Bjork here checking in for the monthly traffic and income report here on Pinch of Yum.
Every month Lindsay let’s me have a lil’ cameo on Pinch of Yum to talk about the behind-the-scenes happenings here at POY HQ.
We’ll look at four things in this month’s report:
- November income totals
- November traffic totals
- November’s takeaway: The significance of Quarter Four and Quickly Finding Email Addresses
- A Word from Lindsay: Looking to 2017
I really enjoy talking about all this blogging/marketing/business/finance stuff, so I appreciate the chance to stand on this platform that Lindsay has built here and share my thoughts, and I appreciate you for reading and following along.
My hope is that you are able to pick up some nuggets that you can apply to whatever it is that you’re doing, whether it be building a business, a blog, a non-profit, or a career. Or maybe you learn something that just generally helps you out in your day-to-day life. Or maybe you just like to look at the income totals and leave.
Whatever it is, I hope you find something in these reports that’s helpful, informative, or motivating.
We’ve been working on Pinch of Yum for almost seven years now, which is like 35 in internet years. Need some context? We started POY BS (before Snapchat). Snapchat is a perfect example of how quickly things can be built online.
We’re a bit different than insanely fast growing companies like Snapchat. We’re all about slow, steady, and consistent. All of the numbers we share should be viewed with the understanding that it took seven years to get here, and the entire time we had two people (and now a bigger team with full-time staff) working to build this thing.
It’s taken lots of work, lots of time, lots of patience, and a little bit of luck (it’s always a factor).
The story of Pinch of Yum is not the usual story you hear when it comes to internet based businesses. The common story you hear is the rocket-fuel-powered-overnight-success-story business. But the slow-and-steady-growth-over-a-long-period-of-time type of company is more common than you’d think. It’s just that it’s boring to read about, or share with your friends about, which is why you rarely hear about these types of companies.
But don’t get confused and think that slow and steady means not taking action or not boldly moving forward. Daily action is critical.
The ultimate growth equation looks like something like this:
Action x Improvement x Time x Luck = Amount of Growth
This isn’t just for blogging or business. It’s a life equation. It can apply to your health, your spirituality, your relationships…
The more you increase any of those variables the more growth you’ll have. Increase them all and you’ll be in really good shape!
Sure, it’s not really possible to “increase your luck,” but what you’ll find is that the more action, improvement, and time you put in then the greater the impact a moment of luck will have on your growth.
What else would you add to that growth equation? I’d love to know in the comments below.
Let’s jump into the numbers for November…
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. All of the products listed below are products and services we’ve used before. If you have any questions about any of the income or expenses, you can leave a comment and we’ll do our best to reply.
- AdThrive – $52,313.13
- Sponsored Content – $22,400.00
- Bluehost – $5,175 –> this income comes from a page where we show people how to start a food blog in three steps.
- Amazon Associates – $4,753.49
- Swoop – $3,153.66
- AdThrive Video – $2,966.49
- Tasty Food Photography – $2,296.80
- Gourmet Ads – $1,280.31
- sovrn – $369.43
- How to Monetize Your Food Blog eBook – $160.00
- Genesis Theme – $139.85
- Elegant Themes – $124.00
- ActiveCampaign – $50.78
- AWeber – $14.40
- Staff, Salary, and Contractors – $19,627.96
- Studio Related Expenses – $3,735.89
- Food Expenses – $1,587.57
- Apple – $1,210.76
- Travel – $628.66
- eBook Affiliates – $502.25
- Domains (GoDaddy) and Hosting (Media Temple) – $354.98
- Amazon and Other Misc. – $300.89
- PayPal Fees – $138.49
- Insurance – $99.17
- Adobe Creative Cloud – $64.58
- Software and Apps – $52.64
- Amazon S3 and Cloudfront – $38.11
- PayPal Website Payments Pro – $30.00
- Hotjar – $29.00
- GitHub – $25.00
- CloudFlare – $20.00
- CrashPlan – $19.98
- Shoeboxed – $12.35
- Backupify – $12.00
- Link In Profile – $9.99
- BoardBooster – $5.00
Below are some Google Analytics screenshots from the month of November 2016.
Top Ten Traffic Sources
Mobile vs. Desktop vs. Tablet
November and Quarter 4
November is one of the best months for a food blog, especially a blog like Pinch of Yum that’s monetized through ads, affiliate earnings, and sponsored content.
November is a shining star for two reasons:
- It’s a high traffic month for food related content
- Quarter four advertising budgets (i.e. buy buy buy!)
A high traffic month for food related content
If you have a food blog, or any content based website for that matter, you know that there are seasonal ups and downs when it comes to your traffic throughout the year.
For a blog like Pinch of Yum, we see an uptick in traffic in November, December, and January. November and December are due to the holidays, with November being a bit better than December. January’s uptick is a result of everyone having a newly found (or renewed) passion for healthy eating. January tends to be the highest traffic month of the year for us.
Here’s a screenshot that shows the traffic for Pinch of Yum over the last five years. The blue dots on the line pinpoint November of each year. You can see there’s usually an uptick in November, a slight drop in December, and then a big jump in January.
