10 More Tips for Growing Your Food Blog

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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!

113 Comments

  1. 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

  2. Sally, thanks for taking the time to compile this thorough list and sharing what has worked for you. It is full of great advice and I can’t wait to put it into practice. 

  3. Great post! I like how you stress that bloggers have to be genuine, work hard, and treat others the way you want to be treated in this blogging world. The reason why I like to read your blog because your true voice and bubbly personality really shines through and it makes me so happy whenever I read them! 🙂

  4. Could you imagine if you could SMELL from the computer?! UGH. I think smell + sight would kill me. Ha!

    I think being personable and PERSONAL are both really important. I want to know about the blogger’s life outside of recipes. I want to know their interests, desires, goals, etc. It’s nice!

  5. I cannot tell you how helpful these tips are! Your food photography basics are also amazing – I just started a food blog, and your blog is one of my #1 resources – especially since the photography page was added. So inspired – thank you!

  6. Sally,  I’m not a blogger, but if I were I know where to come for advice. I like to cook and bake and come up with new recipes,  but nowhere near the level othe cooks are at. I’ve thought about doing the youtube cooking and just giving credit for the recipes where credit is due, and linking to the website/ blog. All the kids are in school this year so trying to come up with something to do. 

  7. Thank you, Sally for bringing inspiration and motivation once again with this post! Since I found your blog several months ago, I started looking at mine (still just a hobby for me) in a different way. You made me realise that I could bring it to another level with more efforts. You should be very proud with your work!

  8. Sally – great advice, especially #10!
    You’ve mentioned before to work harder than everybody else to grow your food blog into a consistent source of income, and to piggy back off of that, I think doing something different is super important as well.

    There is SO much saturation out there with bloggers doing the EXACT same things that other food bloggers do. Why blend into the crowd when you could be standing out doing something more original? I tried to differentiate myself by pairing a song with every recipe I post. I’m not sure how it has resonated with people (no way to track metrics on that), but it is something I love and helps to create a more dynamic post and blog theme. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful advice, youdabest!

    1. Alexe, I agree with you so much. There are tons of bloggers doing the same things as other bloggers to the point that it gets old after a while. As stated above, I don’t have perfect pictures on my blog, but I still have things to offer just like everyone else. Following the crowd isn’t something that I have ever done and I’m okay with that. Being authentic is what I feel is important and will take a person far in life.

      1. Thanks Neeli. It can be hard and scary to do something different, however I too have always marched to the beat of my own drummer and don’t know any other way (something my parents instilled in all of my sisters). Authenticity is paramount to staying original. Also, those ground turkey nachos look to die for! We cook with ground turkey a lot and think it is the perfect substitute to ground beef! Chat with you soon!

    2. I couldn’t agree more. And Alexe, I LOVE what you are doing to set yourself apart from the rest. It’s truly inspiring. Adding a song– how clever!!

  9. Thank you so much for your continued advice. Your voice is in my head (thanks to the podcast, I now know your voice) and you are definitely influencing my blog. I really can’t thank you enough for all your help, though my family may be getting sick of hearing, “Sally says…” ☺

  10. These are great tips!  I am fairly new to blogging and totally agree with you about being real not fake with your readers.  I think another great piece of advice I read is to write about content YOU would read and find enjoyable, because chances are there is someone else out there just like you.  And I absolutely love your blog and you mentioned you used to compare yourself to the bigger more popular blogs and NOW you’re one of them!!!

  11. These are great tips. I’m a big fan of your blog: it’s beautiful, your recipes are so tempting, and your success is inspiring! I really appreciate that you would take the time to share some of your secrets and insights. The tip about focusing on the most popular posts to find what your audience really wants struck me like a lightning bolt, and gave me a new area to focus on with my own blog. 
    Thank you, and I can’t wait for the candy cookbook to come out! -Nancy

  12. Thank you so much for this, Sally! I’m always looking for ways to help improve my blog, and having advice from a pro is so helpful. 
    My blog is new-ish, less than a year old, and already I can see a difference between my first posts and more recent ones – a more honest voice, the pictures are MILES better (still have a long way to go!), and I can honestly say that hard work and other bloggers have been the two things that help the most. 
    I have met so many amazing, talented bloggers out there, and every one is just so supportive! I love how we are a community committed to building each other up. Thanks for doing your part to set a great example, it is so appreciated! 

  13. The photography is SO important, ESPECIALLY in a food blog because when a reader (i.e. myself) makes a dessert (in this case, your peach bars) and it comes out looking EXACTLY like the delicious picture, it can feel so awesome!

    Those peach bars by the way are INCREDIBLE, I used hand-picked peaches after my family went peach picking (in New Jersey) and it was peaches well used. Keep up the great work!

