Have you ever wondered what bloggers really make? You might have income goals for yourself and your blog, but are they realistic? The thing is, there are food bloggers making all sorts of incomes, so anything is possible. It’s important to be clear on what you want to do and how you’ll get there. From a couple dollars to tens of thousands of dollars a month, people are making money with their food blogs; we check out income reports to see how the money is being made.
If you’re not familiar, an income report is where a blogger discusses how much money they’re making and what their sources of income are- they’re basically putting their income on blast! Most bloggers who do these reports are trying to be transparent, and want to help other bloggers see where and how their money is made. Some reports will also share about the expenses so you can see how much that blogger is really making; keep in mind that blogs that are making a lot of money (like over $10K/month) are probably employing other people to help grow and maintain their blogging efforts.
Most blogs are making money from:
- Ad revenue: pageviews will heavily influence your earning possibilities from ads
- Sponsored content: this can be blog posts, video, social media, or some combination. It’s unclear how many sponsored campaigns each blogger does to come up with their total
- Affiliate sales: you make money based on recommending another product and then someone purchases. Amazon affiliates is popular, but you can also be an affiliate for courses, products, services, and even for Feast Design Co.
- Courses: as a blogger you can create and sell your own course, for example how to start a blog, or how to take great food photos
- Products: these can be things like ebooks, merchandise such as shirts, or physical and digital goods you sell in a shop. You might have affiliates for these products
- Services: offering your time to help others in areas you’re knowledgeable about, for example blog coaching or website review
Taking a look at what food bloggers are really making
We look at five different food bloggers’ income reports to see what they’re making and the different ways they bring in their revenue. These reports help to show the nuances of making money as a blogger: even when bloggers are making similar amounts, their revenue streams have similarities but the amounts are different, and some bloggers bring in money in ways that others don’t.
Use these reports to help you understand the different ways you can make money, and be inspired to add additional revenue sources to what you’re already doing. Remember that everyone’s needs are different, and it takes time and work for your blog to make money, but the reality is, it can be done- you can have a blog that makes money.
Paleo Bailey’s Income Report after One Year of Blogging
February 2018 Income Report from The Endless Meal
Where most people start with their blogging income…less than $20/month
Take a look at the income of 40 Aprons: 4th quarter earnings with 375K monthly pageviews
Pinch of Yum’s $95K income report!!
Pinch of Yum’s March 2016 income report
Why Pinch of Yum isn’t doing income reports anymore
Transcription of This Episode
Welcome to Feast Food Blog Talk, where we share how to take your food blogging to the next level and inspire you to do more with your blog and business. On today’s episode of Feast Food Blog Talk, we are talking money, more specifically, we are talking blog income reports. Now if you haven’t heard about these, you’re going to start googling once we’re done, because it’s really interesting to see where bloggers are making their money. We’re going to look at people who are making a few dollars a month to tens of thousands of dollars a month. It’s really amazing to look at the range that people can make, but really when it comes down to it, there are some pretty consistent categories that are bringing in money for people.
So if you’re working hard at your blog and you really want to bring in an income, this is going to be an episode that you want to pay attention to, because not only are we going to talk about what’s going on with particular blogs and where they’re making their money, but you’re going to figure out where you can start to make your money. So stick around with me, Sarah, host of Feast Food Blog Talk as we get into what people are making with their food blogs.
Do you ever wonder what bloggers are really making? You’ve got a blog, you’re working hard, you’re creating recipes and content, you’re taking photos, you’re promoting, you’re maybe thinking, “I’d like to make some money, I’d like to get paid for my work.” I mean, I know I like to get paid when I’m working hard. So when it comes to your blog, if you’ve thought about income, this episode is for you. Maybe you’ve got some goals for your blog, certain traffic numbers you want to hit, some revenue goals, but you’re wondering, “Are they really realistic?”
Now here’s the thing, there are food bloggers making all sorts of incomes. Some sites make a couple dollars a month, other sites make tens of thousands of dollars a month. People are definitely making money from blogging, so in this episode, we are going to talk all about income and income reports. Before we get to that reports, let’s talk the general ways that bloggers are making money, and you might be making money in some of these places too.
