Blogger in Residence, Penny Hanley, provides us with some food blogging resources and tips.
More than simply a love of food
Blogging gives you a chance to express yourself and your passions. Food bloggers write about recipes and food, some review hotels, restaurants and cookbooks—and all are keen to share their enthusiasm about good food with as many people as possible.
Some focus on particular types of food—vegetarian or just meat dishes, gluten-free foods or just pastries. A blog can target a local audience or be relevant across the globe—or perhaps both. One of the uplifting things about writing, and the arts in general, is that rendering the specific can ring true and be meaningful universally.
Blogging successfully about food requires more than simply a love of it. Mastery of photography is important to make the offerings look as appetising as possible. Clear, grammatically correct writing is essential. Readers don’t appreciate ambiguity—especially when it comes to recipes! Research is necessary to choose a web host (storage space on a server), platform, design, and domain name.
What’s in a name?
Heneedsfood is the creation of John Bek, whose Croatian heritage enlivens many of his recipes. Other appealing blog names: Souvlaki for the Soul—a cook/photographer called Peter features recipes, restaurant reviews, travel pieces and stunning photography, claiming, ‘I’m best described as a glutton [in] all areas of my life.’ And, Not Quite Nigella, is the blog of Lorraine Elliott who has ‘a complete and utter devotion to butter’.
You can use your own name as your blog name. For example David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen, blogs under his name. Although, your blog’s name doesn’t necessarily have to be the domain name either. Dianne Jacob’s blog (Will Write for Food) can be found at diannej.com. You can find many informative posts on her blog, such as her recent ‘18 Must-Read Links for Food Writers and Bloggers’.
Ditching the day job
‘The most positive impact in my life can be tracked back to just one decision,’ claims Jules Clancy (Stonesoup). And, this was to leave her job designing chocolate biscuits to start her own food blog, which she was able to do after she radically simplified her life beforehand. As well as her blog and excellent cookbooks, she also contributes to A Simple Year Course—a guided program to simplify a different area of life each month.
Award-winning writer Liz Posmyk’s food blog, Good Things, is a model of clear writing and beautiful photography, with the warm, generous personality of the writer shining through. Her blog is a joy to read. Liz loves letting more people know about local farmers and food producers and the many creative possibilities for preparing food and making delectable dishes. Incidentally, in her post on the Adelaide Markets, Liz suggested ‘a bloggle’ as the collective noun for food bloggers.
Liz’s family memoir, The Barber from Budapest & other stories, will be available soon (and yes, it does include recipes in it!).
Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar developed from a two-week experiment five years ago in giving up sugar. She provides advice and information about quitting sugar and about living a simple, healthy life and achieving harmony with the environment and peace within oneself. To date, she has helped 1.2 million people give up sugar.
Setting your blog up for ‘massive success’
In her brief guide to starting a food blog, Liz Posmyk emphasises the importance of linking your blog to social media accounts with the same name. Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook enable more exposure and sharing. Although, all this online activity can be massively time consuming.
Give your blog a better chance of being successful by researching and reading helpful resources—such as Fizzle’s ‘21 quick actions you can do today to set your blog up for massive success’ and ‘21 tactics to increase blog traffic’ by MOZ.
Other resources include Kersten Frase’s E-book, How to Monetize Your Food Blog. Your local library and bookshops online will have how-to books on blogging. And, on The Hungry Australian you can find great resources including tips for new, emerging and aspiring food bloggers and 100 useful links.
Plus, if you simplify your life, you’ll have more time to spend on doing what you love and blogging about it.
If this sounds appealing, get cooking and get writing—and build a food blog that will be rewarding and exciting for both you and your audience!
Penny Hanley has been a film critic, book reviewer, artists’ model, caterer’s assistant, and deck hand on a yacht. Then after a 20 year editing career, she became a freelance writer. She has had a novel and 20 short stories published. Books commissioned include Creative Lives: Personal Papers of Australian Artists and Writers (NLA, 2009) and Inspiring Australians: The first fifty years of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (ASP, 2015). She has a PhD in Communications from the University of Canberra and a BA (Hons) in English Literature from the Australian National University. Penny loves books, cinema, travel and dancing the Argentine tango.