In episode 303, Megan chats with blogger David Crowley, about effective strategies for seasoned bloggers to tackle making sure they see continued growth.
We cover information about how to think about updating old content, why internal linking is important and how, ways to plan out new content more strategically and be sure you’re building a strong infrastructure.
Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.
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Bio David has been blogging at Cooking Chat for over 10 years alongside a full-time job running a local nonprofit organization he founded. Cooking Chat focuses primarily on healthy, seasonal recipes, along with wine pairing recommendations. After reaching a point several years ago where things seemed to be going in the wrong direction with blogging, in 2019 David recommitted to it with a number of new investments in strategies. Since then, year over year traffic has been up well over 50%, and ad revenue is now generating a solid additional income stream for his family.
- Seasoned bloggers have a rich asset of existing content so place your focus on updating old posts.
- Annually or quarterly, it’s good to review your strategy and what content to review through Google Search Console.
- Review which holidays are relevant to your content and only focus on those – you can’t do everything.
- From your analytics, you can see what people were searching for that you can either add to your existing content or beef up as something within an existing post.
- Lean into internal linking intentionally.
- Find posts that rank higher using Google search console to then make sure you have a lot of outgoing links from those posts (from within your site).
- Be strategic with content planning. Support your current content and find things that Google says you’re going to be found for and build up from that.
- Be sure your tech infrastructure is strong and robust.
- Be okay with gradually, steadily building over traffic time because it’s sustainable
- Be sure to set boundaries with yourself for work and personal time so you don’t burn out.
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David Crowley: Hi, this is David Crowley from Cooking Chat and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
Sponsor: Hey awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player. Go to Eat Blog Talk, scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave Eat Blog Talk a five star rating if you love this podcast and leave a great review, this will only benefit this podcast. It adds value. I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay. Now onto the episode.
Megan Porta: Hey food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers, looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in your business. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I am your host, Megan Porta and you’re listening to episode number 303.
Today, David Crowley and I are going to have a conversation about seven strategies for seasoned bloggers to keep growing. David has been blogging at Cooking Chat for over 10 years alongside a full-time job, running a local nonprofit organization that he founded. Cooking Chat focuses primarily on healthy seasonal recipes, along with wine pairing recommendations. After reaching a point several years ago where things seemed to be going in the wrong direction with blogging, in 2019 David recommitted to it with a number of new investments and strategies. Since then, year over year, traffic has been up well over 50% and ad revenue is now generating a solid, additional income stream for his family.
Hi David, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s so fun to finally have a discussion with you here on Eat Blog Talk.
David Crowley: Yeah. Hi Megan. It’s great. As I was just saying, before you hit record, I’m a regular listener, so it’s definitely fun to be part of the conversation.
Megan Porta: Now you’re on this side of it, right? I’m excited to talk to you about your strategies today for season bloggers, because I am a seasoned blogger myself. So I’m here to learn from you. But before we dive into all of that, we’re all dying to know what your fun fact is.
David Crowley: Oh, yes, I do have one, it’s actually time. So I have now sampled wine from over 300 different grape varietals, with a big spreadsheet to prove it if anybody wants me to prove it.
Megan Porta: What? That’s so cool. I love that you log it in a spreadsheet too.
David Crowley: Yes. Yeah. There’s actually a program. It’s been going for a while that’s called Century Club, an international thing. People like trying different wines, document. I never actually got the little certificate the group sends out, but our local wine shop was doing a version of it. That’s when I really started getting into it. Then I got a hundred and I just kept going. I was the first one who hung out at this shop who hit a hundred. I was like, oh, I’m going to keep going and try to do 200 and 200 to 300 definitely took a lot longer than the first hundred.
Megan Porta: So this is probably a dumb question that you can’t answer. Maybe you can. But do you have something that stands out above the rest? One variety or one type?
