August Traffic and Income Report - $13,435.75 - Skillful Cook
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August Traffic and Income Report - $13,435.75

Blog Traffic and Income Report - August collage of photos.

Hey there! Bjork here checking in for our monthly traffic and income report.

Every month I put together a report that includes a behind-the-scenes look at Skillful Cook. I focus on two things (1) the income and expenses and (2) the traffic. I also include any tips or tricks that we're learning as we continue to find ways to grow the blog. Our hope with these reports is that they provide insight and inspiration as you start and grow your own blog (or business or non-profit). We don't believe that there are any “secrets” of blogging and we're not pretending to possess some type of knowledge that isn't available elsewhere on the internet.

Let's take a look at the number for August.


Total Income:: $15,808.68


Total Expenses: $2,372.93

Net Profit: $13,435.75

P.S. If you're interested in learning more about some of the ways that you can monetize a food blog, we encourage you to download this free ebook, “16 Ways to Monetize Your Food Blog,” from our sister site, Food Blogger Pro!

a picture of the 16 Ways to Monetize Your Food Blog ebook from Food Blogger Pro and a note that says, 'free download from our friends at Food Blogger Pro'

Thoughts On Income

The Inventor

In the October income report I shared three personality types that you need to have when creating an income from your blog. You can read the entire post to get a thorough explanation. Otherwise here's a quick review:

  1. The Teacher - Creates tutorials and lessons that teach people how to use a certain product. Uses affiliate links throughout the tutorials to create an income. Example: The How to Start a Food Blog page.
  2. The Landlord - Rents out their blog's “screen real estate” to advertisers. Example: The ads you see to the right in the sidebar.
  3. The Inventor - Creates a product or service. Example: The Tasty Food Photography eBook.

In July Lindsay put on her “inventor” cap and created a brand new product called The Cauliflower Sauce eCookbook. We knew that it was important that we add to the list of products that are currently available on Skillful Cook, because while being a teacher and landlord can be profitable, it can also be a bit risky. It's risky because you're dealing with another company, and you never know when that company's product or service will change (or completely disappear). An example is the recent change that the Amazon Associates program made to ban Minnesota from their program. I received an email from Amazon notifying me that the program would be shut down in Minnesota, and one month later we wouldn't be able to create any income from our affiliate links. Here's what the email said:

“We are writing from the Amazon Associates Program to notify you that your Associates account will be closed and your Amazon Services LLC Associates Program Operating Agreement will be terminated effective June 30, 2013. This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Minnesota state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Dayton on May 23, 2013, with an effective date of July 1, 2013. As a result, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after June 30 nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Minnesota residents.”

Losing the income from the Amazon Associates program didn't hurt too much (we rarely made more than $100), but it was a bit scary to be reminded about how reliant we are on other companies.

Hence the need to be an inventor. When you're creating your own products you don't have to worry about companies suddenly pulling the rug out from underneath you. You have complete control of the product and can sell it where you want, when you want, and for the price you want. We think that the inventor role is one of the most important roles that you can have for creating an income from a blog.

Have you ever created your own product? Was it successful? Leave a link to your product in the comments below so readers can see what types of products other bloggers are creating.

Note: I'll be looking through the spam and approve any comments that are flagged because of the link.

Another reason why Lindsay wrote an ecookbook

We had heard from many food bloggers that wanted to write their own cookbook but didn't know (1) how to go about doing it or (2) if it would be worth their time. The truth was that we didn't know either. But now, after going through the process of writing, photographing, packaging, and selling the eCookbook, we can provide some concrete numbers and information for other bloggers that are interested in creating their own eCookbook. We're both really excited to put together some material that will help other food bloggers release their own eCookbooks!

Embedded Recipe Ads

We're experimenting this month with recipe embedded ads from BlogHer (see below). It's the first time we've ever had ads in the content area, so we're anxious to see how they perform and if readers find them too distracting. The ads are context based, which means the ad script can see the text on the page and attempt to show a closely matching ad. If there isn't a good match then they don't show up at all.

BlogHer Embedded Recipe Ads.


Below are some screenshots from Google Analytics. You can click on these screenshots to view a larger image.

Traffic Overview

Google Analytics Overall Traffic August.

Top Ten Traffic Sources

Google Analytics Top Ten Traffic Sources.

Top Ten Search Terms

Google Analytics Organic Search Traffic.

