7 awesome apps we’re using to build Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro

Trying to build a blog without good applications is like trying to build a house without good tools. You can do it, but it will take a lot longer.

Have you ever searched for a password you wrote down on a piece of paper and put “somewhere safe” (but you’re not quite sure where that is)? Have you ever tried to communicate a design concept over email using written text? Have you ever written the same sentence over and over in different emails to different people?

All of those things are examples of ways that we try and build our virtual house (i.e. blog) using crummy tools.

If you’re looking to build an awesome blog then you need awesome applications for your virtual toolbelt. The following seven apps are the first "tools" that I'd suggest you purchase (or download for free).

Note: Some of these apps are specific to Mac OS. If there’s an alternative option for Windows then I include it at the end of the description.

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How we improved our landing page conversion rate by 138%

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).

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Introducing The Nutrition Label Generator

Today is a big day at Food Blogger Pro Headquarters (otherwise known as the Ostrom’s basement).

Food Blogger Pro is launching our first tool for food bloggers. We couldn’t be more excited!

We’re calling it the Nutrition Label Generator.

Any guesses as to what it does?

Yep! You got it. It generates nutrition facts labels.

We have three goals with the Nutrition Label Generator.

We want this to be a tool that is:

  1. Easy to use
  2. Accurate
  3. Value adding

Before I explain the three goals I want to quickly show you how to use the tool, explain why we're developing software tools, and discuss our software philosophy at FBP.

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The best type of affiliate marketing: What it is and why you need to do it

I always get giddy when I talk about affiliate marketing.

It’s just so darn cool.

You know what I mean?

You don’t?

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.”

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Why We Moved to MailChimp

This to-do item was on my list for about a year:

Move Pinch of Yum RSS Email off of Feedburner.

It was one of those to-do items that becomes nearly invisible. Kind of like that stray box in the basement that still isn’t unpacked five years after moving. You know it’s there, you think of taking care of it when you see it, but somehow it never gets done.

In April I decided to (finally) dedicate some time and take care of this before it moved into the “forever forgotten” area on my list. I’m happy to report that I can now cross “Move Pinch of Yum RSS Email off of Feedburner” off of my to-do list.

I wanted to report back to the Food Blogger Pro readers about the process in case you had a similar to-do on your list. I’ll explain RSS email subscriptions, talk about the issues I had with Feedburner, share how we made the move to MailChimp, and (most importantly) share some ideas around utilizing an RSS email list to help you build a thriving and profitable blog.

If you’d like to sign up for MailChimp you can use the FBP affiliate link here. We won’t use an affiliate link in any other places in order to keep this post nice and clean. πŸ™‚

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Ad Network Tracking Tool – Built by the FBP Community

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?

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How we increased our blog’s monthly income by over $1,500 without increasing traffic

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.

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4 ways you should be backing up your computer and blog

Most people are pretty good at protecting the physical products in their lives. We put insurance on our cars, cases on our phones, and locks on our bikes. But bloggers live in a world where they also need to protect their digital products. Things like blog posts, eBooks, photos, and videos represent huge investments of time and money. Can you imagine if you woke up tomorrow, typed in the URL of your blog, pressed return, and saw a white screen? Then, in a moment of panic you looked in your computer's photos folder, only to find that your pictures were missing as well. It’s rare, but it happens. Hence the reason for backing things up.

Most people have a general concept of backing up, but I’ve found that more often than not people haven’t thoroughly backed up their computer and their blog. If you’re a full-time blogger (or wanting to become one), then it’s vital that you have your business (i.e. your computer and your blog) properly protected.

Here are four ways you should be backing up your computer and your blog.

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5 ways to make more money from your food blog

{image5}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.

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