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Episode 334: Avoid These Mistakes made by Veteran Bloggers (+ How to Flourish with the Times)with Katie Jasiewicz

In episode 334, Megan chats with Katie Jasiewicz, author and owner of Katie’s Cucina, about mistakes made by veteran bloggers and how to avoid them in order to let your business flourish with the times.

We cover information about understanding the importance of SEO, expect growth to be slow and steady, check out an SEO audit for technical mistakes that can be corrected and what are good areas to hire out help with and different avenues to explore in doing that.

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

Write Blog Posts that Rank on Google’s 1st Page

RankIQ is an AI-powered SEO tool built just for bloggers. It tells you what to put inside your post and title, so you can write perfectly optimized content in half the time. RankIQ contains a hand-picked library with the lowest competition, high traffic keywords for every niche.

Guest Details

Connect with Katie’s Cucina
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bio Katie’s been blogging for 12.5 years (12.5 on my food blog Katie’s Cucina/11 years on Sew Woodsy, a DIY craft blog). Katie started food blogging as a way to share her recipes with family and friends as a hobby. She left her corporate marketing job in 2014 after her son was born and made this her full time career. She never fully treated it as a business until late 2019. Learn from Katie’s mistakes and what she has learned over the past decade plus.

Takeaways

  • SEO is a top priority – don’t let it be a foreign language.
  • Courses and an audit can help you with SEO.
  • Success as a blogger is similar to “the tortoise and the hare” – slow and steady wins your race
  • Don’t be afraid to delete content or edit and update content.
  • Update your About You page. Keep it fresh and let people know what you’ve been up to and where you’re showing up online.
  • Give a little love to your Home page seasonally so your audience can know your active, current and relevant.
  • Optimize your categories – let your readers know what it’s about and share some valuable backlinks.
  • Internal and external backlinks are important and valuable.
  • Facebook groups are valuable to share content in.
  • Embrace the fact that you are growing and need and should use help.

Resources Mentioned

SewWoodsy.com

Revisionize plug-in – this is how I update old blog posts. I can make a copy and have a draft all while the old post is still live. This plugin is free!

Yoast premium – gives me orphaned content and stale content filters. I did a decent job of back linking but I still had over 600 blog posts on my site that had never been back linked. After 2 years I’m in the 50’s now!

Paid version of Dropbox – this has come in handy for my interns.

Tailwind – mixed feelings on this but overall I find it helpful.

Canva Pro – I use this for branding and having all the images and options at my disposal.

Keyword research – I use keysearch.co which is paid each month and I also buy 100,000 credits at a time ($10) of keywords everywhere. This is helpful when I’m research a topic I can see what keywords the top sites are ranking for!

Learn more about SEO

Listen to episode 167 where Casey Markee weighs in on the importance of SEO in food blogging.

Transcript

Click for full text.

EBT334_Katie Jasiewicz

Katie Jasiewicz: Hi, this is Katie Jasiewicz from Katie’s Cucina 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: Hello, 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 their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I am your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 334. Today I have Katie Jasiewicz with me. She is going to talk to us about mistakes made from a veteran blogger and how to regrow your business to flourish with the times. Katie has been blogging for 12 and a half years, 12 and a half on her food blog, Katie’s Cucina and 11 years on Sew Woodsy, a DIY craft blog. Katie started food blogging as a way to share her recipes with family and friends as a hobby. She left her corporate marketing job in 2014 after her son was born and made this her full-time career. She never fully treated it as a business until late 2019. So learn from Katie’s mistakes and what she has learned over the past decade plus. Katie, super excited to learn from you today as a fellow veteran blogger. But first we wanna hear what your fun fact is. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Hi, Megan. Thanks so much for having me on. I’m so excited to be here and just share my journey and all about food blogging. So my fun fact, I was born in Panama, in Central America. My dad was stationed in the Navy during the time. I have not one but two birth certificates, which makes it so confusing for people because I have a Panamanian birth certificate and I have a United States birth abroad birth certificate.

Megan Porta: Oh wow. So when you have to show your birth certificate, for whatever reason, do you have to bring both? 

Katie Jasiewicz: I always bring both and just to be on the cautious side. But I found that once I was older and probably after I was 18, I got a passport. I just started bringing that around because it was so much easier than trying to explain why I have two birth certifi certificates.

Megan Porta: They’re like, no, wait, what? They probably don’t see that very often. 

Katie Jasiewicz: All the time, when we used to cruise, I used to confuse them so much and they’re like, wait a minute. I feel like maybe I confused them more than what was needed. 

Megan Porta: Okay. That’s definitely the first time that has been a fun fact. That’s awesome. Yeah. Okay. You have an incredible blogging journey and it’s been a long journey on the spectrum of like where food bloggers are at. So do you wanna start by talking to us through your blogging journey, how it’s evolved over the years to where you’re at today? 

Katie Jasiewicz: Sure Megan. So like you mentioned, I’ve been blogging for a very long time. I started in November of 2009, back when it was blog spot. You didn’t really pay for hosting. I think it was Katiescucina.blogspot.com. I didn’t even have a paid domain name probably until 2011 or 2012. I just started it because I was just tired of friends and family and coworkers asking me for recipes. I’d constantly be emailing them recipes. I had just finished wedding planning. I got married in 2008 and I just needed something to fill up my time. I had a coworker who had been blogging, but more of journaling life stories and stuff. She suggested that I should start a food blog. \So I did not think it would ever in a million years take me to where I am today. I’m sure you probably feel similar. 

