How Jamie Silva’s Cuban Food Blog Earns Multiple 6 Figures Per Year from Display Ads Alone

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Jamie Silva knew early on that she wanted to run her own business.

When she reached a turning point in her professional career, she took the plunge and dove headfirst into food blogging.

Her Cuban cuisine blog, A Sassy Spoon , was born, and a year later she was accepted into Mediavine. Over the years she has continued to grow, scale, pivot, and adapt, and has even started coaching other food bloggers.

Today her site gets millions of pageviews a year and she’s earning multiple 6 figures.

Keep reading to find out:

  • Why she quit her day job
  • How she got into food blogging
  • Where her income comes from
  • Her main marketing strategy
  • Her thoughts on SEO and EEAT
  • Her approach to keyword research
  • Her content creation process
  • Her go-to resources and tools
  • Her biggest challenge
  • Her greatest accomplishment
  • Her main mistake
  • Her advice for other entrepreneurs

Meet Jamie Silva

My name is Jamie and I was born and raised in Miami, Florida by Cuban parents. 

For as long as I could remember, I wanted to start my own business. In my past life, I tried opening several online ventures and lifestyle blogs only to quickly talk myself out of the idea and quit without ever giving them a chance to grow.

It wasn’t until I was at a fork in the road with my career in 2016 that I decided to really commit to turning my dream of becoming my own boss into a reality.

By that point, I had been hustling my way through agency life, working as a social media strategist for big-time clients in the culinary space. 

Prior to that, I was climbing the corporate ladder in the healthcare industry. Somewhere in between, I went back to school and got my bachelor’s in business.

Needless to say, for someone with a creative, entrepreneurial spirit like mine, my day-to-day life sure didn’t reflect it. 

This way-too-safe route I was told to choose for my life was making me crave change. I wanted a career that offered freedom and flexibility and a break from the mundane everyday routine. 

That’s when I decided to quit my full-time job to figure out my next move. 

I fully intended on interviewing for other 9-5 jobs but instead, I found myself going down rabbit holes of research, reading blog income reports and learning all about how to make money from a food blog. I was sold.

I decided I was going to give blogging another shot and really stick to it for a long haul this time. And that I did. 

Today, I’m the food blogger, recipe developer, and food photographer behind the multi-six-figure food blog, A Sassy Spoon.

Why She Created Her Site

Before I even bought a domain name, I read a lot about food blogging from other successful food bloggers. 

One in particular was Pinch of Yum. Their income reports shed so much light on just how lucrative food blogging was.

Even though I had business/digital marketing knowledge and experience, and had worked with food bloggers in my agency job, I didn’t really understand how to make an annual salary from a blog. 

This was 2016, and there wasn’t much information out there about profitable food blogging. All I knew was that it all seemed attainable. Promising, even. 

For the first time in a long time, it finally felt like the right path for me.

I purchased my domain in February 2016 and I began sharing recipes using iPhone photos. I eventually bought a used DSLR from a pawn shop (true story) and learned food photography.

From the beginning, I focused a lot on SEO and site speed. I may not have known much about food blogging yet, but I knew that ranking on Google was huge. 

I invested in site optimization early on. Additionally, I began working with a local boutique PR firm managing social media accounts for local restaurants. It was a blessing to have a flexible, work-from-home gig while I built A Sassy Spoon. Forever grateful for the opportunity.

By July 2017, I was able to qualify for Mediavine (1.5 years after starting my blog) with roughly 47,000 monthly page views (the requirement back then was 25,000 monthly sessions). 

Google and Pinterest were my highest traffic drivers. By the end of 2017, I qualified for Raptive (previously AdThrive) with over 100,000 page views.

How Much She’s Earning

Since 2017, my income streams have included a mix of display ads, sponsored content, affiliate marketing, and freelance food photography. 

By 2018, I made $85k total per year. In 2019, I added blog coaching as an income stream after feeling like I finally had something of value to share. 

And I scaled to over $100k in revenue. By 2021, I scaled to multi-six-figures and have been able to sustain that until today.

As of 2023, this is my income breakdown:

  • Ad Revenue – 78%
  • Blog Coaching – 21%
  • Affiliate Marketing – 1%

The majority of my income comes from the display ads on A Sassy Spoon. That one income stream generates multi-six figures alone. 

This, of course, is gross income and does not include expenses for things like taxes, groceries, equipment, web hosting, contractors, accountants, tools, subscriptions, education, etc.

I’m averaging $20k months with Mediavine Pro. Some months it’s higher or lower, depending on the season. I also stopped working with brands in late 2022 to focus more on the coaching side of my business.

As for traffic, A Sassy Spoon receives over 3.5 million pageviews per year, which is roughly 290,000 page views per month.

I work roughly about 20 hours per week on both coaching and A Sassy Spoon.

Her Main Marketing Strategy

In 2022, I realized I was stuck in a page view plateau. No matter what SEO magic I did or keywords I used, my traffic was stuck. 

I decided to narrow down my niche from comfort food to Cuban cuisine. I also revamped my content strategy to create content that aligned with my experience and expertise. 

Considering I’m a first-generation Cuban-American who grew up enjoying these tried-and-true classics and cooking with my Cuban family, this was the obvious choice to stand out and scale. 

By the end of 2022, having a focused niche ended up being the catalyst in breaking through my traffic plateau. My traffic increased by 40% as a result.

Her Thoughts on SEO

SEO is crucial for my business. Organic search is my primary traffic driver. 

My overall SEO strategy is to leverage semantic SEO and create content that not only aligns with my niche and EEAT, but also builds topical authority in Cuban cuisine.