David Crowley: Not one single grape. I would probably say the thing is I really enjoy getting off the beaten path, obviously. That’s why I do this. The one that got me over 300 was a Northern Italian red that actually had four different grape varietals blended in that I had never tried before. So I do love Italian risers, so food friendly, and of course being a food blogger that’s important. So I would say Italian wines in general, probably.
Megan Porta: Well, now that I know you’re a connoisseur, I will come to you with my wine questions. My husband has been collecting varieties of red wines for the past couple of years. Our basement is like literally piling up with wine. I don’t know mine very well. I love to drink it and I have favorites, but I don’t know, like all of this stuff he’s collecting. I have to ask him before I dig into a bottle, because I’m like, is this an important one? Should I not drink this?
David Crowley: We have a system for that. So the higher parts of the shelf, my wife can open without permission. Particularly the bottom shelf, I guess that’s the opposite of a bar, right? Top shelf, fancy stuff, but it’s the bottom. The bottom shelf of my wine racks are only for special occasions or recipe pairings.
Megan Porta: Now that you say that, I think he does say stay away from the bottom shelves. That must be a wine thing. Oh, funny. I love learning that about you. I’ve known that you do your wine pairings with your food, but now I love hearing all of that. So thank you for sharing that. Let’s dig into our talk because you have these strategies. First of all, you have a story with food blogging. You’ve been food blogging for a long time, and then you just re dug into it again, a couple of years ago, right?
David Crowley: Yeah. So I’ve started very much a hobby, as a hobby way of documenting stuff. I was cooking, like probably a lot of seasoned bloggers do. Then I tried to lean into being more professional with it and saw some growth for a while. But it really plateaued probably five years ago or so. It was almost like, it was at that moment where I’m putting too much time into this for not to be generating some revenue and getting the results I want. So it’s either do I keep doing this and do I really get it to the next level? Or maybe I need to think about retiring this. I opted for pushing forward. The timing was good. I think it was 2019 that I really invested in some updates and some strategies that were helpful. My growth was starting before the pandemic hit, but as we all know, then all of a sudden the whole world’s stuck home trying to cook more. Needless to say, I felt like I was ready for it. I had put some good things in place and in motion prior to that.
Megan Porta: It feels like the timing was perfect for you because yeah, I feel like so many blogs did absolutely explode during the pandemic. Good timing. I know you didn’t probably intentionally do that, but that worked out well. So you’ve learned some strategies and you want to share seven tips for how seasoned bloggers can keep growing, because it can be really frustrating as you get to that point. A lot of us do where we’re like, okay, this is it like, I need to make a decision. Do I keep going? Do I dig in? Because it’s getting more saturated and complicated honestly. Or do I stop because it’s madness. So you are here to encourage us to keep going. Here’s how. So let’s just run through your list. What is your number one tip for us?
David Crowley: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. They’re in two broad categories. The broad header is leveraging existing content. This is a little bit of a counterpoint, I think probably what motivated me to reach out about being on the podcast. I had heard you talking to Casey about these newer bloggers just blowing past season bloggers so quickly. I feel that too. Sometimes I see that oh man, they’re already at 50,000 views. It’s crazy. But, then I thought, we as seasoned bloggers do have this rich asset really of existing content. So leaning into that I think is really key. So the first tip I have is really focusing on updating old posts. I think that you hear that a lot these days, but also doing it in a very strategic manner. I have over 500 recipes on my site. I know you’ve probably had twice that, I’m guessing. So really having a methodology for how to do that. I’ve honed over the last couple years a way of doing an annual refresh but I do it to a lesser degree regularly, but at the end of every year, I do a deep dive into looking at my posts. It ranks all the posts through Google search console and looks for the ones that have that potentially bump up either because they are low on page one Google or maybe somewhere hanging around on page two Google and what’s some updating have potential to get in that coveted top two or three spots on Google.
Megan Porta: So how often did you say you go through and just assess which ones you need to update?
