July 2012 Traffic and Income Report – $47.83

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July 2012 Traffic and Income Report – $47.83

Hello All – D here.

Recently, Vicky announced some changes in her blog, one of which was to start monetizing it. This is a major step in a blog’s life, and although we’re nowhere near the traffic it would take to make a large sum of money, we did think if there was an extra $50 in it for ourselves, that would be $600 a year and certainly something we’d be happy with.

Traffic:

Naturally the biggest thing in all this is the amount of traffic. We added the ads on July 17th, so the first half of July does not count for ads. For more details about traffic Vicky wrote extensively about the sources she uses and how she has tripled her traffic in less than a month since we changed the design.

We’ve been reading through Pinch Of Yum’s monthly income reports and gotten a lot of great ideas on how to approach this. Let’s start by seeing where we ended up:

July Breakdown (Note: Ads went live July 17th so this was a half month):

BlogHer – $37.31
Google Adsense – $10.52
The Thesis Theme – $0
Hostgator – $0

Grand Total: $47.83

Sources Of Income Explained:

Since this is our first income report I want to explain what these source of income are.

BlogHer - BlogHer is a blog advertising program that displays various ads on your site and pays per impression (CPM). There is an application process, which probably is their way of ensuring that the content on your site is clean and that you get enough traffic for it to be worth it.

  • The Good – BlogHer is CPM and has great rates. In our case it really doesn’t seem like ads get a ton of clicks. I think this is somewhat related to the food blog sphere as I’ve noticed it not just with us but with many other websites that provide their stats as well. People are much more inclined to pop in for a single recipe and not spend a lot of time on the site or look at a lot of pages. Most of the users are new and the bounce rate is very high. Therefore, it’s preferable in many cases to have advertising that is CPM as opposed to Pay Per Click (CPC).
  • The Bad – BlogHer ads must be displayed above the fold (basically, they must be visible when the user first logs into your site, sans scrolling), so this limits where you can place them. Also, they take 55% cut of your earnings. Even after all that it still had some solid rates so we envision keeping this one up for awhile.

We started with 3 BlogHer ads on the site:

  1. 160×600: The 160×600 ad size is the most commonly used. It is tall and thin and it fits in most sidebars.
  2. Tune-in Bar: The Tune-in Bar sits at the very top of your blog template. Ads appear as a small icon in the left hand side, accompanied by a small amount of text.
  3. BlogHer TV 160: The 160×167 sidebar widget for BlogHer TV.

Inevitably we ended up getting rid of all of them but the 160×600 for various reasons, but mainly because they either weren’t driving much revenue and/or had a detrimental impact on the site’s performance.

Google Adsense - Google’s famous program for advertising. You are limited to putting up to three ads on your website essentially wherever you please. They come in different formats, text and image, which can be slightly altered.

  • The Good – I haven’t experimented with Google Adsense (yet) but there does seem to be a lot of options. For example, I’ve read that you can change the color of your ads, which could yield some cool optimization techniques. Moreover, they can be placed pretty much everywhere, as well as some places that are not directly in your blog (like your feed).
  • The Bad – It’s Pay Per Click and we just don’t see a high click rate coming out of this food blog. Moreover, we ran into some technical difficulties whereby image ads weren’t displaying properly on the website and we have not been able to get help thus far. That said, if someone does click an ad there is the potential for a very high pay out (>$1).

We had 2 Google Adsense Ads on the site:

  1. 120 x 240
  2. 180 x 150

We also placed an ad in Vicky’s RSS Feed that gets emailed daily.

Host Gator - Host Gator is our hosting plan. It’s really been fantastic so far and I’ve been meaning to write a post on it.

  • The Good - They have a fantastic pay out. If you get even a handful of people to sign up for Host Gator, it’s a lot of money.
  • The Bad - It’s hard to get people to sign up.

Host Gator

Thesis - This is the WordPress theme we use and I’ve written extensively about it here.

  • The Good - 33% commission on all sales, which I think is around $30.
  • The Bad - Like Host Gator it’s not easy to convince people who are coming to look at food recipes to buy a wordpress theme. The key here is really to rank in the top of search engines for people that are already looking for premium wordpress themes.

