Welcome to my 10th monthly food blog update, all about what I’ve been up to on My Recipe Book in April 2015.
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
Last 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.
The top ten visitor sources were:
- Pinterest – 7,476
- Direct – 5,559
- Foodgawker – 1,478
- Google 1,238
- Yummly.com – 1,073
- Tastespotting – 533
- Reddit – 410
- Foodyub – 347
- iPhone Foodgawker – 340
- iPad Foodgawker – 145
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.
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.
Social Media Followers
My total income has increased by 30% to £38.09.
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!