10 Tips for Growing Your Food Blog.

10 Tips to Help Grow your Food Blog from sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

It’s been a while since I wrote a post on the subject of blogging, so I’m taking the opportunity of me-having-no-sunny-days-to-photograph-a-new-recipe-for-you to crack an egg of knowledge about growing a food blog.

For the record, I do not consider myself a blogging expert. God no. Not by any means! In fact, I learn something new everyday and there are still a billion things I don’t understand. I simply want to share a few things I’ve learned that have helped me gain and maintain readership.

Anyway. You have a food blog, you’re enjoying it, but you’ve reached a plateau. You aren’t seeing those numbers increase as you hoped. Today I’m sharing tips to engage your readers, keep them coming back, getting exposure, writing the best possible content, and how to turn your food blog into a fun, inviting community.

 Be Extraordinary

 

1) Connect with people. Isn’t that what blogging is all about? Making connections. I can’t tell you how many readers have emailed, tweeted, and messaged me saying that they feel I’m their friend. In a totally not-creepy way of course. I try to style my writing and social media posts in such a way that I am talking to a friend. What I type is exactly how I talk in real life. Run-on sentences, non sentences, and exclamation points. I try to talk to YOU.

Because “you” is one of the most powerful words in the English language.

Put your readers in the situation, make them imagine they can do exactly what you’re doing. Reply to comments, ask them questions, be interested, and encourage action. I like to frame my posts and recipes around starting a thought-provoking conversation. I had absolutely no idea how to do this when I first started a blog. I either (1) wrote way too much or (2) wrote 1 sentence and then left you with a recipe. Both types of posts even put me (the writer) to sleep, so I’ve tried to find a style of blogging that encourages conversation between me and you – while keeping everyone interested.

Think of your blog more as a community, not a website.

 

2) Be there for your readers. This idea bounces off #1. I wouldn’t have a blog without you, my readers. When you have a question, I try my hardest to answer it. (Though I am only 1 person and this is becoming difficult to manage – I try my best to get to you all.) Offer your readers alternatives to ingredients, take their suggestions, listen to them, offer giveaways. They take the time to read your blog, so take the time for them.

A good example of this tip: last year, I started receiving many comments and emails from non-US readers (who make up a huge percent of my traffic) about adding metric measurements to my recipes. Though it took quite awhile, I’ve slowly been adding gram measurements. I’ve received so many thank yous for this and nothing is sweeter than waking up to an email saying “thank you – I can now understand and make your recipe!”

To grow your food blog, show thanks to your readers.

Wherever You Are, Be All There

 

3) Content is king. Produce the best quality content you can and write about what you love. Readers can tell the difference when someone writes about a topic because it’s their life and they love it, compared to someone who writes about a topic because it’s a chore. There’s no magic formula or trick here, just write about what you are passionate about. I genuinely love being in my kitchen, rainbow sprinkles, baking oatmeal cookies, and eating apple pie, so they’re easy to write about.

Also… try to say something new and different. Break the rules and differentiate yourself from other bloggers. Have your own style and stick to it. And don’t be afraid to get personal; a little vulnerability makes you human and makes connecting a little easier (see tip #8).

I always say this to myself before I sit down to write a blog post: “am I in the mood to write right now?” Because if I’m not, I’m sure as hell not going to write something interesting. Readers can tell if writing is transparent and empty. This is why my posting schedule can be random during the week. Though I post at least 4 times per week, the days vary. If I’m not in the mood to write something good on Wednesday, I won’t post on Wednesday. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forced myself to bake something and shoot it “just because I need a recipe for the blog.” And those posts are always so dull and forced!

I could go on and on about the importance of creating quality content, but for now you can read a lot more about it here. Always remember that the photography brings readers in (see tip #4), but the writing makes them stay.

Do What Makes You Happy

4) Food photography. This bounces off of #3. We all eat with our eyes and I can say with 100% confidence that my blog did not start to grow until I saved my money, bought a fancy camera, and actually learned how to use it.

