The Cost of Food Blogging: Part II
At the beginning of the year, I decided it might be fun to write a post about the cost of blogging. It included, everything from the time I put into blogging, my schedule along with the actual monetary cost of blogging from equipment to ingredients.
When I wrote that post I had no intention of writing a Part II, that is until I received numerous emails and many comments expressing how costly and intimidating I made blogging appear. So of course I wanted to express a few things. Grab a cuppa, this post is longer than my usual ones.
My intention was not to turn you off from starting a blog. Can I hook you back into wanting write a blog with ideas and ways that you can monetize your blog? Make money doing what you love – I sound like an infomercial, right? Well it’s true you can and I do. Did I start out with that intention? No, I did not. But as hard work would have it I am fortunate to make some supplemental income off of doing what I love.
I should mention, I’ve re-written this post more times than I care to count, but I struggled with trying to write this post more informatively. What the hell does that mean? Exactly. I have nothing in that way, so I’m going to write it my way. No posing, I’m not an authority and if you’re looking for information about whether or not to start a blog all I can offer is my experience.
How do I make money?
I have ads. Baking can get costly depending what you make and how often you do it and photography is expensive. The ad money supports these two addictions.
The impact: Any free money I have is spent towards these two things. As a result I’m not very fashionable-I can’t afford to be. I also wear the same thing over and over because I would rather buy a piece of kitchen tool or food prop than a piece of clothing.
My home is not stylish at all. Many of the items I buy for my home, I buy used from EBay or Craigslist. So instead of being shabby chic I lovingly call my style ghetto chic.
But if you must judge my spending habits please do so based on my kitchen equipment because you might walk away saying, “Well geared”. That is unless you are not a foodie and go by the name of Matt (my husband) then you will walk away shaking your head. He doesn’t see the sense in buying an $80 rolling pin much less having 5 different types. Nor does he see the sense in my happy dance when I place the winning bid on someone’s old marked up and stained wood cutting board.
I tell him, and I will you who found my $5K+ food prop spending outrageous, it’s a matter of value. As you can see feeding my passion for baking and photography have a much higher value to me than say fashion and style.
I also realize $5K is not realistic for some people. What you spend is up to you and subjective to how you want to present your food.
Did I start blogging with the intent to make money?
No, but I’m fortunate that I can make money off of my blog. I don’t take it for granted and I don’t let that compromise my integrity. For those wanting to make money off your blog, the easiest way is to join an ad network. There are a bunch out there, of course I belong to BlogHer and LOVE them so I strongly recommend them first. A few others that I have heard worth joining are Foodbuzz, Plateful, VSW, Glam Media, Technorati, Value Click.
Here’s something that I’m going to tell you that I haven’t done, because I can’t find the time to actually put it into place. But don’t be dumb like me and leave money on the table.
If your ad network periodically does not have ad inventory, make sure you back fill. A back fill is ads from another ad network when you primary one does not have any on hand. Some bloggers have up to 3 backfills lined up. Smart – they are always making money.
Would I still blog if I didn’t make money?
Yes, I would. It’s a passion. As a result, that commonality has led me to finding some of my dearest friends and closest confidantes. Aside from that, try talking to a non-blogger about cool plug-ins or sharing tips and tricks to weathering wood boards for food photography backgrounds-not very interesting chatter for most people.
How do I find the time?
That’s the funny thing about finding passion. Passion has a way of filling any idle time. Outside of family and work, when I’m not baking, photographing, editing and posting, I’m thinking about recipes, studying photography, pinning points of inspiration on Pinterest.
The downside: I am embarrassed to say have no idea what is going on with the upcoming presidential election. Exhaustion also has plagued me on more than a few occasions and I’ve showed up to work with my dress on inside out. I’ve been known to sleep in my work clothes, just so I can shave a few minutes off my morning routine.
Most importantly, I will admit, I’ve missed out on time with my little guy especially when I was first starting out. But I’ve now come to a place that I’m comfortable with in terms of my family time and blogging time.
Am I ”superwoman”?
No, I’m not, that term and comments towards it in the first post made me really uneasy. I promise you anyone can do this.
I’m not doing anything special or impressive. I have no secret sauce. If you know me well, then you’ve heard me cheer blogging on as a great tool for a creative outlet as well as a way to find and join a community that shares a common passion.
What did I do to make my blog successful?
This was a common theme in most of the emails I received and reflective of why people thought they didn’t have the time or money to build a “successful” blog.
Successful is relative. For me successful is being able to constantly improve my baking skills and photography skills.
Have I ever wanted to stop blogging?
Now I’m going to be blunt, real blunt. Yes, there was a time when I didn’t enjoy blogging. I was worried about how I measured against my peers, in terms of creativity and skill level. I measured my worthiness by my comment count, page views and Alexa ranking.
Again, don’t be like me – take my advice on this: define success for yourself and stay the course.
I lost my way and I became unsure of myself. Thankfully having friends who blog and who may or may not have gone through this self doubt helped me find my perspective again. These types of people, as one of blogging friends termed it are your “cheerleaders and motivators.” That is exactly why the best thing about food blogging is the community aspect—make friends entrench yourself in it there’s so much to learn, discover and so many friends to make.
Nowadays, I don’t doubt myself or worry about my worthiness. The one stat I do look at is pageviews, just to measure which posts are popular.
Do I blog towards what is presumably popular?
Truth is, yes. I like connecting with you guys. I like delivering on what I think you might enjoy. If I didn’t I would just keep my blog private.
At the same time I balance it out and still post what I know may not necessarily be “popular”, but I do so for the sake of my own personal growth as a baker. Even with that, I always work towards imparting something useful.
That’s it. An abrupt end, but this is already a long post, so no need to make it longer with extraneous stuff. I really hope this post was useful for those of you who are thinking of starting a blog.
As an aside, I think a few of you emailed me about specific ways to offset the cost. If I didn’t return your email, please email once more. I had security problems and had to clear out my email box.