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10 Things I Learned About Writing a Food Blog in 2010

December 6, 2010

in Food

I am just about at my one year anniversary of starting my [intlink id="2696" type="post"]food blog[/intlink], Italian Mama Chef, and I have learned some invaluable lessons in that time. Many thanks go out to Tia of BizChickBlogs for all the help she gave me which has allowed me to feel as successful as I do.

On to my list!

1. Be honest with yourself and your readers about your limitations.

I learned a long time ago that to be open and transparent is the best way to gain trust from others and in the blogging world, it’s no different.

I am honest about the fact I am not a good photographer but I do try. Therefore my pictures might not have the proper lighting or set up. I do try to at least provide a picture for recipes as that helps me as much as the next person.

2. Find your niche and stick with it.

It’s easy to get distracted and begin writing about all sorts of things that are off topic but there are ways to handle that. Start another blog, or set your posts that are ramblings to private that way you have an “out” for your feelings but your readers are not subjected to all of it.

3. Research and more research.

Never go by one source for anything when trying to stay in your niche.

You need to become the expert in your field for your readers.

Don’t fake a recipe or ingredient, be accurate in your review of how it tastes and looks.

4. Learn as much as possible about [intlink id="3168" type="post"]SEO[/intlink] and keywords.

I will admit I am still working on this one. It seems that the more I try to find out about this information, the more confused I get. So I back off and go back another day to learn more. Foodies are forever searching out new recipes so I want them to find my blog first.

5. Engage your readers whenever possible.

Ask for their opinions or in my case,

I ask for them to share a favorite story from their childhood or a favorite recipe.

I also respond to almost every [intlink id="2601" type="post"]comment[/intlink]. I feel when blog owner does that then they are [intlink id="3161" type="post"]connecting to their readers[/intlink].

6. Network among other bloggers including bloggers who’s subject is different from yours.

We can learn so much from each other. Don’t be a Scrooge and hoard your information, share it with the rest of us and help each other out. There is plenty of room for all of us out there.

7. Be willing to try new recipes.

Our palate can change over time so be willing to try something new. Readers will enjoy fresh and unusual recipes. Let’s face it, almost everyone can make chocolate chip cookies or a hamburger. Challenge yourself first and your readers second.

8. Learn how to use social media such at Twitter and Facebook for maximum exposure.

I can’t tell you how much I have grown by using these two services. I have connected and met many great bloggers this way. Find out how to use links for posting to these and other media services like StumbleUpon and Digg.

9. Always give proper credit whether it’s for a recipe, a photo, or another blog.

Stealing content is a big no-no in the blogging community. It’s also a problem so don’t join in on the action. Always provide a link to where you found something you are sharing with your readers if it’s not your own or better yet, ask permission to use the information first.

10. Protect your own content by using a feed tracking or sharing service.

This is especially important for original recipes. I use Fair Share Feed Tracking and it alerts me whenever my content is being copied elsewhere. Thankfully I don’t have a problem with my content being stolen.

Thanks again to Tia for allowing me to share with all of you what I have learned about blogging in 2010. This gave me a chance to see where I need to improve and what I am doing right. I hope to continue blogging for a long time to come and grow as much as possible.

10 of My Favorite Italian Mama Chef Posts from 2010

The Table

Letters from My Father

Beyond the Pasta: A Book Review

My Grandmother’s Apron

The Most Influential Woman in My Life

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Involtini

Buon Natale

Rosemary and Cheese Focaccia Bread

Insalata Caprese

Chicken Scarpariello and Eggplant Rollatini

About the 10 Things I Learned Series

From Tia: This is a guest blogging series on BizChickBlogs on 10 Things Learned in 2010. I’ve invited a handful of people to submit guest posts on this topic, and I would love to have more! If you have something you can write about, whether it be about what you learned about social media, having a blog network, taking time off, investing in premium plugins, starting another blog, closing a blog, whatever – contact me and let me know or read the guest blogging guidelines and send your guest post that way. Everyone is invited. Thanks!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Jillian@Moringa May 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Choosing quality keywords is the best place to start – that’s where your blog post should begin. Even while writing your title! :)

ryan @ poker training January 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I love food.

Jill Tooley December 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

Awesome post, Michelle! Your #3 hits home with me the most – as a blogger, it’s SO important to research your topics thoroughly before tackling them. We all have opinions of course, but nothing’s more embarrassing than writing about something if you’re misinformed!

I’ll have to check out your blog! I’ve recently uncovered a fondness for cooking that I didn’t even know I had, so I’m always looking for new tips, tricks, and recipes! :)

Henway December 6, 2010 at 9:04 pm

What camera do you recommend for someone interested in starting a food blog? Not looking to take pics in dark dim restaurants, but just stuff in my kitchen, dinner, etc.

Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef December 7, 2010 at 6:48 am

I am really not sure. I just have a Nikon Coolpix point and shoot type. I want a better one when I eventually go to Italy.

