Hey all! I hope you’re all doing well… November has been very busy for The Yum Yum Club and, yes, you will see from the link graphic, we have generated some revenue in our first full month!! £1.05!!! WhoHooooo!!
How to make money from a blog? It’s easy, as you can see! The harder question is what to spend it all on!? £1.05. Hmm, maybe 1/4 glass of wine down the local to share with Jen to celebrate…😉
But seriously, one of the declared goals from last month was to earn some revenue, and we have. Tick! As a little reminder, and in case you haven’t read the October report, these were the goals I set for November:
- Continue blogging and get over 30 in total posted
- Establish the Resources and Glossary pages
- Improve the traffic
- Expand the shopping page
- Start using Affiliates
- Add some advertising
- Generate the site’s first revenue
Let’s have a look at these in reverse order.
1. Generating revenue and adding advertising to the blog
I’ve grouped these two and wanted to discuss them first because the revenue is a function of the advertising. In early November, having reviewed a number of articles on generating ad revenue from websites, it was clear that the most prevalent avenue was Google Adsense. Moreover, Google Adsense has no traffic restrictions for acceptance and no fees.
On 14th November, therefore, I applied for a Google Adsense account but, unfortunately, it took over a week to be accepted. Some of this was simply that this is how long it takes for Google to set you up, but I think I also made some errors in placing the code in the correct place in WordPress. I’m not going to discuss this here but I will add a short tutorial on this on my Resources page in due course.
Suffice to say, though, when I accessed the site on 22nd November there they were. Google Adsense adverts. Some banners at the top and bottom and some on the sidebars. Brilliant I thought! We’re off! And the truth of the matter is we are off. £1.05. Obviously, I’m not planning retirement yet but from acorns…
The issue I am now facing is that I actually don’t truly understand how Google Adsense works. To this end, I’m not sure if my Google Adsense adverts are truly optimized. Questions of how the ads actually generate revenue, ad placement, ad content, and even whether I should have a second or third ad agency in reserve have come to mind. It is these that I plan to address in December and I’ll report back then. But if any of you have any advice on this area it would be great to hear from you through the comments at the end of this post.
OK, just before we move onto the other November objectives a quick word about expenses. Yes, The Yum Yum Club generated £1.05 in revenue, but it spent far more:
- £440.25 on ingredients for the recipes
- £112.00 on kitchen equipment including a terrine dish, new frying pan, and some mixing bowls
Net loss for November, therefore, is £551.2 and with the £491.27 set up costs for October that makes a total loss to date of £1,042.41.
So, how do I generate more ad revenue and what other revenue streams can I utilise?
2. Using Affiliates Programs
Most of you reading this post will not what an affiliate program is. However, for those of you who don’t, an affiliate program is simply a company who offers a commision if you sell one of their products through your own website or blog. The largest and best example here is Amazon. You can sign up to the Amazon Affiliate Program through the link and basically advertise any Amazon product you like. Obviously, they should be related to your website for the best chance of a sale.
I’ve now set up a shop page on The Yum Yum Club which you can access here. As you can see from the screenshot below that the page offers a number of food and cooking related products. Basically, when I make a recipe if there is something specific required e.g. food processor or birds eye chillies, that may not be readily available, I add them to the shop page. If someone clicks the item, they will be taken straight to Amazon through my link where they can buy the product.
If you look to the left of this screenshot you’ll notice other affiliate programs that I have added. These will show on all pages. The top one relates to Bluehost who is the host of The Yum Yum Club and who you would need to use if you wanted to set up your own blog (see below). The middle and bottom links are from pinchofyum.com who I mentioned last time. These links provide advice on general blogging and food photography respectively.
The bottom line is that there was no revenue generated from affiliate programs in November but this should change as the traffic grows. It is the traffic that is key to monetizing any blog and this is where I have both struggled and also started to get some traction.
3. Growing the traffic
I must start this section with a little reminder. This reminder is probably for me more than you. The reminder is that The Yum Yum Club is 5 weeks old. That’s all. And Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?
The most successful food blog sites have millions of visitor every month. But, in truth, they have been going years and started when the market was new. With, this in mind, this is how The Yum Yum Club did regarding traffic in November. Note this data is from Google Analytics:
So, for November 2018, the first full month The Yum Yum Club was open we had 404 unique users of which 396 were new compared to the shorter October. These users had 630 separate sessions between then and visited 1,415 pages in total. The geek in me sees this as very interesting. But what about the next level down. Where have these 404 users come from?