Photography is what draws in the crowd. Readers can’t touch, taste, or smell the recipes you are sharing. They can only see it. For this very reason, eye-catching photography is essential to growing a food blog. Bad lighting, bad set-up, bad composition are all turn-offs. And I write this knowing that I have some extremely ugly food photos on my blog (I cringe looking at them!). Big, bright, crisp, make-you-want-to-reach-through-the-screen photographs create the most visual appeal for my readers.

Here is a lengthy (um, super lengthy) post I wrote about food photography, including all the equipment I am currently using. And I try to break it down in everyday language because all that fancy razzmatazz and verbiage is confusing.

 

Food Photography Prop Buffet Table

 

5. Let people follow you in their own ways. Give your readers lots of easy options for following your blog the way they want to. Whether that’s via email subscription, on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, etc. Include links to all of your social medias in an easy-to-spot location. Mine’s in my header. With an arrow. Hard to miss. However… this can get a little tricky because you don’t want to desperately bombard your readers with ways to follow you.

 

6. Pinterest. If you follow me on Pinterest, you know I’m obsessed with Pinterest. Maybe a little too obsessed. Anyway. Pinterest is the easiest way to get your content out on the internet. Facebook has recently changed its means of sharing and your content is not being shown to a majority of your readers. It sucks. I’ve run many charts examining this and I’ve found that only 5% of my Facebook fans actually see my posts. Isn’t that horrendous?! If I want that percentage to increase, I’ll have to pay some big bucks for my content to be shared. We’re talking over $1,000 per day. Ludicrous.

While I still share my recipes with my Facebook fans, I know that my time is much better spent sharing my recipes on Pinterest. Join group boards, share each others’ pins, and just have fun. I’ve even had companies find my blog through Pinterest. Crazy, right? So don’t underestimate this jackpot at your fingertips! It’s a wonderful way to share your amazing blog content.

I love this incredibly informative article from Love Grows Design Blog on how to increase Pinterest following. So many helpful tips.

Every Accomplishment Starts with the Decision to Try

 

7. Be clean and consistent. By this I mean have a clean, sleek website design. (Purr Design designed my blog.) A design that is easy to read, navigate, and explore. Clutter detracts from your content. If your food blog is your career, then there is really no way around displaying advertisements. But try to keep them off to the side and avoid pop-ups if you can control it (sometimes you can’t)– those ruin a reader’s experience.

As for consistency? Get on a posting schedule. Whether that’s posting everyday, 3 times per week, once per week. I’m an avid blog reader myself and knowing when to expect a new blog post from my favorite blogs makes it easy to follow along.

 

8. Be a real person, not a robot. Can you relate to a robot? And as a blog reader myself, I don’t really find interest in reading something without personality. Enthusiasm is infectious, after all. So don’t be afraid to get a little jazzy! Show your readers that you’re human, just like them. We tend to gravitate towards those who are like us.

Sometimes you need to share your vulnerability. Rather than only sharing the ups, be honest about mistakes you’ve made. What are your lovable traits and individual quirks? Illustrate them on your blog through your writing and make your readers feel as if they really know you. People are curious by nature and by allowing readers to get even a small glimpse of the author behind the blog, I feel as though we can all really connect.

Of course, it is not in everyone’s blogging style to get personal and there are some things I am extra cautious about when mentioning my home and loved ones.

Just do what comes naturally to you. 

Be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you someone else-2

9. Time management. Something I’m absolutely horrible at, but have been forced to improve. Keep a tight calendar. List everything you need to do to stay on top of your schedule and then spend the most time on what is most important.

Do not sit down at your computer without a plan. 

For me? Creating new content is the most important, then keeping readers engaged, then social media sharing, then side projects like freelance, and then admin (updating posts, making sure things are running smoothly). Determine what is most important and then spent the most time on that. Without neglecting the rest, of course.

 

10.  Work harder than anyone you know. If you’re looking for one simple way to increase your blog following – I’m sorry to say that there is no shortcut. You have to implement all of these tips and you have to do it by working your butt off.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Blogging is hard work. You are a one-person-show. A writer, a cook, a photographer, an editor, a question answerer, a social media mastermind, a computer whiz, a fast typer, and you have to be this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Food blogging is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Blog growth is slow, but when you start to see your readership increase, the momentum will build and the writing/interaction becomes easier. So stick with it and don’t lose hope. Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, which will help you stay focused. Don’t be a sellout – it’s easy to spot those who are only in it for the money. Sort of like what I was saying in tip #8. Be enthusiastic, be passionate, be real.

