I’m excited to announce that I’m starting a new periodic feature on this blog called Blog Biz Wednesdays. I figure there are a lot of folks out there who have blogs, who want blogs, or are somewhere in between wanting one and having one (i.e., working up the nerve to hit “Publish” on that very first post).
I build websites for a living, so even though I’m looking at code or thinking about digital marketing and social media for most of the day, I can’t help but go home and tinker-tinker-tinker with my own blog after hours. It finally dawned on me that I might have some yummy morsels of blogging info to share with y’all. The interwebs changes fast, and if we can’t be there to help and support each other, then there’s not much point to it.
The really fascinating thing about food blogging, in particular, is that we food bloggers have such unique experiences. There’s no one path to success in food blogging, and there’s certainly no one definition of “success.” I realized that only recently, when, preparing my taxes, I discovered my blog income had tripled from the year before. I’m not, of course, one of the big bloggers with 50 comments on every post, a full-time income, and a kitchen full of free Kitchenaid appliances, but after blinking twice at that income figure (and checking and rechecking last year’s traffic, which had likewise grown), I realized that this little blog had become – in my eyes – a success.
Whatever your definition of success, whatever your blogging goals, there are steps you can take to manage your blog, navigate social media, and keep your sanity intact. I hope that sharing my experiences – both good and bad – plus tech and marketing tips and tricks will help other bloggers like me forge a personal path for blog growth.
I’ll also have a sub-topic – WordPress Wednesdays – to cover things specifically about WordPress. WordPress is my go-to blogging platform — I’m also kind of a word nerd and think the alliteration of WordPress Wednesdays sounds groovy keen — but really, I just love to think about, and now chat about, all things blogging, and that includes seo, digital marketing, and social media, as well as the technogeek aspects of blog platforms. Even if your blog doesn’t run on WordPress, the topics I have in mind will cross over to your platform as well.
So, why should a food blog use valuable post space talking about blogging? Shouldn’t I just post recipes and shuddup? Probably. 😉 But in my observations, we bloggers go through similar phases of blogging – ups and downs, periods of insane creativity and stretches of incredibly stubborn ruts. We have social media successes and fails. Weird business propositions. And more spambot spam comments for Uggs than you can shake a stick at. We’re feeling our way through this crazy blogging thing, and sometimes, it’s just plain reassuring to know you’re not going through these things alone.
It all starts off innocently enough, you know: “Oh, I’m just going to post a recipe now and then, or a craft project, or photos from my bathroom remodel, and maybe share some funny stories, and post pictures of my flower garden.”
And pretty soon, you’re posting two or three or four days a week, and a couple of people are leaving comments, and then you look at your stats and — holy moly — you realize that even moooore people are bebopping around your site behind the scenes and sharing links and stuff. And then you start to get Google ranking.
I still remember the first time one of my posts hit the first page of Google search results using a popular recipe keyword. I was like, “Whhaahh?” with my face all hanging out and mouth dropped impossibly wide-open like a stretchy cartoon character.
And that, my friends, is how it gets you.
This casual “Dear Diary” hobby that you thought only your mom and your best friend would read becomes a full-blown obsession that sends you into auto-pilot during the morning commute, or leaves you brushing one side of your teeth for, like, 4 minutes straight, or lets water boil over on the stove, all while you work out in your head how to best organize the next amazing post.
And then … and then … you suddenly want your blog to have a “design.” With a kicky logo. And lots of little niceties like an automatically-updating list of your recent posts. And a newsletter sign up box, because how totally amazeballs would it be to send emails to people letting them know there’s new stuff on your blog?
And you’re going to type “amazeballs” in one of your posts and think, why, I just typed “amazeballs” on the interwebs and it felt so right/wrong [hits “Publish” button], and then your readers who got your email with an excerpt of your post are going to read “amazeballs” and think, “Oh, honey, nobody says ‘amazeballs’ on the interwebs anymore, but I love your blog anyway.” And that’s when you’ve arrived, when your readers keep coming back even though you feel like a total dork who should have their blogging license taken away because of stuff like the amazeballs thing.
And that (not the dork part, but the arrived part) is when you realize you kind of wish you had been paying attention to things like Pinterest and Google Analytics and recipe plug-ins all along.
But it’s not too late. It’s never too late. I’d like to help. And, as always, comments will be open for all to share their tips and experiences, too!
Stay tuned next Wednesday for the first installment.