Hi and welcome to this month’s income report!
I started Pickled Plum five years ago as a way to collect and share recipes I created on a whim. This blogging thing wasn’t something I envisioned doing long term: I was studying at FIT to become an image consultant and worked full time in retail. During that year I only managed to post one or two recipes per month. My schedule was packed and to be honest, I was taken aback by the amount of time and energy it took to shoot, edit and publish a recipe.
The second year was even worse: I barely gave the blog any attention, leaving it bare and neglected. I was struggling at my job and slowly realizing that fashion may not be my calling. The third year is when I decided to take this blogging thing a little more seriously. I saw that people were making money, thanks to blogs like Pinch Of Yum (who is responsible for making income reports so popular) and that gave me the motivation to focus my energy on taking better pictures, creating unique content and reading about SEO. Thanks to a very supportive husband, I was able to quit school and my full time job in retail to fully focus on my blog. What can I say – I fell deeply, madly in love with food blogging!
Since then, Pickled Plum and myself have grown tremendously. I’ve published over 550 recipes and finally feel confident that I can earn a comfortable living from it.
Why I am sharing this with you
The reason why I decided to publish monthly income reports is to show you that making money online can be done. Some blogs find success right out of the gate while others take longer to develop and find their voice. Mine was in the latter category. It took patience, perseverance and lots of coffee to get here. It wasn’t an easy climb but it was worth every drop of sweat! Whether you already are a blogger or are thinking of getting started, I hope I can help you navigate through all the steps and hurdles of blogging a little more easily. And just like the bigger blogs that were there to motivate me when I needed a lift (just looking at their earnings was inspiring enough!), I hope I can do the same for you!
BLOG INCOME REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 2016
*Please note some of the links below are affiliate links.
- AdThrive: $2,400
- Amazon Associates: $156.24
- Swoop: $76.70
- Adsense: $6.44
- Shareasale: $3.00
- Sovrn: $3.70
- Sponsored posts: $1,684
- SiteGround Hosting: $74
- Tailwind: $10
- Active Campaign: $59.50
- Buffer: $10
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $10
- OptinMonster: $8.25
- Vaultpress: $5
- Cloudflare: $11.95
NOVEMBER 2016 NET PROFIT: $4,141.38
ANALYTICS FOR NOVEMBER 2016
TOP TEN REFERRING SITES
Before I start I would like to apologize for being so late posting November’s income report. It’s been crazy busy here at Pickled Plum and to boot, I was sick for three straight weeks with a sinus infection. This means I will be posting December’s income report in the next couple of weeks as well to try and catch up with the schedule. Anyway, let’s get started!
November’s traffic was on par with what we saw throughout pretty much all of 2016 or to be exact, since Pinterest changed their algorithm. I have to admit it’s been a little heartbreaking to watch the numbers stay the same instead of seeing a substantial increase. I wish I had a clear explanation as to why this is happening but I unfortunately don’t. I’m the type of blogger who reads everything there is to know about seo and posts consistently. Up until this year it worked like a charm and traffic was growing at a steady pace. However these past few months have proven to be more challenging and I’m scratching my head trying to figure out if I’ve done something wrong.
Why isn’t traffic increasing at the same pace it used to?
That’s a good question and one I’m trying to find an answer to. A part of me wonders if it has anything to do with the fact that I stopped focusing on Asian food for a while. I blog based on how I feel about food and what I crave, and my tastebuds can be all over the place. One week I crave Italian meatballs and lasagna and the next, stir fries and salads. The recipes on my blog reflect that. You’re probably wondering what that has to do with Pinterest since it’s a community that shares all types of cuisines and recipes, and you are right about that. After all, look at Damn Delicious – she will cook anything, even dog treats and get a humongous amount of traffic and followers. Good for her but the important thing to remember is that not everyone can achieve the same success by following the same blueprint. I tried and it didn’t work for me. What people seem to like about my cooking is that I cook healthy Asian style dishes. I’ve noticed I get little interest when I post a cookie recipe or something that’s very western and typical.
Let’s start with the traffic I get from Google. Google seem to see me as an authority when it comes to Asian dishes such as stir fries since I rank high on these keywords. What this means is whenever I publish a post that doesn’t include Asian ingredients, I might be confusing Google by saying “hey, I do like Asian food but I’m not someone who is an expert at it.” So Google isn’t sure how to rank my recipes – is she an authority in Asian food or is she not? Let’s put her stuff on page 2 just in case she isn’t.” If Google sees me this way and I publish western recipes back to back to back, I’m not doing myself or my blog any favors.
It’s interesting because I didn’t make up these rules. I think over time, Google simply decided to put me in the ‘Asian Food Specialist’ section, which is fine and quite flattering to be honest. So I’ve been returning to my roots and cooking more Asian food since the beginning of January. My plan is to continue doing this for the next 2-3 months to see if I see a boost in traffic. I will definitely keep you updated on the progress, even if there isn’t any.
As for Pinterest, it’s possible that my Asian recipes simply rank higher because there is less competition for an udon noodle soup pin as opposed to a cheesecake pin. It’s also worth mentioning that Pinterest made a big change back in February 2016 where it removed all the group boards from appearing in feeds. That in itself was very hurtful for bloggers who received the majority of their traffic from Pinterest. I lost about 20% of my traffic in one month, ouch. Lesson learned – don’t put all your eggs in one basket (don’t rely on just one source of traffic) since it could make or break your blog.
Amazon Native Shopping Ads
I’ve been using Amazon as an affiliate since the very first post I published and over the years, have earned a few dollars from them. I would say the average in 2016 was around $120-$130 a month – nothing spectacular but easy money since it only requires me to add a link here and there. Then a few months ago, Amazon introduced a new way to invite your readers to shop by adding native shopping ads to your posts. This is what one of mine looks like:
You can add it anywhere you’d like – within your posts or like I do, at the bottom, below the recipe. These ads are great because they are intuitive and show relevant product recommendations based on what your post is about. Since I’ve started adding native shopping ads at the bottom of my posts (don’t forget to add it to your most popular posts too!), I’ve seen my earnings double!
Regardless of the amount of traffic your blog is receiving, I strongly recommend you hop on board with Amazon’s native shopping ads. Look at the conversion rate – because the ads shown are more targeted, the conversion rate has gone from 2.38% in January 2016 to 4.98% in January 2017! I can tell you that I’ve been selling a whole lot more groceries in December and January since installing these ads!
What Would You Like Me To Talk About? How Can I Help You?
I thought it was my turn to ask you a couple of questions since I do wonder about what to write that could be of help to you. I created the income report section to help you navigate the blogging world more easily while making a few extra bucks. If there is anything in particular you’d like me to write about, please leave me a comment at the end of this post and I will make note of it. I’m here to help!
Make sure to read my 9 Best Affiliate Programs For Food Blogs to learn how to maximize you blog’s earnings!
And that’s it for November!
If you have any questions or tips to share, please leave them in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!