March Traffic and Income Report - $17,118.92 - Skillful Cook
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March Traffic and Income Report - $17,118.92

Blog Income and Traffic Report - March collage of images.

Greetings! Guess who.

Yep! You’re right. It’s me Bjork. I’m the nerd in the virtual Skillful Cook basement. I’m also Lindsay’s husband. I’m also the star of the video from this post that Lindsay recently shared. #hiddentalent

I show up once a month to give an update on everything that’s happening behind the scenes at Skillful Cook. I share the blog’s income, expenses, and traffic stats. I usually wrap up the post by sharing some tips or takeaways that we’re learning as we grow the blog.

This month’s report is going to be a little bit different though. For the first time ever I won't be sharing any tips.

You might be saying “What?!? No tips? But I love tips!”

To which I would reply with (adjusted emphasis and a slight pause): “ tips, from me.”

Kiersten from Oh My Veggies is going to be sharing some tips that she learned as she grew her blog’s RPM from $1.55 to over $19 in less than two years! She recently wrote an eBook about it called How to Monetize Your Food Blog (FYI: the eBook links in this post are affiliate links).

I'd highly recommend the book. I read it. I loved it. I learned from it. I think it’s worth every single penny that you’ll pay for it.

More on that in a bit. First, the numbers…


*We didn't have the totals for Swoop at the time of publishing this post, so we took last month's income and adjusted for traffic.

Total Income:: $24,428.53


Total Expenses: $7,309.61

Net Profit: $17,118.92

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

Display Advertisers

In January's report, I shared 10 important mindsets for bloggers. One of those mindsets was “1% ∞” (one percent infinity). The idea with this mindset is that you are forever trying to improve, even if it's just a little bit. With blogging (or business or non-profit), you win by improving a little bit, day after day, forever.

Kiersten's monetization eBook was a good reminder to me that we need to apply the concept of 1% ∞ to our display advertising on Skillful Cook. Display advertising turned into “set it and forget” type income for us, as opposed to what it should be, which is something that we continually tweak, track, and adjusting. Applying 1% ∞ to display advertising will results in drastic improvements (over time). So, we're starting the process of applying to other ad networks and we're being diligent about tracking and following along with the performance of these networks.


RPM stands for page revenue per thousand impressions. Or, in other words, RPM shows you the average revenue you earn from every 1,000 page views on your blog.

March RPM for Skillful Cook

If you want to learn more about RPM (and some other important advertising terms) then be sure to check out this post on Food Blogger Pro.


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

Traffic Overview

Google Anatlyics - Traffic Overview.

Top Ten Traffic Sources

Google Analytics - Top Ten Traffic Sources.

Mobile Vs. Desktop Traffic

Google Analytics - Mobile vs. Desktop.

Thoughts On Traffic

Mobile For The Win!

It's official. For the first time ever Skillful Cook has received more traffic from mobile phones than from desktop computers. Want to see an interesting stat? Check this out:

Percentage of Visitors (to Skillful Cook) Using a Desktop Computer

  • 2011: 98.55%
  • 2012: 68.57%
  • 2013: 50.33%
  • 2014: 37.87%

See a trend?

Part of the reason for the drastic change in those numbers is due to the fact that a lot of our traffic comes from Pinterest, and a lot of Pinterest users are using the mobile version of the app. I'd be interested to here if other bloggers have similar mobile percentages. Have you seen a similar trend away from visitors using a desktop computer?

Meet Kiersten

Kiersten from Oh My Veggies with a camera.

A little over a week ago I sat down at a coffee shop and read through Kiersten's book, How to Monetize Your Food Blog. I found myself highlighting, taking notes, and thinking “this would be perfect for the people that read the Skillful Cook income reports.”

I love how Kiersten is able to take the complicated concepts behind monetizing a blog and present it in an easy to read, value-packed eBook. The best part? She has solid proof that shows how her income has increased as she applied the advice to her own blog. Be sure to check out the graph where she shares her blog's page views and total ad revenue over time.

