A peek behind the curtain is a monthly post, where I share the technical side of what worked, and what didn’t to grow Rhubarbarians.
OK OK. Get a load of that sloppy mess of a meal up there! This was one of the handful of failed recipes I had in May. This one being a strawberry shortcake with homemade sausage type of thing. Totally delicious, but the food crumbled, and alas the photos were just awful. That whipped cream though, it was sweetened with maple syrup, and I'm not sure I'll ever make whipped cream with white sugar again!
So, here we are, at the third ever Peek Behind the Curtain post! This is where I share the nerdy side of things on Rhubarbarians: THE NUMBERS! As well as strategies, tips, thoughts, and attempts to grow the blog. May was a KILLER MONTH YOU GUYS! Page views grew 40% from last month, and revenue grew a whopping 497%! That's not a typo!
First, let's take a look at the page views:
17,502 page views! BOOYAH! Hard to believe I was disappointed for not hitting 10K in March. My page views have almost doubled in just 2 months! I am really starting to believe that once you hit the 6 month blogging mark, that's when things really start to heat up and fantastic things happen.
So, where did those page views come from?
Secure sites are still the #1 referrer, and I have no way of knowing where those come from. But, a close second is that total bestie Buzzfeed. Then Pinterest, then Google search. I had my second month in a row of being featured on Buzzfeed, first in April with 25 Quinoa Recipes That are Actually Delicious, and second in May with 19 Burgers You Really Need to Make This Summer. Both featured the carrot tahini quinoa burgers, which has skyrocketed to my most viewed post ever, leaving all other posts in a trail of dust.
Pinterest continues to be a steady source of page views. One of my goals for June is to up my Pinterest game. I have seen some bloggers hit hundreds of thousands of views in a month from Pinterest! Slowly but surely, I think Pinterest will reach that number one spot.
I am really really happy to see Google search at #4. It means that I must be doing something right with SEO, and that makes me a happy girl, because I feel like a total SEO moron most of the time. Food Blogger Pro just released a series of videos dedicated to learning the SEO Yoast tricks of the trade, and I am pumped to check those out.
So, top 3 posts!
#1. Big fatty duh here! The carrot tahini quinoa burgers with tzatziki.
As mentioned above, these burgers were featured on Buzzfeed twice in the last 2 months! So, although this post is from early April, it was my top viewed post in May, and is still holding strong today!
This one hit it BIG on Pinterest! Who knew that so many people would dig a total experimental niche cocktail!? I think the pour shot really helped boost this one up.
I am so shocked by this! This was my very first sponsored post, and I expected to get some haters because of it. Not only did I not get any hate, it was one my highest viewed posts!
Now, speaking of sponsored posts, let's get into the nitty gritty income stuff shall we? As I mentioned above, my income for May increased by 497% over April. This is totally due to a sponsored post that I took on to start gaining some income for Rhubarbarians. CPM and affiliate advertising just aren't generating enough revenue to keep Rhubarbarians happening, so I decided to try my hand at getting paid to feature a product. You know what? It was awesome.
Just a take a look at this pie chart! WOWZA! That 1 sponsored post generated 85% of my revenue for May. That's crazy you guys! Let's see the breakdown in detail:
Honest Cooking: 100% of all Sponsored content. This site gets me in touch with brands that want to pay me to feature their product. I am currently choosing 1 per month.
Sovrn/Lijit: 59% of CPM Advertising. This company is my top tier CPM advertiser. Really awesome CPM rates, but a lower fill rate.
Gourmet Ads: 30% of CPM Advertising. This company is my second tier CMP advertiser. Medium CPM rates, high fill rate.
Google AdSense: 11% of CPM Advertising. This company is my third tier CMP advertiser. Low CPM rates, high fill rate.
Amazon Associates: 100% of Affiliate Advertising. I get a commission of referred sales from Amazon sellers.
So, although I feel like I hit it big with sponsored content this month, my affiliate sales dropped down to almost nothing. I made the majority of my revenue from affiliate sales in March, so I was shocked to see sales plummet in May.
My favorite blogging resources in May:
Food Blogger Pro This is a community of bloggers helping and supporting growing food blogs. There are informative step by step videos for almost every aspect of food blogging, as well as question/comment forums for bloggers to reach out to each other. I was more than happy with them this month! Not only do I really like to be part of a community, they released a few new series of food blogging lessons devoted to food photography. Love it!
Honest Cooking: Honest cooking is an International online culinary magazine, which publishes recipes from food bloggers and acts as the middle man for brand sponsorships. I am really impressed with the customer service offered from Honest Cooking. Even as a new sponsored content publisher, the team was helpful and organized, and super friendly.
If you are looking to start or grow your food blog, you can check out my blogging resources page!
Sponsored posts are not as evil as a lot of people make them out to be. If you stay true to your voice and your brand, and don't overdo it, sponsored posts are an incredible way to make a decent amount of money doing what you love. My plan is to stick to one sponsored post a month, and only promote brands that I use and love, and will allow me to write in my own style with my own sense of humor. I truly believe that to make a living as a food blogger, it is necessary to explore as many income streams as you can. If I had relied only on affiliate sales, I would have seen little to no revenue in May!
Thoughts for the future:
In June so far, I have been really upping my Pinterest and social media game. I am hoping that this generates more followers, and more of an engaged audience. Also, I am going to need to supplement all those Buzzfeed page views! I need to amp it up and try to grow more page views without relying on being featured!
Like this post? Check out more behind the curtains posts!