When I first wanted to start a food blog, I knew it would take hard work and dedication. While working in digital marketing (my past life), I managed blogs and the social platforms of several clients. I realized the amount of work and tedious attention to detail necessary to make a blog successful but it wasn’t until I started a blog myself that I really realized, it was A LOT OF WORK.
After receiving emails and messages about my 2018 income report (thank you!), a lot of you asked for tips and tricks, magic formulas, shortcuts. So first things first, there are no shortcuts. I wish. Getting a successful and lucrative blog up and running takes work and patience.
So today, we’re taking a trip down memory lane to when I grew my blog to over 100,000 monthly page views in just 11 months in 2017! It’s been an incredible ride thus far. Thank you once again for all your support. It means the world to me!
Ok let’s get to the juicy stuff.
I started this blog from scratch in February 2016.
I had quit my safe, secure full-time job the month before and was trying to figure out my next move. In the interim, I started an Instagram account just for fun but later realized, “wait I can make money from this!?” I had read all and I mean ALL of Pinch of Yum’s income reports and figured out how bloggers actually got paid. It was eye opening. I started posting recipes with an iPhone until I got my first DSLR which I bought at a pawn shop. Lol. True story! I got a Canon Rebel T1i with the kit lens then later I upgraded to a nifty fifty. I bought this book to learn how to use it. Check out my current photography equipment.
During that year, I took Nicole Culver’s Food Entrepreneur Summit where I learned a lot but also met food bloggers just like me (this was priceless! I felt so much less alone in this journey). I joined a bunch of Facebook groups. Read EVERY THREAD. And, I joined Food Blogger Pro which had so many helpful videos and message boards.
By January 2017, I only had 7,265 monthly page views.
I remember having a conversation about it with one of my friends, Isabel, and she couldn’t believe my page views were so low. Honestly, neither could I! So, I got my sh*t together and got to work. I figured out a solid content strategy and started posting relevant content more frequently while continuing to focus on SEO. I figured out an effective Pinterest strategy. I signed up for Tailwind and sent email newsletters via MailChimp. I also invested in site optimization to speed up my site.
By July 2017, I was able to join Mediavine with 47,288 monthly page views.
By October 2017, I had 70,207 monthly page views.
And by the end of November 2017, I had 268,643 monthly page views!
Just 11 months later, I had over 100,000 monthly page views. Thank you Thanksgiving + Q4! But also, all that hard work truly paid off.
P.S. I had forgotten this until someone that read this post reminded me. My site actually crashed on Thanksgiving week 2017 because of all the traffic. Several times, actually! I guess I had blocked out the memory since it was truly a NIGHTMARE. Super stressful, such a headache but thankfully, I switched hosts and everything has been smooth sailing ever since.
Towards the end of 2017, I signed up for Foodtography School, upgraded my camera to a Canon 6D Mark II, got the 24-70mm lens, learned how to shoot and edit for my style, and created my own light and moody vibe. I ended the year on a very strong note which propelled me into having an amazing 2018.
Here is a screenshot showing page views from January 2017 vs January 2018. Technically, during Q4 (the last 3 months of the year), page views tend to always be higher than in Q1 (the first 3 months of the year) where they drop off because the holidays are over (unless, of course, you’re a health + fitness blog).
Note: I would like to add however that even with that increase in page views, I still wasn’t making a full-time salary from this blog. I made a little over $5,000 total in 2017 from A Sassy Spoon. See my 2018 income report to see how I increased that number exponentially and turned this blog into a full-fledged business!
In summary, I grew my blog to over 100,000 monthly page views in 11 months by doing the following.
- Optimizing my site. I didn’t redesign my blog until February 2018. I had a janky $30 theme in 2017. But I made sure my site was clean and easy to navigate. I choose a host that prioritized site speed (Wpopt!), downloaded WP Rocket to keep my site fast loading and used Imagify to optimize my images. I also removed unnecessary plugins, popups, or widgets which usually slow down websites, no matter how cute they look.
- Focusing on SEO. I made sure to research blog posts before posting. I used Keywords Everywhere to find effective keywords and I used headings throughout each blog post. Above all, the main goal is/was to ensure every blog post solves a problem.
- Promoting my content like crazy. I signed up for MailChimp, offered a free digital cookbook for sign-ups (sign up here!) and made sure to send emails daily/weekly so there was always traffic coming back to my site. Aside from posting on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, I also signed up for Tailwind and consistently promoted my content via Pinterest.
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Other posts you may like:
- How To Start A Food Blog in 5 Steps
- My Story: How I Became A Food Blogger
- Food Blog Income Report: How I Made $85,000 in 2018
- Confessions of a Healthy-ish Latina: Building New Habits
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