In the past, I focused too heavily on the keywords/search volume and found that my content was disconnected and not resonating with the audience I wanted to target. 

Now, I focus on creating content that understands and responds to the intent behind user queries which is easy when you know your audience/topics inside and out.

Keyword Research

I used to do keyword research first when I was planning out content, but now I use it as more of a cross-reference for my blog posts. 

Because I know my Cuban Cuisine niche so well, I know exactly what my audience is looking for, so I plan content based on that instead of chasing keywords for the sake of ranking.

I develop, style, shoot, and create the recipe and then write the recipe posts. Once the blog post is drafted, I use KeySearch to enhance the post with keywords if necessary. 

I find that I usually cover all the main keywords without the initial keyword research because I write with my audience in mind. This strategy is what has helped me continue to scale my blog traffic.

It’s funny, I’ve actually never pitched for a backlink ever. The backlinks I’ve acquired in the last 8 years have been from publishers finding my content through Google or Pinterest. 

Needless to say, I don’t have a strategy for building backlinks. 

I do, however, focus on strategic internal linking which has been incredibly vital in helping me break through my page view plateau since 2022.

Jamie’s Content Creation Process

I have 319 blog posts in total. As a recipe blogger, we have several moving parts to our workflow, so I divide the tasks into themed days. 

Sundays/Mondays are planning and prep days; Tuesdays are shoot days; Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are for calls, editing photos, and writing. This helps minimize the overwhelm and helps me stay consistent by having weeks of content scheduled ahead of time.

I also have another food photographer and my amazing VA who help me with the blogging side of the business. When I’ve needed additional recipes photographed for the blog, I send my food photographer a very detailed document with the step-by-step photos I need.

Apart from that, my VA takes care of promoting my blog posts for me on Pinterest and Google Web Stories, and sometimes helps me draft the blog posts in WordPress as well. 

I no longer share content on Instagram or Facebook.

Her Email List

I have an opt-in form within my blog posts and use Mediavine’s Spotlight Subscribe feature so my audience can’t miss it as they scroll through the recipe post.

Readers opt into my initial welcome series and then are moved to a nurture sequence. This is mostly on autopilot and my email subscribers have tripled since I narrowed down my niche in early 2022.

Her Favorite Resources

The resources that have helped me grow and scale are:

Books like The Flavor Bible, Ratio, The Science of Good Cooking, Steal Like An Artist, Essentialism, Atomic Habits, Profit First, and The Big Leap.

Podcasts like The Sassy Solopreneur (which is mine), The Blogging Millionaire, Food Blogger Pro, and Eat Blog Talk.

The tools I absolutely need in my business are:

Google Search Console: This helps me see how my site is performing and ranking on Google. I also use this tool to see the content that’s resonating with my audience and based on that, I create new content for A Sassy Spoon.

Support System: Entrepreneurship and blogging is a lonely gig. You need friends. Your family and loved ones don’t really understand the ups and downs of running an online business but your business and blogger friends do. 

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to find your people.

Mentorship: Maybe I’m biased but every mentor I’ve had has been an integral part of my growth. In particular, working with Foodie Digital has been the lifeline I didn’t know I needed for A Sassy Spoon. 

Overall, I don’t think I would’ve grown as a successful entrepreneur without having mentors by my side leading the way. It has saved me loads of time and energy and it’s worth every penny.

Her Biggest Challenge

I’d say my biggest challenge is prioritizing myself and minimizing hustle. 

I’ve definitely gotten better with this, but honestly, when you love what you do, it’s easy to get consumed by it all. 

Sometimes it’s ok to put in the hours/months/years of hard work early on so that “future you” has the option to hustle/scale or coast when needed. There are seasons for both, after all.

Through the years, I’ve learned to give myself permission to meet my massive goals with ease and at a slow, steady pace, allowing for rest and for making space for myself outside of the business—something I’m definitely prioritizing more this year.

Her Greatest Accomplishment

I’ve been able to build a profitable business from scratch that’s still sustainable to this day. 

I started in 2016 with 0 page views, 0 followers, 0 email subs, 0 everything, and now have a multi-six-figure food blog, mostly from passive ad revenue, with the skills to diversify as needed. 

Last year, I reached $1m in overall revenue. A website that started in the living room of my 1-bedroom apartment now pays my bills, maxes out my 401k year over year, and affords me the freedom and flexibility I once only dreamed of while stuck at a desk in my 9-5 jobs.

What She Wishes She Knew When She Started

Looking back, I wish I had gone all-in on the Cuban Cuisine niche right from the start instead of playing it safe with a broader comfort food niche. I was worried about boxing myself in and was trying to emulate what the OG bloggers were doing back then. 

Many of them seemed to flourish covering a broad spectrum of recipes and lifestyle topics, or just focusing on keywords. I quickly realized they had the advantage of starting when there was less competition and could get away with having a more broad focus. 

In hindsight, it seems like a focused niche would’ve been my golden ticket to achieving success more quickly.

Her Main Mistake

I wouldn’t say I’ve made any huge mistakes, but one thing I feel that I should’ve done sooner is outsource. 

Having help with photography, blog writing, and social promotion really helps you scale way faster and frees up your time for more revenue-generating activities.

Her Advice for Other Entrepreneurs

Make sure you are filling a gap in the market by showcasing your expertise with topics that build trust, attract the right audience, and help Google understand who you are and what you’re an authority in, which is huge for SEO. 

Aside from that, stay the course, stay in your lane, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Even if you feel like nothing is happening, keep going!!



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