Food Blogging Strategies: Quality Content

Homemade Whipped Cream

Updated in 2019 🙂

There are millions of food blogs on the internet. In order to stand out, you need to consistently deliver quality content. Today I’m sharing all my advice on publishing quality content. Let’s get right to the point…

Get To The Point

When you write a blog post, ask yourself these 2 questions:

  1. What are my selling points on this recipe?
  2. How can I describe this to someone who has never tasted it?

Most internet users skim articles, so keeping your content clear and concise is important. On the flip side, it’s helpful to connect with your readers by writing with a personal touch. When I launched Sally’s Baking Addiction in 2011, I posted 1 small picture of the recipe with 1 or 2 sentences describing it. As I got more comfortable, I began typing long drawn out posts that make me yawn when I go back and read them. Ha! Finding a happy medium between personal and factual has worked best for my blog.

Solve a Problem

Does your way of roasting chicken cut the time in half or improve its flavor? Does your chocolate chip cookie recipe only dirty 1 bowl? Does your chicken alfredo taste just as rich, but has half the calories? Try to find common problems in the kitchen and SOLVE THEM for your readers! That makes an interesting and engaging blog post.

Be Real

I enjoy reading blog posts and articles that feel like a friendly conversation. You want your readers to feel comfortable and empowered, so try to make your content relatable and enjoyable. Many food bloggers stick to the recipes, but also have a series of posts for more personal “life” posts. Mine are all in my Life section. People are curious about other people by nature and it’s always nice to find a connection online! Share however much you are comfortable with.

Finding Inspiration

When you’re feeling uninspired, take a break. Get out, experience new places, new adventures, new things. Buy some new cookbooks, cooking magazines, or watch a new cooking show. Go to new restaurants and gather inspiration from the menu. There are so many resources available in today’s world and when an idea catches your attention, write it down. I have a running list of recipe ideas in my phone!

Or if you’re having trouble coming up with a new recipe or a new blog post idea, think of some things that you know that others don’t know. 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? 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? Perfect the recipe and publish it 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 received a lot of positive feedback from curious bakers and it’s still one of the most popular posts on my blog.

Cake Batter Cookies

Overcoming Writer’s Block

The internet is full of beautiful blogs with beautiful writing and beautiful photos! And sometimes I have NO idea what to say in order to catch your attention. Sometimes the ideas pour out of my head and my fingers get sore from typing so quickly. Other days… not so much.

One of the best things you can do for writing is to… ignore your writing.

When you have trouble expressing your thoughts into words, walk away. Go for a run, make a snack, sit with a book, do some laundry, or drink some tea. When you come back to your desk, your mind might be clearer. It’s nothing new or revolutionary, but taking a break to reset your mind really helps. Wouldn’t you rather publish engaging content that took you a few days to write vs a rushed and crappy blog post?

My Favorite Two Words to Use in Each Blog Post

Here’s something I learned after reading this enlightening article and I try to implement the practice into each blog post.

“You are going to love this cookie recipe because it is easy and quick, which saves you time for holiday shopping and wrapping presents.”

Both effective words appear in the sentence above:

  1. You
  2. 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 their 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 you sit down and type, constantly ask yourself “why” after each sentence. As a food blog author, it’s your job to specifically describe the processes, ingredients, and methods as precisely as possible. Why did you brown the butter? Why did you use frozen raspberries instead of fresh?  Why did you use that oven temperature?  How are the cookies so soft?

“Start with a very high oven temperature for the muffins, then 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’re doing what they’re doing. We are all inquisitive souls!

My Least Favorite Word to Use

This sentence has appeared on my website before: “These cookies are so yummy!”

First of all, what does “yummy” actually tell you? Is the cookie soft? Is it chewy? Are the rolls doughy? Are they spiced with cinnamon flavor? Try to be very descriptive so readers know exactly what to expect.

How to Write a Recipe

If you’re a food blogger, chances are that your blog is about recipes. Writing recipes in a clear, professional format is crucial. I refer to this very useful post when I’m hung up on writing a recipe in the correct format.

A few key things to remember:

  • Write the ingredients in the order of which they are used
  • 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 person. It may be easier to type 1 and 1/2 cups.
  • Include serving sizes.
  • Include storing and/or freezing instructions. This is helpful for most people!

Remember: It’s Quality, not Quantity.

While it’s important to show up regularly so readers know when to expect you, it’s not the quantity of content you produce. You could publish a new blog post every single day, but if it’s not quality content, who’s going to read it?

