From An Instagram Page To Owning A $12K/Month High-Traffic Food Recipes Website

Published: May 31st, 2023
Addison LaBonte
Organically Addison
from Dallas, TX, USA
started November 2018
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Addison LaBonte and I own and operate a portfolio of high-traffic websites. My 4 websites are all in the food niche. These blogs feature hundreds of recipes that range from varying diets, cooking methods, courses, and seasonal flavors. My business is unique in that I am not selling anything to my audience directly. My content websites make money from display advertisements.

Over the past 4 years, I have rapidly scaled my business. Today, my main website makes $12,000 per month on average. In early 2023, I acquired 3 other food blogs. These websites make another $5000 per month combined. Diversifying my offerings has been a welcome challenge. I am greatly looking forward to learning, growing, and scaling my business further.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I was a Division I college soccer player. Upon graduation in 2016, I decided to start running long distances to run a marathon. Unfortunately, I experienced extreme pain and numbness in my legs after several miles.

After seeing several doctors, I was diagnosed with Compartment Syndrome. My doctors told me the only options were to give up running or to have invasive surgery on each leg. I was desperate to feel better.

My aunt is a seasoned marathon runner and suggested I try becoming gluten-free to help me feel better, not necessarily to cure my Compartment Syndrome. Shockingly, adopting a gluten-free lifestyle cleared up all of my symptoms. I could finally run pain-free! Within 2 years, I had run 2 half marathons and 2 full marathons.

A gluten-free diet changed my life. It allowed me to run, to feel normal every day, and to achieve some dreams. After a couple of years of being gluten-free, I started my Instagram page. After posting several gluten-free recipes, my account took off.

Suddenly I had several thousand followers asking me where to find my recipes. The next natural step was creating a website. Since I have zero experience coding and building a website, I hired a web designer to completely customize Organically Addison.

Through consistent posting, connecting with readers, and learning SEO, Organically Addison grew to over 800,000 pageviews per month. When I started an Instagram account years ago, I had no idea what it would turn into. This business has taken me around the United States, introduced me to some of my good friends, and pushed and challenged me. I am incredibly thankful every single day to work on my websites and continue learning and growing.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

Since I am not a computer engineer, I had no experience building a website. After doing some market research and speaking with other food bloggers, I decided on a designer. A few months later, my website came to life!

Hire out help when needed. Since I have no experience coding a website, I knew I needed to hire a web designer. This was the best money I spent on my business!

Keeping my audience in mind was highly important when designing the look and layout of my website. As much as I love my content, my website is not about me. It serves my audience. The main priorities are ease of use and a functional layout. Through many revisions, my web designer and I came up with the final result. From start to finish, this process took about 3 months and cost almost $5000. Worth every penny!

Today, my website sees hundreds of thousands of visitors every month. I love the way it looks, feels, and functions.

Describe the process of launching the business.

The launch of my business was much different than most businesses. It started as a hobby and turned into a profitable, six-figure business. Launching my Instagram account was the start of my business. From the very beginning, consistency was a priority. Posting every single day, engaging with my readers, and producing high-quality content were the keys to success.

Once my audience grew, creating a website was the next natural step. Launching my website with the help of a web designer truly was the birth of my business. Suddenly I had a place on the Internet to send my readers and followers.

The biggest lesson I learned during the launch process was that it’s never the perfect time to start. The most important thing is to take a risk and launch that business. I am a perfectionist, so this can be difficult for me. Progress over perfection.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

With any business, consistency is key. Creating easy, healthy, and delicious recipes every single week has grown my business. When my audience knows to expect high-quality recipes, they continue coming back for more. Keeping your audience in mind is hugely important. Oftentimes, business is not about the founder; it is about serving an audience or solving a problem.

The biggest game changer in my business strategy was learning keyword research. Before learning keyword research, I was posting random recipes with no rhyme or reason. Keyword research helps discover who and what people are looking for. If you create the world’s best recipe, but nobody is searching for it, then what’s the point? People need to be able to find your content.

Through SEO and a strong social media presence, I have been able to capture the attention and time of hundreds of thousands of readers monthly. To keep these readers coming back, I encourage them to follow me on my various social media channels and to sign up for my weekly newsletter. To keep my audience interested, I create new content every single week. People get bored easily – I must keep them engaged.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Now that my business is highly profitable each month, my goal is to rapidly scale my company. Through purchasing more websites, diversifying my income, and growing my audience, I plan to own and operate a large portfolio serving millions of readers every month.

As of today, I have a combined audience of over 250,000 people on social media accounts and over 800,000 monthly page views. The YOY growth has been steady and strong.

Dig into the analytics. Find out what is working and what isn’t working. Run YOY or MOM reports and find out what has improved and what still needs work.

I currently do about 90% of the work on my business. In the coming months, I look forward to building out a team. This team will be comprised of content writers, food photographers, recipe developers, and social media managers. Growing and scaling a business is much easier when there are systems and procedures in place. While building this team, I will create standard operating procedures for each facet of my business.

My biggest dream is to host my TV show. I am so passionate about cooking, baking, and teaching people. Combining my passions into a TV show that reaches millions of people would be my dream come true. I would also love to cook on The Today Show!

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I have learned more from starting this business than from my 4 years of college combined. Building a profitable business from the ground up has been challenging, humbling, and incredibly rewarding. There are several lessons I have learned along the way that stand out.

First, take a chance. It can be scary to step out in faith and start a business. If you never try, you’ll never know. The worst thing that can happen is that you learn a lesson. There is no such thing as failure.

Second, find a great mentor or mentor. A great mentor who is several steps ahead of you can provide insight and experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Lastly, outwork your competition. Work harder than anyone you know. Success does not come easily and does not happen by accident. If you aren’t willing to work on your business on Saturday nights or vacation, then the entrepreneur life may not be for you. Harsh, but true!

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

My website is built on WordPress, which is great for building websites and blogs. WordPress has thousands of plugins, which allow me to customize the look, layout, colors, and features.

Day to day, I use a DSLR camera for food photography and my iPhone for videography.

Every day, I post to Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube. These platforms allow me to reach hundreds of thousands of people monthly.

Flodesk is my email provider. They are relatively new but easy to use. I send out 3 weekly emails to my subscribers.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I listen to podcasts all day long. A few of my favorites are Food Blogger Pro, The Blogging Millionaire, Eat Blog Talk, and Niche Pursuits. These podcasts all focus on food blogs, building a business, and how to hire help.

In addition to podcasts, I am part of several different blogging mastermind groups. I love connecting with other website publishers and talking about strategy. Learning from others has been a huge help in scaling my company.

I am also a big fan of learning through trial and error. There is no better teacher than experience. Some lessons must be learned the hard way.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

The biggest mistake you can make is not starting. Put aside any fears, anxieties, or worries and just start. Life will never look perfect. Start today and you will thank yourself tomorrow.

Find a business mentor. It is hugely helpful to have someone who knows more than you do. Ask them questions, ask for their advice, and ask them how they go to where they are today.

Hire out help when needed. Since I have no experience coding a website, I knew I needed to hire a web designer. This was the best money I spent on my business. In return, I got a fully customized website that looks, feels, and functions exactly how I want it to.

Dig into the analytics. Find out what is working and what isn’t working. Run YOY or MOM reports and find out what has improved and what still needs work.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I am currently hiring more content writers and a food photographer. These two positions will help me grow and scale my business much faster.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!