June Income Report - Making Money from a Food Blog - $2,797.02
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June Income Report – $2,797.02

Making Money from a Food Blog - June.

Hiya! Bjork here. I'm back for my monthly cameo on Skillful Cook.

It's 8:30PM on Sunday night here in Cebu City. Lindsay's in the kitchen doing whatever she does, a couple dogs are having a barking match down the street, and I'm hunkered down at my desk getting this post put together.

If you're new to Skillful Cook, here's a quick overview of what this post is all about. Every month I put together a post outlining the income we earned from Skillful Cook, the type of traffic the blog is receiving, and any tips or tricks we've learned that might be helpful. Our hope is that these posts can help you with your blog in some way or another.

Here's the breakdown of June's income from Skillful Cook:

The Breakdown:

Bluehost - $650.00
BlogHer - $590.08
Google Adsense - $565.30
Tasty Food Photography eBook - $480.90
VigLink - $273.00
The Thesis Theme - $197.67
Elegant Themes - $39.00
Amazon Affiliate Program - $1.07

Grand Total: $2,797.02

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'

We've had a couple questions in the past about what how exactly we earn this income. Here's the quick explanation:

Bluehost - Bluehost is a hosting company. Skillful Cook is a Bluehost affiliate, and we talk about using Bluehost on the how to start a food blog and resources for food bloggers pages.

BlogHer - BlogHer, as many of you know, is a blog advertising partner. We use BlogHer ads in the top right corner on Skillful Cook. BlogHer pays on a CPM basis (cost per mille, or 1,000 views). In other words, the more visitors to your blog the better, regardless if someone clicks on the ad or not.

Google AdSense - AdSense is Google's advertising network. We have three Google AdSense ads spaced along the right sidebar. AdSense is the opposite of BlogHer in that you're only paid when someone clicks on an ad, regardless of how many times the ad is viewed.

Tasty Food Photography - This is an eBook that Lindsay wrote on food photography.

VigLink - VigLink is a company that automatically scans your blog and creates affiliate links wherever it finds linkable content.

The Thesis Theme - This is the WordPress theme that we use with Skillful Cook. We're part of the Thesis Theme affiliate program. We talk about using Thesis on the how to start a food blog and resources for food bloggers pages.

Elegant Themes - An alternative WordPress theme company that's not quite as expense as the Thesis Theme. We talk about using Elegant Themes on the how to start a food blog page.

Amazon - We use the Amazon's affiliate program on the resources for food bloggers page, where we have a couple photography products listed.


Nothing out of the norm to report on Traffic in June. It's fun to see the organic Google traffic continue to grow from month to month. I'll say a bit more about this in the “Tips and Takeaways” section below.

Visitors Overview - June graph.
All Traffic - June graph.

Tips and Takeaways

Two tools I wanted to introduce you to this month. Both of these have been helpful as I've made small tweaks and improvements to Skillful Cook this last month.

Google Webmasters

What is Google Webmaster? Good question. The folks from Google explain it best.

I've been using it to find broken links that point to Skillful Cook. For instance, another blog or website might have linked to a Skillful Cook post but accidentally used the wrong URL. Links back to your site are extremely valuable for Search Engine Optimization and you do not want those valuable links to land on an error page.

I use a plugin called Pretty Link to redirect these broken links to the correct URL. Google likes links that work, so it's worth taking the time to find and redirect broken links.

There are tons of videos and tutorials for how to use Google Webmaster. I'd suggest starting with the tutorials that Google provides.

Rich Snippets

This is another helpful site from Google that shows you what your page will appear like in Google search results. This is especially important if you have a post with a recipe in it, as Google should be displaying these posts differently than a standard search result.

Here's an example of what a post with a recipe in it should look like in Google:

Recipe Search Example.

The easiest way to make sure that your recipes are formatted correctly is to use a plugin (if you're on WordPress). We use one called Tasty Recipes.

Learn more about Tasty Recipes


Lindsay and I feel totally lucky to have people like you stop by and check in here on Skillful Cook. Please let us know if you have any questions about this stuff. Leave a comment, send us an email, or contact us. We'll do our best to get back to you.

I'm off to eat a rambutan.

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    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks for the kind words Aimee. We feel so lucky to be able to spend a year with the incredible kids and staff at CSC.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I’m considering switching to a different online retailer’s affiliate program.

      What are your thoughts on Target’s? 😉

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I don’t think you realize how much us Some-day-I’m-going-to-start-a-food-bloggers appreciate this! Thanks Lindsay and Bjork!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Did Lindsay do any freelance writing this month?? If you take that out of last month your “income” actually went up. Has it been hot at night? I now just sleep on top of my covers and still wake up in a pool of sweat. Ew.. Lol

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      You must be a numbers guy. 🙂

      No freelancing this month. I crunched the same numbers as you did (last month minus freelancing vs. this month). I was a bit surprised to be honest.

      I’m so glad that there’s someone else out there going through similar experiences, whether it be the heat or the cockroaches. Miss you man. Let’s Skype sometime.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    LOVe seeing these. I use BlogHer ads as well and am wondering if there is a reason that you choose not to use the Tune In Bar?

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi, firstly I love pinch of yum! Thanks for this post, as a new member of the blogging community it is so helpful. Thanks guys for your generosity! I am really looking forward to grabbing a copy of your e-book, it looks fabulous!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Easy recipe is indeed a great plugin. It formats your post correctly for display on Google search results. The ratings, prep time and picture, just make it a perfect solution for a recipe search result. Elegant themes is quite a great solution as well. I’m using it on my blog and I love the fact that I can use 70 plus themes from elegant themes at the price of one. Plus their themes are awesome!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love these monthly update posts! It definitely must be rewarding to see your visitors increasing and more money coming in! I recently redesigned my blog with the Thesis theme and have been exploring advertising options. I truly appreciate the way you spell it all out here. My latest post explains my decision to go with the Thesis theme and shows some of the layout and design options – at the bottom I provided a link to this site as an example of other food blogs running the Thesis theme!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you, thank you. This has been so informative. I was unsure how the ads worked. I was not sure if you had to click on the ad itself or just click on your site. I just downloaded easy recipe to my site. I already like the format. I need to go back and see what happens to my older posts to see what happens. Wow! You rank just under Ina on Foodnetwork?

