10 More Tips for Growing Your Food Blog

GREAT advice for growing your blog! Includes tips about engaging content, photography, communication, and more!

Hi! Here’s a little mid-week break from the kitchen. After linking to my 10 tips for growing your food blog over this past weekend, I felt inspired to continue the conversation this week.

The internet is saturated with blogs and, as a result, it’s becoming more and more difficult to stand out and build an audience. I touched on this last week in this article. But the truth of the matter is that if something’s been done before, it can be done again. If you stay motivated and work harder than anyone you know, you have the power to make a name for yourself in the blogworld.

Alright, let’s get started. You have a food blog, you love it, and you want to take your blog to the next level. Perhaps someday a full time job? You have the power to do it! Today I’m sharing 10 more tips to help you write engaging content and ultimately build a solid readership base.

In The Kitchen

1. Be real.

By this, I mean write how/what you want. Not necessarily what you think the world wants to read. Otherwise, your writing could come off as fake, transparent, and unoriginal. Focus on your own thoughts, opinions, and ideas. Once I began to write in a more genuine, conversational, and (yes!) vulnerable voice– I began to notice a deeper connection with my readers. And as a result, I established trust.

Ultimately, just be real. People like to see a real person, not someone who seems unreachable. It’s wiser for your blog, business, and/or brand to have faults than fake perfection.

2. Understand your audience.

Understanding your readers means that you’ll have a more knowledgeable idea of which blog content will resonate with them. For example, today’s post! A ton of my readers are bloggers and, as a fellow blogger myself, I know that material on the subject of blogging is both intriguing and appreciated.

Take a look at your blog stats– what are your most popular posts? Find similarities and build off of them. For me? That would be my chewy chocolate chunk cookies and chewy fudgy brownies. These are two of my most popular posts, proving that a majority of my readers want basic, straight-foward, easy dessert recipes. I try to keep this in mind when creating content. Keep things classic and simple. And chocolate helps too.

Keep your blog content consistent with your audience’s wants/needs.

3. Love your readers.

I see a majority of readers becoming desperate for more followers. Hey, isn’t growth the point of this post?! Let me explain. Yes, it’s important to work hard at reaching a bigger audience, but it’s equally as important to show your current readers that you value them too. It’s THEM who are growing your blog as we speak!

Think of your loyal readers as part of your team. Ask them questions, answer their questions. If they have suggestions, listen to them! You can’t really thrive without a little gratitude.

Grateful

4. Invest in yourself.

What I mean is, prepare to spend a little money. I have a SLEW of expenses! Uhh, it’s rather uncomfortable to list them all out because it results in a mini panic attack. I try to remember that the money spent on running a large-scale food blog is money I am investing in my business.

I find that it’s quite integral to have a clean, clear website layout. Sure, it’s a little pricey but you are investing in nothing but yourself. (I use Purr Design.) Additionally, save up to purchase some valuable photography equipment. Whether that is upgrading your camera, lens, or picking up one of my 3 favorite photography extras— at the end of the day, you are spending money to grow your blog/business.

Spend money to make money!

5. Share your knowledge.

Share what you know! Do you have tips about baking the perfect pie crust? Let the world know! Expert on working with brands? Share it with your (fellow blogger) readers. Do you know how to keep your kitchen organized? The world is dying for some tips!

The response I’ve been getting from my Baking Basics Series has been overwhelmingly positive. I began this series to publish my tips, tricks, and tutorials in the kitchen. It’s all knowledge I never really stored in one place before and now my readers are learning from what I already know. Don’t hold back giving away your secrets!

6. Don’t compare.

Don’t compare your blog to other blogs. Your blog is not my blog and vice versa. Remember that we are all at different stages. And I’m not just talking about time. My blog might not be in the same boat as other 4 year old blogs because we all work differently. I found myself caught in the comparison trap when I first started out. I compared my baby blog to hugely successful blogs. Oftentimes, I felt sidetracked and discouraged. Why compare apples to oranges? You’re ultimately comparing your beginning to someone’s middle or end. Concentrate on your own path. That is all.

Don't be like the rest of them, darling.

(Pinterest)

7. Befriend Bloggers!

Never underestimate the importance of being social! A huge portion of my blog’s growth in its first year was due to my interaction with other bloggers. I spent a lot of time reading other food blogs, mostly blogs that were at the same level as mine at the time. I commented on their posts and shared their content on social media. I established some wonderful friendships as a result! But not only this, I noticed that they visited my own blog as well. The more time I took to get to know other bloggers, leave genuine comments, and share their content– the more bloggers I saw visiting my own space on the internet. It’s pretty incredible how gracious, supportive, and welcoming the blogworld is!

8. Take GOOD photos.

I feel like a broken record with this one! But there’s a reason I always repeat myself in these blogging posts. I didn’t see a boost in my blog’s traffic until I began practicing and getting to know my DSLR. Photography is what draws in the crowd. Readers can’t touch, taste, or smell the recipes you are sharing. They can only see them. For this very reason, eye-catching photography is essential to growing a food blog.

