Blogging Strategies: Quality Content

*Disclaimer: All of my thoughts and advice are merely things I have personally learned from blogging and strategies that I’ve used to get to this point.

Blogging Strategies- a post about why quality content is so important. | sallysbakingaddiction.com

Welcome back to my Blogging Series!

New around these parts? Let me fill you in.  To celebrate Sally’s Baking Addiction’s 1st birthday, I am throwing together a series of posts dedicated to my readers who are eager to start their own blog.  It is also dedicated to readers who are looking to grow their own blogs and market themselves.

Ok, let’s do this. :)

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies - take what you love about chocolate chip cookies and funfetti cake batter and combine them in this magazine-featured cookies. Recipe @ sallysbakingaddiction.com _

How do I begin to write my posts?

I ask myself a few questions to get the fingers going. What are my selling points on this recipe?  How can I describe this to someone who has never tasted it?  If I can’t lure you in with a striking description, chances are you won’t stay committed to reading.  While photography plays a huge role, I know my readers wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have anything to say.

A post should be like having an engaging conversation with someone. I want my readers to feel involved, so I try to make the posts inviting and enjoyable.   Here’s how I do it.

Apple Butterscotch 7 Layer Magic Bars

 

1. Get To The Point, Sally!

When I launched Sally’s Baking Addiction in 2011, I merely posted 1 small picture of the recipe with 1 or 2 sentences why it was so “yummy.”  Talk about boring. As I got more comfortable, I began typing long drawn out posts – posts that make me yawn when I go back and read them.

Let’s try to find a happy medium here.

I like to talk about food in my posts.  I write a food blog after all.  That is just my writing style; I know many other successful bloggers who go into personal stories and then touch on the recipe briefly at the bottom of the post.   For me, that just did not work!  I try to leave out paragraphs and paragraphs about my busy day in the office or my purse collection.  That is why I began my Bites of Real Life posts – so I can share random pictures and tidbits in my real life every now and then, leaving my recipe posts solely about the recipe.  I know the majority of my readers are here for the food, so each post is centered around… the food.

Donuts & Banana Oatmeal Bars

 

2. I get writer’s block.

The internet is full of beautiful blogs with beautiful writing and beautiful photographs.  I have to be honest, sometimes I have NO idea what to say in order to catch my readers’ attention.  Sometimes the writing is effortless and the ideas pour out of my head and my fingers get sore from typing so much so quickly. Other days… not so much.

If I’m having trouble coming up with a new recipe or a new blog post idea, I think of some things that I know and others may not.  For example, do you know how to boil a perfect soft-boiled egg every time? I certainly don’t.  Do you know how to make a killer homemade tomato sauce? Share your secrets!

Many readers may not know the correct way to measure flour – spoon & level instead of scooping it out of the bag with a measuring cup (don’t do that – you could end up with 150% of the correct measurement!)  Likewise, many readers may not know the “tall cookie dough ball trick” either.

Just think of all the things you know how to do and share it!

IMG_0942

 

Or what about going back into your archives and remaking a recipe – but better?  I know there may be a few recipes in your archives that may not be as perfect as you’d like.  Why not try them again and make some changes?  Make them stellar and post them again!  Explain to your readers the changes you made and why.

Cake Batter Cookies

 I explained why removing the extra egg yolk and chocolate chips in these cookies was so important the second time around.  I got a lot of thankful feedback from curious bakers.

 

3. My Favorite Two Words to Use in Each Post.

Something I picked up earlier this year after reading this enlightening article. A very thought-provoking idea when it comes to blog writing that I began to implement in my posts.

“You are going to love this cookie recipe because it is easy and quick - saving you time for holiday shopping and wrapping presents.”

Both effective words appear in the sentence above.  You and because.

Now, what if I simply said “I love this cookie recipe.”  Not engaging or convincing at all, right?  I’m marketing my recipes to my readers, so I try to focus on their wants and needs.

“When it comes to writing engaging content, ‘you’ is the most powerful word in the English language, because people are ultimately interested in fulfilling their own needs. It may sound harsh, but the fact is your readers won’t start to actually care about you at all until you’ve repeatedly offered them exceptional value with your blog.”  – Brian Clark

As I sit down and type, I constantly ask myself “why” after each sentence.  As the author, it is my job to specifically describe the processes, the ingredients, and the methods as precisely as possible. Why did I brown the butter? Why did I used frozen raspberries instead of fresh?  Why did I use such a high oven temperature?   Why are these cookies so soft?

“Start with a very high oven temperature for the muffins and lower it down after 5 minutes. You are doing this because the initial hot oven temperature will lift the muffin up quickly, creating a tall muffin domed top.”

Put your reader in the situation – make them imagine they are cooking the recipe and explain WHY they are doing what they are doing.  We are all inquisitive souls. :)

Sky-High-Apple-Pie-Muffins-001

 {sky high apple pie muffins}

 

4. My Least Two Favorite Words to Use in Each Post.

This sentence has appeared on my website before: “These cookies are so yummy!”

First of all, what does “yummy” actually tell you?  It’s like the word “delicious” — neither of these will describe my recipe to a reader.  Is the cookie soft? Is it chewy? Are the rolls doughy? Are they spiced with cinnamon flavor?  I try to be very descriptive so my readers know exactly what to expect.

I am guilty of using both words in the past, but try hard to give my readers a little more detail about the texture of their muffins or the taste of their bundt cake.

 

5. Take a Break.

One of the best thing you can do for post-writing is to… ignore your post writing.   What?  Yes.

