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Episode 247: The Ins and Outs of Google Web Stories For Food Bloggers with Jason Logsdon and Taryn Solie

In episode 247, we are sharing a conversation that originated from a Clubhouse room recorded on 9/24/21 to discusses the Web Stories trend, tips and successes other food bloggers have seen with this platform.

We cover information about how to find topics, when to publish, how Google Trends can help you find a good topic to make into a story and details like image sizing, frequency of posting and republishing oldies.

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


Takeaways

  • Web stories can drive short term traffic.
  • Be consistent in creating web stories. Daily, every other day, weekly.
  • Web stories can be scheduled out if you need to.
  • Web stories live forever.
  • Use Google trends to find popular seasonal content and create a story based on that information.
  • Be sure to follow all the accessibility recommendations within web stories.
  • Use the first and last page to include a swipe up link to the content you want to send the audience to. The recipe itself or a link to a group of recipes.
  • 8-10 slides is recommended.
  • Include your SEO description from your blog post, ingredients and then step by step instructions are also helpful.
  • Experiment with video and gifs in your web stories.
  • You can create one template and then duplicate it each time you create a new story.

Resources Mentioned

Tasty links – plug in to assist with affiliate links

Search exclude plugin – to block web stories from your own site search.

Transcript

Click for full text.

247 Clubhouse Webstories

Megan: Food bloggers. What is up? Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. I am your host, Megan Porta. Today we have a special episode. This is a recording of a recent Clubhouse conversation that I had with some other amazing food bloggers. We meet every Friday, most Fridays at 12:00 PM Eastern standard time on Clubhouse in a room that I usually title food blogging convos. So if you are on Clubhouse, you should come meet us there on Fridays, because it’s always super valuable. If you’re not on Clubhouse, let me know and I can extend an invitation to you so that you can join us. 

So this conversation was from September 24th. I had invited Taryn from Hot Pan Kitchen and Jason from Makin Bacon to join me as hosts inside of the Clubhouse room. Honestly, Most times we forum Clubhouse rooms, I don’t know where the conversation is going to lead. Sometimes we predetermine the topic and structure it ahead of time. But most of the time we do not. This was one of those times when we did not structure, I said, hey, come up with some ideas. Come with challenges or wins from your week and we can just let it flow. Immediately Gina from Intentional Hospitality, she is a super loyal Eat Blog Talk listener and community member. She got on stage and she said, Hey guys, I want to chat web stories. Let’s talk about Google web stories. So we said, how can we argue with that? Someone’s asking for web stories, let’s do it. So we dug into this topic. We uncovered so many golden nuggets from people who came on stage and shared willingly things that are working, things that aren’t working. So I really hope you find value in this episode, if you’re trying Google web stories out. If you’re not, this might inspire you to do so here’s our chat about Google web stories and toward the end, we actually dive into a different topic. I believe it’s affiliates for just a little bit. So listen to the entire thing. Let me know what you think and enjoy.

Taryn and Gina. How are you today?

Taryn: Good, how are you?

Megan: I’m good this week. I don’t have tornado damage outside my house, so that’s good. 

Taryn: Was everything picked up from that? Are people able to get things together? 

Megan: So our house was not destroyed at all. Our yard was totally intact, but our neighbors were a mess and they’re still cleaning up. It’s been a long week of cleanup. There’ve been massive cranes in our neighborhood all week. They will pick up trees and they’ll drop them on the ground and I can literally hear the reverberation and feel it through my house. It’s crazy. I know. It’s been wild, but yes. I have the internet this week, so I’m back.

Taryn: Thank goodness for that.

Megan: Yes. How are you today, Jason? 

Jason: Doing pretty good. Glad to be here and hanging out with all of you, like normal. 

Megan: Yes, same. I love these rooms. So I’m so glad you guys are here. Before we get started, I have just a few little things we could talk about today, literally just six different, tiny little things, but I’m hoping somebody else has something they want to talk about. So feel free to come up to the stage. Raise your hand if you want. Oh, good. Gina has something. Oh yes. We can always talk. Gina. What is going on today? 

Gina: I want to talk about web stories because I’ve discovered they can drive an enormous amount of traffic, but they last about two days. So I would just like to hear other people’s opinions on what they find helpful to get the content out so that Google loves it. So that’s about it. 

Megan: Hot topic. This topic is running rampant through the food blogging community, I feel like. Do you guys feel this way too? It’s very recent that people are really finding traction, just what you said, Gina with that. You put out a web story, maybe it does great. Maybe it doesn’t, but if it does, it’s two days and then it dries up. But people are reporting that they’re republishing and getting traction the second time around. So I’m curious if anyone has experience with that. I do not. But I’m going to let Taryn and Jason chime in, while I pull up this forum thread that we started this week about web stories to see if there’s anything helpful in here. So what do you guys have? 

