Written by adam on May 25, 2006
Habits of Highly Effective Food Bloggers
Filed Under: The Web
Greetings bloggers and food bloggers.
In answer to Darren Rowse's call for articles on the habits of highly effective food bloggers, I am turning it on it's head a little bit and writing my habits of highly effective food bloggers. I'm not sure exactly what constitutes a highly effective food blogger. If we're cooking and writing, then I might consider that being effective. From Darren's perspective, a highly effective blogger is probably one that makes money from his or her blog. It is, after all, PROBlogger. If you can make money from a food blog, then I would definitely consider you effective. But that is a different post altogether.
There are millions of blogs out here on the World Wide Web, and there are thousands of food blogs, most of them just diaries of people's adventures in the kitchen and collections of recipes. They'll include ups and downs of making certain dishes, food news, TV and cookbook reviews, and tons of recipes. There are other food blogs that focus on products and special types of cooking, such as Asian, Barbeque, or Italian. And then there are the group food blogs that focus on local or national food news, restaurant reviews, or events on the cutting edge of food prep. Some are even attached to other publications like the New York Times or LA Times.
To be a highly effective food blogger, you must do what comes natural ... eat. You must consume food and food knowledge. If you're doing a restaurant review, you must eat the food that the restaurant makes. if you are writing a recipe blog, you must eat what you cook.
This probably could be debated if all you write is restaurant reviews. However, I think that you have to have cooking experience to be able to blog about cooking. I'm not saying all the experience has to be good, nor should you be a five-star chef. I'm a graphic designer by trade, but I cook all the time. It's what I do and what I love.
Go beyond recipes
To be a highly effective food blogger, you must go beyond recipes. Recipes will get you nowhere with Google Adsense, and nearly nowhere with search engines. For recipes, Adsense will serve up ads for recipes, free recipes, or recipe collections, three things that pay nearly nothing and that people will never click on. In my experience, people who surf the net searching for recipes, generally wind up in one of three spots: Epicurious.com, Cooks.com, or Recipezaar. If you're out there searching for a recipe, you go there, you find it, you download it, you're done.
Search Engine searchers don't go to blogs for recipes, and if they did, it was probably for some obscure recipe like Scottish Eggs. The unspoken side of this equation is that if someone did go to your blog for a recipe, it's unlikely they'll stick around to read more or click on ads. People read blogs to see what you have to say. There are zillions of recipes on the web, but only you have your opinions.
With such a large percentage of food blogs just being a collection of recipes or a diary of kitchen adventures, you must make your blog stand out. You must include content that can't be found in the run of the mill recipe blog.
Fortunately, there are many ways to do this. Find an unfilled niche and fill it. For instance, do a search for blogs about Northeastern Utah cuisine. If there are none or if the blogosphere on that niche is small, take it on and try to be the best one out there.
You could take a food topic and turn it on it's head. Make it interesting or obscure. For instance, Men in Aprons is written from the perspective of a man in the kitchen trying to further his culinary knowledge and to encourage other men do the same. I write it with men in mind, from the topics I write about to the way I write recipes.
Be an information junkie
This is something all wannabe successful bloggers should become. In order to provide information, you must absorb information. Read blogs, read news, read other sites. Get a subscription to a feed aggregator like Bloglines, and start subscribing to feeds.
I try to post at least six times a week. Part of that is my addiction to this hobby, part of it is my paranoia that people will stop reading if I stop posting. But in the end, I like to serve up content that my readers can get something out of. I cover a wide range of food-related topics for all types of people to enjoy. Being a blog reader, I know the excitement that is felt when some of my favorite blog feeds show up in bold on Bloglines. Think about your habits as a blog reader and information junkie, and try to apply them to your own blog posting habits.
When I'm blogging, podcasting, reading blogs, commenting, message boarding or anything like that, I always remember that I'm human and so are others. The only machines here are the ones we're typing on, and the ones storing this stuff. We must always remember that the Internet is about people, and people like to communicate. That's what this is all about.
Try to respond to all emails from your readers. Keep the conversations going. People like to interact with blogs and those who write them, and they enjoy being involved.
Responses to "Habits of Highly Effective Food Bloggers" ...
Great ideas. Most of the posts from this project just talk about blogging in general, so I was really interested in the bloggers who customized their tips for specific audiences. (I dealt with consultant bloggers, for example.)
Great post. It was great to see this topic adapted to food blogs. I blog about healthy food reviews,, and I think these tips really apply to me. Thanks!
Excellent tip. I definitely need to update my blog more than I do now.
Thanks for doing a great job!
Thanks for this!!!! :) While I regularly strive to 'mix-it-up,' variety isn't always easy for me to achieve on my site...After reading this post, it is evident that I definitely should attempt to add more timely information (and 'go beyond recipes') on The Suburban Apron Company!