David Crowley: Yeah, I do a big review annually and then I try, I would say quarterly, I’m checking in on it. This year one of the things I’ve started doing is trying to decide which holidays do I really want to lean into? So I will sort what my traffic was like? I recently, as I’m planning for the spring, was looking okay, what was last April to mid May. I realized Easter really didn’t do anything for me. It’s my recipes that are popular all the time. So I’m not gonna worry about that, but Cinco de Mayo, I’ve got some stuff that does well. Mexican food and make some wine pairings and stuff. So in April, I really want to be looking at those posts that I can boost and focus on updating.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I think that’s so smart because we get tempted to try to lean into all the holidays and all of the seasons. That maybe is not a good strategy because what is working for us probably isn’t everything. So there’s probably a sprinkling of a few things that work, so evaluating. So what you’re doing is you’re looking at what historically has worked and you’re evaluating that and then planning going forward.
David Crowley: Yes, exactly. That really helps too. When you dig into the numbers, sometimes you’ll see oh, somebody is searching and they found this Mexican recipe. They’re actually looking for a chicken enchiladas recipe and I don’t actually have them on my blog, but they found my wine pairings for enchiladas because they were searching for chicken. Hey, in addition to updating that post that was generating the traffic then, oh, it also gives me ideas for new content related to that because people are searching for it and not finding it yet on my site.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I think that’s really smart and something that I didn’t do for a long time, I was just wildly throwing ideas out and content out. There came a time when I realized, wait, I need to probably put a little bit of thought into this. So I’m glad that you put this as number one, because I feel like what you said early on is so great. I actually wrote it down and then circled it. It’s a rich asset. If we have all of this content, we can tend to think of it as a weight or a burden because it can weigh us down if it’s not doing well or performing well, but really it’s a rich asset to have all of that content because you can go back, you can change it, you can tweak it. You can create content that supports it. There’s so much you can do with it. So I think this is a great point to start with. Do you want to move on to your second point?
David Crowley: Yes. The second one is really being thoughtful about internal linking and really leaning into more internal links. Because you have control over linking from one post to another on your blog. I know it can be challenging. We like to get external links, but that can take a lot of work and it’s not easy. Definitely one of the things I’ve listened to and I know you’ve had the Blog Millionaire podcasts, I know you’re a fan of RankIQ, which I’ve gotten into as well, but anyway, Brandon’s tip about a strategy for building internal links, which I had been doing anyway, but he has a methodology that I tried recently and it’s like going through and finding the most optimal posts that will get the most link juice. I know some people don’t like that term. But basically one thing you want to do is if I have an asparagus pasta recipe, maybe I’ll also link to asparagus soup cause they’re related. But I guess the thing that Brandon’s podcast episode on this brought to my attention was really trying to find posts that rank higher using a search console to then make sure you have a lot of outgoing links from those posts.
So even if you use that example, asparagus soup. Great. Yeah. It’s related and maybe for the user, that does make sense, but if it really doesn’t do that well on Google, it doesn’t bring as much authority by building up the link. So now what I started was a thing and I use another tool. I think I’ve heard them advertise here, Clariti, to identify I think I have my top 20 posts and a task, which is do the link updates. I want these three links into those top 20 posts. And it’s one of those little tasks you can do and have a little bit of time, not enough time to do new posts. But Hey, I’m going to get links to a couple more of my posts that are on that list. I started to look at the search console results that I used to say, okay, these are the ones that I want to link to, these top performing recipes, to try to boost them further.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s such a great strategy. I actually listened to that episode from The Blogger Millionaire as well. I think it was a series of episodes, right? Maybe a three-part series. I did everything he said. So it’s not complicated, but it takes intention. You need to sit down and be intentional about listening and following the directions. Go into Google search console and you have to click here. So I did everything and then I created two sheets and started logging them. His strategy is really intriguing. It’s nothing that I ever would have done, just thinking on my own. I don’t think that way anyway, but yeah, I thought that was super helpful and unique. I love that you’re using Clariti to track because you can create these magic projects there on pretty much anything you want to do. It’s such a good way to not just create the projects, but help you follow through and track which posts you’re working on, which ones you need to get to and all of that. So super glad you mentioned that too. Then RankIQ, how are you using RankIQ? Are you using it for updating old content, new content? I would love to hear what your strategy is.
