Table of Contents
- Diversification is Key
- Diversifying Your Income as a Food Blogger
- Display Advertising
- Affiliate Marketing
- Freelance Writing
- Recipe Development
- Recipe Licensing
- Food Photography
- Sponsored Content
- Paid Newsletters
- Video Monetization
- Digital Products
- Hard Copy Cookbook
- Membership Sites
- Teaching a Class
- Creator Funds
For many food bloggers, the ultimate dream is to “go pro” and turn their blog into a business that can generate a full-time income. It’s possible, but it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, luck, and diversification to make that much money from your food blog. That last one, diversification, is a concept that people don’t often think about when they consider creating a full-time income from their blog.
Diversification is Key
People often use the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” when referring to diversification, but that phrase doesn’t really work for what we’re trying to communicate in this post. We like this phrase better: “Don’t just have one egg in the egg carton.” Okay, we’ll be the first to admit that it’s not as catchy, but the visual of the egg carton helps to communicate the point that we’re hoping to make, which is this…
It’s really hard to create a full income from just one income source (i.e. one egg), but when you have multiple income sources (i.e. openings in the egg carton), it becomes much easier to make that much money from your food blog.
Diversifying Your Income as a Food Blogger
Let’s use some realistic numbers. Studies have shown that the median household income for a family in the U.S. is $70,784. We’re going to use this number as the base income for our “full-time blogger” experiment. We know that it’s not enough for some people to live on (and it’s more than enough for others to live on), but we had to pick a number to use.
The monthly (before tax) income for someone that makes $70,784 comes out to $5,898. We’re going to use this number and divide it among all of the possible ways to create an income as a food blogger. My hope is to show you what it takes to create a full-time income from your blog if you’re intentional about filling in the empty spaces in the egg carton (i.e. diversifying).
If you have just one egg (one source of income), you’d have to create $5,898 from that income source per month. Two eggs would both need to generate $2,949 per month. In our example, we have 18 different income sources, so 18 eggs would need to net $328 per month. That’s going to be our “per egg” price point.
When you think about how to make money from food blogging, display advertising is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Display advertising is commonly found in a blog’s header, sidebar, footer, and body of the text in a blog post. Most display advertising is paid based on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost-per-click) basis. Depending on the time of year, you can expect to earn between $1-$3 for high-quality CPM based ads and $.25-$1.00 for CPC ads (for a food blog). It’s tough to provide an exact traffic number, but we’re confident that you could earn $328 a month on display advertising with 50,000 – 75,000 visitors to your site a month.
Affiliate marketing is when you promote an affiliate link to a product or service to your audience and earn a commission from any sales made through that link. For food bloggers, this could look like sharing the kitchen tools or food products that you use and would recommend. Let’s use Blendtec (a blender company with an affiliate program) as an example. Their affiliate program pays an 8% commission. That means anytime that someone clicks on your affiliate link and purchases a product, you get 8% of the purchase price. In order to get to $328 dollars a month, you would need to sell $4,100 worth of Blendtec products.
Freelance writing is a great way to bridge the gap between quitting your “regular” job and blogging full-time. If you find yourself getting to the point where you’re almost ready to make the switch to blogging full-time but can’t quite justify it financially, then you can use freelancing as a way to quickly bump up your income. Just a word of warning with this one: prioritize producing content for your blog full-time as soon as you can justify it financially.
Many food companies need recipes to promote or integrate into their product, and oftentimes these food companies don’t have in-house staff that can do the recipe development for them. Enter: food bloggers. Companies will often look to food bloggers to develop recipes for them. Recipe development, much like freelance writing, is another example of an income source that can be used as you transition into blogging full-time.
Recipe licensing is a bit different than recipe development. With recipe licensing, you’re selling the rights to use a recipe you’ve already developed (as opposed to developing a brand new recipe). The price point on recipe licensing is usually a bit lower than recipe development because it is work that you’ve already done.
Much like recipes, many companies need photographs of food to use. Taking on freelance food photography projects is a great way to create an income from the skills you’ve developed while building your food blog, but it’s important to know that the process will look a little different than when you’re photographing for your own food blog. It’s important to know your worth, set your rates accordingly, and be prepared for feedback and revisions.
More and more companies are realizing the power of sponsored posts. A sponsored blog post usually means that a brand will pay you to write a blog post featuring their product or promoting their product and then have you publish that post to your blog. A sponsored social media post often involves a Reel, post, video, or Story that features the product. Sponsorships can range in payouts from $50 to $10,000 or more, depending on several factors.
Paid newsletters are on the rise, and platforms like Patreon, Substack, Ghost, Revue, and Mailchimp make it (relatively) easy to get started. Newsletters provide an opportunity to niche down to a certain category of recipes or can simply serve as a way to provide exclusive content to your subscribers. Most content creators on these platforms charge $5-10 a month for the newsletters.
As video becomes more and more popular, so does the prevalence of video advertising. You can monetize your videos with ads through platforms like YouTube. CPMs for video ads vary greatly depending on engagement and other factors. It’s important to mention products in your videos and include affiliate links in the video description to increase your chances of making money from video product placement.
Digital products, like eCookbooks, courses, or meal plans, are easy ways to add an income stream to your business. You can sell digital products on platforms like Gumroad or Teachable. Price points can vary greatly for digital products, but $10-$40 is a common price range.
Hard Copy Cookbook
A hard copy cookbook isn’t for beginner bloggers, but it’s an important income stream to mention because many bloggers will someday write their own hard copy cookbook. This income stream is a little bit different than the others as it typically involves a big upfront payment followed by smaller payments based on book sales.
Running a membership site is a popular way to create a recurring income stream. You can create a membership site on platforms like WordPress or Patreon. Membership sites allow you to provide exclusive content and perks to paying members.
Teaching a Class
Even if you’re at the beginning stages of your blog, you probably have knowledge that people want to learn from you, and a great way to teach people this knowledge is through a class. You can use platforms like Eventbrite to create and sell tickets for your class.
Consulting is another way to leverage your expertise and make money from your blog. You can offer consulting services on topics that you’re knowledgeable about. Price points for consulting services can vary, but $150 an hour is a common rate.
Starting a podcast can be a great way to reach a different audience or connect with your current audience in a different way. You can monetize your podcast through sponsorships and affiliate marketing.
Selling merchandise on your blog is a great way to make some extra money, increase brand loyalty, and get free advertising. You can sell branded items like t-shirts, mugs, aprons, and more through platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce.
Creator Funds are programs offered by social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram that compensate creators directly for the content they create. These funds typically have specific eligibility criteria and payouts are based on factors like views, engagement, and followers.
Diversifying your income as a food blogger is key to creating a full-time income from your blog. By adding multiple income streams to your blog, you can increase your chances of making significant money. Whether it’s through display advertising, affiliate marketing, freelance writing, recipe development, food photography, sponsored content, paid newsletters, video monetization, digital products, hard copy cookbooks, membership sites, teaching classes, consulting, podcasting, merchandise, or creator funds, there are plenty of opportunities to make money as a food blogger. So start filling in those empty spaces in your egg carton and work towards creating a full-time income from your blog!