If you're interested, you can purchase the book here or click on the image below.

How to Monetize a Food Blog with books and an ipad.

Without further ado, here's Kiersten from Oh My Veggies. Take it away Kiersten!

Hi there! I'm so excited that Bjork and Lindsay asked me to stop in today to share my story of how I took Oh My Veggies from a hobby to a business. I'm a big fan of Skillful Cook-both the food (hello, creamy cauliflower sauce!) and the tips about blogging and photography. While my blog is my full-time job now, it's important to me that I monetize with integrity and in a way that's not annoying or pushy, and I think Bjork and Lindsay are a great example of this kind of monetization.

When I started blogging, making money from it wasn't on my radar at all. I hoped that I could get free samples of food in the mail (yeah, I admit it!), but that was about it. I didn't even know you could make money from blogging and even once I did realize it, I never really thought that I would. (I tend to doubt myself like that.) When I finally set out to monetize almost a year into blogging, my only goal was to cover the cost of hosting-which was $4.95 at the time. Clearly I dream big, right? When my first check arrived, it was for about $50, and I was elated. Not only did I have this awesome hobby that I loved, but I was making money from it!

As my traffic grew, my income started to go up with it. Soon I was making a few hundred dollars a month from my hobby and it became a reliable source of part-time income. And then I got laid off from my job and panic set in. I knew it would take me a while to find a new job (I have a degree in Library & Information Studies-no one's exactly knocking down my door to hire me!), so I decided to give full-time food blogging a try. I gave myself a 4-month deadline: if I wasn't making a full-time living from food blogging by December, I would start looking for a job and go back to blogging as a hobby.

And then I hustled! A friend of mine told me that I should set up backfill for BlogHer, so I did that. I began to do a lot of experimentation with ad networks-trying new ones, figuring out the best order to put them in, finding the right number of ads to put on my blog. I started using affiliate programs and began signing up for blogger networks for sponsored post opportunities. I concentrated on my content and figuring out what my readers were looking for-I stopped posting what I wanted to post and started taking a more reader-centric approach to blogging. I had the eye of the tiger. By the 4th month of my full-time blogging experiment, I was making a full-time income between my ads, affiliate programs, and sponsored posts. Victory!

Now, not only am I making a living from my blog, but I'm making enough that I've been able to expand Oh My Veggies and add four contributors. I also have an assistant, photographers that I work with, a graphic designer on retainer, and a recipe tester. It never stops being completely surreal to me that the blog I started on a whim has turned into a legit business.

Five Tips For Blogging Full-Time

I really have about eleventy-billion tips for blogging full-time. I'm full of tips! And opinions! Like a piñata of knowledge. Okay, maybe not a piñata. That's weird. But what I'm getting at is, I've learned a lot along the way. Here are five tips that have helped me the most.

1. Up Your Ad Game!

I feel so bummed whenever I hear a blogger say that they don't understand ads, so they don't bother optimizing them. Nooooo! Don't say that! When you don't optimize your ads, you are leaving money on the table, so it's important to take the time to do it. I didn't understand ads when I started either and you know what I did? I learned them. Having one ad network simply isn't enough. Most ad networks don't have ads 100% of the time and you need to have other networks lined up beneath your primary ad network so when that network doesn't have ads to display, it will default to your secondary network. And if you have a few networks lined up, even better! Most ad spots on my blog run 3-4 different ad networks. You can see in this chart from my ebook how my RPM increased as I optimized my ads.

Oh My Veggies - RPM Growth.

Lining up ad networks like this is often referred to as setting up a waterfall. I talk about it a lot in my ebook and it's really the key to my blog's success. While I make income from other areas too (it's important to diversify!), ads are my bread-and-butter. And once you have your waterfall set up, it doesn't end there. I make sure each network is performing as it should and if it's not, I swap it out for another one. It might sound intimidating, but if I could teach myself to do it, there's no reason why you can't either. Don't psych yourself out before you even start.

