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Episode 230: Zero in on What’s Important, Why You Should Take Time Off and a Core Web Vitals Update with Jason Logsdon and Bob Clark

In episode 230, we are sharing a conversation that originated from a Clubhouse room recorded on 7/23/21 where food bloggers discuss the concept of outsourcing and determining where to focus your time.

We cover information about how and why to ignore unnecessary stuff, the importance of taking time off and know your audience will not go anywhere while you prioritize much needed breaks from time to time. Finally, SEO expert Bob Clark shares about the recent Google core web vitals.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Takeaways

  • Google has changed a lot of SEO and technical requirements needed to show up on their site in the past 5 years, so you need to change on your site too.
  • Search engines, like Google, are looking for good authoritative content.
  • SEO is foundational work on the mechanics of your site. Keyword research helps you judge the direction of content on your site.
  • Page speed is very important to core web vitals as is the page experience in general for your audience.
  • The simplicity of getting your page experience improved is you need a really good theme and a good host.
  • Check in with your ad managing company for help boosting your core web vitals with their help.
  • It’s important to not have anything load above the fold on your site.
  • Prioritize a good cache plugin; WP rocket is working really well.
  • Find someone that can work with you for the longterm to take things off your plate. This will help you focus on the things that really move your blog forward and not work on things that a decent writer can do.
  • A lot of people are looking for contract work, to supplement their income as they’re still honing their skills.
  • When you start not being able to take advantage of opportunities, it’s time to outsource.
  • If you’re not putting out content, it hurts you in the long term, but in the short term, over one to three to six months, most of your fans don’t notice that you’re not there so take time for yourself if/when you need it.
  • Taking short bits of time off helps you to be intentional and help your mental health.

Resources Mentioned

iMark Interactive – WordPress support

WP Rocket – a caching plugin for WP

Clarky Services

Keep Learning

In episode 193, listen to Amira Sookram talk about how to make your goals and be sure to stick to them.

Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.

Megan Porta:

Food bloggers. I want you to know that I myself am a food blogger. So I understand the need to find those connections and find the answers and create transformations in my business that are actually going to matter and help me to grow and make more money and get more traffic and all of the good things. If you are interested in this too, which you probably are, please consider joining our mastermind groups, which are starting up in the fall of 2021. Go to eatblogtalk.com to find the application. There’s a button there that says join a mastermind group. That will bring you to an application that will determine whether or not you are a good fit for these groups. As Napoleon Hill, the author of Think & Grow Rich says about the mastermind principle, two or more people actively engaged in the pursuit of a definite purpose with a positive mental attitude constitute an unbeatable force.

Unbeatable force. You can’t argue with that. Weekly zoom calls will have the format of peer to peer learning with members taking turns being in the hot seat. Once a month, we will invite in guest experts who will unleash their knowledge about very specific topics relating to food blogging and relating to ways that you can grow your business in a big way. We convene every single week where we share our struggles, our wins, and we can shine and lift each other up and provide resources and input that will help the other members in the group to grow their businesses and grow as individuals as well. Again, go to eatblogtalk.com to fill out an application, to see if you’re a great fit for the mastermind groups.

Hey, everyone just hopping on to preface this episode a little bit. So every once in a while, I host a room in Clubhouse that is just packed with great information and turns out way better than I thought the chat could possibly go. This happened to be one of those chats. I try to record all of my Clubhouse chats just in case this happens. I’m so glad I recorded this one. So this chat came from a room in Clubhouse from July 23rd and included in the room were myself, Jason Logsdon from Amazing Food Made Easy and also Makin’ Bacon. And Bob Clark from Clarky Media. The three of us were the hosts and then also joining us in the room were Ginain from Cook|Pray|Slay and Taran from Hot Pan Kitchen. So those are all the voices that you will hear. I really hope you enjoy this conversation. By the way, if you’re ever free on Fridays at noon Eastern time, come join us on Clubhouse. We have the best conversations. You don’t have to just come and listen. You can actually contribute as well. They are really great. They’re really valuable. So here is our Clubhouse conversation from July 23rd.

Jason Logsdon:

Hey, how’s it going.

Megan:

It is good. I cannot believe we’re back in Clubhouse.

Jason:

It feels like it’s been months.

Megan:

I agree, 100%. I’m feeling a little out of the loop as I get back into working in the food blogging world, but I’m excited to hang out with you guys today. Hope you guys are all having a good Friday. To start, I guess, why don’t we just do introductions? Would you mind just doing a quick intro, Jason to yourself?

Jason:

I’m Jason Logsdon. I run Amazing Food Made Easy, which is a sous vide based blog. I’m also president of the International Sous Vide Association. Then I also run Makin’ Bacon, which is a podcast and blog dedicated to helping food bloggers move their blogs forward and get off the ad revenue treadmill and monetize their fans by providing value to them for products and stuff. So that’s some of the things that I’m up to.

Megan:

Awesome. Bob, do you want to do a quick intro to you and your business?

Bob Clark:

Sure. Thanks Megan. Hey, I don’t know, do I still have the flag on my profile?

Megan:

I do not see a flag.

Bob:

Perfect. My name is Bob Clark. I own a couple of food blogs and I built Clarky Media as a place to help other bloggers with their SEO. I’m an SEO nerd all in on SEO really with my sites, not so much social, but it’s all organic traffic and I’m converting Clarky Media over to just everything I’m into. Everybody’s like, what are you doing? So I’m starting to convert it as what I got my hands to and online. But glad to be here. Thanks.

