Blog Title: Lemon Baby
About Amanda: Lemon Baby is a three-year-old food blog concentrating on Gulf Coast recipes, local restaurant reviews, cocktails recipes and more
Notes from Episode #033: Busy moms taking the plunge into food blogging
- Fun fact: Amanda raises ducks and bakes with their eggs. She also teaches writing and composition at a local University.
- Amanda’s blogging journey has gone through a lot of peaks and valleys because she’s juggling so many responsibilities. She started it as a hobby and an outlet but not as a business. She didn’t know anything about key words, SEO and other tasks that weren’t just fulfilling her outlet for cooking/baking.
- Amanda spent a lot of time in the beginning of her journey wondering if anyone was reading her posts. They weren’t, at first because she wasn’t using keywords to her advantage. Now, many of her recipes rank first on Google searches.
- SEO is the top thing that a food blogger has to pay attention to, especially if they want to drive traffic to their site. Makes your post attractive to Google – through keywords. Your goal is to get to that top position within the search engines.
- Amanda uses a free Yoast plugin in Word Press to help her with SEO. SEMrush is a great too if you are able to pay for a great service. The internet is saturated with recipes so you have to find a way to stand out by using keywords.
- Traffic shouldn’t be one’s first only initial goals, though. Good content is first and foremost, and for bloggers that includes photography. Photography has to stand out and grab the attention of your readers and back up what your keywords are describing. Appealing pictures are displayed to compliment your copy. You can be on the first couple of pages in Google but if you don’t have the clicks to match its position, then you want to look at your photos and copy to get better click throughs.
- Amanda cringed at some of her earliest food photos, shot with an old, (t)rusty iPhone 6S. She still spends time learning with every click of the shutter, but after upgrading to a DSLR, she is finally able to start to hold her own.
- Your recipe has to be well written, make sense and not have holes in the script. You want it to be easy to replicate your work. Notes are good to add into the body of the post so people feel you’re giving them options and alternatives. This is value you are providing for your readers. Amanda uses her iphone notes to jot these ideas down as she works on the recipe.
- Amanda wants to write all the words and spin a story but she also wants to rank in Google. So it’s important to make it all relevant and engaging, and show personality. Amanda likes to make jokes and have fun in her copy. She enjoys writing about local cuisine and local events and uses that in her blog. People have come up to her in her community and told her that she sounds just like she writes.
- Finding your own voice, is the value that you provide in each post and it’s important. The way only you can talk about something to the audience. Amanda is a writer so she wants to offer good writing.
- If you don’t know what your style or voice is, it’s ok to ask others. Talk to friends and family and have them share what you are good at explaining or how you do something well or ask them what you are known for saying. What thoughts do you have, what types of phrases do you constantly use? Also, practice writing!! Use a journal.
- As a teacher of writing, Amanda finds “voice” to be a bloggers most unique feature, and she encourages aspiring bloggers to work on create something uniquely theirs rather than emulating a popular style.
- Amanda created a local audience. If it fits into your niche, tapping into your local food community can be helpful. It can help garner you a following too.
- Explore local opportunities – you can interview chefs, write about local brunch options, etc to build your audience. This gives you opportunities to leave your house and go on a date night to a new restaurant and add good content to your blog.
- Focus more on pinterest than social media platforms. Amanda wished she would’ve connected that 2 years ago. If you’re not selling something on IG than it’s not going to drive as much traffic to your site as you like.
- Figure out your niche in the blogging sphere. Figure out what you’re passionate about and decide that it’s relevant to your season of life (being a mom, life as mom feeding kids, etc) and figure out how to drive traffic to your site with that knowledge and be successful at that. If you want this to be a business, then using your specific passion helps you to speak to your audience. Try not to look for fads so you don’t back yourself into a corner.
- Don’t fall into what Amanda calls the “vortex of comparison.” The Vortex of comparison is so hard to get out of once you fall into it. So compete against yourself. Remember you have 100% control over yourself. Have your next photo be better than the last. It’s ridiculous to get bogged down in looking at others work. You won’t lose if you focus on yourself.
- Countless studies show that social media has a tendency to make people feel simultaneously more connected to one another (hello, Instagram friends you’ve never met in real life) and less confident in your own abilities. When you see the (carefully curated) glimpse into someone else’s life, it’s hard not to wonder why your living room isn’t as perfectly styled or why your clothes aren’t haute couture. The reality is that real life is messy, and social media allows us to harness that chaos and project our ideal self, even if it’s just for a second.
Helpful references from the episode: