In this episode, Liz Thomson teaches us what to expect if we buy or start a second blog and how to get on to a premium ad network quickly.
We cover information about the challenges of buying a second blog, what the process looks like and tips for anyone looking to get their website on to an ad network.
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Bio Liz Thomson is a full-time content creator who has been running the blog I Heart Vegetables since 2010. She loves chatting about influencer marketing, food photography, and why everyone needs an air fryer.
- Buying another domain can be a seamless process.
- Be prepared to update old content to make it SEO optimized.
- Find very specific niche groups on Facebook to share recipes to.
- Visual graphics like ingredient lists perform well in Facebook groups.
- Use web stories to boost traffic to a new domain.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel, find a template that works and duplicate it.
- For a quick boost, submit a recipe to Foodtalk – a site that will share your content.
- Use Flipboard for a surprisingly quick and easy source of traffic.
- Should you invest time in long-term social media strategies when you’re trying to get into an ad network?
- Be intentional about why you are starting a second site and what you intend to publish.
Click for full script.
EBT464 – Liz Thomson
Food bloggers, hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth and ultimately help you achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional.
I’m Megan Porta and I’ve been a food blogger for over 13 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported.
Megan Porta 00:37
Have you ever considered starting or purchasing a second website to dig into in addition to your primary site? If so, and even if you haven’t, I think you should listen to this episode because Liz Thompson from I heart to vegetables, makes a very good case for doing this, or at least considering it. She purchased a second site recently from another blogger. And she talks through how she got onto an ad network within just a couple of months and how she went about doing that. She has some very specific strategies that she used and talks through in the episode and we talked about things such as who should consider doing this? Who shouldn’t consider doing something like this? What to focus on when you are moving into a venture like this and what not to focus on. So there’s lots of goodies inside this episode. It is episode number 464. Sponsored by RankIQ.
Is increasing your traffic, revenue, exposure, follower count, knowledge and friendships on your to-do list for 2024? If so, then the 2024 Mastermind Group might be the perfect solution for you and your business. December 15th is the last day to apply. So hurry, go to eatblogtalk.com/mastermind to apply today. Here is Kara from Sweetly Splendid, she is a previous mastermind member talking about one of the really cool benefits from being in the group:
“I don’t know it was really nice for me to like if I’m making a new opt-in or making some sort of graphic or anything like that, it’s like a whole set of eyes to review it and see it and say, Hey, this one’s a little hard for me to read. Could you make this a little bigger, a little bolder? Or what if you reordered it like this, and it’s like your own little support group that will give you critique and criticism like constructive criticism, but things you need to hear in a very loving way. And it was very helpful for me across the board. I felt like there were tons of tiny wins, things I can’t even think of right now. But tons of tiny wins along the way.”
Megan Porta 02:38
Elizabeth Thompson is a full-time content creator who has been running the blog. I Heart Vegetables since 2010. She loves chatting about influencer marketing, food photography and why everyone needs an air fryer.
Megan Porta 02:51
Hello, Liz, so great to have you on the podcast. How are you today?
Liz Thomson 02:55
I’m good. Thank you so much for having me.
Megan Porta 02:58
Yeah, I’m excited to chat about this because it is relevant in my life right now growing a second niche blog. But first, we would love to know if you have a fun fact to share with us.
Liz Thomson 03:10
I do have a fun fact, mine is that I was homeschooled for 10 years, basically from first grade until 10th grade. And it’s funny because I think that in a way that sort of prepared me for entrepreneurship, where it’s a lot of kind of self-motivation and self-directed work. And so I actually think that that has served me well for my career path.
Megan Porta 03:31
That’s really interesting. I’ve never thought to make that correlation. But I wonder how many successful food bloggers are or were homeschooled.
Megan Porta 03:40
I would love to know that I feel like I do keep meeting people in my life that were like, oh, yeah, I was homeschooled too. So it is kind of funny. I think there’s, there’s more of us out there.
Megan Porta 03:49
And you do definitely have to figure out ways to motivate yourself and to keep going even when you don’t have a school telling you what the rules are, right? So there has to be something to that.
Liz Thomson 04:00
Megan Porta 04:02
Cool. Okay. I’m super excited to chat about this Liz. Because I shared with you that I have recently started a second site. It was scary. But now that I’ve started, it’s not so scary. So we’re gonna shed light on that. And you’re gonna talk about some strategies you’ve used to get traffic quickly. But before we do that, can you just give us a rundown of your first site, which is iheartvegetables when you started and kind of what your journey has been like?