More often than not, I find myself a little brain-dead after a long workday and most certainly before a workday.  When I have trouble coming up with exactly what to say, I walk away.  I go for a run, do a little yoga, online shop, make a snack, or drink some tea.  When I come back to my desk, my mind is just a little more clear.  Nothing new or revolutionary here, but taking a break to unwind as I write a post really works wonders.  I’d rather have a post that I wrote over the course of a few days than to post something crappy and rushed.

Break

 

6. Know how to write a recipe.

My website is about recipes. Writing recipes in a clear, professional format is important to me.  I refer to this very useful post when I’m hung up on writing a recipe in the correct format.

A few key things I’ve picked up the past year:

  • Write the ingredients in the order of which they are used in the recipe
  • Specify the size of egg (large? medium) – this makes a difference
  • Use “and” to break up fractional measurements.  1 1/2 cups may be hard to understand for the average reader.  It may be easier for you to type 1 and 1/2 cups.
  • BAKING PAN SIZE. I cannot stress this enough.  If you do not specify the baking pan size for your readers, they could end up with very soggy, undercooked, overflowing brownies or very dry, burnt ones.  I know I’ve baked items in the wrong baking pan before and it’s frustrating to waste so many ingredients.
  • Include serving sizes.
  • Include how to store an item and how long to store an item.  I received a lot of inquiries about how long my cookies stay fresh until I began to include this at the bottom of each recipe.  Now I am working on going back and including it for each one.  Your readers like to know this! (ie: Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days.)

 

7. The Importance of Being Original.

As I got my feet wet in the blogosphere, I quickly learned the importance of being original.  It is perhaps the best lesson that I ever learned.  I’m a blog reader myself and I am drawn to unique, new, and fresh recipes or content.  As a blog writer, I try to provide the same for my own readers.

Blogging what everyone else has already blogged, in the exact same way, may guarantee you’ll be ignored.  And if you don’t credit the source?  Well, you’re surely going to piss someone off.  It’s just bad etiquette!

 

8. Be Clear About Your Copyright Policy.

Sooner or later almost every food blogger finds his/her work being published somewhere else without  permission. This is so frustrating. All of your hard work, your personal photography… stolen. It happens to me all of the time.  Something I’ve recently began implementing in my posts and all over my website is that my material is under copyright. A clear copyright policy is crucial unless you want your content stolen right before your eyes.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want authorities knocking at my door for stealing material under copyright.  That’s not funny business.

DMCA

My entire website is protected under DMCA Protection & Takedown Services.  A badge is clearly displayed in my website’s footer. It’s FREE to register.   I’ve also recently begun to watermark my photos with my website’s name.  I was hesitant with this at first because I do not like writing to take away from the photo, but a small faded watermark in the bottom corner doesn’t make much of a difference.  I’m able to add watermark to my photos with Lightroom, my photo editing software.

Copyright Watermark

I recommend having a clear statement as to whether you are OK with your photos and recipes being used on other sites.  Beneath each recipe, you’ll find my copyright language.  This is so internet users will know that (1) you must ask permission to use my photos and (2) the content may not be republished word-for-word.  I note the source of the recipe (if it is not my own development) and I also include:

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.”

 

9. Quality over Quantity.

I do not outsource any of my tasks because personally, it’s bad for my workflow.  I develop, bake, test, style, photograph, edit, write, advertise, approve/respond to comments, emails, tweets, and facebook all on my own. And many of you do the same!  I do not want anyone’s voice to represent my own, so I personally do what I can.

With two full time jobs, it is difficult to keep up at times, so I do not always focus on quantity, but more quality.  I do not post on my blog everyday, but boy I wish I could!  Find out the schedule that works best for you and concentrate on producing high quality posts rather than a ton of “average” posts.  Think of your blog’s space and content as real estate – every corner of it and word in it is important!

Soft Gingersnaps-10

 {soft gingersnap molasses cookies}

 

Closing Thoughts

Blogging isn’t always easy.  In fact, it can be quite overwhelming at times.  It’s not rocket science, but it does take time, drive, and effort.  My blog’s content isn’t about complaints and whining,  it’s about cookies and frosting and peanut butter.  I have disaster recipes and cookies that bake flat. I’m a regular girl, learning, baking, and blogging my way through recipes.

Start small and let yourself learn.  1 year ago, I had NO idea how to write a successful blog post.  I cringe looking back at old photos and old writing.  What was I thinking? It’s a growing experience and it’s important to have fun along the way.

Of course, this is not the be all end all of blogging content and there are many other topics like SEO and spell check (do it!).

 

Let’s chat.

On the subject of writing or blog content, what do you feel is most important for your own blog?

Do you have any blog writing strategies?

 

Check out more posts from this series:

 

 

   

108 Responses to “Blogging Strategies: Quality Content”

  1. #
    1
    Averie @ Averie Cooksposted December 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I can’t even begin to tell you Sally how amazing this post is. The things that jumped out at me were Getting to the Point and having one! I have been all over the map on this from telling stories about my life and purse collection to none to long winded to not. It’s a balancing act but having a point rather than rambling…pretty key element!

    You/Because. Good info.

    That Kitchn article – never saw that one but specifying baking pan sizes and storage (I get more emails about storage! on old posts than I could ever imagine – to me it’s second nature to assume 3 to 7 days for a batch of cookies/bars, etc but not to everyone)

    Being original – YES!