David Crowley: Yeah, I am probably using it more to surface new posts ideas and that’s been great. I do it a little bit for updating old posts as well. I do, if I’m updating something and you might put it in there into the optimizer to see what keywords it’s suggesting I use, but I’ve especially liked it for surfacing new ideas. We do have to wade through a lot of some of these recipes you’re like people really make things out of, I can’t even think of a good example, but crazy stuff. No, yes. I might feel rank on page one if I could figure out how to make sauteed turtles or whatever. That doesn’t sound too tasty. But you weed through and you find stuff. Oh yeah, that does make sense for me to work on updating. So I try to, when I’m planning my content, I actually have a recurring thing in Asana to plan monthly contents. I try to do at least one new post that is one I surface through that RankIQ keyword research.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s some of the results in there are a little bit off the wall, but that’s the gold of it, I think. Because if you can figure out how to incorporate that into your content, then you can rank really quickly for a lot of those keywords. I already said that, really fast, but really high on Google as well. Yeah, if you do that enough, like it’s just it adds up over time and that’s what I’m finding right now with using RankIQ a lot. Dedicated my three posts a week to running through the RankIQ optimizer. My traffic keeps climbing. So year over year, I’m up 25% from last year, which I know a lot of people are not seeing. It keeps going up. A little bit ago, I’d say three weeks ago it was 20%. So now I just looked yesterday it was 25% and climbing so there’s something to that. That tool is magic and I absolutely love it. I’m so glad you’re loving it too.
David Crowley: Yeah. It’s really great. In fact, I was going to just say I realized that my next point, actually, RankIQ helped with. Which I was going to say my third was about planning.
Megan Porta: Perfect segway.
David Crowley: Planning new content that builds on success. Actually I was going to give an example through something I found in RankIQ. I think for a while, I really focused on each recipe post in isolation. Okay, I gotta to make the steak recipe now, and now it’s going to be a soup now salad. Just whatever I felt like eating. Seasonal, definitely, but not strategic. I already have a post that’s doing well, what else can I make? Because based on the authority that I built up, trying to shift that a little bit. I think that’s a recent thing for me. But a great example would be, so actually my top performing posts is a boneless pork ribs recipe. That actually became my number one after identifying it through the updating old post thing and doing an update, all of a sudden it just started ranking really well for a bunch of keywords. So then when I was looking for new things to build around that, I saw in RankIQ, there’s what to serve with section and what to serve with ribs. I’m like that’s right up my alley, as Google thinks I’m a ribs expert. Which is ironic because that’s how I make all that much. My little secret there. So I did a Round up on, what to serve with ribs and that’s ranking one or two and on Google and it’s also neck and neck with that pork ribs recipe, the Roundup for the, what to serve with is right there as one of my top performers. Someone was asking me the other day, can you justify the RankIQ’s monthly fee. I can just look at this one idea, it’s paying for itself and then some. This one recipe, but like you, I’ve had the smaller wins as well. Posts, maybe not huge traffic, but hey, the benefit of being a one or two on Google for something that’s 500 searches a month. Yeah. That’s not bad. It adds up.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Thanks to RankIQ, I actually found a few of those gems too. So what to serve with, I explored that maybe in June, May or June of last year. So 2021, just thinking like, oh, I don’t know how this is going to do, but I put up a round up. It was served with sweet potatoes. For some reason, Google’s yes. Megan is the expert on what you need to serve with sweet potatoes. I was shocked. I have maybe four sweet potato recipes on my site, so I’m not a huge expert, but that post is still one of my top posts now. It went crazy. So since then I’m like, okay, let’s experiment a little more with sweet potatoes. So I did that and it wasn’t the sweet potatoes that Google was seeing me as an expert. They were seeing me as an expert in what to serve with. So I started doing a ton more roundups in random categories. Almost every single one that I put up, shoots right to page one, for some reason. So I am running with that. I’m doing so many roundups right now, but I never would have found that if it weren’t for RankIQ and just looking through the database. I’m like, okay, I’m going to try this random thing. So there is something to it. To answer your friend’s question, is it worth it? Oh my gosh. Yes. I feel like I’m getting a steal of a deal by paying what I paid for RankIQ considering the outcome I’ve gotten. So I did not intend for this to be an ad for RankIQ, but I do love it. So I wanted to just say all of that, but yeah, that’s so cool. Isn’t that fun when you just see something take off that you don’t expect and you’re like, oh, I’m an expert in this area apparently.