Liz Thomson 04:30
Yeah, absolutely. So I started blogging in 2010, which was like the dinosaur age of blogging. And like a lot of people back then it was totally just a hobby. I didn’t know anyone that was doing it as a job or even anyone that was making money doing it. I just, I had recently moved to a new city and I actually went vegan for six months. That’s what initially got me into blogging. And after six months, I decided that I was just going to be a vegetarian, but I really fell in love with the blogging piece of it. Like creating recipes and sharing things online and kind of finding other people that were interested in healthy food and vegetables. And you know, this was before Instagram before Tik Tok. So it was just a very different time of the internet. And it was just really fun, I had so much fun doing it. And over the years, it kind of became one of those things that I was like, Oh, this could kind of be like a little bit of a side hustle. And I’m getting some free granola, and then someone wants to pay me to take pictures. And it kind of just really organically grew into something that eventually became so much of a side hustle that I was like, I don’t think I can do this and have a full-time job and have a family. And so I was doing social media strategy for a big financial services company throughout all of this. So I was kind of getting to see sort of where things were headed. We were starting to work with more influencers and my nine to five job and I was like, Oh, I think there’s something here. And so it sort of transitioned from a side hustle into a full-time job in 2019. And so I’ve been doing it full-time since then. And it has been the absolute best career move I ever could have made. And it feels a little bit like I sort of just fell into it. So I feel really lucky that I get to do something that I really love and enjoy as my job.
Megan Porta 06:16
Yeah, oh my gosh, I love that. We have very similar journeys we started the same year. And I think I probably went full-time out of necessity earlier, just because I lost my full-time job, I probably would have stuck with it longer if I hadn’t that hadn’t happened. But aside from that, it sounds very similar, like just super passionate about it, something I really liked, it really filled my, like all the gaps for creativity and keeping my mind busy and all of that. Okay, so I know you recently started a second site. So I’m curious, what prompted you to do that?
Liz Thomson 06:52
Yeah, so a couple of things kind of were the catalyst for this, I had a couple or I have a couple of blog friends who also had kind of started second sites or acquired second sites. And I was like, oh, that’s like, kind of an interesting idea. It wasn’t something I had really thought about, it seemed like why not just put, you know, all my time and energy into I Heart Vegetables, that’s what’s making me money. And that’s what’s working. But as I thought about it, I was like, you know, it would be kind of interesting to be able to share some things that are a little bit outside my niche. So I Heart Vegetables is all easy, healthy vegetarian stuff. And I love those types of recipes. But I was thinking, Oh, it would be kind of fun to get to do cocktails, or really decadent brownies or things that aren’t necessarily like healthy. And I thought oh, it would kind of be interesting to have an outlet for that.
Liz Thomson 07:41
And I wouldn’t say that I was feeling burnt out. But I Hear Vegetables, but I was feeling like I had a little bit of extra bandwidth. And I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with that time, it didn’t feel like I wanted to just do more of the same, I kind of wanted to be able to wear some different hats and try some different things. And I like I said, I had a few friends that were kind of, you know, toying around with second sites. And so I thought, I’m just gonna keep my eyes peeled. And if I hear of someone getting rid of their site, or I see something, maybe I’ll consider it but it wasn’t something that I really had initially set out to do. And then a friend that I had been connected to through Instagram for years, I just happened to mention casually in her Instagram stories like, Hey, if you have any recipes on my site that you want, download them because I’m not going to renew my domain name, like I’m getting rid of my site. And so I messaged her, and I was like, Hey, I saw that you’re getting rid of your site, have you thought about selling it? And she was like, No, how would that work? And I’m like, I don’t really know, because I’ve never done this before. But I’m like, we can probably figure this out. And so she and I kind of just chatted about what she felt like the site was worth and what I felt like the site was worth, and we came up with a contract. And we used a service called Escrow to kind of transfer the money in the site and all that technical stuff. And that’s actually how I came across this second site.
Megan Porta 09:01
Oh, that’s awesome. Okay, I would never have thought of finding it that way. Just like somebody casually mentioned, hey, I’m selling, and how did everything go? So when you decided to do the transfer and all of that, was it seamless? Was it a struggle?
Liz Thomson 09:15
It actually was pretty seamless. And I think it was easy, because we were only transferring the site, we weren’t really transferring, she was still keeping her Instagram and using that for photography stuff. And there wasn’t really anything else that went with the site. It was really kind of just the domain. And her site at the time was barely getting any traffic. She hadn’t been posting for years. And so the site was old, and it had a lot of content on it. But it really was not getting more than I don’t even think it was getting 100 page views a day at the time. So it was pretty dormant. And there wasn’t a whole lot to transfer other than really just the domain and the website. So the Escrow process made it really easy in terms of like, I put the funds in, she put the domain stuff and we both confirmed we had what we need added and then they kind of handled like the actual transfer stuff. So it was pretty easy.