2. If You Want Your Blog To Be a Business, Treat It Like One

Because you can't have it both ways! One mistake that I often see bloggers make is that when they want to take their blog full-time, they still treat their blog like it's a hobby.

When I was laid off, I set up an editorial calendar for myself and I have rarely strayed from it. I make it a point to respond to every question asked about a recipe and every reader email. I take the time to test all of my recipes a few times before posting them-even if something turns out perfect the first time. (Now that I have contributors writing for Oh My Veggies, my cousin helps with recipe testing too!) The fact that I make an income from my food blog doesn't make me a professional blogger-it's the fact that I put time into it and take a business-like approach to it that makes me a professional blogger.

I also invest a lot of my income back into Oh My Veggies. I used my first big check from BlogHer to pay for a professional blog design. The more money I make, the more I spend on my business-and it always pays off! Having a well-designed blog and good hosting will definitely help your blog's traffic, but even small investments can have a big pay off. If you struggle with photography, invest in lessons! If you're unfamiliar with basic HTML, go buy some books about it! Oh, and if you struggle with monetization? BUY MY BOOK! (That was totally shameless, huh?)

3. Don't Quit Your Day Job (Yet)

Okay, maybe you can quit your day job, but I wouldn't suggest doing that until you're making at least some income from your blog. I was lucky in that the decision was made for me because I was laid off, but I was already making a part-time income from blogging at that point. But I think it's a mistake to quit your job before you're making money-not just because you might not be able to pay your rent, but because I believe when you're under that kind of pressure to make things happen, it can lead you to make the wrong decisions for your blog since it forces you to think in the short-term, rather than the long-term. While you might make a lot of money doing 5 sponsored posts a week, it's going to drive away readers, which will make it difficult for you to get to the next level.

If you can, cut your work hours or find a part-time job as your blog revenue grows-this gives you an intermediate step between working full-time and quitting your job to blog full-time and lets you have the time you need to grow your blog without all that added pressure.

4. Content First, Monetization Second

My focus with Oh My Veggies is never, “How can I make money?” Instead, it's always, “How can I help my readers? What do they want to see?” Especially if you're monetizing through ads, you need to focus on creating useful content that people want to read and, even more importantly, share. (My golden rule of blogging is “Never post anything that you wouldn't read on someone else's blog.”)

Part of this is coming up with a hook. There are a lot of blogs out there and you need to figure out what makes yours different. Why should people subscribe to your blog instead of someone else's? What are you offering that no one else does? With Oh My Veggies, I realized that simply being a vegetarian food blog wasn't enough, so I honed in on easy vegetarian meal ideas. While we still do the occasional dessert or snack, most of our posts are everyday dinner types of recipes. When people know what to expect from your blog, it will help you build a loyal readership.

5. Diversify, But Do It Your Way

Diversifying your income streams doesn't mean you have to do everything. It's probably best that you don't! Find a few things that you're good at and stick to doing those well. When I first started blogging full-time, other bloggers told me that it was impossible to be a professional blogger and not do sponsored posts (some people even equate professional blogging with doing marketing!), so I started doing them. And I didn't enjoy it at all! They are just not for me, so a few months ago, I decided not to do them anymore. Don't feel pressure to monetize in ways that aren't right for your blog or your personality.

There are very few overnight successes in the blogging world. I can't speak for anyone else, but Oh My Veggies has only been successful because I have put an obscene amount of time and effort into it, but I really, truly love what I do, so it's worth it to me. Food blogging is not an effortless way to make money from home-anyone who tells you that is either lying or they're not doing it right! But if you have a passion for it, know that you can make an income from your food blog. I am no different from any other food blogger, so if I was able to do it, you can too!

Bjork here again.

Can we all give a virtual round of applause for Kiersten? Solid, practical, and valuable advice. Good stuff!

Here's that link one more time if you'd like to purchase her eBook: How to Monetize Your Food Blog.

Because Of You

It’s really true. It’s because of you (yes, you!) that this thing we call Skillful Cook can exist as it does today. Thanks so much for reading, tweeting, commenting or emailing. We love hearing from you!

