It’s about time to write about our income and traffic performance from October! If you are a new reader, feel free to check out our older reports as well. Dave and I started this blog in July 2014 and we have been documenting our journey ever since our first visitor.
In this report, and for the first time, we’ll introduce our key metrics dashboard for food blogger pirates, aaarrrrrrrr!!! I think it offers a better overview of how we develop month by month instead of just showing the numbers for each month separately.
(If you want to know more about key metrics for food blogger pirates, check out this post.)
But first let’s have a look at our Top 10 Traffic Sources.
Top 10 Traffic Sources
In October foodgawker.com sent us the most traffic. People seemed to have really liked our Tomato Spinach Pasta. Well, we have to admit it – it’s delicious!
Pinterest and Google search are growing steadily and soon will take over the food sharing websites which is really great news. I checked out realrawkitchen.com to see why we received 107 visitors from them, but I couldn’t figure it out. Thanks a lot anyway!
Now let’s move to the more interesting part, the Key Metrics Dashboard.
Key Metrics Dashboard
(If you want to download the template of this dashboard, click the button below.)
You’ll be redirected to a Google sheet. There you can download or copy the file.
We can see our total visits decreased since September from 6832 to 4190. This is because we were featured by FindingVegan.com in September.
Without their support we would have landed at around 3500 visitors that month. So actually our “natural” visits grew around 20%, which is quite nice.
I worked quite a bit on engaging our visitors more since I was very unhappy with our email subscription rate of 0.09% in August and 0.20% in September.
As you can see for October we seem to have improved a little (0.43%). But let’s see, if the trend continues for November as well. Here is what I changed on our website:
New Signup Forms
The old form was almost not noticeable. It pretty much blended into our blog. The new form is now much more visible. This should draw more attention to the visitor.
Still, I am not satisfied with the design. I thought I could customize it myself by learning a few commands of CSS. But at the end of the day making this box cost me around 6 hours – 3 hours figuring out how to make changes with CSS and another 3 hours actually making the changes.
In hindsight I’d rather pay someone to make a nice customized signup form for me and focus on creating new recipes instead.
I also changed the text. I thought the old text “receive emails that you’ll actually read!” was fun and could make people curious. But we weren’t actually explaining what the visitor could expect after signing up. This was probably a big factor of why people ignored this box.
The new text clearly says what you are getting, when you sign up – “Quick vegetarian/vegan recipes.” It’s a better text, but I think it’s still not quite ideal.
In my opinion the ideal email sign up box should be well visible and have a text that not only states what you are subscribing for, but also why you benefit from it. To maximize the amount of subscriptions a giveaway, for example an ebook, could be a good strategy.
The visitor has to see that you are offering him/her something valuable and not that you are just asking for their email.
Apart from optimizing the old form I also added a “smartbar” to the blog (check out sumome.com). I like the visibility. At the same time it’s not too annoying.
Finally I also added a signup form below every post. Since many users only visit our blog for a certain recipe, it should make sense to ask them to subscribe at the end of the post before they leave again.
The Food Personality Test
A friend of mine suggested “why don’t you create a food personality quiz to find out more about your visitors?” Besides, I could then also ask for their email address to send them their quiz result. Cool!
I liked the idea and gave it a try, especially because I thought it’s also fun to take such a quiz. At the moment we don’t have enough data to tell if people like it. But for the November Report I should know more. In the meanwhile check out the Food Personality Quiz yourself!
You see, all in all we are trying quite a few things to increase our email subscription rate. I still don’t think it’s exactly right but it’s definitely a step forward.
These stats look quite normal so far. Our strategy is to increase the number of returning users step by step via our email newsletter and gaining a bigger following on social networks.
- Adsense: 6.62€
- Youtube: 2.39€
Total income: 9.01€
- Vaultpress – 3.94€
- eLance Support – 36.87€
- Mailchimp – 7.87€
Total expenses: -48.68€
Total October Earnings: -39.37€
The income is more or less where it’s been the last few months. But we have plans to integrate affiliate links and other stuff.
It’s definitely a slow process, because we don’t just want to plaster our website with affiliate links. If we refer to a product it has to be helpful to our audience. And also the content we create has to be helpful and not just sales pitches.
Regarding the expenses:
As already mentioned in the last report Dave and I have been getting help to develop our social media presence, especially Pinterest. So far we’ve learned quite a bit.
For October and November we bought a mailchimp subscription in order to send out automated emails. This allows us to send out the Food Personality Quiz Results automatically. We might cancel it though, depending on how the Food Personality Quiz goes.
No data yet. But this dude will help me to track the share buttons of our blog on Google Analytics after he finishes his breakfast. Awesome, thanks Greg!
My efforts to increase the email subscription rate were very time consuming which annoyed me a lot. Unfortunately often you only know afterwards if you spent your time well. Let’s see if it was worth it.
Also, after analyzing our traffic sources we’ve decided to stop creating videos. The reasoning is simple. I spend almost 40% of my time per week on creating videos. Unfortunately veeeeeery few people are coming from Youtube to our blog.
Even though it’s nice to have videos, at the moment they are not helping us to grow our blog.
Instead we decided to focus more on our best traffic source: Pinterest! It is already growing quite nicely and we are sure that we can do even better, especially because I can now put my free time into taking more pictures of delicious food!
Thanks a lot for reading!