Hi guys! Today is a pretty big day for Apple of My Eye because I’m posting my first official income report! When I started the site a little over a year ago, I had zero idea what I was doing. In fact, I didn’t even mean for AoME to turn into a food blog. I had been reading a ton of healthy living blogs and wanted to keep an online photo diary to chronicle my life in college and connect with other bloggers and talk about the important things in life. Like different nut butters and how I had eaten froyo seven times in the last five days.
Best. Decision. EVER.
For about half a year, I would only post a daily recap that usually revolved around school, a workout, and gross dining common food. I lived in a dorm room and didn’t have kitchen access. Then, I moved into my first apartment and was able to get more of a foothold in the food blogging world. I got a taste (hehehe) of how fun it was to share my recipes and what I was stuffing in my face. I took the plunge and became self-hosted on BlueHost, gradually started to teach myself how to use a DSLR camera and was posting probably around 3-4 recipes a month. It’s only in the last couple of months where I’ve really felt like I’ve been blogging regularly.
Basically what I’m trying to say here is that I’m no expert at food blogging at all and don’t want to come off as a know-it-all because, truth be told, I haven’t been at this long and have posted probably less than 30-40 recipes for the entirety I’ve been blogging. I really want to emphasize that I started off not knowing anything and, a few months later, I’m realizing that Apple of My Eye isn’t only just a creative outlet, but quite possibly something that could make me a part-time living someday. How cool is that?!
My goal with these income reports and monetizing my blog are to:
So without further ado, here are my numbers for June!
Grand Total: $455.29
Ad Networks: If you look on my sidebar and header, you’ll see a few ads running. These are great because I can just fix em’ and forget em’. They bring in a passive income without me having to do much at all. Here are the ones I use:
Google Adsense: $50.06
Adsense is the ad network that is easy to get into and install and is pay-per-click, which means that the site/blog owner gets paid when a visitor is interested in the ad and clicks on it. One minus to this is that my readers aren’t too click-y. Despite this, Adsense has brought me in over $500 since I started running their ads when I decided one day, “What the heck! I’ll try them out” and installed them.
Blogher is also an ad network that you need to apply to get into, but it’s more selective on which blogs it adds to its network. It differs from Adsense in that is it pay-per-thousand based, which means that I get paid a certain amount for each 1,000 pageviews an ad gets. While the numbers may seem close to how much Adsense earns, you can usually expect a $2-5 CPM. This means that you get paid around that amount for each 1,000 views an ad gets. Since I had just joined their ad program, it took a while for their ads to fully settle into place and my earning were low for most of the month while my site was integrated. If I calculate out my earnings using the payout that’s usual, my income from them would be closer to $200-500. Darn!
First off, Swoop is awesome! If you go to one of my recipes, you might have seen a small ad in the ingredient section. This ad only shows in that one tiny place for relevant ads and brought me more than both BlogHer and Adsense together.
Sponsored Posts: $60
After I started posting more frequently (3-6 recipes a month) I started getting a few emails each month about other companies or sites wanting me to sponsor a post on Apple of My Eye. The benefit of this is that I’m able to name my price and be selective on which products/posts that I choose to share with you guys. I want them to be at least somewhat relevant to either healthy living or food, since that’s where my blog’s niche is.
Freelance Work: $100
I did a whole post on Tips on Getting Freelance Jobs and was ecstatic to hear back that a couple of you guys have gotten some work offers/your first jobs! WOO! June was filled with stress and finals for me, so I didn’t have much time at all to do too many recipes for my freelance jobs, but they’re always a steady source of income. And the fact that I’m getting paid to make recipes and photograph them. It’s a pretty sweeeeeet gig!
So there you have it! Moving on:
Along with posting the actual numbers that the blog is bringing in, I also want to share what tools I use and the basics that allow me to monetize AOME in case you’re looking to start monetizing your current blog or even start a brand new one! Some of them are essential (like being self-hosted), while others play a big role in growing my photography or providing me helpful information/tutorials. Here they are!
BlueHost: Being self-hosted is 100% essential if you want to make money by blogging and I use BlueHost to “host” my site. When I first started blogging, I signed up for a free WordPress.com blog that I customized with a cute little apple-themed layout . After a few months, I realized that my passion for blogging wasn’t going anywhere and I was ready to make the small plunge to become self-hosted and start monetizing my site.
If you’re not self-hosted, you’re extremely limited and can’t:
- Run any ads (like Adsense or BlogHer)
- Have sponsored/paid posts
- Use affiliate links
- Host giveaways
For me, the cost of self-hosting (only $3.95 a month) is nothing since my blog makes more than enough to cover a full year of hosting service in a single month. Even when I first started out with Adsense when I started blogging, I could easily cover my cost. Along with being able to actually start making money off of my blog, BlueHost let’s me have full freedom in customizing my blog’s theme, installing countless plugins (like the one that displays my recipes, Pinterest feed, and popular posts on my sidebar), and let’s me have control of my site. That means that no one can decide to terminate my site on a whim. It belongs to me and only me!
I won’t lie, it’s a pain in the butt to install and took me a half of a day of cursing at my laptop (a squirrel is probably more tech savvy than me), but it’s completely necessary and worth it when it comes to monetizing a blog. And after that first day of instillation, I haven’t had any problems whatsoever with self-hosting. Win!
Tasty Food Photography: If you’ve been following my site for a while, you probably know that I FREAKIN’ LOVE this eBook. I still use it to this day and learned 90% of my food photography skills from it. The author, Lindsay, is a sweetheart and explains everything in everyday language so you don’t feel like throwing your camera at the ground in frustration.
While having pretty food photos isn’t all there is to food blogging, it plays a big role in giving your blog exposure. To be honest, in terms of generating traffic to my site the only thing I really do it submit my pictures to sites like FoodGawker and Tastepotting, which drive tons of traffic to the blog and have directly lead to my recipes being discovered by The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed.
How to Monetize Your Food Blog eBook: This is a great resource that explains things nice and sloowww (which, if you’re like me, is fabulous) about all things monetizing your blog. From passbacks to writing your own eBook (a dream for me!), Kiersten’s book has it all!
I’ve added a page for Resources for Food Bloggers with a few of my favorites on my header if you’re ever looking for a quick guide!
So there you have it! My first income report! In case you’re curious, three months ago I was making around $20-30 a month, so it’s pretty crazy for me to look at my numbers now and see how things have grown! I must say, food blogging is the best part-time job a college student like me could have .
I hope it’s been helpful to you guys and I can’t stress enough how much I value your support and friendship. I have been going back and forth on whether or not to post income reports for fear of sounding insincere, but your reassurance and the hope that my trial and error can help all of us grow our blogs together gave me that last little push.
If you’re a reader or passerby of the site and have been on the fence about creating a food blog, I say GO FOR IT! I can’t even express how much joy blogging has brought me and what a great friends I’ve made in the blogging community. Not to mention it’s brought me fun and exciting job opportunities that I never would have possibly imagined. Who knows what the future will hold?!
If you have any questions on how to start a food blog or on anything else, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links for products I love!