Taryn: Gina knows some of this cause she and I have actually talked about this. But I have been hearing the same thing, Megan. Where people are having really great success with it. I have just started doing them. I have heard that the most success tends to be people who publish either every other day or every single day. You can schedule them out so you don’t literally have to sit there and do a web story everyday. Although I have been just because I’ve been finding that they haven’t been taking me very long. But it’s only been maybe two weeks or so that I’ve been doing that, not even and I have not had much success yet, but I know others who have. So I’m hopeful that it will come because I’m very intrigued by them. I

Megan: Jason, how about you? I know you put together a little guide. Was it last spring or early summer? Have you had experience with web stories or heard of anyone else who has?

Jason: So I haven’t dove into web stories as much as I had planned after I put the guide together. You can check that out. I think at https://www.amazingfoodmadeeasy.com/info/makin-bacon. But my understanding is that it’ s social media that is trying to go viral. That it’s hard to predict which one will end up taking off. But if you keep doing things regularly, then you have a higher percent chance of that happening.

I’ve heard that a good approach is to focus on the things that you are already getting a lot of Google traffic from. That if you’re, an authority in a specific subject like that funny example is always Megan’s candied lemon peel. Google for whatever associates her with that. So she did a web story on that. It’d be more likely to get picked up then if she did a web story on a new recipe, that wasn’t necessarily something that Google already knows that she’s associated with. So a lot of people recommend starting with your. top 10 to 20 posts and creating web stories around that. Also, I think as far as things being short term, it’s good to remember that Google doesn’t know what the heck they’re doing right now. They’ve said as much, but that there is a new feature they’re testing out and seeing what happens. But they do live forever. So as opposed to having a viral video on Instagram or TikTok or something that, for all intents and purposes goes away truly after a few days, they will live there for a long time and I could see Google starting to use them to get in the longer term, refer to them more often. So I think they might have some good long-term value that other things might not. Also that they might not be apparent to them right now, especially if you do things that are complimentary to your existing posts and are just repeating the exact same thing that’s in your post. 

Megan: That is awesome. So Chelsea, I’ll get to you in just a second, but I first wanted to say that I pulled up that thread on the forum and I was just going to share something that Sandra from She’s Not Cooking shared this week. She has had massive success with web stories, and we’re actually going to record an interview on Tuesday because she’s been so successful. So she went from… okay, I just want to get her numbers. Okay. I don’t see your numbers here, but she got so many page views just from publishing web stories. One of the things she noticed was that instead of going the route of popular content, she uses Google trends to find seasonal content that’s trending then she makes web stories based on those. She’s seen wild success with it. So with that all in mind, Chelsea, did you have something along this topic to share?

Chelsea: Yeah. Actually I love that idea of doing trending topics versus what’s popular because that just makes sense to me. So I’m totally going to try that now. But I posted last week in a Food Blogging Facebook group, and I was like, I hate Google web stories. How do people do this to make it easier? Ksenia From Immigrants Table took the time and a bunch of people felt the same way. So clearly, as everybody’s been saying, this is like a hot topic in the food blogging world. But Ksenia from Immigrants Table, offered to do a little zoom call with a group of us to tell us what she’s been doing to make it easier for herself and to make it effective. It was really helpful, like it’s like somebody else has already said, doing them like every other day was one of her tips. How the importance of accessibility in your web stories was something she really emphasized and just a few other tips. So I did a few this week exactly as she said. And then I didn’t really think about it again, but I was on my Google analytics app around 9:00 PM as people do as people, as food bloggers do. I was like, huh, my polenta lasagna is getting a weird amount of traffic today. I’m not sure where it’s coming from. I totally forgot I did a story for it the day before. It wasn’t like a massive amount of traffic for me, but it was definitely a weird spike. That is not a post that ranks on the first page of Google for me or anything like that. I’m trying to get it to, and it had 300 views in a day, so that was odd. It was from that web story. The web story itself had 2,500 views. 300 of those people actually went to the post, which was really interesting. Now I’m like, okay, I see how this can be good. Now that I’ve got a system in place she taught us how to make templates, to make it easier on ourselves to make, I feel like I can bang out several a week and make it work for me.

Megan: That’s so awesome that you saw such traction. I love it when it comes as a surprise, right? Oh, that’s a nice amount of traffic. Where’s that coming from? I’ve had a few of those too. I looked at my Ad Thrive page. This was like a month ago maybe, just to see my dashboard was up too. I was like, whoa, that’s a really high number for a Wednesday or like Tuesday or something. When I dug into it, it was like a random web story like you said, Chelsea. So it is a nice little surprise. I don’t know how long this is going to last, but I feel like we need to ride the wave while we can. Clearly it’s working. Not always, it doesn’t work for every single story but it works sometimes.

So you guys are saying like every other day or everyday? That seems like a lot, but if it works, then maybe we should give it a try using trends. Templates. Chelsea, can you share more about the templates that you mentioned? 

Chelsea: Yeah. The way Ksenia explained it was so great. So what she does is she recommends doing a cover page and then, so I feel like this is gonna sound overwhelming if you’re not familiar with the Google web stories plugin, but it’s really not.

