The Food Blog Money Making Experiment - August - $21.97 - Skillful Cook
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The Food Blog Money Making Experiment - August - $21.97

Skillful Cook's August Income with a cupcake.

Welcome to the inner workings of Skillful Cook.

Before we begin, let me introduce myself - my name is Bjork. I am proud to say I am the primary eater on the Skillful Cook team.

A few months ago, Lindsay and I talked about experimenting with turning some of the Skillful Cook traffic into dollars. I thought we could use the extra money to buy cool things like vintage beanie babies with perfect tags or really cool retro yin-yang pogs and slammers. Lindsay, being the centered and kind soul she is, thought the money would be better spent elsewhere. I agreed.

We thought it would be fun and maybe even helpful if we gave everyone a sneak peek into the earnings coming from Skillful Cook. The plan is to post total earnings once a month.

The total for month #1 in the “Food Blog Money Making Experiment”? $21.97.

The only stream of income in August came from Foodie Blogroll. Here's a closer look.

Foodie Blogroll

Foodie Blogroll Performance chart.
Foodie Blogroll Total Earnings

August was the first full month of having an ad service on Skillful Cook. So what did we think of Foodie Blogroll as an ad service?

The Good:

  • Set it and forget it - It's great to be able to drop in some HTML code and then forget about it. Your blog almost immediately starts generating an income without having to make any other changes.
  • No contract - You can sign up to earn revenue without locking yourself into a monthly or yearly contract.

The Bad:

  • Low CPM - With about 50,000 impressions in August, Skillful Cook earned about $20.00. That boils down to $.40 (that's 40 cents) per 1,000 impressions. This was a bit disappointing considering Foodie Blogroll advertises $4.00 per 1,000 impressions. But since there is no contract when you sign up, there is no way to be completely sure of how much you will be paid.
  • Loss of design/branding decisions- It's a little bit of a bummer to not have any control of the ads that are shown. It's not that big of a deal when it's a similar genre to Skillful Cook, like this Activia ad.Activia AdHowever, sometimes the ads will be a bit different then the usual content one might find on Skillful Cook. For instance, this Spanish ad for a Nissan Optima.Optima Ad.
Squirrel Underwear Ad.

So what can $21.97 buy? For starters, it can by three pairs of these:
More importantly, (and more seriously) it is almost enough to be a foster friend to a child without a family in the Philippines.

Thanks for taking a peek at the inner workings of Skillful Cook. We're excited to learn more about creating an income from a food blog. Every month we'll check back in and share what we've learned, and in the meantime, please let us know if there is any information (traffic, specific analytics, additional resources) we can share that would be helpful or interesting for you to know. For now, please accept our invitation to join us in this venture!

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

    We’ve been talking a lot lately about how to turn our blog into some kind of money maker as well. Thanks for this post. I will send it along to my husband so that we can set expectations accordingly. 🙂 I guess we just need to be discovered by Oprah or something, eh? 🙂

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    What a great post! Hilarious and informative. I just barely signed up for the same ad service after pressure from my husband. (“Honey, why don’t you put ads on there if you’re going to ignore me and spend all that time taking pictures of food?”) I set my expectations pretty low, so it’s good to see what kind of actual return they give. I like the idea of no contract, so that’s why I went with them instead of Foodbuzz. It would be interesting to see the same kind of numbers from someone with foodbuzz, but I think non-disclosure is part of their contract so they probably can’t share.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Nicole! Thanks for the comment – I’m going to respond to your email in more detail later tonight. 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    You two are pretty amazing. Thanks for using your creative juices to help orphans. Good work!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Now you know! 🙂 Well, sort of. I’m just a beginner so hopefully I can shed more light on it as I get further down the road.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I came tonight in search of a delicious dessert recipe…goodbye and hello amazing Team Lindsay and Bjork! Seeing that Bjork posted awhile back, of course I had to click and read…

