Happy 2013 everyone! I thought it’d be appropriate to write this article about the lessons learned during 2012 for jocooks.com and some statistics.
2012 was indeed a good year for jocooks.com. It was its 2nd year and the blog blossomed and brought in a decent income. The traffic was amazing, mostly due to Pinterest and to my sex in a pan recipe which went viral beyond belief. Here’s a comparison of jocooks.com for year 2011 vs 2012.
- In 2011, 254,987 pageviews 180,505 total visits
- In 2012, 2,471,099 pageviews 2,004,714 total visits
As you can see that is an amazing and unbelievable increase in traffic from one year to another. That’s almost 10 times more pageviews in 2012 over 2011. Here’s a look at the top 15 referrals for 2012.
I was a bit shocked to see that the number 1 source is direct traffic, shocked but pleased. As I mentioned before, our aim should be to get lots of traffic from google, google is #4 for me, which is good, but would really want to see google a bit higher. Sources like pinterest, or food porn sites can come and go, but I have more faith in google sticking around and generating lots of traffic for me. Pinterest is #2 on my list and foodgawker #3. These rank so high because of sex in a pan recipe, which as I mentioned before went viral.
The one that I am most proud of is #11 and was very happy to see that foodepix was #11 for a source of referrals considering foodepix is only a year old. I hope that in 2013 that number increases quite a bit. I’d also like to improve on facebook and feedburner referrals.
This is actually quite interesting. You will notice that a couple of the top keywords are the same in 2011 and 2012. Here are the top 10 keywords for jocooks in 2011.
Here are the top 10 keywords for jocooks in 2012.
As you can see pulled pork, chicken stir fry and vegetarian stuffed mushrooms are there for both years, which is really good.
In 2011 income was very low on jocooks, probably a couple hundred dollars. However in 2011 I did not focus on monetizing my blog too much. I believe the only form of advertising I was doing then was google adsense. In 2012 however I experimented a bit more. Joining ifood.tv for publishing was one of the best things I probably did in 2012, the income from them is close if not equal to google adsense income. Foodieblogroll was a bust for me, I’m still with them because they have a new campaign now with Glam Media which is supposed to be $2 per ad and you can have up to 3 ads above the fold. So far I don’t know how these ads are performing because Foodieblogroll hasn’t yet published estimated earnings for this and this campaign has been in place since the beginning of November.
The biggest lesson learned for me from 2012 is not going with BlogHer publishing network. In the beginning of the year I got accepted to join BlogHer but I changed my mind and did not join them. At the time I was not ready to commit to their strict rules. However I have come to realize that their rules are not so bad and you can still have other ads on your website like google adsense. I have since re-applied and am now on a waiting list with BlogHer publishing network.
One major change we did for jocooks in 2012 is move it to a VPS or virtual private server. This was by far the best thing we did in 2012. Jocooks.com is hosted with dreamhost, so it was really easy to switch to their VPS service because they actually offer it, unlike BlueHost. As you can see in 2011 I had no need for VPS, the traffic was steady but nowhere near the traffic in 2012. When jocooks started getting a lot of traffic, the shared server would crash a lot, therefore taking down my blog. Once I switched to VPS, the site never crashed again and all was wonderful. The plans vary, but the lowest price for VPS is $15 a month which I say is totally worth it. You can read more about hosting here.
The other great thing we did for jocooks in 2012 is change the theme to StudioPress Themes for WordPress, aka Genesis. This was a great decision, it was $350 well spent. We decided to go with the full package because I get bored with my themes on my blog and I like to change it around. This way, I have tens of themes to choose from and great support as well. The genesis themes are tremendously easy to use. You can read more about themes here.
What’s to come in 2013?
This is a great question which I’m not sure I have the answer for yet. I know I want to work on increasing the income on jocooks and I think joining BlogHer will accomplish that. Of course I want to work on improving traffic, but traffic will increase naturally as well, as more and more recipes are added to jocooks.
I would like to take jocooks to a healthier style blog and focus on healthier recipes. I know that this might kill traffic because healthier recipes always get less traffic, but I think I’m willing to take that risk.
I would love to hear from other food bloggers on what their lessons learned were in 2012.