My dad always told me that no matter what I do, work hard and be irreplaceable. Stand out from others and show your worth. I know it sounds so cliche, but if you can dream it you can do it.

Work hard for what you want

 Thanks for reading, I tend to ramble… a lot.

Here are more of my rambling thoughts and posts about blogging:

 

Q: Do you have any tips on growing a food blog?

 

 

   

132 Responses to “10 Tips for Growing Your Food Blog.”

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    Averie @ Averie Cooksposted July 29, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Fabulous post, Sally. And it’s a blessing in disguise for us that you had cloudy days (eek, not fun on your end though!). Working harder than anyone, being into Pinterest hugely, food photography, being engaging, all of that….yes, I totally agree and do my best with all those things too. As you said, content is king and so is hard work. With those two things, growth is bound to happen :)

    Reply

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    Hayleyposted July 29, 2014 at 6:17 am

    Great tips Sally! I don’t have a food blog myself but maybe someday after college. I love baking and photography so that could be a fun thing to run in my spare time :)

    Reply

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    Caleyposted July 29, 2014 at 6:17 am

    I’m sure these are all great tips, Sally, but I have to say that the most important one (for me, as a reader) is the first…connecting with people! Sure, it takes consistent commenting from the readers, but your effort to respond to each comment is so valuable! It turns your readers into your friends, and your friends are much more likely to keep reading and also to talk about your blog to other potential readers :) But in all respects, you do a fabulous job, and I love visiting your blog! :D

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      I love how you worded this Caley.. connecting with readers turns them into friends and friends (I just typed “fries”… I’m hungry) will keep coming back. So true! Thanks for always reading Caley. From day 1!

      Reply

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    Bri | Bites of Briposted July 29, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Sally, great post! I find that there are never enough hours in the day to dedicate toward growing the blog so I spend as much time as possible.

    Reply

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    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitnessposted July 29, 2014 at 6:57 am

    SO many good tips here Sally! Totaly 100% agree with them all! I am terrible at time management an that is something I really need to work on. Thanks for the awesome post!

    Reply

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    Laura @ Raise Your Gardenposted July 29, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Hi Sally, You do a better job than any other blogging out their connecting with your readers- I can’t believe you are able to respond to comments as you do! Must be your incredible work ethic, but I love that.

    As an ELA teacher, I love your writing voice, your style, how you don’t try to be all “Sweet Valley High” {remember those books?!?] You’re real. Your you. That’s why I like your blog……OKAY and your recipes =)

    I always think, if I can honestly say about my own writing….Hmmmm…interesting blog……I would read this if it wasn’t mine, than BINGO. Winning post. But when I bore myself, well. That’s a problem!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      HAHAHA yes I remember those books and I thought they were the coolest when I was growing up. I like what you said at the end of your comment Laura. “Would I read this if it wasn’t me?” I should start asking myself that before pressing publish. Great tip!

      Reply

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    Mirposted July 29, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Sally, thanks so much for posting this! I do consider you an expert, no matter what you say. And as someone who started blogging a few months ago along with doing my day job and raising kids, it can sure be hard and discouraging. But your post is very helpful, and I’ll keep plugging away! Because it might be hard, but it’s fun, too!
    Keep making me smile several times a week! Your writing voice and pictures are one of a kind.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      You are a rockstar. All bloggers who have kids are rockstars. I couldn’t imagine doing this and taking care of children! Maybe one day I’ll be supermom like you and will just be able to handle it all. :)

      Reply

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    Danielle @ Chits and Chats and Chocolateposted July 29, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Thank you for the advice! I just started blogging in May, so advice is very much welcome!