Megan:

Cool. Can I ask what is with the flags? Is this a new Clubhouse thing? What is that?

Bob:

They did it for the Olympics. So if you have a flag in your profile, it pulls it next to your image, I guess. It’s just to support the Olympics. So we were joking around adding different flags last night in an SEO room and I had a bad flag up there, so I just took it off.

Megan:

Okay. Well, I would love for everyone here to feel free to come up and join us on stage and just chat about what you’ve been up to. I have been really not working for most of the past month, just little bits here and there. So I feel very, very out of the loop. But I would love to hear what everyone’s up to and while you’re working on coming up, Jason, I would love to hear what you’ve been up to. You mentioned the sorting that you were getting into SEO and digging into some things in that realm. What is going on with you?

Jason:

So I think probably last time I was here, I was just starting the process of reassessing my site. I used to be an SEO nerd back when I got started 10 or 12 years ago doing this, but I hadn’t really dived into SEO for a long time. I got much more into the habit of writing what I thought my users needed and not worrying about the SEO. I had a good base foundation, so I had the right structure and a fast site. But over the last five years, SEO has changed a lot and Google’s looking for different things. My site was set up for the old SEO. So I’ve updated a lot of the foundation. Then I’m looking at a lot of the articles on my site, just seeing what type of content do I need to flesh it out and how can I make some of those articles that were short little paragraph articles, that were fine a decade ago, aren’t necessarily the best way to do it now. So I’m doing some more research around that and then just hopefully next month I’ll be creating and updating a few hundred articles, which is always a blast as anyone knows that’s updated old content.

Megan:

What have been your main takeaways? Are there one or two nuggets that you’re like, oh, this is something I didn’t know before or something new you’ve learned about SEO recently?

Jason:

I think the big change is that Google now wants you to share information and not keyword stuff. Google’s algorithms are a lot better now. I’m sure Bob can talk about this a lot more in-depth than me, but the algorithms are less smarter now than they were five to 10 years ago. So they are looking for normal writing for good writing. I think focusing on that, which a lot of my blogs did, was a good decision back then, but it’s something I think even more to double down on is more search engines are looking for good authoritative content. So that’s been one of my takeaways and one of the other ones was just keyword research and SEO, in my head are like two different things. They’re related obviously, but a lot of the SEO is a lot of foundational work, making sure that you are checking those boxes of headers and site speed and all these kinds of things that you need to have good SEO.

Then I view keyword research as something you can do to help judge the direction of your site. But I really focused a lot on what my community was looking for and the questions they were looking for and used very little keyword research over time. Especially in the past. I still built a really successful site doing that. So as I dived into keyword research a little bit more over the last few months, it’s been kind of nice to see that some of the things that I’ve been writing about overlap with what people are searching. It’s a different approach. I think if you’re not necessarily in love with spreadsheets and going through giant lists of keywords, that if you know your audience and you’re in a very specific niche, then writing about things that’s going to better serve them will continue to move your site forward regardless of what SEMRush says or any of that.

Megan:

Okay. That’s all super interesting. I know Bob, you are an SEO expert. Last time we talked, we were actually on Clubhouse. This was a few weeks ago talking about all sorts of things, SEO. We just really dug in. Well, you dug in, I was just here for the ride. But do you have any replies to what Jason said? Then also I would love to get your thoughts on core web vitals and what’s going on there.

Bob:

Yeah, sure. First I want to say Jason, Hey, I’ve been enjoying your podcasts. I didn’t know of it and I got it a couple of weeks ago, so I added it to my Stitcher. I’m a big podcast fan. Megan, I’ve been enjoying your podcast. Really cool. I’ve been thinking about creating one, maybe in food though, so it should be different. I just don’t know how to do it on food.

Jason:

We can talk after maybe in the later on in the discussion, I also have one for exploring sous vide that’s all focused around food. So we can talk a little bit about how bloggers can do that.

Bob:

Yeah. I’d appreciate that. Jason, if you’re just jumping back in SEO, if you ever want to reach out I just got a site monetized on Mediavine pretty fast. So I’m using all the new SEO, if you could put it that way. But Megan, so you asked about core web vitals or what I’m up to.

Megan:

Yeah. Why don’t you like any or all of the above?

Bob:

So I’d say core web vitals, people all freaking out about it, especially food bloggers. With the big algorithm update the last month or two, page speed is really important. It’s going to be a ranking factor. So the whole page experience. If people go into their search console, they’re going to see that core web vitals, but also the page experience. So it’s pretty important, but I can tell you it’s not that tough. I actually posted a picture on my Instagram last week and I got one of my sites up to a hundred score with ads. So I’m passing all core web vitals and page experiences perfectly. You can do it with a food blog with Mediavine ads. So it is definitely doable. I could get into how, if anybody wants.

Megan:

Yes, please go for it.

Bob:

So the simplicity of it is that you need a really good theme. Some food bloggers have had some weird themes over the years. They got stuck with them. So find a really good theme. I recommend Astra or general press or I’m a real big fan now of cadence themes. So I’ve been really using those on all my sites. There is the popular food blogging one, which is Foodie Pro.

Megan:

Yeah. That’s I think that’s the one. I use that one. I know a lot of other people do too.