So on the first and last page she recommends doing a link that’s a swipe up link on Instagram that’s part of the background. There’s a way to make that link part of the background, but only do that on the first and last. So you just make a template, which you can do if you’ve built a page. So say the cover page of the story, that’s there, the title page. Go to templates within the plugin. Then you’ll see a button that says save as template so you can save your own templates. So she has a template for a title page. Then the next page is an intro to the recipe so essentially you can literally copy and paste your SEO description. Then the next page is ingredients. So a template for that. Then each major step of the recipe gets its own page. So she just saves the Step type page. So all of these are saved as templates so you can just, as you’re creating, click the template drop in the correct photo and then literally copy and paste texts from the blog post, like the step texts from the blog post right in there. That makes it so much easier. Then just make the final page the final step. Also have that background link instead of a text link. So on the other pages, which again, I’m afraid this sounds confusing. So you can’t see it as I’m talking, but on the other pages she recommends, instead of having that background link to still have a link, but make it like actual texts that you write onto the page and just make that text hyperlinked. If people are curious, you can DM me afterwards and I’ll send you a link to a web story I’ve done recently in the way that she recommended. But yeah, super helpful. 

Megan: Chelsea, can you say her blog name again? I didn’t catch it. 

Chelsea: Immigrants table. 

Megan: Okay. You can go to any blog by the way and just type the name of the url.com and then forward slash web dash stories. That should take you to any set of web stories. So I’m going to check out yours while I ask Katie what she’s up to today. How are you doing Katie? 

Katie: Hi, how’s it going? Thanks for having me on. It’s going well. So I have been dabbling in web stories for quite some time since they came around last year. I actually just hit my 100 web stories and it’s become part of my process every time that I republish a new recipe or publish a new recipe. I will go ahead and publish a new web story. I also just listened to a podcast the other day, where someone was sharing how they added videos to theirs, which I have not tried yet. I’m intrigued. But I also don’t know if I want to add all those additional videos onto my server because I’m creating all of my web stories in the actual web stories. I guess it’s, what is it considered? A plugin or the widget or whatever that’s on your WordPress dashboard? I’m not uploading, I’m not creating it in Canva and then uploading it into my media, if that makes sense. What Chelsea was saying. I spent like an hour or two creating a template in the web stories plugin, I guess I’m going to call it that. I don’t know if anyone can tell me. 

Megan: Yup, I think it is a plug in. 

Katie: Okay. So anyways, I created one template and then I just duplicated it. There’s actually a button when you go into your web store homepage and you can hit duplicate on one and I’ll find whatever genre it kind of matches. I’ll duplicate that. Because at the very end I add a slide directing people to that category. So if it’s a dessert, my dessert category and I’ll have a couple of images. Just like what Chelsea was saying, the cover page and ingredients page and then walking step-by-step. I also have a read more button on every single slide that links to that blog post. So that way it’s not missed. If anyone wants to read more, they can do it on any of my slides. I also recently heard, and haven’t tried out, I’ve been using the same title for my web story as my title, as my actual posts. The podcast I was listening to the other day was mentioning how they’ve been adding a little variation. It’s not exactly the same, which makes sense, because she was saying that, I guess you don’t want Google to rank that over the other. I got a little confused because I’m like it’s a different platform in this sense. So I don’t know, but that’s just a little bit of my experience about that.

Megan: Thank you for sharing all of that. I can’t believe you’ve done 100. Did I hear that right? 

Katie: Yes, you’re correct. 100. I’ve had quite a few go crazy. I actually was just on my Google search console because I was like, let me see what traffic I’ve gotten. In the past three months, I’ve had over 14,000 clicks on my web stories. Which isn’t massive, but Hey, that’s 14,000 more page views that I didn’t have without the web stories. So I feel like it’s part of the trend. Then also if it’s a seasonal thing, like my peach cobbler recipe I had recently updated that. I think I published it on July 2nd, July 3rd. It went bonkers. I don’t know if that’s what also helped bump it up onto the first page, which is what I was hoping for. But my peach cobbler recipe for the past few months has been in my top three recipes. I don’t know if the web stories had been what helped it on top of obviously updating the post and making it so much more SEO friendly and user friendly.

Megan: That’s super interesting about the title. Does anybody have any further insights into that as far as what you should be titling your web stories? 

Chelsea: Yeah. I was told the same thing. Ksenia said the same thing. So what she recommends doing and what I’ve heard other people say too, is it should be the name of the recipe and then story. So I just did a polenta lasagna story. So just a slight variation and she showed, was it her, or I don’t know, someone I just saw somebody do an explanation where they showed that you can actually see both in Google search results. Sometimes you’ll have both of your posts ranking. I feel like that’s not super common yet, but I was like, okay, I get how these could potentially cannibalize each other. So be careful. 

Jason: I think it’s important to remember that even though a lot of people will create them using the WordPress plugin and stuff, all they are is HTML pages that are formatted a specific way. So it’s better to think of them just as a normal HTML page in a lot of ways. Google might handle them slightly differently, but it’s just you can have a recipe page or a FAQ page and there’s still HTML pages or just formatted slightly differently. The same is true with web stories. We just use a tool in the WordPress plugin to auto-generate that HTML. But they, as far as Google is concerned, are just an HTML page to be indexed like a lot of others.

