Proof: EARN MORE with your Current Traffic

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If your focus is monetising your blog, then stop focussing on traffic and start focussing on influence and CREDIBILITY so you can increase revenue with your existing traffic. Here’s how to do it!

How to Earn More with Current Blog Traffic - another great tip from Food Bloggers Central! #FBC

If I said that you could make an independent living from your blog with less than 100,000 page views a month, what would you say?

I’d hazard a guess and say you will yell “HELL YES!!!” (Yes, such a blog exists. Actually, I know two. :-) )

Want to know their secret?

Influence, credibility & reaching the RIGHT AUDIENCE. (aka Niche)

(Regular readers know that picking a niche and owning that “space” is one of my key growth tips. You can read more about that here).

There is such a focus on “growing your blog” in the context of page views. Yes, traffic is important. I won’t deny that. But if your focus is monetising your blog, you need to focus on earning as much as you can from the traffic that you do have.

And to do that, you need to shift your single-minded focus away from increasing traffic numbers and towards establishing credibility with your readers. Because when you have credibility with your readers, that’s how you can earn MORE from your blog. Multiple times more. Many multiples. The greater your influence, the greater the multiple.

RPM

Before I go on, just a quick side step to explain what Revenue Per Mille (“RPM”) is because I use this term in this post.

RPM-Definition 1

Side Note: Some people calculate RPM based on revenue only. I don’t. I take expenses into account because it’s relevant. I could increase revenue substantially if, for example, I spent a lot of money on ads to direct traffic to my site. Which I don’t! It’s just an example. :-)

RPM is how you can measure your earnings based on the traffic your blog gets. It is a figure that you can benchmark month to month to monitor your blog performance.

You want to aim to maximise the RPM. That’s the key to smart blog monetisation – to earn as much revenue as you can  with the traffic that you do have. Then imagine the potential when your traffic grows!

Tweet that!

Smart blog monetisation - how to earn MORE from your blog with your current traffic! #fbc Click To Tweet

My estimate for a benchmark “standard” RPM from just ad income is around $3 – $5 for blogs with < 500,000 monthly views (remember, this takes into account blog running costs). Above this level of page views, I think it will vary wildly depending on what ad networks are used and the type of blog, but as a rough indication, it can range from $5 – $10.

Note: If you load up your blog with pop up ads, background ads, auto play video with sound, takeover ads and embedded tricky ads, your RPM is probably higher. Those rates above are a guesstimate based on standard non-intrusive ads.

HOW CAN I INCREASE MY RPM?

In very simple terms, the greater your influence and the greater your credibility with your readers, the higher your potential RPM.

High-Influence-Blogs-EarningsLet’s look at the main potential sources of income for blogs and how they are affected by engagement with readers.

  • Ad income
  • Sponsored posts and/or social media promotion – via ad networks or direct with clients
  • eProduct and Tangible product sales – cookbooks, resource books, merchandise, products
  • Services – eg. consulting
  • Affiliate income – this is where you provide links to items that readers can purchase. If they make a purchase, you earn a commission.
  • Freelance work – e.g. food photography, recipe development

Of the list above, the only revenue sources that are not materially affected by the level of influence and credibility you have with your readers are ad income, sponsored posts via ad networks and freelance work.

For every single other potential source of income, the more engaged your readers are, the higher the rate you can command and/or the higher the conversion rate of sales (being the % of visitors to your blog who purchase a product or click on affiliate links).

This means you can earn serious $ from your blog without millions of page views. You really can. See a worked example below AND my own experience.

What do you mean by influence and credibility?

Herbs by Rosalee

Herbs by Rosalee – great example of a blog with strong credentials established.

Influence and credibility means that you have trust and authority with your audience. It means that in whatever niche you have chosen, you have proven yourself to be an expert in that field.

This doesn’t meant that you need to be a trained chef. Far from it! It just means that you have gained the confidence of your readers that you are knowledgable about whatever niche your blog is about because it’s (almost) all you talk and post about.