Bob:

Yeah. So that was built to generate press. I was never a big fan. I used it like seven, eight years ago and you build through a child theme and I think they’re using a child theme. But I have seen people get the speed fast for that. So that’s a good option. I’m just not too familiar with it anymore. So you need the good theme and then you need a good host. I’ve actually moved all my sites to Big Scoots. They’ve been great and they have a managed program too. If you use  a managed WordPress site, I think it’s like $30, 35 bucks a month, which is decent. You can actually create a staging site with a push of a button, so you can update your plugins, do everything you need to do on your site before you push it live again, which is wicked slick. Their customer service is amazing. So now we’ve got a good theme. We got a good host. Now we get to work a little bit on page and stuff to speed that up. If you have a site that’s on Mediavine now, they pretty much set it all up for core web vitals. You just got to push the button in your dashboard and that’s going to get everything to not load above the fold. It’s just going to be static. So that’s really important. If you’re not on Mediavine, you just want to concentrate on not having anything above the fold on your phone when it first loads. So if you got pop ups or stuff like that for your email list, get those to pop up after, above the fold is that’s going to help you out.

So that’s one thing to focus on. A good cache plugin; WP rocket is working really well. Their last update really focused on core web vitals. If you’re using the old version and haven’t updated, I recommend getting with the WP Rocket to see what has changed. There’s a few settings that change automatically if you had them set, but if you hadn’t had them set before, those can really move the needle too. If you haven’t readjusted your WP Rocket. Then it’s the other things, in your Rocket with all the correct settings, you’re going to be lazy loading. There’s optimization. If you have video in there, all these things will help and it’s getting a lot easier than it used to be.

Megan:

Cool. Thank you for that. I’m just inviting anyone in the audience who wants to come up and chat about SEO. If you guys have questions about core web vitals or anything, Bob is a wealth of knowledge in this area. He knows a lot, and I know he studies it extensively. It’s one of your main focuses. So if you’ve got anything, please come and take advantage of this time with him and definitely ask your questions. I don’t really have anything else on SEO, Jason or Bob. Did you guys have anything else? Oh, hold on. Hey Ginain. Sorry about that. Yeah. What have you got for us?

Ginain Grayes:

So I’m actually really happy to see you in Clubhouse. Megan, I’ve been following you on Instagram for awhile and I’ve been listening to your podcast. So honestly, I only come to Clubhouse to talk about gardening.

Megan:

I love it.

Ginain:

Actually connected with Bob last night and I saw that he’s doing this room, so I’m like, okay, let me check it out. So here’s my dilemma. I don’t know if it’s like a growing pain for me. So I have my food blog or cooking recipe blog, whatever’s called Cook|Pray|Slay. I’ve been doing it for about a year and a half and I’m super new to this area. Really what happened was about, like I said, a year and a half ago, I’d been holding onto the URL forever. My friend’s like, why don’t you just do it? Just start a page, just stop overthinking it, just do it. So I just started the site on GoDaddy and fast-forward, a year and a half later, it’s really starting to gain traction. It’s growing, I’ve got a lot more traffic coming there, but it’s a GoDaddy site. It’s not very responsive to the needs of my followers and people who want to see my recipes. So I’m kind of at a point now where I’m trying to migrate from the GoDaddy site to WordPress, and I’ve no idea where to start. So if you guys have any suggestions on where to start, that would be great. I do want to go the route of working with a professional, someone who knows what they’re doing, because again, this is more of a side hustle for me. So I’ve got a whole bunch of other things going on. I have other businesses. So I really just want to partner with someone who knows what they’re doing in that realm. Just kind of thinking ahead, I do want to set it up for future monetization. Monetization for me hasn’t really been a huge focus because again, it was just more of like a creative outlet for me. But now that I do see a potential for that, monetary, another stream of income, I do want to set it up for future monetization. So any help would be totally appreciated.

Megan:

I will let Bob chime in if you have thoughts for her, but I just wanted to say Cook|Pray|Slay. Okay. I didn’t know that was you. Love your Instagram feed. I follow you as well, and you have amazing content. So I will let Bob answer your question.

Ginain:

Thank you so much, Megan,

Bob:

I guess real quick, are you on WordPress, but you’re hosting with GoDaddy?

Ginain:

No, I’m not on WordPress at all. GoDaddy has different packages and so I’m on their website package or whatever. I can upgrade to WordPress, but I don’t really even have any experience with WordPress. So my concern is that okay, I can transfer to a WordPress, but then what.

Bob:

I think you nailed it on the head. Get someone to do it for you. I don’t do migrations of people cause I don’t want to be responsible. Person I can suggest and I don’t know if he’s doing it, is iMark Interactive, Grayson Bell. If you research him, I’ve talked to him quite a bit offline and he’s never done anything for me, but he’s got a great reputation and that’s something he might be able to do for you. That’s who I could recommend for that. But I think you’re being smart about getting someone to actually do it and know what they’re doing.

Ginain:

Yeah. It sounds super daunting. I’ve been really just dreading the whole process, but I want to do it now before I add hundreds of recipes, because then it’d be just extremely out of control. But I’d rather do it now, after a year and a half into the game, I know where I want to take the site. So I’d rather do it now than wait another year or so. So I appreciate any contacts you can share, Bob.

