Welcome to my 5th monthly update, all about what I’ve been up to on My Recipe Book in November.
In this month’s report, I’ll be talking about improving my photography, finding new ways to monetise my blog and launching my first blogger linkup, as well as the usual income and visitor numbers and my plans for December.
If you’re new to my website, or just these posts and want to know more about why I write them, then have a look at my very first report where you’ll find out more.
Make sure you don’t miss next month’s update by signing up to my mailing list here…
What I’ve been up to in November
If you read the October report then I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that I’m feeling a lot more positive about the blog this month (and if you didn’t then you can take a look here). I’ve found that sticking to focussing on the three objectives I outlined in last month’s report has really helped keep me on track, and I feel that I’ve made some great progress this month.
So what have I been up to…
Launching my first blogger linkup
I said last month that I wanted to do more with the Food Blogger’s Calendar. In November I’ve tweeted about several of the events and posted my Sausage and Mushrooms in Mustard and Cider for British Sausage Week. However, the biggest thing I did in November was to launch my own blogger linkup. It runs monthly and the idea is that other bloggers come and link up any foodie posts they have written, old or new, which relate to any of the days in the Food Blogger’s Calendar over the coming month.
You can find out more, come and take part, or just have a look at all of the fabulous posts others have linked here.
If you’re a blogger and you’ve not joined in with a linkup before, I’d really recommend giving it a go (starting with mine). Aby at You Baby, Me Mummy has put together a guide to linkups which explains more about how they work and the advantages of taking part. If you’re new to linkups it’s worth having a read. She also has a list of all the parenting linkups (including several food specific ones) which is updated monthly so you know where to find them all.
Improving my photography
Another of my aims for November was to improve my photography. I’ve been re-reading Tasty Food Photography by Lindsay at Pinch of Yum. I read it when I first started but being completely new to photography there was too much to take in all at once. I think it’s slowly starting to sink in, I just need lots and lots more practice (not easy with my two boys pretending the camera is a telescope or asking me to take their picture!!). The practice is starting to pay off as I finally had my first recipe featured on TasteSpotting this month. Here it is… Unfortunately my next effort was declined and I’m not having any luck with FoodGawker, but this little victory has given me the boost I need to keep going.
I mentioned last month that I’m also taking part in #Make30Photos on Instagram. I’m still going – but slowly (I want to make sure my pictures are as good as I can make them rather than taking something quickly just to post each day).
Joining Amazon Affiliates
My third aim last month was to find new ways to monetise my blog. I appreciate that it’s unlikely I’ll make any significant income at the moment as I’m just starting out, but I wanted to have a few different things in place to learn more about them so that I’m more prepared in future. I thought that joining Amazon Affiliates would be a good fit for the blog. The advantage of Amazon is that they have such a wide range of products and they are a very familiar brand. Their affiliate program is also really easy to use. I have been using it when recommending equipment that people may find useful when making one of my recipes. I’ve been quite bold in how prominent they are in my latest recipe for Korma Paste. I want to find a balance between making them prominent enough that they are noticed and people are encouraged to click, but I worry that if I overdo it they might be off-putting to readers. I’d love it if you could take a look and let me know what you think.
Using the WordPress iPhone app
This month I started using the WordPress app for iphone. The main reason (well actually only reason) I downloaded it was to enable me to moderate and reply to comments much more quickly.
The app does a lot more than just comments but I haven’t had time to explore all of the functions yet (I can’t imagine myself ever writing a post on my phone for example).
It isn’t perfect, for example you can’t review spam (worth a quick look every now and again as real comments do occasionally end up there) and there were a few days last month where I lost access to my site. However, it’s free to download and so I’d recommend giving it a try.
Blog income and visitor numbers
So what difference has this made to the numbers this month.
November has been a brilliant month with visits increasing from 330 to 582, and pageviews almost doubling from 579 to 1133.
A big driver of this increase was my inclusion in Matthew Woodward’s income report roundup. However, even without this I would have seen growth which is great. You’ll also notice TasteSpotting in my top ten visitor sources. Fingers crossed I’ll see it there again this month 🙂
The top ten visitor sources were…
- Direct – 144 visits
- matthewwoodward.co.uk – 140 visits – inclusion in Matt’s monthly income report roundup
- Twitter – 40 visits
- TasteSpotting – 37 visits
- Google – 36 visits
- Facebook – 29 visits
- honestmum.com – 25 visits – #tastytuesdays linkup
- A Mummy Too – 21 visits – #recipeoftheweek linkup
- Food Foto Gallery – 16 visits
- Le Coin De Mel – 14 visits – Mel very kindly recommended my calendar in her British Sausage Week post
In terms of most popular pages/posts, the top 10 (excluding my homepage) are…
- My Month- October 2014 – 123 views
- Mustard Beans – 102 views
- My month – September 2014 – 88 views
- Reindeer Pancake Art – 73 views
- Sausage and mushroom in Mustard and Cider – 54 views
- Making Mincemeat – 48 views
- Recipe Index – 40 views
- Monthly reports index – 35 views
- Food Blogger’s Calendar – 31 views
- Peppercorn Sauce… with a healthy makeover – 27 views
At the start of the month if you’d asked me what I thought my most popular recipe would be, I’d not have chosen the mustard beans (it’s not that they’re not nice, they are, they’re just not the most exciting). It just goes to show the benefit of being included on sites like TasteSpotting.
I mentioned last month that I was disappointed that my Peppercorn Sauce… with a Healthy Makeover hadn’t appeared in the top ten posts so I was really pleased to see it sneaking in at number 10. I guess the bit of extra promotion I did in November paid off.
I had another fantastic increase in followers this month from 257 to 364.
Once again the the biggest increase has been seen in twitter followers which increased by 53 to 243. However, I’ve seen growth pretty much across the board as I’ve made more effort to be active. My second biggest increase was in Facebook followers, this was mostly driven by a recommendation from Helen at Pipsqueak Personalised Gifts to her facebook followers (check out her page, it’s full of so many lovely things).
I had another small profit this month, again all from Google Adsense, of £2.79.
There were no expenses on the website this month as I pay for hosting annually.
The plan for next month
Before I go I wanted to share my three main aims for December…
- Continue to develop my photography
- Promote #FoodYearLinkup
- Tidy up my blog – it’s got a bit messy and it’s not always easy to find old posts.
Thanks for reading, see you again next month.