Traffic and Income Report – June 2016 - Skillful Cook
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Traffic and Income Report – June 2016

Traffic and Income Report for June 2016 collage.

Hi there!

Bjork here checking in for Skillful Cook’s June traffic and income report. Lindsay is doing a workshop at the studio today so I thought it would be a good time to jump in and catch up on the income reports. The last few reports were published a bit late so it's nice to catch up and get things back on track.

For those that aren't familiar, we started doing these monthly reports almost five years ago.

When we first started publishing these they were a way for us to report back on the things that we were learning as we attempted to build the blog into a business. Truth be told we didn’t really know if it was even possible to have a blog that was a business. We thought it was, but we didn’t know for sure. We considered it an experiment.

Over the years, after lots of hard work (and time), we started to see some results from the experiment. Lindsay found ways to improve the content she was producing, which in turn helped to increase traffic to the site, which in turn made it possible to start creating an income.

In many ways these reports have morphed from blogging reports to blogging+business reports, as Skillful Cook has transitioned from a 1.25 person blog (Lindsay + some of my time) into a full-fledged business with an official team and an “office” (we call it the studio).

Are you interested in doing some similar to what we’ve done with Skillful Cook? My advice to you is to find something that you love doing, not just something that you love the idea of doing.

There’s a big difference.

It's an important concept to understand. Here's why:

Your work is like a train. It’s the ride. It’s the thing that moves you along each and every day. If you love doing it then you can get up every day and make progress. It might be slow, especially when you’re just getting started, but it doesn’t matter, because you love doing it. Even if the train moves just a couple feet you don’t feel like it’s wasted time. You enjoy it. And you can get up tomorrow and do it again, this time with a few thoughts on how you can do it a bit better. With a food blog that work equates to developing recipes, photographing, planning your content, writing and communicating via text, etc, etc, etc…

When you love the idea of doing something you think about the destination, where the train can take you, not the ride that is required to get to the destination. If the train only moves a couple of feet it’s frustrating and discouraging, because you just want to get there. It’s less about enjoying the ride and more about trying to move things forward asap so you can arrive at the destination. With a food blog, the destination often equates to being your own boss, having a flexible schedule, having “followers”, getting lots of likes, etc, etc, etc…

Those are all great things. It’s not that you shouldn’t want those things, it’s just that you should try and find a train that allows you to enjoy the ride AND the destination, not just the destination.

The good news is that there are thousands of trains that you can board. There’s no single railroad that leads to each destination. So, as you ponder the train you’re currently on, or one that you might be boarding, remember to think about what the ride will be like, not just the destination.

Let’s jump in and take a look at the numbers for June…

Income Report Numbers


Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. All of the products listed below are products and services we've used before. If you have any questions about any of the income or expenses you can leave a comment and we’ll do our best to reply.


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'

Traffic Totals

Below are some Google Analytics screenshots from the month of June 2016.

Traffic Overview

Traffic Overview - June 2016.

Top Ten Traffic Sources

Top Ten Traffic Sources - June 2016.

Mobile vs. Desktop vs. Tablet

Mobile vs Desktop vs Laptop - June 2016.
Income Report Takeaways

The Summer Slump

I love almost everything about summer. The weather. The plants. The sports. The cabin. The grilling. It’s awesome.

The one thing that’s not so great is the traffic. For us, at least.

Every industry has seasons, and for the type of recipes that we publish on Skillful Cook, the peak season tends to be January through March while the valley season tends to be June through August. i.e. The Summer Slump.

2016 has been interesting in that we experienced our highest traffic month ever in January (woo hoo) followed by a slow but consistent decline each month after that (womp womp).

Organic Search Traffic from January - June.

Truth be told neither Lindsay or I spend a ton of time in Google Analytics, but it was good to jump in while preparing this post and do some digging. Here's what I found:

Pinterest Traffic: January 2016 - June 2016

It seems to be that the biggest impact of lost traffic comes from Pinterest, with the most noticeable change taking place around the middle of March.

Total Traffic from Pinterest January - June.

Direct Visits: January 2016 - June 2016

Around the middle of April, we also see a drop in Direct Traffic to the blog. I did some digging and couldn’t figure this one out. I’ll report back if I do.

Total Traffic from Direct Visits January - June.

Organic Search Traffic: January 2016 - June 2016

Organic Traffic has remained relatively stable throughout, with an expected but not significant dip after Q1.

Organic Search Traffic January - June.

So what’s the big-picture takeaway from all of this? In business terms, the takeaway is that it’s important to stay diversified and build your following in multiple places. Another important (but less talked about) takeaway is that it's important to think about how you can build your business without needing to direct people back to your website.