David Crowley: Yeah, really, as it’s funny and over the years, some things I think, oh, this is really something that should take off and it doesn’t. I do feel like with tools like RankIQ and just learning over time, I feel like my hit rate is a little better, at least. I feel like most things I do. Occasionally I’ll post them because Hey, it tastes great. Or I do this wine pairing thing too. Sometimes I’ll partner with a wine brand and I need to make a recipe. So certain times I’m not aiming to get traffic, but for the ones where I’m saying, my primary goal here is to rank it on the top page of Google. Now I’d say my hit rate is pretty good for getting there in the first three to six months. They’re flops still, so you gotta keep making them.
Megan Porta: Just like with anything else. You can’t expect 100% success, but you just keep going. Food bloggers know how to do that better than anyone, I feel like. Just keep on going.
David Crowley: Yeah, definitely.
Megan Porta: Yeah. So what is number four? You’re number four tip.
David Crowley: My fourth one is definitely making sure your tech infrastructure is strong and robust. I have to say the under the hood aspect of blogging is definitely not what I like or enjoy at all. There are aspects like analyzing what content is working. I actually like that, but actually when people started talking about how to get your page speed up and this and that, I know it’s important. I value it, but I don’t want to be the one in the weeds of figuring it out.
But part of what really helped me, thank goodness I did it before the pandemic, was really saying I need to get to a better host and really have some help to help with things like page speed. So I did a whole bunch of things all at once. I updated my host. I signed up for Nerd Press. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that.
Megan Porta: I’m on Nerd Press as well.
David Crowley: Yeah. So for folks that don’t know, it’s a service for outsourcing, just taking care of some of your tech maintenance and so I did that and updated to the latest feast plug in. So doing all those three things around the same time, I definitely saw all of a sudden that really positioned me for steady growth. Because my numbers had been really going in the wrong direction. I realized that I think some of it was, Google was starting to factor in more, some of those technical things that I hadn’t been paying as much attention to. So definitely, if you don’t take care of that stuff, you can have the best recipes, do SEO research, you’re probably not going to have the results.
Megan Porta: Holding yourself back a little bit. Possibly. Not always. Yeah. If you’re going to take the time to put your content out there and create the content in the first place, you want to make sure that it has the best possibility of being seen, right? You don’t want it to be held back by something on the backend. A lot of us, raising my hand here, don’t know anything about the back end. I don’t even know how to take care of it. So I definitely need help in that area. It is worthwhile for my perspective to just hire someone to do that.
David Crowley: Yeah, definitely.
Megan Porta: Okay. So your next point falls under kind of a different theme. So do you want to describe that first?