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    Consuelo | Honey & Figsposted July 29, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I hope this doesn’t come out as creepy, but I must say that I simply adore your writing and the way you connect with your readers. It’s easy to realise that you genuinely care about us all and that’s so sweet Sally!! Thank you for writing such great post! These tips are certainly super helpful!
    Hope you have a marvelous day! xxxxx

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Not creepy in the slightest! And thank you Consuelo!

      Reply

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    Lynnposted July 29, 2014 at 7:55 am

    I completely relate to thinking of you as a friend. You respond to comments! And that’s so so important to me. I feel like if I ever see you out in public (I’m certain this will happen, since I know you’re closer now!), you’ll know who I am. Maybe you won’t, but I feel that way. My husband knows you as simply Sally. And knows that you (along with many other bloggers) are such inspirations to me. I appreciate this post so much, because you really do offer such rich advice. Thank you for being who you are and for encouraging “baby bloggers” like me to dream big.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Lynn! Thanks for the kind words and yes, continue to dream big. I know you’re passionate about what you do. I hope you can make it to a book signing in Philly this fall! I’ll post the dates and times when I secure them.

      Reply

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    Jessica @ Knead Your Loveposted July 29, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Hi Sally–thanks so much for all of your tips on food blogging. All of your posts on how to start a food blog have been invaluable to me in starting my own blog. Thank you!

    Reply

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    Maryea {happy healthy mama}posted July 29, 2014 at 8:21 am

    #10 is the best tip–work harder than anyone you know! It all starts there. Thanks for sharing what’s worked for you.

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    Christineposted July 29, 2014 at 8:43 am

    This is a great post, Sally, and a good way to turn your frustration with cloudy days into a little sunshine by heading into a different, and valuable, direction.

    I had a real “a ha” moment last night because of our short “chat” about photography frustrations yesterday. A little voice inside my head chimed in and noted that YOUR hard work and beautiful photography and recipes ARE paying off because you have invested the time and energy to LEARN what you need to learn. I will never get anywhere if I don’t work harder at my passion instead of whining about how I have to work my day job and just don’t have the energy for anything else. You really helped me overcome a real mental block.

    Thank you for everything you share and all of your hard work. I know responding to comments must take you forever but I truly appreciate it. I also really appreciate when you take the time to explain why you choose certain ingredients – it empowers us all to make tweaks on our own. :-)

    Ugh…cloudy this morning but maybe the sun will break through for you. Hugs and thank you!!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Thanks Christine and I actually had a sunny day today to shoot a couple new recipes! I’m usually never this behind; moving and traveling really set me back on my schedule! Anyway, just power through it! I never took any photography classes, but I own a few photography books and read many articles on how to use my camera. So maybe you can find some other sources online or in print that can help you learn a little more about taking pictures of the jewelry!

      Reply

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    jenna @ just j.fayeposted July 29, 2014 at 8:58 am

    This is a great post, Sally! So much information and very encouraging. I just started a food and fitness blog (www.justjfaye.com) and found that it is a lot more work than I initially thought, but it all revolves around learning and doing things that I love – win! Thanks for all the tips. I am going to bookmark this post for future reference.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks Jenna! And GOOD LUCK with your new blog!

      Reply

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    Eve @ Baking the Dayposted July 29, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Thanks so much Sally for this great post! I have reached the “plateau” but now, with these tips, I can try to make my blog shine again. I feel I can relate to you as a friend, definitely! You love peanut-butter and sprinkles and always respond to my comments!
    Thanks again!

    Reply

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    Chelsea @chelseasmessyapronposted July 29, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Sally this is such a great post and I loved absolutely everything you had to say! You truly are such a great example on building a blog and connecting with readers! Thanks for sharing your advice – always love these posts of yours! :)

    Reply

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    Zainab @ Blahnik Bakerposted July 29, 2014 at 9:28 am

    What a great post! Thank you Sally. I agree with everything you say here. Time management is my #1 struggle and I am working on it!

    Reply

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    Joanie @ ZagLeftposted July 29, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Sally, thanks so much for this post. I enjoy your writing and do love your photos and recipes. When I read a post from you, it sounds like you’re speaking as a friend. You’ve given great blogging tips and I agree that connection with your readers is so important.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Thanks so much Joanie. :)

      Reply

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    Julie @ Lovely Little Kitchenposted July 29, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Love this Sally! Really great advice, especially as I am just coming up on my one year birthday, and am reflecting on what has worked and what to focus harder on. Thankful for your help and shared knowledge!

