviews: 421,883 (136,606)
Sessions: 376,077 (119,958)
Social: 9% (Breakdown: Pinterest 88%, Facebook 9%, Instagram 2%)
Ads: I was prepared for the “Q1 Slump” and low RPMs….and January and February definitely didn’t disappoint! LOL! Luckily, my traffic remained strong and the continued increase in traffic compensated a bit for the decrease in RPMs.
No huge changes in revenue streams- the vast majority of my income comes from Mediavine ads (I was accepted in December of 2021. You can read the full post on how I got to Mediavine in one year here).
However, this is the first quarter I have put solid effort into diversifying my income, which I’ll talk more about below!
No huge changes here. I am still recommending the same products that I know, use and LOVE!!! Those are: RankIQ , Cooking with Keywords, the Pretty Focused Photography course, and my amazing hosting company WPOpt).
I also earn about $100 per month with Amazon Affiliates and for now, I’ll take it.
This was totally new for me this quarter! If you remember in last month’s income report (Q4 2022 Income Report), I was considering creating a course on the nitty-gritty of food blogging. A course that would really deep-dive into what EXACTLY I’ve done to grow my blog.
However, after all that consideration, I decided to take a more “personal” approach to teaching about blogging. So I launched 1:1 Blog Coaching!!!
Friends, it’s been SO MUCH fun connecting with bloggers and helping you all work on solving your SPECIFIC problems and addressing your SPECIFIC concerns! I’m loving it! It’s something I couldn’t do with a catch-all course.
That being said, I might create affordable, mini-courses in the future that will address challenges and problems I keep hearing over and over again during my coaching calls. I will have those for sale in my digital shop…which brings me to…
Digital Products: It’s barely operational at this point (so don’t plan on a shopping spree over there anytime soon!!!), but I created a digital shop on my site! My goal is to load this shop with products for both bloggers AND my core audience of people looking for easy, comfort food recipes.
My first product is a digital meal planner that I created in Google Sheets. I am also almost ready to launch a 6-week meal plan with a grocery list.
I was inspired to create a “passive income stream” from Monica Frose and the Empowered Business Podcast. I am finding it super fun to create evergreen digital products that can live on my site that don’t need much updating and “care.”
This process is NOT overnight–it’s a crap ton of work to set up a digital shop but now that I have it set up, it’s pretty easy to just add products as you create them. I definitely plan to spend the next year or so building out this shop, along with my email list.
Q1 2023 TOTAL EXPENSES: $8,431
Monthly Reoccurring Expenses
Adobe Lightroom (monthly): $10
Bank Account Fee (monthly): $15
Keysearch (monthly): $17
Canva (monthly): $12
Rank IQ (monthly): $29 or $49 depending on how many reports I run
Pinterest VA (monthly): $250
Bookkeeping/Accounting (monthly): $500 (this just changed in February)
Quickbooks (monthly): $21
VA (monthly): $225
Purchased Content/Photography: In general, I do all recipe development and have some photograph for me. I do buy a recipe from time to time when it fits my niche. I mostly buy from the Pretty Focused Buyers Club on Facebook.
Blog Writer: I just started having someone write 4 posts a month for me to free up some time!
Meal Plan Designer: I had an amazing person design my meal plan cookbook for me! She was super affordable and did a FANTASTIC job!
Q1 2023 NET PROFIT: $27,260
This quarter, my biggest change in expenses was hiring an accounting and bookkeeping service.
This past quarter I took an S-Corp election (I was previously just an LLC). I was advised last year to evaluate my business in 2022 and if I made more than roughly $50,000, to explore the S-Corp Election. Which I did with my new accountant and we decided to go for it!
What does that mean? In short, it means more tax deductions and making my money work harder. Numbers and accounting are NOT my thing, but they are VERY important to running a successful business. With an S-Corp election, there is more bookkeeping involved–you have to run payroll, etc. That wasn’t something I wanted to do myself!
So far everything has been seamless with this transition. I’ll be interested to see my tax bill this year….GAHH!!!!! Hopefully, it will be better next year now that I am an S-Corp.
I learned so much from The Small Business Tax Savings Podcast. It’s not the most exciting topic for me, but this guy breaks it down and makes things really easy to understand.
QUICK THOUGHTS: MY WHY
I don’t often reflect on “my why” nor have I been the type of person that creates huge vision boards or anything fancy like that. In fact, before this past quarter, I couldn’t even articulate to you my “WHY” for blogging.
However, this quarter it became clear to me.
Those amazing peeps are my family! And of course, one of the reasons I blog is so I can have financial and work flexibility. But last month this became SO CLEAR.
My son was presented with the opportunity to travel with his soccer team to the UK this summer. Obviously, this involves a tremendous amount of $$$ for him to travel with his team overseas for a week.
But you know what? I didn’t think twice. I knew my blogging income that I had saved would cover it. And the most amazing thing?! My whole family is going, too!!!
Friends, this would have NEVER been possible without blogging. THIS is what makes it worth it. THIS is why you keep GOING, even when things get super hard and you want to give up!
I look back and think of all the late nights and weekends I spent during the first 2 years building my blog….all the tears, confusion, and the massive sense of overwhelm.
But THIS is why I did it….whether or not I knew it at the time. Being able to write that check and pay for that trip without thinking twice was one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.
So please don’t give up, friends! If you are reading this, I KNOW you are motivated to work hard and figure this blogging thing out! And you will! Just stick with it!
With my goal to create more digital products and be able to do more 1:1 Blog Coaching, I definitely have my work cut out for me!
However, I will never (well, “never”–LOL) stop creating content. That is my first true love!! Whether people are helping me with it or not, I LOVE the content creation process. The only thing that may change is the AMOUNT of content.
Instead of 10-20 new posts per month like I used to do, I’ve set a more realistic goal of 8. I am hoping that this will help free up some time for new projects 🙂
Hope you enjoyed this Food Blog Income Report! I’ll be back next quarter–I hope you’ll join me! If you are interested in knowing more about my 1:1 Blog Coaching, check out this page!
In the meantime, if you have any other questions, feel free to drop me a line: [email protected]. I read every one of your emails.
Remember…I’m cheering for you!
XO ~ Casey