One of the things I LOVE about food blogging is the strong sense of community and the way food bloggers selflessly support one another. I reached out to a handful of my FAVORITE food bloggers. I asked them to provide advice as if they were speaking to new food bloggers who are at the beginning of a venture into this crazy, fun, yummy world. These ladies are ridiculously awesome, kind, passionate and talented, so read on and heed their incredible food blogging advice!
Chungah from Damn Delicious
There's nothing that beats natural lighting, some fun rustic wood boards, and a good camera. But you also don't need $2000 worth of camera equipment - a standard DSLR will work just fine but it's best to really get in touch with your camera and play with the M mode, not AUTO. It may take some time but practice truly makes perfect!
Brooke from Skinny Mom
Food photography is tricky because it can take hours to get the perfect shot. I like to wait until I know the sun will be shining perfectly in my kitchen (usually around 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for my kitchen) so I know the lighting will look natural and beautiful. As for props, I have found that bright color-complementary cloth napkins and white plates and bowls work best for displaying food dishes.
Lindsay from Pinch of Yum
My biggest piece of advice would be to work on your photography in general. First and foremost, you need to have awesome content. But a close second is the ability to make that content attention-grabbing and emotionally compelling in a way that's compatible with how people consume content (Pinterest, Instagram, etc). In my opinion this is done through visuals like well-styled, well-lit photography and beautifully designed graphics.
Sally from Sally's Baking Addiction
Work harder than anyone you know and produce the best quality content that you can. And don't do it for the money; rather, do it because you genuinely love sharing your recipes. It won't feel like work that way!
Beth from Budget Bytes
Stay positive! No matter what anyone says or does to you, respond with positivity. Make your blog a safe haven from the negativity that runs rampant on the internet.
Be personal and communicate with your readers. The internet is a place to connect with others and this is critical to blog growth.
Balance images and text. The internet is a visual media, so keep rambling in check. Keep a healthy mix of photos and text to hold the short attention of internet readers.
Averie from Averie Cooks
Having beautiful food photography and continuing to hone your skills and practice your photography is absolutely essential. No one Pins ugly food! Giving people recipes that are useful, easy, practical, and that taste great is a must.
Tiffany from Creme de la Crumb
There are so many people out there all chasing the same work-from-home, be-your-own-boss, blogging-in-pajamas dream. Don't get bogged down by comparing yourself to others. Focus on your personal goals, work hard to achieve them, and celebrate your victories - big or small. If you find yourself getting distracted by other's accomplishments or activities online, don't be afraid to separate yourself from other bloggers for a while. The fact is that nobody else can do exactly what you do in exactly the way you do it - be proud of yourself and be proud of your blog!
Alyssa from The Recipe Critic
Keep your photography simple. Let the food speak for itself and use minimal props in your set up. Add color into your food and photos by adding greens, vegetables and fruits that will really make your food pop!
Marzia from Little Spice Jar
As a food blogger, set a rule for yourself to never stop learning. Whether it’s new photography tricks, cooking techniques, getting better at SEO, or becoming a better writer. Keep learning and applying and the results will shine through in your work.
Holly from Spend with Pennies
Social Media is constantly changing so be prepared to change along with it. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket, diversify across many social media channels. What works perfectly for one page will not work for the next so take the time to really look at your readers and your analytics to find what works for you. You can gain a wealth of information from analytics (for example the time of day your readers are online might surprise you and a post that doesn't show a ton of likes might actually have a lot of clicks through to your site)! Play with posting styles, wording and frequency... these things all have a huge impact!
Heidi from Foodie Crush
Out of all of the individual elements that make up a bloggers business, social media is both the love and the bane of nearly every blogger I speak with.
There are many pros, like connecting with other bloggers and brands (Twitter), reaching readers en masse (Facebook), inspiring strangers with favorite curated recipes, fashion and happy words (Pinterest), and simply sharing glimpses in real time of every day life (Instagram).
And there are cons.