Here’s a very  lengthy page I wrote on food photography.

9. Give it time.

It might seem like some bloggers have instant success, but the truth is that it takes a lot of $0 paychecks and even more weeks, months, or years. In fact, I didn’t receive my first paycheck until month 8. And it was for $80.

The internet is a big place, so plan to invest more work over a longer period of time than others if you want your blog to grow. If you’re seeking short-term cash or a quick trip to success, food blogging isn’t the answer. Stick this out for a long while and be willing to consistently learn, practice, and improve if you want to achieve something remarkable.

10. You are not the opinion of a stranger.

What I’m trying to say is expect critics as your blog grows. BUT don’t let their criticism beat down on you. People judging you is a sign you’re doing something right. This might not be specific to growing your food blog, but it’s something I’ve taught myself after 4 years building SBA. Strangers on the internet will not like what you say, how you write, what you share, what you look like, your photography style, and how you present your creative art. And they will say it, hiding from behind computer screens. It will beat down on you; it will make you question your confidence, your voice, and your worth. But let me repeat myself. Someone you don’t know cannot define who you are.

Never apologize or regret being yourself.

Rambling, as usual!

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

Be sure to check out my other blogging pages. And here is how to start a food blog of your own!

112 Comments

  1. Thank you Sally for more words of wisdom 🙂 This year I have been trying to treat my blog more ‘professionally’ and I have been rewarded with a regular spot in a well-circulated digital magazine and a collaboration with a healthy company on a small recipe book. All of my work so far has been unpaid, but it has such intrinsic value for me just knowing that I can reach more people with my food and photos.
    I really admire the way you have grown SBA and created a wonderful space full of delicious recipes and gorgeous photos and the transparency you have with your readers about blogging and book writing. Thank you Sally for being someone I look up to and my blogging idol. 

  2. dear sally yes all you said is completely right and real guiding and self estimating .but for my self it was one of my un complete dream writing starting very young at age og 15 but no books were published up to the moment  yes i am allmost 48 years mother of six wonderful sons  ,,,if it happens that you read this i just want to tell you how much you are an inspiring and brilliant person
    i am and i think its clear anon English speaker but its my bachore in English language and arts …hopfully i will finish my first book and send u acopy  …your cakes recipes are owseme and came to be part of my family coffe dessert  (sallys time )they said ….thanks 

  3. Dear Sally, thank you so much for your wonderful advice! The tip that intrigued me most was ‘sharing your knowledge’. I’m in my first year of blogging and I guess I haven’t really seen myself in that way. But yes, you are absolutely right, that is what so many readers are looking for, fellow bloggers included (for example, I simply love your post about making macaroons and this one, of course! )
    Thanks again for your wonderful inspiration and motivation!
    Simone

  4. Thanks for the wisdom, Sally. I agree that fellow bloggers are just so lovely. One of my favorite things about joining the blogging community has been the support and friendship of other bloggers. And I love it when the more successful bloggers take the time and effort to visit my humbler blog and show they care. 
    Your tips are excellent, of course. You’ve built something amazing!

  5. Wow, this is great, Sally! I always love when blogging advice comes from one of the bloggers I look up to most! 

    I especially needed to hear that bit about investing in yourself. A new camera is my next big purchase for Fooduzzi.com; if I start to think of it as an investment in my company, rather than a crap-ton of money flying out the door, it’s a little less scary…a little 😉

    Thanks for all you do! I love learning from the best of the best!

  6. Great tips Sally! I think another is to have patience which is basically #9. You can’t expect to grow a blog and have 10k followers in just a few months. And probably not spend on advertising yet until you have lots of content for your site. No one wants to see an amazing graphic to your site if there’s barely anything on it – just my opinion.

  7. This post is just what I needed in my inbox this morning, Sally! I love reading your posts about blogging, they’re so inspiring. One tip that really stuck out to me which I try to clobber into my brain everyday is comparing yourself to other bloggers – I’m guilty of doing this, especially when a blog that has started around the same time as mine has had far more growth. Definitely discouraging, but that just makes me want to work even harder! 

  8. Hi Sally – I have become obsessed with your blog in the last 5 months or so.  I discovered your blog via a post on Buzzfeed (I’m not gonna lie, I love their “23 X recipes that will make your mouth water” or something to that effect).  I have made so many of your recipes and everyone adores them! I, perhaps mistakenly, get the credit so I’m quick to point out they are from my favorite food blogger: Sally’s Baking Addiction.  I am so excited for your book tour – I kinda can’t contain myself.  Also, side note, please make more cakes!  I love love your carrot cake and the lemon blueberry cake – like unreal!  

  9. Sally,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on food blogging. I am new to this and really do enjoy it.  So much to learn!  It helps to know you had some of the same struggles and thoughts as I do just starting out. Your blog is what inspired me to start my own blog. Thanks for that and continuing to inspire me!  

