In episode 276, we chat with Andrew Wilder, founder and CEO of Nerd Press, about what to focus on in this year ahead of us – 5 important things to look at.
We cover information about what core web vitals are, the importance of site speed, how important good web hosts are beyond a low price and the value of looking at your website from the perspective of a user to see how you can improve the audience’s experience.
Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.
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Bio Andrew Wilder is the founder and CEO of NerdPress, a digital agency that provides WordPress maintenance and support for hundreds of food blogs, placing an emphasis on site speed, stability, and security. He has been building, breaking, fixing, and maintaining websites since 1998, and has spoken on a wide variety of technical topics (in plain English!) at conferences such as WordCamp LAX, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Tastemaker, Food & Wine, Fuel Your Influence, and Mediavine.
- Core web vitals – three different performance metrics on your website that Google has said are very important.
- 1 – Largest content, full paint. Which just means what’s the biggest thing in view, before you scroll, when the site loads and should take under 2.5 seconds.
- 2 – First input delay, which is how long it takes for your site to actually respond to an interaction. Does it scroll right away or does it lag? We want to be under is a hundred milliseconds.
- 3 – Cumulative layout shift or CLS. That’s a measurement of how much stuff moves around on the page once you can see it.
- These are correlated to your ranking factor of which there are hundreds of ranking factors so don’t panic but work towards improving your results.
- Don’t have too many plugins or it can slow down your site.
- Keep your fonts simple by using system fonts.
- The core web vitas previously were just for mobile but February 2022 it will also impact desktop browsing.
- Keep listening to podcasts and don’t be upset when Google changes things because it will happen.
- Be sure to have a good host. Price is as important as good customer service and personalized service. Knowing they’re willing to do a deep dive into any issues that come up is valuable.
- Most visitors don’t use your site the way you use your site.
- Have a friend or family member visit your site and navigate around to find different functions, then give you feedback about what didn’t work. Do this twice a year even.
agathon – Word Press hosting
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276 Andrew Wilder
Andrew Wilder: Hi, this is Andrew Wilder from Nerd Press and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
Sponsor: Hey everyone. Real quick, I want to take a moment just to tell you a little bit about Clariti. Clariti is a powerful tool that allows you to organize, optimize, and update your blog content for maximum growth. One of the most powerful ways bloggers are using Clariti to make their content better is through the use of projects. You can think of projects as groupings of your content that need similar updates. They help you make data-driven task lists for each of your posts. Some popular projects that bloggers are currently running with Clariti are old posts that need to be no-indexed or deleted, seasonal posts that need to be refreshed or pushed to social. Full revamps for old posts, broken link fixes, posts to reshoot, adding alt text and top posts health checks. Projects are at the heart of how bloggers are using Clariti to add extra value to their blog posts, to maximize their traffic. If you are interested in checking out Clariti, head to clariti.com/eatblogtalk. Clariti is spelled with an I. C L A R I T I.com/eatblogtalk to sign up for the waiting list and take advantage of their $25 a month forever plan. Go to clariti.com/eatblogtalk or check out the resources page on eatblogtalk.com/resources.
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 276. Today, Andrew Wilder and I are going to have a conversation. He is going to tell us all that we need to know about 2022 and he’s going to give us five tips about what to focus on. Andrew is the founder and CEO of Nerd Press, a digital agency that provides WordPress maintenance and support for hundreds of food blogs, placing an emphasis on site speed, stability and security.
He has been building, breaking, fixing, and maintaining websites since 1988 and has spoken on a wide variety of technical topics in plain English at conferences, such as Word Camp, LAX, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Tastemaker, Food and Wine, Fuel Your Influence and Mediavine.
Hey Andrew. So good to have you on Eat Blog Talk for the first time. Thank you for joining me today.
Andrew Wilder: I’m so glad to be here. Thank you for having me on.
Megan Porta: Yes. I always start by asking my guests to share a fun fact. So we are super excited to hear yours.