Megan: You guys should check out Katie’s web stories go to Katiescucina.com/web-stories. These look great. I am super inspired by these nice things. Nice work Katie. 

Katie: Thanks! If you scroll all the way down you will see that I had a different template started at first. I just took one of the Google templates and modified it to my own. Then one day I was like, you know what, I’m going to make this. I am not a hundred percent on this right now. So I went ahead and I just spent a couple of hours perfecting it the way I like to see it. That’s what I’ve been using. I’ve also been doing them for roundups too, adding a couple links to different posts within the Roundup or just the Roundup itself. Another thing, if you don’t mind adding more slides to your media files. You could easily make these from a web story. You could double dip a web story, and it’s not a Pinterest story now. It’s called something else, but you could easily create it once and then use it for the Pinterest stories. Then also the web stories. 

Megan: I don’t remember who mentioned this, but has anyone experimented with adding video to web stories? 

Katie: I had mentioned it, but I haven’t done it yet. I had just heard it on a podcast and I want to say, I cannot think of what podcast I heard the interview on the other day. But I was really intrigued by it because I have lots of videos. I just need to add it in. 

Megan: Oh, go ahead Gina. 

Gina: It was on Tastemaker. The guy that did the web stories. He talked a lot about video. Also this is another question he suggested in that video to do an Amazon link to a product. I contacted Amazon and they said it’s not on your website, so you can’t use it. I kept trying to explain to them, it is hosted on my website. So does anybody have content that they could put on and then do an affiliate link with? 

Megan: Oh gosh, I don’t know. Anyone else, Jason? Taran? 

Jason: I have no idea. I think that it should, because again, it’s just an HTML webpage, but Amazon’s also Amazon and they do what they want to do. So I’m not quite sure. 

Megan: Yeah. I don’t know. I’d have to research Gina, but it’s interesting. Thank you for reaching out and doing the legwork for us. We can figure it out. So I did watch that Tastemaker presentation that you’re talking about. I remember him talking about the video, but I’m having a hard time remembering exactly what he was saying. Do you recall Gina, specifics?\

Gina: He just used the video, but he didn’t say anything about worrying about your storage, which was my biggest concern. I don’t want to fill it up. I wish there was some other way to do that. 

Taryn: I remember him saying, because that was the question that was going in the chat I was at that session with Tastemaker. Every other comment was like, what about the storage? What about the storage? He didn’t really have an answer for that. That is what has kept me from doing video in my stories because I don’t want to deal with the storage on my site. So I don’t know what the answer is.

Gina: I have one other tidbit on this. Also, if you can get to Mediavine, and they have an article that kind of tells you what to do. One of the biggest things they suggest is to link everything so that Google can see that spider web type thing in your site. They say, take the post and actually link to the homepage for that particular story. Then also have it on your homepage just to create that web. 

Megan: Wait, can you say that again? Gina. So you want to link to what, from what?

So don’t embed the web story in your post, but just make a link to see my web story for this recipe, go here. Don’t use that word, but you know what I’m saying? Then linked to, with words to the web story so that it is making a complete circle in your website.

Katie: Sorry. Gosh, when web stories, I think it was last spring, I had talked with Casey about this exact thing, Casey Markee. I was like, Hey, should I be linking these? He had told me at the time, now it could very well have changed, but he was like, eh, I don’t know how beneficial it is. Because your readers are finding more of the information on your actual blog posts than in the web story. This is more for the discovery and people who are seeing the web stories on that. Now things could have changed. I totally see, Gina, how, like you’re saying like the full circle to make sure it’s all linking back and the web and stuff. But back in the spring, Casey was like, eh, it’s not really that beneficial. I wouldn’t waste my time going back and linking everything. That’s just what I got back from the spring. So things, everything’s always changing. 

Gina: I had my audit just last month and I can’t for the word world remember what he told me about if we even discussed them. But this was a Mediavine. So you can probably pull the article up. But it made sense./ But I didn’t want to make it so that they would go there, but just Google would see it.

Katie: For sure. So maybe email Casey, that he’s pretty good about that stuff. Like I wouldn’t email him randomly with something that I’m like, Hey, should I do this? I would be interested to see what he has to say now, because this was back in the spring. I probably started these, I think back in like January. Because I think they were launched last November or December. He had recommended that I get on doing them and I was like yeah, I should have done it, but it’s okay now. 

Megan: Hey, Lynn, what are you up to today? Do you have something to contribute about web stories? 

Lynn: Yeah, I was just going to say, I have done some with video. Not a lot, but a few. What I’ve done is I compress them using an app, I can compress them to where they’re really small so that they’re not taking up so much space. It does degrade the quality a little bit, but it’s worked. 

Megan: How have they performed for you? 

Lynn: They’re very hit or miss. I haven’t done nearly as much. I’m actually working on one today because I find it difficult to make time for them. But I’ve had some that have done really well and some that have done nothing.

Gina: Hey, Casey did mention if you don’t have slick stream and you just have web stories on your host and using the plugin, he says, you should get a plugin. I’m looking for the name, it’s called search exclude plugin to block web stories from your own site search. So I did that and then I switched back to a slick stream. So I took it off. 