TJ McDowell December 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm

It depends on how in-depth you want to go. We don’t do food photography, but we take food pics at every wedding we go to. If you’re looking at Canon, I’d recommend the 40D or higher. Then get a 50mm 1.8 lens. Get a small speedlight, and you’ll be set. I’m sure there are tutorials on food photography for beginners. I’d be happy to answer any questions that I can, but not specializing in food, there may be a better expert to look to.

Kok Siong @ Cancer Research December 6, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Amazing! You did a great job Michelle. Within one year, you learnt a lot of things and developed your food blog to the next level. I think I should learn from you too. For your information, I was one-year old in blogging too. :)

Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef December 7, 2010 at 6:51 am

Thanks so much. I’m going to confess that I have been blogging for 5 years but it was more of a personl journal with few readers. It went from my venting and lamenting about my life to a place to showcase my sewing talents. Then I decided last year to begin a blog about my deep passion for cooking and my family heritage. That combination seems to be the winner for me.

AleaseMichelle December 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Michelle, I would have never believed that you have only been blogging for one year. Great Job! It really shows that you have learned a lot from Tia. (Way to Go Tia!) Your 10 things you learned were very insightful. Learning SEO can be hard but once you get your mind around it, it totally makes sense. Sticking with your niche and using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are super important as while. It took me sometime to figure out my true niche, but I think I got it now, at least I hope I do. In then there are social network platforms. They can be more trouble then they are worth, but once I got the hang of it- It got a lot easier. I now use ping.fm – it has made my social networking life a lot easier.
Thanks for the wonderful post!
Alease

Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef December 7, 2010 at 6:54 am

Thanks Alease. I really want to get moving on the SEO thing to improve my skills. I am encouraged by your comments about it getting easier.

Alex@Jocuri December 6, 2010 at 10:34 am

It’s so nice to read about people that genuinely just started to blog and want to share what they’ve learned in the years/year that has passed.

Thank you and have fun cooking and I hope you keep sharing your mouth watering recipes with us!

Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef December 6, 2010 at 10:58 am

Thanks Alex. I love writing and I am so glad to have the blog platform to share with others. I’ll keep sharing, I promise.

SmartAboutThings@PersonalGrowth December 6, 2010 at 2:01 pm

For Alex – I think you should change the site’s name into English, not Romanian.

These great thoughts on food blog could serve for my brother to start one as he loves writing new recipes :)

John Garrett December 6, 2010 at 9:16 am

I think I know a few people to recommend your blog to, Michelle!

Thanks for posting, I can definitely empathize with many of the items you listed.

I’ve been lax in using a copy protection service, so I might give that Fair Share Feed Tracking a try.

Thanks for the article and best of luck in the future!

Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef December 6, 2010 at 9:24 am

Thanks John. I love referrals to my blog. Don’t we all? What I find interesting in the fair share thing is I posted a recipe by Giada de Laurentis, with proper credit, and it picks up anyone else that uses that recipe as well. That is how I learned that many don’t give credit back to the original post. Give it a try.

bbrian017 December 6, 2010 at 9:07 am

Michelle great article. I like how you managed to put these tips into perspective even though your blog is about cooking. this just goes to show the best people to blog about blogging truly are bloggers within any given niche.

Congratulations on your first year of success. You should come over and visit us on blogengage to start submitting your recent articles. we would love to have some more food bloggers over there.

Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef December 6, 2010 at 9:25 am

Brian, I’ll be sure to come by and take a look around. Thanks for the well wishes.

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog December 6, 2010 at 8:59 am

Hi Michelle,

As a foodie I recognize and it sounds very familiar all the points mentioned.

Point 6 how important isn’t to stick all the day with the same niche and have variants in themes, ideas and the like.

About the point 9, I’ve seen bloggers without proper credits and this can bring problems in the future.

Excellent post Michelle and Tia! :-)

Writing my own article for this “10″ of the 2010 ;-)

Cheers,

Gera

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog December 6, 2010 at 9:13 am

Just realized that the point 4 has a link to my blog – ohh thanks a lot!! I need to “hover” more on the links ;-)

Have a great week!

Gera

Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef December 6, 2010 at 9:27 am

Thanks Gera and I am glad you can related to these items I listed. I can’t wait to read more in this series. Isn’t Tia great for giving us a chance to chime in all our learned knowledge?

Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef December 6, 2010 at 7:14 am

Thanks Traffic Coleman or is it “Black SEO Guy”? lol…I hope to have found it.

Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef December 6, 2010 at 7:13 am

Thanks Patricia. Good luck on your blog and keep learning.

Patricia@lavenderuses December 6, 2010 at 6:08 am

Hi Michelle & Tia

Great guest post and congratulations on 1 year with your blog Michelle. You seem to have learnt some really important aspects to successful blogging in that time. My blog has been going a few months now and I relate to the things you have shared. I love Twitter and interacting with other bloggers. It’s a great community to be active in.

Patricia Perth Australia

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