In this month's blogging income report, we'll review my strategies from March, how much I made in April, my goals for next month, and what the heck RPM is anyway.
What is RPM? Why does it matter?
For bloggers who depend on ad revenue, RPM is SUPER important!
RPM stands for "revenue per mille." Mille, in Latin, is a thousand. So, simply put, RPM is the ad earnings per 1,000 pageviews or sessions. (The metric used differs by ad management service.)
So, if you have 1,000 pageviews or sessions in a single day and your RPM is $5, you earned $5.
If you have 1,000 pageviews or sessions in a single day and your RPM is $19.45, you earned $19.45.
If you have 9,000 pageviews or sessions in a single day and your RPM is $19.45, you earned $175.05, or nine times the RPM.
As you've probably figured out, more traffic means more income. But better RPM also means more income. So as a blogger who makes most of their blogging income from ad revenue, it definitely benefits me to try and improve my RPM!
The thing is, HOW RPM is calculated differs among ad management services. Ad visibility, user interaction, bounce rate, session time, and experience all plays a part in it.
RPM is nebulous. Every day, my RPM is a little different — advertiser bidding plays a big role in that. For me, as a food blog, my RPM is usually at its highest around big food holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas. I've had my RPM peak at over $40 before...but that only lasted a day.
How do you improve your RPM?
Most RPM improvements have to do with ad placement and user experience on your website. The more visible the ads, the better the user experience, the more advertisers want so spend to get their adds on YOUR website over someone else's!
There are LOTS of little ways to improve RPM, from posting longer-form content (quick aside: THIS is why so many food bloggers write posts before the recipe), adding images to posts, and inserting ads in high-view places (like, on a food blog, in the recipe card).
All these tweaks add up to make BIG impacts on RPM. Before I started making tweaks and changes, my RPM was probably around $7 on average. Now, even after the rebrand, I'm at a cool $15 average.
Want to know more about RPM? My ad management service, Mediavine, posts SO MUCH CONTENT about RPM and how to improve it!
The breakdown: how much I made in March 2021
Other affiliate income: 21.27
Oof. This hurts.
If you recall, I made just over TWICE as much last month. I did predict that my income would go down due to rebranding to Chelsea Joy Eats, but I was still hopeful.
Well, we're feeling the hurt. However, I AM confident I'll be able to build back up!
Overall, I saw a decrease in traffic (mostly from organic search) and a dip in RPM. That said, my RPM is already starting to see an increase. So, without speaking too soon, I think May will see a bit of an increase for me.
Building the traffic back up will take a bit longer, but hopefully we get there by the end of the year!
Checking in on my goal from last month:
My two main goals were working ahead in recipe posts and updating 4 old posts.
I halfway met both goals. I've got to admit, getting ahead in recipes is HARD. I've been testing and photographing 2-3 recipes per week, but somehow I'm still only 2 weeks ahead. Recipes often need some tweaking, so I often can't get a recipe publish-ready in a single day.
Add into that the fact that this isn't my full-time job, so my time is extremely limited. But, I still feel like I'm making progress here, and I'll keep working at getting a month's worth of recipes scheduled.
In regards to the goal of updating old posts, I managed to get two updated. This task is both easy and hard — the actual updating is easy! But gosh, I wish I could take the time to take all new photos for these old recipes. I think that's holding me back from being more aggressive with this goal!
Strategies moving forward
I'm going to keep plugging away at updating old posts and trying to get ahead recipe-wise.
But, in addition, I have a new goal surrounding sponsored work. I'll explain how that works in next month's income report, but the goal for this month is to build out a "Work with Me" page and pitch at least 4 brands.
This month, I have two goals:
- Build a "Work with Me" page
- Pitch 4 brands for sponsored work
- Accrue 1 month of recipes
- Refresh 1 old recipe a week (not necessarily rephotographing)
Previous income reports:
Interested to see where we land for May 2021? Stay tuned for next month's income report!
If you have any questions or have a topic you'd like me to cover in a future income report, leave a comment and let me know.
The start of the year is always rough. Hang in there!