We asked Irish food bloggers to share their best blogging tip. If you are a blogger who is struggling to get started, or a blogger that just wants to improve what they are doing these tips could be invaluable.
Una-Minh Kavanagh – Spill The Beans
Blog often, blog well. I like setting myself a goal for a two pieces a day along with regular features. It depends on the person but I feel like if you blog at least every day your blog becomes more and more credible as a source for information. That being said, know exactly what audience you’re trying to attract. So while I do blog everyday, I try and make sure that they’re decent pieces that people would actually like to read (I love food and others love food, so that’s what I love writing about).
Fiona Dillon – Fiona Dillon Writes
Stop fixating on the number of views/visitors your site has. I really believe that a small amount of the right readers is far more valuable than thousands of the wrong readers. I blog regularly and I am honest and open. I used to worry when my fellow bloggers were constantly raving about the amount of “hits” they had (talk about feeling inadequate!).
Nowadays, they can rave away about “hits” while I earn a living now because of my blog. Everywhere I go people know me and when they stop to talk to me, it may be because they’ve heard me on the radio or read my blog/books, but most of the time, they’ve just been watching me on Social Media – how powerful a tool is that!
Catriona Redmond – Wholesome Ireland
I think that people sometimes think that they should blog what other people want to read/what’s trending/what’s cool. The thing is though that if you blog what you’re interested in, then you’re more true to yourself and the blog is a better representation of who you are. I always wear my heart on my sleeve, but I think it makes me a better blogger. Just my tuppence worth anyway!
Conor Bofin – One Man’s Meat
A successful food blog will inform, enlighten and hopefully, entertain. There are three key elements, writing, photography / video and recipe.
On the writing, there are a few rules. Use correct language. Avoid text speak. “LOL, your roast chicken had me ROLF” won’t mean a lot to many people. Reveal a little about yourself. The best writing gives an insight to the author. This can be difficult to do.
On photography and or video, you have to take good shots. If you want to stand out from the crowd (we all want to stand out from the crowd), your photos have to be better than the average. A decent camera does help, despite what so many say about using a phone.
If you want to use video, hire a cameraman, sound engineer, lighting cameraman, producer, make up, editor, motion graphics specialist and a director. It’s very difficult to do it right and the competition are pretty well all professionals.
On the recipe end of things, there really is no point in just doing standard stuff. A quick search for “fillet steak recipe” yields 871,000 results in just 0.39 of a second. Specialise or generalise, but do something original. Most importantly, be yourself. If you are a half nice person, that will shine through and you will be forgiven for the poor photography, the steak recipe and the misspellings. Have fun.
Dee Sewell – Greenside Up
Choosing just one thing that makes a blog a success is difficult because it’s generally a combination of several.
In terms of a good blog post, spelling mistakes scream out at me no matter how well written the article might be so always run a spell check before publishing. Ask a close friend to proof the post for you as they won’t feel awkward pointing out typos. Read the article through a few times, preferably out loud as this will give you an indication as to whether the words flow – if they jar with you now, they’ll do the same for your reader. I might have 10 or 15 drafts saved on one post before I finally hit the Publish Now button and will have deleted several sentences before doing so that were too wordy or unnecessary.
Take care to ensure your paragraphs aren’t too lengthy or you could lose readers in the detail. Keep the paragraphs short and break them up with photos, bullet points, coloured or emboldened text. Ensure that any images you include are fully credited if needs be and are crisp and clear. You don’t need a fancy camera these days to take a good image but if it’s out of focus it will distract from the points you want to make.
Above all, be true to yourself. Read other people’s posts to get a feel for what you like and then write your blog in your own, original style as if nobody is watching. I love to help, share and inform people, but if I stopped and thought that lots of people might read the blog and judge me for it, I’d probably freeze and never put fingertips to keyboard again.
Rory Carrick – Eat Drink Run Fun
Ensure that when you post a link within your blog post it opens in a new window when people click it. This means they don’t leave your site. For example, if you are reviewing a restaurant and you have a link to their website in it, do use a plugin like the aptly named ‘Open in a New Window Plugin‘. This ensures that you are not navigating away from your own site and it’s much more convenient for the reader. It’s surprising how many bloggers neglect to do this.
You can also do this manually by making sure the ‘open link in new window/tab’ check box is selected when you upload your image.
Marian Hearne – Herbi & Carni
Our tip is to always use natural light and to keep the food photo simple and easy on the eye. At the end of the day, you want people to enjoy it, and hopefully be eager to try out your recipe.
Be sure to take lots of photos from different angles, we often find that it’s one of the last photos we take that ends up on the blog.
Pinterest, cookbooks, food magazines or treating yourself to a meal in a fancy restaurant are great places to find food styling inspiration, it helps you find your own photography style.
Over time build up your props and most importantly have lots of fun taking the photos. When we take photos together we usually end up spending most of it laughing.
Laura Kenny – Dairy Free Kids
For me, the most important thing for a food blog is the photos. I am much more likely to revisit a food blog if it looks beautiful.
Lighting is crucial, well-lit outdoor shots work well or shoot near a window, preferably not a very clean one so the light is diffused if the sun is shining directly in. If you’re taking photos over the cooker, you don’t have a choice of lighting but work with what you have.
Ensure there is no clutter in the background and good clean lines work best. You don’t need to have a fancy camera but do use the best equipment you have. I have spent a lot of money on a mobile phone with a good camera to ensure I have a reasonably good camera on me at all times, quite often my food is going straight onto a table to feed the kids and there is little time to be setting up with a DSLR and tripod.
Having a good quality camera on my phone means I don’t miss photographing the food. The days when I have time to bake or cook and take time over the photography are a luxury but it’s well worth it.
If you are a food blogger, food producer or food related business don’t miss our Follow The Recipe foodie and blogger event on 23rd July 2015. Info and booking here.