Whether it is Japanese home cooking (e.g. Chopstick Chronicles), Italian (e.g. Ciao Chow Bambina), Sugar Free Diet (e.g. I Quit Sugar), gluten free energy food (Cotter Crunch), Natural Herbal Remedies blog (e.g. Herbs with Rosalee), all of these blogs have something in common (come on, you know what I’m about to say!!):

They have a niche. And they are sticking to it!

And in doing that, they have established themselves as an expert in their chosen niche.

Explain to me in simple terms….how does that help me earn more revenue?

In simple terms, a blog with greater reader trust will earn more revenue because readers are more likely to buy your products or click through and purchase products you recommend. Here are examples of how reader trust converts into more revenue for your blog:

  • eProducts – more sales, because your readers are familiar with your recipes and they trust your quality
  • Consulting – more jobs
  • Affiliate income – readers more likely to click through and buy
  • Working with Clients – much higher rates than what you can earn through networks because you can guarantee your work reaches their target audience

When put like that, it sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Let’s look at some numbers and see it in practice.

Earning MORE with less traffic: Worked Example

Here’s a totally viable example using ballpark real numbers that clearly demonstrates that you can earn more even if you have less traffic.

Worked-example

The Scenario

General Blogger shares whatever recipes he feels like on the day. There is no consistency nor any theme. Sometimes he posts “food porn” recipes and he will get bursts of traffic from social media. But the vast majority of them never return because they don’t “get” what his blog is about.

General Blog works hard on growing his blog by focusing on “viral potential recipes” and he has monthly traffic of 300,000. At an RPM of $3.00 (rate per 1,000 page views) for the ads he has on his blog, he makes $900 each month ($3.00 x 300,000 / 1,000). He has many affiliate links scattered throughout his blog, and even an entire page dedicated to the (expensive) kitchen appliances he uses. But people rarely click on them.

He hasn’t created a cookbook because he doesn’t know what theme he would have.

Brazilian Blogger has a blog that focusses on homemade Brazilian food. Her posts are thoughtful and reminiscent of her childhood and food that her mother and grandmother used to make. Her posting schedule is not determined by whether they have “viral potential”. She shares recipes with a careful mix across all types of food, courses and ingredients and takes care to write posts that are informative and to explain unusual ingredients. They are 90% Brazilian recipes and she has a much higher return visitor %.

Brazilian Blogger only has traffic of 100,000 per month. Most of her traffic is from America and she has affiliate links throughout her posts so readers can easily order Brazilian ingredients online, as well as special equipment. She also has an e-cookbook (Brazilian Home Cooking) she created which she sells for $20. She makes 1 book sale each day (her daily traffic is 3,333).

Income Comparison

Even though General Blogger has three times the traffic of Brazilian Blogger, Brazilian Blogger also earns $900 per month {($3 RPM for ads x 100,000) + ($20 per book x 30 sales = $600)}. (Affiliate income excluded for simplicity purposes).

Then during the holiday season, Brazilian Blogger starts to sell 2 eCookbooks a day. Still totally viable – 2 sales out of 3,333 page views. When this happens, her revenue jumps from $900 to $1,500 for the month!

What this means: You can earn as much – if not more – as blogs that have much more traffic than you. IF you have the influence and credibility.

MY EXPERIENCE

The Food Photography Book - by Nagi, creator of RecipeTin Eats. 180 pages, highly practical, easy to follow and jam packed with game changing tips.

This book increased my RPM by 40%.

I have first hand experience of this. In the last month, even excluding the initial launch burst of sales, I increased my RPM by almost 40% from the sale of The Food Photography Book I created.

Though tracking makes it impossible to say with certainty so I can’t show you a screenshot of proof, I am 1000% sure based on my blog readership (who are 99% non bloggers!) that most of the sales have come via this website, Food Bloggers Central, or through the Food Bloggers Central Facebook Group. Both of which are a teeny, tiny fraction of the traffic on my blog, RecipeTin Eats – but both growing with a very targeted audience.

