So, after a month with a product sale (see July 2014’s income report), it is always a little frustrating to see the income level drop, even if it is expected. However, across the board, we saw improvement with the obvious exception of cookbook sales.
I am actually writing this post in a hotel in Dallas while the kids sleep and Lacey works on updating old recipes with the easy recipe format 🙂 Isn’t technology great? That’s one of the things I love about my line of work: you can accomplish so much from anywhere. All you need is a computer and the internet.
So, the reason I started doing these income reports in the past was to have a good way to keep track of all that is going on behind the scenes of ASPC. I like the idea of holding our team accountable as we grow this site into what we think it can be. Whether that’s adding video, improving content, or technical improvements that might benefit everyone that comes here for Lacey’s great recipes.
If you want to check out the old reports, you can here.
FYI, we are an affiliate for some of the below links. All these suggestions are based on our experience and extensive research.
Decrease Bounce Rate
So I have a big goal of decreasing the bounce rate that we see on ASPC. It has hovered around 85%-88% which, in my opinion, is just too high. There are a few things I plan to change that will hopefully fix this.
Probably the biggest complaint we get with the new design is the fact that searching is difficult. Even though there is a search bar on the right-hand side, it isn’t easy to see. In mobile, it is practically impossible to find. This is now fixed — hooray! Now, there is a search bar that is easy to find in the top right corner. We should see more search usage with this and, hopefully, a lower bounce rate and more page visited per visit.
Remove Ad Unit
Right now, we have 5 ads on the side of the blog. At least one of the ad units on the side is going away and I am researching which one is performing the worst to get rid of it. I don’t like how many we have and ultimately wish they could all just go away but, alas, we have to pay the bills. I do however think we are at a point where one can be removed and that will increase speed.
Improve After Post Engagement
There are a couple of things in this area we are going to do. One is a Recommended Posts widget. I hate how database-intensive these are which slows down loading time. So, I am creating my own version that will be a little more manual when you configure it, but much faster to load. This will give people who land on the page more recipes to interact with. This is especially useful on our pages that are visited the most. There will also be a pagination widget on the blog pages so that it is easier to jump through posts rather than having to hit “next” and “previous” forever.
Open in a New Tab
When we link to a new post, we will start opening in a new tab. That way, it is easier to have multiple recipes open at once and not bother people when they are trying to cook a few things at once.
I really want to get our bounce rate down to less than 80% but that is a lofty goal. My immediate goal is to just be under 85% all the time. In the short term, I also want a 1.5 pages per session rather than our current 1.2 with a long term goal of 1.8 pages per session. I think these are all attainable with some changes to layout and content etc.
Fizzle’s “How To Build A Blog That Matters” Course
Last report, I talked about Fizzle a little bit. I wanted to talk in a little more detail, specifically about what kinds of things they offer over there and why I feel like it is so valuable.
Lacey and I have talked a lot about our Shredded Chicken Enchiladas post and why it does so well. We have always tried to figure out why this is our “best” post. It isn’t our favorite recipe, pictures, or food lol. We really wanted to understand what we did right and how to replicate this so we can grow the blog faster and provide the kind of content that we are proud of and people enjoy reading and cooking.
This is a long story to say that the CEO of Fizzle, Corbett Barr, put together this course called “How To Start A Blog That Matters.” It goes through all the steps to build a blog that matters and the main take-away I get from it is this idea of Epic Content. What is Epic Content, you ask?
Corbett, talks alot (totally, had to get approval from Lacey for that last link) about trying to write epic content. The idea is that you create content that is the best and most useful it can be. The harder it is to do, the less people will be willing to do it and the more you will stand out. Another benefit of trying to write epic content is that, when you aim so high, even when you miss you are still producing good stuff. Stuff that will make your audience happy and you proud of what you are producing.
So, Why Does This Matter to ASPC?
With this in mind, we decided to revamp a lot of our old posts. Better images, directions, recipes, and sometimes videos. Our idea being that not everybody is willing to do video and, when they do, they might not put the same time, energy and love into it like we do. Plus, Lacey has gotten so much better with the camera than she was early on that we really wanted to make sure the pages where the most people landed were the best example of what we have on the site.
For example, since 20k people are on the Shredded Chicken Enchiladas page every month, we want a video there making it as easy as possible to cook that recipe. If the page needs new photos, like Homemade Croutons, then we will do that also. We are adding 1-2 videos a week and hope to redo the pics at the same rate.
And here we are at the traffic report for August. Again, growth in most areas which always makes me happy. Over 90k users which gets us closer to our goal of 100k :). If we improve that bounce rate and pages per visit, we will see a good ad revenue bump as well which will make up for that lost ad unit.
You can also see that we almost hit 6k visits in a day which was pretty cool. Overall, more visits per day than last month so thats always helpful.
Top Traffic Sources
We also had more traffic from Pinterest this month than from Google for the first time. We still need to add even more engagement on Pinterest to keep that traffic growing.
We had a great new recipe, Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes get featured on The Huffington Post this month which generated a lot of traffic and bumped this post into our top ten. Otherwise, a lot of the normal top 10-20 posts were up there.
August 2014 Income Report
Finally, onto the income report.
- Blogher: $265.84
- Google Adsense: $73.80
- PulsePoint: $21.94
- Lijit: $17.42
- Easy Weeknight Dinner eBook: $2.99
- Cooking Can Be Easy eBook: $0
- Amazon Affiliate: $1.40
- Bluehost Affiliate: $0 we have a post on setting this up here
- Youtube Channel : $4.38
- Tasty Food Photography : $0
- Total: $396.05
BlogHer continues to increase which is great. Even though we made less this month than last, I feel like it was a success. There was growth everywhere except the cookbooks which was expected because of our sale.
We are still looking to branch out by adding more affiliate sales. The plan for this is more specific posts about blogging and the things we have learned as well as a few posts from Lacey on food photography like this one on her camera bag and other stuff on kitchen essentials. We also started a new newsletter that focuses on blogging resources here.
Hopefully, all these numbers will help you to improve your own revenue streams on your blog or even start one yourself. Thanks so much for making this site possible. Without everyone checking us out and sharing everywhere, I don’t know where we would be. We really appreciate everyone.