Every month I post a summary of how Homemade Hooplah is doing both in traffic and income. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m trying to become a career blogger and I thought it might be interesting (and helpful!) to chronicle how this crazy idea of mine is doing from a business perspective. You can view past income reports here.
I'm running really late with posting this report, and I apologize for my tardiness. I'm working on a new design for Homemade Hooplah (that I hope will be ready in the early part of June) and it's currently taking up the majority of my “free” time right now. This report will be a little short because of that, but hopefully I'll make up for it with the newer, more functional site in the weeks to come.
So without further ado, lets see how Homemade Hooplah did for April!
(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links. These are all products I have used and personally recommend. Thank you for helping support this blog!)
First Things First, How About That Income?
- Gourmet Ads: $65.70 (went down 45%)
- Sovrn (formally Lijit): $36.61 (went down 49%)
- SwitchAds: $12.61 (went down 52%)
- Femme / Media Nexus: $3.50 (went up 112%)
Total Income: $117.80 (went down 47.27%)
I'm giving you the bad news first, although it's a bit of a catch 22: April revenue did indeed plummet compared to March, however, Homemade Hooplah's traffic was just as good as it was in March.
So what gives?
The short answer: April is the beginning of a new quarter (Q2).
The long answer: “Most” companies break their revenue into quarterly blocks, and they budget their funds within these time periods. Advertising revenue is also a part of that. So at the beginning of a quarter, it's not uncommon for companies to be more reserved when it comes to purchasing ad space, since they need those funds to stretch for another 3 months. And comparatively, near the end of a quarter, it's not uncommon to see companies spend excessively on advertising, especially if they had a good quarter and have additional funds on hand.
This is what happened between March and April. March was the end of a quarter (Q1), so companies were pumping their excess funds into advertising. April was the beginning of the quarter, so they began to be much more modest with their spending. This is the same situation I experienced back in January (the beginning of Q1).
I will say, though, that the revenue dropoff for April was, well, pretty horrible. On my ad networks that guarantee 100% fill rate, I was getting $0.40-$0.60 CPM – whereas in March, they were giving me $1.00 or more. And for my other networks, my fill rates dropped to 40% with a CPM of $0.40-$0.60, compared to March where my fill was 70% and $1.00 as well. To cut through the all the math and acronyms: ad revenue dropped 50% from March to April. It was all very disheartening, especially since – for once – site traffic was not my main concern.
And speaking of traffic…
Secondly, How Was The Traffic?
- Total Visits: 30,861 (went down 10%)
- Total Page Views: 38,521 (went down 8%)
- Bounce Rate: 41.96% (went up 58%)
- Average visitors per day: 1,029 (went down 7%)
- Average pageviews per day: 1,284 (went down 5%)
- Best day: April 25th with 1,829 visitors / 2,110 pageviews
March represented a huge traffic surge for Homemade Hooplah, more than quadrupling what it was in February, so as we moved into April I was very worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up the momentum – but, fortunately, that was not the case. And the best part of it was that traffic was amazing even without being featured by a big league website (such as the MSN feature in March). A few of my recipes were featured, sure, but nothing that resulted in the ridiculously huge traffic spikes of last month. Overall, April's traffic is what I'd call consistent, and to me, consistent traffic is one step short of dependable.
Other perks: April was the first month that my eyes weren't completely glued to Google Analytics, which relieved some stress. Also, my daily “visitor goal” went from 240 (10 per hour) to 1000. I can't even tell you how great that feels. March certainly was a fun and exciting month, but it wasn't until April that I really started to feel like Homemade Hooplah had finally reached the “next level.”
First Ever Giveaway
I hosted my first ever giveaway in April, which was my way of thanking visitors for making March so absolutely awesome. I used Food Blogger Pro's video tutorial to set it up, and was really happy with how easy Rafflecopter was to work with.
I was learning as I went with this giveaway, so I made the requirements for entry pretty simple: visitors only had to leave a comment with their favorite holiday food. Visitors also had the option of following me Twitter, follow me on Facebook, or Tweeting a message about the giveaway to get additional entries in the contest. I also purchased a week-long promotion from GiveawayPromote.com for $8.99 to help get the word out about the giveaway – although, it seemed like I only received a big boost of traffic for the first 2 days of the time I paid for. I still think promoting the giveaway was worth it (and many guides will tell you that you should spend as much on promotion as you're giving away, so I was kind of going the cheap route) but I do wish I had received as much traffic for the whole time that I paid for instead of just the first few days.
The giveaway ran for two weeks, and in that time I went from 96 Twitter followers to 274. I also went from 606 Facebook likes to 705 – but, on the day I announced the winner of the giveaway, about 30 of those promptly unliked my page. I also received about 10 more email subscribers than I normally would have for that time period.
The traffic I received from the giveaway was good, but I didn't receive enough traffic to pay for the giveaway itself, which was what I originally thought would happen (hence the 2 week time period). But then again, I wasn't expecting April revenue to drop so drastically, either. Lesson learned on that one.