    All I have to say, is that I have decided that I adore you both. Great blog, keep it up!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      You are too sweet! I have to say, though, don’t give up on allrecipes. I have found some darn good cookie recipes on there! 🙂

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Bjork, thanks for posting your thoughts on the Foodieblogroll program. I have been a publisher with them for about a month. My blog is young (11/11 launch) so I do not have the kind of traffic your blog generates. Since being a publisher with Foodieblogroll I have earned a whopping .24. I still do not understand what “impressions” mean.
    Great blog, keep up the good work.
    Wisconsin U.S.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Jay! Thanks for saying hi and congrats on starting up your blog. I just dropped by and checked it out. It looks greats! An impression is anytime an advertisement loads onto a visitor’s screen.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Nice resource, I’m sure things have changed slightly since then, but I can say there are other networks out there including the one I use for my Cocktail blog. It offers decent cpm rates and I have slightly less impressions then you had at the time of this experiment. Good Luck, and stop on by for a drink sometime.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for this, it’s really helpful for me as I start up my own blog too. Good luck with the foster support you are providing in the Phillipines and thank you for doing that.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just came across your site while doing a search for Foodie Blogroll trying to determine if it is worth signing up for. I look forward to reviewing your other blogging resources and great recipes. Thanks.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh my, so excited to see this series. I’ll have to check it out more thoroughly. I, too, have a blog but have yet to delve into attempting to make any profit from it. I think it is very open and amazing of you to share your observations and ideas with your readers. Thank you!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay & Bjork,

    Came across your blog when I was Googling about making the switch to full time blogging. Love this series. Have been reading up on every single post. Got a question though. When did you start blogging? Did you start the income report when you started the blog? I have a home decor /DIY blog that I started 20 months ago. The readership and traffic has grown slowly but steadily to what I would think a not bad level.I would love to hear you take on how to build traffic on the blog. I think that is what I need to focus on to take it to the next level.


    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Vidya! I started blogging in April of 2010, so the income reports didn’t start until I was about a year and a half into blogging.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    obviously like your wweb site but you need to take a look at the
    spelling on several of your posts. Several of
    them are rfe with spelling issues and I find iit very troublesome to tell the reality on the other hand I will
    surely come again again.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi! I am a new food blogger and am really thankful for all of your food blogging resources that you guys offer, it truly is so helpful! I’m interested in hopefully someday being able to make a little bit of money off of my blog and having advertisements on it. I was wondering if you have any advice for someone who is just starting out, who only gets about 100 hits a day when they post a recipe on foodgawker, to reach more people and to grow their audience. I know that it doesn’t happen overnight and I still have a long way to go, but I was just wondering if there were any major changes that you made or things that you did to get noticed and grow your audience? Thanks so much!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I remember those days well! I would sit in front of the computer and refresh my Google analytics and check foodgawker obsessively. 🙂 My advice is to keep posting, keep posting, keep posting, and hopefully you love it, so it doesn’t feel like work, right? Obviously you have some great content that is getting the attention of the foodgawker crowd- keep doing that, for 3 more years. 🙂 Just kidding, sort of. But keep your focus on great content and consistent posting. I think when I starting thinking of the blog in YEARS more than days, then I started to be more patient with my own growth and was able to accept that this was a slow process – and that’s normal for blogs. We love this quote: make haste slowly. Stay busy posting but remember (like you mentioned) that building blogs takes time.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I was suspecting that “it takes time” was going to be the answer 🙂 Your blog is really an inspiration and thanks so much for the advice!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I don’t have a clue about ‘analytics’ etc. but I’ve come across your blog before and always enjoy my visit. I found my way here this time ’cause I’m looking into ‘The Foodie Blogroll’ – I had no idea you offered advice – what a lovely surprise ’cause I can use all the advice I can get!! Thanks for your great blog!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is a great feature of the Skillful Cook blog. Thanks for sharing! It’s great to see how successful bloggers began. Lots of people that share their income reports, don’t start from the beginning. It show how transparent you are about sharing this side of you online business. Congrats on your success!