So this part might not be a surprise to you but the amount of money that some bloggers are making in these categories gets pretty impressive. One of the first places that people monetize their sites, and where a lot of people are making their money is through ads. So by putting ads on their site, now this could be through Google AdSense, places like AdThrive, Gourmet Ads, Mediavine, ads bring revenue to your site. Now your income is definitely going to be tied to your traffic. If you don’t have a lot of traffic, you’re not going to be making very much money through your ads, it’s plain and simple. You just don’t have a lot of people visiting, you don’t have a lot of people reviewing your ads and clicking through.
So if you have a 1,000 views a month, you’re not going to have great income. If you’ve got 10,000 views a month, your income from ads is going to go up and up from there. It is about viewing those ads as well as clicking through, depending on the type of ads but when we get into our reports, you’re going to see people are making from pennies to thousands of dollars each month through their ads.
Another category that bloggers are typically making money from is through their sponsored posts or sponsored content. This is where you’re using a product or ingredient, or you’re writing about a brand and you’re getting paid for it. Now a lot of times, this typically includes a blog post but sometimes it doesn’t. It might be video content that you’re creating, you might strictly be doing social shares, or maybe it’s all of the above. But essentially, a brand or a company is paying you money to promote their content and for some bloggers, they are able to make good revenue from this.
Now, you might be thinking, “Oh I need tons and tons of traffic to get sponsored posts.” You don’t. Yes, you can probably charge more if you do have more traffic, or you have more followers on social media, but the truth is, even smaller bloggers in terms of the number of people that visit their site, or fans on their social media accounts, if you have a small but engaged following, or you’re very niche, you definitely can make some good money through sponsored content so don’t cross that off of the list of possibilities for making money even if you’re starting out or even if you’re small.
So the next category of ways that people are typically making money that we’re going to see on these blog income reports is through affiliate sales. For a lot of people, this is through Amazon, that’s a great way to get started if you’re looking to start building revenue, Amazon affiliates is a great way to do that because once you have your blog … not that they accept everybody, but it’s pretty easy to get accepted as an Amazon affiliate. So essentially when you are doing a blog post, you can link to ingredients, now you might be thinking, “Someone’s not going to buy spices on Amazon.” But here’s the thing, if they click through to Amazon on your link and while they’re there they buy a sofa, they probably won’t buy a sofa, but someone did buy a TV through on of my affiliate links once, that was a really exciting purchase, you can make money. So it’s not just what you recommend on your blog, it’s getting people to click those links and then hopefully they purchase when they’re there because they’re inspired. So again, affiliate links through Amazon, selling other people’s courses or other people’s products, we’re going to see that quite a bit in these income reports.
Additionally, people are making money, now this is probably some of our bigger bloggers, are going to have created their own courses, and it’s not always bigger bloggers I take that back, anyone can create a course these days, which is awesome, but people are creating income and revenue through creating courses, creating products and offering services. So that’s what we’re going to see quite a bit on these income reports of ways that bloggers are making money.
Now, before we get into the income reports, let’s talk about these a little bit. If you’re not familiar, basically an income report is what a blogger creates where basically they’re putting their income on blast, they are telling you, “Here is what I’ve made.” They’re also including their expenses, typically. A lot of them do this to help be transparent and to show that you can do it too, so they have really good intentions for putting their income out there. Now, if you have looked at income reports before, I don’t know about you but there’s kind of a tipping point where I go from inspired to just plain like, “Oh my gosh, you’re just rubbing this in my face now that you made this much money.” So sometimes it can feel like they’re bragging, but I really do think that the majority of them are coming from a good place and that they do want to help other people and show them, “Listen, this is how I’m making my money, you can do it too.”
When you’re looking at income reports, keep in mind some are going to be very detailed and others are going to be less detailed and more broad. So a more broad example would be, “I make my income through affiliates and I made x amount of dollars.” A more detailed report is going to tell you who those affiliates are. So affiliates again could be things like Amazon affiliates, a particular course affiliate, this particular product, but some income reports might just say affiliates and so that’s not always super helpful information.
A lot of the income reports will give you their expenses too, but I have seen some that don’t share their expenses, which kind of makes me wonder, “Well how much are you really making?” Right? If you’re not telling me how much you’ve spent, you might have taken in $10,000 but if you put $8,000 of that back into your business, which probably isn’t the case, but just to kind of illustrate the point, it might not actually be that impressive that you made $10,000.