Andrew Wilder: Okay. I know you warned me this was coming. I’m going to share something deeply personal that probably nobody knows, but in high school and then it carried over into college my nickname was Fraggle.
Megan Porta: Like Fraggle rock?
Andrew Wilder: Yep.
Megan Porta: Oh boy. And has that followed you throughout your life? Or did you shed that in high school?
Andrew Wilder: After college, only my college friends still call me Fraggle. I have a feeling that may resurface now.
Megan Porta: I was gonna say you just maybe you brought that back to life. Watch out for that. That’s awesome. So you’re being so generous and just sharing your knowledge today, and you have five things you want to tell food bloggers about that we can focus on in 2022. This is not limited to SEO. I know you’re a big SEO guy. You have a few other things thrown in there, so I’m really excited to learn from you today. So why don’t we just dig right in and tell us what the first one is. So site speed, core web vitals, talk to us.
Andrew Wilder: Most people have probably heard of core web vitals by now. This is a site speed and user experience update that Google has been promoting and pushing out that actually went live back in June of 2021. They were warning us for over a year that it was coming. So we all knew it was coming and it was this big scary thing. So now that it’s been out for awhile and the dust has settled. I wanted to bring up a couple of points about it that are some more sort of nuances about it that we’ve learned since.
Let me explain for those of you who don’t know what the core web vitals are. These are three different performance metrics on your website that Google has said are very important. So the first one is called the largest content, full paint. Which just means what’s the biggest thing in view, before you scroll, when the site loads and how long does that take? So the time it takes that, whatever that thing is on your site, however long that takes, that’s your largest content full paint time. Google wants that time to be under two and a half seconds. Then the next one is the first input delay, which is how long it takes for your site to actually respond to an interaction.
So when somebody scrolls, does it scroll right away or does it lag? This isn’t generally a problem on food blogs, thankfully. We don’t usually worry too much about that one, but the time we want to be under is a hundred milliseconds, because anything less than a 10th of a second feels unresponsive to the visitor.
Then the third one, and this is generally the hardest one, is called cumulative layout shift or CLS. That’s basically a measurement of how much stuff moves around on the page once you can see it. That can be right in the beginning, or as you scroll, if an ad pops into place and pushes your content down, that’s really annoying. So that counts towards your CLS score. Google basically says, Hey stuff moving around on the page is bad for visitors. So stop doing it. Here’s the score of how much it moves. So that score is some crazy calculation of how much stuff moves and the bigger it is the more it counts towards the score.
So when Google initially announced these, they said it was going to be on a pass fail system. They basically said either you meet all three metrics or you don’t. And if you meet them, you’ll get a ranking boost or you don’t. So of course food bloggers are super dialed into SEO, because it’s a pretty competitive niche and everyone starts to freak out. Then I think what happened was Google realized that it was really hard for a lot of sites to meet. So very quietly, they changed their position and they said actually, the closer you get to those good ranges, the better it is for SEO.
So they changed it from being a pass/fail to a good, better, best model. So their language is really confusing and we’ve been talking to them about improving this and they’ve said they’ll make it better. There’s good, needs improvement, and poor. So those correspond to specific times. But then if you run a test and it’s in the needs improvement or poor range, if you run a test on Google page speed insights or in Google search console, it’ll say fail. Which is really scary. Especially when this is a ranking factor. So buried like 20 minutes into an ask me anything with John Mueller and a couple of other folks, someone asked a question about this and they actually said the better your score, the closer you are to the good range, the better. So if your CLS score is like 0.4 and you improve it to 0.2, that will actually give you a very slight ranking boost.
Then once you get to 0.1, that’s as good as it gets from Google’s perspective. So there’s no additional benefit to being any faster. For SEO. For your visitors, it’s better to get the shifts down to actually zero.
Megan Porta: No. Just like all of those words, I can see a new blogger coming into this space and being like, okay, I’m out because that is so confusing and overwhelming. What, from all of that you’ve said, do we actually need to be concerned with, and what can we do about this as food bloggers?
