Building My Blog – April 2015


Welcome to my 10th monthly food blog update, all about what I’ve been up to on My Recipe Book in April 2015.

Food blog traffic and income report

As always I’ll share with you my experiences and hopefully pass on a few helpful tips, as well as the usual visitor and income numbers.
If you’ve not read one of my reports before and want to know a bit more about why I write them, then take a look at my very first report.

My .com dilemma

In last month’s blog report I asked for your opinion on my .com dilemma. Essentially I was trying to decide whether I should rename my blog.  Thank you for your comments, I really appreciated everyone who took time to give their opinions. One suggestion that came up again and again was if you’re going to do it then do it sooner rather than later, as the longer you leave it the harder it’ll be. So I’ve taken that advice and I’ve decided to go for it… scary!

The reasons I decided to change the blog’s name are…

I want a clear blog name that when people hear it, they know it’s me.

Although I am very attached to My Recipe Book, it is very generic. With the best will in the world, I’m never going to have people automatically think of me when they hear the phrase “My Recipe Book” (unless you’re family of course). Also, although this is a primarily a recipe site, I do write other posts such as these monthly blog reports, product reviews and blogging tips. I would like a name that still says “food” but is a little less specific.

To try and drive more visits through Google by using a non-country specific domain (switching from .co.uk to .com).

In a strange twist of events as soon as I made the decision to rename the blog I found that my daily visits through Google doubled… typical!

However, I still think switching to a .com domain rather than .co.uk creates an opportunity to reach new audiences that I don’t really have the chance to reach at the moment. Regular readers of this report will know how much I like an experiment just to see what happens and if I didn’t change I would have always wondered what could have been. Given that my visits from Google are now much higher than they were, this could turn out to be a bit of a mistake, I guess only time will tell. Fingers crossed x

So without further ado, the new name is… nope, not yet, you’ll have to wait a few more days!

I would like to say a big thank you to Sian at 35 East Street (previously Fish Fingers for Tea) who, having recently rebranded, provided me with a lot of very useful information and tips.

Slapping advertising all over my site (or so it felt)

I mentioned last month I was curious about the amount of income I could make moving from three to five adverts on my site, with the inclusion of a banner ad at the top each post and an extra ad in the sidebar (both from Google Adsense). The result was an increase in income from £29.28 to £38.09, with a similar number of pageviews in April as in March. Of the £38.09, Google Adsense provided £20.53 broken down by:

  • Banner ad – £9.34
  • Large sidebar ad – £7.20
  • Small sidebar ad – £3.99

To be honest, I’d expected more from the banner ad. A prominent position right at the top of all my posts with ads seen by over 17,000 different people for only £9.34 seems like a bargain for the advertisers to me.

You’ll notice that most of the adverts have now been removed. Plastering them all over my site confirmed to me that I’d rather they weren’t there. Yes, I could earn money from them and they don’t really bother me on other people’s sites. I just think my site looks nicer without them.

So why have I still got a couple of ads left? Quite simply because I’ve not yet reached the Adsense payout level of £60. I’ve had ads on my site for months so it seems stupid not to keep them going until I can actually get paid for them being there.

Writing a wider variety of posts

vanilla rhubarb ginger trifleLast month I mentioned that I wanted to write a wider variety of posts. I’ve probably not branched out with post types as much as I could have done. The main “new” post was an invite to write a review of a trifle recipe from Baking Mad using vanilla products provided by Nielsen-Massey. This was an interesting post to write as I was using ingredients I wouldn’t normally have thought of to make a trifle (ginger cake and rhubarb). The result though was something which my husband, a self-titled trifle connoisseur, really enjoyed.

This post came with the added bonus of being being sent some goodies to try in the form of a hamper full of lovely Nielsen-Massey vanilla products. I’d seen several other really great food bloggers involved in the Baking Mad promotion so I felt really honoured to have been asked to participate too.

Blog Income and Visitor Numbers

April saw a small rise in daily visitors, from 625 per day to 673 per day.

April 2015 food blog traffic report

Visitor Stats

April 2015 food blog traffic report

Pageviews

The top ten visitor sources were:

April 2015 food blog traffic report

Monthly Traffic Source Comparison

No major changes this month in traffic sources. Reddit makes an appearance for the first time after someone kindly linked to my hasselback potato recipe on the site. I was pretty impressed that one simple link could generate over 400 visits. Reddit isn’t something I’ve spent any time looking at in the past but is definitely going on to my long list of things to look at in more detail in future.

I’ve also been impressed with the number of visits I’ve had from Yummly which continue to grow each month, especially as it’s virtually effort-free to add your recipes. If you don’t know how to “yum” your recipes then take a look at my January 2015 blog report where I’ve written a bit more about it. It’s definitely something I’d recommend doing.

Followers

So I finally got round to making a sustained effort with Instagram this month, and as a result have seen a significant increase in followers. I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed the food photography (I suspect it’s partly down to the occasional compliments I now get on my pictures 🙂 ), so Instagram is the perfect platform for me. It’s also a great place to discover other great food photographers to get inspiration and pick up a few tips. My current favourite to follow is Alanna Taylor-Tobin (The Bojon Gourmet) whose pictures are really quite fabulous. She’s also written a really great post on food photography which is definitely worth a read if you’re trying to develop your food photography skills.