We’ve touched on expenses but keep in mind that when you are thinking about your own income and your own expenses, starting out you might not have a lot of income, but hopefully you also don’t have a lot of expenses either and for the blogging reports, the income reports that we’ll get to, some of these people are having pretty high expenses and part of it is because they’re starting to pay other people. So, many blogs will hit a tipping point if they want to grow, they need to bring on other people, whether that’s VAs, virtual assistants doing some of their tasks, whether that’s other writers, maybe outsourcing things like some of the photography, you typically do have to bring people in and that’s okay, that ultimately helps you grow.
So just a few more notes about income before we dive into some of these specific income reports. This is really important, your goals are your goals. It’s inspiring what other people do but on the one hand it doesn’t really matter, right? A full time income is different everywhere. I’m in the Bay Area and my family couldn’t live off some of the full time incomes that some bloggers are saying. Not the reports that we’re going to get into, the reports that we’re going to talk about today, I think just about anyone could off of some of these incomes, but just keep that in mind if you are doing a search for other blog income reports, some of what they’re making, it’s okay if that’s not your goal because you don’t need to make that much money. If you can, that’s awesome, but that also does not need to change your direction or your focus, so try not to compare your goals to other people’s income, and as I said, honestly some of these people, based on their income reports, they’re raking it in for any area and cost of living, but don’t worry if you don’t need to make that much money to live. Be happy about that.
One other thing that I want you to keep in mind when it comes to these income reports is that sometimes people will say, “I made $10,000 on my course launch,” or, “$5,000 in sponsored posts,” but the report doesn’t clarify if that’s money booked or that’s money received. So for example, you sold $10,000 worth of a course but people are paying in six monthly installments, so maybe that $10,000 now gets dished out over the next six months, right? Or your $5,000 in sponsored posts, you booked that, meaning you’ve got contracts but you’re not actually going to receive that money for several months.
So every blogger’s going to track things differently and in the income reports that I’ve seen it’s not always clear. Like is this money received or is this money that I am promised once I do this work, or once these payments come through? So a $15,000 month, the month of a course launch sounds great, but it might be that only $7,000 actually came into their bank account. Still really impressive but I just say that to sort of know that sometimes these numbers, even though they’re being really open and honest and transparent, they can be a little bit skewed. As I said, as we talk about these income reports, for the bloggers and blogs who are making a ton of money, like over $10,000 a month, it really does seem like they’ve expanded into team members so we’ll start to see more expenses, but that’s also what allows them to grow.
Okay, so let’s get into some specific blog income reports. Now, you can easily find more of these by googling or going on Pinterest and searching for blog income reports, or food blog income reports. So for today, I thought we would look at people more specifically who are food bloggers, but you could do this for blogs just in general, or blogs of a particular niche if you are more interested. Now I chose a couple of reports for us to talk about that are doing, in general, really well. This income would be great every month for just about anywhere in the country. I’d be super happy if I were making this amount of money from my blog, but you can find blogs that are maybe more in your goal range to give you information. As I said, we’re going to see some commonalities as we go through each of these and we’re going to include links to all of these below so you can check them out.
The first one we’re going to talk about is Paleo Bailey, now I just like the name of this website, and I also like it because it’s her report of what happened with her blog after a year of blogging, which I think is pretty impressive that you can be making really good money in about a year. She made, in this income report, she talks about $7,000, showing that it really is possible after a year to be making good income. I take that back, hers is $6,338, still really impressive. So again, this is her after one year and she is making the majority of her income from sponsored posts. Part of what I like about her is that she says, “Income is counted as what I have physically received in the month of February, not for the work I did. Typically sponsored posts don’t pay out for 30 days, affiliates don’t pay out for 30 to 60, and ad networks don’t pay out for 60 to 90, meaning I won’t physically have the money from February until next month or later.” So I like that she’s trying to be really clear about money she has versus money that’s coming in.
So the majority of her money was made through sponsored posts and this is where income posts get really interesting because you could have several bloggers who make similar amounts of money, but where they’re making their money is very different. She makes about $4,300 through sponsored posts, $1,200 through affiliates, $600 through Gourmet Ads, $150 through blog and marketing consulting for a total of about $6,300. Then some of these blog reports also talk about other potential income. She didn’t report on this one, she also has a coaching business which she feels could be considered part of her blog but isn’t, so a lot of times bloggers are making additional income that is sort of connected to their blog but not 100%, so they don’t always count it, so they may actually have a higher income than they say. So again, Paleo Bailey, I liked this one, this was from February of 2018, I think and again, this was her one year mark of her blog and what she had been able to do in a year, so really inspiring when you think about it that within a year she was able to make over $6,000 in one month from her job. So, Paleo Bailey, if you’re listening, good job.
