Running a food blog is not just baking and eating. There’s actual work involved, too. In this Work & Income Report I’ll tell you all about blogging workload, income, expenses, and more!
First things first, the blogging blues is gone. Really gone! I’m sure it will be back at some point, but for now I’m just enjoying the crazy flow of creativity I’ve been riding these past few weeks. Sure, combining the blog with taking care of my son and several parttime jobs is still a challenge, but I’m a bit more laid back about it these days. I feel I can do this, that I can keep all the balls in the air. And all right, if I drop one occasionally, big deal. I can always pick it up.
And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve dropped the blogging ball a while ago. Somewhere around Valentine’s Day. But I’m picking it up, right now! With this very first post in a new series of hopefully interesting en enlightening posts about what being a blogger actually means. It means work, trust me. Especially if you don’t want to let your readers down and are trying to make (I’ll say it again) “this blogging thing work”.
So I haven’t posted a lot since January. I was busy thinking out the blog. Thinking about a new way of blogging. Planning posts. Baking. Baking. More baking. Oh, and I also had my birthday, so more baking there! I turned 29 last week. I can’t believe it. Me, 29! I’ll be thirty next year. I still think of myself as a 21-year-old! Has it really been 10 years since I graduated from high school? Since I first met my beautiful Rocking Rebel? I just can’t wrap my head around it!
But anyway, I made not one, but TWO cakes for my birthday party. (And FYI, making your own birthday cake certainly is not pathetic. I do it almost every year. It’s the best thing really because who know better than the birthday girl what kind of cake she wants on her birthday? As long as there’s no actual baking on the big day, baking your own birthday cake only makes sense!) And since my now 6-year-old niece has her birthday the day after mine, I also made her a cake. So I made THREE awesome cakes last week, all of which I’ve included in the Ultimate Blog Post Schedule, aka: my new editorial calendar. Something I’m trying out right now. More about it in my February Work & Income Report (also already planned!)
So not a lot of posting, but a lot of planning, baking, photographing and eating (yum!). March is going to be awesome.
But for now, how did it go in January?
The Monthly Theme Idea
So you’ll remember that January was all about Healthier Baking, right? Who can forget that yucky fibery chocolate frosting. Ugh…
Long story short, I’m ditching the themes. I liked working with a theme, because it gave me a lot of ideas, but apart from that it didn’t work for me. See, blogging is about posting regularly, ideally even predictably. On a schedule. And working with a theme for me meant stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things, like healthier baking. But stepping out of my comfort zone in turn means messing up and spending a lot of time on recipes that may or may not work in the end. And because I really do want to post at least once a week, I don’t have a lot of room for experimentation. A little experimentation is fine, but I don’t have the time to tweak a recipe a dozen times before it’s finally blog-worthy. The healthy chocolate frosting is a great example of this. I really did try to make it work, but at the end of the week I didn’t have anything to put on the blog.
So, I’m going to stick to what I know: sugar, butter, frostings and cakes. And make every post delicious! No more themes, unless it’s something like ‘Chocolate’ or ‘Cupcakes’.
And about healthier baking, I’m not convinced. I like my recipe for cake made with cream instead of butter, because it’s really delicious and actually healthier, but in general, healthier, and especially healthy baking recipes are just not as good as the real thing.
I’d rather live a healthy lifestyle with excessive amounts of butter and sugar thrown in every now and then, than a super healthy lifestyle without.
But let’s look at the numbers!
Like every other blogger out there, I use Google Analytics to gain insight into my blog’s traffic. Unfortunately, the only two things I know how to check in GA are monthly traffic and traffic sources, so I’m probably missing out on all the cool stuff you can do with it. I should look into that.
Anyway, here are my numbers for January:
I had 116.488 pageviews in December, and I was expecting my pageviews to go down a bit in January, because people would be less interested in cake and more interested in gym memberships, yoga mats and temple food. Still, I’m pretty happy with 92.085. If I can get that up to 100.000 again in the next few months, I’m a happy blogger!