Thesis

Insights:

This month we just got our feet wet but there are a few takeaways for next month.

BlogHer: We fooled around with this one for awhile but we decided that the best advertisement for our site was the 160 x 600. Unfortunately given its size as well as the above the fold requirement it doesn’t really allow for much else from Blogher to be placed on the website.

Adsense: I’m not really sure what the role of adsense is going to be going forward. We made $10 this month which I actually don’t think is that bad but I also believe it may not be sustainable. Next month being a full month of ads will give me a better picture as to whether or not there is anything here.

Thesis and Hostgator: I really think the key here is to rank high in the search engines for posts describing your affiliates. You have to remember that there are essentially two types of people that come to the blog

  1. Other food bloggers who for the most part have these services already
  2. Non bloggers interested purely in recipes who have no need for these services

What you need is to attract people who are searching for terms like “hosting service for a blog”, and then to have yours come up. They’re not looking for a food blog, they’re looking for hosting services and you just happen to be a food blog who wrote a post about why Hostgator is great. Needless to say, it is difficult to rank highly for these terms and takes time for your post to develop in Google’s SE. Lastly, I have to imagine the conversion rate for these is very very low and we may just not be at the traffic level to convert people monthly.

What’s To Come:

This has been the first monthly update of what will hopefully be many. In future months I have a lot of questions I’d like to address, such as:

  1. Optimizing ad placement and style
  2. Has advertising negatively affected our blog (bounce rate, pages/visit, avg duration)
  3. Exploring other sources of income
  4. In depth look at Social Media

So please stay tuned as this is only the beginning!

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Comments

  1. Robyn says

    This is something I have recently been trying to look into. Adsense is ok, but it doesn’t send you a check until you reach $100. I have only been blogging since March, so it is going to take MONTHS to reach that, once you reach it great, but until then nothing.

    Also, I thought adsense didn’t allow you to use any other advertising program along with their’s?

    On one hand, adding sponsor’s seems like an instant way to possibly earn a little extra money, but I hate blogs that are constantly asking for sponsor’s. If I did this, it would be an occasional mention, and I’m not sure how much of an interest I would have from bloggers to advertise on my blog.

    I see a lot of blogs that do sponsored giveaways. I would like to know more about how this works. Do you just email a company, and ask them if they would like to sponsor the giveaway?
    Some blogs get “free” stuff from companies and then they post a review on it. Do you know how that works?

    I’m not blogging to make money, but it would be nice to have a little extra to be able to put towards different projects for the blog. I think readers forget about that part of a blog. It cost money to make and share everything that we post about!

    I hope you don’t mind all of my questions!! I thought about just emailing you, but by commenting I thought maybe other’s would read and have some advice, or maybe there are other’s who have the same questions as I do!

    ~Thanks, Robyn

    • D says

      Hey Robyn, as far as I know you can use adsense along with other advertising programs. I did a quick internet search and confirmed this. I do believe BlogHer has some restrictions like not being allowed to put another image ad next to it, but I’d have to check to see exactly what the terms are.

      I know that Vicky has been approached a few times about sponsored giveaways. I assume they found her blog from searching around or maybe by checking specific Facebook groups where a lot of bloggers gather. I definitely think there is a place to be proactive here and send out a few emails but it isn’t something we’ve tried yet.

      I agree wholeheartedly that a little extra cash is nice, especially give how long it really takes to produce decent content!

    • Vicky says

      BlogHer accepts a wide variety of bloggers – definitely not limited to food blogs. You fill in an application on their site and wait to see if you are accepted and then you have multiple advertising options to choose from. So far I have been happy with them and recommend looking into their advertising program.

  2. Dave Lucas says

    My take on income: any income, anything earned is a PLUS! I just uploaded an article on my blog about Blog Income reports – I invite you and your readers to stop by and check it out – comment if you can… also, I have a few questions for you:
    1. What percentage of your traffic comes from search engines?
    mobile telephones
    2. What percentage of your traffic comes from facebook.com?
    3. What percentage of your traffic comes from twitter.com?
    pinterest
    4. What percentage of your blog’s visits begin on your front page?
    Have a great weekend!

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