Megan Porta: Oh yes. Yes.

Katie Jasiewicz: I just never thought that this could actually be a career and a job. I started out in 2009, just dabbling. Had awful photos. All of my food photos looked like dog food. There was no such thing as recipe cards. You just wrote it on the blog post. I think most of my recipes back then, where two or three sentences that I would write, not even a teaser or a synopsis of what the recipe was. It was like, oh, I made this for my husband tonight and he loved it. I found this recipe at the grocery store. I don’t know, some random stuff. Then all of a sudden I started noticing that I was getting people from like around the world, looking at my recipes. I was like, wow, this is crazy. Then I learned about food blog conferences. So I started going to those. Back in the good old days when they were amazing. I don’t know if you ever went to, I wanna say it was held at Walt Disney world. I can see the logo – food blog forum. It was put on by Jaden Hair of the Steamy Kitchen. 

Megan Porta: Oh, I never went to any of those. No. 

Katie Jasiewicz: There were a lot of big bloggers that kind of put this on. They were amazing one. We were wowed by Disney. People traveled from all over the United States and Canada and stuff to go to these events. Then we also got to learn just from some of the amazing experts at the time and they still are today. So I did like a food blog forum. I went to Blogher Food a couple times.

Megan Porta: Same.

Katie Jasiewicz: I went to a wide variety. I went to Mix conference in Virginia. I think it was in Virginia. It was at the lodge where Dirty Dancing was filmed. 

Megan Porta: Oh, fun. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Yeah, so like a wide variety of conferences and I just started learning, wow, like I can actually make money from this. So I started learning photography. I started kinda getting serious about it, picking up some freelance projects. In 2014 is when I made the leap. By 2013 I realized, okay I can do this full time. Let me ride out my corporate marketing job, and then I’m gonna leave once I have my son and my husband was like, okay. We can give it a try, but every quarter we are gonna reassess to make sure that we can still pay the bills. If we can. Great. And if not, then you’re gonna have to go back to finding a day job. Within the first year, like it was a no brainer. We had no issues whatsoever. It was amazing. Yeah, so I just plugged along. I would turn out so much content, which is both good and bad. Because at that time, Pinterest was booming. I had tons of stuff going viral. Hundreds of thousands of page views. Then I had my second child. I had my daughter in 2017. I definitely took more of a step back. It was very much part-time, and wasn’t turning out as much content. Wasn’t taking on as much sponsored stuff, but I had more year long contracts where I didn’t have to do as much as I was doing before because I had these year long contracts. I was working. I had a year-long contract with Stonyfield. I was working and doing social media management for CostPlus World Market on the weekends. And then I was also working for Lighthouse Foods. I had a year-long partnership with them, so it was great. It worked out really well. Then as we all know, I feel like 2017, 2018, 2019 is when all these algorithm changes happen with Google. That’s when I started going. All right. Something’s about working here. My page views are at an all time low and still I have all this content and why am I not getting the page views? That’s when I learned about the importance of SEO and SEO audits. 

Megan Porta: Yes. It sounds like you and I had very similar journeys, Katie. Much of what you said. I was like, yep. Yep. Yep. That sounds so familiar. All of it. So why don’t we start with that? Because you have learned a lot of lessons along the way. You’ve made mistakes, as we all have. You’ve been doing this for so long that you can impart some wisdom to the rest of us. So would you say that learning SEO is the number one thing that we should be doing? 

Katie Jasiewicz: For sure. I could definitely kick myself because back during these food blog conferences in 2012, 2013, 2014, everyone was talking about SEO. But the problem was that when they were talking about SEO back, then it felt like a foreign language. There was no one who could break it down like a regular day speaker. It was 100% a foreign language. So I just buried my head in the sand. I’m just not gonna learn this. This is too hard. Now, I’m like, oh my gosh. If only I would’ve listened to these people and knew more about SEO years ago, I would be in such a different place now. But hindsight’s 2020. We all have our different journeys, our different chapters of our lives. I just have to always constantly remind myself that I just wasn’t ready for it back then. Everyone’s chapters are different, is what I always tell myself. Your season of life. Like right now, I have two kids that are now officially in elementary school. So now I can devote more time to my business because now I have two full-time students. Where like a couple of years ago, I didn’t have that. I had two little babies and toddlers. So just taking the time to learn SEO now is definitely one, there’s so many courses out there. There’s SEO audits. That was not a thing back in 2012, 2013, or, if it was, I clearly had my head in the sand. So it is taking the time to learn SEO. There are courses out there. You don’t have to go the audit route. If you are an older blogger or you have a hundred plus recipes on your site or blog posts in general, I’d highly recommend doing an SEO audit. I went with Casey Markee. I know that he’s not always for everyone, but to me, he is exactly what I needed. He helped me. I had signed up in late 2019 for an SEO audit with him for late spring of 2020. I feel like I like timing. It would’ve been great if I would’ve won a year earlier, but Hey, you live and you learn. You can’t live in the past. But it really helped me because he was able to really dial in, look at all the technical issues on my blog, go through and fix stuff. He taught me how to write a post that was optimized for SEO. Since then, I since 2020, I’ve grown my website with over 150,000 additional page views a month, from 2020. Now he gives you like a 25 page report, so I’m still digging through it. I just had another audit this past spring with him because stuff changes so frequently that it’s good to do it once a year or once every two years to make sure that everything’s looking good on the back end, that you’re still on the right path. When I did my auto with Casey, he warned me. He was like, there’s two types of bloggers. There’s the first blogger who’s ready to put in the time, the energy and the work that you are going to have to do to dig in, to get your blog fully optimized. Then there’s other bloggers who only wanna work a couple months and don’t see any results and then give up. Blogging is definitely like the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. That’s definitely what I found throughout the years. 

