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Episode 248: From 0 to 50k Sessions in 14 Months, Focusing on Web Stories with Sandra Flegg

In episode 248, Sandra of She’s Not Cookin’, talks to us about how she was able to dive into web stories to build traffic for her blog and get accepted into an ad network.

We cover information on why it’s important not to give up if your first few web stories don’t take off, how Google trends offers a lot of insight into relevant topics and how to create a separate property in Google analytics so you can track your stats properly.

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


Guest Details

Connect with She’s Not Cookin’
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Bio A self-taught cook, Sandra exited a 25 year retail management career to pursue her goal of becoming a full-time food blogger. Her food blog journey began in May 2020. IN July 20201, she reached one of her goals to be accepted to Mediavine Ad Network. In her business, Sandra uses positive mindset to overcome obstacles and achieve both her business goals and personal satisfaction.

Takeaways

  • Web stories have potential to build traffic if you dig in and stick with it.
  • You could make 10 web stories and have no traffic until the 11th one – consistency is key.
  • You can recycle created web stories by changing the text, rearranging the photos but most importantly, changing the URL.
  • Google trends is an important tool to help determine what you should create content about.
  • When you visit Google trends, pull up the data from the last 4 hours or the last 7 days and type in “recipe”. Click enter and then in the bottom right side of the page, you’ll see what’s trending.
  • Create a web story if you have content that matches. If you don’t have a mac and cheese recipe but you have a pumpkin mac and cheese, you can use the Google trends title and then within the web story, describe your specific type.
  • Don’t create a web story with the same name as your content. If you have a meatloaf recipe, change up the title or name it the recipe name + story at the end.
  • To drill down even more on what people are searching for, once you determine what’s trending in “recipes” in Google trends, take the name that pulled up (ie. meatloaf), then search that title in Google trends and you’ll find more specific content (ie. easy meatloaf with bbq sauce).
  • Pinterest offers a “trends” section. It isn’t as specific however it does help give you some seasonal content to put out based on your information to know what to create Idea pins on.
  • When you publish new content, create a web story around it same day to publish.
  • Once you create a template you like, either from scratch or from the list Google provided, you can “duplicate” it and resave it with the new web story information.
  • Seasonal content does really well on web stories.

Resources Mentioned

Google Web Stories Guide

Sandra’s Listener Success Story shared on Mind Over Blog

How to set up and track Google web stories

How do I filter my Google web stories traffic so my RPM reporting is correct?

Food bloggers guide to Google web stories

Best practices for creating web stories

Google web stories SEO

Transcript

Click for full script.

248 Sandra Flegg

Sandra: Hi, this is Sandra Flegg from She’s Not Cooking and you’re listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. 

Megan: Food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. I’m your host, Megan Porta. Today we’re going to dig into google web stories with Sandra from She’s Not Cooking. I am so excited to have her here today. Sandra is a self-taught cook who exited a 25 year retail management career to pursue her goal of becoming a full-time food blogger.

Her food blog journey began in May 2020. In July, 2021, she reached one of her goals to be accepted into the Mediavine ad network. In her business, Sandra uses a positive mindset to overcome obstacles and achieve both her business goals and personal satisfaction. She has been absolutely crushing the Google web stories. So we have a lot to learn from Sandra today. Hi Sandra. Thank you so much for joining us in this episode today. 

Sandra: Hi, Megan. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for having me. 

Megan: So excited for this chat, but before we get started, you know what we want from you. We want your fun fact. 

Sandra: My fun fact is that I started a blog in 2010 on wordpress.com. I had a colleague who had started a travel blog. He was traveling the world and I got as far as the title. I was a bit overwhelmed. So here I am 11 years later. 

Megan: Oh, so what was the title? What title did you land on? 

Sandra: Oh, I think I only put my name in from what I remember. It was wordpress.com and that was as far as I got. 

