May Income Report - Making Money from a Food Blog - $2,969.96
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May Income Report – $2,969.96

Creating an Income from a Food Blog - May.

Greetings! My name is Bjork. I've recently been promoted to the CMEO here at Skillful Cook (Chief Mango Eating Officer).

Every month I put together a post outlining the income we earned from Skillful Cook and the things we learned along the way. My hope is that it can help you with your journey in creating some extra income from your blog or website.

This post will be short and sweet (like a mango).

Here’s the breakdown of May’s income from Skillful Cook:

The Breakdown:

BlogHer (now SheKnows) - $716.96
Google Adsense - $707.02
Tasty Food Photography eBook - $562.85
Bluehost - $520
Freelance Food Writing (Lindsay) - $250
VigLink - $88
The Thesis Theme - $86.13
Elegant Themes - $39

Grand Total: $2,969.96

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'

Things We Learned In May

Websites Move with You!

As many of you know, Lindsay and I have recently relocated to Cebu City, Philippines. Lindsay resigned from her teaching job and I'll remain on staff with my current organization in a part time role (doing website and video work). One of the great things about the move is that Skillful Cook can travel with us. I know it sounds obvious, but it's really amazing to me that we can continue to work on this project as we are setting up shop half way around the world. Call me a geek, but I think the internet is amazing.

Everyone is an MVP!

I remember when I was in Little League Baseball and my coach called and told me that I'd be getting the “MVP” trophy at the banquet that night. I was thrilled! ...Until I arrived that night and saw a line of trophies all inscribed with MVP. I quickly learned that “noodle-arm” Bjork wasn't the only MVP on the team.

My point? It's important to figure out multiple streams of income for your blog, because on any given month one of them might be your new MVP. This month's MVP was BlogHer, last month's was Lindsay's eBook. Some income sources might consistently be small, but if you have multiple sources of income it can really add up! Everyone is an MVP!

Is there another way you might be able to add an income source to your blog?

Tips and Takeaways

Backfill Your Ads

Some ad networks (like BlogHer) will display generic ads when they don't have a profit generating ad to show. It's important to check and see if your ad network allows you to backfill these spots with an ad that is profitable.

We're still trying to find the best type of ads to backfill with. We experimented with AdBrite but didn't get any return in a week of running the ads. We'll let you know if we come across a good solution.

Yeah for Affiliates!

It's been fun to see some sales of the eBook from affiliates. Affiliates of Tasty Food Photography have earned a total of $121.17. Nothing earth shattering, but it's fun to see affiliates are making a little extra spending money from selling the book on their site. 🙂

Thanks to those of you that have signed up for the affiliate program!


Last month I included a screenshot of our analytics. I'll continue to do this each month. Let me know if there is additional information you'd be interested in seeing.

Visitor Overview - May Graphs.
Traffic Sources - May Graphs.


Thanks so much for checking in on Skillful Cook. Lindsay and I so appreciate all of the comments and encouraging words as we make Cebu home for the year. You guys are da' bomb.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I look forward to your reports every month. Your rate of growth is amazing! I recently signed with Glam and I was curious to see how you did with BlogHer. Do you know what your average CPM with them is, for the impressions counted? It seems like you are, proportionally, making quite a bit more from Adsense than I am. Do you have any tips or tricks? Sorry for all the questions, hope you’re having a wonderful time exploring in Cebu!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Kate! We’re using three image blocks on the right sidebar for Google AdSense. We space them out so one is towards the top, one is in the middle, and one is at the very bottom.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Bjork and Lindsay, I have a question about affiliate links. I think I remember that you had an Amazon affiliate link at some point for a while but don’t use that now. What was your experience like with that affiliate link? Could you suggest another affiliate that might be a good choice? I have a Blogger blog so don’t think there are options for website related affiliates for me. Thanks for the ever-helpful monthly post.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Valerie! Some people have great success with them! We just haven’t really set anything up yet. We have a couple products that are Amazon affiliate links on the products page, but other than that we don’t have much. It’s a small percentage (I think it starts at 4%). However, it applies to anything that someone buys within 24 hours of clicking on your link. I’d say give it and try and see how it goes!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have been following your blog for a few months now – or longer – and just had to comment. I absolutely love your blog and seriously impressed with the growth you have been able to achieve. It is so inspiring. My blog is growing slowly but surely and I have learned a lot through your tips every month. Thank you.

    I am trying to strengthen my photography skills so I plan to purchase your ebook in the next few weeks. I had no idea on the amount of work and skill that goes into taking a picture of a meal.