Megan Porta 10:04
And then once you had it, how easy was it to comb through the content? I’m sure you did updates and made it kind of your own. Was that easy?
Liz Thomson 10:13
Well, yes and no, it was easy in the sense that I already knew how to use WordPress I was familiar with like the themes and plugins and things that she had. But it was definitely more work than I expected in terms of getting things SEO optimized. So even though she had a lot of content and a lot of great recipes, they were not optimized at all, which was part of what I wanted to say, because I saw the potential in the content. But it did require a lot of manual updates.
Megan Porta 10:45
Yeah, I imagine. And there are things you probably don’t think about, right? Like the recipe card needs to be updated or changed or whatever, like all those little details in each post. So how much time did you invest in it before kind of putting it out in a refreshed way into the world?
Liz Thomson 11:02
So I pretty much immediately changed the domain name, which looking back, I don’t think I would have done it differently. But I didn’t realize what an impact that would have immediately on a lot of the search rankings. So as most of us know, if you’re adding redirects to your site, that’s not a great SEO thing. But I really had to do it, I had to change the name of the site. And I kind of knew that going into it that the branding just didn’t make sense with where I wanted to take it. So I knew I was going to take a hit initially. But I went ahead and changed the domain name almost immediately, and started updating the content. And then I would say after probably a month of kind of just getting things to a place where I felt comfortable putting it out there, then I was like, Okay, I’m gonna put the pedal to the metal and see how quickly I can get this on Mediavine.
Megan Porta 11:51
Yeah. Okay, so how quickly did you get it on Mediavine?
Liz Thomson 11:55
It took me about two months after that, which was really, really fast, much faster than I expected. My goal was to do it before Google Analytics moved to Q4, because I just didn’t want to have to deal with like the change of that in the middle of all this. So my goal was to do it by July, and I think I did it by April, or May.
Megan Porta 12:13
Oh my gosh.
Liz Thomson 12:13
And so that was exciting. I do need to mention, I’m in Mediavine Pro, I think it’s called. So I only had to get 25,000 sessions in 30 days versus 50,000 sessions in 30 days, if you’re not part of like the Media,vine Pro group. So I knew the bar was going to be a little bit lower for me to get it into Media,vine, and I thought, okay, 25,000 sessions. That doesn’t sound too hard. It was hard. But it is possible. And I did learn a ton along the way.
Megan Porta 12:41
And give yourself some credit. I mean, I know you’re kind of downplaying it, like, oh, I only had to get 25. But that’s a lot of sessions. So good for you, that’s just shows that you have all of those years of learning and your knowledge and skills. And that kind of paid off. Because I guarantee you like a new brand new blogger that knows nothing about food blogging, coming into the space, getting on Media,vine, even getting to 25k sessions in a couple of months is really hard. But don’t you think that because you have had all that knowledge previously that that really helped to amplify things?
Liz Thomson 13:16
I think so. And honestly, that was part of what was enticing to me about trying this was, I hear people that are like, Oh, well, you were able to do it, because you started so early, like 2010 was a different time. And they are so right, there are tons and tons of advantages to starting something a decade ago. But it’s like the quote, you know, the next best time to start is today. And so I wanted to know, like, Could I actually do it? Could I could I make a blog profitable or get a blog on Mediavine in 2023?
Megan Porta 13:45
Yeah, and you did.
Liz Thomson 13:47
And I did.
Megan Porta 13:48
Alright, so we want to hear some of your strategies. How did you get that traffic so quickly?
