So, we’re going to change things up a bit today on Fooduzzi – I hope you don’t mind. I promise that we’ll get back to your regularly scheduled mouthwatering recipes next week. Until then, allow me to leave this, this, and THIS riiiiiiight here for ya.
Let’s go back to the beginning: I started Fooduzzi on my birthday (December 18) last year (2014). I was terrified to start my own blog, and thousands of doubts ran through my head as I hesitantly clicked the “Publish” button on my first post: What if nobody reads what I have to say? What if someone doesn’t like me? What if I don’t have enough time to post? What if I run out of thing to say? The list went on and on.
In just seven short months, however, some of those doubts have been dampened as I quickly started learning the ins and outs of running my very own business: Fooduzzi (I still get chills saying that).
Before I start sharing some of my most crucial learning experiences with you, let me start by saying that starting Fooduzzi one of the best things I have ever done. I have never experienced such a passion for something before. And knowing that I have built it into a business myself? The feeling is simply invaluable. I love being a food blogger. I love running my own business. I love connecting with you all. Simply put, I’m a true food blogger at heart.
That being said, becoming a food blogger definitely wasn’t always easy. In fact, it has been really stinkin’ hard. I haven’t always been available to friends and family because of my commitments to my blog. I’ve stayed up late writing and re-writing my posts. I’ve spent countless hours shooting, styling, and editing my photos. I’ve spent hard-earned money on plenty of trips to Trader Joe’s.
And even through all of that, I still believe that this blog is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
I have used so many posts like this one to help me along my blogging journey. So many of the bloggers that I look up to have published “blogging how-to” posts that have helped me to produce valuable content for my readers, manage my time wisely, and learn how to adapt and make changes for the betterment of my blog. And while I’m no expert, I wanted to give you a resource in case you wanted to start your own blog or are wondering how I got started in this business.
Fooduzzi truly has made these 7 months some of the best of my life; it’s the lessons that I’ve learned through this process that has made these 7 months worth it.
How to Run a Food Blog (Lessons Learned After 7 Months)
1. Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight
No matter how much you want to succeed with your blog, there is no way that you can build a consistent following overnight. You can’t will it to be successful. <– this was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn through this Fooduzzi journey. The moment I published my first post, I wanted to be as popular as Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction. As influential as Angela at Oh She Glows. As monetarily adept as Lindsay at Pinch of Yum.
I really just needed to take a chill pill.
Running your own blog to the point where a large number of people are making your recipes, leaving comments, and coming back for more each day takes time. And a $#!&-ton of work!
Remember the saying, “You can’t rush success”? This is especially true for bloggers. Success can only come if you’re willing to put the necessary blood, sweat, and tears into your blog every day. There isn’t a single day that goes by that I don’t do something for Fooduzzi. While I have a second full-time job, I still keep a presence on social media, still maintain my posting schedule, and still respond to each and every comment I receive.
Yes, it’s a ton of work. But it’s worth it: after only 7 short months, Fooduzzi now receives over 5,000 page views per month.
2. Understand Your Readers
Wanna know a secret? Fooduzzi exists for you. Yes, you. While I absolutely love that I run my own food blog, it ultimately exists and has experienced any success solely because you keep coming back. You want to eat my food. You want to connect with me.
A business exists to deliver value to its customers, so I treat my food blog in exactly the same manner. I started asking questions on social media to try and discover what my readers enjoy. I take note of the recipes you love and try to post similar, yet inherently different, posts for you because you’ve showed me that that’s what you want. Who I am to change it up on you if you positively respond to a certain recipe?
My two most popular recipes are my No-Bake Almond Joy Macaroons and my Samoa Overnight Oats. Notice some similarities between the two? Coconut! Chocolate! A healthy play on a classic sweet treat! It’s these little insights that can keep you competitive and, most importantly, keep your readers happy.
3. Photography is Key
I started Fooduzzi out of a love for writing and a love of food. Everything comes second to the passion I have putting
pen to paper fingers to keys and eating dates slathered with peanut butter. Photography was next to last on the list of importance when I started Fooduzzi. I had a starter DSLR (I use a Nikon D60), but I really wasn’t sure how to use it.
…so I started off taking food photos with my iPhone. I figured it was my best bet at first simply because I knew how to use it. I didn’t really bother with food styling or props – I just wanted a functional picture.
I don’t know about you, but I probably wouldn’t make any of these recipes based on the pictures alone. I was focusing so much on the writing and the recipe itself, that I didn’t bother learning about the lighting, props, and styling that actually makes this food look edible.
Like most food bloggers, my #1 source of traffic comes from Pinterest, so it makes sense that photography is so important; a single photo is expected to spark a re-pin or a visit your site.
I had to spend a lot of time reading resources (I love Pinch of Yum‘s series) to start understanding my camera and the science that changes functional food photos into mouthwateringly delicious ones. I’m definitely not going to say that I have it all figured out right now, but I think it’s safe to say that my photos have gotten infinitely better.
THESE are the photos people want to pin and, more importantly, want to EAT. Remember that we eat with our eyes; I think I’m much more likely to eat one of the recipes below based on the photos alone.
4. Schedules Are Your Best Friend
One of the biggest lessons I learned after starting my own food blog was to hold myself accountable. Because Fooduzzi is mine, there isn’t anyone who is holding my hand, telling me that I have to post a recipe on a certain day. I need to figure out what works for me, what works with my schedule, and stick with it.