Megan: Oh fast forward a lot of years. You have found some quick success, so I am excited to chat with you. A great fun fact. Okay. So Google web stories. I feel like there are so many avenues we could discuss today because I love your positive mindset and how you use that to overcome obstacles. We’ve chatted a little bit about that outside of this interview and just manifesting good things and welcoming good things and all of that.

But today we’re going to focus on Google web stories, and I feel like you need to come back very soon to talk about the other side of it, because we could have a great discussion about that. But we would love to hear just how you got into Google web stories. So you’ve recently started blogging. This is not like a long journey. This is a pretty quick journey for you. What made you say, I need to dig into this avenue to grow my blog. Can you just talk us through how that went? 

Sandra: Sure. So I first heard about Google web stories. I believe it was last November, 2020. At the time I had only been blogging for five or six months. It just seemed like another program to have to learn. It was Casey Markee on one of the podcasts I was listening to. I’ve since learned to listen to everything that Casey says, and I’ve learned that lesson. Didn’t start right away. But I had established my Pinterest profile and had my Facebook page up and running and was starting to understand SEO a little bit better.

But just wasn’t seeing the lift of traffic that I wanted. I heard in one of the Facebook groups that all the bloggers are in, someone was talking about viral traffic on web stories and it piqued my interest. I was a little bit down because my traffic had dropped, I think, around the same time where everyone experienced that decline in Pinterest traffic.

I was looking for another way to bring in some traffic. I listened to Lauren Runion on her podcast and Nicolette was on there from Home Cooked Fruits. She was talking about her success and how she had got into Mediavine in a year and how web stories had really helped her. That day I went on and Nicolette had a resource on her website. So I went on, checked out the resource and I made my first web story that day. There were crickets and then I made a second one. There were crickets. I think that I made, I checked my numbers this morning. I think I made eight or nine web stories and nothing happened with the first group. I really felt, I was wondering if I was doing something wrong. What was I missing? I went back and checked everything and everything looked fine. Then I made another one and it took off. So when you start making them, it does seem to just, it can be random, but don’t give up if you make a few and they don’t click right away.

Megan: That is a very important lesson to share. I’m so glad you said that because I see in the forums and all over people are like I’ve done five and nothing has happened. So you’re saying Sandra, just keep at it. Keep going. Because eventually something has got to take off.

Sandra: Absolutely. I made my first one at the end of April, and I started to see some traffic in May. June I had 57,000 in June from web stories. Prior to that, I think my traffic was sitting around 25 or 30,000. I was really wanting to hit that goal of getting into Mediavine at my one-year mark, and I had missed it, which was fine. But I was just so motivated to hit that goal. In July, I only had 150 posts. So I think it’s different for someone that’s sitting on four or 500 blog posts, it’s a little different than if you have 150, because once I made all my web stories, then I had no other content. 

Megan: But if you’re sitting on hundreds, you’ve got loads of content to recycle.

Sandra: Absolutely. So for someone who’s sitting on a lot of content, I’m not sure if you want me to get into talking about Google trends now, Megan?

Megan: This is perfect. Yes. So why don’t you talk about how you find your content. 

Sandra: Okay. I actually go into Google trends every day, and I look at what’s trending for the last seven days, the last 30 days. It was in May that an apple crisp recipe was trending. Which kind of surprised me because I always think of apple crisp in the fall. I made a web story for my apple crisp recipe. Which I hadn’t made. I was saving that one for the fall because I really felt it was May. It didn’t make any sense. That recipe took off. I think I had about a thousand views on it. Which I think it’s all relative, depending on what your monthly page views are. That was a lot for me to have over 900. So I use Google trends every single day for determining which web stories I’m going to use. If I haven’t posted that recipe yet as a web story, then I try to post it when it’s trending and seasonal content definitely does better.

Megan: How often does that change? So if you go into Google trends and look for a seven day range and then you go let’s say you go in the morning and then you go in the evening. Is it different? 