    DCMA – yes and have it

    Yummy & Delicious – agreed! And thanks for linking back to my post

    I am so proud of you and this year has clearly been such an amazing one for you! CONGRATS. And this is your best ever (nonrecipe) post!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 20th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks Averie – SO much! It took me over a week to write but I really wanted to list a couple important things that I’ve learned. The copyright – SO important. I get SO many emails about storage time and if recipes can be frozen. Trying to go back and add that to posts when I can. your post about “delicious” really got me to thinking. It’s like when our men say something is “good” – lol. well, what else?!?! I’d like a more intensive review of my cookie, please. ;) I had some long-winded and very boring posts at times and it took me a couple months to realize that I’m not very good at that and I need to just stick to the FOOD!

      Reply

  2. #
    2
    Ikhlasposted December 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing these tips, Sally! There’s lots of food for though here (haha), and lots of things I will definitely be implementing in the future! I especially appreciate the tips on how to write a recipe and the techniques on bringing readers in.

    One of the things I struggle with the most is that my blog isn’t a food blog, but a blog about my various interests (like book reviews and writing), plus baking, so sometimes I feel down when I compare my dinky recipes to other amazing food blogs out there. But then I realise that I’m doing it in the style I prefer, and hopefully, that’s what makes my blog unique!

    Anyway, thanks so much for this helpful series! It’s proving to be very enlightening :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 20th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Exactly Ikhlas. Your blog should be your own style and while this post concentrates mostly on food blog content strategies, I still feel it’s important that blogger’s stick to their own visions and use their own truthful voice. “that’s what makes my blog unique!” –> exactly! And that is what makes YOUR blog an original. :)

      Reply

  3. #
    3
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishesposted December 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I love these “growing your blog” posts…I always learn something new. One thing I can totally relate to is using descriptive words. I always find myself saying “yummy” and “delicious” because I have a hard time coming up with more descriptive adjectives. You’re right, though. That tells the reader nothing at all about the taste!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 20th, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      exactly!! sometimes I use my friends and boyfriend as additional taste tester to myself and I beg them for descriptive words! “good” “delicious” and “yummy” don’t cut it sometimes! Thanks Ashley!

      Reply

  4. #
    4
    Erikaposted December 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Love it!!! For blog writing strategies, I try to shoot for some kind of anecdote that links to the recipe–why I had to make it, what inspired it, who asked for it, etc. I think Deb of Smitten Kitchen does it really well. (Obviously!)

    Right now, I feel like I am trying to transition out of your stage two, where you wrote blog posts so long they made you yawn! I definitely agree that quality is more important than quantity and my goal is to edit myself better!

    Thank you for the links to writing recipes professionally and calling out Averie’s blog for words not to use–super helpful!! :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 20th, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      I mean Deb is just a pure genius and does and says everything RIGHT. I’m inspired by her as well – I try to talk about why I made it, why I used certain ingredients, etc. And it took me awhile to realize that it is OK not to post all the time and to focus on the post quality rather than posting “just because.” SO GLAD this is helpful for ya my friend. :D

      Reply

  5. #
    5
    tijuana (po' man meals)posted December 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    great article! thanks so much for the tips, i really need them. i have been struggling with growing my blog and what to do next for a little while now. first of all, i am a mother of 4. my oldest is 7 and my youngest is 3. when i first started my blog 2 years ago, my youngest was 1 and i did not have a lot of time to put into my blog, at all. most of my older recipes were recipes that i make all the time that my mother taught me how to make. i would post maybe once every 3 weeks, maybe? i would throw in a few sentences and call it a day. i figured my blog was unique by the ‘money saving’ aspect of it and that would be enough. obviously it was not, especially since i have seen blogs that have grown a lot more than mine in 2 years! i have to admit, i have seen more growth in the last 6 months or so, than i saw since i started the blog! it is mostly because i am putting out more posts, more dialogue, and more importantly, i have more TIME. it has made all the difference in the world. 3 out of 4 of my kids are in school, and now the hubby works from home. i know it will just take time and more effort for my blog to grow where i would like for it to, i just have to be patient. :(

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 5:59 am

      Hi Tijuana! It does take time and it most certainly takes effort. A lot of it. Well, for me that is. Congrats on the recent growth – that is something to REALLY be proud of. Your blogging style can be whatever you want and if your goals are to grow your blog, it sounds like this new way of posting is working for you! I have no patiences whatsoever and I still remember the day I had 100 views. It still makes me proud! Just keep at it. :)

      Reply

  6. #
    6
    mrs. williams {persnickety plates}posted December 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I love this series :) I was just showing off your blog to a (non-blogger) friend last night & fawning over your pictures.

    I have a hard time with writing. I use “delicious” far too often. I’m trying to work on it.

    I don’t really develop any recipes, but as someone who follows tons of recipes, all the tips you included in #6 are so important! I hate when I come across a recipe that doesn’t include specifics.

    I agree with quality over quantity, too. Blogging isn’t my job. It’s my hobby. Well, cooking/baking is my hobby & blogging is just me sharing it. Sometimes I feel guilty about lack of posts & not following a schedule, but I’d rather make & post things I love than post just for the sake of posting.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:01 am

      I am so glad you like this series! I am SO guilty of using delicious as well! I have to be careful with it. I mean it’s not “wrong” to use it, but I just try to be more descriptive when I’m talking about the food I make. “but I’d rather make & post things I love than post just for the sake of posting” – I am the same way! I typically post 4x per week but I’ve gone 3 days without a post before – it’s just impossible for me to produce quality content EVERYDAY. Quality over quantity is important to both of us!

      Reply

  7. #
    7
    Chung-Ah | Damn Deliciousposted December 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Awesome post, Sally (as always of course!). Taking a break is so important and I still have to force myself to do that from time to time since I’m starting to get burnt out!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:02 am

      Taking a break is key for me too Chung-Ah. Just last night I took a break which is why I am responding this morning!

