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.

Food Blogging Strategies - Tips and Tricks on

(White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Cookies)

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.

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

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.

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.

Cake Batter Cookies

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.


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.

When I have trouble coming up with exactly what to say, I walk away. I go for a run, do a little yoga, 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.

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.

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.

My entire website is protected under DMCA Protection & Takedown Services. I also 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.

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.

Dark Chocolate Key Lime Pie Truffles-4

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.

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!

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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.

Be sure to check out my other blogging pages.


  1. 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

    • 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!

  2. 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 😀

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

  3. 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?

    • 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.

  4. 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.

    • 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.

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

  6. 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!

    • 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!

  7. 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! 🙂

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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! 🙂


  13. 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! 🙂

  14. 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?


  15. 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!

  16. 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?

    • 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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 🙂

  21. Hi Sally! I absolutely love your blog, and you’re a huge inspiration to me. You are actually one of the food bloggers that inspired me to start my own blog, Anyway, I was wondering what you use or how you make the cute boxes that contain your recipes that allow readers to print them or save them without printing the whole page. I’m figuring out the whole blogging world as I go along, just like you! Thanks for everything!

    • Hi Juliet! My designer, Purr Design, created a unique recipe box for my recipes. It’s coded into the site – sorry I’m not much help. Congrats on your new blog!

  22. Sally, thank you for sharing all these strategies! I’m just starting out with my healthy eating blog and all the advice has been beyond helpful getting me started, or rather have an idea of the steps I need to take to get there! Thanks so much!

  23. Hi Sally,

    I am all the way from South Africa and I totally love your blog. Thanks so much for this series. I’ve been struggling with this bit so it is really helpful. 🙂

    Thank you 😀

  24. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. These tips I will for sure think about when I write my posts.

  25. hello. thanks for the info!! Starting my own food blog. Write now making my content so that when I launch I will a few tried and tested recipes and food props. Am I doing to much or is this normal to test out the recipes before pushing them out to readers?? I have tested some recipes 3 times to make sure its something that I am 100% comfortable with putting out to readers…. Is this normal as a food blogger to test your recipes more than once to get them just right??? Thanks for your time!

  26. Hi Sally, I’m learning a lot from you so thank you so much for all the details you put in here!!!

    I just want to ask you why did you remove the DMCA badge? Is there a reason? You no longer use that service? I’m just asking before using it too.

    Thanks and have a good day!

  27. Thanks so much for such an informative post! I’m very new to the food blog world, and everything seems like SUCH a whirlwind! It’s awesome to see how helpful everyone wants to be. So thank you for sharing!

  28. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful insight! I am revamping my site and image and I know the struggle! All of your tips are so helpful since I too find myself wondering how to find balance for each post! Thank you again!

  29. Hi Sally,
    Thank you so much for this post. I’ve just re-drafted a post I’m about to publish using your suggestions and can’t believe how much more engaging the content is even for me! Thanks again. Love your recipes by the way.

  30. Your tips are so helpful and realistic and make so much sense. In the past month or so I’ve really been researching and focusing on how to improve my own blog; there is so much information out there to learn. It’s exciting, but a lot to take in at the same time. I enjoy reading and applying information like this. Thank you! 

  31. Sally, your blog was the first blog I started following religiously when I got serious about baking, and it let me into the blogosphere and into the world of baking confidently. You have such a knack for connecting with readers. 🙂

    A few years later, I have my own blog and continue to be passionate about baking. Thank you, Sally!

  32. Consistency is an important strategy in the blogging. I admit, we seldom miss it. 

  33. Hi Sally,
    I’m a 14-year-old girl looking into starting a blog. Reading this post and the others in the series have been so inspirational and helpful because I honestly had no idea where to start. Thanks for the wonderful recipes/photos and advice! 

  34. Hi Sally,

    Iam really addicted the way you write and bake. Its my midnight 12:24 PM and iam still ON reading your pages, at the end of night iam  inspired.

    Happy Baking ☺

  35. Hi Sally! I´ve discovered recently your blog and I don´t know how can I live without it!
    I love the way you write about baking and blogging, you make it so funny! Thank you so much! Now I´m addicted to your baking addiction! ;D

  36. Sally,

    Your blog is amazing. Your posts are always great, and I really enjoy your site. I started my blog last month, and I have read all your blog tips and info, including this page that I have found to be very helpful. Thanks for all you do.

  37. Hey thank you for writing this post, this is just what i needed to calm my nerves when thinking about starting my own blog!

  38. Hi Sally I really want to start my own blog this year but I dont have a computer. What laptop do you use and think is best for me to start my blog?

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