I wish I had some magic secrets or shortcuts to share, but the truth is that food blogging is hard work. I receive questions about the subject fairly often, so I sat down to compile my best tips for food bloggers and ended up with an even twenty. You’ll be more likely to develop a successful food blog if you follow these guidelines.
1. Be authentic.
Post about what you love and produce the best content you possibly can.
2. Don’t give up.
Blog growth is slow at first and gains momentum as time goes on, assuming that you stick with it and do your best.
3. Post original content.
If visitors like what you do, they will keep coming back for more.
4. Show your personality!
Enthusiasm is infectious, so don’t be afraid to show it. One of the coolest things about blogging is that you can connect with people who share your undying love for, say, avocado on toast.
5. Make friends and help each other.
In other words, network! Connect and cultivate friendships with other bloggers who share your interests. Leave thoughtful comments on their blogs, chat with them on social media and promote their content.
6. Make yourself accessible.
Be present and responsive on social media as best you can.
7. Keep your site design clean and easy to navigate.
Clutter detracts from your content.
8. Make it easy for visitors to follow your blog.
Place links to RSS/email subscription and social media prominently on each page.
9. Make it easy to comment on your blog.
No CAPTCHAs or required logins, please. Find a way to let your commenters know that they are appreciated, whether that’s by emailing them privately, responding to their comment publicly or by commenting on their blogs.
10. Make it easy to share your content.
Provide social media sharing buttons at the end of each post. Say thank you when others promote your work.
11. Post fantastic recipes only.
You don’t want visitors to invest their time and ingredients into a recipe and end up disappointed, right? Better to let the blog go quiet for a few days than to post a recipe you can’t stand behind.
12. Cite your sources.
Always. Not cool: reposting recipes verbatim, posting other bloggers’ photos without permission. Cool: original recipes, sharing links to your inspiration, linking to further resources on the subject at hand.
13. Don’t sell out.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to make money off your blog, but don’t align yourself with a brand or project that isn’t a good fit. You are the company you keep. Focus on producing your best content and building your audience and the opportunities will come.
14. Post on a regular basis.
Whether that’s every day, once a week or once every other week, don’t let your blog look abandoned.
15. Get your own domain name.
If you want your blog to be taken seriously, just do it. You can buy a domain name for less than twenty dollars a year through GoDaddy (affiliate link).
16. Build a self-hosted WordPress blog.
That is, if you want full control over your design and content and plenty of room to grow. If you don’t know how to do these things, pay someone good to do it for you or shower your geeky friend with homemade cookies until he agrees. Find a step-by-step guide (and food blog design and web hosting tips) here.
17. Learn about search engine optimization.
SEO isn’t black magic; it’s about making your quality content findable. It’s important to understand and implement the basics. Here is Google’s SEO starter guide [PDF].
18. Submit your posts to recipe submission sites.
When you’re getting started, submission sites may be a good source of new visitors. In the past, I’ve submitted my posts to Foodgawker, Tastespotting, Tasteologie and Finding Vegan (when applicable). Keep a text file that contains the submission information so it’s easy to copy and paste it onto each site. If your photo is rejected the first time around, edit it or choose a different photo and resubmit. Don’t forget to pin your new recipes to Pinterest, too!
19. Learn how to take appetizing photos.
People are much more likely to want to eat, make, share and pin your recipes when they are presented alongside appealing photos. Find my food photography tips and equipment recommendations here.
20. Do what your mama told you.
This should go without saying, but be nice, be constructive, be respectful, be appreciative, be humble. Work hard.
More resources for food bloggers on Cookie and Kate
Questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.