We’re using a portion of this month’s income from Skillful Cook to support a special project at the Children’s Shelter of Cebu, an orphanage where Lindsay and I lived and worked for a year. The special project we’re supporting this month is new carpet for the school.

Children in red shirts.

The kids and staff at CSC take really good care of the buildings and grounds. That being said, the time has come to get new carpet in the school, so we're excited to use some of the income from Skillful Cook to chip in and help them get a little bit closer to their fundraising goal. Thanks for helping to make this possible!

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    So glad to see all of my blogging mentors working together! I was a member of Food Blogger Pro for a year and a frequent visitor of Skillful Cook and I absolutely adore Kiersten as well. Her ebook helped me SO much! I was one of those people that just could not figure it out for the life of me and with the help of Kiersten’s ebook it finally all came together. Thanks to all 3 of you for always being awesome!!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Question for Kiersten! How much of your book is specific to food blogging and how much of it could be applied to any blog? I’m working on monetizing my blog and would love to learn more, but the work I do isn’t food-related. Thanks!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I was lucky enough to get a preview of it before it hit the market. I am a parenting/lifestyle blogger mainly and found that the information was tailored to ALL niches, not just foodie. Because she IS a foodie, she markets that way but the same info can be applied to any blog area. I have recommended this e-book to many of my blogger friends and only a small percentage are actually food bloggers. It will carry over just fine.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Caitlin! I would say it depends on how you plan to monetize your blog. If ads and sponsored posts are going to be a big part of your monetization plan, I think this book will definitely help you. However, if you’re primarily looking to do affiliate sales, it might not be exactly what you need–while there’s content in there about affiliate marketing, it’s pretty specific to the food blogging niche.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks again for letting me drop in on your income report! And thank you also for recommending my ebook to your readers. 🙂 I completely agree with you about the importance of constantly growing and improving–I think no matter where we’re at with our food blogs, there’s always room for some fine tuning. That’s what I love about blogging! There’s always something new to tackle.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    As always– this is SO helpful! Love Oh my Veggies too! Your monthly reports are so informative and it is fantastic that you share your knowledge in such an honest way. There is no feeling of “oh look what we did aren’t we great” instead it is “here is how we did it and hopefully you can grow and gain something from it”. Many thanks and all the best wishes for continued success!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    So helpful! Thanks Bjork (and Kiersten!) Right now blogging is just a hobby for me, but who knows, maybe someday I’ll be making some money off of it! Although I still don’t quite understand ads. I really need to sit down and figure them out!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yeah, it definitely takes some time to really wrap your head around how the ad stuff works. Let us know if you have any questions along the way Leigha. We’ll do what we can to help out.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is such a great post! Thank you Kiersten for posting all of these helpful tips. I the post on back-filling the ads and I’ve started doing it over the past 2 weeks and noticed a huge increase in ad revenue (Over 50%)!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you so much for this info. I noticed though that those bloggers who made money from blogging are those who got accepted from Blogher. I tried it there but got rejected. So I had Foodie blogroll instead. I do not know how much I am making from them because it has not been three months since I started from them. But by POY’s suggestion, I got affiliate from Bluehost and earned from them and I earned from sovrn too. Then I got a sponsorship offer of S 250 . 00 and the article is yet to be approved. I also set up an Amazon Associate so that I can get discount from my purchases, since I am a crazy Amazon buyer anyway.Looking at these, I can pay to renew my hosting for 5 years.

    I did not set out to earn money but POY inspired me to do so; since I am blogging anyway, might as well earn a little bit out of it. I started my blog for fun but then there was a time that I got swayed by jealousy about how nice other people’s blogs and pictures and most, how well they write ( which I am not yet). I kinda lost direction and to be honest discouraged. So I stopped and just re calibrated and I reminded myself that “this is suppose to be fun.”Right now, 9 months after starting my blog, I am learning to write in English everyday, I am learning about myself and my life’s direction and by blogging, I kinda found my passion. I think that is a price that cannot be paid by any amount of money.

