9 Nov 2006

My food blog as a blog lab

filed under: journal  :: advertising  :: blogging

This is part one of a possible series of posts where I ruminate on food blogs, mine in particular, and the food blogging world in general.

This here is a personal blog, and as such I never intend to have Adsense ads or similar on it. (I do use Amazon associate links to link to books and media.) My food blog, I was just really very hungry (or simply Just Hungry) on the other hand is monetized in several ways. It has Amazon associate links, an Amazon astore, Google Adsense ads, affiliate ads, and so on.

It's not that the objective of the site is to make money (it's more of a therapeutic thing, to get the obsession I have with food out of my system), but I monetize it in large part because I'm very interested in seeing how the various monetization schemes work, especially when it comes to blogs. And, I think a blog with a non-tech focus is the best place to see what's going on.

How does Just Hungry do? It makes a small yet not insignificant amount of money, most of which I spend on things related to the site, like buying more food related books. (The main reason I put Adsense ads on it originally was to pay for hosting when it was on Typepad, but it's since moved to our own server - though my dormant Typepad account is still alive.) It is by no means a main source of income, and probably never will be. In addition to hard cash, I also occasionally get offers for free book review copies and other products there, or invitations to certain food related events that I might pay for otherwise. I've taken up on some of the free offers and rejected others. (I probably get way less of these than U.S. based food bloggers.)

I also notice some interesting things too, such as the fact that 43% of the visitors are using Firefox (47% use Internet Explorer, 7% use Safari). For a non-tech blog that's a big percentage of Firefox users.

One other thing I have noticed is that people who come from links from other food blogs do not really seem to click on ads. People who get there via searches do. I guess this makes sense. It's a conundrum though if I want to increase the revenue stream -- do I gear my site towards blog readers, or general readers looking for food info? I have even toyed with the idea of decreasing the blog part and putting more content, such as recipes, onto more or less static pages.

One area I have not done very well in, which I recognize, is in self-promotion. Partly because at times I've let the blog lapse, when the rest of my life got too busy, I know I have missed several opportunities to boost its audience. I've also been avoiding conferences and things in general (more on that in another post), and I know that would have helped.

All in all, maintaining a non-tech blog has helped me professionally too. I feel much comfortable talking to clients about how to set up a blog or monetize their blog if they wish to. I've gained insight into the 'rest of' the world of blogging that I don't think just having a web design-development centered blog, or a personal blog, would have done.

Comments on this post:

Hi Kalyn! I think your IE

Hi Kalyn! I think your IE percentage is more typical. I'm not sure why I have so many Firefox visitors (and I have a cookie to exclude myself) but it could be an overlap with visitors who come here, or even my work site...web-tech type people prefer Firefox over IE any day.

Very interesting

Very interesting. I've noticed the same thing regarding people who come from searching being the ones who click on ads. I am quite amazed at your percentage of Firefox users. My own visitors are often about 75% IE users, go figure.

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