David Crowley: So the overall theme is to remember that if you want to be in this for a long haul for the long haul that you want to be going at the pace of somebody running a marathon, as opposed to somebody running a sprint. because if you ever tried to sprint further than you really can, that doesn’t work out, as you pull a muscle, certainly especially as the season blogger and retired athlete or something like that. So you do need to pace yourself and if you want to be at it for the long haul. Part of that is not getting super overwhelmed, taking a deep breath when you hear somebody say, oh, I’ve been blogging for three months. I already qualified for Mediavine or something like that, that you worked a long time for. Being okay with that gradually, steadily building over time. Because I do think that is ultimately more sustainable. That’s my theory. Not to say some of these newer bloggers that are great, aren’t going to sustain it. But I do think, if you have a robust plan with all those assets as I was talking about earlier, great recipes that are delicious and also perform well on Google. You build that up over time. That’s a strong base that you’ve built up. That’s your bread and butter, so to speak. So you don’t always need to be racing, getting to the specific thing I have under this is, you don’t have to jump on every new trend. I have to guard against this myself. I do, sometimes. I’m one of those people that I do sometimes like that new thing. I will definitely hear something. Oh yeah. Maybe I should start another Facebook group and do this or that. But hitting pause on stuff like that and saying, all right, does this really make sense for me? Do I have to jump in and do that? Just as for instance, like video stuff, I have done some video, but I’m in and out of it. It’s not something I like and enjoy. So therefore I haven’t done anything with web stories, would be an example. Not to say I never will. But for me, if I am doing well with what I’m doing and it’s enough to keep up with what I’m already doing, I try to really look carefully at adding additional things to the plate.
Megan Porta: It’s like setting a boundary and just being okay with that boundary. It took me 11 years to learn this. So I say this with love because I know it’s really hard. But yeah, we are so tempted by so many things. We hear all of these new emerging things that we should be doing, like you mentioned web stories. We can’t do it all. Especially if you’ve got a job. I know you have a job, David, and you have a family. You can’t dedicate your entire life to food blogging. So you’ve got to set boundaries and draw lines. Not just that, but you have to be okay with it because if you set the boundary, but then you’re like, oh, I should probably be doing that. You’re going to just torture yourself. I don’t even know if I have good advice for that. How do you get to the point where you’re okay with it? Because it took me so long to figure it out. Do you have advice for anyone, for me, for anyone else?
David Crowley: I don’t think there are easy answers because I think first that’s a mindset. Reminding yourself of what’s the core of this business, what’s the core of what’s driving the success . For, I think most food bloggers, that’s great recipes that are well-written with nice photographs and all that good stuff. That’s the core. The latest social media fad is, I tend to think, icing on the cake. Also sometimes pretty fleeting. As we know, there are platforms that come and go or change a lot. Remembering to stay focused on the core of the food blogging business. I think secondly, I also like having time parameters. Whether you’re full-time or part-time, when am I going to be working on it? There’s always something more you can be doing. So if you allow yourself to think, I need to be doing it all, you’re going to be working all the time or feeling like you need to. I tend to do an hour or so weekday mornings before I get into my day job. Sometimes we’ll do a little bit in the evening, but usually lighter stuff. Like social media, small tasks. Then we usually spend a number of hours over the weekend, not cooking and cooking the recipes, but as far as the writing and the other blog work. So setting those boundaries and saying okay, I’m done. Knowing when you’re done, you did the most important things and you prioritize what’s important.
Megan Porta: Yup. I did something this year. I think this is why I finally learned it. I sat down at the beginning of the year and I just thought back to 2021. Really put a ton of thought into this. Like what worked in 2021 and what didn’t work. Then I just reviewed that list. I made a huge long list and just typed it all out. Then based on what worked, I put more of that into my goals for 2022. Based on what wasn’t working for me personally, I removed that from my 2022 lists. That just made sense. Here’s history telling me what worked and what didn’t. So here’s what you can take off your list mentally and logistically, just remove it from my life. That has helped me so much. I removed the video from my life for this year. Like you said, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to do video in the future, but for now, I’m just not\. It feels so good. It’s so freeing to be like, I’m not doing video. So if somebody says, Megan, you need to be on TikTok. I say, no, actually I can’t. My list says I can’t do that this year. So it’s a freeing thing to just write it down. It’s empowering. That’s the word I was looking for.
David Crowley: Yeah. I love that idea. A not-to-do list. Our to-do lists our always…
Megan Porta: Two full. You’re just adding stuff. Like maybe I should do a video, but if you put it on your not-to-do list, it’s just like a boss telling you that you can’t focus on it.
