September Income Report – Making Money from a Food Blog - $5,466.69
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September Income Report - $5,466.69

Skillful Cook's September Income collage.

Hiya! Bjork here.

I'm checking in for the monthly Skillful Cook income report.

Just over a year ago Lindsay and I decided to start tracking the income that came from this blog. Our hope is that these posts are inspirational and educational.

Inspirational in that you can see that's it's possible to create an income from a food blog (not always easy, but possible).

Educational in that you can see exactly how we're doing it.

Here are the numbers for September:

The Breakdown:

Income As Percentages

Blog Income as Percentages in a graph.

Income Notes:

You'll notice that this month, Freelance Food Photography is #2 on the income list. This type of work happens when clients contact Lindsay by sending an email asking her to take some food photos for their project/product. It's a great way to make extra money, and it's also a lot of work.


Here are the screenshots of the Skillful Cook Google Analytics for the month of August.

Traffic Overview - September with a graph.
Traffic Sources - September chart.

Traffic Notes:

A big thank you needs to go out to Iowa Girl Eats for sending 2,300+ visitors to Skillful Cook last month. Thanks Kristin!

Tips and Takeaways

Pinterest Tracking

Awhile back we tested out having text in photos (see example below).

No Bake Cookies - Text Example.

We wanted to see if having text in a photo would make it more “pinnable”.

It was really hard to test the effectiveness of this though, because all that we could see was the total amount of pins that a post would get. It wasn't possible to see how many pins an image was getting.

Guess what? A simple little URL came to the rescue:

This URL is a Pinterest tool you can use to see what images from your website are being pinned.

Copy the URL above and replace with your own domain name. Paste this URL into your browser and it will take you to a page that contains a chronological list of all of your blog's pinned images!

Here's how I used this URL to do research: a day or so after a post went live, I would go to the URL above and browse through the images to see which ones were pinned most frequently.

We found that the non-text images were being pinned just as much as the text images, leaving us to believe that the work that goes into adding the text to the image wasn't quite with the trouble it took to create them.

Website Tracking

I have good news for you - chances are that people are talking about you online.

The news gets even better - I'm guessing that they're saying good things about you.

It gets better yet - Google has a handy tool that will email you anytime you're mentioned online.

It's called Google Alerts. It's really simple and really powerful.

You enter in the term that you want Google to search the web for and then pick how often you want Google to notify you when results are found.

Here's an example of one of the Google Alerts that I have setup:

Google Alert.

You might be asking: “So what should I do when I get an alert from Google?”

Good question, my friend.

It depends.

If the Google Alert shows that you were mentioned in a blog post, you can stop by and leave a comment for that person and say “Thanks for the link!”

If the Google Alert shows that you were mentioned on some type of news site you can use that article as content for Facebook or Twitter. This recently happened with Skillful Cook when I received a Google Alert that one of Lindsay's recipes was featured in on the Huffington Post. I was able to grab that link and post it Facebook. #proudhusband 🙂

Lastly, you can use it as a way to stay tuned to what's happening online with your primary area of interest or focus. Let's say you are building a blog that focuses on the Paleo Diet. You could enter a Google Alert for “Paleo Diet News” or something similar. For instance, I have a Google Alert setup for “Food Blog Income”, because it's an area that I'm interested in.

Big News, Coming Soon

I'm really excited to announce something food blog related in next month's income report. It's not ready to be released to the world quite yet, but I'm really pumped about it.

Be sure to check back in the first week of November to get the complete scoop!

As always, thanks for reading! We really appreciate it. 🙂

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'

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for the great info as always! Your site has been extremely helpful with getting ours up and running. Can’t wait to continue implementing your useful advice! We just launched our site this past Monday, so we’ve got a long way to go!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Congrats on launching! Keep us in the loop as your blog continues to grow. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about any of the things we’ve written about on Skillful Cook. 🙂

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Very helpful as always. Also bought your tasty food photography book and guess what, got my 1st pic accepted on tastespotting and foodgawker is accepting more! thanks!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Laureen – that is awesome! It’s so fun to hear success stories like this. I’m sending a virtual high five your way. Good work!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for writing these posts. They’ve been a great resource and inspiration. Setting up a healthy blog takes a lot of work and patience, and I hope to take a cue from the analytic focus you present on Skillful Cook!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Great job to you and Lyndsay! You both are an inspiration for sure! I bought your book about 4 months ago and my blog is about 3 months old now, and still waiting to see some “dough” from it! I’m finding hard to get my pics on foodgawker, but tastespotting seems to like them 🙂

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I predict you guys have a book – something newsworthy like that. Whatever it is, congrats.