Sandra: You can search for it by date. You can search it by hour. By the last four hours. So there’s two things. One, if you publish a web story, sometimes it doesn’t click at all. But sometimes it will get posted in the discovery feed 24 to 48 hours later. So what I’ve noticed is, and I’ve seen other people comment, that the weekends Friday, Saturday, Sunday can be a little bit busier. So if I was going into the weekend, I would look at Friday night and I would search, let’s say you do a lot of cocktail recipes. You could search for a cocktail recipe. Then you’ll see what’s been trending specifically. I noticed that one predominantly, it’s always trending on the weekend. So if something’s trending,then you can take that cocktail recipe and you can just enter that specifically. Then you’ll get a list of which cocktail recipes. So for someone that has a large number of posts, that’s how I go in and determine for seasonal content, what I’m going to post. 

Megan: Okay. So if you look at cocktail recipes and Mai Tai comes up and you happen to have a Mai Tai post on your blog, quickly go do that web story. Do you do it right away? Kick it out right away?

Sandra: I do. I do. Sometimes they catch and they do really well. So I think the best example of this was peach recipes in August. So I had a peach cobbler recipe that had a few thousand views and I actually created content purposefully because of that web story doing well. I ended up making a peach crisp and a peach cobbler pancake. Some of them I put on three times with three different titles and at times, all three of them were being shown at the same time. 

Megan: Ah, that’s so cool. 

Sandra: It is pretty cool, but my husband just kept walking in the door with more peaches. It was kind of funny. So, when you’re searching for your title, you can also find keywords in there, which I noticed in August, but I’ve really started to drill down on that. So if I was posting an apple crisp recipe this weekend, and I searched for it in the trend search, it would tell you specifically what people are calling it. So it might be the best apple crisp recipe or apple crisp without oats. Ideally you want your title to not be a duplicate of your post title. I did that at the start. When I started making them, I would just call it the same title. So you could go for an apple crisp recipe, easy apple crisp. So you need to change up your images a little and change up your texts. But otherwise, I duplicate the one that I’ve already created. Change a few things up and I republish. 

Megan: So I was in a Clubhouse room the other day, and we were talking about this. I’m actually planning to publish that chat because it was super awesome too. We’re covering a little bit of different stuff here. So I think it’ll round out this topic. But one of the things somebody said was the same thing. So don’t duplicate your title. So your story title. What they were doing was just saying, instead of a peach, crisp recipe, they were telling a peach crisp story. Does that kind of align with what you’re doing?

Sandra: Absolutely. As long as you’re changing the title. When you change the title, the plugin will typically change the URL. You need to double check that before you publish. Once in a while it doesn’t. But you just go in and you can overwrite that URL. So in terms of productivity, I can go in and create a duplicate web story in about 15 minutes. 

Megan: That’s nothing. That’s no time at all. 

Sandra: No. I think you have to take into account that if you make 160, maybe 20 or 30 of them will do nothing. Maybe 10 of them will be okay. But then on the ones that do take off, and I think especially with seasonal content where you can create more of that content, or if you have more of that content, absolutely. For someone that’s working towards a goal, like to get into an ad network or someone that’s just trying to drive additional revenue. 

Megan: Yeah, for sure. This is a great strategy. I keep saying this too. I don’t know how long this is going to last, because I feel like we get those waves of blessing from different platforms throughout our journey. But it’s here now. So I say take full advantage of it. People are seeing success, you included. Even if it does go away in the future, who cares, we’re going to take advantage now and learn how to best utilize it. So seeing what those trends are, what does seasonal? Go on to Google trends. Google trends is a great resource. What about Pinterest trends? 

Sandra: Actually, that’s a very good point. I also look at Pinterest trends every day. So some of the Pinterest trends are a little bit different than what comes up on Google trends, but definitely you will find some, I call them nuggets, in in Pinterest as well.

Megan: Okay. So do you ever find that a trend aligns across Pinterest and Google platforms, or are they completely giving you unique suggestions? 