I’m curious to know: Do the up and down traffic patterns on your blog look similar, with the highest traffic months happening in November and January? Or do you focus on another niche that has completely different seasonal ups and downs? Let us know in the comment section below.
Quarter Four Advertising Budgets: buy buy buy!
When you look at that screenshot above you can see that there’s more traffic in January than in November. So why is November a better month than January when it comes to advertising and affiliate income?
It comes down to quarter four advertising budgets and the purchasing mindset that exists in November.
When I say quarter four I’m referring to the fourth quarter of the year, which includes October, November, and December. It’s also commonly referred to as Q4, which I’ll use for the rest of this post.
PR agencies, ad agencies, and businesses in general traditionally spend the most money in Q4 when compared to other quarters throughout the year.
Two big reasons:
- Marketing departments don’t want to have a bunch of money left over in their advertising budget for the year, so if there’s any remaining money to spend they need to spend it in Q4.
- For many businesses, spending money in Q4 is most effective because people have a purchasing mindset. Think Black Friday, Cyber Monday, shopping for Christmas presents, etc… General theme = buy buy buy!
The combination of increased traffic along with increased ad spend results in November being one of the highest earning months of the year for a blog like Pinch of Yum.
The purchasing mindset also impacts the success of affiliate marketing, which is the reason why you see lots of holiday gift guides (like this one that Lindsay published) and other types of “here’s something you can buy today” type of posts.
The basic idea: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are all happening within five days of each other.
Those five days are the sweet spot for a recipe blog that monetizes through ads and affiliate marketing.
Discovering emails with Hunter.io
I’ve been doing a little bit of cold emailing lately and have been trying to find an effective way to discover contact info. I’ve found a super slick solution in using hunter.io.
It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good. For instance, here are the results for Pinch of Yum:
I installed the Chrome extension after signing up for a free trial. It’s a fun and easy-to-use tool.
I hope you find it helpful!
I’ll pass the virtual mic over to Lindsay.
Lindsay, take it away!
Hey everyone! Fancy meeting you here.
Maybe this goes without saying, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what next year will look like. We’re moving into our seventh year of running this blog, we’re managing an amazing team for both POY and FBP, we’re raising a sometimes lazy but mostly awesome fur baby, and most importantly, we’re preparing to welcome a HUMAN baby into our lives. ♡
As I look ahead to this year, I see myself focusing on just two big, lofty goals:
- Staying creatively engaged;
- Being present with and for our baby.
It’s a mindset shift that’s driving a shift in my methods and practices. Here are some of the ways that Pinch of Yum will change in 2017 as a result:
- Less sponsored blog posts. We have worked with some incredible brand partners over the last 2-3-4 years and I truly appreciate partnering with brands and what that means for our ability to grow and operate the business. How-ev-er. If my goal is to stay creatively engaged and find the time to be present with our baby, I know I can’t keep working with brands at the same rate that I’ve been doing in the last 6 months. I naively bit off more than I could chew with a handful of projects this fall and felt uninspired in the process. My hope is that 2017 will include only the occasional brand partnerships for blog posts – we’re thinking two per month at most – with brands that we love to the moon and back.
- Scheduling in advance. I am notoriously bad about waiting until the last minute to do things. It’s a glaring personal flaw. Or strength? There’s gotta be a strength in that somewhere, right? My plan for 2017 is to have all content drafted in advance of the publish date. Not, like, YEARS in advance. Just a day or two – so there’s no scrambling to get stuff done the morning that a post is going out. If I can pull this one off, I’d have all content scheduled out to publish at 4am. And I chose 4am because I know I would never get up at 4am to finish writing posts, so this will force me to get things done in advance and keep my mental clutter at a minimum. Sneaky, huh?
- Two posts per week. Yep – two recipes instead of three. My hope with this is quality over quantity – that it gives way to more inspired, more intentional, and more satisfying recipes and photos. Also: it gives me more time for baby snuggles in between. See: goals.
- New content series: I’m nervously working on a brand new type of content for the blog in 2017 – I am totally freaked out about it and also very excited. It has to do with people and stories and impact and it feels like more of my heart than I’ve ever really let come through on the blog before. That first goal? Staying creatively engaged? That isn’t just about recipes. It’s about keeping my whole heart and my whole self in the game of “blogging” so that in five years I can look back and say: wow, I feel really good about that. That blog thing was exactly what it was supposed to be. And as I got really brutally honest with myself these last six months, I realized that getting there, for me, required making some changes. Change is always scary, and maybe a few people will leave in the process, but I can’t be satisfied in the long term by pretending that recipes are the end-all-be-all of what I want my life to be about. Stay tuned! Or actually, don’t. I’m kind of nervous so maybe just let me publish the first one without anyone looking.
It’s because of you that this thing we call Pinch of Yum can exist as it does today. Thank you so much for making these recipes, leaving comments with your love and feedback, sending emails, following on social media, and sharing this food around the table with your families and friends.
Every month we donate a portion of Pinch of Yum’s income to non-profit or foundation that’s near to our heart. This month we’re donating to the Children’s Shelter of Cebu and helping to fund their budget for daily meals.
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