Megan:

I have never worked with him either, but I’ve heard so many bloggers speak so highly of, I think it’s iMark Interactive, right? Greyson spelled with an E. So G R E Y S O N Bell. So if you look them up, I think you’ll be really pleased and yes, I know what you mean about just knowing you need to do it and it being really daunting, but if it is daunting for you just, I think it’s so smart. Just echoing what Bob said that you are looking to find someone who knows how to do it. So even if it costs you a little bit of money, I think that would be really a wise route to go. But good luck with everything. I hope everything goes well. I think once you’re over at WordPress, you’ll be so happy. When I switched over a couple of years ago, it was such a relief. Oh my goodness. You’re going to be amazed at all the options you have. Recipe card. You’ll have a recipe card.

Ginain:

Yes. Yes. I just want that, just give me the recipe card and I’m good.

Megan:

Yes. Well, good luck with everything. Did you have anything else for us or was that it?

Ginain:

Nope. Thank you so much guys. I appreciate it.

Megan:

Okay. Well thank you for sharing. Anyone else have any SEO or WordPress or any other issues please feel free to come up? Otherwise I was going to ask Jason. Jason, you mentioned that you’ve been working on outsourcing a lot. Do you want to share about that? How’s that going?

Jason:

Yeah, sure. So we have been looking at our content and this goes hand in hand with updating some of those pages through having a better SEO. A lot of ours on a side site are very poorly written. We had an outsourcer who was not great eight years ago, but the site still brings in like a hundred, 150,000 monthly visitors. So we want to go through and update it so it’s a little more put together. But me spending time writing about green peppers is not the best use of my time. I need to be focusing on the things that I’m an expert in. So we’re looking at outsourcing some of these different tasks. Also some podcast transcriptions that I don’t want to be transcribing my own podcasts and creating show notes.

So we put together a list of these projects that we’re interested in hiring people for, and then put out a call for applications to our network. We’ve had over a hundred people fill out applications. So we’re starting to reach out to mainly food bloggers that are interested in making some money on the side. They’re doing some writing for us then doing the podcast transcriptions. We’re also exploring potentially, hiring people to do some photography down the line of sous vide recipes and stuff for our site. So it’s been an interesting experience. There’s for the current writer job for five articles. We have bids anywhere between $3,500 and $500, four or five articles. So it’s all over the place and it’s a matter of seeing what’s the quality we need for some of these different sites. That might vary based on the site, but I’m trying to find some people that we can work with in the longterm to take things off of my plate so I can focus on the things that really move my own blog forward and not the things that anyone that’s a decent writer can do. So it’s been fun to try that out.

Megan:

What has been the easiest part of this process and the hardest, just finding those right people?

Jason:

So far, the easiest part was getting applications. I was hopeful when we first put out the call that we would get five or 10 people to get in touch with us. We’ve had, like I said, over a hundred. There’s a lot of people out there looking for contract work and looking to add to their income that they have from their blogs and that supplement your income as you’re still honing your skills. So that was the easiest part which I didn’t think was going to be that easy. I think the hardest part is just going to be evaluating people based on such a wide range of bids and seeing. I’m fine spending $3,000 on something if it means I’m going to make the $4,000 but just making sure that we do a little bit better tracking than we have in the past, whether it was just my time on the line and really see, what do we get out of these updated articles? How much additional income do they bring in? Then that’ll give us a really good idea of what we can spend for this type of work moving forward.

Megan:

It is a process, right? To find the right people. I can’t believe you guys have gotten a hundred applications. Isn’t that overwhelming to have to go through all of that? How long do you expect this to take?

Jason:

We sent out the first request for a bid and we narrowed it down. We had five different jobs basically. So for the writer job, we had 40 people of the hundred who were interested in the writer job. We went through there; eliminated some that were more high end cause the site doesn’t need high-end writers or high-end recipe development. Then we sent out to about 10 or 15 of them asking for a further bid and then one whichever ones that are kind of in our price range to get started, we’ll do a little more digging into them. But one of the nice things about it being a one-off project is that we’re looking for two to four people that we can say, give us five articles and that will help us see what their skills are. Then moving forward, we could figure out which one or two of them are the easiest to work with, do the best work and that we’d want to continue with. Then we can give them the other 50 articles that we’re looking to have built. But it’s definitely been a process. We’re hoping to probably hire someone to get started on this next week and see where it goes from there. But it would definitely be a small process. We’re funding this based on our income. So we want to be spending this year, several thousand dollars on this type of outsourcing, but we can’t spend it all in one month because we don’t have that money yet. It’s slowly coming month after month.

Megan:

Okay. This question might help some people in the audience, but what do you think? Anyone can chime in here, but what do you think about when is the appropriate time to start outsourcing and looking for help? Are there any thoughts you have about that?

Jason:

The favorite quote I heard, I think it was Emily Perron who talks a lot about outsourcing. I liked what she said, and that was when you start not being able to take advantage of opportunities. So if you can’t do sponsored post-work because you’re too busy updating your social media, that’s the time to start finding an outsourcer. If you don’t have the time to do work that you know you need to do because you’re busy doing something else. If you can’t take on any more photography clients because of the billing process and invoicing and tracking of the system takes you too long, then it’s time to find someone to do that for you. So I liked the approach that you can use it to speed up things, but especially a lot of us are bootstrapping our way forward. Once you start realizing that you can’t do the things that are good opportunities, because you’re too busy doing things that quote unquote anyone can do, then that’s the time to find someone that likes to do that aspect of it and have them take that off your plate so you can focus on the things that only you can do, and that will move your blog forward and hopefully making money a lot faster.

