Hey, Dustin here!
In general the food blog niche seems to suffer a little during the summer unless you have lots of grilling and ice cream recipes.
If it’s your first time seeing one of these let me walk you through real quick. Lacey & I run a healthy food blog called A Sweet Pea Chef. On and off I have created these income reports as a way to give insight into how to run an online business. Basically, the idea is to give you an inside look into how to create a blog that also functions as a business.
The point of these posts is to dive into the lessons we learned while growing ASPC and turned it from a hobby side project into a business that supports our family. My hope is that you will learn from our trials and tribulations and be able to figure out something that works for you too.
Our goal is to inspire you to create your own online business or side hustle and provide you with insight into what we find is working and in some embarrassing cases not working lol.
So, with that said …
FYI, we are an affiliate for some of the below links. All these suggestions are based on our experience and extensive research.
Important Things In June
Luckily we didn’t see very much of a June swoon. In fact we saw roughly the same revenue numbers that May had. These numbers kept us about in line with the 146k year I mentioned last month (we have some plans on how to turn that into 200k). In order to hit the 200k revenue marker we are planning on more webinars, improved fb ads, a how to quit sugar online course and holding our first workshop on how to make viral food videos. Not sure how we will fit all of this into the last Quarter but we will see.
One of the bing things we have planned for Fall is to start 3 videos/posts a week which is a rather larger undertaking for us so we are just going to do it on a trial basis and see if that helps.
If you want to check out the old reports, you can here.
Late June was Vidcon trip which was really fun. This was really our first convention and it was cool we got to take the whole team. Last year we really wanted to go but the business just couldn’t justify it. Setting the goal of going this year and then working hard to get there was awesome.
One of the key takeaways we had was just how much video is an integral part of everything moving forward. Every platform, business, person their was pointing at something that indicates how much video there will be in the next few years. Another major point was how much live video allows you to engage and interact with you audience. This is definitely something we are taking to heart and you will start to see more and more of it around ASPC and MTYB as well.
June was our first full month off blogher and fully on AdThrive. The improvements in ad revenue from making this switch continue to impress me. The last 3 months have seen RPM increase every month which is awesome, especially in June. June is usually a very slow month for RPM but with some of the changes AdThrive has made and leaving blogher we have seen some of our best RPM numbers.
You can see how even though we had slightly less pageviews in June than in May we still made more in ad revenue. That has never happened to us in June before. It will be interesting to see how Q4 numbers do this year.
June 2016 Traffic Report
For most of June we broke 10k a day with a few spikes and a few drops.
When compared to last June which was 114k visitors, we saw 161% growth continually seeing over 100% growth every month so far this year so that’s a really good sign. I didn’t think this would keep up all summer but apparently I was wrong.
I really want to see 1 million pageview in December which seems to be possible but a really difficult goal for us. One of the ideas I mentioned before was an extra post every Sunday during the fall. Sunday is always our best traffic day and hopefully that will help boost these targeted Sunday posts.
We are also going to focus on recipes that tend to do better on Sunday like casseroles, slow cookers, appetizers etc… I’ll follow up with how this experiment goes.
Top Traffic Sources
Most of our traffic was from Google again. I expect this to continue for a long time.
Baked Squash and Zucchini rose to the top this month. It’s interesting that we have seen new posts in the top ten way more often than we use to. This is kind of cool and I feel like it means we are doing something right. Especially, as we have done way more healthier food the last two years it’s nice to see that work pay off.
Another tactic we are taking is to focus on more interlocking pieces of content as well as highly targeted posts that we should rank well for and already have similar content performing well. Like these corn tortillas and these healthy banana muffins.
June 2016 Income Report
Finally, onto the income report.
