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Blog Title: Grace and Vine Studios
About: Madison is a food blogger turned web designer running Grace and Vine Studios. She works with her clients to connect with their audience through strategic web design and brand strategy. She is the host of The Vine Podcast, a podcast about strategy and design for food bloggers. Madison, her husband, two little boys live in Phoenix, AZ.
Notes from Episode #060: How To Maintain Your Unique Voice On Your Website While Still Making Google Happy
Fun fact: Madison and her husband live in her great grandparents house built in 1959 and there’s been no updates to it since it was built. So they took it down to the studs and renovated it completely. 10 people total from her family have lived in it!
There has been a huge shift in the way we approach our blogs now that we are all fighting for Google’s approval. Through this shift, food bloggers have felt the need to strip away their own personality and brand messaging from their blog posts.
Brand messaging is so important – this is your Niche|Voice|Story
Your niche is way more of a story that “I’m just a food blogger”
Your type of recipes you offer isn’t the only story you have. You have a story that is unique to you and helps you to stand out and connect with your unique ideal audience. Why you do what you do is the heart behind your site.
It’s a dangerous trend that’s happening where food bloggers (in general) all do the same thing, use the same layouts and themes and SEO to satisfy Google and they start to look the same. So it’s so important to remember what your brand messaging is to not get lost in a sea of bloggers.
Brand messaging = Your unique take on photography, writing, colors, style, what you add to your site for content and what you add to your stories; these are what differentiates you. It’s also a feeling that your audience gets when they visit your site. It helps you to connect with them.
Take some time to figure out your brand foundation. What’s your core message?
Write out 5-10 statements about what you believe, what you stand for, what content you provide.
Use these to stay on message and be consistent with content.
Help people to see themselves within your content.
Become a trusted source for your audience.
You have a hot second to convert someone from a reader of the recipe card to a loyal visitor.
Having a unique website is important!
We can make Google happy by optimizing our websites and blog content, without losing our brand’s personality in the process.
Just because you make a recipe at home doesn’t mean you have to share it because they might not be relevant to your audience or you share on IG or stories but not publish
Planning your content and being strategic in how you present it is important.
Episode 13 of Madison’s podcast is a good one to check out – on the topic of planning your content for next year
Review what’s done well in the past quarter on your blog by going through analytics
#1 – Add content that will pair well with the recipe that’s already done well
#2 – Create content that is a spin off of your popular content – similar style to this category
This helps you to serve your loyal audience and your Google audience by doing this.
Ask yourself 2 questions – are your ideas (for content on your blog) going to move the needle forward and is it the best use of your time?
Ideas need to be:
Something that will align with brand messaging
They will serve your audience
Decide if this recipe will do well on SEO and Pinterest
Changes you can make to your website:
Categories should be optimized to lead your audience to more
Surface level categories are a good place to start but as your blog grows, having more in-depth categories helps your audience find the recipes they want faster
Your home page should cover the core of your brand. Think about what does someone need to know at a glance on my home page to keep them there?
Most people are coming to your home brand from Pinterest and so they saw one recipe and were willing to check out your homepage so keep it on message.
A photo of yourself is important!
It’s important to remember that not everything that is good for audience/design is recommended for SEO. But there is a trend in the SEO world to take out personality but we knowo now that it’s important to bring you back into it and design of your page can help do that.
Madison helps pulls out ideas that are inside of you so you can start building your brand messaging content – reach out her for some guidance to get started!
Favorite quote by Andy Stanley: “Everybody ends up somewhere in life, a few people up somewhere on purpose, those are the ones with vision.
Helpful references from the episode:
My podcast: thevinepodcast.com
Episode on brand messaging: https://www.graceandvinestudios.com/clear-strategic-messaging/
My design services: graceandvinestudios.com
Get your FREE brand identity guide here!