Megan:

I love that. If you don’t have the time to say yes to opportunities that you want to say yes to then it’s probably time. Here is one thing I do have to contribute this week is that I’ve out of necessity cut way back on the things that I’m working on in my business. I feel like I need to recommend that people do this more often and that I should do it more often, but I don’t know. I would love to get your guys’ thoughts on this, but I basically have done the absolute essential things in my business that I’ve needed to do. So I attend calls that I promised I would be at. I am getting a few blog posts up a week or redone, getting my podcast episodes out and social media posts scheduled and all of that. But other than that, I have said no to everything. I am going to tell you, it feels amazing and the world isn’t falling apart. My business is still standing. Have you guys ever done anything like this? Have you ever experimented? Is it scary? What do you think?

Bob:

I’d love to jump in here real quick. A little tip when you’re hiring writers, make sure you get what you expect laid out before you hire them. The highest expectation you can, because what ends up happening is when you find out later you need this and that, this and that, and you add it, then they want more money. So if you can get it as far scripted out as you can, that kind of helps. I hang out with a lot of nice website builders and we’re a part of masterminds and most all niche website builders hire out all their content. So that’s just a little tip. Megan, when you said when’s the time to hire, I think as soon as you’re making money with your blog. I think people don’t understand that once it gets to a level, let’s just say the threshold is Mediavine, right? The 50K. If you keep doing the same thing and keep creating great content and you grow, the snowball gets bigger faster, if that makes sense. So the more you can put fuel on there, the faster it’ll actually grow. Then it will be like when you’re looking down at half a million to the 50, it’s like, ah, I wish I had done this earlier. If you’re just trying to do all the things yourself to get there because the snowball gets bigger and bigger as it starts going down the hill. That’s my 2 cents. Another thing is so I have a brick or mortar business too. I’ve been self-employed since I was 19 years old. I could tell you, as soon as you can get yourself out of that job, you could grow bigger and faster. Because as you know, it’s the whole thing. If you’re working in your business, how do you work on your business? You can’t grow it if you work in it because your time is spent in it. That’s just a huge time suck. Jason said it, if you can get people to do the things that anyone can do, quote unquote, the sooner that you can outsource that the better.

Megan:

Well said. Oh my gosh, that was all gold. Hey, you guys in the audience, do you guys want to come up and have a chat? It’s my birthday. So come up and we can do a little birthday celebration.

Ginain:

Happy Birthday Meegan!

Megan:

Oh, thank you.

Jason:

Happy birthday.

Bob:

Happy birthday.

Megan:

My boys were like, why are you going on Clubhouse? It’s your birthday? I was like, exactly. I want to be on Clubhouse because it’s my birthday.

Jason:

You had asked about taking steps back as well. Which I know something you try to do every year. I think that’s awesome that you try to take a month or two off every year. I think it’s something that a lot of food bloggers, we’re told how much consistency matters. I think that in the long term consistency matters. If you’re not putting out content, it hurts you in the long term, but in the short term, over one to three to six months, most of your fans don’t notice that you’re not there. A lot of people ask like, well, how did you have time to write 15 books? It’s like, well, I would stop blogging for three or four months. I would write a book and no one ever complained. No one was like, oh, I can’t believe you’re not posting recipes. I had my newsletter on an autoresponder. So they were still getting emails from me once a week, but I didn’t have to ever touch it. No one cares. My social media buffer runs out and no one really cares. We get so caught up. Because we know every moving component of our own sites, but most people don’t know that. You can get away with a week or a month or six months stepping away from it and not adding content. It’s not going to hurt you in almost every case.

Ginain:

If I could just jump in if you guys don’t mind, I’m actually in the middle of doing that. I got to a place where my wheels were constantly turning and it’s just that pressure, of just having content consistently out there. I just made the decision just to take a step back and I let my people know. I said, look you guys might be seeing a little bit less of me, but just know that I’m still here. So I tell folks, I still want to show up for my people, but it just looks different. So I’m doing more stories for instance, or they can just, just still stay in touch without having that pressure of just constantly having to feed the beast. So for me, it’s allowed me just to kind of take a step back, but then reassess the content that I want to work on moving forward. I just took the time to plan out my social media calendar and all of the things I want to focus on for the next three months or so. Because I do know like, okay, back to school was coming up and then before, you know, it we’re going to be in the holidays and that’s like a huge, super busy time. So I’m trying to get ahead of that. That’s the type of content, believe it or not, I’m starting to work on now. So just taking that step back is allowing me to just be a little bit more strategic and just be a little bit more intentional. So it’s actually helped me plan better. Also it’s, it’s helped my mental health as well. So I just wanted to throw that out there as well.

Jason:

I love that point. I agree that I feel like we get so caught up in working on what’s urgent and that starts taking away from what’s potentially important to work on. When you take that step back and you’re not being pulled in a thousand ways, you can really say things like, what is important for me to work on, to move my blog forward, my business forward. Then you can work on those things instead of freaking out because you don’t have your pins in for Pinterest or you don’t have your Facebook messages set up. You can sit down and strategically decide what you need to do, and then you can start working on it. It is amazing when you step back and say, I’m not going to work on anything for a few weeks. How many of those urgent things that we were doing? You have no desire to start working on again because we just weren’t moving forward.

