In episode 391, Megan chats to Taryn Scarfone about the advantages of starting a second food blog.
We cover information about how to decide on a second niche, what to consider when thinking about a second blog, what you might do differently with a second site, thinking through your SEO approach and some time management tips for running two sites as a business.
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Bio Taryn is a happily married busy mom of 6. She began her blogging journey as a hobby in 2015 and it took off pretty quickly. You’ll see that Joy Filled Eats concentrates on low carb and keto recipes that are easy to make and suitable for the whole family. Since then, Taryn has launched two more food websites.
- Check with your ad company and see if they have a minimum on page views for additional blogs.
- You come into blogging second and third blogs with a wealth of knowledge you didn’t have the first time around.
- An additional blog can be fun because you broaden what you can branch out into and know what you’re doing
- If you buy abandoned URL’s that have existing domain authority, you start ahead of the game.
- Adding another site can help declining traffic if you piggy back off your niche and do something complimentary.
- Spice up your life with a second blog – breathe passion back into life.
- It’s affordable to register another blog and you can buy URL’s on auction for affordable prices too.
- Be mindful of the technical pieces you use on your blog to know what you want on the additional blogs such as which themes on your site, which plugs are valuable..
- Determine how much time you want to invest on a second site ahead of time so you have a plan in place.
Click for full script.
EBT391 – Taryn Scarfone
Intro: 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 to achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional.
I’m Megan Porta, and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 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.
If you have ever considered starting an additional food blog, you should definitely listen to this episode, and even if you have never considered it, still listen, because Taryn Scarfone joins me in this episode and she gives really good reasons why we should consider it, and she gives a lot of encouragement. She started her own second and third food blog and they’ve both done really well, and she talks through all the things that are going to inspire you. This is episode number 391, and it is sponsored by RankIQ.
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Megan Porta: Taryn is a happily married, busy mom of six. She began her food blogging journey as a hobby in 2015, and it took off pretty quickly. You’ll see that Joy Filled Eats concentrates on low carbon keto recipes that are easy to make and suitable for the whole family. Since then, Taryn has launched two more food websites. Taryn, thank you so much for joining me today on the podcast. How are you?
Taryn Scarfone: I’m good, Megan. Happy to be here.
Megan Porta: Yay. I’m so happy to have you here and to talk about this topic. I think it’s a really interesting one to talk about as food bloggers, but first we want to know if you have a fun fact to share.
Taryn Scarfone: Sure. My husband and I are gonna celebrate our 20th anniversary next summer, and we are in the beginning stages of planning a vacation alone without the six kids, which will be wonderful. Right now we’re thinking of going to Iceland, so.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. Have you been to Iceland before?
Taryn Scarfone: We have not.
Megan Porta: So what about Iceland makes you want to go?
Taryn Scarfone: My husband isn’t a beach guy and he doesn’t love crowds or cities, so we’re looking for something a little more outdoorsy and off the beaten path. We’ve heard a lot of good things so we’re hoping to take a trip next summer.
Megan Porta: Aw, enjoy it with a lot of kids. You deserve some relaxation time, right? Kick your feet up and enjoy each other for a little bit. So cool. 20 years. That deserves congratulations as well.
Taryn Scarfone: Thanks.
Megan Porta: Yes. Okay. Let’s talk about growing a second or third site, or fourth or beyond. So you have a story with this. You decided to start an additional site in addition to your food blog. Would you just talk us through that?
Taryn Scarfone: Sure. My main blog is in the low carb keto niche. So a couple years ago, my husband started to get more into grilling and smoking, and I have a couple recipes like that on my main site, but they just have not gotten much traffic because I just don’t think Google sees that site as an authority on those topics. Since my husband also was interested in getting into blogging, we started talking about this after we went to the Everything Food Conference back in 2018, just as a possibility. We decided to launch another site. One of the main motivators, as we found out that with Ad Thrive, we were able to take on a new site without a minimum for page views. So that just really gave us the motivation to actually start it and work on it and stop putting it on the back burner because we had actually bought the URL back in 2018 and just did nothing with it. So once we had that little bit of motivation, we decided to, let’s just venture into a whole different niche and just work on that together.
Megan Porta: That’s awesome because I think a lot of us have that where we start talking about other topics that don’t necessarily relate to our established authority. So it could make sense for a lot of us to do this. How did it go? Was it seamless? Were there any parts of it that were challenging that you learned from?
Taryn Scarfone: It’s interesting because just coming into it with a much bigger wealth of knowledge, like when I started my main site, it was a hobby, like most bloggers. I just did it for fun and did whatever I wanted to do. I’m still correcting the mistakes from that seven years later. I’m still at this site, like we knew how to research keywords and optimize for SEO. So we just went into it with a completely different mindset, and this site has 90% organic search traffic just because we just knew what we were doing when we got started.