Megan: Oh, that’s a good tidbit. Let’s take a little quick break. I’m just going to play a few words from our sponsor who is Eat Blog Talk. So we’ll be back in just a minute. 

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We are back from the break. Please enjoy the rest of this Clubhouse conversation. 

Has anyone experimented with duplicating a story and testing, doing different tests? Maybe one of a chili recipe with just photos and maybe a different format. Then one with video? Has anyone tried anything like that? Or is that even okay to do? I don’t know.

Gina: I had one I did back in March, when it first started out, it was pitiful. So I redid it with just maybe one word different in the title and it took off and it was the same, the exact same one. I just changed the title and I put in links. I just cleaned it up because I didn’t have all the little boxes checked correctly. I figured if it took us so much, it’s a hundred bucks a day off of that one post, extra. So I’m like, it’s worth it to go and redo things if I can make some money off of it.

Megan: Absolutely. Totally agree. Chelsea, I was just looking at your web stories and I love how you have photos above each web story. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do that before. But you have the title so easy pumpkin waffles story, and then a photo. Then the story I love. 

Chelsea: Yeah. Good. Yeah. That was something that was recommended by Ksenia as well. She has a photo on every slide. Even if you’re using the same photo again, say you just didn’t have a photo for something. Just use another photo, but always make sure you have a photo on every slide. Hey, I know that people like looking at pictures of food, because we all do this job. So it made sense to me. 

Megan: What about animations? Do you guys, I see some animations here within the web stories. What are you guys finding with those?

Chelsea: I saw a guy in that Facebook comment thread, he was, I can’t figure out which animation he used to make it happen, because I really liked it. He used a pan in each of his photos and it looks so cool. When I’m looking at animations now, I don’t see one that just has steady pans. I see a lot where things fade in or pan in, but I just want it to pan the photo. I thought that looked really great. I’ve seen people saying if you’re not going to do a video, an animation is a great thing to do instead. I just don’t like them all. So I should probably get over that and just do it anyway. 

Megan: I agree. Sometimes animations just look cheesy. I don’t know, but some of them really look nice. I don’t know, was it Chelsea’s or maybe it was someone else’s that I was just looking at. It looked really nice.

Katie: Mine had animation. 

Megan: Katie! That’s right.

Katie: I just took it from the Google template from within web stories. 

Megan: Yeah, yours look great. Does anyone else have anything else about web stories? Any tips, questions, anything at all? Either people up here onstage or in the audience? 

Taryn: I was just going to say I do have some animations on mine, but I was really intimidated to start web stories. I found somebody who actually I paid to set them up on my site and do three stories to kick me off. What I do is I just copy. I duplicate the story. Then I change the links and all that stuff. So I don’t necessarily have a template. I just copy a story and change what I need. But that helped me get going. It wasn’t much, it was 80 or 90 or something like that to have them do all of that. As well as I got a video. It’s a video course, a little webinar. Here’s some tips on how to like work with the templates we gave you and that sort of stuff. But it was worth it for me to get started because I was like, oh, I don’t want to learn something new. I just can’t. I just didn’t have the capacity for it. So I was able to pay somebody to set it up for me. That was really helpful. If you’re hesitant to start and if you have the funds, I recommend doing that. 

Megan: I feel like we all get to that point where we’re at – learning fatigue. We just can’t learn one more thing or we just don’t want to dive into one more thing. Totally get that. So where did you find your help, Taryn? 

Her name is Alison Lancaster and I had previously used her for Pinterest and then I kinda took a step back with Pinterest as I think a lot of people probably are right now. Then I saw just in a Facebook group that her agency was doing web stories for people. I looked, they do it on a monthly basis. Then I looked at it a little further and noticed that she was doing a setup for web stories. That’s just on her site. I think it’s two, L’s. A L L I S O N. And then Lancaster. If you Google search, you’ll find her. I know she’s in some of the Facebook groups as well, and she does actually have a facebook group that she runs for web stories in particular. It’s not super active, but my hunch is that it will become more active as more people start getting into web stories. She’s available there to ask questions just kinda on and off, but so far it seems okay. 

I see this as an opportunity too, for food bloggers to dive in, who are maybe looking for a little extra money during Q4, or anytime really. If you don’t mind making web stories, offer it as a service to other food bloggers, because clearly it’s something that we’re all interested in and diving into. So I always see that opportunity. Let’s see, just welcoming Najah. Hey NAAJA what are you up to today?

Nadja: Hello? I’m good. How are you guys doing? 

Megan: I am good. What do you have? I know you’ve just seen some wild success with recent web stories. Do you want to share about that? 

Nadja: Sure. I also use Ksenia’s recommendation, going into Google search console and looking at what is trending. I did two updates on a couple of my posts, and then once I updated, I created the web story. Then for a couple of days I didn’t notice anything. Then I just went into Google and it’s since seen 15, 16 page views only for web stories in one day. It was like, what? This is crazy. Then that’s been spiking up and down since I first posted it. Then I have another question about how I noticed that Katie does roundups. How does that happen? Did you see that those Roundup ones have a lot of traction compared to normal recipes?

