You may be surprised to know that I’ve had a “food blog” since 2011. That’s because I’ve been really bad at it. I’ve probably made at least 27 mistakes, but I’ve narrowed them down to the following major faux pas of food blogging 101.
1- Not make regular updates
There are about a billion food blogs out there, give or take a couple of thousands. So if someone decides that YOUR blog is worth following, then they deserve to get a steady stream of new and interesting content. No updates=boring blog nobody cares about.
2- Invest in too much stuff
Oh the “investments” I made! Expensive hard-to-customize template? Check! Cool plugin I could have done without? Check! Fact: there are many, many, MANY things that could make your blog cooler/more attractive/more secure; but you only really need good recipes, nice pictures, and a user friendly website to become a successful food blogger.
3- Take bad pictures
Most incredibly popular food bloggers did not take expensive photography courses or buy the latest macro lens before they started out. It’s utterly okay to use a phone camera and read up online on basic photography skills to take really good pictures of your creations. Good lighting, the right angle, and a couple of simple props go a long way in making a dish look mouthwateringly irresistible.
4- Feel too intimidated
My long breaks from blogging were usually preceded by seeing amazing, beautiful blogs that I could never even begin to imitate. A good blogger knows that there will always be better blogs, photography, recipes, and posts than they could ever produce. And good bloggers nevertheless keep posting away and doing their own thing in spite of that.
5- Not test your recipes
You could have the world’s best food blog, with awe-inspiring photographs and fun-to-follow social media accounts; but your recipes, well, suck. After all the hoopla that goes into having a food blog is said and done, it all boils down to this: people want to learn how to make good food. Ingredients are expensive and time is precious, so make sure you test your recipes ten times before posting them for the people who trust you to teach them.
6- Not measure ingredients
I used to be a huge proponent of spoonfuls, a dash of this’s and a pinch of that’s. That is until I bought a cheap kitchen scale. There is nothing more satisfactory to a food blogger than someone telling them that they tried their recipe and it turned out exactly as they said it would. It’s all about clear instructions and well-measured ingredients. Ingredients for desserts and baked goods are especially better posted using exact weights and volumes.
7- Ramble on and on
With all that’s going on in cyberspace competing over our attention spans, people are less likely to want to read long winded text. Keeping posts brief, interesting, and to the point will pique and hold your readers’ interest much better than if you ramble on for three pages about chicken nuggets.
8- Neglect social media
A blog without social media accounts is like a sugarless, hole-less donut with hidden zucchini- kind of pointless, really. People need to know you exist in order to start following your blog’s latest updates. It may be a big pain in the butt, but keeping up with various social media platforms has become a must-do for every serious blogger.
9- Not pick a niche for yourself
Are you the go-to girl for kid friendly recipes? Do you make the world’s meanest meatless burger? Most food bloggers have one or two specialties that they do exceptionally well. Personally, when I need a recipe for rice flour sourdough rolls I’ll go for one by a blogger who has a huge collection of tried and true gluten free recipes. It’s good to be well-rounded, but it’s okay to work towards claiming the title of “the jam master” if you want it.
10- Not proofreading and fact checking
Perhaps it’s the teacher in me, but I find it extremely embarrassing when I’m caught making a spelling mistake or forgetting a cooking step. It’s always a good idea to save the post as a draft, nitpick at it after a couple of hours, then post it. Much better than posting it and having to edit it frantically another three times while hoping your readers haven’t noticed.