Megan Porta: It’s a totally different game. I feel like the learning curve when you start blogging and know nothing is so huge, but I can imagine that you just can use all of your knowledge that you have in your head already to just shorten that learning curve hugely.
Taryn Scarfone: Definitely. One other thing we did was when we decided that we’re gonna do this, we started researching keywords. In this niche there are like specific brands of smokers and grills and things that people are searching for the name of that in the keyword. Okay, we’re just gonna put out the $1,500 and buy this name brand smoker, because then we can RankIQ for those keywords, which have a very high search volume and are easy to rank for. So when starting a new site, you want to find keywords that are low hanging opportunities and with putting out the money and purchasing this smoker, we were able to do that.
Megan Porta: How long ago was it that you guys started the second site?
Taryn Scarfone: We started working on, it’s a Grill for All Seasons and started really working on it in May of 2021. My husband also left his full-time job to start a separate business on his own, so we also just had some more time.
Megan Porta: How’s it doing so far?
Taryn Scarfone: It’s doing really well. In less than a year, we’re like, we were up to a hundred thousand page views a month.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s amazing.
Taryn Scarfone: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s also, I’m finding it just more fun for me because it is a bit of a broader niche than having to keep everything low carb and keto. So we have done some yeah, really like more indulgent recipes that I definitely couldn’t fit onto my main site. So it’s been fun to be able to branch out in that way.
Megan Porta: How do you recommend others pick a niche if they’re considering doing something like this? Do they look at their current blog and just find those things that are maybe outside of their expertise a little bit? Or how do you recommend going about that?
Taryn Scarfone: Definitely something if you can’t fit it into your main site and it is something that you’re interested in and passionate about, that would be a great topic for a separate site. Also, this past summer, I started a baking blog with my 13 year old which is very much on the back burner right now. We’re happy to get up one recipe a week, but it’s fun to do it together and to just teach her about the industry. She wants to go to culinary school, she wants to be the pastry chef. So this is just a way that she can learn just about another option besides working at a restaurant someday. It’s fun to be able to do it together.
Megan Porta: Okay. I love this angle. Because as food bloggers who have kids, we have the opportunity to teach our children about a really unconventional way to earn money. Sometimes my youngest son gets it, he gets what I do and he’ll make comments like your job is so different from most people’s jobs. Because he hears his friends talk about my parents, a teacher, whatever. So I think we have an opportunity to really educate our kids and build skills for them. It sounds like that’s what you’re doing, which is so cool. I think you were serving, you said it was your daughter, right? Yeah. I think you’re serving her really valuable life experience by doing that. How much time does she spend on the blog?
Taryn Scarfone: She really enjoys the baking portion of it and the eating the baked good portion. But at this point I’m doing most of the backend work. I was teaching her how to use the Facebook and Instagram scheduler, so she’s starting to learn a little bit about social media and stuff, but yeah.
Megan Porta: That’s so cool. Okay, so finding things outside of your current blog that don’t fit is a good way to find a niche. There’s something you’re really interested in, but it just doesn’t fit into your current content. You recommend figuring out what that category is.
Taryn Scarfone: Yeah. And just going for it and starting a new site. One other piece of information that I’ve learned is that when we decided that we were gonna launch a baking blog, I bought an established URL that had just been abandoned, so that we went in with a domain authority of 25 off the bat because it’s just it’s a longstanding URL that just hadn’t been used for five or six years.
Megan Porta: Yes. Okay. How did you go about finding that?
Taryn Scarfone: GoDaddy has an auction option. So if you go in, you can just play around with keywords and things you’re interested in. So we knew it was gonna be a baking site, so we went into the auctions and we just looked at domains that had the word baking in them. We stumbled upon Baking Me Hungry and we liked it. When I looked up the domain authority, it had a good domain authority.
Megan Porta: Was it a huge investment?
Taryn Scarfone: No, it was like $15 I think.
Megan Porta: You’re kidding. That’s such a smart thing to do. Oh my goodness. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that, but that is gold right there. So you can go into the auctions and you can literally just type in a keyword. So I’m in there now, if I could just type in baking and then anything that’s up for auction will, oh yeah.
Taryn Scarfone: There’ll be some good ones. Of course there’ll be some that are nothing. Some of them I’m short. You go for a lot of money. We were able to get it for whatever the minimum auction price was. It was about $15.