Not that this has to be your ultimate strategy, but at the very least it’s an important concept to understand. Companies like Food Network, Buzzfeed, and Tastemade have started to (or always have) built their brand on platforms with no intent of moving them off the platform and onto their website.

But there’s another takeaway I want to mention. It’s not really a tip or trick or business kind of takeaway. The takeaway is that building something can be kind of scary. True, you have control of what you’re doing, but at the same time, it feels like you don’t have any control at all. Things change quickly, and when those things change they can have an impact on all your hard work, and that impact can make you question your hard work and whether it’s worth it to keep doing what you’re doing.

The good news is that, as far as I know, getting frustrated by changes and backwards progress is a universal feeling. I feel it. Lindsay feels it. Almost everyone we talk to feels it. Do you feel it? If you do, know that you’re normal.

My advice is to not try and avoid those feelings but to acknowledge that they’ll always be there and view them as part of the ride (see intro above).

3 years, not 3 months. Always improving, not always growing. Enjoying the ride, not trying to reach the destination.


Instagram FTW!

Skillful Cook videos had a lot of engagement on Instagram in June, but not so much on Facebook.

True, Skillful Cook’s following is about 3 times bigger on Instagram than Facebook, but the video results were 50 times (or more) better on Instagram June.

Instagram Video vs Facebook Video.

For instance, this iced coffee video had almost 75,000 views on Instagram after 24 hours, whereas the same video on Facebook had under 1,000 in 24 hours.

Two takeaways with this:

  1. Develop a skill, not just a platform. It’s important to think about developing a skill (in this case, creating video) and not just developing a platform. If you have a choice between getting good at Facebook or getting good at video, pick video. If you have a choice between getting good at Instagram vs. getting good at photography, pick photography. The impact and effectiveness of platforms will always be changing but your ability to create compelling content will go with you no matter where you are.
  2. Reach people where they are. This ties back to something I already mentioned (specifically, this: It’s also important to think about how you could build your business without needing to always direct people back to your website). It’s impossible to know for sure, but my guess is that only a few hundred people out of the 175,000 that viewed that video on Instagram ended up on Skillful Cook. Those visits translate into maybe a few dollars. But that doesn’t mean the Instagram video wasn’t valuable. Skillful Cook, along with the brand we were worked with for that video (Delallo) received huge exposure from the video, even if it didn't mean getting many “visits.” If we forced people to leave Instagram to consume the video we wouldn’t have seen the same type of value exchange.


We’re in the last few days of our beta launch of Nutrifox.

Not familiar? Here’s the quick back story on why we built it:

If you create food and recipe content you know that it’s a really competitive niche. There are thousands of websites, blogs, and social media accounts that share food and recipe content, and hundreds more that are starting each and every day.

It’s a crowded space.

In order to stand out, you need to find ways to add value to your recipes. That’s why a simple recipe isn’t enough anymore. It has to be an awesome recipe accompanied by superb photos and perhaps even a video.

As you know, it’s a lot of work.

But are there other ways you can add value to a recipe without adding hours of work to your day?

We think there is. That’s why we created Nutrifox.

Nutrifox - Easily create, customize, and embed Nutrition Labels.

Nutrifox allows you to extract valuable information from your recipe’s ingredient list and embed it onto your website. The benefit is that you get that additional layer of value-added to every post with very little work.

As a matter of fact, creating a Nutrifox embed takes less than a minute.

Nutrifox Example from

Right now we’re focusing on perfecting nutrition labels. You can see examples on Skillful Cook, like this one:

Nutrifox on Skillful Cook.

We’re really pumped for Nutrifox.

As I mentioned before, we’re still in the early stages of building this tool, but we wanted to give people access as soon as we created a solid first version.

For this early-bird launch, we’re offering one year of access to Nutrifox for $49. That's for one year. It's a crazy low price IMHO. We wrap up the early-bird pricing on Tuesday, July 26th.

Click here to sign up for Nutrifox. <—–

It’s been really fun to see Nutrifox labels out in the wild lately! 🙂

Because Of You

It’s because of you that this thing we call Skillful Cook can exist as it does today. Thank you so much for making these recipes, leaving comments with your love and feedback, and sharing this food around the table with your families and friends.

Every month we use a portion of the income from the blog to support a special project at The Children’s Shelter of Cebu. We view it as a donation from the POY community, not just Lindsay and me.

This month we’re supporting CSC by donating to their meal fund. Every child at CSC gets three solid meals a day. All 90+ of them! That’s a lot of hungry mouths to feed.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Bjork,
    As always – thanks for the insp!
    Question about Nutrifox: does it allow custom food entries? The nutrition label maker on FBP does not, so I end up having to use for many recipes, which is irksome, because the ads on that site pop up and down and make it miserable.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Not sure if you have a “fiber” option on there (the website for nutrifox looked like it had macro and micro nutrients but not fiber). The massive world of low-carbers (who calculate carbs minus fiber) would forever love your product if it had that option, which isn’t readily available on other similar sites :).

