How This 38-Year-Old’s Baking Blog Earns $5k+ From Ads, Affiliates, and Sponsored Posts

Amy Bloodworth ran a successful bakery with her parents for 11 years, but after the pandemic, they decided to close it down. Even though that business came to an end, she didn’t give up on her dream of sharing her recipes with others.

She decided to start a blog, Amycakes Bakes , in May of 2021 and qualified for Mediavine less than a year later. 

Although she had no experience with SEO or blogging, Amy figured it out pretty quickly. Today her recipe blog earns $5k+ per month, and she also launched two additional niche websites.

Keep reading to find out:

  • Why she created her website
  • What sparked her curiosity for earning money online
  • What other niche sites she created
  • Where her income comes from
  • How much traffic she’s getting
  • What ad companies she works with
  • Her marketing strategies
  • Her advice on getting sponsored posts
  • Her thoughts on SEO
  • Her approach to keyword research and link building
  • How she creates content
  • Her favorite resources and tools
  • Her main challenge
  • Her biggest mistake
  • Her greatest accomplishment
  • Her advice for other entrepreneurs

Meet Amy Bloodworth

My name is Amy and I live in Missouri with my husband and our two sons. I spent most of my working life running a bakery for over 11 years. 

Transitioning to full-time blogging has given me a flexible schedule and more quality time with my family, and we enjoy outdoor adventures, camping, and crafting together.

Why She Created Her Site

Before my blogging journey, my parents and I opened Amycakes Bakery in 2009 when I was 22. We specialized in extra-moist cakes and made-from-scratch desserts. 

That chapter taught me a lot about baking efficiently and consistently, as well as about the dessert flavors and cake designs that customers enjoy.

However, after the pandemic in early 2021, we made the difficult decision to close the bakery, and my parents retired. We sold the bakery house and equipment, but I decided to hold on to all the recipes I had been perfecting over the past decade.

A couple of months after we closed, I launched the Amycakes Bakes blog and began sharing my former bakery’s recipes. 

I knew nothing about blogging or SEO, but I did have over 5 years of hands-on experience creating and managing the bakery’s online shop on Shopify. During that time, online cake sales grew to 75% of our sales.

That experience with the bakery’s online shop sparked my curiosity about making money online, and I decided to go all-in on blogging. 

I started the blog with a small following of former local customers who were interested in my recipes, and it has steadily grown from there.

My husband has a full-time job, but he and I launched Games and Gatherings and Honestly ADHD as side projects to diversify our income. These blogs are still in the early stages, but we’ve recently begun monetizing Honestly ADHD through Raptive.

We picked these niches because they’re close to our hearts. Games and Gatherings is where we share our love of throwing parties and dreaming up murder mystery games. 

We both have ADHD, so we use Honestly ADHD as a space to share easy-to-understand ADHD information and free printables that have been helpful for us.

How Much She’s Earning

In 2023, my average monthly earnings from Amycakes Bakes were $5,190, with the following revenue breakdown:

  • Ad Revenue: 76% (Mediavine)
  • Affiliate Sales (primarily from Amazon): 17%
  • Sponsored Social Media Posts: 7%

It’s been gradual but steady growth. 

I started the blog in May of 2021, was accepted into Mediavine in April of 2022, and this past Q4 of 2023 marked my highest earnings period to date. 

The blog’s performance is somewhat seasonal, with higher earnings in months with holidays due to holiday baking recipes.

I switched to Raptive from Mediavine at the beginning of 2024 so that I could monetize Honestly ADHD at a lower traffic threshold. 

It was a tough decision because I loved working with Mediavine, but I was excited to see that January’s ad revenue from Amycakes Bakes doubled compared to January of last year.

Raptive lets second sites join with just 30,000 monthly pageviews, so I was able to get both blogs set up at the same time when I made the switch.

I think my RPMs increased on Raptive because of how they handle videos, which seems particularly suited for food blogs

Their sticky video player is more prominent on mobile devices, and it plays my recipe videos between the ads. On Mediavine the sticky video player was smaller and only played ads. 

This difference really upped my video ad revenue. 