Andrew Wilder: So the first thing is what I’m trying to say is, don’t panic. That’s really my message. So really the thing is, this isn’t as important as it sounds. It’s important. Sure. Because it’s competitive and everything matters for SEO, but this is not going to make or break your site. There are plenty of sites and the number one position for very good search terms that have really poor scores on here. Google has said, this is just a little bit more than a tiebreaker. So if all other things are equal and Google is trying to figure out if they should rank you number five or number six with the other site, if all other things are equal, if your core web vitals are better, they’ll bump you up.
But all other things are never equal. There’s hundreds of ranking factors. So the trick is that because we know about this one and we have concrete numbers and Google has made a big point about it, we think it’s a really important ranking factor. It’s important for visitors, but it’s not actually going to move the needle that much on your ranking, if that makes sense.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that makes sense. So it is good to keep an eye on. Is this something that Nerd Press helps with on the backend or are there other ways that we can address some of these things that I think most food bloggers would have absolutely no idea how to fix if they were issues?
Andrew Wilder: Yeah. We do a lot of work on corporate vitals and site speed. When we first started our support plans, site speed wasn’t even a part of it years ago. Then we added a little bit of site speed because Google said, speed is important. But it wasn’t that clear. Now that they’ve put these numbers on it and these very specific measurements, we have targets, we try to hit, right? So when somebody signs up with us, we’ll work to optimize their site, and our goal is to pass or I’m sorry, I shouldn’t use that word anymore, to get into the good range for all three metrics. In terms of what bloggers can do themselves, it’s all the same site speed advice. As we’ve been saying for years. Don’t have too many plugins. Don’t have 10 web fonts. You may not be able to use any web fonts anymore, like the Google fonts. One of the things that helps, especially with layout shifts the most is using what’s called system fonts which are basically fonts that are already on your computer. When you use system fonts, it’s designed to use a native font that’s on that person’s computer or phone. So if you’re on an iPhone, it’ll use an iPhone font that the user is used to seeing, or if you’re on an Android, it’ll use an Android font. I think that’s Roboto maybe. So it actually looks more native to the operating system and it actually looks more natural to the person’s eye.
Megan Porta: So those are little things that we can keep an eye on. So don’t get fancy with your fonts. I know, like years ago, people tried to get the scripty fonts or something that looked really nice, but it’s better just to stick with what’s in the system.
Andrew Wilder: Yeah. For those of you using the feast plugin, which I know is very popular with food blogs, Skyler has made a really easy to enable system fonts. So it’s a setting in the plugin where you basically just check a box and say, use system fonts and it removes all the web fonts and add system fonts. That can really make a huge difference in both the layout shifts and even the largest content, full paint performance.
Megan Porta: Awesome. Thank you for mentioning that. Then you had in your notes something about the desktop page experience update. What is that? Does that related to core web vitals? What does that mean?
Andrew Wilder: This is all a mouthful. So when the core web vitals that have been rolled out so far as the ranking factor, they actually are part of the mobile page experience algorithm. So the page experience algorithm already existed. It looked at things like, is the site mobile friendly? Is the site using SSL? Is the site hacked or is it malware free? So they basically added the core web vitals to page experience. If you go into your Google search console dashboard, it actually has a whole section on page experience. So on desktop, core web vitals have not been a ranking factor yet at all. So it’s good to improve it for your visitors, but that actually has not been a ranking on desktop. But Google has said this coming February, so in a few days from now, when you’re listening they’re going to add core web vitals to the desktop page experience algorithm. So it’s coming out now.
Megan Porta: I’m glad you clarified that. I didn’t realize the June web vitals for only for mobile. Okay, cool. Is there anything else about that, site speed, core web vitals, that you feel like we need to know? Or can we move on to the next point?
Andrew Wilder: It’s going to be more of the same in 2022. Google has also said that they may roll out additional, but this is their start. It’s a first draft in a sense. So I think we’ll see where the year takes us and what Google decides is important. Right now, this is Google’s world and we just live in it. So I think the other advice is, once you get this stuff under control, you just keep an eye on it, keep listening to podcasts and don’t be upset when it changes because it will change.