    Just my absolutely unsolicited two cents :).

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Great post!
    Always appreciate these types of reports 🙂
    I’ve also been noticing a traffic decline since January, except for the last couple months. Impressive traffic numbers, though. Reaching nearly 4 million page views in June is amazing! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Why don’t you add up totals from your income & expenses in these reports anymore?

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just stumbled across your blog and its motivated me to start my own blog. Would you be able to post more about your pinterest strategy or how to get traffic from buzzfeed?

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    We recently tried out AdThrive in part because we saw you all use them and we’ve been really happy with the service as we’ve transitioned some of our team around lately. So, thank you for sharing these as it’s help us!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    You guys are amazing together! I never compare my summer numbers to January because that would be a quick way to get myself down. If you compare them to the same period last year, that would be a better indicator of how your blog is doing this year.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    i try not focus on numbers during summer months, just creating valuable content and ENJOYING creating. Like you all always say to do! Focusing on the GOOD and sharing it. Although I secretly can’t wait for FALL. Ridin the train….of life. Ahhh… my love for corniness and metaphors combined. Diggin it Bjork! Thanks!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hello Bjork,

    I’m amazed as i read through your June income report. I can see all the hard work and effort you put into your blog, i never though blogging was this serious.

    Thanks alot for the inspiration, a reminder for me to get more serious and up my game.

    I can’t wait till i start earning big.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Newbie here. At times overwhelmed with all of the new content I’m learning but always staying focused on why I started in the first place: because I love food, I love photography and I love photographing amazing food. Your comment on your special skillset and gift never changing (great content) but the platforms changing really hit home for me. Thank you so much for this. I’m learning every day & I am enjoying it so much!!! -Jamie

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I always enjoy reading your monthly income reports. They are inspiring. But being that recipe based blogs make up a good part of the food blog niche out there, your posts will be a great help for those in the same niche. As for myself, I think I am in a (culinary blog) niche of my own. I wish I can find an informative blog like yours that shares information on how to grow a blog, but that is specifically geared towards blogs of my specific niche. But a lot of the general information that you share is quite insightful. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    I don’t share recipes or tutorials or offer any type of content that readers could find useful. My blog is more about sharing stories. Sometimes, posts stir up old memories. Sometimes, it makes them laugh or brighten their day (so I’ve been told). My blog is more about sharing personal stories, often times linked with specific foods. And of course, working in a professional kitchen, there’s always a crazy story to share.

    I am wondering if you might have any additional tips for blogs like mine or
    know of any blogs that I can refer to that might provide insightful information like yours on how to grow a blog, but more so specifically niched to storytelling blogs that don’t necessarily share recipes or restaurant reviews.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Somehow I sumbled upon your page with the list of all previous income reports and I noticed that the food you are making recently is slowly getting more brown in colour. This might make a difference to how frequently people click on links to your site? I definitely have an obsession with green foods, maybe I’m not the only one? Hope your site traffic heads upwards again, you guys are awesome!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow, amazing… you are the really proved… yourself… And i really inspired by you

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    As always thank you so much for amazing info and cant wait to sign up to food blogger pro! I want to ask a question on how to access Feedburner feed. I would love to try using it but I am having a problem finding it.

    Thank you sooo much for your help!

    With Gratitude

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just received the new Blogher/SheKnows contract – and I’m curious what do you guys think about it. It’s exclusive so is it worth giving up other ad networks for Blogher? They did raise the percentage of revenue we’d get to 75% though. Unless there’s something I’m missing in this whole thing.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for sharing all this valuable information! I am also a teacher in Minnesota and am in the infant stages of starting my own DIY Home Renovation blog. As of now, it’s purpose is to help me work through all these crazy home renovation projects I attempt to tackle but once I buildup my content, I would love for it to be an added source of income. As you know, teaching is rewarding in terms of warm fuzzies, not so rewarding in the money department. I’m going to keep digging through your advice to guide me through this process. I might also do some digging to find a recipe for dinner tonight while I’m at it!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    You guys are amazing and such an inspiration! Thanks for the amazing content and tips and positive vibes. Always. Love your work! 🙂

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hey Bjork! Just wondering if you’ve had any issues getting in touch with peeps over at Yellow Hammer media lately? I’ve been with them for quite some time now and it’s almost like everyone just dropped. Been attempting to get in touch with them for last two weeks without a response. Thanks so much!