Katie: I’ll be honest. I don’t look at my analytics as much as I should. I just get random bumps and I’m like, whoa, I think that this might be from web stories and then I look into it. It really depends on the whole trending and seasonal thing. I had an ice cream one that kind of picked up and did well. I think it was my ice cream web story there. There was one of them that I was like, oh, this got a little bit of a bump in traffic and sure enough, it was from a web story. I feel like it’s a seasonal slash trending thing. If you just happen to catch it at the right time, I feel like it’s with everything. 

Megan: Did that help Nadja? Anyone else here on stage, have you guys experimented with roundups and do you have any insights for Nadja? I know we’ve done a few on my site but I don’t know that they’ve done very well. Most of mine are recipes. Just looking through here to see if anything catches my eye. But I did have another question just to put out there for the rest of you. What is the magic size for images? Are you guys having to resize images for web stories or do you just use what is in your media library?

Nadja: I just want this in the media library. The only thing I resize is the cover image. That’s it. 

Megan: What do you resize that to? 

Nadja: There’s a specific size. Let me see if I can find it and then get back to you. 

Megan: Does it tell you within the plugin? 

Nadja: Yeah, I think it does in the plugin. 

Megan: All right. Then Nadja, not to put you on the spot, but did you have any other little things that you’ve noticed have been working for web stories? Any consistencies? I’m looking at your posts right now. You’re doing one every couple of weeks. Anything else you want to share that you think could help the rest of us listen?

Nadja: I guess the first one I started using was a couple of slides I think, around. Just Chelsea mentioned ingredients and step-by-step photos. Then the next few ones I linked, the last one was you can go to more recipes. I link other posts, not just the main one. Something like what Katie does with the category page that she linked at the end. Then from that one post I notice that people click on the other recipes as well. So I’ve been diving into the analytics part just to see what other things I can improve so they can click more. Go through more on my website, if that makes sense. 

Katie: Nadja, how are you looking at it in the analytics perspective? Are you looking at just in Google analytics or in Google search console? 

Nadja: In both. I guess the first, their first time I created one was basically in the search console because you have the performance and then the discover tab. So I went into that section. I noticed which ones, at least which blog posts were getting traffic. Then from there, I created a web story because I didn’t have one I created before. Then once I did that first one, everything started growing and got more impressions. So after that, I also started taking Google analytics. So I did that but mostly Google search console gives you a little more information. I guess. 

Katie: I agree. Actually, I had just started looking around even more since we’re chatting about this. I was like, oh yeah, that one. I’m shocked. My grilled chicken post, I had almost 5,000 clicks. I’m like, oh, okay. Very cool. Thanks. 

Megan: Hey Laurie. What are you up to today?

Laurie: Hey, there I hope everyone is well. I’m actually driving in the car and I jumped on late and as Taryn knows, a little crazy about web stories. I do have a question when you guys were talking about analytics. Has anyone, because I heard this on a podcast, that you can look into somewhere, whether it’s search console or analytics and determine where people are jumping off and leaving your web story. So how far they’re getting before they click through to your site. Maybe you already talked about this before I came on, but if anyone knows that, I’d love to hear about it. 

Nadja: I think it’s an into Google analytics. There is a behavior and top events or events. Then you can see in which page they are jumping out or exiting.

Laurie: Oh, that’s interesting. All right. I’ll have to take a look at that when I get home and see. I also did have a warning on my search console that was related to events. I’ve never set an event up so I don’t know if that is something you have to have set up, but I will look into that. Thank you.

Megan: Laurie, since you’re crazy about web stories. Do you have any other little tips that we haven’t talked about? I know you just arrived here, but anything that you think would help other people here listening? 

Laurie: I think like with anything with blogging, it’s consistent and I’ve literally, I think I’ve published 18 of them over the past 22 days, maybe. I’ve been trying to do one a day. I make the templates. I’m sure you’ve talked about that. I do have a more recipes page for the last one, but I follow a pretty clear format. I always do a minimum of 10 cards. I am trying to think of something else. I really have been following all of the accessibility checklists. I don’t always follow the design checklist that Google recommends, but the accessibility checklist, I do follow because I feel like that is something I definitely want to be sensitive to. The other tip and some of us have tried it and some of us haven’t. I had a tip to look at Google trends and set it. This was in Food Bloggers Central. Set it for the last four hours. Type in the recipe into the search area, set it to the last four hours and see what’s trending. Get a story up that evening, for example, and I’ve heard people having success with that, to see what people are looking for immediately. Then maybe if you’ve been consistent enough and been doing them, Google might push something out. So that’s something to try. So that’s all I have. 

Megan: I love that tip. That’s such a great tip. That goes with what we were talking about earlier with trends, but it’s a super recent version of the trends. So thank you for sharing that. Then as far as accessibility goes, if anyone doesn’t know what Google is wanting for stories, can anyone talk through that? What are they asking that you put inside of your web stories for accessibility? 

