Hello again everyone! Trevor here, excited to dive into our second traffic and income report. Our first traffic and income report covered our entire first year of blogging and it was LOONG. To say there was a lot to cover would be an understatement, so I’m thrilled to be able to focus more this month on some specific themes.
For those of you asking yourselves, ummm… where the heck is the food (don’t worry, it’s back tomorrow), here’s a brief introduction to these traffic and income reports…
If you’ve stopped by our about us page, you know that Jennifer and I started this blog thirteen months ago with the hopes of it earning an income for Jennifer. I’ve since quit my job and we’re taking a calculated risk that we can make this blog both of our full-time jobs. We still have a long way to go before it’s to that place and we owe a lot of our realization that this was even a possibility to income reports like this. Our hope is that, for those interested, these reports can help to show what worked for us, the mistakes we made and that it is possible to make an income online doing something that you love if you work hard and stick with it.
None of these reports on their own tell the story of how to create, grow and monetize a blog. Think of each one as a chapter in a book that continues to be written. To get the full picture, I suggest looking at our traffic and income reports page where you can click into individual reports, like this one, to get the details.
Okay, enough with the backstory, let’s get on to the report…
Google AdSense: $1,436.37
Gourmet Ads: $67.31
Amazon Affiliates: $62.25
Adobe Creative Cloud: $54.79
Capture One: $10.00
Net Profit: $4,307.17
November was definitely a big month for us, the biggest yet. We crossed the 300K mark for the first time and as you can see in the chart above, the week of Thanksgiving ramped up to a couple huge days for us.
Something’s A Brewin’
If you follow along on the blog, you’ve heard Jennifer mention that I’ve been working on a new project. Well I’d like to make a big announcement…
Next month 🙂
On January 15th, we’ll be announcing something big. Something HUGE. Something that will literally shake the very ground that you walk on!
Okay, I may be getting ahead of myself, but you should really tune in because we’re really excited about it! If you sign up for the Blogger Tips at the end of this post, you’ll find out even sooner!
November marks the beginning of the holiday season here in the US with Thanksgiving landing on the fourth Thursday of November each year. This means food, food and food. That translates to a lot of increased traffic searching for recipes. That increased traffic helped us hit our biggest day ever the day before Thanksgiving with 32,000 pageviews.Apparently we’re not the only procrastinators out there 🙂
Over 40% of our traffic comes from Google searches, so we were expecting an increase in traffic because we had already visualized the search trends for November. We do this by using Google Trends. Google trends is a tool that displays the search volume for a particular term in relation to all searches globally.
Here’s the 2014 Google Trends graph for the search term “Recipe”:
Those are pretty big spikes representing millions of additional searches for recipes in general.
Google Trends can also be incredibly useful to if you’re trying to gauge the seasonality for a particular recipe. Here’s an example of “Crockpot” over the past few years.
So, what does all of this mean for a food blog? It means there is a boatload of potential traffic out there with a good amount of predictability if you’re ensuring that each post you create employs solid SEO practices.
Food Blog SEO Tips
SEO is a highly complex topic and a detailed strategy is beyond the scope of this traffic and income report, but here are a few of our best food blog SEO tips to increase your rankings:
Be sure you’re using Yoast SEO or some other SEO plugin if you’re using wordpress and aren’t already implementing one. They make it very simple to customize how everything appears in search results as well as guide you through the process of SEO optimization.
These plugins help to analyze the text of your posts to ensure they meet known SEO best practices. Things like, including your target keywords where you should be, checking for an appropriate keyword density within your post, including internal links, etc.
By just following the guidelines that these plugins layout, you’ll be on your way to having content optimized for search engines.
Don’t be Cute
We learned this lesson early on. We made magic bars the first month of the blog. They turned out looking pretty ugly, so I had the genius idea that it would be really cute to call the post “Ugly Duckling Bars” instead of “Magic Bars” because people would just love it.
Maybe some did. They probably didn’t. People certainly weren’t searching for ugly duckling bars in google. They also weren’t searching our own site for that. So, we’ll call that a huge…
The silver lining to the story is that we realized this soon after in month one and made sure to not make that mistake moving forward. I guarantee you if that post had been called simply “Magic Bars” we most likely would have received ten times more traffic from it in the past year.
Keep it descriptive.
Keep it simple.
Most importantly keep in mind what people will be typing into a search engine to find it, these are your “target keywords”.
Stop Wasting Your Title
If you’re like 99% of bloggers, you’re doing the following: All of your posts have the post title and then your website name as the <title> of your page.
That’s just throwing away a lot of prime real estate.
You get 70 characters of pure gold from Google. Big, blue, click on me gold. I’m referring to the title as it appears in search results. Don’t take my word for it, let’s look at an example of search results for the same recipe both ways:
The second example gives you a lot more valuable information than your site name.
Google’s algorithm for search results is top secret, but there are a few things that most definitely feed pretty strongly into it: domain name, URL and title. No one will argue that it’s important to get your keywords in these three places whenever possible.
Domain name (showmetheyummy.com for us), isn’t something that’s going to change post to post, but URL and the title are. We make the URL our exact target keywords and use the title to get a little extra SEO juice and inform the searcher. Even if you remove the potential SEO juice, that extra info very likely will grab people that would have clicked on another result. Especially, if they love quinoa or were already looking for something using turkey in the above example.
If you’re concerned about branding, I assure you, it’s much more valuable to get someone to your site, have a great recipe (content) and have it turn out well for them.
Add these to your arsenal of SEO practices and watch your organic traffic benefit!
This month reminded me again how much fun we have with this blog. It’s a ton of work but we have so much fun with our little victories. I’m not talking about big milestone successes (which are great) like a million pageviews, I’m talking about the myriad of small little things we get excited about. Things that are just as much fun now as they were the first month we were blogging.
For example, we still to this day get equally excited when we have the most people on the blog that we’ve ever had. For November that was 316 people on at once. November also had the first time we hit 100 and 200 people on at once. But I have to tell you, we were just (if not more) excited when we had thirty people on at once for the first time.
The same thing goes for money earned in a day. It doesn’t matter if it was 26 cents to 30 cents or $26 to $30. Every single one of these mini-victories gets an equally loud and dorky song and dance. Perhaps some day we’ll share a video 🙂 … you probably don’t want to see it, it’s bad.
My point is this:
I’m a huge proponent of setting big goals and striving to reach them. I think it’s incredibly important though, to keep yourself motivated throughout the process by celebrating every little victory you can find along the way. Best photo, best recipe, most traffic, most money in a day, most traffic for a specific post, most traffic by noon, funniest post, highest ranking in google, best food styling, the list can go on and on.
Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back for the little stuff.
Celebrate, sing, dance and enjoy the ride!
If you want to get more tips and fun stuff, be sure to sign up below for our Blogger Tips!