3 years ago I started my Kitchen Diary blog here
on food24 not knowing a thing about blogging other than having read
international food blogs for 2 years and suddenly feeling the overwhelming
desire to share a bit of myself and life in my kitchen with others instead of
just feeding off them all the time.
Since then blogs in South Africa have
exploded with new food blogs opening every day. Some survive and some don’t.
Here are some tips to successful blogging that I have learned over the years.
Most of what I have learned has been from the talks given by Jeanne from
Cooksister blog, firstly at the SA Food and Wine Bloggers Conference held in 2010 and then the
Food & Wine Bloggers Indaba held in February this year.
1. Make your blog unique. Think about
where your particular strengths lie and what you are good at. Maybe it is South
African Cuisine, Cape Cuisine or maybe you make killer pasta and sauces or bake
creative cakes. Familiarize yourself with techie stuff like SEO – Search Engine
Your blog must be Google friendly so choosing a short snappy name
for a blog title and posts makes sense! Have tabs or categories on your blog –
ie About Me, Recipe Index, Contact Me etc.
2. Use correct grammar and spelling. Don’t write in text speak! Readers
don’t have the time to decipher this type of blog post. You want to attract
readers, not lose them. You need to provide good content to compete in an
increasingly competitive online world to grow and keep your audience.
post. Read it aloud to see how it sounds. Bloggers read lots of blogs and if
the posts are too long there isn’t time to read them!
3. Use your senses and your observation
skills of the environment to inspire you. Sometimes I will see something or
smell or taste something that brings back a strong memory from my childhood. It
is a good idea to carry a notebook and write down memories or ideas as they occur.
Archive them in a folder on your pc for a time when you can use them. Write for
your own and your readers enjoyment and blog with a spirit of generosity by
sharing links and your knowledge. Answer comments left on your blog and visit
other blogs whenever you can, leaving thoughtful comments to indicate that you
have read the blog post.
This encourages others to come and read your blog.
Leaving links to your blog in someone else’s comment section eg. I love your
pie but take a look at one I did recently here http://... is discourteous and offensive!
4. Improve your photography skills!!
According to google stats you have 5 seconds to grab a readers attention and a
well placed droolicious photograph is the way to grab them.
local and international blog events like Lavender and Lime Weekly Ingredient Challenge,
Presto Pasta Nights or The Monthly Mingle. There are many others out
5. Join twitter http://twitter.com
and facebook http://www.facebook.com/
and start socializing on the networks and getting your name and blog name out
there! Join the South African Food Bloggers Showcase and the Food and Wine
Bloggers Indaba on facebook where you can leave links to new blog posts and
interact with other bloggers.
You can also contact Jeanne at Cooksister and let
her know that you would be interested in joining the SA Food and Wine Blog
Maintain your integrity. Theft of
content from another blogger is infringing their copyright. If it is on the
internet it does not mean that it is free to use. Ask permission where possible
and attribute by linking to the blog or web page. Have etiquette in your
blogging and tweeting.
With regards to freebies, it is a personal choice
whether you accept them or not. More and more PR companies and restaurants are
asking bloggers to sample product or offering a free meal in exchange for a
review. Be honest in your review and always disclose that you received free
product or a meal.
7. Attend functions like the Food
Bloggers Indaba. It
is a great way to learn more about blogging and social networking, writing,
photography and food styling.
I have found that food bloggers are mostly warm
and friendly big hearted people. We all share a common love of food and drink
and we love sharing our experiences with others. Forget the pettiness and get
out there and blog with the passion that is in you!