In our January 2021 food blog income report I will cover the 5 ways that we diversified our food blog's income streams in 2020.
This is the 4th article in our series "How Make Money Food Blogging"
- How to Start a Food Blog
- How to Grow a Food Blog
- How to Monetize a Food Blog
- How to Diversify your Food Blog Income (this post)
If you have started your food blog, grown its traffic and began to monetize it with display ads and affiliate links, now is the time to diversify your income.
Why should you diversify your food blog's income streams?
Simply because you don't know the future.
Let's say you made a career out of being an Amazon affiliate. Amazon affiliate websites send traffic to Amazon. When someone purchases something on Amazon, the website owner receives a commission.
But what do you think happened when Amazon unexpectedly reduced their affiliate commission rates in April 2020? That drastically reduced the affiliate income of these Amazon affiliate websites.
The same thing could happen with display advertising income from ad management agencies like AdThrive, Mediavine, Monumetric, Ezoic and AdSense when third party cookies are disabled in 2022.
Google found that publishers could lose 50-65% of their ad revenue when third party cookies are disabled in 2022.
Now is the time to think about diversifying your food blog's income!
Below are 5 ways that we increased and diversified The Conscientious Eater's income in 2020.
Top 5 Ways we Diversified our Food Blog Income in 2020 at The Conscientious Eater
Recipe Card Ads
One of the easiest ways to increase and diversify your food blog's income is to become a member of Chicory.
Chicory places a "Get Groceries" button below your ingredient list so that your readers can send the ingredient list for a recipe directly to their favorite grocery store. It's actually pretty helpful and it can earn you money!
Chicory Premium adds the potential for an additional ad to be placed next to a specific ingredient for that ingredient.
The image below shows both types of ads.
The "Get Ingredients" button sends the ingredient list to your readers' favorite grocer.
Here's why we like Chicory:
- Unobtrusive - The ads and button are not in your face
- Convenience - for people who want to order your recipe's ingredients from their favorite grocer
- Income - we averaged earning an additional $86 per month
If you're a Mediavine publisher, you can activate Chicory from your dashboard settings.
If you're not with Mediavine, you can sign up here: chicory.co/for-bloggers
Plant-Based Meal Prep Videos
Faith started to find her groove on YouTube in 2020.
From 2016-2019 Faith created recipe videos, travel vlogs, and "What I Ate" videos. These videos got a few hundred or a few thousand views, but never really took off.
Then on October 31, 2019 Faith posted her first plant-based meal prep video: Plant Based Meal Prep for Beginners.
Over 3 months later, she posted her second plant-based meal prep video: Meal Prep With Me!
Then something clicked on YouTube.
All of the sudden her Plant Based Meal Prep for Beginners video took off! People were loving it!
We soon had the 4,000 hours of watch time in 12 months that we needed to qualify to monetize her YouTube videos.
Here is what that explosion in watch time looked like in 2020.
Income from YouTube added an average of an extra $65 per month in 2020 for the months that we were approved to monetize Faith's videos.
We create PDFs that have the recipes included in exchange for giving us their email address that way we can let them know when a new meal prep video has been published.
Now that YouTube has taken off, we now have a basic funnel set up:
- People watch a meal prep video on YouTube
- They sign up to get the PDF of the meal prep recipes with a ConvertKit form.
- They receive our Welcome Series emails which include telling people about Faith's cookbook Plant Biased. (Roughly 4-5% of people buy Plant Biased)
Which brings us to our next source of income diversification...
Cookbook and The Vegan Bundle
Faith launched the first version of her cookbook Plant Biased in December 2018. After its initial launch sales dropped off to about 2 sales per month. We knew if had tons of good info and beginner vegan recipes, we just didn't have a good way to tell people about it.
But then we got the YouTube → Email Signup → Plant Biased Sales funnel set up. That has led to an average of about 10 sales per month now or about $100 per month.
Feb 2022 Update: We published a print version of Plant Biased in January 2021 and got it listed on Amazon. We now sell about 20-50 copies per month!
The Vegan Bundle
The Vegan Bundle was a bundle of vegan ebooks that retailed for around $2,000, but were sold in January 2020 for only $50!
Faith thought that was a really good deal (it was!) so she bought the bundle.
Then she got an email saying they were going to launch The Vegan Bundle 2.0 and they wanted to include Plant Biased in the bundle!
With Faith's ebook included, we received a small portion of the proceeds from other people selling the bundle. But the real money came through the 70% commission that they paid when someone bought The Vegan Bundle through our affiliate link!
That means that for every Bundle we sold, we received $35.
We told Faith's followers on Instagram about The Vegan Bundle and we sent emails to the people on our email list.
Our goal was to sell 50 Bundles and we sold 63 for a total of $2,210!
Even though The Vegan Bundle could be considered affiliate income, we wouldn't have been eligible to be an Vegan Bundle affiliate if we hadn't created the Plant Biased ebook. You never know where a project will take you. Just create!
Amazon and Other Affiliates
Mediavine's Create Cards allows food bloggers to put affiliate links in the Ingredients section and Featured Products section of the Recipe Cards.
For example, we put an Amazon Affiliate link in for these Silicone Baking Mats...
in the recipe card for this Chickpea and Broccoli Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe...
Makes sense right?
People who would want to make the Sheet Pan Dinner recipe might want to buy the non-stick silicone baking mats to put on their sheet pans.
We added a lot of Featured Product, Ingredient List, and Instructions affiliate link to our recipes cards like the ones shown below for Faith's How To Make Homemade Almond Milk post.
We almost doubled our average Amazon affiliate income in 2020 from $20 to $37 per month even with Amazon drastically reducing their commission rates in April 2020.
Being an affiliate for Food Blogger Pro and StudioPress / Genesis Framework / Feast Design has brought in an average of $18 per month.
There are tons of affiliate opportunities out there through companies like cj.com and shareasale.com. Get approved to be an affiliate, then browse their companies!
Switching from Mediavine to AdThrive
We've been a very happy Mediavine publisher since we 5X'd Our Food Blog Income in 3 Months with them back in August 2018.
They have customer service that goes above and beyond the call of duty and they create great products for publishers like their Create Cards and Grow Social Buttons. And I'm sure the Trellis Framework will be great to build on.
But then we hit the 100,000 pageviews in a month threshold to qualify for AdThrive for the first time in March 2020!
We had a decision to make. Do we stick with Mediavine or do we switch to AdThrive?
Our exceptional experience with Mediavine was what made it so hard to even consider switching from Mediavine to AdThrive.
Ultimately, we realized that we would never know if the grass was greener on the other side unless we actually checked it out. And as much as we don't like being wishy washy, we figured we could always switch back if we didn't like having our ads managed by AdThrive.
We are now 6 months into having AdThrive manage our ads and we are happy with our decision... especially the $20 RPMs we saw in Q4!
I estimate that switching from Mediavine to AdThrive has earned us an extra 30-50% in advertising income.
Read Brett's in-depth article comparing Mediavine and AdThrive:
Mediavine vs AdThrive: Why We Switched
How have you been diversifying your food blog's income?
Let the world know in the comments section below!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
How I 5X'd our Food Blog Income in 3 Months!