January Income Report - Making Money from a Food Blog - $5,686.90
Our recipes, your inbox. Sign up

January Income Report – $5,686.90

Collage of images for Skillful Cook's January Income.

Hiya! Bjork here. I'm checking in for my monthly income and traffic report. If this is your first time reading one of the reports I want to give you a quick overview of what these posts are all about.

In August of 2011, Lindsay and I decided to start “The Food Blog Money Making Experiment.” We made a total of $21.97 that first month. Every month since then we've put together a post detailing the things we're doing to increase Skillful Cook's traffic and income.

So, without further adieu, here's our 18th income report.

The Income Breakdown:

Grand Total: $5,686.90

Income As Percentages

January - Blog Income as Percentages in a graph.

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'

The Traffic Breakdown

Traffic Overview January
Traffic Sources - January.
Top Pages - January.

Thoughts On Income and Traffic

This is the most we've ever made from Skillful Cook. It's also the most traffic we've ever seen in a month. But I noticed something interesting when comparing December's income report to this month's income report.

Even though pageviews increased by over 200,000 from December to January, earnings from BlogHer and AdSense decreased! So how did Skillful Cook manage to have its most profitable month ever when earnings from our two major advertisers decreased? Through affiliate sales (primarily from the How to Start a Food Blog page) and the product that Lindsay created (Tasty Food Photography).

It's a great example of why you need to have multiple streams of income on your blog. To put it simply, if you're interested in creating an income as a food blogger you need to (1) implement affiliate marketing throughout your blog and (2) create your own product that you can sell. BlogHer and AdSense are awesome companies, but the reality is there will be times when BlogHer and AdSense don't have high paying advertisers, which means you'll have lower income.

Tips and Takeaways

An Email List, Finally

I've been wanting to put together an email drip campaign for Skillful Cook for the past year or so but wasn't able to do it until after the launch of Food Blogger Pro.

With an email drip campaign, you create your emails ahead of time and then when someone signs up for the list the emails “drip” into the person's inbox at certain intervals that you set. The purpose is to build a list of subscribers and then deliver targeted, useful content to them. For Skillful Cook, the significance of this list is less about selling something and more about maintaining contact and building trust.

I decided to use AWeber to build our list. The process isn't too complicated, but it takes an hour or two to get things setup and tweaked. This doesn't include the time it takes to create the content that you'll be sending people. We started by creating 10 different emails with quick tips for food bloggers. Here's a sneak peek at what content is covered:

Email List.

A/B Testing

For the first time ever we ran an A/B test on the Tasty Food Photography sales page.

An A/B test is when you create two different pages and then see which one leads to more conversations. In our case, we used Google Analytics to test two different pages to see which one resulted in more sales of Tasty Food Photography.

Here's the original version: https://skillfulcook.us/tasty-food-photography
Here's the test version: https://skillfulcook.us/tasty-food-photography

The results were really fascinating:

Google Experiment Results.

The original version had a 2.93% conversation rate, while the test version had a .80% conversation rate. Whoa! That's a huge difference. If used the test version instead of the original version this month we would have only earned around $500 from Tasty Food Photography!

The best thing about A/B testing is that you can continually improve the sales pages on your blog. The pattern looks something like this: Adjust, test, implement. Adjust, test, implement...

Here's a video from Google that explains how content experiments work:

If you have something that you're selling on your blog I'd encourage you to setup an A/B test using Google Analytics. This will get you started on the path to improving your conversation rate. Just a quarter of a percentage can have a big impact in the long run.


Lindsay and I are both extremely thankful that you take the time to visit the blog and read the content that we create. More than anything we are constantly amazed at the kind, generous, and thoughtful people that we get to interact with on a daily basis through this little corner of the internet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Bjork and Lindsay! My favorite food blogging power couple. I’ve just started to learn why it’s so important to have many different streams of income for my blog. This month (Feb), I am making more from my blog than my full time job!!!! It’s because I joined a new ad network (in addition to BlogHer) and took on 3 freelance projects for 3 major companies. And have been growing my page views through smarter marketing. I’ve also started to work with a graphic designer for an eBook cookbook. 🙂 I can only hope for as much success as Tasty Food Photography. PS: my BlogHer income was down in January too – it’s a slow month for advertisers all around, I’ve learned.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    You’re welcome for all those clicks on your ads. I’ll take 20% please. Nice work!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is seriously the best food blog EVER! I continue to be inspired by you guys each and every day. Thanks for sharing your income reports and testing experiments. You guys are KILLING it!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for sharing all you’re learning! I’m currently working on an ebook thanks to your inspiring numbers. I’m just having a hard time deciding if I should publish it to be read on e-readers or make it computer based like (I think?) yours was. I have heard e-readers are best for text based books (which mine is, yours was photos of course).

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love your recaps and never miss one. I learn something new, every time, about the behind the scenes aspects of blogging, SEO, etc that I wouldn’t otherwise know. Things like drip campaigns and putting up a side by side with A/B – that kind of stuff is fascinating to me. Keep these posts up, always! 🙂

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for sharing so much info with us! It is really interesting to see how you are able to turn it into a career. Congrats on your success! I’m seriously thinking of checking out that book when I have more free time. My day job is keepin me too busy. 😉

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Bjork & Lindsay – thank you again for another fabulous post on blog income! You two are both such an incredible resource for the food blog community and I am loving being part of your Food Blogger Pro program! I have a question regarding the “More from Skillful Cook” section at the bottom of your posts. I’ve looked at adding some sort of widget (like LinkWithin or nrelate) for related content at the bottom of my posts. Do you use a widget or is this coding within your template? Thank you so much!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Guys,
    Love your blog 🙂
    Just wondering how many post you have in total now?
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Great job this month! I also use aweber for my email list and love it. I enjoy having the emails scheduled out for my subscribers – it’s a great way to engage with my readers and build a list as well. Thank you for sharing this information every month. I look forward to it and really feel inspired by it.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    You guys are great. Thanks for sharing. I showed your blog to a friend. He was in awe.

    Bjork, I finally got brave enough to publish. I am pretty self conscience about my photography, but my friend said the same thing you said, so I jumped. Thanks.