Megan:

You guys are awesome. Thank you for sharing all of that. That has been really revealing to me too. So when I think back to like a month and a half ago, and the things that I was working on then and how I was sitting at my computer. I got to get this done. I have to get this done today. Now I look at those things that I was working on. I think what in the world was I so uptight about? Why did I feel like I needed to get that done? Because it really was not urgent, like you said, Jason. So it really is revealing just taking these breaks. It’s really hard for us food bloggers, because we’re so busy and we’ve got so much to do and keep our eyes on. There’s so many moving parts, there’s SEO and Pinterest and oh my gosh, go on and on. But it is so helpful. This is ironic because I’m giving a talk about this next week at IFBC virtual summit. So it’s funny how this is all unfolding for me at the exact time that I’m going to be talking about it, but there is so much magic in just taking a step back. Ginain, like you were saying earlier, do it now. We can kind of, you know, save ourselves almost for Q3 and Q4. So I feel like it is really hard for me to get back into it after I’ve taken time off. If you guys have any tips for me about re-engaging my brain, probably slowly doing it over and over. It’s been kind of a rough week or two trying to be in the world again. Can anyone else relate? Hi, Taryn. What are you up to today?

Taryn:

Hi. Can you hear me all right?

Megan:

I can hear you.

Taryn:

Okay. Just checking. You were just saying tips for getting back into it. I was going to say, I also have been taking some time off almost, not necessarily purposefully, but I have elementary aged kids and they’re out of school right now. So I had to accept that I’m just going to be very productive while they’re out of school. That’s just the way my life is right now. So seasons, right? It’s a specific season. One thing that has actually helped me, Megan, you were saying, you know how to get back into the swing of things, because I too have noticed that when I take time off, it’s good and I appreciate that time off. It’s hard for me to then get motivated to start to want to do some of the work that I had not been doing previously. But this is a little bit of a plug for the mastermind that you lead, but it really helps me be in that mastermind call and talk with other food bloggers and even just help them with their problems because you’re getting into that creative thinking space and that gets me excited and it makes me want to work on my own business. So that’s something that I’ve noticed is having that connection with other bloggers and content creators, helps me get motivated, not just for their business, but my business as well.

Megan:

Oh, Taryn. That was so well said. I 100% agree. We had a call last night and you guys saved my sanity yesterday. I think one time over the past was like two weeks ago, I sent Jason a message and I said, this is my attempt at networking. Hi Jason. You just have to reach out to those people that you know and trust and like in the space once in a while. I think that is such a huge part of it. Then just consistently do it right, until you’re eventually, hopefully, my mind and brain will be working again. Doing these rooms, just showing up here too,

Jason:

One tip I have to. I love that message you sent, I was like, I’m busy too, but hi, we can now check off the networking. What are the things that I like to do when I get back because I struggle to, after I’ve been gone for the last two and a half weeks and just got back on Monday, is that I just got done talking about focus on what’s most important to your business, but when I get back, I like to try to have a project that’s fun and hopefully it can be important as well. But if there’s a recipe you’ve been wanting to make and you just haven’t got around to it because maybe it’s too long tail, the keyword, or if there’s some type of social media posts that you want to put together, but you just haven’t got around to it, but you it’s something that you’re kind of jazzed for. I try to have one or two of those on my plate. So when I get back and I don’t feel like working, I at least have something I’m really excited for. Then I think it will be fun. Then once I started doing that, it got me back in the swing of things of actually doing work. Then I can focus on the more important things that aren’t always super exciting every moment.

Megan:

I love that tip. As you were saying that I was thinking, it would also be good maybe to just dive into something completely different. We were talking about Pinterest a little bit this week, with Eat Blog Talk members and a little bit in the mastermind yesterday. Usually it would just be annoying to me, but I was like, this is interesting. People are finding a few little things that are working, but mostly people are really frustrated. So I gave that more attention than I normally would have just because it was a nice, very specific distraction for me. So something like that as well. But I like your idea, Jason, just a really fun project that you normally wouldn’t make time for. So thank you guys. Those were some good tips. Bob and Ginain, do you guys have anything? Bob, do you regularly take time off?

Bob:

No, I don’t. I haven’t taken a break in years. You know, my wife has actually wicked pushing me. She’s like, you need to go somewhere now. Go to Alaska, go fishing by yourself. I don’t care. But go somewhere. Get out of here. I don’t know. I’m just constantly going then it gets like to the point where I started breaking down because I can’t talk, if that makes sense. She’d like, you’re not making any sense because if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re jammed up it just all over the place. But you know, Taryn on the mastermind. It’s huge. I have a group on Wednesday nights, and I look so forward to get into that zoom call. You start building some real trust with these people and you can regroup, get ideas. That’s just huge, but I don’t take time off, unfortunately. I’m a workaholic, but I need to start trying to think about that. But I totally agree with whatJason said earlier, people aren’t gonna go away, you know, don’t be afraid to leave. I know SEO wise and I know on Google, you’d have to be gone a long time for it to affect your content on Google. I’m talking like even six months and longer to really get a hit by Google with that. YouTube might be a little bit different, but I got to channel that within two months no videos and I’m still growing it. I think some of you guys have real loyal followings though from your brands that might be a little bit different. Mine is more organic traffic and it’s not the same people coming back. It’s all new people, but I think it’s important to take time off. I did do something this last winter. I bought a massive Woodlake and now I’m wood-turning and that got my brain away from the constant hamster wheel of everything that we’re doing.

