Ramya Menon
Nov 12, 2015 · 6 min read

“So, Cucumbertown is a food blogging platform.”

“Great, but what makes it stand out from any other platform out there?”

“Well, a bunch of reasons, really. Better SEO, easier editor, monetization opportunities…”

I have a lot of conversations like these with my food blogger friends. And almost always it’s monetization that seems to ACTUALLY get their attention. Sure the other stuff is interesting, but making a living while sitting at home in your pyjamas is the dream.

It’s the dream for us too. Making livelihoods for our bloggers and making money as a company. We have been very clear from the onset that monetization is going to be our USP and that is the fundamental vision around which Cucumbertown is being built.

Now, we are here to deliver on that promise. With the new Affiliate feature that Cucumbertown is developing, food blogging is never going to be the same again; in a good way.

But before I launch into the feature, I’ll tell you why we knew monetization was THE most important area for us to focus on. Sure, we are a company and we want to make money, but we could have done that by having extremely beautiful paid themes, premium features or membership costs. But that wouldn’t make it a livelihood for the blogger. And by generating revenues for our bloggers early on, we’ll be able to set our priorities right. Both internally and for all of you.

Most food bloggers are scared of monetization. They don’t know what will work. They fear it will be too much work. They have too many other things to cope with. All true.

Only the 10–15% of the universe of bloggers are making a living out of their blogs. Look at this pie-chart as a reference.

A bulk of the bloggers, who are even making money through the blog, are not really making money through the blog. I have spoken to a lot of food bloggers and I have found that it’s often through recipe development, photography assignments and catering that many bloggers make a livelihood. But actually earning an income, while sitting at home, through just your blog is hard!

So that’s where Cucumbertown’s Monetization USP comes into play.

The first step was obvious. Ads. Not just random ads. A highly strategised approach to ads.

The next step was obvious too. Affiliates. Affiliate sales are a huge way to make money for bloggers.

Now, like ads, affiliates need to be managed by a blogger. And a large percentage does not look beyond Amazon affiliates when they are managing these affiliates. Unless they are on Cucumbertown. We are not only looking at creating the most hassle free affiliate feature, but we will also be tying up with a host of vendors to maximise earnings through affiliate sales.

So how do bloggers usually become a part of an affiliate program and start making money from it?

Very simple. By signing up to the affiliate program.

One of the most popular affiliate networks out there is the Amazon affiliates. So if, that is a bloggers choice, they will need to sign up with that affiliate program. Once they sign up, they would need to get authorised and then they will get an affiliate tag.

According to Amazon this is what one needs to do with an affiliate tag when including an affiliate link in a blog post.

“You must include your Associates ID or “tag” (appearing as XXXXX-21, or such other format as we may designate) as a parameter in the URL of each link you place on your site to the Amazon Site.”

So what this means is that the blogger has to manually add this tag to the URL of the product they want to recommend or sell and then add this link manually every single time to the product they want to recommend or sell. You could also include pricing details along with this.

Here is an example of this:

Guess what, affiliate marketing is the major method of monetization that food blogging behemoth Serious Eats employs. Something to think about, right?

And here’s another one. This is how The White On Rice Couple does it.

So, depending on what you as the blogger wants, this could be a one step process or it could be longer. And you could have any number of affiliates, with any number of networks. It could be a whole days’ work just to put the affiliates into a blog post!

So when the discussion around monetization was happening we knew, we had to automate this some way. For a blogger to get over their initial reservations, sign up, and then manually managing the affiliates just seemed incredibly laborious. The team took over the responsibility of creating exactly that. And this is that feature; truly unique to Cucumbertown.

A New Feature Unlike Any Other Blogging Platform

A month later, our core feature is looking pretty. At the moment it is with just Amazon affiliates incorporated. This is what it does.

And now let me break it down into steps for you.

Since it is still in the evolving stage, this feature has not yet been rolled out all the Cucumbertown bloggers. But even in this nascent stage, this feature redefines food blogging and monetisation forever.

To see how the end product will look like, stay tuned for more updates on this affiliate series. So don’t forget to ‘Follow’ the Cucumbertown Magazine for the next update.

But by the end of the year, this is something that many of the bloggers can look forward to.

Bear in mind, this is only the first edition of the Affiliates feature within Cucumbertown. Soon keyword sensitivity, geo targeting, customised design and placements and variety of updates will be made to the product, along with featuring more affiliate platforms. Geo Targeting, of course is the first one the team wants to tackle. A lot of bloggers who don’t know how to customise their urls for GEO targeting are loosing out on thousands of dollars. So it is going to be the next big thing to work on in the affiliate feature development.

I cannot wait to see what is going to happen when the feature will be fully functional. It is one more step closer to the dream that Team Cucumbertown has for food blogging.

Watch this space for more updates from the team on what other things are going to be introduced to the affiliate feature! For early bird tests of the affiliate feature, write to us at chef@cucumbertown.com

Cucumbertown Magazine Archive

Stories of Inspiration from the World’s Only Platform for Food Blogging

Thanks to Cherian Thomas.

Ramya Menon

Written by

Journalist, writer and dreamer. Now combining all three with a dream team @Cucumbertown

Cucumbertown Magazine Archive

Stories of Inspiration from the World’s Only Platform for Food Blogging