This food blog traffic and income report covers the 28th month of my blog, which I started in November 2018!
The shine and optimism from January definitely wore off this month as traffic dipped after the high of the start of the year (all those brand new vegans and vegetarians from New Year’s resolutions).
Use the jumps below to get to the sections that most interest you, or scroll down and read through all the details.
Posts this month: 5 new 2 updated
This month I promised myself I would get nine posts out, no excuses. That didn’t happen. And that’s okay. I had some issues with a lot of my image URLs breaking, which thankfully in the end my host Big Scoots was able to help me with, but it took forever to track down the cause.
There were also other urgent technical fixes needed on the blog and one or two recipes took much longer to develop than I anticipated.
In the end, I decided that I’m no longer going to set myself goals for a number of posts and will omit this section in the future, as it just stressed me out when I needed to be focused on fixing things.
February 2021 81,334 Page Views (compared to 94,994 last month and 37,984 in February 2020)
I was really hoping to top 100,000 page views for the first time, but it was not to be. With three days less this month and no new web stories, traffic was down.
This whole business with web stories is kind of bothering me actually. I’ve noticed that it seems like your regular posts won’t be featured in Google Discover anymore without a web story, and it doesn’t make me happy to be filling up my website with new posts that are just web stories.
As you can see from the picture above, traffic was higher at the beginning of the month (still had a few web stories in play) and then dipped and stabilized.
When comparing traffic sources to last month I can see that the majority of organic sources are all down slightly, a good indication that overall interest in veggie recipes dipped in February.
The only outliers were Facebook with a huge increase in referrals, and googleapis.com jumping up to the tenth position. Facebook was just luck, with two people sharing recipes that took off (my lentil bolognese and my chocolate walnut cookies).
The googleapis.com referrals, upon a bit of investigation, came from the “articles for you” suggestions that pop up on your mobile when you open new tabs in Chrome (sometimes, mine just randomly appear, I can’t always access them).
When I looked into the landing pages for these referrals, the majority seemed to be posts that had web stories (of course, grrr, dratted web stories).
Here you’ll find all my growth statistics and tactics for social media. I say tactics, but this month was very light on any effort at all on social media from me.
Email subscribers 447 (versus 419 in January). Better than usual with the exit popup, but still worse than last month’s increase. These numbers will never improve until I create opt-in and more calls to sign up sprinkled throughout the website.
Facebook followers 5644 (versus 5609 in January). A smaller increase than usual this month as I was distracted and spent less time on Facebook.
Pinterest followers 2805 (versus 2695 in January). Ths usual increase of roughly a hundred followers a month, give or take a little. How on earth do some accounts have millions of followers on Pinterest?
Instagram followers 661 (versus 642 in January). My least favorite area and least effective. I checked and I actually only posted ONCE in February on Instagram!
- February Gross Income: $1,235.08 (compared to $1,277.19 in January and $497.55 in February 2020)
- February Expenses: $108.05
- February Profit: $1,127.03(before tax and social security)
(I get paid in American dollars so for the sake of coherency even though I live in Europe, all amounts on this page are in USD)
- $34.52 – Accountant (based in Madrid, Spain). This is a monthly set fee I pay.
- $9.99 – Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (Lightroom and Photoshop).
- $34.95 – BigScoots WPO Starter plan. Quality hosting makes all the difference.
- $13.60 – Keysearch. A solid affordable SEO tool, crucial for content planning.
- $14.99 – Tailwind Plus.
Expenses were kept to a bare minimum this month. Income this month was okay, with the usual seasonal increase in RPM offsetting most of the traffic drop.
My RPM was up again, as expected, $19.13 per 1000 sessions ($15.68 for pageviews) compared to January’s $16.91 per 1000 sessions ($13.85 per 1000 page views).
Last year’s RPM (February 2020) for the same period amounted to $16.14 for sessions and $12.88 for pageviews, so that’s a nice increase of roughly 20% year-on-year. If only every year saw these kinds of increases!
Review & Goals
So, my goals for February were:
- 9 posts.
- Make a staging copy of the site and fix some issues with excerpts, old horizontal images jump to recipe and social share buttons locations. I’ll also be making a static landing page to better showcase my recipes and categories as I get quite a bit of traffic there.
- Hit over 100,000 pageviews!
- Work on batching photography, cooking, and content writing so I can be more productive.
- Force myself to make a new video every time I publish a new post. I hate making videos but they are great for RPM and better for ranking as they “fill out” your recipe card data.
Which ones did I achieve? Erm, not many. As I mentioned before, I only got out 5 posts instead of 9. I did make a staging copy and fix all issues – but that then led to other issues and I had to spend weeks fixing them.
I really need to start making changes slowly and more spaced out so I can actually tell what is causing any issues which arise. I didn’t make a static landing page as it’s the one thing with my theme that I cannot for the life of me understand.
It seems like it will take a lot of effort and seeing as how I’m on the waiting list for Mediavine’s new Trellis theme, it would be a wasted effort as I’d have to redo my static page anyway when I switch themes. So I’m parking a static homepage on the backburner for now.
I did work more on batching but I honestly dislike it – somedays I love cooking and photography, other days I’m tired and just don’t want to be on my feet all day doing the same thing.
I think I need to be flexible on this issue, plan to batch but then abandon it and jump to something else that needs to be done if I’m just not feeling it that day.
I totally did not make ANY videos this month. I’m becoming a bit of a stroppy toddler in this regard and need to get a grip – yes I hate doing them but until the blog earns enough that I can outsource video, I need to at least do a few consistently.
What are my goals for March?
- Fix core web vitals so I can relax before the giant Google core web update in May.
- VIDEO. For the love of all that’s good, get ANY video done.
- Get some more web stories out.
That’s all for now folks, I hope you found this (late) report useful!
If you have any questions or would like to see other items included in the next report, holler at me down below in the comments or send me an e-mail using the contact form (I do check them every day).