Megan Porta: Oh, my gosh. That’s so true. It’s like the theme of food blogging, right? Coming into it, there are always those anomalies who crush it right away and who are the hare and they win. But that is not the norm. Expect slow and steady and that goes with SEO as well.

Katie Jasiewicz: For sure. I definitely applaud those who won big early on. It’s never been me. I totally have accepted that. I’ve moved on with the mindset that my blog and my business will just grow into the business that I want and know it can be over time, but it’s not overnight, like snap your fingers and you’re at a million page views a month. That’s just not gonna happen, at least for me. 

Megan Porta: Not for most people I would say. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Yeah, exactly. 

Megan Porta: So don’t expect that and if it does great, you’re amazing. You killed it. You crushed it. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Yeah, exactly. That’s awesome. But I feel like definitely, newer bloggers now have such an advantage because there’s so many courses out there’s so many resources like this podcast for one. There was nothing like that back in the day and you can learn so much. When you’re starting fresh, you have this fresh clean plate. I started my SEO audit. I had 1400 recipes on my site, Megan. Now I’m at about a thousand. I still need to delete out like three or 400 more because I’m never gonna get through updating all that. Let’s be realistic. I still have a lot to delete. As you mentioned, I also have another website. I have a DIY craft website that’s morphed over time and I actually, I just had an audit in May with Casey for that site. Because I’ve definitely seen that site has died a really long slow death. I know it has a high domain authority score and it has tons of backlinks and has so much potential, but I just have not given it the time that I’ve been investing into it like I have Katie Cucina. I went on delete fast. I deleted half my content because Casey was like, you have so much bad content. I was like, yeah, I totally agree with you. This is garbage. No one’s ever gonna wanna read about it, Ooh, I updated my hallway lights today. No one cares about that. so I definitely got really ruthless with that site and I wish I could say I could get that ruthless with Katie’s Cucina, but I feel like I get down this big SEO keyword research rabbit hole, where I have to look at Google analytics and then I’m looking at Google search console to see what’s going on there. Then I’m typing in different keywords to see, oh wait, can I salvage this? Can I save this before I even just go and delete it.

Megan Porta: Yeah. It is a process, especially when you have so much content like you and I do. It’s draining and stressful. I know it’s oh, poor Megan and Katie, you have so much content, but really it has been a deterrent for me. I feel like what you said earlier about newer bloggers has an advantage, I totally agree with you. I feel like we have a disadvantage. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Oh, for sure. For sure. Because we have so much just low hanging fruit. 

Megan Porta: So much of it.

Katie Jasiewicz: So much content that just is not giving any value to the reader. No one’s ever gonna find it, for sure. And especially if it’s something like, say like meatloaf, that’s such a high volume like keyword search, that you’re never gonna rank on the first page for that. Unless you are like the Food Network. 

Megan Porta: A meatloaf queen or something. Yeah. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Exactly. It’s all those just old, really poorly written recipes. I don’t know about you, Megan, but I have recipes that are only half filled out like the recipe cards, same because they’re linking over to a sponsored site. I have some that don’t even have a recipe card. 

Megan Porta: Yes, I do too.

Katie Jasiewicz: It links over to another brand’s website. The brand’s website has deleted all their recipes because they realize that it brought no value. So it’s trying to find this matrix. Of course, obviously the time to just have the time to go through it all, to figure it all out, to figure out what the heck is salvageable, what new stuff do you wanna create. At this point, in the past couple years, maybe in 2021, I created maybe a dozen new recipes. Everything else was just old recipes that I republished with new photos, with new text. I just hit that really hard. This year, I’ve definitely been expanding on my air fryer recipes, and I’ve really been trying to build that category out. So this year I’m probably close to two dozen new recipes, but other than that, everything else is old, but it looks brand new because it’s been buried in the bottom of the abyss here and just trying to give it new life. I know that recipes are amazing. I just have to show others, look, this is amazing. This is why. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. Then there’s that category where the recipes aren’t amazing. At least I have that category, where I like to delete. I deleted so many recipes. I also had a Casey audit. He said the same thing to me. You’ve got so much content. I think you used the word ruthless. You’ve gotta be ruthless about getting rid of some of this because it’s never going to do you any good. It’s hard because that was my time and my energy for so many years, just busting out content left and right.

Katie Jasiewicz: For sure. My recipes were my babies before I ever had babies. I think I was able to be ruthless with deleting content on Sew Woodsy because I wasn’t as attached. But on Katie’s Cucina, it’s like my favorite child for sure. I spend all my time on that site and I have to physically put on my calendar okay, today I’m going to spend three hours on Sew Woodsy, updating posts, or doing web stories or doing something of value. 

Megan Porta: Yes. So SEO is important is the bottom line here. That’s the first thing first. Don’t become, 10 years from now, like Katie and myself, where you’re like, oh no, I have to go through a thousand pieces of content. It’s not something it’s not a situation you want to be in. Trust us. 