The higher quality your content– food photography, writing, videos, originality– the more you’ll stand out. Start small and let yourself grow. Food blogging is not an end point, it’s a journey.

More Food Blogging Advice

135 Comments

  1. This is one of the most useful posts I’ve ever read, and I really appreciate it. You’ve made me want to think more and be more aware of the content I’m putting on my site. I’m completely guilty of just calling everything super yummy and delicious. I’m hoping that’s something I can change over time. Most of us bloggers aren’t professional writers or photographers, so it’s definitely a learning process! I love that you’re letting us get a peak into your blogging brain! Thanks so much! 🙂

    Happy Holidays to you!! xo

    1. Hey Rachael! I am so glad you’re finding these posts helpful for you. They are things i’ve learned along the way and you know, i used non-descriptive words ALL the time with my posts. It really depends on the blogger, but I just feel my readers appreciate adjectives descfribing the texture and taste other than delicious and yummy. And I am certinly no professional writer!! OR photographer for that matter. it’s a learning process! 🙂 HAppy Holidays to you as well Rachael!

  2. I LOVE this post! You have no idea how much I needed these tips! I read the WHOlE post which usually I don’t do. You kept my attention 100% and I love that you remember the day you started your blog! Now I want to have a blog birthday party! Thank you so much for all your help, because I think we all know you don’t have to do this. Thank you once again.

  3. Sally, thank you so much for taking the time to write these posts for your readers. I am so grateful for your tips and advice. I am hoping to be able to put more time into my blog this coming year and this series has been great motivation for me to start planning to do so.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Misty! I am so glad. Writing this series has also been a huge help to me personally as well. It allows me to connect with other bloggers and to really think about the way I blog, write, photography, my marketing strategies, content, etc. I wish you nothing but the best in the new year. Thanks so much Misty!

  4. Wow, this information is really helpful! You clearly lay out the do’s and do not’s of blog writing, especially since my writing is particularly weak. I will definitely use this information to help improve my new blog! Thank you so much!

  5. I’m so glad I found this series when I did. I read your photography one first, because I was looking through old (bad) blog pictures the other day (as I mentioned in my comment to you on that post) and that led me to these ones. My discovery of them is really timely, because it got me thinking about how far my blog has progressed and where I want it to go, and in doing that, I realized tomorrow is my one year blogiversary. I will probably post on these recent reflections, and use your once-again helpful tips to improve from here on in. Also, turns out I have been measuring flour incorrectly this whole time. Thanks for the heads up! Lastly, congrats on how far you’ve come in a year. Very inspiring! Whew, longest comment ever.

    1. Happy 1 year anniversary! That is truly wonderful – a year is a long time to keep it up. We can only improve from here, so just keep working at it. So glad you found my post about measuring flour correctly. I measured it wrong for YEARS until I did some research and testing. Don’t worry, that’s not the longest comment ever. 🙂 I appreciate it! Congrats again for 1 year!

  6. Hi Sally, I came accross with your blog while I was searching ways for growing my page views. CONGRATS to ou on your success! And thank you for sharing your experience with us! I find this post so helpful, I must keep the tips in mind while writing my future posts. The ones especially about measuring and describing the food are what I need to follow. Well, I’ve been blogging for 4 years now and I’m not satisfied with where it is now. As you say, people eat with their eyes, so I bought a new camera a few months ago and I changed the theme of my blog. I hope these will help increase my traffic. I’m trying to be very active at social networks too. Also, I’m trying to work on SEO. Are you working with a professional SEO expert or doing it yourself? I mean I’m working really hard (like many of us do) at times after my full time work and I want to see its result. I feel like there is something missing in what I’m doing.
    Cheers from Turkey!

    1. Hi Zerrin! You aren’t missing anything at all. It just takes time, patience, and a lot of work. A LOT of work. As long as your determination and passion is there, you work hard enough to see results. I do not have an SEO expert and know very little about it all. It all gives me a headache to try to understand! Being active in social networks and improving your food photography will definitely be a big boost! I wish you the best of luck and I’m so glad you found some of these strategies helpful. 🙂

      Sally

  7. 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

    1. 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!

  8. 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 😀

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

  9. 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?

    1. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

  11. 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!
    THANKS!
    -Kendra

    1. 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!

  12. 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! 🙂

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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! 🙂

    Jenny

  18. 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! 🙂

  19. 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?

    -Steph

  20. 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!

  21. 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?

    1. 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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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 🙂

  26. 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, julietssweets.wordpress.com. 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!

    1. 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!

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