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Blog Title: Kimchimari
About: Korean food recipe site with detailed and exact recipes to help anyone to cook them at home. I share many in-depth information about Korean cooking ingredients including articles on differences in Korean vs US beef/pork cuts, how to ripen Kimchi properly and more. I also provide historical and cultural background behind certain dishes because food and culture just go together.
Notes from Episode #047: Food Blogging for The Long Haul
FUN FACT: Jinjoo is a Diplomat’s kid. She lived in India for 4-5 years while in Middle school. Also had several pet animals as a kid so she wouldn’t feel so lonely.
Jinjoo is in her 9th year food blogging. She started out blogging at the encouragement of her daughter because she had been going through a midlife crisis, so she began her journey with sharing her love of cooking. But she didn’t take it seriously and just did it occasionally, sharing what she was making.
Jinjoo moved back to Korea for a couple years and unintentionally took a break from blogging because it was a big adjustment to living there. She dove into learning more about Korean cooking and learning. So when she was ready to recommit to blogging and making it a business, she had more content to provide. Jinjoo began to educate herself on blogging.
“When you don’t take it seriously, people don’t take you seriously. If you don’t prioritize your business it’ll just get a little bit of you that’s left after you have given your time and attention to everything else in a day which isn’t much.”
Its important to remember you can take a break if you have to (Jinjoo took a break for 2 years). But you have to realize you did take a break and it’ll take some time to catch up with everybody.
SEO and keywords were very important to the blogging realm when Jinjoo returned to the United States. She had to learn what all that meant to her business because it wasn’t around when she’d started her blog.
She also was surprised how people were “experts”, able to teach you how to blog and create a business. She signed up for a course and began to dive in to learn with all these new tools now available to her. She had never heard of Pinterest, Facebook wasn’t new but she hadn’t used it for business before.
Jinjoo wasn’t confident or proud of being a blogger back when she began her blog. She was embarrassed to make it a priority so instead she allowed herself to be dragged into events, volunteering and other things when she really needed to focus on her business.
Jinjoo realized you need to have a mindset that your blog is a business. It’s got to be a priority. You also have to realize you’re in this for the long haul.
Even though the internet is instant, creating posts and great content takes time to gain traction and for people to test it and respond. Your following isn’t instant.
Don’t worry about following trends so much. People panic when Google and social media platforms make changes but really its better to let the dust settle, evaluate what it means to you, and think about the big picture.
Over this long period of time, what Jinjoo realized is, if you stay true to your audience, to what you really want to deliver is more important than what you think about the algorithm, Pinterest, Google and social media forums.
If you feel like you aren’t growing and are stagnant, it’s not worth feeling bad. Don’t go crazy and change everything about your site. Do what you can, keep learning and improving where you can but remember another change from Google or other platforms could come to help you. But really your audience will weather those changes, new people will find you and you’ll grow over time.
Avoid being micro-minded. Looking at analytics daily can mess with your mindset and drag you down.
Nothing is forever and a lot changes over time. Platforms may disappear/go out of business. You have to step back and be patient and try to look at your business and position from a different point of view. Remember to look at the platforms you use from the viewpoint of your audience member.
Remember all the experts and social media platforms have an angle. If someone has an IPO, then you’ll be required to use ads because they need to make money. So you have to decide if you’re going to buy into that. Not all platforms are for everyone.
Use your common sense. Does it make sense for me and my audience to use this tool? Will it help me? Sometimes it’s better to wait and step back, then see what the outcome of a new tool or platform is and then jump in. Let them get the bugs out. Wait for the 2.0 version.
Don’t be afraid to be different!
Jinjoo believes that Google treats niche blogs differently. If you are doing well in a small niche blog, be careful about SEO and do it minimally compared to how a bigger cuisine blog would. If you have content that’s competing for ranking and there’s a lot of the same style of recipes, SEO and good keywords will be important to stand out. But if you have a small niche, Google won’t treat your blog the same and what you do may be different. Jinjoo had a top ranking post that she created before SEO was important and when she “freshened it up” years later, Google took her ranking away.
SEO experts don’t work for Google and often they aren’t bloggers either. They are guessing like we are so you have to evaluate your own blog and content.
You can find a lot of online groups on facebook and other forums to keep up with information and talk with other bloggers about what could be changed or needs to be adjusted for fresh advice.
If you’re stuck because you’re uninspired, poll your audience for content ideas!
Giveaways are great to connect with your audience and generate some comments and feedback.
Jinjoo was growing and needed to go from a self-hosted site to a hosted site. She went through 2 companies before she found the right one. The two companies that were a poor experience were recommended! So she started looking at the negative comments posted by users, not just the positive ones. When you use a product, be sure that your testimony is worth backing up that product.
Stop comparing yourself to other successful blogs!
Be generous with yourself, be patient. Remember, this is a long game, most people don’t have overnight success. Luck has something to do with it too.
When it takes you longer to build up (a blog business), I feel like you’re more sustainable too because it wasn’t just one thing that went viral and made your business take off. Maybe then you didn’t have anything else to back up your success. Bloggers in it for the long haul have learned what it takes to stick around.
When dealing with jealousy, it’s important to actually look over another bloggers site. Look at their photography, look at the care and hard work they put into their blog. When you start giving credit where credit is due, Jinjoo found she had less envy and appreciated the hard work they had put into their site.
It’s valuable to define success for you – Jinjoo had to decide what would be success for her and it isn’t all monetary. Then you know how to work for yourself, enjoy the successes that come from blogging but aren’t only about money. Jinjoo herself found it satisfying to help other Koreans and people learn about her cultures food and how to prepare it.
Helpful references from the episode:
“Comparison is the thief of Joy” – Teddy Roosevelt – I used to compare to other big bloggers all the time in the beginning..
– Hashtag Jeff’s course (learn.hashtagjeff.com) for details on how to find ‘low hanging fruit’ to redo – overall I find his course has specific instructions as opposed to Casey Markee who gives you great insight/action plan for your blog when you audit. Casey Markee is now regularly on Food Blogger Central FB group so you can ask questions anytime for free.
– Beginner bloggers – Foodblogger Pro, Intermediate – join Food Blogger Central FB page and ask questions
– Everything Food Conference (great for everyone), Tastemakers Conference (attended this year – more in-depth coverage, i loved it)