November Income Report - Making Money from a Food Blog - $4,782.70
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November Income Report – $4,782.70

Collage of image for Skillful Cook's November Income.

Hi Friends! It's me, Bjork. I'm checking in for our monthly income report.

So why do we put these posts out every month? Well, our hope is that these monthly income and traffic reports are inspirational and educational.

Inspirational in that you can see that’s it’s possible to create an income from a food blog and educational in that you can see where the income we’re earning is coming from.

In each report I include any thoughts or ideas we've had in the past month regarding ways to grow a food blog. Our hope is that these posts have helped you grow your own blog. Lindsay and I both believe that there is “enough for everyone,” so we do our best to not hold anything back in sharing the ways that we are making money and growing traffic on Skillful Cook.

The Breakdown:

Grand Total: $4,782.70

Income As Percentages

November - Income as Percentages in a graph.

Income Notes:

$1,673.76 is the most we've earned from Tasty Food Photography. A lot of that comes from a popular photography website that signed up as an affiliate.

This month we officially turned off VigLink's automatic link insertion function, as we noticed more and more irrelevant links showing up. Case in point: There was one link that pointed to an eBay listing for a used sweater. The seller of this used sweater included a note that he owns cats so it might have cat hair on it. Wha?!? For real? It was at this point that we decided to turn off VigLink automatic link insertion. If you have VigLink installed on your blog be sure to keep an eye on the products that it's linking to. If you notice irrelevant links you might want to consider turning it off.


Here are the traffic screenshots for the month of November.

Traffic Overview - November.
Traffic Sources - November.

Food Blogger Pro

The Food Blogger Pro logo and the text, 'Everything you need to know to start, grow, and monetize your blog' on a blue background

On November 8th we announced the launch of a new site called Food Blogger Pro. Lindsay and I are really excited that 120 people signed up for Food Blogger Pro in November. We are so excited to build this community of food bloggers from all around the world.

So why did we not include this amount in our income total for November? Simply put, we want these posts to contain information about realistic ways to make money from a food blog. It's not realistic to assume that every food blogger would have the time or interest to put together a membership site, so we kept the income from Food Blogger Pro out of the monthly total.

If you want to learn more about Food Blogger Pro you can read the original post here.

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.”

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'

Tips and Takeaways

Let's talk about videos

Have you ever recorded a recipe video for your blog?

If you haven't, you should give it a shot. I know, I know... It's an entirely different ball game when you're pressing the record video button instead of the take picture button. But food bloggers that use video will have a huge advantage in growing their blog, especially as video becomes more and more the norm for consuming content on the web. Videos help engage readers in a different way, give your site an SEO boost, and offer another way that people can discover your blog.

We've been experimenting with video on Skillful Cook the past few months. Our biggest takeaway so far is this: content is king.

Here's what I mean - most of the people who watch a recipe video will be watching for the recipe. Go figure! So the most important part of a recipe video isn't Hollywood like production value. It's clearly communicating how to make the recipe.

We had a lot of fun making some DSLR videos for Skillful Cook in the last few months. The bad part: they seriously took a lot of time. Lindsay had to “get ready” (hair, makeup, etc.), think about what she was going to say, and carefully plan out each step of the recipe so we could get a good shot of what she was doing. I had to setup the video and audio equipment, and then after shooting the video I'd have to import and edit the footage. We felt really good about how those first few videos looked, but we put a ton of work into them.

If you combine the time that both Lindsay and I put into that video it would probably come close to 8 hours. It feels crazy to even type that out, but it's true.

Now check out this video:

Total time to make this video? 45 minutes.

It's not the same quality, but it does an equally (if not better) job of fulfilling the main purpose of a recipe video - to show people how to make the recipe. The best part? Lindsay edited the entire thing from the couch in her pajamas! I think she liked that.

There is definitely a time and place for high production videos. But in the daily grind of posting to a food blog, content is king.

I'll Leave with You a Challenge

Here's a challenge for you - record a video sometime in the next month and post it to your blog.

After you do that, come back here and leave a comment with a link to the blog post that contains the video. Then, in next month's income report, I'll include a list of all the different people that took up the challenge.

Have you already recorded a video before? Let us know by leaving a link to it post in the comments below.

Here's are some apps you can use to create your video:

For your phone:

  • iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad - Use the iMovie app
  • Android - Use the Magisto app

For your computer:


As always, thanks for stopping by to read our monthly report. I'm looking forward to seeing some of those videos!

Update from Lindsay: Several of you asked for more details about the Foodgawker traffic, so I added a screen shot of the referral traffic from Foodgawker that might be able to shed more light on where that traffic specifically comes from. The item numbers with the word “post” are specific posts that were popular, like Chicken Enchilada Casserole or Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo.


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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I got heart palpitations just thinking about doing a video…which probably means that it would be good for me to try…

    Thanks for doing these posts every months! It really gives me lots to think about and to aspire to!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Another great income update! It’s amazing how well the affiliate sales (blue host and thesis theme) are going! We recently made a cooking video that we’ll post on the blog this month so I’ll update with the link soon! Dave has been working on making some travel videos of the various things we’ve done (Pandas at the breeding base in Chengdu, China) or filming me while I take a cooking class and putting the videos together has taken a lot of work but should get easier with practice!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi guys, thanks for this November report!
    I’m always impressed by your FoodGawker trafic, do you know why it is so high? I know your recipes appear most of the time on the front page (is there an ideal time to submit a picture?) and in the most viewed/liked of the week.
    On the FG site, if you compare your performances with other major food blogs, yours always comes way ahead.
    Additionally, if you look at the traffic you get from TasteSpotting, it’s six times smaller. Even though FG is bigger, I don’t see such a gap in my own stats, in terms of proportions.
    Anyway, if you have any tips on making the most out of our FG publications, I’d glad to hear them 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Marie! Every once in a while I’ll have a post that gets favorited a lot so it lives at the top of that “most favorited in the last 7 days” page for a while. Tastespotting does not have this feature (or they just don’t update it regularly) and I think that accounts for some of the differenec in traffic from these two sites. Sometimes I think the favoriting has to do with placement (where FG places my photo on their page) but it really just depends on the recipe, I think. I also typically submit my photos in the morning so they show up in the afternoon, but it doesn’t always have a direct correlation with how much people favorite or visit the post. Hope that helps! 🙂