Liz Thomson 13:52
Okay, so I will say I didn’t completely put my other blog on the back burner, but I did sort of make sure I had enough content and things ready to go that I could really focus on the second site. The second site is called Pass Me a Spoon. So it’s passmeaspoon.com if you want to see it. And so I thought, Okay, I’m really going to focus on Pass Me a Spoon, because I knew if I was able to kind of get some momentum, like through a web story, or something went like you know, a little bit viral on a Facebook group or something like that. I didn’t want to have to start over I wanted to be able to capture that. And so I kind of went all in to figure out if I could get a lot of traffic at once. And so there were a few different things I did. Number one, I use Facebook groups. I know this is nothing new, but I learned a ton about what works and what doesn’t in Facebook groups. I think you did an episode on Facebook groups recently. So I won’t repeat all the details. But some of the things that I found to be really helpful were the more niche the Facebook group was the better and so getting really specific on types of ingredients that I use or grocery stores like you know, Trader Joe’s or something like that. If I had a recipe that used like a certain ingredient from Trader Joe’s, I would look for a Facebook group that was all about Trader Joe’s products or this site that I had had has a lot of gluten-free stuff on it. And so I would look for gluten-free groups. And I found that the more specific the group was, the better it seemed to do in terms of traffic. So I had a huge spreadsheet, where I outlined all the different groups and I had different kind of color coding for which groups are working the best which groups, I was testing out which groups weren’t worth sharing to, so that I could kind of cut those from my list. And that that worked really well.
Liz Thomson 13:57
Another thing that worked well, for Facebook groups, I was creating specific graphics with some of the ingredients stuff on it. And I’ve played around with the templates a lot. I’m sure anyone listening who has used Facebook groups have seen some of these templates, sometimes I would use things that were really visual and kind of have a title and all of that. Lately, I’ve just been doing a list of the ingredients. That’s it like not the amount, but just like these are the 10 things that you need to make these brownies or whatever. And I found that that helped drive a lot of shares specifically. And so obviously, those shares also translated into traffic. But having something like that that was a little bit more visual and graphic seem to help a lot in Facebook groups.
Megan Porta 16:14
How often did you post to Facebook groups out of curiosity.
Liz Thomson 16:17
I was probably posting, I think I was trying to do around 10 per day, and I would space it out a little bit because I didn’t want it to like trigger any spam stuff on Facebook. So I tried to share a few in the morning and a few around lunchtime and a few in the afternoon.
Megan Porta 16:34
Okay, so quite a bit of time. And then how much of a time investment would you say that was?
Liz Thomson 16:40
I think initially it did take a while to kind of create my spreadsheet and find all the groups and figure out what to share. But I would say after the first month, it was not on autopilot. But it made it a lot easier to know which groups were worth sharing to which ones I just kind of left and didn’t worry about. And I even kind of knew which recipes worked really well on Facebook groups. And so I could use a different image, I could use different texts, I could kind of make it feel a little bit different and make sure that I wasn’t sharing the same recipe to the same group. But I might share the same recipe to different groups throughout the week.
Megan Porta 17:15
All right. So Facebook, anything else about Facebook that you used?
Liz Thomson 17:19
No, I think that’s it for Facebook.
Megan Porta 17:21
Okay, what else? What other strategies did you have?
Liz Thomson 17:23
There is another site called Foodtalk, I think it’s just foodtalk.com. And they also have a version for home stuff. That’s called hometalk. And it’s a submission site where you kind of allow them to share some of your recipes. And once you give them kind of free recipes from your site, they will include one of your recipes in their email newsletters. And this takes literally five minutes, it was so fast and easy to set up. And each month, I probably get a couple 1000 pageviews from their newsletters, sometimes even a little bit more. And so that’s an easy couple 1000 pageviews or sessions that you can add into your month. And that helps a lot.
Megan Porta 18:03
Yeah, and a couple 1000 doesn’t sound like much. But when you’re trying to get into an ad network that is gold, right?
Liz Thomson 18:11
Exactly, and so I would be like, okay, when is that Foodtalk submission? About let me see if I can tie it with all you know, for that like final push when I was getting really close. So and again, that’s a super easy one that only takes a few minutes to set up. And then it’s like, really easy.
Megan Porta 18:27
Yeah. Okay. And then what else did you do?
Liz Thomson 18:29
I did web stories. And I know the web stories have kind of changed a lot over the year. So they might not have quite as much traffic potential as they did earlier this year. But I definitely think that they’re still valuable, particularly for a new site or a site that, you know, for me, I changed the domain. So I was kind of not starting over, but I did have some ground to make up. And with web stories, you have a much better chance of ranking for terms that you would not have a chance ranking for. And so I did a ton of web stories, not just for blog posts, but also for roundups, so it wasn’t even necessarily around up on my site, I would just do like seven gluten-free dessert recipes. And each web story frame would link to a different gluten-free dessert recipe on my site. Or I would do you know three things that you can make with peanut butter or something like that. And so I was able to generate web stories without having to come up with new blog posts all the time just by doing kind of like compilation style web stories.