What this shows is that of the 404 users 187 are from referrals, i.e. other websites; 105 were from social media; 89 were direct; and 27 from organics searches. Making the assumption that Organic searches will grow as Google recognises The Yum Yum Club more and I add more content to the site, and Direct is friends and family I have given the web address too, then we should look further into Social and Referral. First, Social:
In my mind, I was expecting social traffic to be the most important source of traffic from the start, whilst the website is getting established and Google pick up the content. The main social sources include the four above, although there are others like Tumblr and Google+. The interesting thing here is that after a great deal of research I decided to put 85% of my Social attention to Pinterest as other food bloggers suggest this is by far their biggest source of traffic.
To this end, I have started to join Pinterest groups, use Tailwind to schedule 30+ posts a day, and only use large vertical posts as per all the advice. Yet, 18 users from Pinterest for the full month. Almost the same as Instagram where all I have done is post one picture from each post. I am going to persevere with Pinterest through December and join far more groups to see how that works. Once set up properly and optimised I will then focus on the other Social sites one by one.
Just a side note about Facebook. My The Yum Yum Club facebook account is actually under my name as The Yum Yum Club name was taken. Further, all “friends” on this site are my own friends so, although the number is high compared to the others, this is not what I would call new traffic.
What’s really interesting, however, is the referral numbers:
As you can see, the referral traffic is by far the largest and has grown in the back end of the month, as the social numbers decreased. The Social numbers decreasing backs up my theory that the friends and family on Facebook decreased when the site novelty wore off. But what about these referrals?
Well, the bulk of these sites, especially the top 3, are speciality food sites where bloggers can add recipes for selection. By selection, I mean that only the best photographs are selected by the site owner. This put the emphasis on quality photos. I started posting on Foodgawker mid-month but had the first 5 picture rejected which was quite demoralizing. Then I put more focus on the quality of the photographs and started to get some pictures published. That drove a reasonable step increase in traffic.
Since then I have found some more food sites and need to find even more. Although, it looks like there are only a few that actually post regularly. Maybe I should start my own…
One final note about traffic is the geographical origin. It’s fair to say that The Yum Yum Club has had views from all over the world, but, by the far, the most come from the US:
There is a correlation between the Facebook traffic at the beginning of the month and the UK numbers above. As there is for the US traffic and the food site traffic at the end of the month.
But what does all this mean?
Well, it’s difficult to make any concrete conclusions with just one month’s worth of data, but, bearing in mind that website traffic is by far the most important focal point, and assuming website quality is good, then I deduct the following to focus on in December and onwards:
- Keep up the quality and originality of all photographs
- Keep posting regularly. I haven’t mentioned this but one goal for November was to have posted 30 posts in total by the end of November. The actual number was actually 37 so a big tick there!
- Keep posting to food sites and find more that operate in this space. Consider setting up a food site to support The Yum Yum Club.
- Join more Pinterest groups and automate the pinning.
- Once Pinterest is optimised focus on Instagram and then Facebook and others.
- Spend time “socialising” with the Social sites i.e. commenting on content.
On a final note, when it comes to traffic, I actually have no concept if where The Yum Yum Club is after 5 weeks. Is the traffic situation good, bad or indifferent? If any of you reading this have a view I’d love to know as I’m running a little blind here. Please use the comments box below.
4. A few other points
Keeping the quality posts and driving more traffic through referrals and social media is ongoing. However, I expect it to become a business as usual activity as time goes by. As that starts to happen, and more time becomes available, then the following areas needs to be considered, in no particular order:
a) Resources page
I have set up a Resources page but only posted one item to date, How to Start Your Own Blog in 3 Easy Steps. I want to expand this page as I see it being a useful addition to the site away from pure food related. I have also registered the domain name theprobloggeroforum.com which I hope to realise in the future as a resource portal for bloggers.
b) Mailing List
Although The Yum Yum Club has a banner asking people to sign up to a newsletter. No one has signed up yet. I see this a crucial avenue for traffic and need to understand more about how to drive this. If you would like to sign up please use the link here and I’ll add you to the list.
c) The Yum Yum Club products
When time allows I need to start looking at potential products or services for The Yum Yum Club. eBooks are one example but there are many more.
OK, that’s it for the November 2018 Business Report. It was a busy month and The Yum Yum Club did generate £1.05 in revenue. Let’s see what December brings…
As always, thanks for reading and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
Until next time…Steve.