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I second your questions and wondered the same thing. I keep getting things published to page 2, 3, 4, or even 5 of Foodgawker which sometimes gets me less than 100 clicks. It’s frustrating after I work so hard to take a Foodgawker-worthy picture. Any hints?

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    These posts, and your blog overall, are inspiring! I just started my food blog, so as a “freshman,” I’m trying not to stress out too much about monetizing or viewership. I’m focused on coming up with my own recipes and improving my photography. Some of my film studies friends want to help me make a video, so that’s one goal for the new year! Thanks again.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Perfect goal! Sounds like you’re really focusing on the most important things, Elizabeth. Hope you’re having fun with it!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    This IS inspirational. Thankyou so much for sharing this. You have no idea (or maybe you do) how much this helps a budding online entrepreneur.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congrats on a great month you two! I am in dire need to start bringing in a larger cash flow, especially since my views are similar to yours. I don’t make nearly as much!! Need to start expanding my options more. So rpoud of you guys! congrats on all the sucess!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    It sounds like you guys really keep busy . I did send a small ck. for the kids presents . When the little girls said they wanted some notebooks to do math for christmas I felt I should help . Or you can use for uniforms. Have a nice Christmas G’ma R.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks Grandma! 🙂 Isn’t that sweet that they wanted more math workbooks? We sure miss you!!! Hope you guys have fun at the R family Christmas this year!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Great post! I have been doing videos for a bit now (mostly fitness) and I was wondering what you have figured out for copyrights on music? I know that there is music in your videos, but I mostly avoid music because of copyrights and royalties. Have you found around this? Thanks!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just discovered your blog and can’t quit reading now…:)
    Thank you SO much for your awesome willingness to share so much. I feel like this is an answer to prayer as I’ve been blogging without much direction for some time and I want to learn and grow…but really haven’t known where to begin. (And homeschooling four boys etc., I don’t have time to search around!) I’ll be looking to your experience now, as at least one source. Already bought the ebook too! 🙂
    I’ll come back and share a fun food video my 12 year old son did for me…
    Thanks again–and God bless you guys. I’m seriously blown away by your graciousness…

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hello! I really appreciate your blog and your Income Reports is so inspiring. I run a food blog in Swedish and yesterday I published this video blog, It is my contribution to your challenge.
    This is my fourth video and it starts to become as good as I want it to be. It takes a lot of time but on the other hand, it is hugely enjoyable and also appreciated by my visitors. For those who can not speak Swedish, I can imagine that my video feels a little bit like the swedish chef in The Muppet Show ( 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you and excuse my broken English.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Guys!

    Great job! Very informational and inspirational!!

    I love love love the second video. I especially love that you used text instead of voice to show the “How to’s”. A year or so ago I started making videos but I HATED the sound of my voice and they took FOREVER to make so I stopped making them. However, I never thought to just show video and text (with nice music) – that is very clever. Not to mention easy on the eyes and really makes for a pleasant video watching experience.

    I was hoping you would share what video editing software you use and how you went about getting the text graphic on the slides. I use windows live movie maker and I do not think I have the ability to do that – been trying for about an hour now. I am assuming you create the graphic in a different program then upload it to your video slides.

    Also, do you have any resources (books or videos) you recommend that could help self teach us to use video editing software?

    Thanks so much!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am learning so much from these monthly reports and can’t wait to learn more in the food blogger pro community. Thanks for the inspiration. Challenge accepted.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am so impressed that you guys share your income along with great insight and tips each month. I find it so groundbreaking, and very valuable for the blogging community. Good for you!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for sharing this – it’s both inspirational and educational! Mission accomplished!

    I just started my own blog, so this post is exceptionally helpful and inspirational. And challenge accepted, I’m actually playing with video as we speak 🙂

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I think it’s amazing that you are so open in sharing how well you are doing and how you give pointers on how to help others with their own food blogs. I wish that there were more helpful people like you guys out there. I am not a food blogger, but I am still amazed by your kindness to others. Keep up the great work!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m so thankful for all you do and share! Looking forward to Food Blogger Pro.
    Took you up on the challenge.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love these little videos – but actually I think i like the quick “45 minutes to make” one better. quick and to the point. I’ve been putting some “Cooking with my Kid” videos on my site for awhile now, but they don’t look nearly as professional as yours. I don’t really have a camera-man moving around me, as the camera is just sitting on a tripod in front of us. I have a hard time with the lighting (since there isn’t any natural light in my kitchen or dining room – apartment living, ugh). And I also have trouble coming up with a professional looking intro/outro using Movie Maker. Any ideas on where to get graphics to make it look cuter and more professional? Also where do you get little instrumental music background clips for your videos? I feel like that’s always a time-consuming step for me.
    Here is one of the many videos I’ve made with my son.
    Also here is my youtube channel for all other vids if you’re interested.

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Dudes – 8 hours!?! In Patrick time, that would translate to about….8 days. Keep up the great work you two…super excited that you continue to reinvent yourself and your blog.