    Thank Bjork / Lindsay for inspiring me and Kiersten for this post.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I wanted to say that I am not on BlogHers network and make 6 figures a year blogging. I love your attitude but also wanted to let you know that that network is the be all or end all and encourage you to keep going. In fact, due to their restrictions, being with them would limit how I monetize. Do get get discouraged!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Trish and Lindsay do you have any suggestions on other ad networks. Blogher is what everyone seems to have, and Google Adsense is just a backup I think. I’d love to hear your insight into this:) Thanks you guys and thanks Bjork for being so stinking willing to share! Nobody does it like you guys:)


    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Shobelyn, I just want to say that I love your attitude. In my opinion, you have to be able to be motivated by the enjoyment you get from doing the blog work rather than the prospect of money itself, because if three years go by and you never make any money, you would have still had the time of your life doing something you love. That being said, I don’t think you need to be on BlogHer to make decent advertising income. I would look through Kiersten’s ebook and at some of the other networks that we are both using and try those as an alternative. We used to be with Foodie Blogroll when we first started but we really didn’t make any money with them. For now, keep doing what you’re doing and put things in place one day at a time that can help you grow an income, but like you said, focus on your passion and the fact that you enjoy what you’re doing so much! 🙂 That kind of passion drives good content which is what drives growth. Thanks for the comment!

    3. Skillful Cook Logo

      ” I also set up an Amazon Associate so that I can get discount from my purchases, since I am a crazy Amazon buyer anyway”
      Read the Amazon TOS carefully. You are not allowed to do purchases through your own affiliate links. In case they find out, they could cancel your account.

      @Bjork & Lindsay
      Just found your site today and am excited to explore more. As I love cooking this seems to be the perfect site for me to check out frequently. The combination of blogger who run their site as a business and cooking, thats it.

      Have to run now and check out the breakfast recipies.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Hello Bjork & Lindsay, hope you are doing well and business is going strong.
        As I discontinued my previous site ( adwordsexplained com linked in the comment above), I would appreciate if you could un-link that old site.
        Thanks so much for your help and have a very nice sunday.
        Tom – now at

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for the post! I love Oh My Veggies and its been interesting to watch it transform over the past 6 months!

    I have a suggestion for both of your blogs. One thing that I miss from websites like epicurious were the recipe reviews. I love in these blogs how people post encouraging comments but the vast majority of these say, “this looks good,” or “beautiful pictures!” then they rate the recipe 5 stars. I actually cook A LOT from food blogs and its annoying when I know nothing about other people’s experiences with the recipe. One time I decided not to make a pie from Love and Olive Oil because while it was beautiful I didn’t know if it would taste good! At this point I trust Lindsay enough (is that weird??) to know that if she posts a recipe it is amazing. But still I miss all of the actual reviews that people would leave. So I guess my suggestion would be to incorporate some sort of a rating system that is separate from the comments. It would be super cool if it was some sort of app you developed (food blogger pro project!) so that it was consistent across multiple blogs. I know you kind of have this with he 5 star rating scale but most people seem to use it as a way to complement the post, not the recipe. Kiersten- this would be an awesome addition to Potluck!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I have to say that I agree with Anna 100%. I had this exact same discussion with my hubby last night after I made Lindsay’s sweet potato, kale and sausage bake with white cheese sauce. I had a question about an ingredient and read through all the comments to see if anyone had addressed my question. One person had asked about it (and Lindsay did answer, which was great) but while cooking, I realized that I would probably alter a couple things based on whether the ingredient was raw or precooked. It would have been really helpful to be able to read about that in the comments section.

