I started my blog CookSister in 2004,
the international food blogging "scene" consisted of a couple of
dozen blogs; everybody knew everybody; nobody made any money out of their blogs;
and the food blogosphere was generally a nicer, less competitive place.
Seven years later, there are thousands of
food blogs from practically every country in the world, many of them
revenue-generating, and getting noticed in the crowd is becoming increasingly
is often intimidating for new bloggers to enter into what is now a pretty
competitive arena, and people often ask me for advice on how I got to where I
am today with my blog.
The truth is that
there is no “right” or “wrong” way to blog and no magic bullet – just simple
perseverance, tireless practice, and figuring what works for you
But I can share with you
some characteristics that most successful food blog share, and which we can all
put to into practice to some extent on our own blogs.
Blogs I’d recommend include: Kalyn’s Kitchen, Simply Recipes, Steamy Kitchen, Gluten-Free Girl, and Gourmande in the Kitchen. They may
not all be to everybody’s taste, but they are undeniably good at what they do
and have hundreds of loyal followers – so let’s look at five top tips that we
can learn from them:
Find your niche
successful food blogs focus primarily on one thing: South Beach Diet recipes, gluten-free
cooking, restaurant reviews, a particular city, etc. Although it is possible to write
knowledgeably on a number of topics, to become truly successful it certainly
helps if your blog has a fairly tight focus. Figure out what you are interested
in or good at, and focus.
Set a goal
people want to showcase their writing, cooking or photography skills, using
their blog as a marketing tool to launch a career. Others want to make as much money as possible
from their blog via sponsorship and advertising.
Others might want to simply
share recipes that they love. All of these
are valid goals, but until you know what YOU want to achieve, you will not be
able to target your energy to reach your goals.
Content is king
no escaping it – to succeed in blogging you have to invest time and possibly
money in honing your writing and photography skills to deliver world-class
content. Read the blogs I mention
They are not riddled with
spelling errors or text speak; they have individual voices (both verbal and
visual); and their pictures range from the technically competent to the
inspired. They were not born this way, they worked hard to become world-class –
and so should you.
Engage with others
success of a blog and how well it ranks in Google depends on the connections it
has with other blogs and websites – so build connections. Comment on more established blogs; build
relationships on Facebook and Twitter (rather than just announcing your
posts!), or start a regular event.
Weekend Herb Blogging, Presto Pasta Nights
or the Monthly Mingle all started small and became huge, global affairs and put
their founders on the map.
characteristic common to many top bloggers is their generosity and willingness
to share. Kalyn is generous with links
back to other blogs. Steamy Kitchen
shares her blog promotion strategies and statistics openly at blogging
conferences. Gourmande in the Kitchen
regularly shares photography tips.
generous with advice does not give away your secrets – it builds respect and
raises your profile. And saying nice things or maintaining a dignified silence about
other bloggers is always more generous and gracious than an acrimonious war of
ultimately, for me, the bottom line is that blogging is like marriage: there are all sorts of bad reasons to get
into it but only one good reason that will sustain and make you
successful: do it because you love it.