David Crowley: I think, just a related thing, I’ve started to think about it a little bit more, as we start having success and see revenue increase. I also think about going back to web stories. Maybe at some point, if I really assess it and feel like, okay, that actually could generate enough traffic to my blog that it’s worth doing, but maybe it’s not something I want to add to my personal plate, but maybe looking for opportunities to outsource things like that too. If you really see there’s a potential return.
Megan Porta: I’m going to add a little thing in here. I do think you should do web stories, David, because they’re not a huge investment of your time and you could easily outsource them. I was going to say that too. It’s such a good way right now to get a huge boost in traffic. I believe that like in a year, they’re going to be so saturated that it’s going to be hard to even tap into that magic. So I would just put a little vote in there. If it’s on your not to do list, I totally understand. Tell me to go away. But I am just going to say that.
David Crowley: I like it, especially with the potential outsourcing angle. There are people and that’s the pretty great thing about this food blog community. Some people want to do it full-time but maybe their own blog isn’t quite full-time revenue yet, but they’re really good at web stories. So help some other blogs that don’t want to do it. Maybe that rounds out their income. It can be a win-win situation.
Megan Porta: I want to put this out there because I’ve had a handful of bloggers recently in your boat where they’re like, I don’t want to do web stories, but I know I should. But I don’t know where to go to get help. So if you’re listening and you are in the camp of helping with web stories, please contact me because I don’t know where to send people anymore. I’m like, you should do it, but I would send you out into the ether. I don’t really know who is doing that. So let me know.
David Crowley: Yeah, I’d love to hear that.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Why don’t you move on to point number six?
David Crowley: Yeah. I think I started touching upon this already, but really focusing on what drives results for your blog over time and having that be the core of what you do. I think that’s the recipes, updating them, honing them. That’s really your foundation as a food blogger. Building on that. One thing, just related to the whole thing about updating old posts, something that helped me. Another benefit, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anybody say about focusing on updating old posts is when you have that as a priority, you don’t have to stress that it’s going to be perfect the first time you post the recipe. Because you’re like, Hey, frankly, part of what I do now with a new recipe is, I’m testing it and I put it out there. Sometimes it’s an internal deadline for myself. Sometimes it’s an external deadline. I need to post something for some reason or another. So that recipe just has to go live, and gee, maybe I’d like it to make it one more time or get a better photograph. But, if I start seeing it’s getting some traction, I come back to it and then I can update it and improve it. Maybe then it does become a top performer.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s a good way to look at perfection. That’s the great thing about blogging. You can always go back and redo.You can redo your photos. Everything that you create, you can redo if you need to. So there’s no excuse to try to be perfect. You just need to get it out there and see what’s going to start working, right?
David Crowley: Yeah, exactly.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s a great one. Did you have anything more about point 6 before we move on?
David Crowley: No, I think that’s it.
Megan Porta: Okay. So dive into your last point.
David Crowley: My last point, you talked about it already, the boundaries part. So I think setting boundaries and having fun and they go together for me. Boundaries are important as we talked about. But the other idea is we’re doing this, presumably hopefully nobody’s food blogging that doesn’t like to cook or something like that. I assume we’re doing this because we love cooking, creating recipes that are delicious and sharing those physically with people around our table, around a bigger virtual table. Leaning into the parts of it that really give us the most joy, for me as somebody who’s doing food blogging part-time along with another job, that’s particularly important. But I suspect it’s true for full-time too. Because how are you gonna get somebody to want to try a recipe if you don’t love it. If you’re not excited about it. I feel like some way or another, it comes through. So sticking with the passion. Another way I see that sticking with what’s fun, as one of the ways I think about that is, it is tricky when you start getting into all the analysis and what things can I get to page one on Google on. Definitely there’s some things in RankIQ that I just don’t want to cook. Sometimes being okay with posting this recipe. It might go nowhere on Google, but it’s delicious. One long-term goal I have for myself is boy, I’d love to have my blog at the traction where I just post something, even if it’s SEO friendly per se, but enough people are gonna find it. I feel like I’m getting to the point where at least I’ve gotten a broader range of things I can post and people will see. Not veering away from what we really love doing about it.