      Reply

  8. #
    8
    Anndyposted December 20, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    It’s horrible that people steal your recipes! The other day, I saw a blog with the pictures of one of your recipes! And I was like, you didn’t make that… Go and get your own photos!
    Aaaand…. Which is your favourite food blog ??

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:04 am

      Anndy, oh no! Where did you see my photography? It’s so disheartening. :(

      I read over 100 blogs – it’s hard for me to choose a favorite. There are so many talented bloggers!

      Reply

  9. #
    9
    Shainaposted December 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Your advise is great, Sally!My blog recently turned 1, I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for a year… I have learned so much, but there is still a lot that I need to learn when it comes to writing my posts. I love having other bloggers to go to for tips and advise. Thank you! :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:05 am

      Happy Birthday Take a Bite Out of Boca! There is ALWAYS something to learn! I learn every single day!

      Reply

  10. #
    10
    Julianne @ Beyond Frostingposted December 20, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Sally! I came across a post of your on Instragram, started following you and ended up at your blog, all in about 30 seconds! Your work is fantastic and looking forward to returning regularly. Thanks for posting such insightful words to us newbies! Happy holidays!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:05 am

      Hi Julianne! Thank you so much for the compliment and I am so glad to have you as a new follower! Happy Holidays to you as well! :)

      Reply

  11. #
    11
    Sally - only gluten free bakingposted December 20, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Thank you so much for this series. YOU are really helping me understand more about blogging and BECAUSE you have achieved so much in such a short time its inspiring too. (see I’m learning) Seriously thanks again, your advice is excellent. I must stop saying “delicious” and rambling about my life on my blog.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:09 am

      I am so glad, Sally! I am still learning too. I say delicious a lot as well and I am trying to be more aware of it – it doesn’t describe much to my readers!

      Reply

  12. #
    12
    Natasha @ The Cake Merchantposted December 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Thanks so much for writing this series, Sally! It’s been really helpful, and very inspiring to see how quickly your blog has grown. My blog is about 6 months old now, and I’m at the point where I’m thinking about hiring a designer to make it look more professional. Do you feel that a professional design helped your blog’s growth, and do you think it was worth the money?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:13 am

      Hi Natasha! Thanks so much and I’m glad that these posts are helpful to you. Congrats on the 6 month year old blog! That’s fantastic. I can’t wait to check it out! once I got a blog makeover completed with a professional designer, my page views quadrupled. And they grow higher each month since. I feel a sleek, clean, modern design is what readers like. Of course, success can be measured in other ways but I found that my own blog’s growth is because of 1) a new design and 2) a new camera. People eat with their eyes and that means having a nice looking design and nice looking photography. That’s just my opinion though and what i’ve learned through my own experience!

      Reply

  13. #
    13
    Lindseyposted December 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Ahhh! I am so guilty of saying yummy. I really like your point of saying “You” and “because…” because it makes the post more about the reader than the author. Great advice and tips!!! :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:15 am

      Hi Lindsey! Oh my goodness, I am SO guilty of using the words yummy and delicious as well! I try to use more descriptive words for my readers now that. And using “you” – exactly. It makes the reader feel like it is their post and written FOR them. Which it is!

      Reply

  14. #
    14
    Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?!posted December 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Sally, you are so generous to share all these thoughts and tips with everyone! I always learn some great new advice from your posts. Thank you. :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:16 am

      Thank you Colleen, that means a lot to me! So glad.

      Reply

  15. #
    15
    Laura Dembowskiposted December 20, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Taking a break is for sure the best way to combat writer’s block and the size of baking pans is a total recipe necessity. I have a total opposite approach to writing a post. I don’t want to just be a food blogger forever; rather I want to write novels and/or screenplays, so I’m hoping the blog will get me noticed for my writing. I want people to come to my blog because they want to read my hopefully thoughtful and thought provoking post as much as for the recipes. But here’s the best thing about blogging : as many blogs as I read, every single one of them is different. That’s amazing. If every blogger had the same approach it would be rather boring reading a bunch of them.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:18 am

      And your blogging style is wonderful for you Laura! I’m just sharing what has worked for me. I was TERRIBLE when I used that blogging style – I just kept on rambling on and on. IT didn’t work for me. You are a fabulous writer and I know big things will come for you. :)

      Reply

  16. #
    16
    Liz (Little Bitty Bakes)posted December 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Yes! I do know how to make a killer tomato sauce! Actually just made a big batch for my mom yesterday.

    This is my favorite of your three posts so far. I always shy away from using ‘you’ but you (ha!) raise some good points about its use!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:19 am

      I found that article about “you” and “because” to be SO interesting! And please share your tomato sauce recipe on the blog!!! If it’s not a secret recipe of course. :)

      Reply

  17. #
    17
    Ari @ Ari's Menuposted December 20, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    I’m loving this series!! I always just write whatever silly thing comes off the top of my head, but after reading this your entire writing style makes so much sense! I always find the marketing aspect challenging. It never bothers me to read it on other blogs, but I always feel like I sound like a schmuck going on about how awesome my food is, ya know? I think the key is in the descriptive language you use that isn’t just like “I’m so great”, but “This is what’s great about these”, and besides if we didn’t truly believe our food was awesome, we wouldn’t share it right? Great post Sally!!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:22 am

      Hey Ari! Oh my goodness, I would HATE advertising myself and my blog saying “i’m so great, my recipes are perfect” etc etc. Not at all! When I say a cookie is perfection, I mean that I think it’s REALLY good and I want to share it with the world and yes…. sharing what is so wonderful about that. It’s a fine line between the two! I adore your writing style though!