Megan:

So your time off is more than just a distraction. I like that. I have no idea what you just said that you bought, what is it?

Bob:

I bought a Woodlake, so I cut down trees and put a big chunk of wood on there and turned the wood green and made big wooden bowls. Like 20. Yeah.

Megan:

That’s so cool.

Bob:

20, 24 inch big wooden bowls. Yep.

Megan:

Okay. Well I think that is a massive help for just getting your brain off of work. That is very unique too. How awesome. Love knowing that. Then Ginain, you nailed it earlier when you said you’re maybe not showing up in the same ways, if you take time off, but you can show up in different ways. I did the same thing without even really thinking about it. So I just had my Instagram scheduled and my blog posts scheduled and everything’s scheduled on autopilot, but I was showing up in my Instagram stories way more than I ever normally do. So there are ways that you can continue to show up when you’re taking time off that it’s actually fun. I actually did find that fun. So I really liked that you brought that up.

Ginain:

Oh, for sure. I think your followers appreciate that. That’s one thing I really just try and just take the time to really connect with my people because it’s so cool when you get that engagement. They’re like, oh my God, I’m so glad we’re taking some time off or enjoying your time off or whatever. I know when we went out of town, I would just show my kids on the beach or what we’re eating that day. Hey guys, we’re eating at this place and oh my gosh, this lobster roll is amazing. Again, it’s just that not having that pressure of just having like a perfectly curated piece of content that you spent like hours on but you’re still showing up for your people. So I think that really just helps develop that sense of community. I always tell folks, I look at my follower numbers sometimes I’m like, dang it, if I could just get to like a thousand followers, but at the same time, I pride myself on building that organically. I’ll never pay for an ad or anything. It’s that whole quality over quantity piece. It may not have the follower count, but my engagement is awesome. So that’s what I really try to focus on. For me to take the time to just get on my stories and just show a quick little snippet, it’s worth it. It still helps let my people know, Hey, I’m still here for you, I’m not spending hours developing this recipe or taking these beautiful pictures. I’m tending to my mental health. I’m taking the time to be with my family, but Hey, I’m still here. So it’s worked for me. As far as getting back into the swing of things, I can totally relate to that. I struggle with that too. But I do agree with Jason in that having a fun project to come back to, I know that helps motivate me. I started a YouTube channel, which that’s how I connected with Bob the other night. But so I knew coming back, I wanted to batch create some videos. So I was super excited about that. But just knowing what you’re coming back to, and maybe just having some things already pre planned helps motivate you. I struggle with the same thing.

Megan:

Glad to know I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing all of that. I love your approach to showing up on social media, how sincere you are. You’re just really genuine in the things that you share, but also I am 100% with you on refusing to buy followers. I’ve always been that way. I feel like there is no way in the world that I would ever do that. What are the rest of your thoughts on that? I know bloggers who are actually really good friends who do that and they justify it and it works for them. It’s fine for them, but I would love to hear the rest of your thoughts.

Jason:

I love just the concept of engaging with who you have. I can see some business models for paying for people, could make sense for those business models. But, if I only had a thousand followers or whatever, I always think about food bloggers, we think about ads. It’s always that 50,000 number. Can I have 50,000 monthly visitors so I can start making money? I think about my gym that’s around the corner. They do one-on-one training and they have 60 clients and they have eight or 10 people that work there. They have 60 fans and they have enough money coming in to employ eight to 10 people. Why do we need 50,000 people in order to make a living? That’s one of the things I love about exploring other ways to monetize your blog and to really turn it into a business, not just an ad serving platform. So I think being able to engage with your fans gets you a lot closer to that than paying for followers or other ways you can get people that aren’t nearly as genuine.

Megan:

Yes. Love that. Same with email addresses. I always have felt like I want to get those the right way, the authentic way. They’re going to like me so much more. Taryn or Bob, what are your thoughts on that? On buying followers or something similar?

Bob:

I’m not even doing socials. So people will be like, what? So on the food side, I was doing pins in the beginning when I built my food blogs and I was like, this is ridiculous. Then it started into the whole point of a fresh spins and they want to have multiple pins per day. So I’ve been focusing just on all organic traffic. My sites get 97% organic traffic. So I gave up on socials, and don’t even have Instagram for my food blogs. I’m not building any followers, unfortunately. I am capturing them for an email list. At some point I’ll hire someone to do all the socials, cause I know there’s a huge opportunity with Pinterest but Facebook, I gave up on those too. I’m not the guy for followers, except I’m really bullish on YouTube. I think video is going to be a big change in our industry. So for me, I’m naturally building content on YouTube that’s searchable and evergreen. So people are always going to search how to saute mushrooms and onions and they’re gonna find Bob. So that’s what I’m focusing on there. Then the subscribers come already, but you get to ask for them for it in the videos and stuff like that. But that’s the only way I’m building followers.

Megan:

I’m kind of jealous, Bob.

Ginain:

Me too.

Bob:

You can’t do all things, Megan. It was crazy. I can’t do all this. You can do it with a team and you should. But I’m building multiple sites. So I didn’t focus on one and building one team. You know, the idea is to have revenue from five of these and I’m selling some, so that’s my plan. I can’t stand the algorithms and socials, and then it’s gone. I know Google. It stays there for a long period of time. YouTube seems to be that way too. I’m new over there, but that’s what I’m bullish on.