Megan Porta 19:31
Yeah, web stories are still humming along. For me and for a lot of people in my mastermind group and I know we received some information recently, I think it was on a maybe an SEO webinar where someone an expert said something like, I hate web stories and they’re going to die or something like that. And I was like no, don’t don’t put that out there because they’re not dead yet. And so I feel like after that everyone was like well, this person said that they were going to die so I’m not gonna do them anymore and you’re losing out on so much traffic and potential because they’re still working.
Liz Thomson 20:06
They are still working, they’re still working for I Heart Vegetables as well. And like I still make them for both of my sites. And I think that they’re worth the effort. I also think it’s pretty easy to templatized it or to have a VA. So I definitely think it’s worth it. Another thing that works kind of well for web stories for me was to take video clips and turn those into web stories. Just another way to kind of create more web stories on the same same content without having to make a new blog post. And those worked well, too, I definitely think they still have a ton of potential.
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Megan Porta 21:48
So I have a new site also that I told you a little bit about Liz, I found that I get a lot of traffic from web stories. But also there seems to be this magic and tell me if you found this to where if you publish a new post and then publish a web story, you know, right around publish date, if it’s a relevant keyword, so maybe it’s seasonal or something that it can get picked up on Google Discover fairly easily. So I don’t know if there’s something to that I don’t I mean, yeah, maybe I’m right. Maybe I’m wrong, whatever. But that just seems to be an equation. So I’ve gotten picked up on Google Discover twice now and gotten massive. I mean, massive for a new site pageviews that are really significant. Have you found any discover gold gems to?
Liz Thomson 22:39
Yes, I have had a couple you know, it feels kind of like a luck of the draw, like, yeah, you just get picked up. But it does seem like seasonal content seems to work really well. Something that’s like really timely seems to have a better chance, at least for me for getting picked up by Google Discover. So that’s definitely I think there’s definitely still a ton of potential there too.
Megan Porta 22:59
Yeah. And it’s like, not consistent and predictable, right? So whenever it happens, you just kind of have to roll with it. Like there have been a few things that I’ve published that I think okay, this is going to be this is going to get picked up by discover and the website is gonna go crazy. And it doesn’t it but then I had one thing that was kind of seasonal, I guess, but not what I would have thought and that got picked up. So you just really, you never know. Yeah, like, roll with the punches. Anything else about, do you have any nuggets for web stories, I love your strategy for creating kind of round up web stories. Anything else you do with those?
Liz Thomson 23:36
I would just say pick a template that you love. And just repeat that like you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you’re making a web story. A lot of times I would create a web story and then clone it and turn it into a roundup. So if I had a pumpkin cupcakes, web story, I might clone that then and do three Fall seasonal cupcake recipes or something like that, because I’ve already got the images in there. I’ve already got links in there, and it’s easy to just swap out a few. So just kind of thinking through like what’s the easiest possible way to get a new web story out? That seemed to work well.
Megan Porta 24:09
Yeah, that’s really smart. Okay, is there anything else you employed to get traffic?
Liz Thomson 24:14
Yes, there’s one more, which is Flipboard. And I have to admit, I thought that Flipboard was not worth it. I know, it’s been around for years and years, but I didn’t think that there was any traffic potential there. And I proved myself wrong. So Flipboard is kind of like Pinterest where someone can flip your content into a digital magazine, and then other people can discover it. It’s been around for a long time, but I think they are focusing a little bit more on creators now. At least maybe more so now than they were before. So Flipboard does have a Creators Program. So I would look into that. I think it was a pretty easy application process and I was approved fairly quickly and that gives you access to some of their group magazines and those tend to have a lot more followers versus if you were to just create your own Flipboard magazine from scratch, you’re not gonna have any followers yet. And so being part of that program, it’s sort of like a group board on Pinterest back when those were big. Yeah. And so it just gives you a lot more potential for people finding your content. And what I found was that if I flipped my content into one of these magazines, as soon as I published it, like I tried to do it, the minute after I hit publish on something, fresh new content seems to do really well on Flipboard. A lot of times, if I was sharing content that was, you know, from a year or two old, it didn’t really get a lot of traction. But if it was something that I had just published, sometimes I would see a few 100 sessions just from Flipboard for the next couple of days from that new content, which again, it only takes a few minutes to flip something into Flipboard. And that was definitely a nice little boost of traffic.