      I used to frequently find new recipes from sites like allrecipes or epicurious, which are great if you already know what you want to make and can just search for that particular recipe. I always find that I choose which recipe to use based on reader comments, and I also frequently adjust a recipe based on others’ experiences. However I’ve recently started cooking more from food blogs, since I love the more personal touch and also love finding recipes I might not have ever thought to search for on my own. But I sorely miss the helpful comments with tips. Those big recipe websites get helpful comments/reviews even years after the recipe is published, whereas it seems that food blogs get most of their comments in the few days after a new post comes out, and they all say “This looks delicious, can’t wait to try it!” which is nice, but not helpful to someone who is actually going to cook the recipe rather than just read about it. I even mentioned to my husband that it’s great that all these people (many of them food bloggers themselves) are supportive of each other, but it almost seems like they are all viewing and commenting on each others’ posts to get their traffic numbers up, so they can make more money off ads, etc. It makes me wonder if anyone actually cooks any of the recipes!

      Perhaps the issue is merely that since blogs are so much more personal than recipe websites, people don’t wish to leave comments that could be viewed as critical. I don’t think it’s helpful to anyone to post negative comments, but the “Hey, I made this and this is what worked for me” type of comments are great when you are trying a new recipe!

      Just want to add that even though I might do a couple of things differently next time, the sweet potato, kale and sausage bake was very tasty! 🙂

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Thanks Sandy! Glad you liked it – and feel free to leave your comment with what you might change! 🙂 I agree with what Kiersten was saying – usually the comments towards the bottom are going to have more of those suggestions, but when a recipe is brand new there’s probably not going to be a ton of that being talked about yet. I find that it usually takes a few days for those kinds of comments (I made this and…) to start showing up.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I think the issue here is that food blogs have two very distinct sets of readers: bloggers and non-bloggers. For bloggers, leaving comments like that is very much a part of food blogging culture and it’s how we form friendships and get to know each other. But from a reader’s perspective–those comments are annoying and pointless! I totally get that. On my own blog, I know that after a day or two has passed, almost all the comments are left by people who have made the recipe or have questions about it. So usually if you scroll to the bottom of the page and read from the bottom up, you can get to the meaty comments. Although I haven’t considered an app or separate rating system, I have been thinking about implementing some kind of comment hierarchy where reader reviews/questions are prioritized and/or highlighted. I just haven’t figured out the logistics of it yet. 🙂

      Also, the thing to remember about Epicurious, AllRecipes, etc., is that they are getting WAY more traffic than even the biggest food bloggers. So they’re always going to have more reviews on their recipes than we are.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        It’s funny because the supportive food blogger culture is one of the things that I love! But Sandy totally got what I was saying from the practicality standpoint. It’s one of the things hat I loved about your “what I ate this week” posts Kiesten – because I knew you made them and sometimes you didn’t recommend them! I am glad that food bloggers are thinking about it thou!

        My trick is to do a search within the webpage for the word “made” since people start out those reviews saying something like, “I made this last night.”

    3. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks for the comment Anna! I have had people ask me this same question before, like there are all these 5 star ratings and where are the actual reviews? Sometimes commenters just rate the recipe as 5 stars (or even more frustratingly, 2 or 3 stars) based on if they like the LOOK of the recipe, without having made the recipe. That might be something we could mention to the Easy Recipe developers as an idea for the future!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    i just wanted to take a quick moment to say how helpful these monthly reports are. thank you so much for being so open, honest and supportive of the blogging community. it’s pretty incredible and i’ve learned a ton from these posts. (and they motivate me!) have a great weekend!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for this month’s summary, Bjork. I do have a question though. sovrn/Lijit seems to be a big part of the income but when I tried it, I came across these annoying ads that would play with sound as soon as the page loads! Call me crazy but I feel this kind of thing would drive away readers. How did you deal with these kind of ads from sovrn?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I hear ya! We’re dealing with that now and we’re looking for solutions. We’re testing out some other ad networks and, when the auto play/annoying ads do show up, we follow up with sovrn and ask them to review those ads from our account. It’s not ideal, but that’s what we’re doing for the time being.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    My life has really changed. I used to get excited when I’d get a fashion magazine in the mail, or the Macy’s sale catalog. Now, I get excited when I receive POY’s income reports! I really look forward to them!