Megan Porta: I love that because we do get so in that groove of just everything we create has to appease the SEO gods. But it shouldn’t be like that. Like you said, we all enjoy cooking or at least we probably all do. So maybe I forgot who I was talking to, but some blogger inspired me by just saying that she allotted a day a month or something like that to do whatever she wanted. She didn’t think about SEO. The cool thing is that you never know. Some of that stuff could actually take off unexpectedly. You’re putting a guess out into the world, but you’re also creating something that you’re actually passionate about. So that could appease your creative side too. Do you do anything like that, David?
David Crowley: Yeah, I haven’t heard it exactly that way as much as just, sometimes saying, Hey I’m going to cook this because I want. But I think somebody on your podcast also talked about this idea, which I’m interested in trying to do more of, which is I think part of how I do SEO, like SEO research is I already have a recipe idea but I play around. See if I find something that will work SEO wise and then I move forward or I don’t. But almost more like cooking something that’s really good. Or I make something that’s really good. Sometimes I get frustrated. I think, oh, this is a great recipe. I’m like, ah, it doesn’t look like it would perform well on Google. Then it’s just oh, I only just make it for myself and my family. Someone had some paradigm for maybe looking a little more creatively about how to take something that is a really good recipe and finding angles that work SEO. So that’s an area I’d like to explore a little more.
Megan Porta: That’s a good thought. I like that. So creating what you want. Being creative, allowing. For yourself, but then maybe being strategic about the content that can support it or link to it. Is that what you were saying?
David Crowley: Exactly.
Megan Porta: I like that. That’s really interesting. Never heard it framed like that. Okay. So we ran through seven amazing points. I love all of this and I liked your overarching themes too. Leverage your existing content. Then also just going in with the mindset that this is a marathon. This is not a sprint. For some people it is a sprint, but for most people it’s a marathon. If you had to leave us with one takeaway, your most important point, what would that be?
David Crowley: I would say, and particularly for seasoned bloggers, leaning into the great content you have, and really remembering it is really a great asset that you have. Like any asset, the more you think about how to organize it, improve it, enhance it, you’re going to see great results over time.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s good. Okay, great. It has been so fun to talk to you, David. Thank you so much for joining me today.
David Crowley: Yeah, I’ve really enjoyed it. Megan. Thanks. A few thoughts you put out into the universe, maybe somebody will pop up and come up with some ideas or resources for us.
Megan Porta: Yeah, exactly. Hoping that happens too. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with today?
David Crowley: I do. So I love this quote by Michelangelo and he said, “Lord grant, that I might always desire more than I can accomplish.” To some extent that might seem counter to some of the stuff we talked about like setting boundaries, like what’s this, want more than you can accomplish. I think ultimately, I guess it goes back to my last point. If you’re fueled by passion, you’re always going to have more on your to-do list, then you can get done. I don’t know if you’ve had the opportunity to see the Sistine chapel. If you look up at a work of art like that, if being an overachiever driven by passion means sometimes you’re going to have to work on your boundaries, I guess that’s the place I want to be.
Megan Porta: Oh that actually that quote framed our entire chat, didn’t it? There’s so many themes within that. Wow. You chose that really well. I’m impressed. That was awesome.
David Crowley: I like quotes.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I do too. I live by quotes. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, David. So if you want to go peek at those or anyone else wants to go look at them, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/cookingchat. Why don’t you tell everyone where they can find you on your website and on social media?
David Crowley: So the website is cookingchatfood.com. In there, you can get my social links. Being an older blogger, sometimes I don’t always grab the right URL’s right away. So I’m Cooking Chat on Twitter and Facebook Cooking Chat Wine and on Instagram. But then go to the website and you can get it all there.
Megan Porta: I liked the instructions. Yeah. Thank you again so much for joining me, David, and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
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