In this post, I share my third *QUARTERLY* food blog income report (Q3 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 and 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 third QUARTERLY blog income report! If you want to read my first-ever income report, check it out here: December 2022 Income Report and my Q2 2022 Income Report is here. See allthe income reports plus some blogging resources here.
There was no summer slump for me, I was super busy creating holiday content and blog traffic continues to increase at a good clip!
WHAT I FOCUSED ON THIS QUARTER
I said this in my last quarterly report and I will say it again: I am proud that I have stuck with my guns of consistently producing new content and NOT being distracted by shiny objects!!!
I put my head down, baked a ton of pumpkin pie, and drove my family nuts with cranberry sauce and brussels sprouts! But now that Q4 is HERE, I am SOOOOOO happy I planned ahead and spent the summer cooking up holiday recipes! Now I feel like a have a hot second to breathe and (hopefully) reep the Google juice!
This quarter I published 32 brand new blog posts and updated a few, too! Here is the breakdown by type of post:
- New Recipe Posts: 26
- New Non-Recipe Posts: 6
- Updates to Old Posts: 5
While the majority were new (holiday!) recipe posts, I also wrote a hefty amount of supporting content such as roundups and questions I found in Rank IQ that supports my existing content, many focused on holiday food.
I am proud to say that I have stuck with my guns of consistently producing new content and NOT being distracted by shiny objects!!!
I continue to sing the praises of RankIQ and continue to find keywords there. For the topics I don’t find in RankIQ, I still also run all of those keywords through the RankIQ optimizer tool.
Of the approximately 40 keywords I have been tracking on my Q3 posts, 26 are already ranking on page 1 (Top 10). Many of them that aren’t ranking on page 1, I published just last month (September), so they need a bit more time.
Hiring Out/Smart Investments
This quarter, I continued to make what I think, are smart investments. I hired a VA who helps me with posting in roundup groups (for backlinks), among other small tasks that I HATED doing! I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have those small tasks off my plate so I can try to focus more on the “big picture”‘ and content creation.
I also began purchasing a few recipes here and there. I have been pretty picky about purchasing and I make sure anything I purchase:
- The recipe is easy and either a comfort food or dessert
- Photos fit the look and feel of my blog
- Has to be something I have researched and think I can rank for
When I find these recipes, it takes an enormous amount of stress away! This summer was CRAZY with vacations, kids being home, and don’t forget I have 2 kiddos in year-round ultra-competitive sports! So having photos and recipes done and not having to shoot some weeks was a Godsend.
I also hate doing desserts, so adding to my dessert recipes without having to get flour on my hands was amazing! 🙂
I will continue to invest in recipes and also have a photographer reshoot some ugly old photos, too! I have set a (rough) budget to do this each month.
Social media continues to be pretty much a non-factor for me. In the graph above you can see a big spike in late September–that is from *someone* sharing one of my recipes and it went INSANELY viral. No one tagged me or anything so I have no idea where it came from except all the traffic came from Instagram to one specific post.
But you know what? RPM’s from Instagram traffic are TINYYYY compared to organic traffic (Click here to read about RPMs). It was laughable! So that is one thing to keep in mind when you start monetizing through Mediavine or AdThrive: Organic traffic will almost also make you more money!
⭐️Organic traffic will almost always make you more money! ⭐️
Q3 2022 TRAFFIC SUMMARY
Social: 12% (Breakdown: Pinterest 61%, Instagram 22% **Facebook 10%)
**This was a total anomaly from a shared post going viral. My traffic from Instagram is usually nothing! HA!
Q3 2022 GROSS INCOME TOTAL : $24,785
Mediavine Ads: $21,618
Affiliate Income (Amazon Associates, Cooking With Keywords and Rank IQ): $517.02
Sponsored Post/Misc: $600
Pinterest Creators Program: $2,050
Ads: No surprise that most 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).
RPMs were fairly low throughout the summer, which I expected. It’s nice to see them finally climbing as we get into Q4. This will be my first full Q4 with Mediavine, so I’m excited to see what happens!
⭐️ What is RPM?⭐️
Find out in this article from Mediavine: What is RPM?
Nothing has really changed here. I do not prioritize affiliate income at this point.
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 am earning a bit more with Amazon as my traffic increases. I created an Amazon storefront, too along with a box for “Tools for this Recipe” in each post and I am seeing decent results from that (nothing earth-shattering, but I’ll take it!).
I did not do any sponsored posts this quarter and frankly, that was fine with me! Most sponsored opportunities I have seen are for Instagram or TikTok…which ya’ll know I am NOT prioritizing right now.
That being said, if social media is your jam, there is a crap ton of money to be made! I’ll see sponsored opportunities for $1000++++ just for a few Instagram posts and stories.
You can sign up with Sway, Social Fabric or Quotient if you want to check out what’s available. Or, of course, you can reach out to brands directly.
The only “sponsored work” I did was through Sway and I piloted something for Google and made $600. Easy breezy.
Pinterest Creators Program:
The Creators program isn’t what it used to be and payouts and so TINY. The income I made this quarter was actally a payout for work I did last quarter.