      Reply

  18. #
    18
    Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchenposted December 20, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    So, so many good ideas here. I absolutely LOVE when people say why to do something with a recipe. I’ve also found that people rarely explain why not. The rebel in me always wants to try it and find out ‘why not’. Thanks for reminding me that I need to do this more often with my recipes.

    Pinning to refer to later, for sure!

    Have a merry Christmas, Sally!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 6:22 am

      Thanks for pinning Loretta! And I am the same way – I like to know the science and thought process to adding a certain ingredient! And I think my readers do as well. :D

      Reply

  19. #
    19
    Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girlposted December 21, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Another great post, Sally! Such great tips and a lot of things for me to pay more attention to in my writing style. I’ve definitely made improvements in the overall content and appearance of my blog (uhhhh, my first posts had teeny, tiny pictures you not only had to squint to see, but were terrible to boot). I’m still working on my content, my voice, all of it…but these posts from you are soooooo helpful. And they give me hope that someday I’ll get there, too. :-) Have a wonderful holiday, friend!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 9:48 am

      my blog is still a work in progress as well! I am still trying to find my voice too, but I know that the blog content tips above have helped me tremendously. I am LOVING your cookies form today Ashley! Hope you hae a very merry Christmas.

      Reply

  20. #
    20
    Caleyposted December 21, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Great tips, as always, Sally! I’m not planning on starting a blog, but I’m enjoying this series anyway. :) I think you are doing a great job with this and all your posts, and I love it when you explain the science (usually chemistry, I guess!) behind the baking methods and ingredients. Must be the physicist in me. ;)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 9:49 am

      Hey Caley! You smartie pants. Want to come work in my kitchen and explain some chemistry stuff to me?? Glad you enjoy the science stuff… I do too. :D

      Reply

  21. #
    21
    Harperposted December 21, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Sally! I love this post :) Even though you said the post is geared towards food bloggers, I feel like a lot of the tips I can implement in my blogging and social media. THANK YOU!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Oh Harper, I am so glad! You know… I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for you. :) Can’t wait for new years eve! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

      Reply

  22. #
    22
    Skyposted December 21, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Sally thank you so much for doing this series!! As I’m in the beginning stages of starting my own blog, yours has been one that I am constantly referring to! I had never thought of the importance of using the words you and because. I’ll have to remember that :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 11:37 am

      Hi Sky! I am so glad to hear that you’re enjoying my advice and tips. “you” and “because” – that article was SO interesting to me and I refer back to it all of the time! Hope your holiday season is bright and merry and thank you for reading!

      Reply

  23. #
    23
    Meghan @ After the Ivy Leagueposted December 21, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Great post Sally!! I’m loving this entire series. I’m not a food blogger, but I still find so much of this advice applies to me as well! Oh and thanks for correcting me on how to measure flour! Gah, can’t believe I’ve been doing it wrong for so many years! Kind of embarrassing. Blogging is certainly time consuming, and definitely a full-time job. But if it’s something you’re passionate about, it’s worth all the work. And I’m so glad you started this blog, not only sharing wonderful recipes, but interesting info about the science of baking and the importance of certain ingredients. Can’t even begin to tell you how useful this information has been!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 21st, 2012 at 11:41 am

      Hi Meghan! I’m so glad this post is still helpful for you as well. Don’t worry, I did not know how to measure flour correctly until a few years ago. So many wasted recipes and ingredients and time! Blogging is my second full time job and you know how much work it is! I am so glad to have you as a follower!

      Reply

  24. #
    24
    Annie @ Annie's Nomsposted December 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I’ve loved your posts on growing your blog, they’ve been so useful to me as I only started my blog in March. Whilst I found myself mentally ticking off things on your list that I already do, I don’t put 1 and 1/2, I always seem to 1 1/2. I hadn’t thought that this may make it hard for my readers so thanks so much for mentioning it, I’m going to do it from now on! It may be because in the UK we use grams a lot, so I’m not 100% used to American cups. However, I’m always reading food blogs (including yours, I love it!) – most of the blogs I read are in the US and most of my readers are in the US, and now I’m starting to use more recipes and buy more American cookbooks I’m finding myself using cups a lot more so it will definitely be useful for my readers for me to put that little “and” in! Thanks so much again :D

    Reply

  25. #
    25
    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakesposted December 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Wow. I just LOVE, love, LOVE this post, Sally! I agree with Averie’s comments about the ‘yummy and delicious’ and about being original. But the thing that leapt out at me the most were your comments about baking pan sizes. I have to tell you that when I first started to learn how to cook, I had like one or two pans and pots and I didn’t have the budget to go out and buy more. So I would always look at the ‘method’ part of a recipe first to see if I had the proper baking vessel before deciding if I could prepare that recipe. I was ASTONISHED by how many recipes simply say ‘bake in a large baking dish’… really? SO unhelpful! It’s such a small thing, but incredibly important to include.

    I clearly didn’t follow your other extremely helpful rule of sticking to the point in this comment, nevertheless, I really applaud your effort in this post!

    Reply

  26. #
    26
    Luv What You Doposted December 21, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I get baking block so often and am always looking for more ways to describe a recipe. It seems like I use the same words over and over again. Yes Yummy is on my blog :) I loved reading the suggestions! Thanks for taking the time to write everything out!

    Reply

  27. #
    27
    Herbivore Triathleteposted December 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I always find posts like these so helpful. Even though lots of bloggers have written similar series, each one has a unique perspective and something new for me to learn.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 22nd, 2012 at 8:36 am

      I’m glad this is helpful and I learn SO much from other blogger’s on this subject as well. All so interesting to me!