Megan Porta 25:55
Okay, I love that you mentioned Flipboard, because I feel like nobody’s talking about this. We’ve talked about it a little bit on our Clubhouse chats just touched on it. But I really wanted to dig more into this, I feel like maybe you and I should have a separate episode about Flipboard if you don’t mind if you feel okay, because there is a lot of potential and I like the angle of focusing on like a new site. But you can also apply this to your other like an existing blog as well. But yeah, I got on Flipboard thanks to Jen Urben from the Urben Life. She’s kind of like the, like, she spots those trends. And she tells me what to try and what not to try. And she’s been saying this for quite a while now just like try it, it’s really easy. It’s really easy to get on, it’s really easy to flip. But I haven’t invested time in it. So I really appreciate you mentioning it because I’m gonna go back and check it out.
Liz Thomson 26:47
I definitely think it’s one of the easier ones. And it doesn’t require you to spend a lot of time trying to build an audience or trying to create content, it’s like, you can download the little bookmark flip thing and you know, grow attention. And it takes a minute. And now I can use it for I Heart Vegetables and Pass Me a Spoon, I can just use the same account for both of them. And it’s so quick and easy. And it’s nice to get a little boost of traffic on new content.
Megan Porta 27:10
I’ll see you can use the same account and promote both sites?
Liz Thomson 27:15
Yep, that’s what I do. I think if you had two vastly different sites, like if you had a dog site, and a baking site, you might want to add accounts. But since mine’s all recipes, I just keep all my magazines as recipes. And it makes it so easy.
Megan Porta 27:28
Okay, good, because I did start when for Pip & Ebby, and I might just start adding from my breakfast site. So yeah, good to know. Okay, any other traffic strategies you want to mention?
Liz Thomson 27:39
I will just say a couple of the things that didn’t work, not that I’m like, never going to do them. But just some of the things that I thought might help that didn’t, I did not see much traffic from Pinterest at all, I am starting to get a little bit more. But I think that’s one of those things, that’s just such a long-term strategy that I ended up just not focusing on that for the first couple months. Now that my sites on Mediavine, I feel like those longer term strategies are worth the investment. But at least initially, it just the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze when I was kind of like gunning for Mediavine. And then same thing with Instagram and the Facebook page. Obviously, Facebook groups were great, but I have an Instagram account for Pass Me A Spoon, I have a Facebook page. But it just wasn’t really worth the time investment. I would put, you know, a couple photos up here and there. But I wasn’t trying to do Instagram reels, I wasn’t trying to grow my account at all, I think I’ll probably spend a little bit more time on it trying to grow that audience now that the site is making money. But at least initially, I kind of just put those things on the back burner.
Megan Porta 28:42
I am so grateful you mentioned this too, because you do have to kind of do that, like figure out what you’re going to focus on. And then what’s working. And the rest just allow to sit on the back burner for now. I’ve found I think you mentioned this putting little video clips in web stories, right? Yes, yeah. So I’ve started doing just like capturing little tiny snippets of videos on my phone, and kind of just holding on to them putting them in my back pocket for like maybe one day if I dig into Instagram, but for now I’m using them in web stories. But there are those things that I just don’t want to invest my time in yet. But maybe later, right? Like down the road.
Liz Thomson 29:21
Yeah, exactly. And I think it’s helpful to just remind yourself that you don’t have to do all the things at once. And once you are making a little bit of money, like now that there is ad revenue on my site, I feel like I don’t necessarily have to make as many web stories as I used to or I don’t have to share in the Facebook groups if I don’t have time, and I can spend a little bit more time on something like Pinterest that might not generate a ton of traffic tomorrow but it might generate a lot of traffic when people are searching for Pumpkin Cupcake recipe is next month.
Megan Porta 29:50
Yes, exactly. Okay, so we know what to focus on or what you focused on and then kind of what you didn’t focus on. Is there anything else somebody should know if they are thinking about investing their time in a second site?
Liz Thomson 30:03
So this was something that I wasn’t expecting to do. But the opportunity sort of presented itself. So shortly after I had gotten my site on Mediavine, there was someone just kind of mentioned in a blog or Facebook group that they had a site that they were getting rid of. And they were just kind of looking to sell it quickly. And basically, the site itself was not really usable, it was connected to a local bakery that wasn’t like the bakery itself was closing. So all the branding and stuff didn’t make sense for anyone to take over, because that business was going to be no longer and it was kind of all local focus. But she had a ton of awesome baking recipes. And so I ended up chatting with her, and I bought the content of her site. And so I have her site, and I’m not planning to renew the domain name. And I’m not redirecting that site to my site. But I basically just took the content from it and use those recipes and images and things like that, to help build up the content on my site. So it’s sort of like purchasing another site, but in kind of a different way, because I’m not planning to actually turn that site into anything profitable. But it’s sort of like taking a site just for the content. So that was kind of an easy way, that I wasn’t expecting to be able to get a lot more quality content on my site without me having to create and shoot a ton of additional content.