Thoughts On Traffic


In last month's income report I shared that for the first time ever Skillful Cook received over 1,000,000 pageviews. This month we're excited to report that, for the first time, Skillful Cook had over 1,000,000 visits. Lindsay and I celebrated by eating leftovers from her eCookbook. 😉

Organic Search Results

The last image in the traffic screenshots above is called Top Ten Search Terms. It shows the top ten search terms that people searched on Google that eventually led them to Skillful Cook. The top ten terms are fun to look through, but what I really appreciate about that screenshot is in the bottom right corner: 1-10 of 15057

Total Organic Search Keywords.

15,057 is the total number of terms that people searched on Google that eventually brought them to Skillful Cook. It includes everything from “stir fry noodles with shrimp” to “dinner pancakes” to “why did my mung beans turn to mush?”. There are numerous factors that go into increasing your site's ability to be found on Google, but the general equation looks like this:

Quality of Content * Quantity of Content * Duration of Consistent Posting = Getting Found on Google

The equation is simple, but it's not easy. What it comes down to is producing quality content week after week, year after year.


In next month's report we'll be adding a “support staff” category to the list of expenses, as Lindsay and I are quickly realizing that we can't do all of the things we want to do with Skillful Cook on our own. We've enlisted the help of two of our extremely talented friends, Angela and Jade. Lindsay's best friend Angela will be helping out with organizing some of the Skillful Cook social media stuff (focusing on Pinterest). Jade is our friend from the Philippines. She's a really bright girl that's in school for computer programming. Jade is working part time for Skillful Cook submitting to food sharing sites and making sure that websites that use Skillful Cook photos include proper links back to the blog (side note: it's insane how many people use photos without permission). The work that Angela and Jade have done is so much more than anything we could have ever done on our own. We're incredibly thankful that they're willing to lend their skills and abilities to Skillful Cook.


Thank you so much for reading these posts. They're always fun for me to put together. 🙂 It means a lot to Lindsay and I that you follow along with this adventure we call Skillful Cook.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi, Bjork. thank you so much for sharing it. It is so useful. I really enjoy all your posts. I just would like to know more or understand better about Lijit – Federated Media. Can you explain it better for me? thanks

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow, very impressive. You are hiring help like a real successful business. Thank you for the information. I’ve been able to grow my blog income learning some tips from you.:)

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I want to thank you guys so much for being so open and honest about everything. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to open my own restaurant or bakery. I’ve always loved writing and photography but they were always ‘hobby dreams.’ I have been a lurker of Skillful Cook for quite some time and this past June when I finally completed my Masters and had enough of ‘just blogging’ I finally decided to take the plunge and open my little eatery on the web. I don’t think I could have done with without all of the helpful tips and advice you guys have shared. I may never make numbers like this – and I’m ok with that! Not many site owners are so open, and I appreciate that so much.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is very useful information as always. I especially like the part about being an “inventor”. I’m planning on doing a food + music (giving away my EP called “Can’t Let Go”) giveaway on my blog soon to generate some traffic and overall awareness, so we’ll see the kind of results I get. It’s all about engaging people and keeping them engaged, so thanks for giving us great tips on doing just that.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congrats on your million views last month and this month, on your million visits! Such big milestones and that is amazing! And your monthly income is surely reflecting that. Bravo to you guys and thanks for sharing so openly about it all, too! Every month these posts are a joy to read and I always come away with learning something.

    And about being reliant on others/other companies…yes, huge reminder for me. Twice in the last 6 weeks my Pinterest acct was shut down temporarily due to completely random glitches in their system and both times I was only locked out of my acct for 24 hrs or so, but big reminder to try to put eggs in other baskets. It’s hard though when that one basket is so vast and powerful 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks for the kind words Averie. We really appreciate it!

      “It’s hard though when that one basket is so vast and powerful” – So true!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    WOW! I’ve been following your income reports since you started them and am SO crazy impressed with what you ‘ve done. It IS the execution and you’ve done that. I am inspired and have taken a few extra actions lately to hopefully move me up in some ways. Your transparency is very helpful to the rest of us – and super inspiring!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I always love reading & look forward to these income reports. They keep me going & remind me of just how much potential our blogs have. I have been really thinking of doing my own income reports as I see many others starting to do them. Wondering how popular they are in comparison to an actual recipe post. Is it worth the editorial space on my site or if I am going to gain or lose traffic because of it on that particular day. How would you rate these posts in comparison to your others when it comes to traffic?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Gina. If it’s helpful and/or interesting to your readers it’ll be a positive thing for your blog. The question that I won’ be very good at answering is, “Will this be helpful and/or interesting to the readers of Kleinworth & Co?” 🙂

      In terms of popularity – the traffic to these income reports is pretty small when compared to the recipes. The most popular income and traffic report from the last 30 days still had 60+ recipe posts ahead of it in terms of traffic. Here’s a screenshot:

      The biggest positive that we see from these reports is their “stickiness.” It’s something that people can talk about and share with others.