Megan Porta: That’s the core lesson I feel like for food bloggers overall is just come into this game, knowing that things are going to change constantly. If you can accept that, I feel like you’re way ahead of the game. This is no exception, right? Okay, so let’s move on to number two that is just making sure you have good web hosting. Talk to us about that. Why is that important?
Andrew Wilder: So your website is obviously hosted somewhere, right? It has to be on a server that is ready to return the site to a browser or to a visitor at any time. All web hosting is not created equal. There’s a wide range. To some degree you get what you pay for. So when you’re first starting out, you’ll probably see a lot of recommendations for Bluehost as one example. Blue Host has a very profitable affiliate program, which is why they’re promoted so heavily. I can tell you speaking from experience that if your site’s on BlueHost, your site will never achieve its potential. That’s because Bluehost is basically commodity cheap, shared hosting. They give you very limited resources so that when you start to get traffic, they’ll actually throttle your site. So at the worst possible moment, they basically crash your site, effectively. That’s not unique to Blue Host. But that is common to basically all the cheap shared hosts. This is just how it’s set up. That’s how they can afford to give you unlimited usage for $3.95 a month or whatever it is.
Megan Porta: So do you have recommendations for hosts to keep on our radar if somebody is looking for a new host?
Andrew Wilder: Actually at this point, there are only two hosts that we really like. Let me preface this by saying I’ve probably worked on over a thousand food blogs at this point. I’ve worked with dozens of hosts. So I do have a broad experience working with hosts that most publishers have experienced with only the hosts they’ve used, which is maybe one or two. And it’s just their one experience. We start to see patterns differently and so unfortunately there are very few hosts I like anymore. I think part of it is. We take the view that it’s not just about speed. It’s not just about uptime. It’s also about service, right? What’s their customer support? Can they help you fix things? Will they do a deep dive to fix a problem? So most of the commodity hosts that aren’t really WordPress specific, they’re not going to really help you out with WordPress stuff at all, which can be really tricky. They’re just a generic host. So then we get into managed WordPress hosting. Some of the big names there, and I’m not recommending this. I’m just throwing out a name you may have heard of. WP Engine or Flywheel, which was bought by WP Engine. So those companies are huge and they’ve got it down to a science on WordPress, but they have hundreds of thousands of sites. And they don’t work with a lot of food blogs specifically. I think food blogs are really specific, they’re a delicate and unique flower. Food blogs, they’re really hard and complicated and most people don’t realize this. Lots of content, lots of pictures and media, lots of updates and changes. Lots of SEO focus. Lots of plugins. They’re very active and the website is the business. It’s not like a portfolio page where you’ve got some other business somewhere else. So anyway, all that to say, based on my experience, there are two hosts that I love working with, where when we get the client to move to those hosts, things just work better and it makes everybody’s life easier.
So our number one recommendation is Big Scoots. They’re very popular in the food blogging space right now. So you’ve probably heard of them. They’re a smaller company. Their servers are in Chicago and they’re just phenomenal, what you get for the price. It blows everybody else on the planet away. They built out their own hardware infrastructure, they spared no expense. Usually if you email them with a question, the reply comes back within maybe five minutes and usually it’s “okay, fixed”.
Sponsor: Food bloggers. Let’s take a really quick break. I’d love to tell you about just a few things going on at Eat Blog Talk that might benefit you and your business.
First of all, if you would take the time to go to your favorite podcast player to subscribe or follow, rate and review Eat Blog Talk. I would be so grateful and it adds so much value to this podcast. Also, go to the free discussion forum at forum.eatblogtalk.com to get in on the conversations going on over there with other food bloggers, like minded peers, you can ask questions, answer questions, and just contribute to great discussions.
Lastly, if you would like to get in on the next mastermind group that will be put together in spring of 2022, be sure to get on the waitlist now. Go to eatblogtalk.com and follow the buttons for a mastermind. We’ll be in touch as spring draws closer. Now back to the episode.
