An inside view into My Food Story: information on how an Indian food blog is building traffic and creating an income.
Hey Guys! Today I’m bringing you something a little bit different and slightly special – an inside view into My Food Story.
Over the years (even before I started blogging myself) I’ve been inspired by tons of food blogs who publish their Income Reports every month and give other bloggers a view into their inner workings, and learnings. I looked quite a bit and couldn’t find anything similar done by blogs in India. While this is not an Income Report, it’s my attempt to share my learnings while running a food blog, in the hope that we can help each other grow.
Inside My Food Story is going to be divided into two parts – My Learnings and a Guest Post by Cucumbertown, the platform my blog is hosted on. So here goes!
My Learnings So Far
It’s been about 10 months since I started My Food Story, and in this post I’m going to cover everything that I’ve learnt so far. From the next month, I’ll be only concentrating on changes made in the particular month. These are things that I wish someone had told me when I started my blog, and I hope they help you!
- It’s super important to understand your blogging platform, architecture and the backend. Why? So that you can optimize what you have! You can’t use features if you don’t know about them! For eg: My platform gives me the ability to select an image for Pinterest which remains hidden, so that when someone clicks the PIN It button, it automatically brings up that image. Notice the red Pinterest button on the last image?
- Get your own domain name. If you are serious about food blogging, register your blog’s domain name as soon as you can! This is very important in the long run to establish your brand and something that most of us ignore.
- Set up Google Analytics.As soon as you start your blog. If you are interested in working with brands, set up a GA account. Most brands will ask you for your Traffic numbers, and having a GA account set up gives it authenticity and credibility. I will share a behind the scenes of my GA account in subsequent Inside My Food Story posts.
- Keep a check on your expenses. Honestly, I work two job right now – my full time job as well as my blog which takes up all of my free time these days. I have never been able to choose, because I love both of them! And I don’t have an unlimited source of funds. Food blogging is expensive, with cameras, lenses, props, hosting fees, books, learning expenses etc. taking up quite a large chunk of your income every month. It’s important to know what you want, and what you don’t. In the long run, knowing where you spend is only going to help you.
- Engage on all social media platforms is an important fact that I still haven’t learnt how to do well. Social media takes time and effort and can be personal or impersonal depending on how you choose to deal with it. But a social media presence has become somewhat necessary. I don’t particularly like it, but it has become the most important way to talk to your readers. It can also be highly motivating when readers write to you and tell you they tried a recipe they loved.
This was my two pence. I’ll be back with some more next month. In the meanwhile, here’s what CT has to say. These are improvements/ additions that have been made to the blog last month, some of which helped me make a little money too, which is always welcome 🙂
From Team Cucumbertown
Last month, the first steps were made in the monetization journey. Ads have been deployed on My Food Story using ad networks like Google Adsense and Media Net. And the first month is looking promising! My Food Story has already made around $50, and soon more ad networks are going to be coming into the picture including and not restricted to Gourmet Ads, Yellow Hammer and so on. The team has been constantly looking at CTR and CPMs and are in talks with a new network almost on a daily basis. Besides the CPMs and CPTs, CT has also been looking at the ad placements very seriously because the intention is to make sure that in no way are ads interrupting the readers.
The other update is that all CT blogs can now have rich pins, including My Food Story! Look at one of the rich pins from My Food Story.
The process on how to do this if you are a fellow CT blogger, is here.
Upcoming: Besides these updates there’s big news for November! CT has developed a brand new Affiliate feature and My Food Story is going to be one of the first guinea pig blogs. And we are so excited! In addition to this, the team will be testing the blog by moving it to a CDN. CDN stands for Content Delivery Network and to make a long story short, your web page contents are served from machines distributed across the globe, thereby reducing the page load time. In CT’s case, what’s different from the normal CDN’s that people use all time is, instead of images which is usually made faster, this time the whole page is ‘CDNd’ making it much much more faster. So all in all an eventful October and November looks even more promising.
If you are a blogger, did this post help you? What would you like to hear about in subsequent posts? I’d love to hear from you, and find out what you thought. So leave me a comment or find me on Facebook or Twitter.