Ads, Sponsored Posts, & Other Ways I Make Money on My Food Blog
Kitchen Treaty is a labor of love, yes – but it’s also my job. I’ve been lucky enough to call Kitchen Treaty – and the freelance projects that sprout from it – my occupation for the last couple of years (along with my other, far more rigorous, job as a stay-at-home mom).
It’s important to me to maintain a balance. I’m not trying to turn this thing into a world-famous money-making machine. My goal is to continue being able to develop, test, and share recipes while also making enough money to offset the costs of running Kitchen Treaty (such as hiring help or paying monthly hosting fees) and, ultimately, to be able to continue considering this my job.
But I always want you, my readers, to feel like you came away with something of value after visiting Kitchen Treaty. I never want you to feel like you just drove through a neon-lighted tunnel of billboards and booming advertisements. So, in a nutshell, I generally choose user experience over making more and more money – and hopefully, that will keep you, my “user,” coming back.
So how do I make money on my food blog? There are four primary ways: ads, sponsored posts, syndication, and affiliate revenue.
Advertisements, delivered through ad networks such as BlogHer, Sovrn, Google’s Adsense, and Gourmet, pay a certain dollar amount (it can vary from pennies to $5 or more) per 1,000 impressions. What’s an impression? When you load a page from my blog in your browser and you see an ad, that’s one impression.
You’ve probably noticed internet advertisements getting more and more invasive, and that’s by design. Companies want to make sure you’re seeing their ads. Which is understandable, but my rule of thumb is this: if it annoys me when I visit other websites, I don’t want it on mine.
I don’t allow auto-play sound or video ads on Kitchen Treaty, though every now and then one will slip through the cracks. As soon as I learn about it, I remove that ad unit entirely until the video ad has been removed from the line-up. I hate those things!
I don’t like interstitial ads – the kind that take over your whole screen and you have to search for the “X” to close the window. I don’t like huge ads that won’t move when you scroll. And there are a few others I avoid having here on Kitchen Treaty.
Here’s the thing about advertisements, though. It’s long been the primary source of income for food bloggers, but, due to a number of factors, ad revenue is rapidly decreasing. The fact that I’m not allowing the more invasive ads on my site means I’m missing out on potential revenue. So I’m making up for that in a few other ways, such as …
To balance out the loss in ad revenue, I’ve started accepting more sponsored posts – currently, no more than one per month.
In a nutshell, a sponsored post is when a company pays me to tout their product in one of my blog posts. I’ve seen a few blogs go far down the sponsored post road and, as a reader, I suddenly feel like I’m being marketed to. I’m no longer learning anything useful – let alone believable.
Credibility is key. I don’t ever want to come across as inauthentic. Because I’m not being inauthentic! I won’t promote products I’ve never tried or don’t believe in. Ever. And I will always be crystal clear when a post and recipe is one that is sponsored.
Payment-wise, bloggers create sponsored posts for payments ranging anywhere from a pint of applesauce to four-figure paychecks and beyond. I’m somewhere in the middle.
Every once in awhile, a website or magazine will come along and ask to purchase my photography and/or recipe to use in their own publication. I’ve received anywhere from nothing to hundreds for such uses of content I’ve already created. I usually don’t allow another publication to use my work for free, unless I feel like it will really help to promote Kitchen Treaty.
When I link to Amazon on Kitchen Treaty, it’s usually an affiliate link. That means that if you click on the link and buy something, I’ll receive a small percentage for referring you.
For instance, this past week, readers clicking through to Amazon have bought a total of six items for a total of $117.29. I will receive a payment of $7.33 for referring them.
There are many other ways to make affiliate revenue, most of which I haven’t pursued. One of the most promising, though, is by selling e-books in which the creator of the e-book offers back a percentage of the proceeds for my referring them their way. For instance, if you buy the e-book (and media kit) that I’m about to tell you about, I’ll make $10.
Let Me Know … Seriously
So that’s how I make money here on Kitchen Treaty. If you ever feel like you’re being spammed in the face or an autoplay ad surprises you, please drop me a line. I promise that I want to know how you feel about it. It helps me keep perspective as I strive to maintain this (sometimes precarious) balance.
Learn more …
Are you a food blogger – or an aspiring one – who wants to learn more about how to make money running a food blog? You can’t go wrong with Kiersten’s e-book, How to Monetize Your Food Blog (that’s an affiliate link!) :: And Pinch of Yum’s income reports are a fascinating and super-informative look into a very successful food blog.