Not Yet 3 Months in and Already $3000 up: The First Steps Of Monetising Your Food Blog by Samantha Milner
We keep hearing about success stories in food blogging and some of us are riveted by those income reports that Smart Passive Income publishes. But for some reason, we seem to think that you need to be blogging for well over a year or two to be seeing any ‘income’ from the blog. But Samatha Milner’s baby blog, Recipe This is breaking those conventions, and how! She is not yet 3 months into blogging and she already has more than $3000 in her kitty. How does she do this? Read on to find out all about it!
This is a guest post by Samantha Milner of Recipe This
Welcome to the first stages of monetising your new food blog. My name is Samantha Milner and along with my husband Dominic we started our new food blog called Recipe This on the 15th of November 2015. As of the time of writing this guest blog post (thanks Ramya for letting me be part of this) it is the 10th of February and my food blog is yet to have its three month birthday. But at the same time my food blog has generated revenue of $3589 and my traffic is steady for a new blog.
Many food bloggers (and bloggers in other niches for that matter) concentrate on their content and traffic in the first year and on the first anniversary of their blog choose to monetise it. But by doing this you are leaving a lot of income on the table and by monetising it from day 1 you can be creating a nice income for yourself.
So here I am sharing with you the ways to monetise a brand new food blog, or if you are in the first year of food blogging and haven’t monetised yet, then we recommend that you do.
Step 1 — Baby Steps
I always start with the baby steps. What could you do once you have a couple of weeks of content on your site? And the answer is simple, it is Adsense. You need a few decent quality posts on your blog and they will approve you. It is not based on how much traffic you have now, so unlike other advertising networks you can be introducing your readers to ads.
I always place Adsense in post because then it is more noticeable to the eye of the reader and also a few in the widget areas.
After this I will also find a few appropriate affiliate products to promote on my site. For food bloggers always go after what your readers will be interested in. For example if you have a Paleo food blog this could be Paleo cookbooks, Spiralizers or even whole food websites. Amazon associates programme is very good for being approved when you have very little traffic so you can work on this at the same time.
I would also recommend that you look around to find the affiliate programmes that best suit you. I have always had the greatest success from the following two:
I have tried others but they have not gone that well. Also because the two above have such big marketplaces you’ll never run out of products to promote.
Step 2 — Toddler Steps
Once you have done your baby steps you will be ready to move onto your toddler steps. The next thing you need to be thinking about is looking at ways that in the long term is going to provide you with good quality passive income. You have to think that if you put the work in now, then what are you going to get out of it three months or even a year from now.
The best way to achieve this is by building up a recycled content empire. If you do videos for your recipes then this can be done as a video course or if like me, you write recipes on your blog then it can be a kindle cookery ebook.
This is easiest when you have a food blog that is three years old. This is because by that point you will have enough recipes to separate into ebooks. You could then do a vegetarian one, a slow cooker one, a dessert ebook or even one aimed at healthy eaters. But to begin with you just don’t have the content to recycle do you?
Well make a theme. Month two on your blog could just be dedicated to Mexican recipes and then after a month you add a few extra ones of your own and you suddenly have 25 awesome Mexican recipes to put into a Kindle ebook and sell online. Then due to your amazing description, title, tags, categories and ecover the book sells itself. It will also bring traffic to your blog as a result.
Then you would recreate this for Draft2Digital. If you are not aware of them, they look just like the Kindle but are a submission service for the other ebook places, so you get the Nook, Barnes & Noble & the Ibookstore.
Now what if you did this every month for the first year of your blog? And each recipe ebook brought you 3 sales a day? This means after a year you will have over 1000 sales a month and be generating $2000+ of passive income. But if you add to it that each ebook generates you 100 visitors a month, you will also be building up your traffic through a different source.
We put this to the test and created a soup maker recipe theme in January (when soup is on people’s minds the most), Airfryer savoury recipes in December and currently for the month of February we are working on Airfryer desserts which are making me fat, but hopefully will make my wallet fatter!
In January, this method resulted in 199 ebook sales. Content I needed to create anyway for my food blog and thanks to a graphics designer the only extra work in getting these ebooks developed was about an hour of my time.
Over the next year I plan to have built this up more and more and to prove that by recycling content you can generate a fantastic passive income. Your food blog in the beginning is often lacking traffic and is hard to build an income, so it is like you are using third party sites to bring the income to the table much quicker.
If you plan titles and micro niches correctly you don’t need to market your Kindle ebook. Because you will rank for it anyway for the keywords you have gone with. This will then give you the opportunity for marketing methods to go into your site and let Kindle and the like, do the work for you!
Step 3 — Teenage Steps
For me the teenage steps are everything that you still want to do prior to your blog hitting adulthood. Before it gets those 1000 visitors per day and before you feel ready to take on places where your traffic and the age of your blog actually matter.
The first point of call for me is working with brands. There are lots of brands out there that just want a review and will agree to a review when you have zero traffic. I have an assistant that gets me leads every week. She contacts product brands that are selling products on Amazon and then they email me back if they are interested.
Today (as I am writing this) I have received some fresh saffron (very expensive stuff), organic pasta, Chinese accessories, organic chocolate and some frying pans. This is just one day. Over a month I can easily receive in excess of $1000 worth of products. I never claim to have high traffic, I just claim to have quality content and quality traffic. I mention that my posts do well in SEO because they do and I am always honest about everything.
If someone asks for traffic stats I will walk away. Because when there are 20 people offering to send me a similar product, I only need one. I don’t mind providing traffic stats if someone is paying good money for a review, but when it is in exchange for goods, then you know they are going to be hard to please. I also ignore brands that send you messages that suggest that if you ever post anything negative that they will sue you.
But overall you will always find some good brands to work with. The best product I have received to date is this Ice Cream Maker, but the icing on the cake was a package from Germany. I asked for a juicer and they sent me their entire product range and only wanted a review on the main item. Because none of the products were of use to me I made some good money selling them locally.
The main reason to go after these free reviews is that it builds up your portfolio. Later when you have traffic you can say I worked with XXXXX on this review and it went well and I helped improve their online presence. Also if you want to be publishing reviews on your food blog in order to earn a commission it is a much cheaper option than buying all these products to review.
A food blogger said a few years ago that food seasoning won’t pay the mortgage. But it is a good stepping stone for building up your blog. Plus only go after the really cheap items if you truly worship the product.
You can read more about working with brands in this article I wrote for my fellow food bloggers.
Those are my top 3 steps for building up my income from scratch
These may look boring or you might think they are not your thing, but they will easily add a couple of thousand of dollars to your income during your early days. It is also giving you a practice run at monetising and teaching you what it is like to work with popular brands. You have the choice of whether you want to earn from your blog and this is a great chance to give it a head start.
Samantha Milner helps people improve their food blog at Recipe This. She has built more than 300 blogs over the last 7 years with her husband Dominic and was selling ebooks on eBay before anyone even knew what an ebook was. If you have any questions for her, give us a shout. We’ll be happy to pass them on to Samantha!