Andrew Wilder: They’re hosting starts at $35. So I know for a lot of people starting out, that sounds like a lot especially when you compare it to $5 a month at Bluehost. But without good hosting, your site is going to go nowhere. So for a buck a day, you can get blazing fast hosting with the best support in the business. I’ve seen Big Scoots do some crazy deep dives troubleshooting problems. When we get stuck, I will ask them for help with things on technical issues. It’s also a very personal business. Scott is the CEO, Justin’s the other owner and he’s in charge of all the tech. With WP engine or another big host, I don’t have a direct line to the CEO. Big Scoots is fantastic to work with. They’d be my first go-to.
The other host we recommend and really like a lot is Agathon. I know Mediavine recommends them as well. The team at Agathon is fantastic. They will also do deep dive stuff. I’ve seen Joel and Morgan dig into crazy difficult problems as well. They’re like, okay, I tweaked this one thing on the database. Let’s see if that fixes it. So they’ll geek out and really try to get to the heart of something too. I think Agathon starts at about $80 a month. So if you’re just starting out, that’s not going to be the most cost effective probably. They do have 24 7 support, but I think you have to call them after hours rather than email. So you won’t go wrong with either of those choices. From my perspective, I love working with both. We actually now have a shared slack channel with each of them. So it’s great from our perspective. Because if we have a mutual client that we’re working with, we can just ping them and say Hey Justin, can you help us with this thing? Or, Hey Morgan, what about this? Already today we’ve had quite a few conversations, so yeah.
It’s a really personal and personalized level of service that you just don’t get at any of the big hosting companies.
Megan Porta: I use Big Scoots for my food blog and absolutely love them. I actually had a horrible nightmare experience with a host that you have mentioned not going with. I’m pretty sure it took about 10 years off my life. It was horrible, two or three days of my site being down. So stressed. Nobody could answer my questions. I talked to 20 different people. It was just an absolute nightmare and Big Scoots saved me. They saved me completely. So I could not just support this message anymore that it is so important not to go with the cheapest, but go with the best, like exactly what you’re saying. Not only that, but someone who’s going to give you really great customer support, like Big Scoots and it sounds like Agathon does as well. Oh, I just got worked up even going back to that place. I remember crying. It was awful. So I don’t want anyone else to have to go through that.
Andrew Wilder: We have a lot of people coming to us with war stories like that. I think it’s part of the process of being a food blogger, where you have to, unfortunately you learn a lesson the hard way. Because you don’t know. So it’s part of the process. I think a lot of people go through it. Hopefully that doesn’t happen to everybody. That’s what we’re trying to avoid here.
Megan Porta: Exactly. Okay, so that is a great message. So everyone go get a great web host if you don’t have one already. So what about number three. User experience and just making sure that you’re seeing your site from your users perspective. I think this is really hard to do sometimes, especially when it comes to ads, but what are your thoughts on all of this?
Andrew Wilder: Yeah. I want this to be like a, not a wake up call, but it’s really easy, you’re working on your side, you’re probably working on your laptop or your desktop. You’re writing your blog post and you’re editing your photos and you’re publishing that way. You’re on social media and you’re bouncing around on all that. But most visitors don’t use your site the way you use your site. Most visitors don’t even know your site, let alone know exactly where to click and where to find something, but they don’t. So I think it’s really good once a month, once every two months, to do the sort of little gut check and pick up your phone, like your actual phone, and go to your site and try to find something. Try to use it and read a blog post. Better yet, get a friend to do it and watch them while they do it and ask them to talk through what they’re experiencing. You could say Hey, can you go find a leek and potato soup recipe on my site and watch them browse to your site and see how they use the search tool?” If they can actually find it or not. You don’t need to pay for a big user research study or anything. You can just ask a friend or just do it yourself. You just put yourself in the mindset of, Hey, I’m in the kitchen looking for something to cook for dinner tonight. I’ve got these ingredients and just search for it and see what you find on your site and does your site actually work well for you in that situation.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love that. I love that advice. It’s cheap. It’s free. You can just ask a friend, a family member and how valuable? My son is an avid baker. He loves to bake and he unintentionally did that for me a while ago. He was like, mom, this doesn’t work well. I really liked this feature and he was like giving me feedback about how it was for him. So doing something like that regularly, I think is such a great suggestion. Anything else? As far as looking at ads and how they interact with your site?