Sandra: They do. But with Pinterest, it may be more of fall apple recipes. It’s more of a broad trend. Whereas on Google trends, you’re going to get a very specific idea. For example, a meatloaf recipe was trending this past week. So if somebody had a meatloaf recipe and they didn’t put a web story on, then you potentially miss that traffic. So they do definitely align, but more in a broader sense on Pinterest. 

Megan: Okay. That’s a great strategy. So you talked about having a template that you create to boost your productivity and make it more streamlined. Is there anything else you do to make it more streamlined? 

Sandra: I think you can use the premade templates and I use static images only. The one thing I’m doing now is when I’m photographing for the actual blog post, I take a few extra photos so that I have extra photos and I edit them right when I’m editing the blog post. So now I’m planning ahead for potentially making two or three web stories, especially for a seasonal recipe. The template is one where you can use their pre-made template. I made my own template. I used a meta background image in Canva, and then I used the cover page from Canva and you need a round logo. So those three things I created in Canva. I’ve tried one or two other templates and honestly, my web stories are not the prettiest ones I’ve seen, but they work and I duplicate. So there’s three little dots when you go into your web store. You click on that and hit duplicate, and that’s it. Your first web story can take a couple of hours to make because you’re learning how to use a plugin. But once you’ve made five or six of them, they’re pretty quick. 

Megan: Those are great tips. So can you talk to us about how you found out how to set it up with Google analytics so that you could track what data was coming through your web stories? I know that’s a hangup I’ve heard in the Clubhouse rooms. People are like I don’t know how to do that. Is there a good way to just instruct people where to go for that? 

Sandra: I can probably give you the links that I used. So I created a separate profile for web stories. So it’s a property. Sorry. I was looking for that word. I created a separate property for web stories. So when you create that property, you’ll see it at the top of your analytics. You can select which property you’re looking at. When you look at web stories, you’re not seeing the actual through traffic that’s coming to your blog. You’re seeing who’s clicking on web stories. You can go into a tab called events. You can see specifically which page of the story that they’re looking at and when they click through. So if you’ve put a link on the page, I put a link on every recipe on every page by the way, so that they can link through to the blog post. That will tell you how many views you’re getting a month on the web stories. The second part is to set up a filter in your regular analytics account. I titled all my posts, excluding web stories.That shows me the actual click-through that’s coming to my site.

Megan: Are there instructional videos or anything that can help people along with this, because I know it’s kinda hard to hear someone talk through it as opposed to looking at something. 

Sandra: Definitely. Definitely. I can send you the links. I went on YouTube and I found one link that worked really well for me. I followed that. Mediavine also has good information about setting up a separate property and Ad Thrive as well has had a really good article. So I can send you those links if you want to attach those to the show notes, Megan.

Megan: That’s perfect. I think there’s probably a lot of information about this out there. So even if you don’t go to the show notes, you can probably just Google, set up a separate property in Google analytics or something along those lines. 

Sandra: I think what’s really important is that if you don’t set up a separate property with the filter, the property will show you specifically which web stories are getting clicked. So what you’re doing is working. Otherwise, you don’t know where that traffic is coming from. It’ll show up as direct, but it could be from anywhere.

Megan: Yeah. It’s really important that you do that because otherwise you’re like my traffic’s up, but I’m not sure why.

Sandra: It can artificially inflate your traffic as well, if you don’t create that filter. 

Megan: So that is a great thing to get on so that you’re in the loop as far as where your traffic is coming from. We can put all of that in the show notes, like we mentioned. 

We’re going to take just a really quick break and you can hear a few words from our sponsor, which is actually Eat Blog Talk. So we’ll be back in just a minute. 

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Megan: Okay, Sandra, we are back and we are continuing our discussion about web stories. Is there anything else, as far as just logistics with creating the web stories, getting them set up before we move on to our next question? I was going to ask you about idea pins within Pinterest. It’s along the same lines, but first I just want to make sure we’ve covered all of the logistics. 

