If you’re making a dollar from your food blog, you could probably be making two. If you’re making $100, you could probably be making $200. If you’re making $1,000, you could probably be making $2,000. I could keep going with that, but I’m guessing you get the point: you’re probably not maximizing the earning potential from your blog.
It’s easy to increase your blog’s income by adding additional ad units, writing spammy posts with lots of affiliate links, or pitching unrelated or untested products to your readers. That might get you a short-term income boost, but it will also zap any trust that you’ve established with your readers and crush the quality that you’ve worked so hard to establish with your brand. Not a good long-term plan.
The focus with increasing the money you make from your blog should be on finding ways to increase your income without degrading the quality of your site, which is what we’re going to focus on in this post.
1. Make your theme link an affiliate link
If people like your blog design they’ll be inclined to investigate what type of theme you’re using, and the first place many people look is in your blog’s footer. The good news is that most premium WordPress themes have some type of affiliate program. Many themes will already have a link in the footer, so it's just a matter of changing that regular link to an affiliate link.
2. Use passback code
In the post 7 Simple Advertising Terms Every Food Blogger Should Understand I talked about the term “fill rate” and how ad networks usually don’t have a 100% fill rate. The space that isn’t filled is called remnant space.
Many ad networks allow you to supply ad code that can be used to fill this remnant space. This is called passback code (or passback tags). This code can usually be anything you want, from Google AdSense ads to an in-house ad for your own product.
Here’s a screenshot of what the passback tag area looks like with the sovern ad network:
3. Create an email newsletter
There are two primary ways that bloggers communicate with readers via email:
- RSS Email: This is an automated email that sends the reader an email whenever you publish a new post. This is either a full post or an excerpt of the post.
- Autoresponder Email Newsletter: An autoresponder email newsletter sends out pre-written emails starting the day someone signs up. These emails usually contain content that isn’t available on your blog.
Most food bloggers have an RSS email sign up, but not many food bloggers have an autoresponder. This type of list won’t help you create an income directly, but it’s a great way to communicate with readers about relevant content that will help them to stay engaged with your blog (and engagement = income).
An example is the “blogging tips” newsletter that we have on Pinch of Yum. This email newsletter contains 15 emails with tips and tricks for food bloggers. We don’t create income directly from these emails, but it allows us to stay connected with readers and continually deliver value. Sometimes the information we send in these emails will direct people back to Pinch of Yum or Food Blogger Pro.
Every once-in-awhile I’ll send out a broadcast email. A broadcast email is a non-scheduled email that is sent to the people that subscribe to your autoresponder newsletter. For us, these broadcast emails usually contain information about new posts on Food Blogger Pro, a food photography sale that is happening on Pinch of Yum, or questions/research around a new product we're thinking about launching.
Again, this doesn’t directly create income, but building a good email list is one of the most important strategies for building a business out of your blog.
4. Create a resources page
A resources page is an awesome additional income stream that is relatively easy to create. It can also add value to your blog, as it provides your readers with an inside look at how you do what you do. It's a win win!
Simply put, a resource page is a list of all of the tools and services (i.e. resources) you use to run your blog.
5. Create Amazon Associates pages
Jason from Pro Blog School (and 100 Days of Real Food) recently put together a post called Our Top 10 Earning Pages for the Amazon Associates Program. In the post he shares the top earning Amazon Associates pages on 100 Days of Real Food.
As you can see, these pages are primarly specific lists like a favorite books list or a kitchen essentials list. The great thing about pages like this is that once they are created they live forever as income generators and can be linked to in future blog posts.
The good news? Amazon affiliate links convert really well and you get a commission on everything that is purchased, not just the link to the product you recommend.
The bad news? A handful of states are excluded from the Amazon Associates program because of certain sales tax laws. You can read more about the details of that here, but for now know that Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, and Rhode Island cannot be part of the Amazon Associates program.
Action > Advice
Remember the > symbol from math? It stands for “great than.” As in 10 > 9, $2 > $1, or Minnesota Gophers > Wisconsin Badgers (Just kidding…I love Wisconsin too).
Another example: Action > Advice.
Advice is worthless unless you take action.
So which one of these five things are you not doing that you could take action on?
I’d love to hear if you implement one of these things and what the result is.