    Good luck to both of you!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m really curious to see what you come up with for backfilling blogher ads. I have the same issue but I haven’t had time to invest into looking for a solution just yet.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay, Hi Bjork!
    Thanks for your work, it really helped me a lot. Today, I’m finally launching my blog, and I am REALLY excited!! I was wondering, what’s the plugin you’re using under your photos? Not the one at the bottom of the articles, the other? I’m desperately trying to find a Pinterest button to add to each of my photo and I don’t find it. Yours look perfect!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Marie! It’s actually a custom block of code that I put together for Lindsay. I’m dangerous enough to write the code but too novice to code a plugin. 🙂 Send me an email (or fill out the contact us form) and I can send you a text document that has the code in it.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hope you guys are having fun at your new place. Looking at the graph, it feels like freelance writing could earn you more money in days to come 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Ashish! Thanks for the kind words. It’ll be fun to see if more freelance writing stuff comes about for Lindsay.

      I just checked out your blog. Great stuff! I grew up eating Japanese quite a bit, as my parents spent three years living in Japan (and my brother is adopted from Japan). Asian Food = Tasty Food.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi ! Congratulations ! I`m so jealous…..positive, of course.
    I found your blog few days ago and i was impressed.
    I hope i`m gonna have money to buy a photo camera, to learn to take good photos.
    Sorry for my bad english….

    Mihaela (Romania, Europe )

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Great detail you have here. Good to know what works and doesn’t work. Also, good for the IRS. Ha! Gaining much from your blog and enjoying hearing from Cebu.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    The reports are great! I am slowly seeing traffic growth to my blog, but mostly because of foodgawker, so not many people actually leave comments. But, it is a good sign that my pictures are improving! I’m working on migrating my blog from blogger to wordpress, so am hoping that will also help. I’m looking into the Thesis themes and will definitely purchase through y’all if I go that way. I just have to make sure it is easy enough for a non-tech gal to use! Thanks!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Cool! Keep up the good work. Let us know if you decide to use Thesis and I can send you all of the info on how we have it setup.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I really love these posts and the advice you share with others. I’ve been working with Foodie Blogroll, but am thinking of switching. My site gets more visitors, but the income is really, really low. Did you officially quit (do you have to?) or just stopped placing their banners?
    I really wonder how much of a difference Google adsense or Blogher would make for me.

    Another thing I wanna say is how much I admire the steps you recently made in your life and how wonderful it is to share some of your experiences abroad on this blog. I wish you nothing but the best of luck and look forward to hear and see more about your adventure:)

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks for the kind words Denise. See Jessica’s comment below regarding your question about if it’s worth it to switch or not. 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow, look at those numbers! I want to thank you because you both helped me make the swtich from Foodie Blogroll to Blogher and I can’t believe the difference in the revenue. I’m still trying to figure out a good backfill for my ads too – let me know if you find anything good! 🙂

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    These posts are so helpful! I recently just signed up for Blue Host and Thesis and was curious how you are earning money off them? Is it through affiliates? Or is there something I’m missing to generate income? Would so appreciate your feedback. Congrats on an awesome month!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Sure thing! Each company has an affiliate program. We have a resources page and a “how to start a food blog” page where we talk about Bluehost and Thesis, among other things that help to make Skillful Cook run. Let us know if you need any help signing up for either of these affiliate programs.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi! Im so glad to have found your site! Im Filipino born and raised but I havent been to Cebu.Anyways, I love your blog and I will keep coming back.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi, I’m reading through all your monthly income reports & really enjoying the progression & tips!
    How long was it until you started monitising your blog? How many viewers/followers did you have? Do you think it’s best to start monetising after you’ve built up your blog or is it ok to start straight off the bat?

    Xx Sarah

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love love love these posts!!! Thanks for creating such honest, insightful and funny stuff!
    I wanted to ask, when did you start monetising your blog? How many followers/visitors did you have? Do you think it’s best to build up your blog first or ok to start with these techniques straight off the bat?
    Xx Sarah

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Sarah, Bjork posted a great image in this post showing exactly when we made our first dollar, first 1,000, etc. and it looks like we had about 1,000 visitors when we started monetizing. We were about 1 1/2 years into blogging. 🙂 I think the building up your blog is super important. It’s also important to be optimized for making money, so you don’t miss out on anything as you grow, but my opnion would be to definitely prioritize the growth of your blog first. It’s really hard to have the monetization without a growing number of readers.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    The process of setting up an affiliate program for my e-book seems a lit overwhelming to me… for instance, I don’t know how to write code for images/buttons for other bloggers to add to their pages.

    Do you have any simple tips for starting up my own bare-bones affiliate program? I’d appreciate any thoughts!