      In terms of pure traffic though, the recipes win hands down.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I use Genesis and have been wondering how to go about using an affiliate link for them. Also I personally am not a fan of in-recipe ads. I still print out a lot of recipes and when there are things that distract and I have to mess with deleting etc, I wont do it and probably wont make the recipe. I might be an odd one out on that (still printing out recipes that is) but just my 2 cents on in-recipe ads.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Here’s some info on the StudioPress affiliate program –

      StudioPress is the company that makes Genesis.

      Great point. I 100% agree! The good news is that the in-recipe ads from BlogHer won’t show up when someone prints them out.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love your take on generating income and creating your own product. I totally agree. I’m just a very indecisive person so coming up with a product may take me some time.

    Keep up the good work!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m a facts and figures kind of girl and I love reading these posts, although they weren’t why I started reading the blog in the first place.

    I like to celebrate my milestones soon, although they are more about averaging a hundred pageviews a day rather than such large numbers as yours. 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks for reading Laura. We appreciate it!

      If you can get 100 visitors, you can get 200, if you can get 200, you can get 400… 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love these posts so much. I created an awesome fat loss program that promotes whole foods and minimalist workouts, much like the Four-Hour Body.

    The site is only a product and doesn’t have ads on it. We don’t have a blog attached either but I’m thinking we should set one up so we can work on increasing traffic to it.

    Thanks for the updates, it’s so inspiring to see what you both are up to! P.S. I made your garlicky rice dish with the cauliflower sauce for some friends a few weeks ago and it was a HUGE hit.


    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks for posting a link to your product page Lisa! Hopefully some other readers will be able to take a look at what other people are doing online to create an income.

      Happy to hear the recipe was a hit!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love these posts – they’re such a great inspiration when you feel like giving up and letting the whole blogging thing go. I’m redesigning my blog and it’s taking forever so I took a break to get inspired. 🙂

    I was wondering how the whole BlogHer thing works? I have been on their site but can’t seem to figure it out. It sounds like by joining, you allow them to place any ad they want on your site, is that right? Seems like a fab income source.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      You’ll need to apply and get accepted to BlogHer’s Publishing Network

      They have restrictions in terms of where you can put them, but you pick the type of ad you want to show from a list of available sizes.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Hi Bjork! Your monthly reports are an inspiration to me!

        I would like to know what is the best way to get accepted to BlogHers Publishing Network. I was rejected the first time and I would like to know any tips to improve and get accepted.

        Thank you!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Thanks Sara. It’s tough to say, as I’m not sure what the process looks like on BlogHer’s side. :/ I wish I could be more helpful with it!

          My generic answer would be to continue to create consistent and awesome content and enjoy the process.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    You guys are awesome. I am always so happy to see these once-a-month posts as one day I hope to start blogging myself (when I have graduated and have more time). Even though I am always a little disappointed to miss a day of reading about a delicious recipe, once I start reading the information I am happy as a clam again. I especially liked this post. Thank you so much for fueling my passion to one day hopefully make a living off of something I love doing. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congratulations on the 1,000,000 visitors. It is amazing and I greatly appreciate your income reports. I am also very excited about your new ebook. I think it is important to create other modes of income because especially when you are starting out it can help a lot in creating an income. I am currently working on a product…WILL be done by October 23rd my Birthday!!

    Wishing you the best and a very good day!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I always look forward to your monthly updates! It looks like all the cauliflower eating is paying off! That’s awesome. I’ve never done my own product (though folks keep telling me I should for my crafting blog). I’d love to try, but it will have to wait until after I finish grad school!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I think they are affiliate links she put on the “How to start a food blog” page……. or at the footer of this blog.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was a super exciting post for me, because it shows just really how far you’ve come. It kind of brings a glimmer of hope that some of the rest of us will and can be successful with our blogs too. Like you said, there’s no secret. It’s all execution. Blogging is hard. work. period. And it’s fun and exciting and delicious too! Consistency, perseverence, and delicious food is really where the rubber meets the road. 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      They’re still there. 🙂

      Or did you mean why did they go up? I’m guessing that the general increase in traffic also resulted in an increase in the number of people visiting the different pages with affiliate links on them.

      Did that answer your question?