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

May Traffic and Income Report collage of images.


Bjork here checking in for our 58th (!) traffic and income report for Skillful Cook.

We’ve been doing these reports each month as a way to help us stay accountable to improving and as a continual case study in building an online business. It’s been extremely beneficial for us to pause each month, add up the totals, and see specific details about where the business is spending (and earning) money. I’d encourage you to do something similar, even if you don’t publish anything publicly, as the process itself has been really helpful in getting a big picture overview of the business.

One of the most beneficial things that have come from these reports is connecting with and learning from others. And by others I mean you.

Everything we’ve learned and implemented here on Skillful Cook has in some way, shape, or form been taught to us by someone else.

As Isaac Newton said: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Those giants are you.

Usually with these reports I share specific things that have been working for us.

But this month I’d love to hear what’s been working for you.

The process will be pretty simple. All you need to do is scroll down to the bottom of this page and leave a comment.

You could share anything. It could be a change you made to get more sleep, a positive mindset shift you’ve recently had, a specific social media tip or trick you’ve implement that has worked really well, a change you made in your business to make it run more efficiently, or a book you’ve read that has made an impact on you.

You don’t have to have a blog or a business in order to participate.

Oh, and all you silent ones should join in as well. You know who you are!

I’ll still share the numbers as usual, but after that, you’ll need to jump into the comments to see the good stuff.

Here are the numbers for May:

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 May 2016.

Traffic Overview

Traffic Overview - May 2016.

Top Ten Traffic Sources

Top Ten Traffic Sources - May 2016.

Mobile vs. Desktop vs. Tablet

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

That’s a wrap from me this week for me. Now we’d love to hear from you.

What are the things that have been working well for you lately?

Leave a comment below to share.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I finally caved and invested in a graphic and web designer. It’s a HUGE investment, but it’s going to be worth it. She’s recreating my brand from the ground up – a new branding identity (logo, colors, fonts, etc.), new collateral (like a media kit), product designs, and a mobile- and user-friendly website. We’ll be working with a web developer to put it all into place and optimize my WP site. At first, I was really hesitant to invest so much into just a blog, but I already feel it’s been 100% worth it (the new designs aren’t live yet but will be soon!). I also took your advice and created an LLC. It was a scary step, but I’ve already reached the initial milestones I set for myself. Thanks for the inspiration and can’t wait to grow my business (EEK!) even more now.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    My blog is a baby, but it is earning a tiny bit of adsense revenue. Not enough to receive it for awhile, but I’m learning. I finally made a page of the most popular posts on my site now that there are so many. That page has been helpful in not letting old, but good, posts get lost.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Instagram has been working well for me! I’m trying to post more, including a mix of DSLR photos from my new and old posts plus iPhone shots of everyday eats. After over a year of hashtagging everything #f52grams I finally got a photo featured on food52’s Insta, which brought me a bunch of new followers. For the first time EVER this week I’m starting to see some good traffic from Insta to whatever post I link to in my profile!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    One of the big changes I have made in the last few months is that I have finally hired someone to help me. Actually three people: an intern, a social media manager and an assistant. I think it was something that you (Bjork) and Molly Yeh were talking about in the FBP Podcast… that she doesn’t have to keep doing the things she did to get where she is. So I am finally freed up to create more content… make more $…etc. It is terrifying because now I have overhead. Ha ha, but it feels great at the same time.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just had my 1-month blogiversary (yay!) so everything is new and overwhelming and there is so much to do to build up my blog! What’s working for me is the 1% infinite concept. I spent a few weeks running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to do everything and it was totally crazy-making. But by focusing on adding just one thing or improving just one aspect of my blogging, I can see I’m starting to make strides (tiny ones) that are moving my little blog in the direction I want it to go.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve just had a full SEO audit done of my food blog and as a result of that and subsequent conversations regarding the audit results, I’m having my blog moved to a new host, and I’m signing up to a monthly plan where all my security and future updates will be managed for me too. This will allow me to focus purely on the blog content which is what I enjoy about blogging the most. I’ve also cut my blogging schedule from 2 new recipes per week to 1 and I’m currently re-writing my way through 2 years of blog posts to better rank them in google, as well as to update them, and my food photography too, which is a good deal better than it was 2 years ago!! I already feel more relaxed and chilled about blogging. Plus I’ve got my wife now helping me style my new food photographs. She seems to have a real creative edge on me there. 🙂 Onwards and upwards. Less is more. 😉

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve done a few things lately. One is to push forward, almost as if I’m getting a pay check from my job….although, I’m not monetizing yet. I have won a few accolades this month which have been great, but I’m not concentrating on them too much. There is so much to learn, ALL the time. Lately, I get thick cookbooks from the library and study them, search specific images and photography styles to view, use Bjork’s advice on Alt Text in images and labeling correctly, and checking out other popular blogs each and every week. I’m doing the tech stuff myself which has been hard, but that is what I need to do for now…..