Megan Porta: I see one up for 16 grand. That would be probably a little out of my budget. But yeah, there are, $11, $5. Wow. This is, yeah, that is really gold. Okay, that is good stuff. Now what about social media? I have a question about that because I feel like that would be one of my hang ups to starting a new site. I don’t wanna manage different social media accounts. I feel like the ones I do manage are enough. How do you deal with that? Do you feel like it’s extra? Do you not have extra social media?
Taryn Scarfone: We have claimed all the social media for both the second and the third site. But right now for A Grill For All Seasons, our goal is just to put up one Instagram and Facebook post a day. So very minimal just to keep the account active because for that blog, we’re getting 90% organic traffic anyway. We’re not seeing a big ROI for society right now. So we have decided to just keep that on the back burner. We don’t wanna totally abandon it, but in order to schedule out a month’s worth, it only takes an hour or two. The same thing with the baking site, like really just reposting a couple times a week on social. It’s very minimal.
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Megan Porta: What kind of time investment do you put into each of your blogs? Do you have a breakdown? Do you focus heavily on one and then not so much on the others?
Taryn Scarfone: Basically, my main site, Joy Filled Eats still brings in the most money by far. So we’ve decided that most of my time is on that, but that I’m also still correcting mistakes from 2016. So my goal for this year is just to just republish a lot of old content on that. We’re gonna do more new content for the grilling site, which only has, my main site has, I think, 900 posts. The grilling site we’re at about 100. So just to get more content on there. The baking site is just whatever we can for fun at this point.
Megan Porta: Yeah. You touched on this earlier, but you find that doing keyword research is so much easier now?
Taryn Scarfone: It is. We use Keysearch, so anything we’re interested in, we’ll just go in and try to find a keyword. Doing keyword research ahead of creating recipes has taken some fun out of blogging. I’ve heard a lot of bloggers say this. But when you’re trying to optimize for Google, you have to. There have been a few times where we just create something we want to make that we want to eat, and then we’ll do the keyword research after, but still trying to just get a keyword that is good for the post and good for our rankings.
Megan Porta: Have you been able to get good Pinterest traction on your second and third sites?
Taryn Scarfone: No. No. Pinterest was the majority of my traffic on my main site, and when Pinterest tanked, I just spent a few months crying. So we’re still trying. It’s okay. We’re still trying to recover just like that lost traffic. Since I didn’t know what I was doing when I grew my main site, it just took off on social media. But then when social changes, that traffic disappears. So that was also one of our things to start a second site because my main site had declining traffic. Because also just the keto niche in general is trending down. So we’re taking on a wider focus of just healthy recipes with that site. But in order to recover some of that lost income, if it wasn’t working on my main site, we decided to start a second site.
Megan Porta: Would you say that your secondary sites have been like 100% business from the start. Or you mentioned you were having fun with it as well, but have you just overall treated it more like a business, would you say?
Taryn Scarfone: Yeah, we definitely have. Because knowing what potential there is has just made us go into it with a different mindset.
Megan Porta: Yeah, totally. That’s everything, right? When you have the mindset that it’s a hobby, then it’s going to be a hobby. But when you go into it with the mindset that this is a business, we’re gonna make money.
Taryn Scarfone: I can’t take pictures on my cell phone.
Megan Porta: Yeah. What advice would you have for anyone listening who has peaked interest and they maybe have been thinking about this or not, but this conversation is maybe convincing them to start something. What other pieces of advice would you have for them or maybe things you’ve learned the hard way? Anything at all?
Taryn Scarfone: Just get started. Just go for it. It’s very inexpensive to register a domain. So register a domain, get the social, and then just work on it when you can. It is more fun to be able to do something besides what you normally do, like whatever your current niche is. To be able to go outside of that and do something a little bit different can just add a new life to the job.
Megan Porta: A new level of spice, right? We all get that plateau feeling when we have just done the same thing over and we feel a little burnt out and passionless. Probably every person listening can relate to that on some level. So I can see this adding a new just pep in your step when it comes to blogging. A new category, a new topic, a new focus. Different photos. Like you mentioned, you got a smoker, so that’s fun, right? You got to play with your new smoker and check that out. Okay. And then I have another question about, you’re busy, Taryn. You have a family and a husband and kids and three blogs. How do you balance it all? How do you do it?
Taryn Scarfone: I’ll admit that I’m not the most organized person. I have a blogger friend who is very organized. She uses Air Table and has SOPs for everything, and that’s just not how my brain works. I basically just have a Google sheet with just a list of tasks and I prioritize them. So right now I’ve taken back my own Facebook for my main blog. So my number one task almost every day is to just schedule Facebook and check in on that. Because that ‘s a priority because it just has to get done. After that would be, republishing new posts, and then some of the other stuff. I find keyword research fun. So that kind of gets pushed back a little bit because we have long lists of potential keywords already.