And how did I do it? Just by following exactly what I said above:

Established my credibility by sharing advice, my experience and helping people with their photography both on this website and the Food Bloggers Central Facebook Group. Gained the confidence of the much smaller readership than I have on on RecipeTin Eats.

Then when I created The Food Photography Book, the sales were a natural extension of this. The trust and familiarity was already there. :-)

And I have a great case study to share with you guys to compare my experience with The Food Photography Book to my Wings eCookbook which was not as successful. Great lessons learned for how to successfully make, market and sell and ebook, coming your way! :-)

NOT JUST BOOK SALES

I work hard to stick to “big flavours, fast prep” meals meals on my blog and put myself forward as “an expert” on exciting new ideas for midweek meals.

Had I not positioned my blog clearly in this space, I very much doubt I would have received this email a few months ago:

{Abbreviated} “Hi Nagi. I’m xx, the editor of xx, Australia’s top selling food magazine….I love the way you write – friendly, understanding and self-deprecating; and also your recipes are fab.

It got me thinking, is there some way that we could work together? I think your recipes would be perfect for my readers.….If you’d be interested in looking at possibilities, email me back or just give me a call on…”

Pretty exciting. :-) And yes, freelancing is another way that I monetise my blog. :-)

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The Take Aways

1. Don’t rely solely on ad income. It is the most precarious, volatile and largely out of your control.

2. Establish credibility by sticking religiously to your niche. Prove yourself as knowledgable and experienced in your chosen niche to your readers.

3. The higher your influence and credibility with your readers, the more revenue you can earn from your blog through product sales, affiliate links and higher rates for working with clients, even without huge traffic.

4. Stop focussing on blog traffic and start focussing on how you can make more money with your existing traffic. :-)

THIS IS CALLED BLOGGING SMART.

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If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends!

Powerful post by Nagi #FBC #RecipeTinEats to increase blog revenue without increasing traffic! Click To Tweet

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Now it’s YOUR TURN!

Have I given you something to think about? Do you agree? Disagree?

Struggling to think of how you could capitalise on your niche and convert it into revenue?

Leave me a message below and I’ll respond!

– Nagi x

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The Food Photography Book by Nagi from RecipeTin Eats

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Nagi.. JUST read this post!! I know.. I have been on some la-la land! Everything about the post made sense..so much sense. But I need some help from you.
    I have been blogging for almost 16 months now and while my blog mainly focuses on nostalgic cooking, recipes of my mom and grandma, I do dish out some “around the world” recipes too. Like I mention in my about page, I try to show that Indian cooking is much more than dal and paneer and that my blog is for the working people (like me) who want to push their gastronomic boundaries beyond the safety net of regular Indian food ( hence the occasional easy world food). Is that a niche?? Do I need to narrow it down further? I don’t want it to be a blog about just Indian food. Is there any way you could add me to a good pinterest group board?? I would be so grateful for some Pinterest help!

    PS: Just tweeted about your ebook template! Going to start working on an ebook… Thanks soo much for being u.
    Xo

  2. says

    Hi Nagi! Thank you for this wonderfully informative post. I have a question about finding readers in our niche. As you know, I blog about French food, and I’ve seen firsthand how my true Francophile readers have tried out my recipes or bought my products, so I can completely understand this whole post and its value. Credibility and authority can be way more valuable than just traffic. My question, however, is how do I go about finding more people in this niche? While I do have readers who are true lovers of all things French, I’d like to increase this group and make it the majority of my audience rather just a select bunch. Do you think the best way to do this is to find other French-focused blogs and comment on those blogs? I wonder how many readers actually search through comment feeds and click on other commenters names (and thereby go to their blogs?)…Thanks in advance!