Sandra: I think so. I think you’re selecting the images that will automatically load that you have uploaded for your posts. So it’s very practical. You can use the same images that you use in your blog posts, or you can add different images. So everything is right there. It’s quick and easy. I think that’s pretty much it.

Megan: One quick thing. Do you ever use video? I know you said you use static images a lot. Is that all you use? 

Sandra: It is all I’ve used. So it’s part of my plan for 2022 to venture into video. But so far I haven’t done any video. So all I use is static images with text and I’ve experimented with some of the animation features in there. I didn’t find that it made a difference and it took more time. So I just have very plain, simple web stories. 

Megan: I love hearing that. I love simple things. I am such a proponent of simple is best. The animations do look fun sometimes, but yeah, they’re going to take more time to learn and to get them all set up looking nice. So I feel like starting simple and seeing what works with just the bare minimum. Okay. So Pinterest idea pins. These are different, obviously. Different platform, but the same concept. So they’re very similar. So can you talk to us about that? I know you’ve been dabbling in using idea pins. So talk us through that. 

Sandra: Absolutely. So idea pins are pretty much the same concept as the story pin, which they used to call story pins. I’ve created one for every blog post. So when I create a new post, I make an idea pin and they’ve really driven my followers up and it’s driving traffic to my home page. So even though they can’t click through to the link to the post, I put a, just a quick actionable follow me on Pinterest for more great recipes and click on my profile. You can go into analytics and Pinterest and see that they’re actually looking and that you’re creating those followers. So I’ve been really happy with idea pins. I know a lot of people have been frustrated with Pinterest. But my followers went from 1500 to 5,500 in the last couple of months. 

Megan: Okay. So you have an end card and you just prompt people to follow you on pinterest. Do you direct them to your website?

Sandra: I’ve experimented with a lot of different things. I’ve had the actual URL typed into an image, so it’s burned in the image and then I’ve uploaded that. I’ve had it in the ingredients list. So I haven’t received a definitive answer about this from Pinterest, but I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to have the URL typed in there. I recently had one featured on the today tab and the URL was removed from the pin or from the idea pin. 

Megan: Yeah. I’ve heard different things said about that too. I feel like it just evolves over time. It’s like this constant evolution. Oh, now we’re supposed to do this or now you’re not supposed to do this. Just literally keeping up from week to week, as far as what’s being removed and what’s being allowed. So that’s what works for you. I know some people like Kate Ahl from Simple Pin Media recommend just say, I think she says like in the description, just say, go to my website and search for an egg salad sandwich if you’re interested in this recipe or something along those lines. 

Sandra: Definitely, and I’ve experimented with 10 different versions. Like I’m looking at an idea pin right now and I’ve directed them to the website. So I’ve never been, disciplined isn’t the right word, but I haven’t had my account suspended for it or anything. Then I just write for more great recipes, click on my profile pic and follow me on Pinterest. Now at the end, when your idea pin shows up, it does show like I see here, Sandra, She’s Not Cooking and it does show my profile pic there. It automatically does that on every idea pin. So that takes them right to your main page of Pinterest and I see my URL is right there. I believe that’s what people are doing. They’re clicking through and then they click through to the post. I’ve also noticed, when I look at Google search console, and what recipes what the search query is, I can see, I have a couple that have done really well and I can tell people are going and typing into Google to find the recipe there as well. So that’s how I feel. I’m positive that story pins are working in generating traffic. 

Megan: Oh, I love hearing that. Because it is like something that we’re just like really? Is this working? I’m so frustrated. I don’t know. So I love hearing when people dig into it a little bit and find that yeah, they probably are working behind the scenes. So thank you for sharing that. You gave us all a little hope, Sandra. So Pinterest idea pin. The idea of pins is the same where you can add either static images or a video. I think we’ve dabbled on my food blog a little bit with both, but mostly do static pins.