Megan Porta 31:25
That is so smart. I’ve never thought of this either. Because you tend to think of like getting a site, you get everything, you’re gonna use anything but you don’t have to you don’t have to think of it that way.
Liz Thomson 31:34
I do think that the buying and selling of food blogs in particular are kind of interesting. And I think that this whole industry around buying and selling websites is sort of fascinating. I mean, that’s kind of like why I ended up falling into this. But I think one of the tricky things is that so many people start a food blog, because they’re really passionate about it. And I think sometimes that can make it hard when you’re trying to put a price tag on something that feels like someone’s baby. Yeah, I think it can make it really tricky. And so if you’re thinking about buying a site, I think it’s just important to keep in mind to be really diligent in doing your research on the site, and the quality of the content and all of that, because one thing I found was like the site that I originally bought, because someone really loved that site so much, I think I probably overpaid for it, I think I probably could have gotten it cheaper had we gone through one of those like, you know, brokerage type websites where they give you a valuation, but to me, I really loved it. And I knew her and I trusted her. And I’m so glad that I made the investment. But I do think that’s just kind of an interesting element of this industry where so many people are passionate about it. And I think sometimes that can make it a little tricky when you’re in the negotiation process.
Megan Porta 32:52
Yeah, and then can I speak to this also, just not necessarily purchasing a second site, but starting a second site is Yeah, option for all of you as well. And that way, you don’t have to find the perfect niche or person or whatever. It’s, so I started mine from scratch in July. And it was so easy. And I talked to you about this too. Like I put this off for years, I always wanted to start a second not always but like for the past few years. I just had it in my mind, like I should start a second site. But it seems like so much work. I put so much work and energy into my current site, how can I possibly do that? But once I started this second one, I realized, oh, my gosh, this was so much easier than I ever could have anticipated. I wish I would have done it sooner.
Liz Thomson 33:41
Yeah, I totally, I think it’s a good reminder of just how much knowledge we’ve acquired over the years, maybe without even realizing it. It’s like, Oh, I know how to do this. Like I know how to optimize the site for Google, I know how to create all these things to help drive traffic, I know how to build an audience. And I think in the end, like I probably could have started a blog from scratch and ended up in the same place where I’m in now, I do think it’s a little bit tricky with food sites, because there is just so much work that goes into recipe testing and photography and all of that, that it may feel a little bit different to create a site in a niche that doesn’t require like quite as much hands on work for the the end result of each blog post. But I think in the end, like all those skills, translate whether it’s photography skills, or writing skills, or whatever those things are like it’ll translate into a second site.
Megan Porta 34:33
Yeah, so true. It really does. This is so intriguing. So is there anyone listening who you think this option is not for?
Liz Thomson 34:42
Oh, that’s a really good question. I would not recommend starting a second site until you have your first site like in a good spot where it’s making money, mostly hands off. So if you’re someone that’s primarily making money through sponsorships and things like that, I do think that you kind of have to put your first site on the backburner for a little bit while you’re really focusing on getting the second site up and running. And if you’re not in a place where you’re able to generate passive income from ad revenue, I think that that makes it really tricky. I also think if you’re just feeling burnt out about the internet, in general, this might not be the best solution. But I think if you’re feeling just a little bit stale in the content you’re making, like, especially if you’re in a really specific niche, where you’re like, Oh, I’ve been doing, you know, low carb baking for the last 10 years, and I just want to be able to do something different. I think this can be a great way to kind of scratch that itch and give yourself something different to think about, but still in a way that uses all your skills and knowledge.
Megan Porta 35:46
Yeah, so kind of an established blogger who has their blog, monetized and humming along a little bit, and maybe with a team to help if yes.
Liz Thomson 35:56
Yeah, I definitely think having a team in place like I did most of the work on the second site myself, because I really was kind of trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t, and I didn’t really know what to tell someone to do. But it helped that I have VAs that can help kind of keep the first site running with social media stuff, and Pinterest, scheduling and all of that. So I do think it helps not that you have to have a big team or full time people or anything like that. But having a few people you can count on to keep the engine running, I do think helps take some of the stress away.
Megan Porta 36:25
Yeah, totally agree. Let’s see, what else do we need to know is there anything that you think is really important to this conversation?