Readers appreciate consistency. Do you know which days are my “posting days”? Every Monday, every Thursday, and sometimes Saturday. Because readers know they can expect new content from me on these days, they’ll start looking for them.
This schedule doesn’t just hold me accountable; it keeps me sane. I know that I need posts to fill these three days every single week, so I’ll work ahead in order to prepare quality content for you all on these days. There’s no scrambling the day before. A simple plan can make my blogging life so much easier and can make a load of difference in your performance…the hard part is being diligent enough to stick to it.
5. Befriend Fellow Bloggers
Remember that old High School Musical song, “We’re All in this Together”? While I may totally hate that I made that reference to you today, the sentiment could not be more true. There are so many bloggers that are right there in your shoes, trying to turn a passion into a career.
Connecting with these kinds of people can open up a world of opportunities for you! In fact, in just a few weeks, I’ll be guest blogging on one of my friend’s blogs. You never know where these types of breaks can take you!
There are so many ways to connect with your fellow bloggers, but I favor three in particular:
First, I comment on these blogs. While some bloggers will return the favor and comment on yours, most will at least check out your blog when they see a new name in their comments. A simple trick that I use to hold myself accountable to connecting with these bloggers is to comment on at least five different blogs a day. A simple “Wow! This recipe sounds right up my alley! Chocolate peanut butter is my favorite combo!” could open up a positive relationship between your blogs!
Second, I feature these blogs on Fooduzzi. Have you seen my Stupid Awesome Saturday posts? This is where I feature my favorite recipes from my fellow bloggers in a fun recipe roundup. While some of these posts have themes (healthy dessert recipes, best peanut butter + chocolate recipes, etc.), the aim is always consistent: to draw the attention of other bloggers to my blog. Whenever my posts are featured on other sites, I get a notification that tells me where my URL was shared. Obviously, I want to check it out. If it’s good publicity for Fooduzzi, you better believe that I’ll be trashing up my social media feeds sharing that post and thanking the author. Shares drive traffic, and the more people that see those posts, the better.
Third, I connect with these blogs on social media. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of sharing other bloggers’ work. If I see a blogger post a recipe that I’m particularly fond of, I’ll definitely share it with my followers. I’ll only share posts that follow the ideology that I use on Fooduzzi – i.e. healthy whole food recipes – because I already know that my followers will appreciate it. Again, the bloggers whose work I’m sharing will be notified and [hopefully] spark an interest in Fooduzzi.
6. Lean on Your Support System
I am an incredibly lucky girl. I have a boyfriend who built this blog with his very own hands. Who taught me about CSS and how to make beautiful websites. Who is my trusty hand model and my bona fide taste-tester. And who encourages to publish quality work every single day. While I couldn’t have started Fooduzzi without him, it’s his encouragement every day that I am forever thankful for.
My family has always been supportive of my blogging endeavors, too. If I just had a rough day, am struggling to stay on schedule, or running out of recipe ideas, my family is always motivating me and encouraging me to continue pursuing my passions.
Without my friends and family, Fooduzzi wouldn’t exist. I lean on them for the support I need to continue to put out quality content for you all. I remember the first Saturday that I failed to post a Stupid Awesome Saturday recipe roundup. I received a text from my dad: “No Stupid Awesome Saturday?” This wasn’t the quality of work that he has come to expect of me, and he holds me accountable like this every day.
My readers are also part of my support system, too. Simply put, I LOVE connecting with you every day. When a reader leaves a comment on my blog or uses #fooduzzi on social media, I am beaming all day. Like I said before, I run Fooduzzi for you. Hearing feedback from you helps me do my job, but also keeps me human. I want to sound like an actual person to you. Let’s gush about how much salsa we eat! Let’s talk about how much we love oatmeal and whether or not that makes us 85 years old! Let’s chat about how putting peanut butter on a sweet potato is LIFE-CHANGING! It’s you, dear reader, that has me coming back every single day.
7. Most Importantly: Believe in Yourself and Your Abilities
I know that this is a cliché ending to a “How to Run a Food Blog” post, but it couldn’t be more true. For me, this lesson was one of the hardest to learn. I have struggled with self-confidence for years, so believing in myself doesn’t come naturally to me. Those initial doubts that I was talking about before? Yeah, they roared when I first started Fooduzzi.
But then I learned to roar right back.
I’m not saying that self-confidence just came naturally once I started my blog, but I can definitely tell you that it has gotten a whole heck of a lot easier. I’ve found such a since of empowerment by starting my own food blog. Creating something of value from scratch helps me put those doubtful voices in my head to rest every single day.
Getting feedback from readers, connecting with other bloggers, talking about my food blog with others…all of these interactions have helped build my confidence in the product that I dream about at night. The one that I, myself, have produced. I’m “that girl with the food blog” in the office. I couldn’t be more proud of that title.
Learning these seven lessons has turned me into a better food blogger who understands her audience and is confident in her blogging abilities. If you’re still here, thank you so much for staying – I hope you learned a lot! BUT! I’m interested to hear YOUR experiences! If you’re a blogger, what did you learn in the first couple of months? If you’re a regular reader, what is it about Fooduzzi that keeps you coming back for more?
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