Visitor Traffic Breakdown for Giveaway:
- Giveaway Promote: 462 visitors
- Twitter (from tweets generated by Rafflecopter): 408 visitors
- Contest Girl: 235 visitors
- Online Sweetstakes: 175 visitors
Total Visitors From Giveaway: 1280
Social Media Sharing Groups
When I first started blogging, I read a few tutorials that mentioned joining a “blogging tribe” and how it is the real secret to true blogging success. And I didn't quite understand the logic, because at the end of the day, all of us bloggers are vying for a place in the same spotlight. I mean, sure, the idea of a community with a united front sounded nice, but I couldn't really wrap my mind around the idea of bloggers helping bloggers, if only because we're all after the same goal. Who wants to help others when what they really want is to help themselves? Not to be totally cynical here, but we are dealing with the internet – overall, this place isn't known for it's random acts of kindness, especially if there's nothing to gain in return.
But oh, was I wrong about all of that. There are groups out there that promote community support, whether it be to help share your content or getting answers to your questions. You just have to know where to look, and (not so) surprisingly enough, I found quite a few groups on Facebook to join. I wish someone would have told me simple fact this ages ago instead of just evasively eluding to “blogging tribes” and leaving me to wade through the waters alone. This is probably an excellent example the “internet selfishness” I mentioned above, where you'll find people who are willing to give you a crumb of information but yet keep the whole pie to themselves.
Fortunately for you, I'm not like that. I've been active in a few “blogging tribes” for the past few months and truly believe my traffic has increased because of my involvement and their help. So, here is a short list of some of the groups I'm apart of and love participating in. I'm not able to invite to any of these groups, but in most cases all you need to do is click the “join group” button and you'll be added within a few days. Just make sure that your blog URL is clearly visible somewhere in your Facebook Profile. (Tip: Most users join the group with their personal account, not the Facebook page for their website.)
- Social Promotion Sharing for Food Bloggers – daily posts to get your content shared on social media
- The Food Blog Comment Exchange – daily posts to get comments on your work
- Food Bloggers Central – GREAT info group that now has their own site of FREE blogger resources as well: FoodBloggersCentral.com
- Blog It Forward – promotion for all types of blogs, focusing on lifestyle / fashion
- Blog Hops and Link Ups – promotion for your own links parties or a way to find parties to link to
- FBG Loves to Share – post a link and specify which social media platforms you want it shared to
- Get Your YUM On! Yummly Sharing for Food Bloggers – post a link you want others to “yum” on Yummly. Note: Currently has a waiting list.
RPM stands for revenue per mille, and “mille” stands for a thousand impressions. It's a metric web sites use to see how much income every 1000 page views (note: that's different than each unique visitor) could potentially bring to their site.
Due to April's disappointing turnout from heading up Q2, the RPM was just as low as you'd probably expect, clocking in around $3.18 (went down 40%). Hopefully things will start bouncing back in May.
When I look at this list, I see 3 great things:
- Pinterest is finally #1 in my traffic sources! Rejoice!! Thank you Tailwind!
- Yummly has finally made an appearance in my referrals, and it's a strong appearance at that! And I promise you this is all due to the help from the social media sharing groups I mentioned above. If you have not checked out Yummly yet, you absolutely should – it's like Pinterest for Foodies. All recipes, all the time.
- I also finally got some hits from Stumbleupon, which again is thanks to my blogging tribe. My best day this month was from SU users “stumbling” my post for Sticky Honey Sriracha Drumsticks.
Most Popular Posts
I'm just going to come right out and say it: I find this list hilarious.
Why? Because the top post for April, 10 Minute Asparagus, is one that FoodGawker and just about every other photo grazing site out there rejected. On Pinterest it goes over about as well as a lead balloon. And it's not the recipe's fault – it actually is a great recipe, but the problem is that my photography for it isn't that great. I took it way back in November when the idea of food styling was still a very foreign concept, and it's one of the many posts I hope to take better photos for one day.
And yet, the readers of Yummly were all over this post. It currently has 3.7 “yums” on Yummly, which is more than most of my posts have pins on Pinterest. It really does go to show that you never really know what, when, or how something will go viral.
- 10 Minute Asparagus – 2,644 Pageviews
- Garlic Parmesan Broccoli – 2,582 Pageviews
- Baked Stuffed Flank Steak – 2,333 Pageviews
- Sticky Honey Sriracha Drumsticks – 2,094 Pageviews
- First Ever Giveaway! $50 Amazon Gift Card – 1,648 Pageviews
As part of the monthly income report I wanted to give recognition to sites that included links to Homemade Hooplah in their articles or content. After all, if it wasn't for the exposure these sites brought Homemade Hooplah the numbers in this report would be very different!
- POPSUGAR posted “15 Baked Pasta Dishes You'll Want to Add to Your Recipe List Immediately” and featured “Creamy Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake” and “Gnocchi alla Sorrentina“
- Recipe Chatter posted “Out-of-This-World Lemon Desserts You Have to Try” and featured “Limoncello Cupcakes with Limoncello Frosting“
- Diply posted “16 Jell-O Shots To Try This Summer” and featured “Midori Sour Jello Shots” and “Fireball Jello Shot Cupcakes“
That’s a Wrap!
That’s all for this month – thank you for reading! Here’s hoping there will be bigger and better numbers for May!