As for traffic, my recipe site receives between 90,000 – 100,000 sessions per month, or 150,000-160,000 page views.

My work hours can be a bit all over the place because I have two young kids. 

Currently, I dedicate about 20 to 25 hours a week to Amycakes Bakes, but it varies depending on my kids’ school schedule or if I have childcare help available. 

I’m fortunate to have supportive grandparents in town who watch the kids when I need to work!

Amy’s Main Marketing Strategies

I didn’t start with a concrete marketing plan, but I believe what propelled my business forward was sharing the lesser-known baking products and techniques that I picked up in the professional bakery setting. 

Within my posts, I talk a lot about unique baking ingredients and time-saving methods that are new to many home bakers.

Instant Clearjel is one of my favorite bakery “secret” ingredients that I include in a lot of my recipes.

From the beginning, I’ve included a video with almost every recipe and tutorial. The videos have helped make the blog more engaging and they boost my income from video ads.

SEO has been my primary focus to ensure people can find my blog, but I also maintain a regular presence on social media.

I am most active on Instagram and Facebook, but I enjoy Pinterest the most, and Pinterest delivers the best ROI for me. I occasionally post on TikTok, but it rarely drives traffic to my blog.

When it comes to sponsored posts and affiliate links, I’m very selective. I only promote products that I actively use, which I believe builds trust with my readers.

I think of sponsored posts as a bonus income, so I’ve waited for companies to approach me instead of seeking them out. Most of these relationships started after I joined the sponsor’s affiliate program or tagged them on Instagram when using their ingredients. 

Having a media kit prepared for this has been helpful. Even when a sponsor initially proposes just to send free products in exchange for a video, sharing my media kit sometimes leads to a paid collaboration.

Her Thoughts on SEO

SEO is my top priority. I learned pretty quickly that it didn’t matter how good my recipes were if no one could find them! My strategy includes:

  • Focusing on low-competition keywords
  • Creating content that people are searching for
  • Regularly updating old content to keep it fresh and relevant

I use KeySearch and RankIQ to pick out my keywords based on their competition and to see how many people are searching for the topic. 

I use RankIQ’s optimizer when writing posts and its ranking audit to see which posts are losing traffic over time and need to be updated. Then I use the Rank Logic plugin within WordPress to monitor my post edits and see how the updates affect my posts.

Keyword Research

A few months after starting my blog, I had a lightbulb moment when I learned about low-competition keywords. That became my main focus for the first year of my blog, and I only targeted very low-competition keywords, most of which had only a couple hundred searches a month.

Now that my blog is more established, I start with the recipe I want to make.

Then I’ll search both KeySearch and RankIQ to see what similar keywords readers are searching for, targeting anything I believe I can rank for on the first page of Google.

Finally, I run the optimizer in RankIQ so that I can target the correct topics within each article.

Link Building

Link building hasn’t been at the top of my list. Occasionally, I’ll submit my posts for consideration in Facebook blogging roundup groups. 

I linked my former bakery’s domain to Amycakes Bakes when I started the blog, which gave me a bit of a head start with some quality backlinks. 

Plus, when I transitioned to blogging, a few local news outlets that were familiar with my bakery were kind enough to feature and link to my blog.

Amy’s Content Creation Process

I currently have 87 posts live on my site. 

For baking recipes, it starts with recipe development, which can take several days and lots of trial and error. When I’m happy with the recipe, I’ll shoot it for video and photos.

When I started out, I was using just my iPhone or iPad to capture everything, so most of the photos on my site were taken with my iPhone. 

Then I hired a photographer who baked my recipes at her home and shot them. This saved a lot of time, and she was fabulous, but it made me feel a little disconnected from my work, and I wanted to produce more intricate baked goods and cake designs. 

So, at the end of last year, I invested in a camera and have been slowly learning to shoot photos and videos with higher quality.

After publishing, I keep track of how my content performs based on Google Analytics and reader feedback. 

Completing a new recipe post with a video from start to finish can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. My vanilla almond cake is the second recipe I posted on my site and one of my most popular. 