      Reply

  28. #
    28
    Mercedesposted December 21, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    The copyright info you shared is really helpful and I need to do something about this on my blog! Thanks Sally!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 22nd, 2012 at 8:36 am

      copyright is serious business and I just feel better knowing my website is protected!

      Reply

  29. #
    29
    Katie (The Hungry Runner)posted December 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to share all of this, Sally! I used to feel stressed when I didn’t have the time to update my blog every day, but I’m now starting to realize the importance of quality over quantity. Also, I’m super excited to check out that “How to Write a Recipe” link :)
    xx Katie

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 23rd, 2012 at 6:11 am

      quality over quantity is what i focus on too. hope you’re having a wonderful holiday Katie! :D

      Reply

  30. #
    30
    Joy @ Baking-Joyposted December 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you Sally for the brilliant advice – particularly about the language used, being more descriptive is something I’m going to be focusing on!

    Reply

  31. #
    31
    Naps Luluposted December 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    This is a great post and completely agree with what you have to say! Also, your blog is a wonderful inspiration for a gluten-intolerant individual!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 23rd, 2012 at 6:15 am

      Hi Napa! I’m glad to hear that. While i do not focus on gluten free or foods with any dietary restrictions, i’m glad to know there is something for everyone!

      Reply

  32. #
    32
    Katie @ Oh Shine Onposted December 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I love your advice on the “tall cookie dough trick”. It seriously does come down to the science of baking, and I don’t follow it nearly as well as I should. Thanks for the post — I always look forward to these because they are so gosh darn helpful!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 24th, 2012 at 6:43 am

      i’m glad these are heelpful for ya Katie! Try the tall cookie dough trick – it’s amazing. :D

      Reply

  33. #
    33
    angela @ anotherbitepleaseposted December 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    wow sally thanks so much for the tips…writing is something I so struggle with…feel like I need to take a class…thanks for sharing the food blogger tips!!!

    Reply

  34. #
    34
    Rachael {SimplyFreshCooking}posted December 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    This is one of the most useful posts I’ve ever read, and I really appreciate it. You’ve made me want to think more and be more aware of the content I’m putting on my site. I’m completely guilty of just calling everything super yummy and delicious. I’m hoping that’s something I can change over time. Most of us bloggers aren’t professional writers or photographers, so it’s definitely a learning process! I love that you’re letting us get a peak into your blogging brain! Thanks so much! :)

    Happy Holidays to you!! xo

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 24th, 2012 at 6:50 am

      Hey Rachael! I am so glad you’re finding these posts helpful for you. They are things i’ve learned along the way and you know, i used non-descriptive words ALL the time with my posts. It really depends on the blogger, but I just feel my readers appreciate adjectives descfribing the texture and taste other than delicious and yummy. And I am certinly no professional writer!! OR photographer for that matter. it’s a learning process! :) HAppy Holidays to you as well Rachael!

      Reply

  35. #
    35
    Erin @ Texanerin Bakingposted December 26, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Great advice! My husband has been telling me I need to work on my written content and you’ve inspired me to actually spend more time on that. Thank you for the tips! :)

    Reply

  36. #
    36
    Ambarposted December 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I LOVE this post! You have no idea how much I needed these tips! I read the WHOlE post which usually I don’t do. You kept my attention 100% and I love that you remember the day you started your blog! Now I want to have a blog birthday party! Thank you so much for all your help, because I think we all know you don’t have to do this. Thank you once again.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 27th, 2012 at 8:36 am

      SO glad you read the post in its entirety. Thanks so much for letting me know this is helpful for you!

      Reply

  37. #
    37
    Misty O'Brienposted December 30, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Sally, thank you so much for taking the time to write these posts for your readers. I am so grateful for your tips and advice. I am hoping to be able to put more time into my blog this coming year and this series has been great motivation for me to start planning to do so.

    Thank you!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 30th, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Hi Misty! I am so glad. Writing this series has also been a huge help to me personally as well. It allows me to connect with other bloggers and to really think about the way I blog, write, photography, my marketing strategies, content, etc. I wish you nothing but the best in the new year. Thanks so much Misty!

      Reply

  38. #
    38
    Michelleposted January 20, 2013 at 1:06 am

    Wow, this information is really helpful! You clearly lay out the do’s and do not’s of blog writing, especially since my writing is particularly weak. I will definitely use this information to help improve my new blog! Thank you so much!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on January 20th, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Hey Michelle! Thanks so much and I’m glad you’re finding this helpful for you!

      Reply

  39. #
    39
    S. @ The Captivating Lifeposted February 18, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    I’m so glad I found this series when I did. I read your photography one first, because I was looking through old (bad) blog pictures the other day (as I mentioned in my comment to you on that post) and that led me to these ones. My discovery of them is really timely, because it got me thinking about how far my blog has progressed and where I want it to go, and in doing that, I realized tomorrow is my one year blogiversary. I will probably post on these recent reflections, and use your once-again helpful tips to improve from here on in. Also, turns out I have been measuring flour incorrectly this whole time. Thanks for the heads up! Lastly, congrats on how far you’ve come in a year. Very inspiring! Whew, longest comment ever.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 19th, 2013 at 8:38 am

      Happy 1 year anniversary! That is truly wonderful – a year is a long time to keep it up. We can only improve from here, so just keep working at it. So glad you found my post about measuring flour correctly. I measured it wrong for YEARS until I did some research and testing. Don’t worry, that’s not the longest comment ever. :) I appreciate it! Congrats again for 1 year!