Laurie: Oh I can since I brought it up, but essentially at least the areas that I have been remiss in is making sure that your text is bigger than let’s say 11. It has to be a minimum of 12 for your font. Making sure that the click size is big enough. So for example, if you have a box of texts that says. Chocolate brownies, chocolate chip brownies or something like that, making sure that physical box is big enough for a person to be able to click on.

Those are two definite things. Then of course the color; making sure your color is distinguishable. So if we have a white background that the font color is not too light for someone to be able to see. It’s pretty cool because once you make the changes, if you are in the accessibility checklist, you can click within that box, for example. It’ll say that your accessibility area is too small. If you click on that error, it will take you to the card where it’s happening and you can fix it right there. So I find that really helpful too. So I hope that helps. 

Megan: Thank you, Laurie. That was all super helpful. I’m glad that you are digging into that. I think this can be a really good outcome and then people are finding a lot of traction. So, may as well take advantage while it’s here. Taryn and Jason, I think we’re coming to the end of this conversation, but did either of you have anything. We have about 15 minutes left. So do either of you have anything that you wanted to chat about quickly or anyone else up here on stage or in the audience? 

Taryn: I think the only thing for me that I was thinking about as we started to get into fall and Q4 is just around the corner, is affiliates. Because I feel like Amazon is not the Amazon itself was on its way out, but Amazon affiliates and getting any sort of true commission from that. Unless you have a ton of page views or you’re a really good Amazon marketer that tends to not really generate much revenue, at least for me. I have some affiliates that I have that I think are good fits for my audience. But if anyone has something that they’ve found that’s worked well or just, I think, I want to say Chelsea, you were a marketer in your past life or current life too, but in your past corporate life if there’s any tips or I don’t want to say tricks, but just strategies that has worked for anyone. I would love to hear those or even just discuss affiliates. 

Chelsea: Yeah, one thing I’ll say and I think this is something we all know, but we all, at least me and I know other people, a few other people too, tend to feel self-conscious about sometimes, is saying something over and over. One of my favorite marketing phrases is repetition for recognition. If there’s value in explaining to your audience, why using your link is helpful for you. I’ve seen a lot of fitness influencers be really good about this. They’ll say, when you use my link, it helps me fund being able to provide this free content for you. Thank you so much. I even have seen them do a tutorial like, oh, are you shopping on your desktop? You want to use my affiliate link? Here’s how you find that on your desktop. So they go to their Instagram profile and show you on their desktop and show you how to click link in bio from there. So actually talking about it a lot and talking about how much that affiliate link is going to be helpful for you, especially throughout the holiday season. You can say to people like, Hey folks, I do have this link. It doesn’t cost you anything as you’re shopping this season. If you’re thinking about buying some of these products, I’d love it if you’d use my link. Saying that a lot. Making a point. You could even batch make some stories in Canva or whatever, and have those ready to go and make a point of posting them once a week and just saying it over. Of course, make sure to point out which affiliate links you offer. I’ve only ever seen moderate success with affiliate links. My theory is you have to have a pretty massive following for them to really pay off, but I don’t know. It seems to me, when I have had success, it’s sticking with a few. When it’s not like an Amazon style affiliate link where I’m linking everything that I can in a blog post or something like that. But sticking with one to two brands and really making my audience feel connected to them. I do have one affiliate partner that I make a point of doing this with that helps me have success and then seeing that brand over and over again. So it helps them keep them in mind when they could use that product in the future.

Taryn: Thank you. That was all really informative. I think that what you were saying about repetition, I don’t know where this phrase came from, but répéter, I think in French. That that is the biggest thing for me, where I probably do need to just every Monday and every Thursday, I’m going to mention Mondays are here’s how you get my emails and Thursdays, here’s this other affiliate because there’s, I don’t know what the statistic is, but there’s some statistic about, people need to hear something what, seven or 10 or 12 times before it even registers that like, oh yeah, maybe I do need those. She had talked about this because we’re all bombarded with things all the time.

Megan: That was awesome, Chelsea. Does anyone else have anything about affiliates? I’m definitely not the person to answer. I’ve never seen success. I agree, Taryn. I feel like Amazon affiliates are heading out because they decreased their commission. When was that? Year and a half ago, so drastically. I get like pennies, dollars every month for that. So I don’t know. What do the rest of you think about Amazon or other affiliates? Jason?

Jason: I’ll second what Chelsea said about having a limited number of affiliates. I think there’s two general ways. One’s like the shotgun approach. I use that for holiday gift guides and stuff like that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with throwing in affiliate links to random Amazon products that you do recommend. But that’s not going to bring in a ton of money. I think if you are trying to have success, it’s good having a limited number of partners that you really like. Because I think for affiliates you do need to mention them repeatedly, like Chelsea said. I’m fine linking to lime press or something, that’s a $5 thing that I’ve used a few times. But I’m not going to talk about it constantly without feeling like I’m just pushing something. Where I talk about my poly science hydro pro plus circulator all the time, because I freaking love it and I use it and I’m passionate about it. So being an affiliate with someone like poly science is great. They don’t even have generally public affiliate programs, but if you love someone’s product and some people at the company, even just through social media, you can reach out to them and say, Hey, I love your stuff. Is there any way that we can work together on affiliate structure? I think we’re finding a lot more doing something like that, especially for higher end items then you would just linking up random things in every post. At least that’s in my experience and I try to focus on things that do have higher price tags, because if I’m going to go through all the effort of trying to tell you about something I think is cool, like everything we do it takes time. If I spend that time, I don’t want to be getting a 3% commission off of a $5 spatula or something. That’s just not worth my time at all. So look for things that you love and that you can hopefully get relationships with some of the companies, cause that can always, as we know, turn into sponsored posts or other content that they’re interested in as well, which is always a bonus.