Megan Porta: As far as the ad networks go, you mentioned earlier that AdThrive doesn’t have as high of a threshold. So what is their current threshold? I know Mediavine, theirs is I don’t wanna say an exact number, but I know it’s lower than when you get your first site up. Is the same true for AdThrive?
Taryn Scarfone: I think that AdThrive is 25,000 views? But if you’re in the Adri Platinum program, they will take on new sites with zero pages, so so our baking site, there were a few days that I checked in with my daughter and I’m like, honey, we made 75 cents yesterday.
Megan Porta: Whoa.
Taryn Scarfone: That’s almost a stick of butter.
Megan Porta: Yes. That’s funny.
Taryn Scarfone: Yeah. Yeah. We personally found that little bit of money, just like a more incentive than just trying to get numbers up because we’re like, yeah it’s exciting wow, we actually made $3 yesterday. So depending on which ad network you’re in and which level or tier, it’s something to at least just ask them.
Megan Porta: Yeah, just asking. I’m trying to think of potential hangups for getting started with something like this, like creating a logo, doing branding, all of that. How much effort and thought did you put into that?
Taryn Scarfone: For the logos and branding, not too much. I just quickly made them in Canva. But there are also a lot of things you do them once, like when you’re setting up a new site and then you forget how to do them. So I’m trying to teach myself again and trying to figure out what plugins I actually need and all those kinds of things that like once it’s in place, you don’t really think about it much.
Megan Porta: So it might be helpful just to give a little forethought to that before you get started so you know what you’re doing. That’s exactly what I was trying to articulate. There are all those little things that you did so long ago that you don’t think about. Your brain is filled with other things. So I don’t know, do you have any suggestions for that? Like things that you absolutely do need, things that you don’t need, anything like that?
Taryn Scarfone: The two things off the top of my head is we use the feast theme, feast themes on all of our sites. Once you learn it, it’s easier to just switch back and forth and WordPress recipe maker. Also just the paid version on all the sites so that you have all the nutritional information and all of that just easily.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Yeah. I think those are two biggies that are really valuable just for getting that good recipe schema and Feast has proven to be such an incredible, valuable plugin. So those are good recommendations. Any other hang ups you can think of that would be just roadblocks for getting started?
Taryn Scarfone: It can be a lot to balance. So I think it is important to just decide how much time you’re going to spend, because you also don’t wanna suddenly switch to working on a baby site and let whatever your main site, your main income drop. So maybe like a 75, 25% split, or maybe even less, maybe 90%, 10%. But however many hours you work a week, only take a small chunk towards the second site in the beginning because also when you know what you’re doing, it can grow quicker than you think it can.
Megan Porta: Especially when comparing it to a site that is bigger and older and has a lot of content that might even be weighing some of the newer stuff down. Right? I’ve heard people say very similar things when they start really specific niche sites, that growth is so massive so quickly because they don’t have that dead weight, like I do in my blog and a lot of other people do. So that is something to consider as well. Hopefully we have given people something to think about at least, and encourage them to maybe venture into this territory in 2023. Do you have anything else that we’ve forgotten to add that you feel is really important to talk about?
Taryn Scarfone: I think just in general, one of the best things that I’ve done is just connecting with other bloggers. So just to make sure that you’re doing that, whether it’s in Facebook groups or I run a mastermind group that we meet once a month, it’s very easy to organize a mastermind group. You just have to find some bloggers and pick a time to zoom and you just talk about what’s going on. Those have probably been some of the best things that I’ve done is just learning from other bloggers.
Megan Porta: It keeps you relevant, right? Keeps you on your toes. You’re in the mix. You don’t feel as lonely or alone and yeah, I totally agree with that. Thank you, Taryn. I think this was a really valuable conversation. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Taryn Scarfone: I was happy to be here.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave all of us with today?
Taryn Scarfone: Yeah. I really like this. This is a Dave Ramsey quote. He said, “nothing happens without focus. Don’t try to do everything at once. Take it one step at a time.” I’ve definitely found that the true one is launching a second and third site.
Megan Porta: Yes. Good advice. Why don’t you tell everyone where they can find you so you can mention whatever blogs you wanna mention in social media as well.
Taryn Scarfone: Sure. My main site is Joy Filled Eats, joyfilledeats.com and just Joy Filled Eats on all the socials. Then we have AGrillForAllSeasons.com and bakingmehungry.com.
Megan Porta: Go check Taryn out. Thank you again for being here and thank you so much for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Don’t forget to head to forum.eatblogtalk.com to join our free discussion forum and connect with and learn from like-minded peers. I will see you next time.
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