For quite a while I’ve been meaning to update the “making money with your food blog” post that has drifted out of relevance over the past few years. I’m no longer certain that you can make money with food blogs, reliably, through advertising or affiliate links.
By reliably, I mean a predictable minimum wage, $589.30 a week in Australia, paid on a regular basis. If you’re willing to put in the hard work of conning advertisers out of their money, I think you’d need to pull in around 20K visitors to your blog each week, who look relatively homogenous (e.g. are all Australian). The best way to make money from your blog is by getting a related job with a wage or building something to sell.
Amanda Hesser recently wrote a great piece on her advice for future food writers, which is do something that pays and write on the side. It’s what writers have always done and it has never been a better time to be a writer. Publishing isn’t an industry, it’s a button that you press. You can break into what’s left of the industry by owning a smartphone.
I think there should be a travel blogging conference, where people can air their vast sense of entitlement, every three days.
— David Whitley (@mrdavidwhitley) April 26, 2012
There seems to be a sense that bloggers are somehow entitled to make money from their work; that by posting a slice of your personal creativity is in itself worth cash.
In a purely economic sense, creativity is worthless. If you can’t find a way to make money from it, it isn’t worth money. The great thing about working in a creative industry is that you realise early on that the ability to convince people to pay for creativity is worth more than the creativity itself. The realisation that making beautiful objects and ethereal writing doesn’t pay for itself is overwhelmingly awful but good ideas don’t sell themselves.
The three decade span where you could aspire to be a professional food writer is over, so you should probably get back to creating something which is useful.