Andrew Wilder: I can’t tell you how many times I go on a site, because I search for recipes, right? I cook and of course in the search results, I click on my clients sites first. I’ll then click the jump to recipe button, which definitely makes sure you have a jump to recipe button. Users love them. But then I get to the recipe and I can’t find the recipe because it’s covered over by a video and another ad and a sticky ad and a pop-up and it’s maddening. I’m sitting there like spending five or six seconds, just trying to close the things so I can actually see the recipe to see if I even want to make it.
So I’m all in favor of having ads and making money. That’s how we earn a living now. But there’s a balancing act. If you overrun your site with ads, you’re going to long-term hurt yourself because your users are going to get annoyed and go away. They’re going to find a site that isn’t overrun with ads. Your ad network is going to tell you to run more ads because that makes them more money, but there’s a conflict of interest there, to a point, right? So you have to take that with a grain of salt and when they give you an attitude about it, you say, Hey look, I’m thinking of my users. So if you can’t read your own recipes on your site, because the ads are there, it’s time to dial it back.
Megan Porta: For most ad networks, correct me if I’m wrong, but you can say for example, my homepage has too many ads. Can you get rid of the ads on my homepage? You can say really specific things like that, right?
Andrew Wilder: Absolutely. Yeah.
Megan Porta: I think that. Maybe having a friend or a family member do that kind of audit as well would be good. You could just ask, what’s annoying here. What gets in your way? What keeps you from getting to the content that you’re looking for, would be very telling as well. But I have been there when I’ve actually gone onto my own site and been annoyed by my own website. That is not good. If you’re annoyed by your own content, then you should probably do a little analysis.
Andrew Wilder: Yeah. It’s hard. I get it because you see those RPOs. You see that money coming in and you’re like, this is amazing. Especially in the fourth quarter. But there’s also something to be said for okay now that it’s January. I’m not getting the same revenue anyway, why don’t I dial it back and opt for a better experience? When the ads aren’t paying as much per ad.
Megan Porta: Experimenting, it doesn’t hurt to experiment a little bit, especially once Q4 is done.
Andrew Wilder: You may very well find that you dial back the ads and the revenue doesn’t change as much as you expect it to.
Megan Porta: Yeah. But ultimately we just don’t want to annoy people. We want people to come and we want them to stay and be happy. If there are a million ads in their faces, that’s highly unlikely. That is great as well. Thank you for that one. So we are next moving on to number four, which is just making sure that we diversify our revenue beyond those ads we’re talking about. So what do you have to say about that?
Andrew Wilder: We’re in like the glory days of ad revenue 11 years in the food blogging space. I’ve never seen revenue like this. In Q4, I’m seeing people post that they’re getting like an $80 RPM, so $80 per thousand sessions, it’s nuts. I remember eight years ago, like five to $8 RPM was good. It’s because we’re putting a lot more ads on and everybody’s more online, et cetera. So we’re in this golden era of ads. First of all, I don’t know if it’s going to last, and it may not last for you. One of the things that scares me a lot is these Google core updates come, unannounced, all of a sudden there’s a big change. This isn’t like the core web vitals, but you might wake up one day and your Roast Turkey recipe, that ranked number one is suddenly on page two through no fault of your own. It could just be that the algorithm changed and Google wants to show people something else. So when you’re at the whims of that, if this is how you make your living, that’s really stressful.
So I just want people to start thinking about how to make money that doesn’t have a one-to-one correlation to page views so that they can spread it around a little bit. So maybe you can find a different way to monetize your traffic that isn’t ad based. So it’s maybe you’re selling something directly, like an ebook. There’s been tons of blog posts and podcasts and stuff, ways to make money online. So you know, doing a meal plan subscription, affiliate marketing, of course. We have some clients who’ve done physical products, like spices. Someone doing really cute aprons.