    Reply

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    Amyposted July 29, 2014 at 10:06 am

    These are great tips…and not just for food bloggers. I think anyone with a blog can take away something valuable from this post. So, thank you!

    Reply

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    Jasmine @ A cupcake for my thoughtsposted July 29, 2014 at 10:11 am

    These are such great tips! I’ve been blogging for a year and it goes get hard sometimes when you don’t see the results you want but it takes time. My readership increased as soon as I started taking good pictures- makes such a difference!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Yes, it really does make a difference!

      Reply

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    Dee @ The Kitchen Snobposted July 29, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I love your blog and and drooling over all of the desserts, but I really love these posts about blogging! Thanks for the great tips! Looking forward to reading the article you linked to regarding Pinterest because I haven’t had much success using Pinterest.

    I’m curious how you handle the Facebook “reach”. If you let people follow you in their own way, and they choose Facebook, they may think they’re going to be updated on all your recent posts but most likely won’t see the posts, and just assume you’re not posting. It’s so frustrating! Makes me want to discourage followers on Facebook.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Great point Dee. And with that… I really just hope that readers choose to follow me in more than 1 way. Like subscribing to my email updates AND Facebook or something. If they only follow me on Facebook, I hope they visit my blog regularly anyway! Facebook is just all sorts of screwy these days and I may begin to try to discourage FB as the only means of following.

      Reply

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    Manuelaposted July 29, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Thank you Sally! Great post!!

    Reply

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    Julie's Family Kitchenposted July 29, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Hi Sally, this is such an encouraging blog post. Thank you so much for sharing your tips. Being a UK blogger means than I always post recipes in metric measurements but I’m now thinking I need to consider cup measurements for my US followers. I adore you food styling, the photos always look beautiful. Thanks. Julie

    Reply

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    Meagan @ The F&B Departmentposted July 29, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m very much new to blogging and really appreciate it when successful bloggers such as yourself take the time to give us newbies guidance and hope. I definitely need to focus on #9 (Time Management) especially when #6 (Pinterest) is involved. It’s so easy to get stuck on there for hours!

    Reply

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    Meggan | Culinary Hillposted July 29, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Great post! All fabulous ideas, and you’re right. Blog growth takes time, but even the slightest pickup in momentum can really keep you going. I love everything you do!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks Meggan! And I appreciate all your tweets about my recipes on twitter. You’re a twitter mastermind. I need to get better at it.

      Reply

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    Katya @ Little Brokenposted July 29, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Love your post! A lot of great info. I’m a new blogger and still trying to figure things out and you gave a lot of useful info. Thank you!

    Reply

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    Michelleposted July 29, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Sally,

    I wanted to let you know I really appreciate your “how to food blog” style posts. Even if you don’t consider yourself a blogging expert, I certainly do! Your site is chock full of intriguing recipes, gorgeous photos, and interesting stories. I really enjoy hearing about an experts ideas on blogging better.

    I study these posts carefully and have picked up a number of great ideas! Some ideas have been simple, but I still would have never thought of them. For example: how to write out measurement amounts in your recipes ( i.e. 1 and 1/2 cups rather then 11/2cups) to keep the recipe from becoming confusing.

    Also totally agree with you about Pintrest/Facebook. I feel like I get nowhere fast with Facebook, but a lot of people see my pins on pintrest despite not having a ton of followers. I have to admit Pintrest is waaay more fun to play on anyway!

    Thanks agin for the great stuff,
    Michelle

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks Michelle – and it’s funny you mentioned that about writing out recipes. I had so many readers contact me when I first started because they couldn’t understand 1 1/2 was 1 and 1/2. Heck, it’s even confusing for me sometimes too! It’s these little things that really help the reader’s experience. Anyway, thanks for reading and yes… Pinterest is my favorite part about blogging these days!

      Reply

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    Alysia @ Slim Sanityposted July 29, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Thanks for the great advice!