All right, so the next blog income report we’re going to look at today is The Endless Meal. Now this is from February 2018, it looks like this is the last blog income report that this particular blogger did. You can, again we’ve got these links, and if you take a look, she’s got a few different months and you’ll see that each month’s income report is different. Typically, when bloggers do these, if you look at a lot of them, you’re going to see that blog income reports that are in the fourth quarter, so last three months of the year, tend to be higher for each blogger than the other months. This is typically because brand are going to be having higher budgets in the fourth quarter for their marketing. Ad revenue tends to go up in the fourth quarter, again for that reason, so blog income reports typically tend to be higher in the last quarter of the year, so just kind of keep that in mind as you are looking. Also, as you are looking to grow your blogging income, the fourth quarter of the year is really a great time to think about doing more sponsored content if you haven’t already been doing that.
So again, The Endless Meal, her income for the month was $7,736 and she breaks it down for us about her total income, which was $8,367 and her expenses, which were $631. Now for her, this is what I think is super interesting, the majority of her income came from AdThrive, from ads, so that was $5,000 income from ads, how awesome would that be? You’ve got your content, it sits there and ads bring you money. So that’s what’s great about things like ads and affiliates, is because it’s passive income. Now, obviously, you have to be creating content and making sure it’s getting out there and you’re getting traffic to your site, but then those posts just do their thing and they make money for you, which is great.
She also did $3,200 of sponsored posts, so that’s also a big part of her income. A lot of times, it’s going to be ads, it’s going to be sponsored posts, and as we look at our other reports, you’ll see more about courses and things like that. Then, she’s also got a really detailed list of how she spend that $631 and again, that’s another place that you can look to see a variety of income reports and how that might vary from month to month. I’m not sure why she stopped doing income reports in February 2018, but you can check those out.
Okay, the next one we’re going to look at, this one is great, this is one of my favorites. This is Thyme & JOY and she made less than $20 in this particular month and I think this is an important income report to talk about because this is where most of us start, right? Most of us don’t start making $7,000 a month and if you have had a month like this and it’s the very beginning of your blogging career, it’s exciting, right? It’s like, “Oh my gosh, this is happening, I’m making money.” You want to make more but it’s exciting when you see those first couple dollars trickle in. Part of what, again, I like about this income report is that you can kind of see, “Okay, she’s making money in a couple of the same categories as an affiliates, but it’s at a much lower level.” So typically, it has to do with traffic. So the more traffic you get, the stronger your social media platforms are, the better position you are in to make money from your ads as well as getting sponsored content going. So again, a couple of blog income reports with a variety of income made.
So let’s go bigger. I don’t know about you but $7,000 a month is really inspiring to me but let’s go bigger. So this next one is from 40 Aprons, 40aprons.com, and she … let’s see, she made … again, I think this one is cool, she made $7,000 from ads. I mean, the first one was amazing but $7,000 a month from ads? That’s awesome. So this is also, this is a good example of that fourth quarter in the year. This is December, so $11,000 in December, again, companies, brands, ads, there’s more money in the last quarter of the year so you want to be planning and understanding that your income is going to fluctuate depending on the time of year that it actually is.
Another category that 40 Aprons has in addition to what we’ve already been seeing with the ads and sponsored posts, affiliates, is photography. So there are lots of ways that bloggers really can think about making money from being a blogger. Now, we already talked about the coaching that might not always be considered blog income, which we see that here too, she does freelancing, which she didn’t really consider blog income. But freelance food photography is how she made $1,700 of her income. What’s also great so see about this particular blog report is that her sponsored posts were only at $775, right? Our other blog reports that we saw were making thousands of dollars, so imagine if this particular blogger did some of what the other bloggers were doing and shifted her focus to sponsored content and could do several thousand dollars in a month, which I would imagine she could if she’s got this much traffic to her blog which she’s making $7,000 of ads. She very likely could do more sponsored content and make even more money.
This is also a great one because she’s got sales. So she’s made over $1,200 in items that she has for sale on her site, like My Food Photography Presets and ebook, Improve Your Food Photography Almost Instantly. She also has a cookbook that launched, so that number reflects the sales after that. So again, bloggers that are creating products and services, that’s another potential source of income. Always good to see what other people are doing.
Okay, so if we thought that was inspiring, let’s go really big. Now, this next blog, you’ve probably heard of because almost everyone has heard of this if they search for anything on the interest, or food related. Pinch Of Yum. Now, these blog reports are old, they actually stopped doing blog reports, or blog income reports, and we’ll drop a link to why they stopped doing that, but this is just super impressive. So the first one we’re going to talk about is from November of 2016. Again, remember that’s fourth quarter, so income does tend to go up at this point in the year. They made almost $95,000. Let that sink in. $95,000, isn’t that amazing? I mean, they had over $28,000 in expenses but still, that’s really, really awesome. So what we’re seeing here is a blog that is killing it.
$52,000 came from AdThrive, from ads, isn’t that amazing? $22,000 in sponsored content. Here’s something we haven’t talked about, we don’t know how many posts are leading to this sponsored content, right? This blog may charge $5,000 for sponsored content for one post, meaning they did four sponsored posts. The blog that we saw that was $4,000 in sponsored content maybe charges $400 a post and so they’ve had to do 10 of them. Again, these are broad categories, we don’t know how that breaks down, but still really interesting to see where that money is being made. Pinch Of Yum also made $5,000 as a Bluehost affiliate, they made almost $5,000 from Amazon. Since that time, since 2016, Amazon affiliates has changed quite a bit so bloggers aren’t typically making as much money from Amazon as they were about two years. Swoop, I’m not familiar with, $3,000 there. AdThrive video, almost $3,000. Tasty Food Photography, $2,300, so they’re making a lot of money and their expenses do include almost $20,000 to staff, salary and contractors.
This is not surprising, when you are making that much money, you obviously are going to be paying people, you can’t really do that on your own. If you want, you can also compare that to their report from March of that same year and in March, they made $58,000, still super impressive, but they actually had very similar expenses in that month, very close. They spent it in different areas, they spent quite a bit less on what looks like payroll type of expenses, but really their expenses are very similar, so their income went up quite a bit between March and November of the same year.
Again, I think fourth quarter’s probably involved, but I would also imagine if their spending more money on people and paying contractors and salary and things like that, they likely scaled their business by using other people to help them grow, which is really awesome. So you can take a look and kind of compare. Then they stopped doing this income reports, so if you’re interested in why they’re stopping, you can take a look at that.
As you can see, you can make a lot or a little bit as a food blogger and really, you’re going to put in a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of effort, and hopefully you’re going to make money for those efforts. So, use these income reports that we’ve talked about today to be inspired and to learn where you could be making your money, but then decide if that’s right for you and it fits in with your goals, your plans and your business model. One blogger’s making money from food photography, that they’re freelancing, that may not be for you, that’s okay. Maybe you don’t have the traffic that’s going to generate big ad income but you have a very dedicated following and a very particular niche and so you could do some really great sponsored content.
So, figure out where you can put your time and energy, and then also keep in mind that teaching other bloggers to blog is where a number of people make money, right? Like Bluehost affiliate or other hosting themes, things like that. So if you don’t teach other people to blog, that’s absolutely okay, but you could always create a resource page that talks about what you use, so if someone is inspired by what you do and wants to see how you got started, you can definitely direct them to your host, your theme, the services that you use. Maybe you’re not making big money on that, but the dollars definitely do add up and I love that some of these income reports are showing like, “I made $12 here,” and that’s at the bottom of a long list, but that $12 contributed to the tens of thousands that they ultimately made. So income reports are great, but remember that your financial goals are different, so take a look at where you are, where you want to go, and plan for how you’re going to get there.
We hope that you’re now inspired by all of these blog income reports to figure out more ways to help your blog grow and to create more income for yourself. If you are looking for another way to create some income, don’t forget that we do have an affiliate program at Feast Design Co. so if you haven’t already checked out our themes, they’re definitely something you wanna look at and we would love to have you as one of our affiliates. You can also join our newsletter and get lots of great information sent directly to you.