    • Nagi says

      Hi Beeta! Yes I think that finding other French / European bloggers and befriending them is one way to start expanding your niche because they will have readers similar to yours. That’s how you might come across French Facebook recipe sharing sites or large Facebook pages who only share French recipes with their readers, Pinterest accounts with French focus. Basically my tip is to immerse yourself as much as you can into the “playground” with people of similar niches because that’s how you’ll find the opportunities. It is much easier for you than for me! Mine is so general. Yours is fabulous! For one thing, reach out to Le Coin de Mel. She is lovely – French, living in the UK. She also happens to have some large group boards. :) You guys will get along like a house on fire! And if you connect, I am sure she would LOVE to have you share your food on her group boards!! N x

      • says

        Thank you so much, Nagi! These are all such great tips. I didn’t even think about Facebook pages. Also I reached out to Mel to introduce myself…her blog seems lovely! Thanks so much for letting me know about her and for giving me useful feedback <3

        • Nagi says

          Beeta, your blog is RIPE for things like Facebook pages! Imagine the groups! Seriously, your blog is so niche, it is perfect for finding Facebook pages!!

  3. says

    How can I just saw this post today! Nagi, The aim of my blog is to help working woman like me cook fast meals , healthy and sometime indulgent meals that can be easily pack for the kids and me to lunch and have it done in 30 minutes or less…. for me it is possible to do that , but I am not sure with other working moms…. is this niche too crazy or what? And I am looking at revamping the look of my site but I spent a bit on my current site so I would love your opinion about your impression on how my site currently looks. For me it looks really amateur and unprofessional . I am looking at Shay Bocks Foodie theme and have them install everything for me ; what do you think?

    • Nagi says

      That’s not crazy at all! That’s a fantastic niche! So tell me – are you aiming for food that takes 30 minutes or less to make that keeps well i.e. leftovers great for lunch? If so….isn’t that just about EVERYONE who cooks? :) I am always thinking about whether food will keep for the next day!

      Your site is NOT amateur. I really do not think you should worry about your site design. I picked up one little glitch but it is not a big deal, easy to fix I’m sure. I actually love that your blog doesn’t look like everyone elses!!!

  4. says

    Everyday I learn something new, little details that would have taken me months to learn on my own. Truly, because of all the detailed posts I am seeing a significant increase in traffic, all thanks to you.

      • beckygilhespie says

        Just want to say that I agree with this comment! I am currently reading one of these posts a night and slowly implementing. I know I will return to this site for advice again and again. This is all SO helpful. I am really grateful for you being so giving Nagi! Becky x

  5. says

    Nagi, this is such an great post, and it’s something I struggle with. My blog focuses on healthier versions of southern and latin (mainly Paraguayan) foods…but sometimes I cook outside that. I also would love to do an e-book, and I’ve been thinking of a long-tailed topic within my niche…just a matter of finding the time! Thank you so much for all of your amazing advice! You are AWESOME!

    • Nagi says

      Hi Paige! Thank you for your lovely message! I’m so glad you found this useful!! I LOVE your niche. Woah…..talk about TRENDY food….OWN IT! You’ll NAIL IT!!!

  6. says

    Nagi…Nagi..Nagi… I read this and then re-read. And I realized…that I SUCK at monetizing! I am so bad at knowing all my ad details etc. And I really need to get my shiz together and do that darn ebook! But again…finding that time…that’s going to be the key isn’t it?!

    • Nagi says

      Always the key Mila! I have a post coming out about prioritising and using the time you DO have most effectively :)

  7. says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful and useful information, Nagi! I have to ask though, I’d love love LOVE to get involved in freelance work as well to supplement my income… but I don’t even really know where to start. From what I’ve researched, elance.com doesn’t seem to be the right avenue for anyone looking to make any real money. Do these people come to you or do you seek them out? Any feedback would be SO appreciated! :)

    • Nagi says

      Hi Sam! I have a series of posts coming out about this :) I don’t use Elance, some come to me, some I seek out! I will have scripts for cold calls and emails as well as how to find brands to work with. :)

  8. says

    Hi Nagi! This article is so informative. Your blog is the first that in my opinion gives really good and practical advice. I’ve recently started my blog (about 10 recipes in) and I think I’m struggling with my niche. The idea that I want to go with is to post recipes from around the world. Do you think that is too broad? Would really love to hear your opinion on it! Thank you :)

    • Nagi says

      Absolutely not too broad! There are very few blogs out there that stick to real recipes from cuisines all around the world! I think it’s a fab niche! :)

  9. says

    Nagi…you did it AGAIN!! Thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge! This makes me think about my niche and about making it stronger! I love how you focus on NOT following trends as that is always hard NOT to do! I’m still learning and absorbing as much as I can. Thanks for sharing & I look forward to learning more!!