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    Beth @ bethcakesposted July 29, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Fantastic post, Sally! I’ve been slowly growing my blog, but the hardest thing I deal with is time management. I feel like I’ve been struggling with it a lot recently! I totally need to buy a planner. But I loved reading all of your tips! Such wonderful advice!

    Reply

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    Jennyposted July 29, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Thank you SO much for this post!!! I am “fresh outta the oven” with my new food blog (I greatly enjoy yours, by the way) and struggling greatly to find how to gain subscribers, maximize my page views, etc. etc. etc. You’re not kidding when you say it’s hard work and very time-consuming…AND I’m not even getting paid for it!! BUT…I LOVE IT!!!! And hopefully, maybe someone out there is reading it! Thanks again!!

    Reply

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    Jennyposted July 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Hey, quick question….how does everybody get their “name@theirwebsite” link to show up next to a photo?? Sorry…see…I am REALLY new!!:)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      Hi Jenny. Don’t apologize. No questions are silly when you’re just beginning. When you type in your name to leave a comment you can type “Jenny @…” and whatever your blog name is. Then make sure you type in your blog URL where it asked for the website.

      Reply

      • Jennyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 2:05 pm

        You’re AWESOME!!!! Thank you so much for the super quick response!;-) That’s great to know. Just figured out how to add the picture (gravatar, I think it’s called). So much to learn!

    • Melanie @ Bon Appet'Eatreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      How do you put the photo anyway? :S
      I can’t seem to find how.
      Thanks!

      Reply

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    Margaret Anne @ Natural Chowposted July 29, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Oh my gosh, Sally. I have been waiting for another post in the blogging series for a while. I agree with everything you said! Thanks for sharing these awesome tips. You are truly an inspiration to me! :)

    Reply

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    Rachel Jposted July 29, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge Sally! You’re the best :)

    Reply

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    Elizaposted July 29, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    You are right, useful tips and thanks for great post. I think well done designed and finished blog are too important, If someone are interested, I know some guys who are perfect with it, and experienced. Ann

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    ami@naivecookcooksposted July 29, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Sally thanks for such an helpful post!

    Reply

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    Allison Tposted July 29, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I have been blogging for a little under a year. I have had my ups and downs with blogging but I am slowly regrowing my readership. I wish more bloggers would talk about how hard it is to blog, it is by hard work that your blog will grow.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 29th, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Allison, food blogging is incredibly challenging. There are so many factors to think about, so many skills you need to master, so many directions you’re pulled in. If there were 10 of me, I would *maybe* call this job easy. That’s how challenging I find it. It sounds like you’re passionate and determined, two characteristics of success for sure.

      Reply

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    Don Smithposted July 29, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Thanks, great post and advice

    Reply

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    Katieposted July 29, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I love your blog Sally! Love your photography and your writing style – it’s so enjoyable to read. I love seeing a new post in the morning, I read it while I drink my coffee and it’s a morning treat. New recipe + coffee makes a good morning!

    Reply

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    Mrs. Leal | Cooking Hatposted July 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Sally, thank you so much for this post! As I learn about food blogging and ways to grow my blog this post is like a gift from heaven.

    Reply

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    Serene @ House of Yummposted July 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Is it wrong of me to hope you have more cloudy days so that you will share more tips with us?! So wrong I know. I stress over cloudy days myself. But I LOVE reading your tips. You are such an inspiration and set such a good example for connecting with readers. Loved this post Sally, thanks so much :)

    Reply

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    Kerry @ Kerry Cooksposted July 29, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Great tips Sally, thank you! I love how you emphasise the importance of hard work and passion – and they both shine through in your blog!

    Reply

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    Polly @ Tasty Food Projectposted July 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Food blogging is tough and challenging! That’s why I love it! Thank you for the great tips! I am still working on the time management part since blogging isn’t my full time job and I have other obligations to juggle.