So there’s other ways to monetize your site. If you can find a way to do that in a way that is unique to you and really special to your site, I think that’s going to be a really nice way to diversify and smooth out a lot of those bumps that Google can just do on a whim.
Megan Porta: Maybe minimize the worrying that we do because it is filled with pressure. Just thinking of what you just said, like the ad revenue is crazy right now. The RPMs are crazy. Oh my gosh. That could change overnight for any of us and that is stressful. So I think thinking through some different ways to produce revenue is going to eliminate some of that.
By the way, I’m going to plug here that I have a quiz that we’ve created at Eat Blog Talk that helps you think through a ton of monetization strategies so that you don’t have to feel stressed about relying solely on ads. You can find that just if you go to my website, eatblogtalk.com and I think there’s 20 ideas. Physical products, digital products, such as eBooks, communities, you could create a membership or a mastermind, or I could go on and on. There’s so many ways that food bloggers can make money. So just giving that some thought. Start a podcast that is the best way to create a new stream of revenue, honestly. It’s been the best thing for my business ever. So yeah, there you go. Anything else with diversifying Andrew before we move on to point 5?
Andrew Wilder: I think just diversifying your traffic sources is something else to think about. I feel like Pinterest isn’t what it used to be. They’ve just ruined that platform. I haven’t even gone there in months because it was such an unpleasant experience and they weren’t showing me the things I wanted to see. I’m not scarred. It’s okay.
Megan Porta: Oh, I can tell.
Andrew Wilder: But I think users don’t like Pinterest anymore either. So Pinterest isn’t going to be as good as a traffic source, which is I think partly why Google is more now for people. But if you’re able to find any other traffic streams that are good for you and this doesn’t mean go out and be on every platform. Maybe try every platform and see which one really works for you. Maybe it’s Instagram, maybe it’s TikTok, maybe it’s Facebook still. Wherever you can be, that’s effective for you and that you enjoy. I think that’s another good safety net. So you can not be quite as reliant on Google traffic, which is so fickle.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Oh gosh. I agree about Pinterest. It’s been so frustrating lately. As a user, I don’t even go on there anymore either. Then I just wrote something earlier. I don’t know what I was writing for, but I was saying. Oh, maybe it was Instagram. That you shouldn’t ignore social media. There is still traffic to be had there, but don’t get obsessed with social media. So at least try Facebook, try those Facebook groups, those big ones where people are getting traffic from. Facebook reels. Have you heard of this? This is a very new thing. I know a food blogger who’s getting massive amounts of traffic just from creating Facebook reels, which is totally separate from Instagram reels. So there’s always things that pop up like that, that we can at least experiment with without selling our souls to social media. That’s all great stuff. Diversification is so huge. I think that needs to continue in 2022 for sure. Okay. Number five, you want to talk about building your team. What do you have to say about building a team?
Andrew Wilder: I think when everybody starts their food blog, they do it all. You have to take the pictures, develop the recipes, take the pictures, write the post, put it all together. Edit the photos, posted on social media, create the reels on social media and work with the ad network and dial all of these things. There’s a massive list of things you have to do as a food blogger, as a publisher. As you’re growing, it’s really important to start offloading some of that. Because otherwise you’re not going to be able to grow as far as you really want to get. So I always say what’s the thing you hate doing the most, get somebody else to do that first. That’s the first thing you should get off your plate, whatever you hate doing. Then after you get all of those things off your plate, it’s what are the things you can do, but you don’t need to do.