Her Email List

I use Flodesk for my email list and attract subscribers through a sign-up form that appears on every post on my blog. It’s currently at 6,900 subscribers. 

I neglected my email list for over a year, but a few months ago I started prioritizing weekly emails. 

I wish I had started that sooner, as it’s been a great way to connect with my audience and keep them updated!

Her Favorite Resources

I’m a big fan of podcasts and I feel like there’s always more to learn in the blogging world. 

  • I regularly listen to the Niche Pursuits podcast and SEO for Bloggers by Top Hat Rank to stay up-to-date with the latest blogging trends and updates.
  • I enjoy learning from other food creators on the Food Blogger Pro Podcast.
  • The book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz had a big impact on how I handle money in my business.
  • For anyone struggling with time management, I recommend the LinkedIn course “Time Management Fundamentals” by Dave Crenshaw. It really helped me when I transitioned to working from home without strict deadlines.

Her Go-To Tools

Purchasing the Feast Plugin in early 2022 provided the guidance and structure I needed when formatting my blog. Their regular updates make me feel like I’m in good hands and following the industry’s best practices.

SmarterQueue has helped me stay consistent when posting on Instagram and Facebook. I still spend time once a week scheduling my social media posts, but it saves me a lot of time to have all my images and caption ideas stored and rotated in a queue.

In 2023, I upgraded from a small laptop to a dual monitor desk setup, which really boosted my productivity. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for myself and my business.

Her Biggest Challenge

The biggest challenge I’ve faced while growing my business is juggling the demands of content creation

I’m pretty slow when it comes to blogging—I take my time with writing, video editing, and photography, which are skills I’ve had to learn as I go. 

Recipe testing is a meticulous process that can take days, especially since I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I won’t share a recipe until I’m 100% happy with it, which means I have a backlog of recipes waiting to be re-tested and refined. 

Plus, adapting my baking techniques from commercial to residential ovens has been time-consuming, as I want to make sure everything is beginner-friendly.

Instead of rushing myself, I’ve learned to prioritize quality over quantity in my blog posts.

Her Greatest Accomplishment

My most important accomplishment as an entrepreneur would have to be building my blog to its current state and maintaining the drive and motivation to continue learning and growing every day.

It’s been quite a journey, especially since there were times when I felt a bit isolated because not many people in my offline circles understand how you can make a living from blogging.

Getting involved in Facebook blogging groups and listening to related podcasts helped with this and gave me a sense of community.

When talking about my job, I’ve found it helpful to elaborate a bit more for people unfamiliar with blogging. For instance, if someone asks me what I do, I’ll say “I run a recipe blog that earns income through ads and sponsored ingredients.”

What She Wishes She Knew When She Started

Looking back, I wish I had known more about on-page SEO. 

When I started, the structure of my blog was disorganized, and my posts were all over the place. Now I’m gradually revisiting and updating older posts that need improvement.

I learned about on-page SEO through the monthly SEO for Bloggers webinars by Top Hat Rank, and also through the Feast Plugin by following their recommendations and using their recipe post template as a guide.

The Link Whisper plugin was a huge time-saver when I had to go back and insert internal links into my older posts, and now I use it on all new posts.

Her Main Mistake

One of the biggest mistakes I made was spreading myself too thin and burning myself out.

During the first year, I was constantly working on the blog or thinking about it. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t maintain a consistent posting schedule or meet my own expectations.

Even after getting accepted into Mediavine, I found myself comparing my blog to more successful blogs and getting overwhelmed. 

At one point, I was so burnt out that I was ready to sell my blog. I took a few months off from creating new content and shifted my focus to other projects. 

Surprisingly, during this break, I noticed that my blog was still growing. Kind emails from readers during this time reminded me that my baking tips were helping other bakers.

This reminded me why I started the blog in the first place and reignited my passion and motivation.

Her Advice for Other Entrepreneurs

My advice is to remember that the big picture takes time, so build towards it gradually. 

Stay focused on your long-term vision but be flexible in your approach—don’t feel pressured to accomplish everything immediately! 

Instead of solely catering to what search engines like Google want, shape your business into something you’re genuinely enthusiastic about.

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