Being a slave to social media is a major time suck, and a rabbit hole that is easy to go down once you drink the punch. Social media drives traffic, no doubt about it. So instead of trying to hit each and every one, I concentrate my efforts on the sources that drive traffic to my blog. For me, that means trying to be consistent in pinning content (my own and others) on Pinterest, especially on Sundays and Mondays when most people are searching for recipes. I post my own content and other bloggers content on Facebook throughout the day. Sunday nights after dinner always do well. I've completely stopped posting on Google Plus simply because I don't have the time and I needed to cut something from my schedule and I didn't see the return on the time investment. Decide what your intention is (connections, driving traffic, simply sharing your creativity) and choose which route is best for you.
Social media is an excellent way to expose readers and followers to older content. I consistently post older recipes that are seasonal now, resulting in a spike in new eyeballs. Some of my most popular posts on Facebook are older content and I've noticed a trend of posting older content on Twitter now too.
The bottom line is, If it's good content, it will always stand the test of time.
Amanda from I Am Baker
Do what you love. Know why and what motivates you and be brutally honest with yourself about that. Success, ultimately, is a unique marriage of passion, talent, and drive.
Amy from Amy's Healthy Baking
When it comes to commenting, aim for quality over quantity. There are a lot of food blogs out there, and although it's tempting to visit every one, most bloggers won't remember you unless you leave a quality comment. Skip the generic "This looks great!" or "I love this!" For me, the best comments on my blog are those that respond to the story I included before the recipe or ones that describe their own personal experiences. I want to get to know you as a reader and blogger, and because most of our work is online, the best way to do that is through thoughtful, personal comments.
Sheryl from Lady Behind the Curtain
When I first started blogging I knew absolutely nothing about it. I didn't even follow other blogs. So the first thing I did was find blogs I liked. Then I paid attention to what they were doing. For example: participating in link parties. It was a great way to get my name out there to other bloggers.
Also, making friends with other bloggers. Having friends in the blogging world is very important. We promote each others work, offer support and if I have any questions I know I can count on them to help.
Make what you love. Your passion will show through your work.
Lastly, Be Patient. It will take time to get your name out there. But if you work hard and have amazing work it will happen!
Carrian from Oh Sweet Basil
Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. Don't try to find the secret to doing this all on your own. Bloggers should work together not only to have someone to bounce ideas and frustrations back and forth with but also because we only grow bigger together.
Be true to yourself. Don't worry about what other bloggers are doing. Take good advice but always be true to who you are and what you love.
Julie from Lovely Little Kitchen
One of my favorite parts of blogging is food styling and photography. When I was first starting out, I was not super happy with my pictures and I felt like I had to take 500 in order to get a few that I liked. The best thing you can do to improve your photography is practice. Just keep shooting! Along with that, be inspired by the pictures that catch your eye as you browse other blogs. When you see something you like, try to put your finger on exactly what it is that made that picture so lovely. Was it the way the parsley was scattered in front of the plate? Or the way the syrup appeared to slowly drip off the edge of the pancake? Is there a certain mood and feeling that was conveyed? Notice the little details and incorporate them into your own style!
Lanet and Janel from Nellie Bellie
After authenticity and personality, photography is the most important thing in food blogging. Your photos are how the flavor of your food is translated; offer the best translation possible! Stage properly, find great props, use natural light, and take the time to get it right.
Ashley from The Recipe Rebel
Share the recipes you love: when you take pride in something and you're proud of it, it really shows, and other people will get excited about it, too!
Stop comparing your blog to others around you -- everyone is different, and there's no "normal" growth rate. Instead, focus on how far you've already come: look at how your stats have already increased, how your audience is more engaged, how you've improved your photography or writing.
Never stop learning: It's frustrating at times, especially if you don't have a background in web design or technology or even photography. But there are so many resources available if you take the time!
Yvonne from Tried and Tasty
Be patient! Success doesn't happen over night. Work hard, believe in yourself and if you stick with it: it WILL payoff! Provide great content, be true to yourself, and your readers will appreciate your genuine passion shining through!
Jessica from Sprinkle Some Sugar
The most important thing I've learned about blogging is to always be true to yourself. Blog growth is a slow and steady process and it's extremely hard not to compare yourself to other blogs out there, but if you are authentic and personable people will want to follow along. People want to read about your messy house, crazy kids and failed recipes - it makes you relatable!