I received an email that made me blush the other day. I was actually quite honored. I am part of an organization called the Food Bloggers of Canada and every week they chose a Canadian blogger to showcase as the Featured Blogger of the week. This week I am that Featured Blogger. Please take a moment to head of to the FBC and check out the post featuring Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Thank you FBC!
It is always flattering when we get a little bit of recognition for our work, even if we do it purely because it is our passion. This blog is far from perfect but I am proud and have worked hard at it. The first two years this blog sort just gathered internet dust. My topic was too local (short Montreal restaurant reviews) and I did not know how to share more effectively.
The last 3 years have been a huge growing experience. I did my research, applied many ideas, put myself more out there, etc. There is always more to learn, ways to improve and keep it fun. Here are my tried and true 10 tips that have helped me take my blog a little bit further.
1. Join a topic related community
The first community I joined was Foodbuzz and my stats skyrocketed instantly because I had a large new audience of peers.
2. Make contact with other bloggers
Leaving comments gets you connected with people who share a mutual interest. This is the #1 networking tool. I have met tons of wonderful people and a few have become friends. The best is meeting up over a meal when the opportunity arises.
3. Review your blog’s goal periodically
My first posts were exclusively short restaurant reviews or anecdotes of the dinner group I ran. My audience was very small. I realized quickly that popular food blogs were focused on recipes. So I took my blog into the kitchen and posted recipes I prepared. I try to keep the majority of my recipes on them: cuisine from around the world. This is also a perfect opportunity to work on a great About page – I just redid mine, comments are very welcomed, please! And make sure to check your writing with a good online grammar checker like this free one before posting.
4. Participate in online group activities
The first group I joined was The Daring Kitchen. The formula varies but the idea is basically the same: a theme, an ingredient or a recipe is suggested and everyone posts at the same time their result. Today I am part of the Secret recipe Club, the 5 Stars Makeover and the Love Bloghop. Join as many groups as you like as long as you can respect the schedule impositions.
5. A picture is worth a 1,000 words
I once read women are more likely to read a long article whereas men are more likely to just look at the pictures. I think we all do a bit of both but eye candy does go a long way. I could write a whole other post about food photography. Taking a great picture of a dish can be a very intimidating. Learn from food bloggers with a photography knack. Write to them and ask for advice or find photography tutorials. People love to share their knowledge. With practice your skills will improve. Getting a DSLR camera makes a huge impact. Here are some of my favorite food photography resources:
- 45+ resources to improve your food photography
- My Pinterest Food Fotography board
- The Ardent Epicure has a great ongoing guest blog series on food photography
- If you have Photoshop check out the Photoblog Tutorials
- Food Photography for Bloggers by Vegan Yum Yum
6. Social, social, social networks
Get an account for all of them: Twitter, a Facebook page, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Digg are some of the biggest. Once your accounts are set up follow people. Post new blog articles on every social network. It’s viral marketing.
7. Guest blog or write articles
I wrote an article 2 years ago on exotic ice cream recipes for The Daring Kitchen. I took a look at my last referrers today and 10 of them came from that article. Why? Because it is summer and everyone loves ice cream. A pertinent and well written article posted on another related site can get you new readers for years to come. A fun guest post I did was with Foodiva remaking a recipe we loved from the others blog.
8. Read advice blogs or websites about social media and SEO
One of the best reliable sites is Mashable. They can give you great tips and inspire you. I fell on a site that offered a program called 31 Days to Building a Better Blog. You can find it without cost online. I am doing it at my own pace, not in 31 days. This very post is actually one of the daily tasks: write s list post.
9. Praise and say thank you
This can take many forms. Someone leaves you a touching comment…email them directly saying how much you appreciated it. You fell in love with a recipe on a blog, made it and are posting about it…mention and link back t the post you got the recipe from. In this post I have linked directly to a few bloggers and sites I admire. That is a form of praise. Pay it forward!
10. If you are not having fun, stop blogging
Every effort you make will have a positive impact on your blog. But if you are not having fun then what is the point? If you keep comparing yourself to more successful blogs you are just discouraging yourself. I kept this point for last but it is the most important point on this list. Have fun. Blogging should be a passion, not an effort.
Congrats Evelyne! This is a great post full of valuable tips and links. I especially thank you for the link to the photography tutorial. It gave me hope that I will understand how to use my camera.
What wonderful tips! There are many I haven’t tried, so THANK YOU for this wonderful resource!
PS…congrats on your feature!!!
Congratulations on your feature sweetie, will stop over and check it out 🙂
This is such a great post, and love all of your tips!
And thats for the mention on the photography tutorial 🙂
Thank you all for your wonderful feedback on the list.
@redkathy yes agreed dialog is important on top of sincere comments.
@The Editor and Dwei, for sure you an adapt to any blog.
Fantastic article, Ev. I think I’ve done almost about all of the above, but I can’t help my photos at the moment..you can only go so far without natural light. Regardless, I blog for sheer enjoyment and a love for all things culinary and just sort coast along. Whatever comes from it is just a bonus. Congrats on your FBC food blogger of the week – more than well deserved 🙂
A HUGE congrats to you, my friend!
Thanks for taking the time to share your advice. #10 is my favorite…I think it’s important for all of us to keep in mind!
Awesome post! Thanks for all the great advice and congrats on getting featured on Food Bloggers of Canada:)
Today, I changed my “About me” as it was outdated and I hadn’t thought about changing it. I’m going to have to work my way through your other suggestions. I’m not a great social networker so I guess I have to try harder! Thank you for such great suggestions!
A wealth of information here – thanks for sharing!
I read from top to bottom without missing any tips! LOL. Thank you for such a great article about blog success. I definitely need help on that. So many things to improve and so little time…that’s always the problem. One at a time I guess?
This is impressive! Great job on getting featured!
Most of the advice you’ve given applies to almost all blogs I think. Though I don’t think I could get a guest post on my blog, it would just feel odd.
Woot! Congratulations! Actually you can apply these to almost any blog theme.
I can vouch for #6 a long, long way… My blog didn’t get too many views until I connected it to social media. Nowadays, being connected to both Twitter and Facebook and sometimes adding extra comments on either has really gone a long way to multiply the number of views farther than I thought possible.
I never forget #9, to thank my readers everytime I hit a milestone or give a shoutout to someone who gave me a tip or drew my attention to another news article.
Thank you and congratulations again 🙂
You have some awesome tips here!
Praise and say thank you – I find that many food bloggers don’t participate in “blog conversations” but rather reciprocate comments. I think it’s great to reciprocate a comment especially when there is a value to the comment. However, I think that it may be more important to have a dialog. I don’t see that most food bloggers agree. From my experience it’s comment for comment. To me a social share is much better than a one line “I read your post” comment.
Thanks for the great read 🙂