Ginain:

What a great point, Bob. I mean, thank you so much for saying that because I think a lot of us as food bloggers just get into the mindset of, oh my gosh, I have to be everywhere. So it sounds like you’ve found your place. It sounds like YouTube is your funnel maybe. You can look at it that way too, I guess. But thank you for saying that because I forget that sometimes. I just feel like I’ve got to be everywhere and it’s a lot, it’s a lot of pressure. So thanks for mentioning that.

Megan:

We need to give ourselves permission sometimes just to take our hands off of some things. It’s looking at those people who live in the tiny homes and being so jealous that they don’t have all the clutter that we have, but never actually doing anything to make our clutter go away. So I agree. It’s very refreshing to meet people like you who are like, yeah, no. There’s no point in me putting my efforts there. You’re just working on the essentials, like what I was talking about earlier. Which I really, really like. So thank you for sharing that, Bob.

Taryn:

I was going to say too, kind of along this whole thing. I totally agree. The general conversation that we’ve been having and I just lost my train of thought. So I’m gonna have to swerve a little bit, but one thing I wanted to say was that I know that in terms of buying followers, cause I’ve thought about that as well. But I always notice it happens when I veer out of my own lane. So if I’m looking at somebody else and say, gosh, look at what they’re doing with Instagram. You know, they’re so successful, they have all these followers that seem to be getting really great engagement. Then I started to get a little jealous and like, oh, Hey, maybe I should be doing that or take my focus off of what I want to be focusing on. Which for me is mostly email organic traffic and a little bit of Pinterest, a little that’s up in the air right now. But if I can stay in my own lane and just remind myself, no. I can actually own my email list which for me is my focus. I don’t need to worry about Instagram as much and I don’t post hardly at all on Instagram. I mean, I have scheduled posts. I do a little bit of Instagram stories, but that’s about it. So as long as I can stay in my own lane, I’m usually pretty good.

Megan:

That was so well said too, Taryn. Thank you for sharing that. Jason, maybe you can, maybe you agree with this, but I feel like being a podcast host or somebody who talks to a lot of experts in a lot of different areas is almost like a crux. It hurts me because I talk to people all the time who have just killed it on TikToK or who actually have figured Pinterest out in this new age of Pinterest or whatever, fill in the blank. Then I feel like, well, if they can do it, I should be able to figure it out too. So then what do I do? I dig into that when I really don’t have the time or the mental space for it. So this is what I’m learning. It’s been two years now, the podcast has been up, I’m finally learning I can’t do everything that everyone else is doing. So I’m super glad you mentioned that Taryn. That is when we all falter, when we’re like, oh well they’re doing great. Then we lose sight of what we should be doing and what our paths are. Great message. Jason, do you have that same problem with interviewing people?

Jason:

It’s horrible. Yeah. You talked to so many people that are experts at what they do. It’s just a great reminder for me that, we’re climbing a mountain to try to make a business that makes money, we’re climbing a mountain. Just because somebody went one way up the mountain doesn’t mean you have to go that way. There’s multiple ways that you can go and you need to rely on your strengths. I think that’s one thing I hammer home in my courses or my presentations. A lot of the stuff that I talk about is the reason we do this. There’s nothing wrong with being a blogger as a hobby, that’s how I started. A lot of us started like that. So there’s nothing wrong with that. But once you decide that this is going to be a business and this could be a way that you make money, you need to figure out how you want to monetize it. Do you want to do ads? Do you want to do sponsored posts? Do you want to use your blog to find photography clients that are going to hire you as a photographer? How are you going to make money? Then once you figure that out, you can start looking at these things and say, okay, I want to get to X. Is Pinterest going to help me? Is SEO going to help me? Is YouTube going to help me? Is writing a cookbook gonna help me? There’s all these different things that we can do. We can’t do it all. No one does it, unless you have a team. If you know where you’re going, you can start looking at this type of stuff a lot more critically and saying, this might work for a lot of bloggers, but it’s not going to get me to where I need to go. So I’m going to focus on this other thing that other bloggers might not do as much, but it’s going to get me to where I want to be. So if any of you are listening and wondering like, well, how do I pare back? What do I figure out? The first step is to figure out how you want to make money? What are a few options you have for monetizing your blog or your business, and then start figuring out how you can actually move forward. What are these tactics you need to do to get yourself to where you want to be?

Bob:

Dude, love that, man. You nailed it on the head. People need a roadmap, right? My wife goes, Bobby squirrel. I gotta look over and she’ll be like, what she’s trying to point out is, dude focus. You can’t be all over the place. Focus right here. My wife is the one that brings me back to earth, but man, you hit it right on the head, Jason.

Megan:

Jason, that was like the best little speech ever. Wow. What a great way to end this conversation. Holy cow. That was awesome. Goals. Right? Sitting down and taking inventory and referring back to those all the time too. I’m going to stop because I didn’t say it nearly as well as you did, but thank you guys. I know that Bob has to bail and I have to get ready for a camping trip. So I’m going to leave just a few minutes early today, but thank you so much guys for joining us. Yay. Clubhouses are back. So if you have topics that you want covered in the coming weeks or there was one other thing I was going to ask for feedback on and I’ve totally lost it. So yeah, that’s it. I think. Just thank you for being here. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Jason:

It’s so nice to be back with all of you.

Outro:

We’re glad you joined us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

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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