 

April 2015 food blog traffic report

Social Media Followers

Income

My total income has increased by 30% to £38.09.

April 2015 food blog traffic report

Blog Income

You’ll notice an absence of any affiliate income this month. The links had quite a few clicks but these didn’t result in any sales.

A change to these reports in future

I’ve decided that from now on I’m no longer going to add income numbers in these reports. A bit strange for a traffic and income report so I guess I’ll have to change their name!

Quite simply I’ve realised that making money from the blog really isn’t a priority for me right now. There’s so much I love about blogging which keeps me motivated to do it, but generating an income isn’t one of them (very strange given I used to work for a bank!).

There will still be elements of my blog that are monetised (e.g. the affiliate links are staying) and I may well look for other opportunities to earn an income from the blog in future. However right now my update of oooh I earned 32p in affiliate sales isn’t going to be all that interesting for anyone. If I do happen to find any super useful insights I’ll share them in future reports.

Plans for May

The month of May is pretty much devoted to making sure I get the rebranding of the site correct. There’s a lot of things involved that could go wrong so hopefully if you’ve managed to find this report to read next month then it will have been a success!

In order to concentrate on the re-brand I’m not publishing any new recipes this month. I’m also doing very limited promotion on my old posts, so I’m expecting a significant drop in traffic for May. I’m actually really interested to see what happens? Anyone want to do a prediction?

Finally I am going to continue posting on Instagram as much as I can. I have just bought a new lens for my camera, and am busy testing it out. If I get time I would also like to take advantage of the free 30 day trial of Adobe Lightroom to see what difference it makes in editing my photos.

That just leaves me to thank you for reading this post and hope you are able to find your way back here next month!

17 Comments:

  1. Reddit is a funny site… Do your research before you start posting. It can generate a lot of traffic, but you aren’t supposed to put more than one link in ten to the same site, so it’s easy to get banned for spamming. It got me traffic, but they can be a hard bunch to please sometimes…

    • Charlotte Oates

      I’ve heard about people having trouble with reddit before which is why I’ve steered clear until now.

  2. Exciting new venture! It’s amazing how much you’ve managed to grow your blog in 10 short months. I am blown away every time I read your reports. x

    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks Mel. Prepare to be less blown away next month as I haven’t published much at all in May!

  3. This all sounds very exciting Charlotte. Best of luck with the re-branding. While I do love your site, I can see where you are coming from regarding the name. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

  4. Thanks for these reports Charlotte. I find them so useful, it wasn’t until your pinterest reports that I even knew there were group pages on pinterest.

    I’m not setting myself goals to maintain my social media and I too now pick one a month I want to concentrate on.

    Good Luck with the rename!

    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks Angela. Im so glad you find them useful. Pinterest group boards are definitely my best discovery since starting, they’ve made a huge difference to my blog.

      Which social media are you concentrating on at the moment. I’ve been really enjoying focussing on Instagram recently. The one I’ve been avoiding is facebook as I’ve no idea where to start with growing it.

  5. These posts are so interesting. I’ve always been tempted to use Google Ads but hate the idea of giving google my address and bank details. Any way around that?

    • Charlotte Oates

      I’ve no idea. I registered such a long time ago that I can’t even remember what I’ve given them!

  6. I find these reports absolutely fascinating Charlotte, and I think you’re very generous to share them. They’d be so useful to new bloggers setting up a food blog. Can’t wait to hear the new name and see the rebrand. Very best of luck with it. Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  7. Hi Charlotte,

    Nice income reports.

    Would love to include your May figures in my upcoming roundup report.

    If you let me know when you publish them I’ll get them included in the roundup.

    In the meantime keep going and don’t stop!

    Raj

    • Charlotte Oates

      Hi Raj. I’ll be publishing the report in the next week or so. Just so you know, the report will only have visitor and social media numbers and not income as it’s something I’ve decided to stop publishing.

  8. Your reports are really motivating and I’m learning heaps through reading them. You said you made a sustained effort on Instagram. Can you give a little more info on what you did? I’m finding Instagram traffic tough going.
    Thanks, Marie
    Sugar Salt Magic

    • Charlotte Oates

      Thanks Marie, I’m really glad you’re find them useful.

      To be completely honest I’m finding growing my Instagram a little tough going at the moment too, if you look at my most recent reports you’ll see that growth has definitely slowed down recently.

      The two things I really focussed on at the time was taking a lot of images especially for Instagram so I was posting good images once or twice a day and also (and I think most importantly) I spent a good amount of time each day interracting with other bloggers – reading their Instagram posts and taking the time to leave comments. As much as I enjoyed this (I could spend all day browsing Instagram) I’ve had to cut back a bit recently as I don’t have that much time in the day! (I’ve also found that since they added an algorithm to my feed I’m simply not seeing the same range of people sharing images and therefore the same opportunity to interact with lots of different people as I did before the change which is a real shame).

      To give my Instagram a bit of a boost I include Instagram follow as an entry option if I’m running a giveaway on my blog. I know there are some people that aren’t so keen on this approach as you will get some people who only follow you as an entry and then unfollow a few days later, but I’ve found some really great new followers this way and I also tend to find that people are more likely to follow “popular” accounts so having this little boost the encourages others to follow too.

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