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have had 2 things work for me lately.

    I have really buckled down and decided to focus on less things. I have a baby coming in the fall and it’s motivating me to cut out non-essential blog tasks. After listening to your podcast with The Blog Maven, I am even more motivated to focus in on the essential strategy and cut out other things. (Great podcast, by the way!)

    I experimented with Pay What You Want Pricing after reading some info by Tom Morkes. I have 2 printable products and the one that is set to pay what you want is doing so much better than the product with a set price. It’s interesting that the average is much higher than the $1 minimum that I set. I found Tom’s information fascinating, so it’s been fun to experiment with it.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve been making a concerted effort to work solely on the content, skills and areas of blogging which have a deeper emotional meaning for me, that connect on a level of personal fulfilment and development. Ad networks, affiliate links etc have never appealed to me, which means I also don’t need to worry about traffic. So I stopped posting two recipes a week as the schedule was stressing me out, now only posting one recipe a week now. I also post an opinion piece each week which are rants or opinions about other areas of the food world. I talk about things that are meaningful to me and that give me a sense of passion and enrichment.

    This has helped me reach a deeper sense of inner connection with my work and follow a more meaningful path in life. It’s led me to integrate myself with the food world on a richer level and am going back to uni in September to study Food Policy MSc as a result.

    All of this is also ‘monetising’ in a sense, because I picked up my first job as a professional food writer last week, that’s on top of the professional food photography clients I’ve already got as a result of my blog acting as a portfolio.

    I know it’s different to the PoY monetisation model, but you did ask me, so felt like adding my two cents (or two pence, as we’d say here in the UK)

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      This is one of my favorite comments on this whole thread. It reminds me of this concept of ego / soul from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – “My saving grace is this, though: I know that I am not only an ego; I am also a soul. And I know that my soul doesn’t care a whit about reward or failure. My soul is not guided by dreams of praise or fears of criticism. My soul doesn’t even have language for such notions. My soul, when I tend to it, is a far more expansive and fascinating source of guidance than my ego will ever be, because my soul desires only one thing: wonder. And since creativity is my most efficient pathway to wonder, I take refuge there, and it feeds my soul, and it quiets the hungry ghost—thereby saving me from the most dangerous aspect of myself.” Thank you for sharing, Gavin!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Reading Kelly-Enger James books have been helpful. You interviewed someone who mentioned her. (Think it was an interview). I am having a time management problem, which I would love for Food Blogger Pro to address. You and Lindsey seem to have scheduling your days, and not going off track down. Would love to see how you schedule a typical day, month and year. Also how far in advance do you schedule blog posts for? Thanks!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Anne! I don’t know if we really have it down, but we’ve definitely learned a lot in the last few years as we’ve had to be really strict with time in order to make things work. I think Bjork did a course on time management for FBP a few months ago, actually? Maybe check in the course library – I’m pretty sure there should be something there. Also in terms of scheduling blog posts, right now I’m scheduled out about 1 week in advance, but that is A BIG DEAL. My norm is blogging the day before or morning of a post going live. 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    2 things… income reports and podcasts!
    After reading every POY income report at least twice I realized it is an incredible method to keep yourself accountable and also get to teach others along the way. I started my own after 2 years of not-so-focused blogging in January. It is such a great way to reflect, tweak, implement, and repeat.
    And as for podcasts… I came across the FBP podcast about a month ago. It has seriously changed the way I am approaching this whole “blog thing.” I am now taking a more “reader-centric” approach. Focusing on what my ideal reader is coming to the site for and delivering it! For example, my site will be undergoing a much-needed facelift in the next month and it is thanks to your conversation with Scott from Your Brand Week!
    Thanks so much Lindsay and Bjork for teaching all of us how to get 1% better every day. You both truly are inspirational!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    The Someday Maybe list idea has been working for me A LOT. Whenever I get really busy with life/work/blog things, I just jot down a Someday Maybe list to clear my head. I find them in margins of my notebooks and on scraps of paper weeks later! They’re things that I can’t stop thinking about, but don’t need to prioritize, and they take up so much mental real estate (as Bjork calls it). Then I can focus on what needs to be done right away.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m doing a makeover of my blog this month. To be honest, I haven’t been paying much attention to the blog lately because I’ve been focused on my freelance work – but I need to remember that my freelance business started out because of the blog, which was and still is my portfolio for potential clients to see what kind of work I do. I’ve also finally invested in getting a Food Blogger Pro subscription and am soo glad I’ve done it! Totally totally worth every penny. I need to be more consistent with watching videos but so far all the videos I’ve watched has really helped me improve my food photography, think about Instagram in a more strategic way, and think about the blog from a more overall perspective. Bjork, I’m at the point where I’m doing freelancing and living off from it – but as your mentioned in your videos it’s trading time for money – and I really want to boost my blog and earn passive income from ads/affiliates etc.