Megan: You’ll have to sell about 3 million spatulas then Jason to make it worth it. Taryn, I was just curious, the affiliates that you currently are backing, what are they products or services that really support your business and that you really are invested in? Or are you eh, they’re okay. They support me or how you feel about them. 

Taryn: No. So the the two, there’s besides Amazon, which is just in the background. So my site focuses a lot on grilling and I am an affiliate for ThermoWorks which has the Thermapen. I have had one for years. I actually have more than one. I have several of their products because they are amazing and I love them. They’re on the pricier side. But I have pictures of them on my website and in posts. Although probably I have them in stories too. I have a dedicated post on my site about how important internal temperature is for grilling. I like redirect people to that all the time. So that has been my most successful one because I think it was it Chelsea or Jason, or maybe both of you were saying that it’s so relative for my audience. Then I also am a butcher box affiliate. That one I do think that one is quite relevant for my audience, but I haven’t really dug into it as well. I feel like it’s a little more saturated. I feel like I say that all the time. But I’ve been a member for awhile and we love the Butcher box. The ones that are most successful for me are the ones that I really relate to. I’m sure I could find one or two other ones, but I just need to I need to get a good schedule. Probably what I need to do is put the calendar and schedule out. Okay. Talk about this and talk about this on different days. I think that’s probably the best. Hold myself accountable. T

Megan: Taryn, what else you could do. I was an affiliate too, for thermoworks because I too love their Thermapen. We use it all the time and it’s like the best thermometer ever. But what if you built posts around that topic? So you said you had a post on, why this is the best, but what if you wrote other posts that kind of support that? I don’t know what that would be, but do you know what I’m saying? Kind of what we were talking about in that one zoom call, where you find a topic and then you say the best temperature for ground beef. Talk about that really thoroughly or whatever it is that you like to grill the most. Then just do you’re interlinking and then you’re sending out the message that you’re an authority on the temperature of pork ribs. Then you can also send that content out to your audience. So they’re like, whoa, Taryn knows everything about temperatures of meat. You know what I mean? Does that make sense? 

Taryn: Yeah, that totally makes sense. I have two posts. One is oh gosh, I’m going to totally spaced on what these two posts deal with internal temperatures and why it’s necessary to know the internal temperature to cook meat and to not have over cooked meat. Because specifically, steak can be a big one for people, but breaking it down, steak or chicken, by specific meats. But yeah, and I think that could be true for any affiliate that I think the people who have the most success with. I’m with ButcherBox. For example, I’m thinking of my friend, Liz from The Clean Eating Couple. She has a really great post about Butcher box and comparing it to Costco and a couple other stores and has really developed herself as an authority on that within a certain community. I think that is a hundred percent a great way to go. 

Megan: Yeah, I think that would be a good strategy. I don’t know. I’ve never heard anyone specifically talk about how that boosted affiliates, but there’s gotta be a way to do that. To just use those two strategies and I don’t know, just to support each other. But hopefully that helped give you some ideas. Katie, did you have something? 

Katie: Yeah, I recently bought tasty links for affiliates. I just want to know if anyone else has used them or tried them out. I have noticed that some of my affiliate partners where I have zero click through I’m actually seeing actual impressions. I haven’t had any purchases, but I’m starting to see that impression. So I feel like that’s really good. I don’t know if anyone, if you’re not familiar with tasty links, actually links within all of your content for you. You’ll say spatula and you get the link to the spatula and it finds where you have written spatula and it will automatically link. Then you can update that actual link if it happens to break or changes. So I just want to know if anyone’s had any luck with using tasty links. I’m giving it a try for the year in hopes that I will see some affiliate sales. 

Megan: I have not. Any of the rest of you?

Taryn: I haven’t. I’ve heard good things about it, but I haven’t used it.

Chelsea: I used them for a while and didn’t really see anything. But I also put in minimal effort. I’m sure I could have tried a lot harder and I actually just canceled my subscription to the plugin just cause I wasn’t putting it to use enough, but that definitely could have been on me. 

Megan: Good to have on the radar though. I just wrote it down. So thanks for bringing that up, Katie. We are coming toward the end of our chat. This was such a great discussion. I was chatting with Taryn beforehand. I was like, we could chat about web stories, but is everyone’s sick of web stories? But clearly not. So I’m glad that we milked as much as we could out of that topic. So thank you guys for contributing. Thank you for being here and I’ll plan to see you all next week. 

We’re glad you could join 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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