Articles about Creating an Income
We recently received an email from long-time FBP members Dustin and Lacey Baier with a PDF blog post draft that Dustin wanted to share with us. In the email, he said,
"I was starting to write a post for A Sweet Pea Chef that was based off Food Blogger Pro - kind of a success story post. In part, because of the recent success we have seen and, in part, to be a good affiliate piece for Food Blogger Pro. Then I realized that, if I was in your shoes, I might want to use something like this as a case study on Food Blogger Pro or Pinch Of Yum."
Welp, we were definitely interested. We love to think that we help people here at Food Blogger Pro, but there's nothing like hearing from bloggers who have found success through hard work, determination, and a tiny bit of help from FBP.
A huge reason many bloggers join Food Blogger Pro is because they want to learn how to make money with their blog. It's an honorable goal!
A lot of the time, bloggers will hear about advertising networks and the money they can make with them, so they'll apply and get accepted and stop there. While ad networks might be the main source of income for bloggers with a lot of traffic, the income from running ads on your site can be less than satisfactory if you're getting just a few thousand page views per month.
Alternatively, working directly with brands can be a reliable source of income if you are able to start and maintain a sponsorship.
But that's just the thing... How in the world are you supposed to start a sponsorship?!
From a business perspective, one of the things that Lindsay and I have really come to believe in is the power of passive income.
Passive income, specifically passive income through affiliate marketing, has really helped us take our monetization game to the next level. For example, with Pinch of Yum, when we recommend products that we love and link to those products as an affiliate, we are able to earn passive income from the referral sales.
This monetization strategy is different than advertising and sponsorships, which can fluctuate from quarter to quarter, month to month, and even week to week. The passive income we earn as affiliates for our favorite products and services can be more consistent and predictable.
One of the things we love about Food Blogger Pro is the fact that we’re able to offer the benefits of passive income to our members through the FBP affiliate program (more on that in a bit!), but we noticed that often times affiliates would sign up for the program and not really know the most effective way to promote FBP to their readers.
What’s the best monetization strategy to focus on when you’re trying to create an income from your food blog: ads or products?
Both ads and products are the best monetization strategy when you’re trying to create an income from your food blog, you just need to make sure that you don’t use both at the same time.
That last part is really important: make sure that you don’t use both at the same time.
What are you giving away for free on your blog?
It’s an important question, because giving things away for free is one the best ways to increase the income you’re earning from your blog.
Giving things away for free in order to increase your income?
Seems a bit backwards, doesn’t it?
Let me explain.
Have you heard the phrase you don’t know how much you miss it until it’s gone?
That’s how I felt about Amazon’s affiliate program, Amazon Associates.
Up until June of 2013 we had been using Amazon affiliate links in different places throughout Pinch of Yum and earning a consistent (but never significant) amount of money from it.
Then, on June 18th 2013, we received an email from Amazon that said this:
We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLC Associates Program Operating Agreement will be terminated effective June 30, 2013. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Minnesota state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Dayton on May 23, 2013, with an effective date of July 1, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after June 30 nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Minnesota residents.
Three months ago I wrote a post called How to Increase Your Conversion Rates with A/B Testing. In the post I promised to put together quarterly updates to let everyone know how the A/B testing is going.
My hope with these quarterly updates is to:
- Encourage you to do A/B testing if you have the time and energy.
- If you don’t have the time and energy then I want to show you the changes we made to help increase conversion rates.
You can take the things we’ve learned about increasing conversions and apply them to your sales pages without having to do any A/B testing on your own (but I still think you should do A/B testing if you have the time).
I always get giddy when I talk about affiliate marketing.
It’s just so darn cool.
You know what I mean?
Okay…fine then. I guess I'll have to convince you.
And I'll do so by telling you about how the best type of affiliate marketing can help you increase the income you’re earning from your food blog (and I know you think that is pretty darn cool).
I want to make sure we’re all on the same page before we jump into my main point for this post, so I’d like to take a moment to share a thrilling short story entitled “A Very Basic Example of Affiliate Marketing.”
In the most recent Traffic and Income Report on Pinch of Yum I shared how Kiersten Frase’s eBook, How to Monetize Your Food Blog (affiliate link), made me realize that we could be doing a much better job of creating income from the ads we’re running on Pinch of Yum.
It made me realize that I need to change our advertising mindset (on Pinch of Yum) from “set it and forget it” to “always be testing it.”
This realization inspired me to create a spreadsheet to track our advertising numbers, because it’s tough to test something unless you have easy to understand data to test it against.
Why am I posting about this on the Food Blogger Pro blog?
There are four ways to increase income from your blog.
- Increase traffic.
- Increase advertisements.
- Increase prices.
- Increase conversion rates.
We’re going to be discussing #4 today.
In order to increase our conversion rate we’re going to use a system called A/B testing.
Many food bloggers would like to “go pro” and turn their blog into a full-time income. It’s possible, but it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, luck, and diversification. That last one, diversification, is a concept that people don’t often think about when they consider creating a full-time income from their blog.
People often use the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” when referring to diversification, but that phrase doesn’t really work for what I’m trying to communicate in this post. I like this phrase better:
Fill your empty egg carton.
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not as catchy, but the visual of the egg carton helps to communicate the point that I’m hoping to make, which is this:
If you have a blog, chances are that your egg carton is pretty close to empty. In other words, there are income streams (openings in the egg carton) that are not being filled (with eggs).
It’s really hard to create a full-income from just one income source (i.e. one egg), but when you fill all of the possible income sources (i.e. openings in the egg carton), it becomes much easier to create a full-time income from your blog.
This post is going to be short and sweet, as Lindsay and I are taking some time to soak up the sun in Arizona this week before returning to the Polar Vortex (a.k.a. Minnesota).
Edit: Lindsay will be soaking up the sun, I'll be sitting in the shade. #pronetosunburn
While the post is going to be short, the concept that I’m going to be talking about has the potential to have a long-term impact on the revenue that you create from your blog. My hope is that, after reading this short post, you'll feel empowered to take action and create (and sell) your own eBook.
Traffic represents tangible numbers that allow you to easily see how your blog is performing, but it’s only half the battle when it comes to monetizing your blog.
Yes, you need to be smart about ways to increase traffic to your blog. You also need to be smart about ways to increase your effectiveness at monetizing the traffic that is already coming to your blog.
The good news is that this doesn’t require you to squeeze every last penny from your blog readers by showing more ads or pitching more products. Quite the opposite, actually. You want to be squeezing every last penny from the advertisers and affiliates you work with so you don’t have to show more ads and pitch more products to your readers.
In this post I’m going to share an example of a change we made with Pinch of Yum to increase our monthly income by over $1,500. I'll also share how this information impacted the way we structure payments for Food Blogger Pro affiliate program.
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.
Let’s face it. Advertising terms can be confusing.
Especially if you're one of those “i’d-rather-poke-myself-in-the-eye-than-do-anything-that-has-to-with-math” kind of people.
But if you’re looking to turn your food blog into your career (or even just your mocha money) then it’s important that you have a solid understanding of advertising terminology.
The good news is that the most common advertising terms are fairly simple to understand, especially if you have examples to look at. In this post we’re going to look at seven different advertising terms and explain them using simple and easy to understand examples. The advertising terms we’ll be looking at today are:
- Fill rate