  14. Hey Sally! I just started a blog; it’s not a food blog, but even so, your advice has been so helpful! This post plus the podcast you did a few weeks ago have really inspired me to keep having fun with my blog, not worry about comparing myself to others, and really start investing in taking better pictures and growing. Thanks so much!

    And as always, thanks for the yummy recipes. 🙂

  15. GREAT post Sally! I absolutely love how real you are when you write these! 😉 I’ve re-read your old ones a few times and take a way something new every time! And I’m so excited cause I finally ordered a DSLR so next week I’ll be starting to learn how to use a real camera!!! … Also wanted to say that Your personality and blog is such a good mood place, it definitely keeps me motivated and encouraged to keep going and stay happy! Thank you for these tips and being so down to earth! 😉 

    1. Good luck with the new camera! Be patient, it takes awhile to really learn. Just keep practicing with it. Thanks for all the kind words!

  16. Sally,  
    I loved reading this and learning about your experience in blogging.  I will definitely be revisiting this post to help me as i have just recently started my own blog! 

  17. I’m not a food blogger (I’m a travel blogger) but I have to say, these tips work for any kind of blog, not just a food blog. Particularly the emphasis on photography. I started my blog because I loved to write, and six years later I’ve become an amateur photographer (and I love it).

    Though I have to add an addendum to number 6: ‘don’t compare’. While your advice in the way it is given is super-sound, I do often compare my blog to other blogs, but in a positive way. I study successful blogs to see how I can make my own better. Which has been very, very helpful. 

  18. Thank you Sally for yet again another helpful post on growing a food blog! Before I started my blog 10 months ago, I read through all of your blogging tips and they gave me the confidence to take the leap and start my own. Thanks for the continuous tips and delicious recipes! You are truly an inspiration!

  19. Your mantra has become my war chant and I work through this beginning phase of my blog. I tell myself every day I need to outwork everyone. When my friends complain I haven’t been around as much I think to myself it is because like you said, “If my eyes are open, I’m working.” I think it is starting to pay off because as I find myself getting lucky breaks I know it is because of how hard I work to make them a possibility. So thank you for not making me feel insane when I work so hard on this. This is my fourth month of blogging and my traffic jumped from 35k last month to being on pace to hit 100k this month. Sincerely thank you for being such a positive influence. Between you and Bjork, I have positive examples to learn from.

    1. Congrats on the HUGE jump in traffic Sabrina! A true testament that hard work pays off. Just remember to give yourself breaks. I find I go a little insane without scheduling a day or two off. AND I usually come back with a clear head ready to write after that. Even just a 30 minute break during the day helps!

  20. Sally, thank you so much for all of these very detailed and wonderful posts! I just recently started a blog of my own after years of considering the idea and your advice has given me so much insight and confidence 🙂 I have followed your blog for quite a few years now but only now chose to comment to express how grateful I am for all the obvious effort and thought you put into helping other bloggers share in your success.  

  21. Hi Sally, I don’t have a blog but love following yours!  I have printed out your advice in case I ever have the courage to start my own!  Please can you tell me what cake that is in your photo, it looks scrummy? Also I have to tell you that I made your brownie recipe the other day, my first time to make brownies, and everyone raved over them, thanks!!! Please come to South Africa one day xxxx

  22. Love reading your blogging advice posts. Your tips are so simple, easy to implement, and such good reminders.  I so often get into the comparison trap.  Especially comparing myself to those who have been blogging for longer.  I listened to the podcast you did with Food Blogger Pro.  And I love knowing how HARD you work!  It’s so easy to think that all bloggers are working the same amount and that some people are just lucky.  But it really comes down to a lot of hard work.  You inspired me to start putting in more of my time and effort in growing my own blog.   

  23. Thank you so much for this post. It’s really inspiring and helpful for me just starting out.   I’m really new to this and the part I struggle with the most is probably photography, so your insights on food photography are so helpful. I love posts like this. Thanks!

  24. Hi sally, I love you so much. I don’t blog, but I have always been a huge fan of yours. I started following you a 3 years ago. I plan to age with you in a cyber sense.  I wish you many years of successful blogging.

    P.s. one day can you please teach us how to make Mac n cheese? I can promise you we followers will go esctatic.

  25. Thank you again for this continuation.

    I can’t understand my audience because I don’t have one. haha!

    I’ve written comments to myself for fun.  No really goes
    to my blog.   

    I am a Pinterest freak. I think I need a 12-step program for that.

    Do you recommend putting up ads?  I have none.  I really don’t 
    like those web sites that have ads all over and hide the blogger’s
    content.

    I’ve been told to get a guest blogger. Do you think that is a good idea?

    Thanks so much for you time and effort.

    1. Ads won’t increase traffic, but they will help you start earning some money. I’ve never had guest bloggers on my site because I like to be the only author on my personal blog. If you feel inspired to do so, by all means– it’s worth a try!

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