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.
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.
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.
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?