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    Mariaposted July 29, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    You are a hard worker and deserve all good things! I love your blog and bought your cookbook, this is really due to your responsiveness to me as a reader as I wanted to support you. I have commented several times or asked questions and you are always prompt to respond. It doesn’t go unnoticed! Keep up the good work! I’m sure you and your recipes inspire people on a daily basis :-)

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    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 8:47 am

      Thanks Maria!

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    Joposted July 29, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I loved reading this Sally, as I do with all your blogs. I’ve studied all your other “how to” blog/photograph posts as well as following your wonderful recipes. I love your writing and I’ve made so many of your recipes which have worked beautifully. I have your danish pastry in the freezer for my next treat! I’ve been blogging for just a tiny bit over 3 years and the growth of my blog has been painful. BUT with as you say – a butt load of work – this year has brought regular readers, regular comment writers, an engaged Facebook following and a couple of very big names in English baking/cooking equipment companies have sort me out to review their work and run giveaways on my blog. I love writing and love creating recipes myself and am learning with every photo I take. All of the stuff you’ve mentioned is what I do already apart from engaging more on Pinterest. I’ve a demanding job in the Real World (boo hoo!) so it sometimes limits the time I have available to devote to my blog – you are so right Slaly – it is a lot of work! But I love it and that’s why I make time when I can and keep on writing. If you build it, they will come, right? :) x

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 8:46 am

      Congrats on a great year Jo! And being contacted by big companies is awesome. I hope you’re proud. And I love that Danish pastry recipe. Hope you love it as much as we do! I like what you wrote “if they build it, they will come” – so so so true.

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    Cassieposted July 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I love this post. I’ve toyed around with the idea of starting a blog. I absolutely love to bake and take recipes and make them my own, so why not? This post helps inspire me to get it done! Keep being awesome at what you do! I love reading your blog and trying out your recipes. :)

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    Natalie Munroeposted July 29, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks for being so generous with your experience. What first drew me to your site was your gorgeous photography. I know how important it is to have appealing pictures (I have a friend who runs a little bakery out of her house as a side business that I think she wants to grow in time, but all the photos she posts on facebook of her creations are unappetizing and are more likely to deter than increase interest.) and I’d toyed with the idea of starting my own food blog over a year ago, just for fun. But I didn’t want to post ugly food. I wished I could have pictures like yours and was about to email you to ask what types of equipment you used when I noticed that delightfully thorough, helpful post you wrote on food photography. I was impressed by your willingness to share what you knew; a lot of people guard all their secrets, thinking the best way to stay ahead is to never help anyone else. I guess that works for some people, but a little kindness feels so much better.
    After I came for the pictures, I stayed for the rest. I love trying your recipes and reading your funny anecdotes and shout outs to Friends and so forth.

    So thanks for all you do. You’re doing a great job and I love your blog. :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Thanks Natalie! I’m so glad you enjoy reading (and commenting!) on my blog. I always love hearing from you. And I hope you learned a little bit from my photography post. If/when you start a food blog, I’ll be the first to read! xo

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    Deepika @easybabymealsposted July 29, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Wonderful advice…thank you so much..your experience really speaks out.
    Just love your blog. ..:)

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    Belleposted July 29, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Sally, as one of your long time overseas readers I just wanted to say thanks for your beautiful posts. It’s great to wake up in the morning to an email about frosting and sprinkles and all things good in the world! Especially when you guys are in summer and we in Australia are battling through winter blues…

    When I first started following (wayyyyy back in early ’12!) and convinced my friends to too, we started a weekly “Sally Bake” roster and were the most popular department at work!! Everyone was always after the recipes… best cupcakes ever! You’re now my #1 cupcake go to gal! (Mutual love of peanut butter helps!)

    Keep up the good work – and the sprinkles and smiles! Just wanted to let you know it is greatly appreciated!