Katie Jasiewicz: I’m sure Megan, you can agree with this. Don’t be afraid to go back and update your older posts that aren’t getting a ton of traffic. Or if you are a new blogger, say you have 50 recipes and there’s 10 recipes that are getting very little traffic. Don’t be afraid to go back in there and edit that post. Maybe change the title, even though the URL isn’t gonna match the title. That doesn’t matter. Just change the title for something that has a better volume search depending on your domain authority and stuff like that. Then go back through and add additional, frequently asked questions. Sometimes I will start getting a lot of comments and questions on a particular old blog post, and I’ll start going through and I’ll take all those questions and add that into my like frequently asked questions block. Because if readers are coming to ask these questions and clearly I’m not doing a good enough job explaining it in the blog pots. So I’ll take those exact questions that they’re asking me and put that into frequently asked questions or my tips and tricks. I think that’s one thing. I think it was taboo back in the day to go back through and edit your blog post. You never did that once you hit publish, that was it. You did not go back in and edit it, or at least I never did. Which is why I’m in the position I am in today.

Megan Porta: I just didn’t know. Now we know better. Yes. We know what we should be doing.

Katie Jasiewicz: So true. And the other thing is I never went in to update my about me page. Ever. It just stayed stagnant for years and years. The same with I have a frequently asked questions page. I have a contact page. I have all those pages. You actually should probably go in there at least every quarter and just make sure everything’s still relevant. Maybe you have been featured on a new, really popular website. You wanna put that in there because that shows your authority and it shows your expertise. We all know that we’re trying to strive for this EAT. Right? The expertise, authority, and trust. So going back through and updating your about page each quarter, maybe you set an alarm on your phone or something. Then also your homepage. I have a feast theme. It’s super easy to update. But I go on almost on the monthly and I’m changing my top featured recipe carousel to go with the time. For summer, it was grilling on the 4th of July. I had the 4th of July highlighted before that holiday. I’ll have a Labor day holiday coming up. The same with Halloween. All of those holidays, I like to try to highlight those so that way, if people are looking for a specific holiday. They land on my homepage, which is typically, which blows my mind, but my homepage is in my top three most traffic pages on my website. Which is amazing because it shows that I’m really starting to do a good job with my SEO. But those people are landing on that homepage. You want to make sure that you have relevant content there? They don’t wanna land on it and see oh, you’re highlighting Easter recipes when it’s October. 

Megan Porta: Gosh, I’m guilty of that.

Katie Jasiewicz: I really try the first of every month, I go in or the day after a major holiday, I will go in and update my homepage. I even have it on my mobile dropdown menu. Whatever the holiday is. I have a link to that. So say for Halloween coming up or for Thanksgiving, I will put Thanksgiving recipes and I will link to my Thanksgiving recipe category or my main dish category or the side dish category, whatever it may be. Most people are on mobile. If they happen to go down and wanna go on your recipe sidebar, that’s what they’re gonna see when they click on the mobile. And I know I like knowing I’m not calling this correctly, but the mobile drop down menu.

Megan Porta: The little hamburger. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So make sure that you’re updating those. Then of course, you also have the backlinks and the internal links. I did an awful job with internal links years ago. I ended up purchasing Yost premium because it could tell me all my orphan content, which is all the content that I had never linked to.

Megan Porta: I had so much, after my audit. I was embarrassed. Casey was like, this is an extraordinary amount of orphans. I’m like, oh, should I be paying attention to them?

Katie Jasiewicz: I know, no, I know. I probably had over 600 orphan posts and I was like, oh, I never knew that was that important. Now I think I’m in my forties. But I’m really happy because it’s not in the hundreds. A lot of that had to do with deleting a lot of content out. A lot of it had to do with the rewrites and making sure that in every post I am linking to around roughly three to five other recipes. Whether it’s a couple recipes at the beginning of my post or at the end, something similar that I’m recommending. Say it’s maybe air fryer or say, I wanna give some side dishes to go along with grilled chicken breast. So it’s stuff like that. Those internal links that’s really important. Then of course, if you are publishing anything that’s new, like brand new content. You wanna go back through some of your older posts and add those links in from that brand new recipe. I don’t always do a great job about this.

Megan Porta: Yeah, same.

Katie Jasiewicz: But I definitely try to go back through it, especially if it’s new, I’ll try to go and find three to five other recipes that would be complementary or of similar category. I will go back through and add those links in there. I’m thinking about some of my air fryer stuff. Since I’m really starting to build out my air fire category. So yeah, that’s another thing. Then the back links are just gonna come over time. I wish I could say there was some magic, special sauce to that, but there isn’t.

Megan Porta: There really isn’t.

Katie Jasiewicz: That’s gonna come over time. 

Megan Porta: That is the key right there. Back when we started Katie, it was, I feel like it was much easier to do that because there were so many fewer blogs out there. So some of the bigger sites would be like, oh, Katie’s chili. This is great. So many other people would latch onto that and link to it. I have a lot of backlinks and I did not try for any of those. That might be super annoying, but it’s because of when I started. It was just super easy to get them back then.

Katie Jasiewicz: So I am the first one who’s guilty of this. Did you ever participate in link parties? 

Megan Porta: I did for a period. We did an experiment with that.