I have been running several CPM ads on my blog for a while now. CPM ads are also known as ‘cost per thousand impressions’ ads, which means that I get paid every time a visitor loads a page on my blog where I’ve installed the ads.
To get these ads, I joined several ad networks: companies that connect advertisers (ads!) with bloggers like me who are interested in hosting ads on their little blog in the hopes of making a little money.
Right now, I’m with Blogher (SheKnows Media), Sovrn, and Gourmet Ads. There are also affiliate links on my blog, but I didn’t earn any affiliate commissions in January. This is what I did make in January:
- Blogher: $96,16
- Sovrn: $76,66
- Gourmet Ads: $56,54
Grand total: $229,36
Not too shabby, right?
Now let’s look at my expenses. It’s not just groceries, there’s also my TTC email address, my Mailchimp PO box, Photoshop, and other things.
- Food Blogger Pro: $29
- Viraltag: $24
- Food expenses:€19,64 ≈ $20,73
- Adobe: €12,09 ≈ $12,76
- PO box for Mailchimp: €4,79 ≈ $5,05
- Google Apps: €3,33 ≈ $3,52
That seems like a lot, doesn’t it? And not all of my expenses are really justifiable. Viraltag, for instance, costs me quite a lot of money at the moment. Last year I wrote a post about their service, explaining how I use Viraltag to schedule Instagram posts, and because of it I could use Viraltag for free for six months. However, a few months ago I received an email telling me that it had already been six months, and that I either had to write another post about Viraltag or start paying. I’d planned to write another post, but I haven’t gotten round to it yet.
Another expense that is not strictly necessary is Food Blogger Pro. FBP is a great online community where aspiring and established bloggers can learn everything about food blogging, and while it is completely AWESOME, I don’t hang out there a lot these days. I just don’t have the time. Something to look into as well.
Yet, despite some unnecessary expenses and a drop in my traffic, I still managed to make $134,30 blogging in January. Woo-hoo!
Yes. Workload. Here’s where it get’s really interesting, because everyone who starts a blog (myself included!) always seems to think that blogging is easy money. And it SO isn’t!
In January, I spent almost 44 hours on the blog, so about 11 hours a week. Most of it I spend in the kitchen, baking and developing my recipes (failing miserably where it came to the healthy chocolate frosting), but I also did some planning, I was active on social media to get my recipes to the world, and I had to do my administration (taxes!).
So, what does that mean?
I worked 44 hours and earned $134,30, which means I made $3 an hour blogging in January. Am I going to be rich soon? Probably not. But I do make money with my hobby, and all expenses are covered. Does that mean free cake? Hmmm, kind of cool, right? 😉
Still. I’m SO GLAD that I have those other jobs now, too! Now that the blog isn’t my only source of income anymore, I feel so much better about it. When I didn’t have those jobs, I felt like the blog was the only thing standing between my family and, um, not having enough money to pay the bills. I was so worried about our financial situation and ‘making money with the blog’ that it took all the fun out of blogging. But now that I have other sources of income, the blog is the fun side endeavor it was always meant to be again!
Well, until I finally “make this thing work” of course 😉
To-Do List February
- write a post about Viraltag or cancel my subscription. It’s just too expensive.
- spend more time learning things at Food Blogger Pro.
I am firmly on the same page as you when it comes to making your own Birthday cake!! #notpathetic
I have also been thinking of making a blogging calendar/schedule but keep putting it off. Keep us posted on how it works out for you.
I loved this post. I like to hear about how other bloggers approach the work flow.
I think that sticking to your core competencies of butter sugar and flour is a wise move. It’s why we love your blog and keep coming back for more!!
The Tough Cookie says
Thanks Cindy! I’m glad you like the post. I’ve been intrigued with other bloggers’ income reports for a while now, but the once I’ve seen didn’t include workload, while I think that’s a very important part of blogging! I’m liking the editorial calendar so far, btw 😀