Today, I wanted to talk about the biggest mistake food bloggers make. And this is so YOU can avoid it.
I've seen beginning bloggers do this, as well as bloggers that are successful. And in every case, I'd argue that it is holding them back and preventing them from maximizing their success.
The mistake is that they focus on serving external companies, instead of serving their Fans.
When you start blogging, the easiest way to start making money is by working with external companies. This can take many forms, but usually starts with ad networks (like Google Adsense, MediaVine or AdThrive), affiliate links, and sponsored posts. There is nothing wrong with this, and it's a great way to get some money starting to trickle in, but the mistake many bloggers make is settling with only those methods.
I did a (very unscientific) survey of about 60 food bloggers. 88% of them use ad networks, 57% use affiliate links, and 23% use sponsored posts.
Only 7 of the 60 people actually moved on from those ways of making money and began creating products or services directly for their Fans.
That means that 88% of bloggers never tried to move their blog beyond simply serving up ads and links.
You can see the breakdown of the responses in the image provided.
I believe that the best way to grow your income is by serving your Fans. Yes, this can simply be by providing them content they want and layering ads and affiliate links on top, but if you can dive deeper and start to provide your Fans with products and services they NEED and WANT, you will be serving them even better.
Creating products and services allows you to focus on your Fans' needs and provide them real value.
To be clear, I'm not suggesting you eliminate ads or affiliate links, only that you supplement them by providing products and services directly to your Fans.
The highest reported ad rates for food bloggers are usually between $10 to $20 per thousand readers (usually using AdThrive or MediaVine). Even if you could only sell 0.2% of your visitors a $10 book, you'd be doubling your income. And the best part... you can leave the ad networks running, so you aren't sacrificing that income stream.
My biggest piece of advice to people who want to grow their income is to find a way to package your existing content in a way that will best serve your Fans, and then start selling it directly to them.
Remember, if you provide value to your Fans, they will be HAPPY to pay for it.