- Meal Planning Service: $311.00
- AdThrive: $3,359.95
- Amazon Affiliate: $106.83 (this mostly comes from a post on the best kitchen tools Lacey recommends)
- Food Blogger Pro Affiliate: $176.40 (I did a post on Food Blogger Pro and how we used it to grow ASPC )
- Market Samurai Affiliate: $0 (I did a post on Food Blogging SEO and how we use it to grow ASPC)
- Video Ads (AOL/Youtube) : $85.52
- Swoop :$94.96
- Sponsored Videos/Posts/Freelance Videos: $6,100 (these are all lumped together for contract reasons)
- Contributor: $423.24 (Lacey and I started contributing to other sites in our marketing push and some of them generate extra revenue)
- Clean Eating Course: $1,275.00
- Take Back Your Health Academy: $523.00
- Gross Total June 2016: $12,489.36
- Last Month May 2016: $11,964.18
- Difference: +$525.18
- Last Year June 2015: $552.74
- Difference: +$11,936.62
June 2016 Expense Report
I started including expenses in these income reports in an effort to show profitability and specifically to help answer people’s questions about what we use behind the scenes and how much it costs.
I don’t recommend getting all of these right away when you get started. Instead just get what you need and work your way up.
As the business has grown we have seen this grow for sure. I highly recommend reading a book like profit first before adding in expenses. Make sure you “need” something or can afford it we have been done the path of thinking this new thing will make the difference and it usually just doesn’t matter.
- Convertkit: $179.00 (I wrote a post on why we switched)
- Food Blogger Pro: $0 (Lacey went to one of their workshops which came with a free year)
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $10.81
- Podbean: $25.00
- Baremetrics: $25.00
- WpEngine: $265.43
- Market Samurai: $25.00
- Scribe: $47.00
- Github: $7.00
- Facebook Ads: $199.93
- Kraken: $9.00
- Fb Ads Training: $97.00
- Crashplan (Backup Software): $14.78
- ClickFunnels: $97.00
- Samcart: $99.00
- Canva: $12.95
- Gusto: $41.00 (payroll software)
- SumoMe: $50.00
- Google Drive: $1.99
- Groceries: $489.63 (this has increased lately and goes with larger video deals we have made)
- Speechpad (transcriptions): $20
- AWS: $41.28
- Kitchen Equipment: $29.50
- Business Lunches: $39.00 ( I try to get lunch once a week for the team when they are shooting videos)
- Production Day Supplies: $55.73
- Airfare: $25.00
- Travel Meals $479.41
- Travel Gas $75.00
- Travel Cabs/Tolls: $34.75
- Hotel $2,535.70
- Total Expenses: $5,133.35
Net Total: $12,489.36 – $5,133.35 = $7,356.02
Lessons Learned From June
I couldn’t be happier with how June went.
Vidcon was a super fun we had a blast, learned a lot plus we got to meetup and chat with Hilah and Chris from Hilah Cooking.
We crushed last year’s June which is always good and kept our momentum going for the rest of the year.
One of the harder things that we ran into was eating healthy on the road. This is always something I struggle with when traveling whether it’s a vacation or not. I usually start off strong and then have a cheat meal which turns into a cheat day and then week etc… This trip was no different.
My plan to combat this is next time to have a better plan for once I’m in a location rather than just the first few days of the trip.
Goals For July
Every month I tend to write goals down. Usually I do this for myself and the business overall, but lately I have started getting a little more granular with the team as well. In fact I read the book The 12 Week Year. The book really dives into how to get a year’s worth of work done in 12 weeks. I’ve been someone that pushes myself and lives outside my comfort zone for awhile now but never really thought about specifically why that helps me achieve or how to use that in the form of a plan to accomplish what I want to accomplish.
There are a lot of times I keep myself busy because I’m comfortable that way. After reading this book I realized I could be more efficient with my busy. This coupled with hiring a VA for some of the tasks Lacey and I don’t need to work on has made a big difference in getting to stuff we should be doing to grow our business rather than just doing all the stuff we feel like we “need” to do.
July’s goals really boiled down to a catch up month. Coming back from Vidcon and then our vacation made us a little behind. We had to squeeze in extra video shoots in order to get caught back up and Lacey needed to test and photograph more recipe in order to have a queue ready again.
Thanks So Much
Hopefully, all these numbers will help you to improve your own revenue streams on your blog or even start one yourself. We know this wouldn’t exist without everyone supporting A Sweet Pea Chef. Thanks so much for sharing, commenting, and supporting us and this blog. We really appreciate everyone.
Also feel free to ask any questions you want I will do my best to answer them for you 🙂 I want to encourage as many people as I can to get started generating at least a little side income it can really help with your mindset just to get started.