    • Nagi says

      I’m happy to help Nellie! I think your blog is ripe for smart monetisation. Keep doing what you are doing, you will nail it. If you created an ebook, I would be the first to buy it. Seriously!

  10. says

    Totally agree. My blog runs anywhere from 125k to 300k depending on the time of year. The majority of my income comes from freelancing and ghostwriting. I spent last weekend at an event that a PR company invited my assistant and me to that was 300.00 per ticket if we’d have had to pay. We got to taste food from 30 of the top chefs in Texas… plus we got to rub shoulders with Amanda Freitag. I always count things like that as part of my income as well. Thanks so much for all you do. I’ve learned a lot.

    • Nagi says

      So you’ve nailed it! Absolutely. :) You are doing exactly what I do – except in freelancing and ghostwriting instead! And your RPM would be multiple times more than other bloggers with your level of traffic. Love it. You’re my poster gal for this post! N x

  11. betsycohen says

    Great information, Nagi. I have a niche blog, Desserts Required. My numbers are not that high but they are growing and I stick to what I am passionate about, desserts. I’m wondering how an ebook is made? Am I correct that I should use new recipes only? Can I embed videos in an ebook? Have you covered this subject elsewhere? Thank you so much!

    • Nagi says

      Hi Betsy! You can defiantly use recipes on your blog but I would not recommend using many because it is a selling point to say there are X totally new recipes in a book. Videos will be hard to embed simply because of file size BUT you can most definately have a video for purchasers to download! I am doing an ebook information series soon and all this will be covered! :)

  12. says

    I am loving this post! Valuable information as always, Nagi.
    Finding a niche has been my biggest struggle in my whole blogging journey. I started out as a dessert blogger, but my changing lifestyle changed my blog’s focus to nutritious & delicious family food. Looking at the most recent posts I realize that I still love to focus on dessert. They are healthier now, often GF, paleo, or vegan, but none of those exclusively.
    Any input how I could frame real family food & healthier dessert recipes into a more punchy sounding niche name?

    • Nagi says

      Hi Regin! I’m actually jealous of you. Life would be so much easier if I selected a tighter niche! :) I think the starting point is to figure out what you mostly blog about, then define that. So is it real family food, or healthier desserts, or both? Whichever it is, come up with 2 sentences to describe it that you plonk in your sidebar under your “About” and make sure your homepage always reflects that! :)

  13. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says

    This is brilliant, Nagi. I know it’s no surprise to anyone that I’ve never monetised my blog. It was always in the too hard basket, I wasn’t good enough, etc. etc. but I’ve decided to rejoin the living and I will follow your instructions. :)

    • Nagi says

      But Maureen…you do. Whether you realise it or not, you already do what I do (minus the ads). Your blog is how you sell Easy Recipes and your new Index Plug in. I mean – without your blog, you would be just another developer in the sea of millions of WordPress plugins. but the fact that you are one of us means you not only have an outlet to sell your plugin on your blog, but you present yourself as an expert in running a blog and therefore KNOWING what bloggers NEED from plug ins :)

  14. says

    So, I’m reading along and thinking yes, yes, yes! And all of a sudden I see you tip your hat my way! I almost fell off my chair… Thank you so much for validating the direction I’m headed – that means so much to me, Nagi! I learn from you, everyday!