      Reply

  40. #
    40
    zerrinposted February 21, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Hi Sally, I came accross with your blog while I was searching ways for growing my page views. CONGRATS to ou on your success! And thank you for sharing your experience with us! I find this post so helpful, I must keep the tips in mind while writing my future posts. The ones especially about measuring and describing the food are what I need to follow. Well, I’ve been blogging for 4 years now and I’m not satisfied with where it is now. As you say, people eat with their eyes, so I bought a new camera a few months ago and I changed the theme of my blog. I hope these will help increase my traffic. I’m trying to be very active at social networks too. Also, I’m trying to work on SEO. Are you working with a professional SEO expert or doing it yourself? I mean I’m working really hard (like many of us do) at times after my full time work and I want to see its result. I feel like there is something missing in what I’m doing.
    Cheers from Turkey!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 21st, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Hi Zerrin! You aren’t missing anything at all. It just takes time, patience, and a lot of work. A LOT of work. As long as your determination and passion is there, you work hard enough to see results. I do not have an SEO expert and know very little about it all. It all gives me a headache to try to understand! Being active in social networks and improving your food photography will definitely be a big boost! I wish you the best of luck and I’m so glad you found some of these strategies helpful. :)

      Sally

      Reply

  41. #
    41
    Makememycakeposted April 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Hi Sally,
    Thank you so much for sharing this great information!! your blog is amazing!! I will read your recipes because if they are as good as these tips they must be superb!! The only thing that I really dont understand is when you say that once you changed to bluehost, I mean when you had your own host, the next mont your stats multiplied by 3…here is my question, why?? what is the difference? the same content, same you, but what it made the diference? you moved in other way? I have been thinking about this and the truth is that I dont know why it changed.
    Thank you so much and again congratulations for your wonderful blog!!!! :) so lucky to find you

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on April 16th, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      Hi there! So glad you found my site as well and I am so happy to hear that this series is helping you! That’s why I posted it. When I say that my traffic increased after switching to self-hosting, it is because at the same time – I got a blog makeover, a DSLR camera, and new features on my website (because I was self hosted). Having all of that attributed to my blog’s growth too. Hope this is clear!

      Reply

  42. #
    42
    Reginaposted May 6, 2013 at 6:18 am

    I came across your ‘Skinny Peanut Butter Brownies’ recipe on Pinterest today. Somehow the word skinny and brownie in the same sentence intrigued me and I wanted to know what this was about! I came onto your website thinking I would take a look at the recipe and log off. I’ve been on your website for an hour and half now! This is my new favorite website :D

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on May 6th, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Wow! That is so wonderul to hear. :) I’m glad you found me. Let me know if you make any recipes. Thanks Regina!

      Reply

  43. #
    43
    Jessica | Kettler Cuisineposted May 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    I am loving this series and using as inspiration to grow my blog. I also have full time job, dedication to yoga/running and travel a ton. Keeping us is an effort, but I LOVE it! I made the mistake starting out in Blogger, but thinking about hiring a designer and making the switch in near future. Do you have any food blogging friends/tips for using Blogger?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on June 3rd, 2013 at 11:20 pm

      Hi Jessica! I’m so glad these posts are helpful to you. We have a lot in common. I have no experience with blogger at all. However, you may certianly hire a designer and they should be able to switch you over to WordPress if that is something you’d like.

      Reply

  44. #
    44
    Bakingyummiesposted June 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Hey Sally,
    After reading this post, I feel like I had given you this entire material to write since this is exactly what happens with me. I try to stick with a post every alternate day, but that rarely happens and I sometimes get very frustrated and disappointed with that thinking that I will lose the few readers that I have.
    Even I get intimidated all the time with the readership and the no.of comments that other bloggers get(you are one amongst them) eg. I read in the previous post about the 25K+ views that you enjoy per day. I was like wtf? I will never have this kind of readership.
    Lastly, it happens so many times that I don’t understand what I should write as an introduction for a particular before, I just go completely blank and I used to think that it happens only with me:)
    My blog is just 4 months old so I guess there’s till a lot of things to learn.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on June 16th, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      It’s a journey and I’m learning everyday! I get frustrated and disappointed as well, and I compare my blog and work to many others out there. But just be yourself and things will get easier as you learn.

      Reply

  45. #
    45
    Bakingyummiesposted June 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I meant particular recipe and not the word ‘before’…spell error

    Reply

  46. #
    46
    Kendraposted August 29, 2013 at 5:23 am

    HI :)
    I have been following your blog for several months now…. lurker, i know :)
    Your recipes are amazing and your tall cookie trick totally makes every cookie better!!!!

    I am in the process of starting my own food blog (name yet to be decided). I am so excited and super nervous but reading your posts about growing your blog has been super helpful!
    THANKS!
    -Kendra

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on August 29th, 2013 at 7:25 am

      That is wonderful Kendra! So happy you said hello this morning, it’s always nice to hear from readers! Best of luck with your new blog!

      Reply

  47. #
    47
    Tiffanyposted November 12, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Sally, thank you so much for writing a post as informative as this one! I’ve recently started a blog and enjoy reading about how you started and where you are now. I’m excited to see where you will be five years from now! :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on November 12th, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks Tiffany. :)

      Reply

  48. #
    48
    janelleposted November 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    thank you for this! I am late to the game, but I am so happy that I read this (thanks to bakeaholic mama) because I am “starting over” with a new website (coming soon!) and I could really use the tips. love your website.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on November 14th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      That’s great to hear, good luck Janelle!

      Reply

  49. #
    49
    elaine luoposted November 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    sally this is really an excellent post. i am writing a food blog introducing my daily chinese recipes and i need to write more engaging contents. thanks so much for your information. it inspired me a lot. and i am learning about baking cookies now so that i can share they with my chinese friends. people in china love to bake now. we just need more ideas and hard work.