Katie Jasiewicz: Yes. That was a big thing. The 2010, 2011, 2012 timeframe people would host for those of you who are newer into blogging, people would host these like weekly link parties and they would feature other people’s recipes. But then they would also have a link tool where you could submit your own recipe or blog post. Holy smokes. I was a big fan of those and I did a lot of it. I guess it’s good, but then Casey reminds me like, yeah, but not all of those links are really that amazing and important and hold that high of value.

Megan Porta: It’s so funny to talk about evolution and where we were. We forget about those things that we used to do and yeah. How things have evolved. So I love conversations.

Katie Jasiewicz: Then Megan, I know that you have spoken about this too, but your categories. Like making sure that your categories are optimized. I never realized that was the thing until my audit in 2020. I’ll be the first to admit that. Giving some information to your reader, like a paragraph that explains what that category is about, what they’re gonna find in that category. Linking out to a few of your most popular recipes for that category. I had an insane amount of categories. I’m almost embarrassed to say how many categories I had and I still have a lot of categories because I just can’t figure out how to par it down anymore. I wanna say I have close to 70 categories, which is ridiculous. I wish I could have been one of those simplistic category people, but I wasn’t and I don’t know if I ever will be but just making sure that they’re fully filled out, because that’s really another great way to internal link. Then also just a great place because Hey, that category page could potentially rank first page on Google and land you a ton of traffic. That’s something that I never ever thought about for years, was people could actually land on just my category page.

Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s something, I think a lot of food bloggers don’t really know until you see it in your analytics and you’re like, wait a second. What is that category page doing there and it’s doing really well? So you do want to boost those up and give them a little bit of love. 

Sponsor: Let’s take a super quick break to chat about my favorite keyword research tool that I am finding so much success with. RankIQ is a custom keyword library packed with keywords that are easy to rank for, and that also have high search volume. With the ups and downs and uncertainty that comes along with core updates, algorithm changes and seasonal lulls, food bloggers need to tap into steady traffic that is going to grow over time. 

Here are a few of my favorite things about RankIQ. It saves me a ton of time. I can get a new post kicked out in two hours or less. The keyword research tool provides so many great ideas for content that will support my existing recipes. An example of this is how to slice ham. I know exactly how fast something will rank based on the competition score and time to rank score. I’m no longer guessing about how successful a keyword will be before spending hours writing about it. I know that it is going to be successful right out of the gate. Go to rankiq.com to sign up and see for yourself how awesome it is. I hope you love it as much as I do. Now, back to the episode. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Then of course everyone’s favorite or maybe not so favorite. I would say it’s not my favorite social media. 

Megan Porta: I knew you were gonna say that.

Katie Jasiewicz: I started Pinterest back when it was in beta mode. 

Megan Porta: Same.

Katie Jasiewicz: So I feel like I’m a dinosaur right now talking, because I got in when it was beta. I was not one of the lucky ones who’s pages were featured and got hundreds of thousands of millions of followers instantly. I have quite a few friends who are amazing. I was not one of those. I have a pretty good Pinterest following. Of course, Pinterest has tanked over the past two years and I am interested to see where it goes, but Pinterest is still my top referring social platform. I don’t know if it is still for you, but for me.

Megan Porta: It is. Yeah, my Pinterest traffic has gone way down comparatively from four or five years ago. It’s really sad. But I don’t let it bother me because there’s always something to fill its place. There’s always a gap to fill and things come up. But yes, it is still my top social platform, but nothing compared to where it used to be. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Yeah. Then of course we have good old Facebook. 

Megan Porta: Good old Facebook. 

Katie Jasiewicz: I just fill in the content. I have content that goes on that page. I cannot say it gets a lot of views or anything, but I feel like I only keep it up because sponsors still want Facebook pages and Facebook posts. I don’t understand why it doesn’t bring real traffic to them, but Hey, that’s how they wanna spend their money. I will let them spend it like that. But trying to utilize and find like the Facebook groups. Not only for networking purposes, but also for the business side of it. I say the business side of it, like if you have Instant Pot, Content there’s the instant pot group has like a million plus followers in it and people share those recipes. When I share recipes in some of those groups, I see a huge spike in Facebook traffic. It’s really only from sharing in those groups and not so much on my personal page. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. Those groups can be gold if you find the right one and kind of tread a little bit lightly in there and not maybe overshare your content. Because that can be a red flag too. 

Katie Jasiewicz: For sure. I am really bad. I wish I could say that I go on like once a week to share, I probably go on maybe once a month or whenever I think about it. So it could be two or three weeks or two months and I will put up a post or something. It’s all those, maybe setting an alarm, spending a half an hour trying to find Facebook groups and putting it in once a week. Of course each Facebook group, I feel like has a million different rules. Some you can only post on like Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So it’s also trying to remember what those rules are, which is probably why I don’t post on them that often. Then YouTube. I started that years ago before a video was really big. I actually was doing a lot of videos. I actually spoke at a DIY blog conference on video in 2014 because my husband and I were doing video for the website homes.com. We were brand ambassadors for them. So we turned out a ton of videos for them and it was nice because we didn’t have to edit it. We just sent them all the raw footage and they had their team edit it for us. So I definitely had that advantage there and I just did not keep the momentum going. So I’ve been trying to get back into doing more videos. I just do the hands and pans. I don’t really do the talking videos anymore. Maybe with the kids both in school. Maybe I will start doing some talking videos again, because I’ll have a quiet house for six plus hours a day. So there is always that. Instagram and TikTok. I feel like they’re two different audiences. Instagram is definitely trying to be a little like TikTok with the Reels and stuff like that. I dabbled in TikTok in the summer of 2020. By that fall, I happened to just get two random, I say random videos that went viral. I went from 250 followers to 7,000 overnight. Then another month later, I had another video go viral that had 5 million views. I went from 7,000 to 39,000 followers.

Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Literally. Overnight. I woke up. It was the best adrenaline rush. Because I was constantly checking it, on the hour. Oh my gosh, I am up to this many followers. 

Megan Porta: That’s amazing. 

Katie Jasiewicz: It was crazy. One was food related and we were at a restaurant and the server was presenting baked Alaska and he was pouring quote, unquote, fire on top of the ice cream. It went crazy. I think it went partially crazy because people were like, how can you pour a fire? But then also my husband’s looks in the background. He had these big eyes and I think he is what really is what’s made the video go viral. I totally like to admit it all the time. Yes, babe, you are the reason why it went viral. It got 2 million views. But my other one, because I was just putting random stuff up. I wasn’t really. Sticking with food. My other one was an ant farm video, gone wrong. We were transferring ants and I had ants go everywhere. I still get people to this day, Megan, asking me on food videos. Hey, when are you gonna bring back the ant farm?

Megan Porta: No way.

Katie Jasiewicz: Apparently ant farms are a big thing on TikTok and I had no idea. So if you can dabble in those, I did it as an experiment. I never did TikTok as oh, it’s gonna be like a get rich quick famous kind of thing. I just did it just to have it part of my portfolio. I probably post once or twice a month. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. I have the platform there and I have made money on sponsored projects because they’re happy to see. I think now I have 37,000 followers. 

Megan Porta: That is inspiration just to keep going, because I think that TikTok can be really frustrating because we always hear, you have to be on it. You have to be doing it. And then you make it a part of your business strategy and then you see nothing. But I’ve heard so many stories where it just happens overnight. That’s so cool that happened to you. 

Katie Jasiewicz: It does. It’s so random. I wish that there was a formula to that too. But yeah, just dabbling in it and just to have it, because you never know. Something might go viral overnight and then look. Then you’ve just opened up a whole other possible stream of income for sponsored posts.

Megan Porta: Yep. Exactly. Okay. So what else, what other mistakes? So we’ve covered social media. Anything else there? 

Katie Jasiewicz: No, not really for this social media. Instagram I don’t know. I have a love hate with Instagram. I love to be on it and look at other people’s stuff. I hate it because I feel like I’ve not grown a single follower in a million years. I am okay with that. I’ve just come to the conclusion that’s just not my platform to grow on. I have accepted it. 

Megan Porta: I’m with you, Katie, on that. Honestly if you look at my numbers on the food blog side on Instagram, you’d be like what? She’s been blogging for almost 12 years. It’s crazy. But for some reason, it just has not been my place. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Exactly. I used to be all upset and frustrated and obviously. As much as I try not to compare myself to others, you inevitably end up doing it at some point or another. I’ve just come to the conclusion. It’s just not my place. I’ll still post stuff because I still do get some sponsored work, but nothing crazy. But it’s not where my readers are or where people are that wanna look at my content and I’m okay with that. 

Megan Porta: Yeah, definitely. 

Katie Jasiewicz: So let’s talk about hiring help, because this is something, I think that a lot of people think oh my gosh, I cannot hire help. I’m like barely bringing in enough money. But I think there’s two different ways to hire help. One thing that I’ve definitely had my mindset shift and change in the past two years has been, a fortune 500 company is not run by one person. They have so many people that work to make their company a success. For many years, food bloggers have been this one person show. They wear 20 different hats and that’s what has become the norm. I’m happy that as of recently, I feel like it’s becoming more and more accepted if you have a team or you are hiring some help in different areas. That’s something that ‘s been my big shift in the past few years. So the first thing actually that I hired, many years ago, back in 2015, when I made my business official with the state, is that I hired an accountant because I realized I hate doing all things that have to do with balancing books, with taxes, all that stuff. I have my accountant. I’m happy to pay him. He helps me run my payroll for myself. He helps me with my quarterly taxes, with my yearly taxes and whatever. Any other questions I have or concerns, he is there for me. He is the expert in that. And I don’t have to spend hardly any of my energy on it. Then I recently hired Nerd Press to manage all the security and backups and they have been amazing. They have helped so much. Then, I’ve hired programs to help automate and help me just do more. So yoast premium, it gives me all my orphan content so that way I can make sure that I’m interlinking. It also gives me stale content filters of stuff that just hasn’t been touched. So that’s really good. I use the revisioned plugin, which is free. It’s not paid. That is just what I end up drafting all my old blog posts that I’m going to create to make new. 

Megan Porta: Yes. Love that. 

Katie Jasiewicz: So I like to use that. I think that Yoast now has a redraft plugin as well. 

Megan Porta: Oh, I haven’t heard about that. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Haven’t I haven’t used it yet. Casey had told me about it. I’m dragging my feet because I’m like, Ugh, I just don’t wanna learn another thing. I have already perfected this, but I believe that I should revise it. I don’t think it’s getting updated as frequently as Yoast is. I still use Tailwind. I have the most basic plan just to schedule out pins so that stuff is still going out there. I have a Canva pro account, so that way I can have all of my branding. I can use whatever images and fonts and all those fancy things that they have in Canva for designing. I’ve paid for CoSchedule. So CoSchedule is integrated like your WordPress dashboard and essentially I can push content to Facebook and Twitter. So I can schedule it all out through there. So when I’m working on a new blog post, I’ll schedule it out for the same day to push out, the next week, the next month I can click this little button so that it will keep recycling the content randomly throughout the year if it’s something that’s evergreen. I have been using it for a while. I can’t say I get a ton of additional likes using it. I also can’t say that I don’t get it. It’s that gray area. But to me, I feel like it is a way for me to at least push out the content, especially on Twitter. Cause I’m never on Twitter anymore. But at least then it makes my Twitter feed look good. If I have a sponsored post, if that makes sense. 