    Thanks for all these monthly reports; and thanks for all your time and effort!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    My blog is just 3 months old so my main focus is gaining traffic, developing content and getting subscribers. Monitization is the long term goal. I have to depend on social media to get the message out. I recently started sending my blog posts to stumbleupon and have seen considerable traffic spikes but not conversions. At least it’s a start at getting people to read my posts! My next plan is to do a giveaway for subscribers.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi! My question is about the Genesis and Elegant themes. I wish to know which one is more appropriate for a food blog. I will like to switch my free theme to a premium one. The problem is that I’m new at this. Only have a 3 months old site so it is difficult to make the correct decision when you are new at this.
    Very interesting numbers and great site. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Very interesting numbers and great site.
    My question is more related to the themes. I have a 3 months site. My aim is to change my free theme to a premium one. It is very difficult to make that decision since I don’t have a lot of traffic and I’m pretty new at this. I would like to know if Genesis has the right theme for a foreign cuisine. Thanks!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi there, I launched my blog 2 1/2 months ago so am a neophyte when it comes to blogging and to social media. After I launched I joined the Facebook crowd (I know, I know) and that has been really good for my blog since I am in a tiny niche (recipes for people following the autoimmune protocol) and joining closed groups has boosted my traffic.
    Submitted my first photo to a food photography site on June 30th and … it was accepted. First time! Still can’t quite believe it. Did nothing for my views though.
    This weekend I am signing up as an Amazon associate because my income reports so far are outflow reports!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Okay, first I have to say that I just love you guys! You are SO nice!! Second, recently reading “Rising Strong” by Brené Brown has made a *huge* impact on me, and then trying to implement her techniques and strategies in my life. Also, kind of along a similar line, I’ve been trying to extend more grace towards other people and hold space for where they are in their life, maturity and journey right now, realizing that they are doing the best they know how with the tools, resources and understanding that they have right now. Remembering this especially in a moment of frustration, conflict or hurt has helped me gain a better perspective and see the situation and the person in a kinder, gentler, more compassionate way (I just need to remember it more often! ). I know that’s not really directly business/blog related, because I am not part of the blogging-as-a-job world, so I hope it doesn’t seem too off-the-a wall and unrelated to the intended topic.

    Despite not being a entrepreneur blogger, I enjoy reading your income reports and listening to the podcast. It has taught me so much; thank you for putting out such great content that makes complicated topics so understandable and easy-to-grasp, and explains clearly how everything works! I am a HUGE Bjork and Lindsay fan, and you guys are some of my favorite online people!! ❤️

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      This makes so much sense to me — “Remembering this especially in a moment of frustration, conflict or hurt has helped me gain a better perspective and see the situation and the person in a kinder, gentler, more compassionate way.” I love you for this. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    As someone new to food blogging, signing up for food blogger pro is the smartest thing I’ve to date. It has streamlined so many things that would have honestly taken me years to probably figure out. It is such a useful investment!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Kelsey, I couldn’t agree more. This is, by far, the best food blogging platform I have found. No matter how small I stay, or how big I get, I will be staying with Lindsay and Bjork’s site 🙂 They care, and that is all that matters to new food bloggers. It is very difficult to find a structured base for food bloggers to go when they first begin. I tried so hard to fit in, to ask questions, but there were always no responses. It felt very lonely. Just KNOWING that I have paid for a subscription and I am able to study as much as I want, or check in when I have time for myself, is all that matters for me. I guarantee, this will become a trend. And I’m glad that I’m a part of FoodBloggerPro, as I won’t be trending anywhere else….ps. that was not for affiliate purposes 🙂 Just real input!