    My question/concern is, if more people are using mobile devices to look at your website, how are you monetizing when people on the mobile version aren’t seeing the ads in the sidebar? I know I have seen some mobile versions that have an ad or two, but most of the ads don’t show. Is there a work around for this? Is this something covered in the ebook?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      This isn’t covered in the ebook and it’s something I’ve been grappling with myself with Oh My Veggies. For a while, I didn’t have a mobile version of my site for this very reason. I now have a responsive design and by default, all of the sidebar ads end up at the bottom of the page. I don’t like the way it looks, so I’m trying to figure out a happy medium between stripping most of my ads out or having them all on the page and having it look clunky.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Great question Dee. Much like Kiersten, we’re still trying to figure out the best solution for mobile. We’re in conversation with a few different mobile ad companies. These are companies that only work with mobile ads (the ones that show up over the content on the bottom of the phone/tablet). We’ll be sure to report back with anything that we learn. 🙂

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I really appreciate how open and helpful you guys are. It’s really interesting to see what you’re doing and how you’re optimizing things. The honesty in your posts is just so refreshing and obviously, this blog rocks, so you deserve every bit of success that you’ve earned. 🙂

  13. Skillful Cook Logo


    This blog would be interesting even if you didn’t blog and weren’t trying to monetize.

    Will have to comb through several more times to “weed” all the good info out.

    This level of honestly is sooooo refreshing.

    Thanks for a great read!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hey nice ebook just bought it and I already loved it.
    But I have a query about your Media Temple hosting charging only $107.14 this month instead of $750 ?? How did that happen ?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Great question Ambika. In last month’s report I shared about downgrading our hosting to see if we can be on a lower hosting plan without it having a negative impact on the blog’s performance. When we downgrade with Media Temple we’re credited the amount that we paid for the higher plan that month and it’s applied to the next bill, so this month’s bill was especially low.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks Ashley. I’m trying to figure out if you meant to say “ate” or if it’s just an ironic food blog typo.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love this post, Bjork and Kiersten! I have been meaning to switch one of my lower-paying ad networks for another one, and am eager to learn how to put in passback tags. Since I just made a bit of money from my very first sponsored post, I’m going to reinvest and buy myself Kiersten’s e-book 🙂

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    Thanks SO MUCH for having Kiersten over on the blog, Bjork. She just got a sale from me. I’m heading over to purchase her ebook now. I’ve been telling myself to research how to increase ad revenue and it just hasn’t happened yet. Thanks for the push. 🙂

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      We were in the same situation! I knew we could be doing better but I needed that extra push to actually jump in and start making changes.

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    Thanks Kiersten and Bjork for the great tips! The income and monetization part of blogging can be truly intimidating for those of us just starting out with it, but it’s so encouraging to have people like you sharing what you have learned along the way. I learned so much about food photography from Lindsay’s Tasty Food Photography e-book and I will definitely be purchasing Kiersten’s e-book now as well!

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    Bjork, Kiersten, and Lindsay — thank you SO much for putting this post together! These behind-the-scenes posts are always so helpful, especially to novice bloggers like me. There’s always more to learn, which can be (and usually is!) very overwhelming, so it’s really reassuring to have your dependable and valuable resources there for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂

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      Thanks Amy! Keep us in the loop if you have any questions along the way. We’ll do what we can to help out.

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    I love these little pieces of advice. I need to be better about my ads for sure. These are the posts I flag and try to reference once a month as a refresher. Still probably not enough but at least it is more than once a year.

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    Bjork, when you calculate the RPM, do you include all income (affiliate, e-book, etc.) or just advertising income? I calculated mine based just on advertising last night and it’s pretty abysmal…it’s a little better if I include Amazon affiliate income. It sounded like Kiersten was saying in her book to just include advertising income, but I wasn’t sure, and I want to calculate it the same way you guys do so I can set appropriate goals for myself. Thank you!!

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      When I’m calculating the RPM for Skillful Cook I use all of our revenue (advertising, affiliate, and products). Kiersten was just using her ad revenue(!).