Megan Porta: Yeah, it does.

Katie Jasiewicz: Then I pay for keyword research. I use key search. I think it’s, I don’t know, 10 or $12 a month. It’s what I use instead of SEMrush or Ahrefs or any of that stuff. That can be very pricey. 

Megan Porta: And more confusing.

Katie Jasiewicz: Oh yeah. Way, way more confusing. I use Keysearch and then I pay probably $10 every, I don’t know, 10 to 12 months for a hundred thousand credits for keywords everywhere. They have a few tools and I like to be able to see what other people are ranking for keywords. So that keywords everywhere allows me to look at that. I like to use a mix of paid and unpaid. As of recently in 2022, I have enlisted interns. 

Megan Porta: Woo that’s awesome. 

Katie Jasiewicz: It has been amazing. It’s been a goal of mine. It’s been a thought in my head for a couple years and I finally acted on it in late 2021. I didn’t get any interns for fall of 2021. I wanted to, I just started too late. But for January, for spring, I had two interns. So it’s really just costing me additional time to teach them. I love teaching. And so for me, I felt like it was no brainer. For summer. I’ve had three interns. It’s definitely been a learning curve. I’ve had two and now three. It keeps me on my toes because I have to really do a really good job of planning ahead, working ahead. Then I’m also having to check a lot of stuff. So I have to put in that additional time, like the planning time and then the time to check. But it’s nice because I’ll go into my web stories and I have 10 Google web stories drafted for me. I just need to go through and edit, make sure that everything looks good and then I can either hit publish, or schedule them out.

Megan Porta: So how did you find your interns, Katie? 

Katie Jasiewicz: I went to Roland’s college here in Winter Park, Florida because I live in Florida. I contacted the internship office there and told them, Hey, I’m interested in learning about how I could have interns for my business and they were the ones who told me there’s a website called Handshake. It’s what they use. So I went to Handshake and I created a business profile. You definitely have to have a business email address and you have to have an actual business registered with the state. It definitely has to be like legit business, since my internships are considered virtual, it all worked out because there’s a lot of rules and laws in place. You can’t have interns working inside your home. You can meet up with them in person, but it has to be in a public setting, like at a coffee shop or something. So there’s a lot of roles, but through that there’s a ton of colleges and universities on there, so that’s where I found them. My spring interns ended up not doing their internship for credit. They just did it for experience. So they each did eight hours a week is what we agreed on. My summer interns, it’s like a wide variety. So I have one intern that’s for credit. She needs 20 hours a week, which is pretty amazing, but it’s a lot. I have to have a lot of work for her obviously to fill up her time. I have another intern for credit. She needs 12 hours. So it just depends on what college they’re a part of. One internship is at the college of communications, the other is the college of business. So it’s two different intern people that I’m having to talk with at the colleges. It’s signing off on paperwork. My one intern who needs 20 hours, her internship office requires me to sign paperwork every two weeks vouching that she did her time. Then my third intern this semester, he’s a sophomore and he just wants to learn everything and anything about websites. He actually has a drop ship company, which was so interesting to me. So he has taught me a lot too, but this is just for experience to put on his resume. He works six hours a week. It’s been great. I have them scheduling out all my content and planning all my content on Facebook. I have them that’s scheduling out Pinterest. I have them creating idea pins and uploading them onto Pinterest. I have them writing newsletters. I have them editing photos. 

Megan Porta: That’s so awesome. I don’t think people normally think of going this avenue. So I love that you’re putting this out there. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Yeah. This is probably something I can probably come back on and talk a whole podcast episode about interns because it’s pretty amazing. It’s awesome. I’ve been very transparent with them. This is only my second semester doing this. So it’s all a learning curve. So because of that there’s a possibility at one point that maybe I will hire an intern, as a part-timer. That’s my ultimate goal. But for right now I’m just playing it semester by semester. So we talked about just hiring help, whether it’s an actual person or a system in place. Email is so incredibly important. I know there’s been a lot of podcasts, including yours, that you guys have talked about email. I also, thanks to you, Megan. I switched to FloDesk in 2020, and I love it. I love the fact that I don’t, I’m not gonna be stuck having to pay for all these additional email users. At the end of the day, these social accounts are great and if you have hundreds of thousands of followers, great. But when there’s outages, like what happened earlier in the year on Facebook and Instagram, and you have no way to get to those hundreds of thousands of followers, what are you gonna do? You have nothing like you need those email addresses. So I have been able to slow and steadily grow my email list. I actually have a corporate marketing email background, but I dragged my feet forever on actually doing email for my blogs. I think I was partially scared that I was gonna mess up my own stuff. So just trying to grow your email list, I feel like it’s so important. Really pushing out all those new posts, old posts, newsletters, whatever you can to your subscribers. It’s really important. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. That’s something I wish somebody would’ve told me early on, is how important that was, because I didn’t focus on it for a lot of years. Then I was like, oh my gosh, I should have done that.