  10. Wonderful food for thought! And not sugar coated, I might add. Hehe… Ok, done with the puns. 😉 Seriously though, your tips are so very helpful and really appreciated by a struggling blogger like me. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Love these! I know my favorite is give it time! Sometimes I will publish a recipe and it takes a few months to gain popularity. I guess I’ve always envisioned hitting the publish button and having it go viral but that doesn’t really happen in my circumstance. 

  12. Hi Sally, as always, I love reading your blog.  I find these posts fascinating about how to grow your blog as I’m hoping one day soon I’ll discover the magic secret which has eluded me the last 4 years to finally boost my blog!  I’m ok with never being a power blogger but I do want to get to the stage where I can reduce my hours in my full time job to devote more time to recipe creation and blogging. 

    In the back end of May, I switched my blog from a free WordPress one to a self hosted site and rebranded it, but hopefully in a way my old readers saw as logical. I went from Jo Blogs Jo Bakes to Every Nook & Cranny. The feedback has been resoundingly good on the new site and I’m posting more content than ever before (but oh my what a LOT more work building a site from the ground up is and maintaining a self-hosted site!). I work full time but put as many hours into my blog as I do work and still, I’m stuck, unable to get my engagement and traffic to a point where I can really get going on monetising the site. Frustration isn’t the word! Especially as I do all the things you suggest and plenty more besides them and still, I can’t get anywhere. 

    So back to plugging away and hoping my hard work finally starts paying back. Looking forward to reading your next post x

  13. Sally, thank you, as always for being so honest, open and vulnerable. It’s so refreshing to have people like you in the blogosphere!!! Your tips are so reassuring and are just the things I needed to hear. You’re heaven-sent, for sure 🙂

    I totally agree that blogger friendships and HARD work are absolutely invaluable. ALSO love the phrase “spend money to make money” — my father in law always says something very similar (you’ve gotta spend money to save money) and both principles are so true! Again, thanks a million, Sally!!

  14. I still qualify as a newbie blogger, but to other newbie bloggers I would say don’t box yourself in from the get go. A lot of people give the advice to niche down your blog. But I think that giving yourself some time to experiment and see what really clicks with you and works for you is a great idea. What I thought my blog would be and what my blog has naturally grown into are two different ideas. 

  15. Sally, thank you for posts like these! They are so helpful. As a new blogger, I really appreciate how many blogging communities focus on helping/teaching rather than competing! I think, for me, the photography is the biggest learning curve. I have scoured your photography posts and love all of your images. They are beautiful, bright, and (generally) full of sprinkles. Perfect combo. Thank you again!

  16. Posts like these are incredibly helpful. My blog is still in the newborn phase and it can be overwhelming to compare it to other, more established blogs. But posts like this make me realize that is a waste of time. I should be using those blogs for inspiration and guidance but never for a blueprint of where I’m going on my own food blog journey. Patience is key but picking up tips and tricks from bloggers like you make the journey fun and educational. 

  17. Sally, I’m not a blogger, or ever have the slightest inkling to be. I do follow a number of blogs and from a readers perspective want to touch on one thing. In number 7 you point out following and supporting fellow bloggers. As a reader I found it fun that many of my favorite bloggers followed and supported each other. What bloggers need to remember is their digital footprint is out there and their online presence they are presenting to their followers is far beyond their own blog. It includes their comments and interactions via comments with fellow bloggers while visiting other blogs. Sadly, more then once, I have stopped following bloggers on their blogs, Pinterest, etc., due to snarky or otherwise just not positive interaction with their fellow bloggers while they were visiting other sites. Just like they follow other bloggers, their readers do too, and they see this. Your online presence is not isolated to your own social media (ie website, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook). Having said this, I’m one of the biggest champions for the blogs I follow and regularly point people to websites I follow while standing in grocery lines, online forums, etc.  Enthused followers do spread the word about their favorite peeps. Thanks for practicing what you preach. I love your approachable fun style, and how you respond to folks on your blog with questions and encouragement. 

    1. Chelle, I agree with everything. I’ve been turned off of reading some blogs or materials online after stumbling upon a comment or conversation (heck, even a tweet on twitter!) that didn’t sit with me right. You know what I always try to remember? (Since my job is interaction all day long)– you get more with sugar than you do with salt. Always helps to be kind and positive.

      1. ‘You get more with sugar than you do with salt’. That’s a really interesting, good way of putting it. I’ll remember that one for sure!
        And I agree with what both of you are saying here, you leave marks all over the internet, and you should always remember to be kind and positive, or at least not rude.

  18. Great post Sally! I think that it’s very important to stay true to yourself and not follow the crowd. I just started my food blog in December and I still have a long way to go. I don’t have perfect pictures, am not tech-savvy, and my blog looks plain, but I still have a lot to offer just like other food bloggers. I have compared myself to other bloggers before, but I no longer do that because it serves no purpose other than to make me feel bad.

    It takes time to build up a blog, but with hard work it can be done.

      1. Thanks a lot dear for sharing such useful tips..I think it will really work for me as I’m thinking to start my food blog

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