    • Nagi says

      Gosh Annie, you caught my attention from the day I first landed on your blog. You’re one of my few “go to” places for Italian recipes!! N x

  15. says

    Great blog post, Nagi!! As always, loved every single tip! I am thinking of working on ebook in the near future but it’s hard to find time for managing my blog and working on an ebook at the same time. Hope that it will happen some time next year. Would love to hear all your tips & suggestions on how to successfully make, market & sell an ebook. Because making the ebook is pointless if you don’t know how to market your product.

    • Nagi says

      Neli, you have nailed it. My first book did not go very well! I will most definately be providing resources for creating and marketing an ebook, and will be happy to share my flop, and how I turned it around (somewhat!) N x

  16. says

    Nagi, you are so generous with all you do and that makes you so unique among many bloggers. After almost 4 years I am still trying to figure out my niche. I like to cook a variety of things, including Jewish family recipes, Asian and Mexican food and if I have a good story I throw it in there too. Not sure how i should define that? Does anyone out there have any ideas? I am open!

    • Nagi says

      Hi Abbe! I’m happy to share :) I was so lost when I started blogging, it’s nice to create an environment where I can help, be helped and others can help each other! The food you cook, the food you love, that is a niche in itself. It’s just a matter of defining it, that’s all! If there is one of you in this world, there are millions of people who love your type of food :)

  17. ciaoflorentina says

    Nagi, you are amazing ! I learn so much from you i can’t even tell you ! Your brain cells are so cool and awesome xo’s

  18. says

    I have been blogging for about 3 years and have struggled to a niche so I kind of made one up for myself. In food blogging does a niche need to be a particular cuisine or style?

    • Nagi says

      Hi Rick! Absolutely NOT. It can be anything, whatever and wherever your interest lies. It’s just a question of narrowing down to that particular topic! There are blogs that focus on a particular diet or cuisine, but there are also other blogs that focus on PHOTOGRAPHY as their niche (even though they are a food blog). It doesn’t matter what your niche is, just as long as it is clear on your blog that it’s what you are “about”, if that makes sense?

  19. meaghanlamm says

    I have been struggling with my terrible numbers this month. 100,000 page views seems like such a distant goal but “If your focus is monetising your blog, then stop focussing on traffic and start focussing on influence and CREDIBILITY” is exactly what I needed to hear today! I have a cookbook idea in mind (a whole series actually) but creating a cookbook for sale seems like such a daunting task! Plus I’m stuck in this loop of I need to make money so I can fund my cookbook so I can make money lol. Any tips for creating a cookbook on a budget?

    • Nagi says

      Meaghan, other than the cost of food, I didn’t spend a cent to create my e-book. Seriously. So I’m really curious to know what budget you mean? Do you mean time budget?

      • meaghanlamm says

        I mean cost of food! I’d love to be able to be able to afford to get it all done in a month or two but have to be budget conscious as far as food goes :( I work from home and don’t have any kids so time isn’t really an issue. I suppose I’ll just have to give myself a deadline and get creative!

  20. says

    Once again, great post Nagi. Thank you. At least I’ve done one thing right, I have a niche blog for Western and Southwestern themed food. I need to make sure I stick to it!

    • Nagi says

      YES you do! I’m so jealous, I wish had a tighter niche :) Your theme is fantastic and what a classic platform to launch products to!

    • Nagi says

      YES DO!! Do some brainstorming with your family and friends. :) The beauty of it is that we as bloggers are in total control of our blogs and we can just switch directions overnight with the tap of a keyboard! SO COOL! :)

  21. says

    I totally agree with you on this! Ad income isn’t everything. In fact, most successful blogs with high RPM are making more money from affiliate income or product sale. Ad income is about 10% of their income source. Once I have a couple of my own products to sell, I would probably ditch the display ads completely or significantly reduce it. I’m so looking forward to reading your e-Book sales experience!

    • Nagi says

      YES! You are so right Sue! In fact, Sarah Wilson from I Quit Sugar is a classic example. I don’t know her numbers but based on the research I’ve done, I know her traffic levels are far less than the profile her book has!! I am definately aiming to ditch display ads. That’s my dream!!

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