Since I am not prioritizing video, the Creators program doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for me. They defintely want video!! As with social media: “Maybe someday!” LOL!
Q3 2022 TOTAL EXPENSES: $6,321
Monthly Reoccurring Expenses
Adobe Lightroom (monthly): $10
Bank Account Fee (monthly): $15
Blog Hosting (WPOpt, monthly): $25
Keysearch (monthly): $17
Canva (monthly): $12
Rank IQ (monthly): $29 or $49 depending on how many reports I run
Pretty Focused Course (monthly until December): $199
Pinterest VA (monthly): $250
Accountant (monthly): $139
VA (monthly): $225
Purchased Content (roundups, recipes, photos): $826
Mailerlite Upgrade (yearly): $126
Q3 Estimated Taxes: $2,586
That expense number is big right?! That is because this quarter I had to pay my estimated quarterly taxes. Which was no big deal for me because I plan for that.
Every time I get paid, whether it’s from Mediavine or Amazon or whoever, I set aside 30-35% for taxes. The second the money hits my account, I transfer that percentage straight over to a savings account, so I never really “see” it.
The money sits until I need to pay Uncle Sam!
Q3 2022 NET PROFIT: $18,464
This number does not include the estimated quarterly taxes I paid, so it’s more of a true “take-home pay” number.
I truly feel that I am at a crossroads with my blog right now. I feel like I really need to start getting serious and diversifying my income. I have just been so hesitant about WHEN….when I reach 500,000 page views? A million? Now? WHEN?!!
The teacher in me really wants to create and course or mini-course or perhaps do blog coaching. I truly think it’s SO POSSIBLE for people to grow their blogs relatively quickly with hard work and a solid SEO plan in place. I could also create mini-courses, too on things like creating Web Stories like a boss!!! 🙂 Lot to think about!
I also kicked around the idea of a cookbook, but have sort of tabled that idea after thinking about it and running the ROI on something like that.
I will continue to keep ya’ll posted!!! In the meantime, if you have questions, feel free to drop me a line at: [email protected]
Remember…I’m cheering for you!
XO ~ Casey
Thanks for sharing your story. Very inspiring.
Casey Rooney says
Thank you so much–I hope it helps! XO ~ Casey
This is so inspiring!! My blog has been stuck in a rut for about a year and reading this has been so encouraging for me to continue working at it! 🙂
Casey! Your income reports are so inspiring. I love how you break down your pageviews vs sessions, what you’ve been working on, income, expenses, and especially what’s next for you! It’s so helpful to read and incredibly motivating 🙂 I hope one day I’m able to boost my traffic to where you’re at! I’ve been digging into keysearch and updating old posts. I completely ghosted IG and now focus primarily on blog content, sharing a pin to pinterest, promoting on facebook, and creating web stories. Happy Q4!!
Casey Rooney says
Hi Jenna! It sounds like you are right on track and well on your way!!! Thanks so much for your sweet comment and feel free to reach out if you have any questions! XO ~ Casey
Once again, such an inspiring post! Congratulations on your continued success!
Just curious, I notice you didn’t list any security or tech help expenses. Do you handle any backend issues yourself? I’ve had Nerdpress for a while (from a recommendation). I need to cut expenses and just wondering how you handle any issues?
Also, count me in for a blog course or coaching! I truly believe you would be successful! Look at Aleka! Teachers have the best bedside manner, so to speak, and know how to break topics down in simple terms.
Casey Rooney says
Hey Deb! Thank you so much! I will email you about backend issues. I do all of that stuff on my own…which isn’t really all that much–I am NOT techie AT ALL! XO ~ Casey
Oh wow Casey, it’s so inspiring to read all about your quarterly report. I’ve been following your method with seo, less socials and focusing on other type of blog info posts and amazed at how quickly things are moving for me.
Like Anna’s comment above will be reading your Mediavine blog too.
Honestly it’s so lovely to read your blogs. Thank you. This info is so valuable. Wishing you mega successes ahead….well you’re there already 😍
Casey Rooney says
That is SO awesome to hear, Sonya! It’s just the beginning for you! Keep me posted on your success!! XO ~ Casey
Thanks for this Casey! It’s so nice to get a “current” idea on the state of food blogging for newer bloggers. I love seeing all the income reports that circulated from a few years ago but we all know how quickly things change in this industry so I always take them with a grain of salt.
I wanted to specifically mention I SO appreciate your take on social and video. I too have stayed away and was just in the last week or two toying with the idea of getting back into it but your post makes me rethink that. Maybe it’s still not the best use of my time right now.
Anyways, thanks so much for the info and inspiration!! Your successes feel attainable and make me feel better lol. Now I gotta go back and re-read your post about getting into Mediavine in 1 year. I have ASPIRATIONS for this coming year!!!!!
Casey Rooney says
I am so happy they are helpful, Anna, and thank you for taking the time to write your note! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! XO ~ Casey
I seriously love reading your quarterly updates! As a newer blogger, it is so inspiring to see what’s possible. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Casey Rooney says
Aw, Janessa, that is so sweet of you to say! I’m so glad they are helpful! 🙂 XO ~ Casey