Liz Thomson 36:34
I would just mention, if you are thinking about starting a second site, spending a decent amount of time thinking about what that site is going to be and how it’s going to be different from your first site, making sure that you’re not going to end up with some of the same challenges that maybe you’re already facing. So if you’re in like low carb baking, and you’re really tired of that niche, starting like low carb meal prep probably isn’t going to solve the problem that you’re trying to solve. So I think be just being really intentional about what you make that second site about, and can you create content on that subject for a really long time, because, you know, this is a long game. And it’s probably something that you’re going to be thinking about for years to come. So just making sure that you’re spending time on that long term vision.
Megan Porta 37:18
That is a really important point to make. The reason I started a second site too, is because I had a new idea that did not have anything to do with the content on my old site. And to be honest with you, I’m kind of over making comfort food, it’s been 13 years now. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, if I have to make another meatloaf for my blog, I might vomit all over it. It’s just getting old after a while. So I wanted something novel that I was also passionate about. And that was making breakfasts for my boys who are teenagers now. So that was something I was like, Yes, I can definitely get up in the morning and make breakfast with excitement. And it’s not meatloaf, that I think that’s a really important point is you have to find maybe something a little bit different that you’re going to be passionate about for a while.
Liz Thomson 38:09
Yeah, and I think that’s hard to find. But I think but do find the idea. You’re like, yes, this feels right, this feels good. And I think I should mention, I guess I didn’t mention this earlier, but I didn’t use my I Heart Vegetables audience to promote Pass Me a Spoon at all. I really wanted to keep them separate. And that was very intentional for two reasons. Number one, I really wanted to know, like, Can I get a second sight on media vine without like, if I were someone starting today, and I didn’t have an established audience, could I do it? So part of it was that I just sort of wanted the challenge of can I do this. But the other thing was I really was I wanted to make sure that I didn’t dilute my message of I Heart vegetables like that is still my primary business. That’s my primary focus. It’s the thing that I want to be known for. And I didn’t want to dilute that brand by bringing in this other brand. So I really have not shared about past me spoon on my social media channels or, or email list or website or anything. So just in case someone’s listening to it, and it’s like, oh, well, you got a Mediavine, but you already had this audience like I really did not use my audience at all.
Megan Porta 39:17
Yeah, no, that’s a good point to make also, and I was going to talk on your point just quickly that you made about like, it might be hard to find another food niche. But most people listening are creative food lovers. You guys love cooking and baking. So there’s something there there’s so many different niches that you can tap into that might excite you something like I just thought of, oh, I cannot remember her blog’s name but she is the blogger who focuses on making food with Aldi ingredients, like there’s it doesn’t have to be a specific type of food but maybe it’s something like that where you go to a certain store or it’s like five ingredients or less or you know, you can yes find so many different ways to niche down to.
Liz Thomson 39:17
Yes, I love that.
Megan Porta 39:36
Yeah, this is so valuable. Is there anything we should mention before we start saying goodbye, Liz?
Liz Thomson 40:03
I don’t think so. This has been so fun.
Megan Porta 40:05
This has been so fun. Thank you so much for taking the time for it. It was so good to connect with you here on the podcast. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?
Liz Thomson 40:15
The quote itself, I think it’s too long to actually read on the podcast. But I’m sure most people are familiar with it. It’s like Ira glasses. Most famous quote, If you just Google a quote by Ira Glass, it’ll come up. But it’s this idea where he talks about how when you’re starting out, you know that the work isn’t as good as it could be. And that you just have to keep pushing through until you get to that point where the work is as good as it can be. And just this idea of setting yourself deadlines, doing the work week after week, so that you get better and better every single day. I feel like that is just the perfect words of wisdom for blogging because this is such a long game like nothing happens overnight. Even if you have a little post go viral. It does not it does not happen overnight. It is years and years of work. And it’s really exciting to be able to look back and see like the progress that you make on photography and pageviews and all of these things and so I think just remembering that this is a long game and nothing happens quickly but that all of that work is worth it in the end
Megan Porta 41:17
I had a few people quote that exact quote that you’re talking about and I love it every time people mention it because it is so good if you if that sounds cool to you go look it up just Google Ira Glass quotes right? I think that’s like…
Megan Porta 41:33
Yeah. And you will love reading through that. So thank you for sharing that Liz. We will put together show notes for you. So if you want to go look at those head over to eatblogtalk.com/iheartvegetables. Tell everyone where they can find you.
Liz Thomson 41:45
Yes, it’ll come right up.
Liz Thomson 41:47
You can find me on Instagram at iheartveggies or passmeaspoon.
Megan Porta 41:52
Awesome. Go check it out everyone and thank you so much for being here, Liz and thank you for listening today food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.
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