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    Well, I had to read all of the other replies first and naturally I picked up some tips/ideas from that! VG! (very good–Bridget Jones) I’m a newbie and find it’s easy to get discouraged what with solving technical issues, which I’m not good at, and wondering if anyone is interested. BUT, I’ve been pushing myself to ignore the negative thoughts and sit down and generate content or brainstorm ideas. Just that process of changing thought patterns is very helpful. I can always go to FBP and find something to read or learn, and that’s also helpful.

    I appreciate that you nurture a community that is so great at sharing ideas and problems. Makes you feel not so much alone at the laptop! (VVG!)

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love reading what’s been working for others in the comments. One of the biggest things that I have started doing over the last few weeks is creating a Miracle Morning. <- The book is awesome! But I'm getting up at 5am and going for a 4 mile run. This has been a game changer in my level of focus and intentionality. I've made decisions that will have benefits that I have not reaped yet. Switching hosts to make the site faster for visitors and have decided that it is so far past the right time to start to get serious about monetising. After some deep soul searching I will be narrowing down my focus so that readers know exactly what they will be getting when they visit the site.

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    Like Neil, I did my full site audit a few months ago. I used Casey Markee (thanks to Food Blogger Pro and used the discount, yay). He is amazing. It’s totally worth the money. At first I was overwhelmed and down about how long the report was and how much work I had to do, but I knew it was coming. It has taken me this long to work through everything, and I am still not really completely done, but things are MUCH much better. We just rolled out some improvements with more to come. With all of the keywords updated and meta’s in place plus the new Zip recipe plugin, I hope it helps my SEO and builds my traffic. I’ve been kind of plateaued, just under a milestone I’ve wanted to hit for so long. I want to get back to posting twice a week, and that should help. And get ahead, shoot ahead, on my posts so when we travel or something happens (like I get called to work – I often work as a private chef, recipe developer and am trying to write a book proposal) I have posts in my pocket to keep going. I love POY and FBP. Cannot thank you enough for all you do and how much you’ve helped me. Its easy to get down about blog stuff and beat yourself up. Thanks for the encouragement and being part of this incredible community!

  23. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi all,
    One thing that I feel is helping my new blog to gain some momentum is crosspromoting via instagram @1polishwifehappylife. For example, if I broadcast a facebook live I take a snapshot of it and post it onto Instagram. This helps people understand I’m also on instagram but it gives a bit more engagement and shows then the authentic me. You can’t fake live broadcasts (even if they are watching on replay.)
    Hope that helps the POY community. And thanks for all you do.

    Erika Kelly

  24. Skillful Cook Logo

    I can’t remember quite how I found you. I think Pinterest. I am almost 68, so probably not your typical reader. I like your fresh fare and that fact that you are wholesome. I don’t know anything about blogging or that its such a time consuming business, which is why I am writing in support of your site. I like your general way of presenting and how you think. I am in an organic gardening club and am learning tons about the make up of soil (there is more alive beneath your feet than above ground)(commercial fertilizers kill, the best fertilizer is ground up mulch from your own trees. Plants take what they need, kinda how our bodies take what they need from a multi-vitamin). My quest is to learn more about weeds, pesticides, and what we really need to balance our personal food production …really any pesticides. I am learning from Ag extension that some organic weed and pest products are as harmful as chemical treatments. I’m going to get a speaker for that for our garden club from UC Davis. That’s all I have to say. Thank you for your site. Beth

  25. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m a graphic designer – I work full time during the day, go to gym, cook, eat and then I try to do freelance design work after hours. I’ve been trying to focus on growing my freelance work, as this grows my personal portfolio and client base, but it’s not as easy when you have a full-time job and come home exhausted. Anywaay, I’ve started using Wunderlist on my phone (simple to-do list app, there are loads), to help me start doing small things every day to develop and grow my freelance business (and also just get organised in general). Somehow it has managed to work really well. I add things as soon as I think of them (no matter how small or big), and then try do at least two or three of them every night. I’ve gotten so many things done that I have put off for years – ticking things off the list and watching them disappear just seems to motivate me! I don’t know how relevant this is to other people – just thought I’d share!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      LOL – “I’ve gotten so many things done that I have put off for years” – I KNOW THIS FEELING SO WELL! 🙂 isn’t it great when you finally find a system that works and you just crush those lingering tasks? good work Edith!