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 consider my food blog my official occupation for the last five years (along with my other, far more rigorous, job as a stay-at-home mom).
It’s important to me to maintain a balance as a professional food blogger. I’m not trying to turn this thing into a world-famous money-making machine. My goal is to continue being able to create and share the recipes I love while also making enough money to 1) Offset the costs of running Kitchen Treaty, such as hiring help and paying monthly hosting fees; and 2) Be able to consider 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 or managers such as Mediavine, AdThrive, BlogHer, and Google’s Adsense, pay a certain dollar amount (it can vary from pennies to $15+ 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.
2017 update: My current ad network is Mediavine, and they’re incredible – the best I’ve worked with in my 8+ year blogging career. They’re innovative, receptive to feedback, transparent in how they operate, and their customer service couldn’t be any better. They allow me to easily customize the ad experience in many ways, such as the ability to filter out certain types of ads with theclicke of a button (such as political ads during the 2016 presidential election, yoink). Best of all, my ad earnings are outstanding.
You’ve probably noticed internet advertisements getting more and more invasive, and that’s by design. Companies, understandably, want to make sure you’re seeing their ads. But my personal 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 do my best to get rid of it ASAP. 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, the world of ads is changing. The fact that I’m not allowing the more invasive ads on my site means I’m missing out on potential revenue. So I make up for that in a few other ways, such as …
In a nutshell, a sponsored post is when a company pays me to create a recipe with – and promote – their product in one of my blog posts.
I keep sponsored posts to a minimum – just a handful per year. And because credibility is key, I only accept partnership opportunities with brands I know, love, and trust. 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 high-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.
Contributing to Other Blogs / Freelancing
Another great way to make money as a food blogger is to contribute to other sites. I contributed to Oh My Veggies for a couple of years and it was a great opportunity to expand my audience and make a little money on the side.
Other bloggers freelance by doing everything from developing recipes and/or working on photography for companies to creating videos – or entire websites – for other food bloggers.
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.