For example, we have clients who are pretty good at the technical stuff. But they’ve gotten to a point where they’re like, you know what, I’m over it. I want to spend more time developing recipes, or I want to spend more time with my family. So they hire us to be able to offload that and we become part of their team. I think it’s really helpful to start thinking about building a team in that way, too. It doesn’t have to be like you hire six full-time employees. It can be, you hire a VA for five hours a week or 10 hours a week or an intern. My nephew was converting recipes for me on my blog. He’s done it for a few of my clients now. So you know, a team can be temporary too for just a project. But Nerd Press becomes part of our client’s team, even though we’re not employees. We’re effectively a service. So there are quite a few ways to build your team that way. Having a good accountant, right?
Megan Porta: Yeah. We don’t often think about that. Like you said, we take on every single role. So the accounting part, you could start there if you hate accounting.
Andrew Wilder: Get a financial advisor. Or another thing could be like, if you’re too busy to go to the grocery store, Amazon Fresh and have it delivered. That is actually, essentially making Amazon Fresh part of your team. It’s okay to outsource in various ways. But just try to be efficient at it. So it will free up your time and increase your happiness.
Megan Porta: I have a food blogger friend, Melissa from Mama Gourmand. She hires her daughter to do her video editing. I know she does some graphic design work for her. So even thinking about your family. If you have a kid who’s a little bit older, who is interested in earning a little bit extra money, you could probably save a few bucks by paying them versus hiring out $50 an hour VA or whatever. But just starting small too, like you said, you don’t have to go big. If you want a VA, you can start at five hours a week and just experiment. But I think this is such a key part of food blogging. If you can get to the point where you can start outsourcing, so much time opens up. Isn’t it magic? I think we’ve all experienced that where you doubt it, you think, oh, I don’t know how much I could actually open up, but then you outsource three hours and all of a sudden you’ve got all of this magical time. It really is amazing.
Andrew Wilder: Then you’ll just be like, why didn’t I do this sooner?
Megan Porta: I know. Exactly. You will beat yourself up. So do it now, starting in 2022. Find one thing that you hate, like Andrew said and get rid of it in some way. This has been so great, Andrew. Oh my goodness. What a great collection of tips to start our year. I love all of these. Do you have any final words or takeaways for us along these points before we start saying goodbye?
Andrew Wilder: Maybe because we’re recording this in December when everybody’s stressing about holiday traffic, but I think I’d say breathe. Like we were talking about, there are going to be a lot of ups and downs as part of being a food blogger and take your time and breathe and try to enjoy the journey because there is no end to it. There is no, oh we’ve accomplished being a food blogger. This is an ongoing thing, right? It’s a marathon.
Megan Porta: It’s like being a mailman. I imagine. Things just never stop. It’s like the mail keeps coming. That’s the nature of the game. So thank you again for being here. I know you are a busy man, so we just appreciate your time today and all this value you shared. I know you just shared some words of inspiration, but in addition to that, do you have either a favorite quote or words to leave us with?
Andrew Wilder: I have a quote that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. We’re actually working on our mission and vision statement stuff internally at Nerd Press. A quote that came up was, that’s Mark Twain. It’s, “always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.”
Megan Porta: Oh, I like that. Nobody has to use that one. That is a great way to end. Thank you for sharing that. So we’ll put together a show notes page for you, Andrew. If anyone wants to go look at those, you can go to dot eatblogtalk.com/nerdpress. Andrew, tell everyone where they can find you online if they’re interested in Nerd Press services or if you have social handles, all of that.
Andrew Wilder: Sure. So we are online of course, at nerdpress.net, and you can check out our services on the website and you can also just shoot us an email at [email protected] If it’s an inquiry, my team is going to forward the email straight to me. So I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.
Megan Porta: Are you guys on Instagram?
Andrew Wilder: Actually, no. My food blog is on Instagram, although I never go on there.
Megan Porta: Tell us what that is.
Andrew Wilder: Oh, that’s @eatingrules.
Megan Porta: All right. I don’t know if I follow that account. So I’m going to go look at that now.
Andrew Wilder: It’s sadly neglected because I’m spending time on everybody else’s sites.
Megan Porta: You have some other things to focus on. All right. Everyone go check that out and thank you again, Andrew so much for joining us today and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Andrew Wilder: Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.
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