    Oh! And thanks for the metric measurements!
    xx

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 8:43 am

      You have been my follower since the beginning and that’s pretty freakin’ cool Belle, thank you! I’m so glad you enjoy reading my blog. I need to visit Australia one day! Your weekly “Sally Bake” is pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. Made my morning :)

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    Brian Mosserposted July 29, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    I first want to say THANK YOU SOOO MUCH SALLY!!! You are an inspiration to us all. I’ve been baking since I was kid and only this year have decided to start my own food blog because it’s truly my passion. It can be a bit overwhelming balancing a FULL time job and all the aspects you discribe of creating a suscceful blog. But the time is so worth it I was like a kid in a candy store for the first time when I got my first comment on my blog (little embaressing) I’m still working on balancing all the aspects you just suggested and I REALLY need to work on getting better photo’s. Just wanted to say THANKS!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 8:41 am

      Not embarrassing at all, Brian! I remember my first comments too. And just keep pushing through. Working a full time job and handling a blog is extremely difficult, but it sounds like you can manage. Keep it up and good luck!

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    Anna @ Sunny Side Upsposted July 29, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing these tips! I’m just starting to kick things off in this whole new world of blogging, and I’m trying to learn all I can! Your post is a super helpful reference for me, so thank you!! :)

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    Jamieposted July 29, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Hey Sally! Thank you so much for posting this! You couldn’t have posted it on a better day than today. This morning I was driving to work and thinking I must be crazy to try to keep up with a food blog when I barely have any spare time as it is. I work full time and commute to work 5 days a week so weekends are all I have, but I actually don’t even have every weekend to work on recipes and photography because my family lives an hour and a half away and my husband’s family lives 3 1/2 hours away so we spend many weekends on the road visiting family. Anyways, this morning I was considering giving up on the blog because it’s definitely a lot of work and it’s not growing much so I wasn’t sure if it was really worth it. Your post gives me hope so I’m extremely thankful you posted that! Thanks again! :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Jamie, yes I know what it’s like working a full time job AND running a blog. It’s nearly impossible! And your schedule is loaded. But who says you need to post something new everyday? I would start with once a week until you are more comfortable and can pick up the pace. It gets easier, I promise.

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    Lindsey @ American Heritage Cookingposted July 29, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I was just re-reading your old posts the other day and hoping you would write a new one soon! So glad you did! Informative and well written as always. Trying to find ways to break through a plateau…You are so right with #9. Why I only had an epiphany about this two days ago, I just don’t know. Juggling my real job with my blog that I want to become my real job needs structure. And hard work. Girl, you are dead on as always! Keep up the fabulous work! I truly enjoy each and every one of your posts whether I comment or not! :-)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 8:39 am

      Lindsey, I know what it’s like working a full time job and blogging. It is nearly impossible, but that’s what coffee is for right? Sounds like you are passionate and determined enough to make it work though!

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    Misbahposted July 29, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’m starting up my blog as well and I’m always perfecting every little thing – from photography to logos. Sometimes, I get discouraged because things don’t turn out the way I would like them to, but posts like these make me hyped to type up another post and blog on!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 8:38 am

      Yup yup… just blog on. Each day you’re getting better and learning something new!

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    Kayle (The Cooking Actress)posted July 29, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    awesome, loving this post-so helpful!

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    Anna (Hidden Ponies)posted July 29, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Love hearing your take on this Sally! Your hard work and love for baking always shines through, and the photography…mmmmm :)

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    Helen @ Scrummy Laneposted July 29, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    I always love to read your ‘blogging’ posts, Sally! Thank you so much for this latest one! I particularly love the pretty quotes you’ve scattered throughout … so very inspiring! :-)

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    Helen @ Scrummy Laneposted July 30, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Oh, and I made your pizza dough last week … twice! It is now my go-to pizza dough recipe, so thank you very much for that too!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 8:38 am

      Love that dough! Make it on a weekly basis. And I’m glad this is helpful for you Helen!

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    Claudia @Breakfast Drama Queenposted July 30, 2014 at 6:19 am

    This is such a great post! Just wanted to say that I absolutely love your blog – it’s amazing :)

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    Julie @Tastes of Lizzy Tposted July 30, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Thanks, Sally, for the encouragement. You’ve been an inspiration to us from the start. We’ve been blogging for a little over a year and are loving it, but yes…it’s a full-time job! I’m thankful for veteran bloggers such as you who are willing to encourage us and give hints. We love your cookbook by the way…it’s beautiful!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      Thanks Julie! You’re the best. Keep it up.

      Reply

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