This is a little space of my site I would like to dedicate to providing tips for other food bloggers out there. I have been in the food blogging game since October 2009, not an eternity, but enough to share my experiences from my journey. I hope these tips will be out of help to you as you grow your own food universe.
If you are not blogging in part for fun, because you love sharing your passion for food with others, then you will struggle mightily. Start a blog, and getting readers is a slow process. It's a labor of love. If you are doing it just for the money, then you are a path for failure and disappointment right off the bat.
Personalize Your Blog
If you want to be taken seriously, you need to make your blog personal. It's starts by choosing a hosting service to host your blog. While using a free online blog service might be nice, you won't be a serious blogger until you have your own domain. I use Bluehost. It's not expensive and I have never had any serious problems with it. My site has been down maybe a couple times for a short period since I started the blog.
Once you have your own domain, post a picture of yourself somewhere on the main page. There is no way to personalize your blog anymore than to have your face on it. This tells the world there is a real person behind the site. Also come up with your own personal logo. We just used Microsoft Publisher to come up with a logo.
Using Google Analytics
If you are looking to increase traffic to your site, you first have to know what kind of traffic you are getting. Google Analytics is the must have tool. This is how I know what pages on my site are the most popular. The content of my website has been effected a lot by what I found from analytics. It's helped me to learn what topics will generate good search engine traffic.
But a word of warning, don't let analytics turn into your enemy. It can if you check it too often and became discouraged when you are not getting the results you want. Building a blog doesn't happen overnight, you have to be patient. There will be good days and bad days. Keep your mind on the big picture.
While this tool has helped me choose good topics to write about that I know people will read, I have to remember not to go overboard. Stay true to what you want to write about. It's alright to let your search engine results influence what you want to write next, but don't just write for search engine traffic. This is a recipe for burn out.
Learn from Other Bloggers
This is what I hope you are doing from my right now. Learning from other bloggers has been a huge help for me. If you have a question about something with your blog, Google it! There are a lot of tips available for the blogger. One of the most helpful to me is a post on the blog, ChristianPF. The author wrote about "How to Make Money with a Blog". It's the best write up I have come across on making money blogging and it's meant for any type of blog. I recently just learned about photo submission sites (which I will get to shortly) from another food blog, Pinch of Yum. This blog also shares with it's readers what their income for their blog is like each month.
Now onto the good stuff, money making. When I started my site, I was using the popular Google Adsense program. Unfortnately I got kicked off in the first couple months due to frugality clicks. It took me a while to find other sources of revenue that would benefit my site. As of now they are three sources I use to generate income.
(1) Amazon Associates
This is the service I have used the longest. And I have been very happy with it. Whenever I write a post, I try to include a link to a product on Amazon's site. The product always relates to the post. Sometimes I recommend a kitchen tool that I used when making a recipe or a book that relates to the topic I am talking about. I find kitchen tools, whether large or small end up getting the most attention. Once someone has clicked one of your Amazon's links, anything they buy on Amazon at that time, you will receive a percentage of. I earned money from people buying things for their car, and my site has nothing to do with cars! The percentage starts at 4% and goes up to 6% or more depending on how many items you sell in the month. One of the best features of their affiliate program is that they can direct deposit money right into your bank account.
This is a form of in-text advertising. They put a double underline on select words in your post. No one has to read the ad, unless they choose to scroll over top the advertising. They pay via Paypal, once a month. A lot of their links are necessarily the most revelant, but Infolinks has been a good source of income for my site, so I continue with it.
Foodieblogroll is a listing of food blogs, but they also offer an ad revenue service. This is the newest service I am trying out. I have only been using it for about 2 months so far. It displays ads with pictures at the top sidebar of my site. There are some food related ads that I have liked that are appearing. The income is not a lot for me at this point, but it's a little some extra.
Photo Submission Sites
If I were to make a New Year's resolution this year, it would be to improve my photo skills, so I can get traffic from photo submission sites. These sites are simply pictures of food with a link back to the exact post on someone's blog. I recently learned about them and have submitting a couple pictures without success so far. But if you can get on a site like Foodgawer, there is a great potential to increase traffic to your site.
If you need help improve your food photography, you can buy a really cool e-book that lays out basic photography in a fun, organized, and easy to understand way. The book is called Tasty Food Photography. You purchase it from the link below. It's definitely worth a look if you are struggling with your photo skills.
Writing a Guest Post
A guest post is simply a post that you submit to a blog that isn't yours. This is a way to get your writing read by other readers as well as a way to drive more traffic to your site. For the owner of the blog, it's free content that you didn't have to do anything but post it.
I am open to accepting guest posts on my blog. The topic must go along with the mission of my website, which sharing culinary experiences other are missing out on. You can talk about unique foods you have found or recipes for homemade treats and made from scratch meals. Here are a couple guidelines:
1. The content MUST be unique. It must not appear on any other website, including your own. And it must NOT be published afterward on any other site.
2. Benefit for you is that I will announce the post to all my facebook subscribes as well as put a link to your own website.
If you are interested e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I use the Thesis theme for my wordpress blog. It allows me to have more control over the way my site looks than any other theme I have used.