Trevor here, dropping by with our November 2016 Income report!
If you’re new to this neck of the woods, I split my time between Show Me the Yummy and The Blog Village which is membership site for bloggers that Jennifer and I started that has hundreds of lessons, amazing time saving tools and an incredible community.
If you’re interested in getting more tips about blogging in addition to these reports, be sure to Sign up for The Blog Village newsletter.
Bring on the income report!
Here at Show Me the Yummy, one thing we embrace is transparency. We want to show people how the business side of blogging works and that it’s absolutely possible to make an income doing something you love and to work on your own terms. Don’t worry, the food will return tomorrow.
Here’s a brief introduction to these traffic and income reports…
You can stop by our about us page, to get the whole story, but in short Jennifer and I started this blog November 2014 with the hopes of it earning an income for Jennifer. Well… a lot has happened since… I quit my job eight months in and now after two years, we’ve managed to grow this blog into our full-time incomes.
That probably never would have happened without income reports like these that showed us that it’s possible and that gave us the courage to take the leap.
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 whole story. As time passes they can make things seem out of reach (especially if you’re just starting out), but they aren’t at all. Think of each one as a chapter in a book that continues to be written. To get the full picture and to see how things have grown over time, I highly encourage looking at our traffic and income reports page where you can click into individual reports, like this one, to see the slow steady growth from our first month where we made $28.
Okay, enough with the backstory, let’s get on to the report…
Sponsored Content & Freelancing: $10,625
Show Me the Yummy Food Video Workshops: $6,000
Amazon Associates: $311.80
Synthesis Hosting: $132.33
Audio Jungle: $100.00 <– music for our videos
Adobe Creative Cloud: $54.79
Capture One: $10.00
Google Apps: $8.33
Net Profit: $27,470.43
Two years ago, in November of 2014 we made $28 and our blogging journey began. We never imagined then (nor do we really believe it now) that two years later we’ve increased that one thousand times over. It’s crazy, it’s nuts, it’s been an insane amount of work… but I want to talk a little about moving the bar.
In June of 2015 right before I quit my job, we projected out what we wanted growth to look like to continue on with the blog full-time and me not having to get another job (which we thought was a distinct possibility). We tried to be optimistic but realistic and then we locked those numbers to never be adjusted so we would always have it as a point of reference of what success looked like to us no matter what happened.
It has been INVALUABLE to be able to look back. It keeps us grounded and prevents us from not being happy with where we are.
It’s an easy thing to keep wanting to grow and never be satisfied with where you’re at and it can really poison and limit your ability to find happiness. You succeed, pat yourself on the back and then raise the bar from where you’re at THEN.
The effect of which can be after a few cycles, you’re no longer happy with your… progress, growth, earnings, fill in your key performance indicator (KPI) here… even though you may be far beyond where “year ago you” would have ever thought you’d be and would have been over the moon!
So what did that look like for us in 2015?
Our goal in June 2015 was by November of 2016 (two years in) to have 380,000 pageviews and make $3,424 that month. We would have felt on-track with that and I’ll venture to say if we could be at $5-6k would have meant we were popping some champagne.
That’s important for a couple reasons.
1.) It requires some champagne popping this month, even though it multiplied out several times, we still stuck to 1 bottle 😉
Okay… two. But on different nights 🙂
2.) We did it. We hit and exceeded our goal, so we don’t have to feel like we need to be working crazy hours, beat ourselves up for a mistake here and there, be disappointed in any way, shape or form about anything and keep ourselves in check. Right?
This one, I’ll admit we struggle with. Which is ridiculous. BUT it’s those set in stone set of projections (in a way, goals) that gives us a point of view and helps us to say, “Stop it!” we should feel great!
Never being satisfied is a personality trait that can be a huge asset when you’re trying to build and grow something but also be a liability when trying to recognize success.
SO… wherever you are on that path, give yourself a break. Work hard but not too hard. And when you get to where you hope you’d make it to, don’t move the bar IMMEDIATELY… take some time to recognize that everything else is gravy and be happy!