Katie Jasiewicz: Agree. I wish that when I left my corporate job in 2014, that I really focused on it hard, but I didn’t. So once again, I will just move on and continue moving ahead with the time. 

Megan Porta: Yes. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Then, we talked a little bit about video briefly and YouTube. I definitely think there’s such an advantage now. Back in the day, we didn’t have phones that had such amazing cameras. You had to use a DSLR or a professional camera to really get a good quality. I remember, Sunday Suppers used to throw a blog conference every year. The Sunday Supper Movement. It’s drawing a blank of what the conference was called, but anyways. Denise and Lenny from Shek and I probably just butchered their name, cuz I do not speak French at all, but they had taught a class and were like, just pick up your phone and just make some videos. Now, I feel like it’s a very normal thing and that’s really what I use to do all my hands and pan videos. Granted, they’re not a hundred percent professional, but it’s better than nothing. It gets the point across. People can see exactly what I’m talking about if there’s a particular tricky step. Of course, if you’re with an ad network, it’s another way to monetize. So you can use that video pretty much anywhere. You can put it on your blog, that can be monetized with your ad company. You can throw it on Facebook. You can throw it on Pinterest. Depending on the format, you can throw it on Instagram and on TikTok. So it’s really versatile. If you think about it, you can shoot one video and put it on so many different platforms to potentially make a lot more money. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. There are so many ways to repurpose video, especially nowadays. Like you said, with great camera phones.

Katie Jasiewicz: Then just thinking about going into kind of more of like processes. Creating different process checklists. Now, obviously, because I have interns, I have created so many documents to teach them, and just writing out all of my processes. Because there, there’s so many different parts to your blog and your website. If you ever wanna outsource any of those, if you have a process manual already put in place, you can give that to the VA or to the intern. They will clearly be able to see oh, this is how they create a Google web story. Or this is how they write a blog post or scheduling out social media or doing alt tags. That’s something that I’ve recently started adding in is just creating all these process manuals. I really, at the end of the day, a lot of businesses have them. You are a business. If you are treating your blog as a business, you should also have them too. I can never imagine myself selling any of my websites, although I have been given some really amazing offers, but at the end of the day, if you were to sell over your business, you could hand off those process manuals. If that was something you wanted to do, as an added bonus to them. I knew that’s kind of random, but having some process manuals in place, or even just a checklist. Laying out what you need to do from start to finish, to write a blog post. That’s really helpful in itself. I mean that, that’s probably the first checklist that you could create is just okay, I need to shop for the food, for the ingredients. I need to create the recipe and photograph the recipe and edit the photos and write the blog post and write the recipe card and and just go down the list like that. Starting from there, just to make sure that you have this checklist every single time you go to publish a new post. Then of course expanding on that. If you end up going the route of interns or paid help, that they are familiar with exactly your way of doing things and the way that you would want them done. 

Megan Porta: Yeah and Loom videos. I know you mentioned that in your notes, those are such a great way to capture it on video so that you don’t have to write out a bunch of stuff. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Those have been great. I have for my interns specifically, I have written out process manuals and then I also include a Loom video on every single one. Of course, like the way that Facebook changes everything and Pinterest, all of these platforms change so often that I’m finding that I’m having to re-record videos for them. So that way it’s like showing exactly what it looks like. But that’s really helpful, especially if like you are gonna go the hiring route.

Megan Porta: Yeah. So recipe cards you had as your last little note here. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Oh, yeah. Just filling them out, fully. Every single field that’s on there you should fill out. Before a few years ago, I didn’t realize that you really needed to fill them all out. So I have finally gotten through all my recipe cards and they are all fully filled out. It’s better for user experience. It’s better for the search engines to find you. The more complete, the better. 

Megan Porta: Yes. Such great advice. This has been great. Oh my gosh, Katie. You’ve given us a long list of things to think about, but all so valuable. So thank you so much for being here today.

Katie Jasiewicz: Thank you for having me. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. This was super fun. I’m glad to connect with you in this way. Okay. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to share with us? 

Katie Jasiewicz: Yes. Okay. So I have this quote by Howard Schultz. He is the CEO of Starbucks and it is, “I believe life is a series of near misses. A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all. It’s seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see and pursuing that vision.”

Megan Porta: Ooh, I love that. That’s so cool. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. We will put some show notes together for you, Katie. If anyone wants to go look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/katiescucina. Tell everyone where they can find you online on social media and everywhere else. 

Katie Jasiewicz: Sure you can find me at Katiescucina.com, C U C I N A. I know that you could also pronounce it, cucina, the Italian way. But I always say it the American way. Then I’m there on Facebook. I’m like a mix. I also have sewwoodsy.com, S E W as in sewing woodsy. So my Facebook pages are Katie’s Cucina and also Sew Woodsy, the same with Twitter. My Pinterest and Instagram are shared. Katie Jasiewicz, which is really hard to spell. I totally recognize that. Then TikTok, I have my own accounts for Katie’s Cucina and for Sew Woodsy as well.

Megan Porta: Everyone go check Katie out on all her platforms and thank you for being here again, Katie. Thank you 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. Please share this episode with a friend who would benefit from tuning in. I will see you next time.


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Pinterest image for episode 334 - avoid these mistakes made by bloggers (+ how to flourish with the times) with Katie Jasiewicz
Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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