    Pretty Link pro or Lite?

    Now to go back and check out googlewebmasters.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Pretty Link Lite is all you’ll need for the basic stuff.

      I’d be lying if I said I know who Ina is. I’m sure Lindsay does. I’m semi anything-food-related illiterate, but thanks to Lindsay I’m getting better. 🙂

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Awesome work guys – one thing I’ve been wondering…

    Do you do anything special to get the thumbnails to show up in the rich snippet? I can’t seem to get ours to go. I noticed at the top of most, if not all of your pages you have a tag like:

    Or is it some naming convention of your photographs/images?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Dave!

      Looks like the code you dropped into the comment was stripped out.

      However, I’m guessing the code you were seeing was the custom Pin It button at the top of the images we have. Just a guess…

      To answer your question – first, make sure that your recipe is formatted correctly. Use a plugin or code it yourself following these guidelines:


      After that, it’s up to Google if it wants to display it or not.

      Good luck on your upcoming trip. Way cool.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Since I’m pretty sure only about 3 people read my food blog I must say I’m IN AWE of your traffic, income, talent & generosity. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve just discovered your website and absolutely love it. It’s great that you share all this valuable information as a lot of bloggers really need to know how to blog and grow their audiences too.
    I also use Blue Host which have been excellent so far. I recently added some adverts on my my website too. Have you ever tried adding them within the post itself? Google say’s this is much more effective but I don’t want to risk putting people off by doing that.
    I love your photos too and will bear your book in mind as I’ve recently started learning how to use a better camera on my blog.

    Many thanks


    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Katherine!

      We’ve been hesitant to put ads within the content itself. The ads will probably make more per view, but I wouldn’t be surprised if viewership were to go down if ads become too prevalent in the content.

      That’s just an opinion though. 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    i just want to say thank u thank u thank u!

    i always wondered how can i make money from something i love like food, and ive been trying to figure out how do food blogger do it.

    this is the only site that is upfront about it, the others would not say anything directly about it.

    i know most blogs would say its hard ( and it is) and it takes a lot of dedication ( ofcourse it does !)

    but most of them would not even say a number or an estimate, or they might actually put down the idea of making money from a food blog.

    i know sometimes the money isnt much, but to get a figure is very honest and sincere and could help pple move in the right direction

    you guys are great for such honesty

    and i just have one question if i may ask

    i have a hard time getting traffic, how did you build traffic? i dont know the first thing about building a readership, so how did you do that?

    take care and have a great day

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Rima – You’re right on about the blog stuff being tough work. Tough work, but rewarding work if you stick with it!

      Traffic and a following has mostly been built through consistent posting and using food pictures to drive traffic back to the site (through sites like Foodgawker and Pinterest).

      There are lots of other small things you can do as well, like make sure your site loads fast and use social media plugins to encourage sharing.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    These are awesome numbers, very inspiring! And great tips too, I’m looking at your affiliate programs for inclusion in my blog, hopefully I can generate some income as well. Enjoy your rambutan, but don’t forget the mangoes, chicharon and lechon while in Cebu!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Food Dude! Thanks for considering the affiliate program. Let us know if you have any questions.

      I’m embarrassed to say I’ve yet to try lechon. It’s on my long list of “foods I need to eat in the Philippines”. 🙂

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks to all of your “getting started” type of help, I’m working at getting my recipe blog going as well. I’m using Thesis as well (signed up through you guys even though I knew about it already – just wanted to support you guys!)
    I like your 2 column layout better than the 3 column one many use. I was wondering if you could tell me the width of your columns?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Michelle. Super sorry about the delayed response on this. Thanks for buying through our link. Email me and I’ll send you PDFs of exactly how we have everything setup with Thesis. bjork (at) skillfulcook (dot) com.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    What an adventure you are on right now. Enjoy your time with the kids; I’m sure they are overjoyed to have you helping them this year.

    I love that you are sharing your insights into monetizing a food blog and am so impressed with the significant jump in income this year. I’m curious, how long has you blog been around? How long did it take to gain the exposure and get the traffic you are sustaining now?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Beth! Thanks for the kind words.

      Lindsay’s first post was on April 11th, 2010 – https://skillfulcook.tumblr.com/post/513080763/saturday-morning-chocolate-chip-muffins

      Skillful Cook started as a Tumblr blog (as you can tell by the link above). We switched over to WordPress in September of 2011.

      More than anything Lindsay has leveraged pictures to grow traffic, posting to sites like Foodgawker and Tastespotting. We’ve also seen a lot of traffic from Pinterest.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can’t wait to hear what has worked for you in July. You guys are awesome for all the info you share. I wanted to let you know that I signed up for VigLink from your site. If you have any tips on how you have found this works best for you I truly value your input!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Oh that’s awesome, I wasn’t sure if the link insertion would be too random or off-putting, but I have never felt like that on your site so I am going to go for it. Thanks for the tip!! 🙂

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for the really interesting breakdowns each month. It is really beneficial to see the growth from a few months back to now. Lots of useful advice.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just wanted to say thank you for all of the great tips. Just started our blog about 2 months ago and your advice and tips have helped. I still have a lot to learn though. Best of luck to you and your husband.