Here are the detailed social stats for November from The Blog Village Social Stats Dashboard:
Is it just me or is it fascinating to see the similarities in traffic from one year to the next, regardless of all of the additional content and many different factors coming into play. Just look at Thanksgiving both years and the following days. Nearly the exact same pattern.
The really big thing that happened leading up to November was that we changed our recipe plugin. On a food blog, your recipe plugin is one of the most important core elements of your site.
-It makes it easy for your readers to fulfill the core mission of your site… to make your recipe.
-It informs Google/Pinterest/etc. of what the recipe on a particular page is all about and various metadata related to it.
-It’s responsible for ensuring you’re getting an image associated with your recipe in search results using the above mentioned metadata.
Why Did We Switch?
We previously had used a plugin called EasyRecipe. This is a very popular recipe plugin among food bloggers but for various reasons, development and support had largely stopped on this plugin for quite some time. *Note: I’ve heard development and support has started back up on this plugin.
For any plugin on your WordPress site, this can present a problem because as WordPress updates it’s code, occasionally updates are needed from plugins to stay compatible.
With our busiest time of year coming up in Nov/Dec/Jan we couldn’t risk the plugin going down and having to do emergency WordPress surgery to fix it. And so the hunt began for what plugin we were looking for.
How Did We Choose WP Ultimate Recipe?
Important things that we were looking for from our recipe plugin were:
Micro-Data – Previously how Google wanted to see structured data, but still what sites like Pinterest use for Rich Pins. So, we needed both.
Plugin Structure – I wanted to find a plugin that was using WordPress recommended development practices and was storing recipe data in a way that offered flexibility. This meant looking for a plugin that utilized a database as opposed to just adding html to a post.
Import Functionality – Our existing hundreds of recipes were currently using a different plugin and we wanted something in place to import them.
Active Development & Support – It was important to find a plugin that was regularly being updated, seeing features added and had active support.
Comprehensive Feature Set – While the recipe plugin, as we are currently using it, is relatively basic, we wanted the ability to expand into features such as shopping lists, meal plans, dynamic serving sizes, etc. in the future.
After no small amount of research, we landed on WP Ultimate Recipe as our plugin of choice. I should also mention the same developer is behind WP Recipe Maker which is a sister plugin of sorts to WP Ultimate Recipe. If you don’t need all of the full-blown features of WP Ultimate Recipe, WP Recipe Maker is also a very attractive choice and in some areas is even nicer! You can find a comparison of the two here.
Making the Switch
The nice thing about WP Ultimate recipe is that you can incrementally switch over to it. That means you can have your existing recipe plugin running and then slowly migrate the recipes over as you find time. This allowed us to convert a single recipe, and play around with the formatting until we had everything exactly how we wanted it before starting in on all of our recipes. In our case, we converted all of our recipes over a few days in a movie watching/recipe migrating marathon 🙂
So how was the import process? You have to understand that because of the nature of recipes and how differently people write them, it’s nearly impossible for any plugin to cleanly import everything. So… you do have to “touch” every recipe to make sure everything matches, add any missing info, etc. The GOOD NEWS is that with a plugin like WP Ultimate Recipe, once it’s in, it’s stored in a very logical data-driven manner that should make moving to a different plugin in the future (hopefully we never have to do that) very clean and straightforward.
I contacted their support 6 times over a two week process for various reasons/questions and response times looked like this: 4 mins, 22 mins, 3 mins, 19 mins, 8 mins, 90 mins.
You can’t really ask for better support than that. I’ll add, these all occurred at vastly different times of the day and the 90 min response time I’m pretty sure was in the middle of the night.
We’re more than pleased with WP Ultimate Recipe. The transition took a good amount of time, but was well worth it and gave us a reason to review old posts anyway. Since everything is database driven, we’re able to create “Ingredients” that directly link to previous recipes for quick reuse e.g. “Ranch Dressing” will link to our Ranch Dressing recipe every time we use that ingredient. In 2017 I’m looking forward to utilizing even more of the features and watch the plugin grow. If you’re interested in checking the plugin out, you can head to the WP Ultimate Recipe site.
Thanks for hanging out and I’ll see you next month. If you want to spend a lot more quality time together (who wouldn’t?) head over to The Blog Village, we’d love to have you!
As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment below. I answer every one!
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