    Reply

  50. #
    50
    Cassandraposted November 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Sally! Thank’s for posting this! This is a very helpful guide that I know I’ll be keeping as reference and inspiration. I also pinned this on pinterest. This has motivated me into taking a leap into blogging and I’m having so much fun!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on November 23rd, 2013 at 11:32 am

      So happy this is helpful for you, Cassandra!

      Reply

  51. #
    51
    Sally at Stable Road Homesteadposted December 16, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Well, of course I had to visit a blog titled “Sally’s Baking Addiction”! LOL. Actually, I was traveling the internet looking for Christmas cookie gift inspiration and I found your molasses cookie recipe…which I’m about to try. Happy trails and Merry Christmas!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 17th, 2013 at 10:14 am

      Hi Sally! So glad you found my blog. I love those molasses cookies. Merry Christmas to you!

      Reply

  52. #
    52
    Jenny H.posted December 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Helly Sally!

    This is my first comment on your blog, although I have been following our articles for a while. I love, love, love your style, your photography and recipe ideas!

    I wanted to start my own blog for a while and finally did so a couple of days ago :) Your Blog series was of so much help and I will probably read it again and again over the next few months^^
    I especially will take the “you and because”-thing to heart, though I found your tips on writing a good recipe (wouldn’t have thought about the storage hints) to be so helpful as well!

    Thanks so much as well for your inspiring photographies and posts! I will continue reading, trying and marvel at your handiwork! :)

    Jenny

    Reply

  53. #
    53
    Julieposted December 26, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Sally,
    Thanks so much for posting this information! Like many others here, I have found it to be extremely helpful. After visiting your website, you inspired me to start my own food blog. Right now I’m just doing it for fun since I love to cook and bake! But you have inspired me to reach for more if I get the chance. Thank you so much for your help! Happy Holidays! :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on December 27th, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      CONGRATS on your new blog Julie! How exciting. Happy New Year!

      Reply

  54. #
    54
    Stephanie @SustainingthePowersposted January 3, 2014 at 2:46 am

    Sally,
    I found your Tips and Tricks for starting a Food Blog post via Pinterest and am so glad I found your food blogging series! I now have the comment reply notifications plugin installed (I had no idea that wasn’t default) and am planning to take the “you”…”because” suggestion to heart. I agree that I love to know the WHY in baking and cooking in general. I can’t believe how fast your blog grew in a year, and I’m sure it’s grown even more in this past year. My blog is barely 3 months old, but you give me hope that big things can happen. Thank you for opening up and sharing what you’ve learned. It’s super helpful! Any chance you’ll do an update to this series for the past year?

    -Steph

    Reply

  55. #
    55
    Kimothy Wuposted February 7, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Hi Sally! Your blog is one of the reasons why I chose to start a food blog of my own, and your ideas and creativity really inspires me to constantly work on improving my blog. You’re a special person because of the way you inspire hopefuls like me. :-) So thank you for all the hard work you put into your blog!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 7th, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      Thanks Kimothy, such a sweet comment to read today! I appreciate it. Best of luck!

      Reply

  56. #
    56
    Larry Hillposted February 10, 2014 at 10:42 am

    First of all I want to thank you for doing the blogging series. I have found it very helpful and have told my friends about your site. I have a question about hold times for finished recipes. How do you figure them out? Do you have a formula or is it trial and error?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 10th, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Trial and error! After baking since I was little, I’ve learned how long certain items keep and which recipes go bad quickly. Thanks Larry!

      Reply

  57. #
    57
    Akshataposted February 27, 2014 at 5:17 am

    This is great content Sally, loved your writing style, its free-flowing, almost conversation-like. Thanks for the great tips on blogging and copyrights. It has given me food for thought. Good luck!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 27th, 2014 at 10:19 am

      Happy this was helpful to you, Akshata! And thank you so much.

      Reply

  58. #
    58
    Francescaposted March 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Hi Sally,

    This series of blogs about blogging is just wonderful :) I’m not in the food blogging world myself, but host my own nail art blog, which is very much in the baby stages!

    As a newbie, I’ve really found your advice easy to follow, entertaining, and most of all very helpful!! I’ve opened about 10 other tabs on my browser of articles you’ve suggested to read next….can’t wait to get stuck into reading them!

    It’s lovely to see someone enjoying their hobby so much :) keep at it!! x

    Reply

  59. #
    59
    Bartposted March 26, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Hi Sally, it was interesting to read your comments (even if I only came accross them just now :) ).

    I was wondering if you ever doubted whether or not to post your recipes online. I’m something of a food historian, I give lectures, tastings of historic recipes and such. I love messing around with old recipes and giving people insight into what food in the past was all about.

    As part of that, I was thinking of adding a blog element to my website, so I could post on the recipes I’ve been testing out and give some insight in the history surrounding them. Seemed like a fun way to share my experiences and who knows create some interaction with other enthousiasts.
    But with historic food becoming quite popular around here, I’m a bit squeamisch about also posting the actual finished recipes. I don’t want some more media-savvy person to just pick them from the site and use them for himself.

    Any ideas on this? – Bart

    Reply

  60. #
    60
    Hariniposted April 1, 2014 at 5:02 am

    Hi Sally,
    First lemme say a big thank you for such a detailed post with really helpful pointers,I am relatively new blogger and I can clearly relate myself to each point have written about.You are not only a successful blogger but a generous person who is so will to share the secret of success,love ya site,thanks a lot :)

    Reply

Leave a Comment