    “We found that the non-text images were being pinned just as much as the text images, leaving us to believe that the work that goes into adding the text to the image wasn’t quite with the trouble it took to create them.” — this is so interesting. About 6-12 mos ago I was more inclined to pin things I think that had text and do add it to 1 pic in every recipe post i do, but it does take time and I always wonder if those get pinned anymore. I sense they don’t; along the lines of your observations.

    I can’t believe you’re making almost a grand a month from your Bluehost affiliate partnership, too. Awesome!

    LOVE LOVE these posts. So much great info.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Averie! Thanks for saying hi and for the kind words.

      I agree with your comment about the text images being a lot of work! There might be a little bit of payoff with it, but not quite enough to make it worth the time.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I stumbled across this looking for a brownie recipe, and I’m so glad I did! Amazingly helpful and motivational; I’ve been considering starting a blog for a couple years now.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I look forward to these income reports every month. Thanks again, for some great info. Now I cant wait to see what you have in store for next month 🙂

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you so much Bjork and Lindsy! I purchased your photo e-book last month and found it very informative. I am starting my blog this weekend (I hope) and will use every tool you so graciously shared (and of course will use WordPress through your link under “3 Steps to Start Your Own Blog”). I look forward to your news next month. I’m guessing you might have written an e-book on how to earn money through blogging. Just a guess……and a wish:)

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Julie! Thanks for picking up the book. Much appreciated! Let us know if you have any questions as you start setting up your blog.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    These income reports are my favorite posts! I always look forward to the good information you put in them. Thanks much, both of you!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I look forward to your income posts just as much as I look forward to Lindsay’s recipe posts. I always learn something useful from them. Thanks so much!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I bow down to you. I’m in my first official month of collecting income and I learned almost everything from you! I have no idea how you guys are getting so many people to bluehost, though. Not a single person has clicked on my hostmonster link! But anyway, thank you thank you thank you. 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Jen – I’d suggest putting up some tutorials and information on how to get signed up with Hostmonster. Affiliate programs (usually) work best when you provide an informational “how to” page or tutorial.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m curious, how many posts does Skillful Cook have?

    How long did it take for BlogHer to respond back to you to accept you as a candidate for advertising? I applied last month and haven’t heard anything yet.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Autumn! Skillful Cook has just over 250 posts. And the first time I applied to BlogHer, it took a long time – maybe a month or more – to hear back from them. Then I waited too long to sign up, so I had to reapply (woops) and the second time it went a lot faster. Our experience with BlogHer has been really wonderful so I’d encourage you to wait it out for a while yet! 🙂 Good luck!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Bjork and Lindsay, thanks for all the great info you share with these income reports. Quick question about your book marketing strategy. What seems to be working for you guys? How are you promoting it other than the banners you place at the bottom of your posts? I’d love to hear more about your marketing strategy there.

    Thanks, you guys rock!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is fascinating information. Thank you for sharing. I recently bought Tasty Food Photography and am looking forward to taking better food pictures!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Bjork!

    Thanks so much for your awesome tips every month. I’ve been lurking your guys’ site for months now and you guys gave me the courage to finally start my very own for blog. Thanks!

    Anyway, I wanted to bring something to your attention: I read all of my food blogs on an app called Pulse. For some reason, when I tried to add your content to my pulse app, it says that “This feed is currently not supported in the web app.” It does it both on my web app & my phone app and it’s only your website that doesn’t work. I don’t know what the problem, is but I thought I’d bring it to your attention.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    you guys are SO inspirational and helpful. i don’t think i would have ever gotten my blog up and running without your helpful posts. its still in progress but i finally got it set up… would love for you to stop by. thanks for these posts!!!


  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Bjork and Lindsay: I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog! Lindsay’s recipes and photography are inspiring and I look forward to Bjork’s monthly income report and cheering you right along in your journey to success! Bjork – your specific, detailed reports have been so helpful as are your videos. We are a “young” blog, just 11 weeks old, but the information we have gleaned from you has been invaluable and a true time-saver! Thanks for sharing, thanks for your “transparency” as relates to your income and thanks for what you are doing for the children in your new home country – keep it coming!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you SO much for these reports! They really are helpful 🙂 I LOVE watching your income grow every month. It really inspires me to keep developing my own blog. I appreciate all of the tools, tips and information you both share with us. Btw – the food photography book is AWESOME!