Whether you’re a practicing cook looking to document your learning experiences or an experienced chef with a wealth of recipes to share, a food blog can be a great way to channel your creative energies and earn a little extra money.
Cooking advice is some of the most commonly-searched-for material according to Google, which means there are a wealth of potential readers for your food blog. If you take the proper steps to design, build and share your food blog, you can develop a loyal readership and have the successful food blog of your dreams.
However, finding success in the popular world of food blogs can be difficult, so you’ll want to make sure you prepare your blog to be as successful as possible. Here are five tips for running a successful food blog.
Pick a niche and stick to it
Since there are so many food blogs out there, you’re going to need to find something that will give readers a reason to revisit your blog. You need to pick some sort of theme for your blog, whether it’s home cooking, cheap cooking, foods from certain regions or foods prepared in a certain manner – the possibilities are endless.
Popular food blog “The Minimalist Baker” found its niche by offering “simple, delicious recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, one bowl, or 30 minutes or less to prepare,” as stated in the blog’s sidebar for any viewers who visit the site.
Another good niche blog, “Budget Bytes,” offers recipes designed around remaining cheap and delicious. All recipes include a total price for the meal, plus the price per serving, as well as the cost of ingredients. Readers can trust any recipe on the blog will meet their low-price needs.
Your theme will be what draws readers in. Make sure it’s specific enough that you don’t blend in with a sea of identical blogs, but not so niche that few people will ever search for such a specific topic.
Post recipes regularly and often
Nothing can lose your readership faster than inactivity. The best way to attract readers is to set a regular posting schedule, ideally once a week or more, and stick to it.
This can be done by auto-scheduling several posts ahead of time on virtually every major blogging platform, rather than producing recipes on a regular basis. This way, you can walk away from your blog for a few days at a time and know that it will stick to a schedule your readers can expect.
Some blogs, like Simply Recipes, make multiple posts a day. Others like Damn Delicious post every one to three days. The more successful blogs generally post multiple times a week, as the modern reader doesn’t necessarily want to wait a week between updates.
Include detailed recipes
A good food blog should be easy for readers to access. This means your recipes should be detailed and easy to follow.
Make sure to include all ingredients, and amounts for each ingredient. Avoid estimates like “a pinch,” as it will mean something different to each reader. Instructions should be specific. Avoid cooking jargon too advanced for the average person, as your readers are likely coming to you because they don’t know all that much about cooking themselves.
If possible, include step by step photos to show readers what your recipes look like at various steps, which can give visual cues on what to do if your writing isn’t clear.
Minimalist Baker includes cooking time, servings, ingredients with amounts, detailed instructions, nutritional information and photos of the ingredients she uses, as well as photos of her cooking process.
Let good photos advertise your recipes
People are visual eaters. Good photos allow a reader to see what the recipe should look like, clear up any unclear instructions and tempt them to make what they see.
Along with including photos of your steps, you should include photos of the finished products that are flattering and appealing. If you’re using WordPress, or something similar, then a good food blog theme can make all the difference. But also keep in mind plating recommendations to make food look appealing on camera, preparing the best lighting for your photos and investing in a quality camera to take crisp, colorful photos.
Simply Recipes includes clear photos that do an excellent job of displaying food and also helps guide readers through the recipe’s instructions.
Be sure to promote your blog
Your blog can have all the right stuff for the perfect food blog, but if no one knows about it, you’ll never get a decent readership. Smart promotion is a critical part of running a food blog. This means networking with other bloggers, expanding to multiple platforms and making sure your blog is optimized for search engines.
You want your blog to begin generating steady traffic to build your readership and possibly turn your website into an income stream. Be sure to look into advertising opportunities where possible, including websites for bloggers and cooking communities.
Your food blog can find its own comfortable space on the internet with a little effort and dedication. By following these tips, you can develop a loyal readership and monetize your blog in no time.
Featured photo credit: AngryJulieMonday via flickr.com