I meet food bloggers on an every day basis, after all…I am a food blogger. Most food bloggers have what they call a “real job”. I’ve met lawyers, chefs, financial analysts, life coaches. They all love food writing. Most are frustrated since they barely generate enough to pay for the blog itself. The truth is that most food blogs make little to no money off their hard work. Some blog networks will get you an average of $20 a month. If you are prolific…maybe $100. If you are really good, 1K.
I’ve put together some tips to help you generate a bit more money from your food blog. I am not giving you every option that is out there, but the options that have worked best for me when I started.
Get on Google AdSense
Google AdSense is the ad network that pays the highest amount of cash. It is also incredibly easy to use and gives you analytics. This means that if you have any leftover time between your “real job” and blogging, you can go in and analyze ads to see how to maximize your revenue.
If you write honest, engaging content; Amazon Affiliates is a great way to bring money to your blog. It’s super easy and you can use it along with Google Ad Sense. You just pick the item you are writing about, search for it when signed in, and copy a little code or the link for the product. Just make sure to state somewhere on your blog that you are using an affiliates program. And, please, if you are reviewing a product, be honest. There’s no better way to lose readership than to review a bad product positively. Nurture your readers.
Sell Your Own Ads
I came from a selling background. I’ve sold stuff for years. When we started FriendsEAT, I had no contacts, and no idea how to sell this kind of inventory. I started contacting the corporate headquarters for every company I liked. You’d be surprised how many people you can get in touch with. This, however, takes time and patience. If you have the gift of gab, then I recommend this route. If not, then stick to the other methods of advertising. If you are able to sell your own, you can usually get a higher CPM. How do you determine what your CPM (Cost per mille – or cost per thousand impressions)? A competitive CPM is somewhere between $2-$10. I know…shocking that for 1,000 views you get so little money, but this is the reality of advertising on the web.
I’m not a fan of ad networks. You have to read very (VERY) carefully through their contracts. Here are a few things to look out for:
Duration of Contract
Does it auto-renew
Will your traffic become theirs
Can you work with other advertisers or is this an exclusive contract
If you only generate a certain number of click thrus will you get paid?
On a positive note, if you either can’t sell or don’t have the time to, they can be a good way to bring a little money into your life. A few networks you can look into are FoodBuzz, Federated Media, and BlogHer.
Push Out Your Content
When starting, if you get less than 1,000 daily page views, your blog probably won’t be able to pay for itself. I can’t tell you how important social networks have been towards driving traffic to our blog. These are the social networks you absolutely must be on:
There are more social networks we use, but these are the most important and most effective. My favorite thing about these outlets is that they are FREE! Make sure to link out to all these networks on your blog. Also, make sure you have an RSS Feed.
Keep An Eye on Traffic
Statcounter, Chartbeat and Google Analytics are must have tools. Utilize these to find out what topics bring you the most traffic. Then make sure that these posts have the most enhancements: images, videos, etc… Use these tools to find out who is coming to your site. Are you getting moms from Texas? Single women from 25-30. Learn who your audience is so you can tailor your writing to them.
Become a Part of the Community
Make friends with other bloggers. Share their good content, give them credit when credit is due and they will do the same for you. Food bloggers can become your every day readers, and better yet, your friends.