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Episode 095: How People Use The Internet To Find Recipes With Bethany Smith

Blog Title: Food Blog Usability

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About: Bethany Smith helps you become a more confident food blogger. She offers understandable, thorough & well-researched resources, audits, and coaching. You deserve to be confident in your blogging decisions as you work to grow and maintain an engaged, loyal audience. Follow her on Instagram or check out her website for more.

Notes from Episode #095:

  • Fun fact: Bethany is into weather and weather reports. She likes to track the weather around her and where family lives and likes to know if there’s a record to break. 
  • Bethany sent out a survey to look into user interactions and how they use the internet to find recipes
    • 65 responses were received
    • Age range was 50% over and 50% under 40 so it was split evenly. 
    • 92% responses were from women. 
    • The survey was primarily shared on Facebook
    • The survey is available on and in exchange for your email, you can have access to it. 
    • 84% of people are familiar with the term ‘food blogger’
    • 59% of people follow social media accounts that are related to food
      • 58% follow smaller food influencers and bloggers
      • 13% follow larger corporations
      • 29% said both
    • The reasons they follow – inspiration as well as it’s fun and entertaining
  • How respondents use online recipes
    • What they liked: Variety, convenience and quick and easy to find
    • What they did not like is intrusive ads on the page, hard to find a recipe in the post, long blog posts and multiple similar options.
    • A lot of people want the recipe + a few facts. 
    • Some people didn’t know what a “jump to recipe” button was. 
    • Other people loved the “jump to recipe” button.
    • It’s important to make your recipe card stand out when someone scrolls through the post. 
  • Action steps –
    • You can work with your ad company to fine tune where the ads are placed. 
    • Colors help you make your recipe card stand out, placing a border around it can help too. 
    • Make sure your Jump To Recipe button actually takes your audience to the recipe card.
  • If someone Google’s a term like “Summer Greek salad”, only 50% of the respondents were confident that what was brought up in results was what they wanted. 
    • Be careful to title your content appropriately.
  • Respondents were asked – Using your imagination and previous experience, what is the biggest frustration you experience?
    • Too many ads, too much to scroll through to see the recipe card. 
    • Ingredients aren’t readily available to the audience. This applies to the blogger and making sure their audience is aware of recipe ingredients regularly used. Stick to what the general public would have access to, and not getting fancy ingredients unless it applies to a small niche blog. 
    • Be careful to offer substitutions for hard to find or specialty ingredients so your audience can relate to your recipes. 
    • Being taken to a roundup and away from the blog that they wanted to be visiting.
  • Recipe searches –
    • Google search is the primary way people search for recipes
    • Pinterest 59%
    • Facebook/Instagram – very small percent 
    • It’s important to understand the intent of audiences and how these platforms work the audience.
    • If you’re spending so much time on Instagram (or Facebook) and just trying to get some likes, you might want to reconsider how you monetize. Clicking through to your website isn’t valuable here. 
    • Getting to know your audience and providing inspiration are good reasons to be on Instagram.
  • People aren’t following bloggers for a specific reason, more often to be inspired and for enjoyment. 
  • Gray SEO – where a person might see a recipe they really like on your website but they copy it and share it by texting it to themselves or a friend but there’s no way to trace how that shared information went out and to whom and when.
    • This can happen on Instagram because they make it difficult to share a video or save it but you might have inspired someone with your recipe video.
    • People are finding your recipes in more ways than you realize but it’s just not traceable. 
  • What type of food information are respondents wanting –
    • 45% want just a recipe
    • 30% want just a recipe along with another option
    • Thinking through your post before you publish – from your first click, to each scroll through your entire post, be careful to think through what is there for your audience.
  • Food videos – How valuable do you find videos?
    • 82% of people answered in mostly negative categories, saying that food videos aren’t valuable
    • Focus on adding food videos on social media and vs your blog. You’ll get more bang for your buck.
    • People watch videos but not usually to learn how to prepare the recipe UNLESS it’s a complex process. 
  • Photos – 
    • A lot of food bloggers use too many photos to represent one recipe
    • 80% respondents said that 1-2 photos are all that are needed of a finished product
    • Process shots – 25% said they don’t need process shots, ⅔ said that it can be helpful and 65% said that it can be helpful depending on the recipe. 
    • Process shots aren’t necessary on all posts. Use a collage to reduce the amount of pictures to scroll through for best practice. 
  • Style of blog posts –
    • Audience prefers a little narration – 26%
    • Audience wants just the facts – 74%
  • Overall experience finding recipes online – 
    • People had positive feedback
    • Mostly beneficial with the occasional dud

Helpful references from the episode:


Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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