Hello, welcome to the income reports of FirstTimeFoods. Inspired by Pinch Of Yum, this is the first in a monthly series, where I highlight the financial happenings, if any, of our blog. This blog is a product of a passion for cooking and sharing food. It’s also potentially a source of income. We’ve put together a series of posts that help answer that question you may have asked yourself: “Can I make money with my own blog?”
I’ll try to keep these posts as structured as possible, while still letting you know about anything new that comes up. To do so, for now I’ll use the following sections: Analysis, Takeaways, and Goals.
This month our blog earned a total of $0.49. Zero, point, four, nine. 🙁 Wamp-wamp. NOT a lot.
Making $0.49 proved though at least one thing. It IS possible to make money with a food blog, or any blog for that matter. It may be pretty technically speaking, but it is true. So, let’s cross the idea that you “can’t” off our myth list right now. The money was earned and proves wrong any doubts you’ve had about your own success.
So how did we earn this forty-nine cents; where did it come from? It was generated simply by the use of our blog, through the advertising platform Google Adsense. It’s one of the Big G’s free services and helps you generate the web code(s) needed to display ads on your webpage, like the ones you see in our sidebar.
The tool we use to track the statistical analysis of the site is Google Analytics. I like it because it’s free, and still provides a ton of information metrics. Here are some of the basic ones that help give a picture of the site over the last month.
Visits – Visits represents the number of visits to the site, even if some of the same people came more than once. We had 1,030 visits to the site this month. Over 1,000, woo-who!
Unique Visitors – This is the number of unduplicated visitors (counted only once) to the site. This is a better representation of the “number of people” who came to the site. 820 for us this month.
Pageviews – Pageviews is what it sounds like, the pages of your site that were looked at. All told, (any given page of) our site was viewed 3,547 times this month, which is pretty good, although remember it includes repeated views of some of the same pages.
Pages / Visit – When people are on the site, this is the average number of pages they choose to see. 3.44/visit this month.
Avg. Visit Duration – Similar to and pretty well correlated to Pages / Visit, Average Site Duration is the amount of time people choose to spend on the site after they show up. At 2:04, this is a pretty good duration from what I’ve seen and read about. When you dive deeper into our analysis, you see that there are some visitors that spend 2 second on the site, but then a handful that are spending upwards of 15:00 to 20:00 minutes!
Bounce Rate – Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits (visits in which the person left the site from the entrance page without interacting with the page). This stat is actually one of the shining stars is this month’s analysis. At the beginning of the month, the rate was in the 80% range. Now it sits in the low 30’s, which is great. It means that people chose to take at least a second click, one step deeper into our site, as time went on, probably as we filled in content and people discovered more of the site.
% New Visits – This is the percentage of people coming into the site from new IP addresses. Return visitors have stayed around 20% for most of the month. For me, the ideal number here is to split the metric, meaning have 50% New Visitors and 50% Returning Visitors.
As you can see, even the basic feedback from Google Analytics gives a great set of measurements that can be taken together to help you understand the activity on your site.
Before writing up this post, I considered waiting a few months before starting the income report series. I was really actually a bit nervous and embarrassed. What’s the point of telling everyone that I earned half a buck? But then, as you can imagine, I remembered the whole point of this section of the blog, to show others our experience in blogging, good bad or ugly. To be making money at all is actually pretty good only a month in. And there are plenty of other metrics to look at to measure it’s success, as you’ve seen above.
So here is the first lesson, undoubtedly a valuable one: Don’t be afraid to fail.
From some angles you probably will fail, but that’s ok, because that failure you’re thinking about is never the whole picture. There are wins to be had other places, and you should stay focused on the positives, however small they currently are.
For next month I’d like to set up a few more ads and/or affiliate links for the products we already use and love. RLK has a lot that at this point she wouldn’t go without. There are plans for adding new types of income sources too, including blog themes and affiliate programs.
I’m also going to say thanks. Thanks to those of you that read our blog, and thanks to whomever reads this first income report post. The seeds of success are very often overlooked, partly because there is no guarantee of their future, but that doesn’t make their potential any less important.