Succeeding in the International blogging scene

Cooksister shares some blogging advice.

by: Jeanne Horak-Druiff | 15 Aug 2011

When 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 difficult. 

It 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 personally. 

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

Most 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

Some 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

There is 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 above. 

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

The 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.

Be generous

A 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. 

Being 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 words.

But 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. 



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