Online Success Story:

Online Success Story:
Ellen Ferlazzo

I have recipes, shopping tips, kitchen and pantry organizing tips, menu ideas, and more.  This is not gourmet cooking but it's not "open a can and..." recipes either.  Most are family friendly (at least my kids like them!).

1. When did you set up your website?

2. What gave you the idea for this particular niche & website?

I didn't have enough consulting business to keep busy so wanted to use the time to learn how to program some simple html.  One of the tech oriented mailing lists I was on was full of young folks who were out of work and had no idea how to shop for and cook food instead of eating out all the time, yet they desperately needed to cut back on expenses.  I always do better with "real" projects so figured I'd start a web site about to cook at home cheaply.

3. Did you have any experience with online business prior to creating this website?


4. What did you do for work prior to setting up an online business?

I am a writer and online marketing consultant for high tech companies. At the time of setting up the web site I was doing technical writing and user interface design.

5. How did you initially promote your website, and if different - how do you promote it now?

I didn't initially set out to promote it. I did mention it to the mailing list I was on once I felt it had enough to be useful.  The blog part was started back when there were very few (meaning several hundred) food blogs, although that has exploded now!  I had some of my blog posts published in one of the first books that was blogger sourced (Digital Dish) so did a bit of promotion for that (bookstore signings and farmer's market appearance).  I read and commented on cooking, frugality and homemaking sites/blogs.  Now I pretty much do the same thing, read and comment on those blogs I really like.

6. Is your website profitable? Can you share some basic traffic & profit stats with us?

I make between 3 and 4 figures a month off it now. The income fluctuates a bit...  In the last month, I got almost 3,000 visitors a day.

7. What are your plans for the site going forward?

I'd like to integrate the blog and site better, visually and usability wise. I'd like to explore some other advertising means and I'd like to see if I can sell some ebooks. I just put some up for the Kindle and priced them ultra-low since the whole point of the site is to help people save money!

8. What ONE piece of advice would you give someone interested in starting their own niche site or blog?

Make sure you have lots to say and can add new stuff frequently.  I've started other sites that I ran out of steam on. they do sit there and make some income and are self-supporting in that sense, but they don't bring in much beyond that.  I'd also say you have to keep up a bit. When I started food blogging, hardly anyone had photographs. Now everyone expects a food blog to have photographs so I've been using them and learning how to take better pictures.

Ellen Ferlazzo

-Thank you, Ellen and congratulations on your success!

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Love the success stories. However, one thing I noticed was all of the owners started their sites years ago. Any success stories from people who started their sites in 2010?

    • It takes time to get a new website to be profitable. I started in late 2009 and just recently achieved success status. People who get there sites profitable sooner usually have had at least one successful site before so the learning curb is shorter.

      • Yes Debbie, I do see what you mean. The learning process is truly a learning process. I find that all the reading is great but it is not until I put my thoughts into action is when the process comes with the ups and downs. I guess the moral is to keep working on your site and continuously build it and ultimately, things will have a favorable return.

  2. Passive Profiteer says

    She raises a valid point at the end, you have to be passionate about the kind of site you start otherwise you're just going to end up running out of steam.

  3. Angelika says

    Thank you very much for this valuable and very informative post! I will try to implement this into my business.

  4. Inspiring as usual. I know that the food market is full and competitive, so if you're doing fine in it, you must have a lot to offer that your competition can't. Thanks for the advice

  5. Nick Garcia says

    I love reading these success stories! One thing that sticks out among most (if not all) of the success stories I read is that they "stuck through it" even though it wasn't very rewarding right away. Blogs can take weeks/months to start getting traffic from search engines, and unless you're doing other forms of advertising like Ellen did with commenting on other blogs, the website will not earn much for a while.

    Keep at it! Getting the ball rolling is one thing. Getting it to roll on its own is an entirely different process.

    Thanks for these stories, Lynn. They're fun to read!

  6. Yet another brilliant story - so encouraging.

    The thing I find interesting is that although this site is clearly vey profitable ( 3- 4 figures a month - wow!) it doesn't look heavily monetised.

    Thanks for sharing Ellen.


  7. Wow, I am really, really enjoying these success stories. It's just incredibly motivating and encouraging to learn about how the "regular people" are doing it everyday. Cheers!

  8. Recipe and cooking sites are notoriously considered difficult or hard to make an income with around the web, so I especially love a success story like this! Great stuff 🙂

    I really like your starting idea too ~ it's so true that early on we don't now how to shop and cook for ourselves, it 's a struggle. My husband and I may have started our family early, but I confess that we didn't really learn how to shop properly and with purpose until a few years ago. I would go and wander around the grocery store with absolutely no plan - talk about disaster LOL. Meal planning and proper grocery lists have saved my budget and my waistline!

  9. The Entrepreneuress Academy says

    What an inspiring story. I would encourage her to create a video based cooking series to further monetize her efforts.xx

    Melanie - The Entrepreneuress Academy

  10. RhondaPage says

    Lynn, I am loving reading your interviews with folks who are nice enough to share their successes. The theme is similar, good content, work, passion and perseverance and time. I think I have noticed another common theme - It seems that most of the folks that are sharing had background in some IT or computer related stuff - or marketing in their "real job". I am still experiencing the challenge of building a website that works without funds for support, or to have someone do it for me. Your description of the process for you to set up your new website made me sigh a little bit because it is so second nature for you. I am inspired by this series, especially since you seemed to work on it while on vacation(s)!!!

  11. Thanks everyone for the nice comments and ideas!

  12. As I look back, one thing that I would definitely do differently would be to remain consistent in building the site up. When it went stagnant, it was usually the result of my lack of time devoted to it. There were some months where I didn't do a thing to the site. It still made me a couple hundred bucks for the month, but it definitely didn't grow when I slacked.

    Last summer, I did some real intensive investing into the site... time and some money. I bought some quality links and continued to work on building up backlinks. I did this intensively for about 2 weeks straight all hours of the day, and then shortly after traffic exploded from search engines. It ended up giving me as much as $90/day on Adsense! The only thing I didn't know how to do was to maintain that. It seemed really peculiar that traffic would explode for 2 weeks and then go back down. As I look back, again, I think that was largely due to my lack of investment.

    I've also really realized that it's so important to be patient. There is no such thing as getting rich quick online from what I understand. Perhaps there is, but if there is, you can betcha it will take a lot of work.

    So I guess my thoughts are now... be consistent in investing time and money in the right things, and in that, be patient, and the pay off will be rewarding.

  13. Thank you so much Lynn for publishing this success series!It is very inspiring to see people who are really making this work & who are not in the Internet Marketing Niche (well, at least not in these examples). And a HUGE thank you to these website publishers who are kind enough to share their experiences with us!!

    This particular example brings up a question.....I keep reading about needing to continue to update a blog to keep the traffic rolling. However, I know you, Lynn, really like to create passive income streams in many of your niches or micro niches. I'm curious as to how to keep the traffic flowing to a niche site that is eventually going to be a more static site that requires less ongoing maintenance & updating. I'd be interested in your thoughts!

    Thank you all again!

    • Great question Lori, I would like to know the answer to that as well. My guess is that the updates are made to those mini sites, but perhaps not as often.

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