So I just think it’s interesting to scroll through and see what is working, which ones take off. Some take off that I just do not anticipate being popular at all. Do you find this too? Then some do nothing. I’m like, wait a second. It’s apples, apple jam, come on people. Do you find that? You’re like what? That one was popular?

Sandra: Absolutely. I think this is very similar to web stories in that the season, the seasonality. Depending on what your niche is, the time of year where something is in season over another time, makes a huge difference. I thought it was interesting when I was quite excited to have something featured on that tab today. That was a first. When I looked at it, was it really generating enough traffic? You can see that you get profiled visits. And I think that they’re worth the time. I think most of us are not seeing a lot of clicks generated from static pins. I still make a few, I don’t know about you, Megan. I make a couple for each pin, but definitely, they’re so connected. So for productivity, what I do is I publish the blog posts. I immediately publish a web story because it’s fresh in my mind. I’ve just read through the instructions and then I usually create the idea pin. 

Megan: So that’s your process. Is there anything else you wanted to add? 

Sandra: I think that the idea pins from my profile do much better on the weekend, Saturday, Sunday, and similar to web stories. I’ve also created duplicate story pins and received traffic from that. Quite a bit of traffic from the second.

Megan: Not everyone takes the time to figure that sort of thing out. We’ll just put things out into the ether and just I hope you do well, good luck. Then we don’t touch base or follow up. So I love it that you’re like, oh wait. Okay. I notice that idea pins are doing better on the weekend. That is such a cool thing. Then also you mentioned earlier when we were talking about web stories, cocktails and weekends. Just thinking about some of those people who are making cocktails on Friday nights and just having these little nuggets in our minds can help us to think through what we’re putting out there.

Sandra: Oh, absolutely. I think with the web stories, if I didn’t have Google trends, I think I would be lost. I mean, it’s really part of my process in terms of looking up. So I start in by typing just the very basic word recipe. I make sure I’m set to the United States because mine defaults to Canada and sometimes there’ll be something that you completely don’t expect that will show up and it might be trending like in a spike. So like right now I’m looking at it. Pumpkin seed recipes are trending.

Megan: I just reposted one of those this week. Oh my gosh. Got to get on that. 

Sandra: So definitely the seasonality, but I’ve also had some luck with it. I just recently published a second web story for a pasta bake that did really well in the first one and then had another 2000 views on the second one in a week. So to me, 15 minutes of work is definitely worth that traffic. 

Megan: Oh, absolutely. 

Sandra: And chili recipes. Megan, you have all kinds of chili recipes. 

Megan: Ooh, I do. Yeah. I see that up here. I’m looking at it right now. So I just did the past four hours, just out of curiosity. Chili recipe is here. If you’ve got a grape jelly recipe. Easy beef stew, really like a lot of comfort foods right now are coming up. Cabbage soup and Swedish meatballs. Chicken noodle soup. Oh, I do have that and Crock-Pot Chile. Oh my gosh. Okay. I’m excited. I want to get on this today. 

Sandra: Also, if you’re looking at Google trends, the way that they word it, so sometimes it might be a title that you haven’t thought of, or that it’s not part of your keyword strategy. I name it exactly the same as in the search and that has really worked for me. So I’m sticking with that right now. 

Megan: So you take the query that pops up and you use that to title your web story. 

Sandra: Definitely. So we can see that this morning’s meatloaf recipe is on that list. If you just type in the word recipe. Then if you go back up to the search and type in meatloaf recipe specifically, it will bring up again, Italian meatloaf recipe, stuffed meatloaf recipe. So then you can really get granulated. I have had some luck posting where if I pick a term that’s really specific, sometimes the web story will take off within a couple of hours.

Megan: This is gold. This is so great. I don’t know about you, but I can get lost in Google trends. I find it so fascinating. It’s like this fortune teller and historical biography all at once because you get all the history, but then you get here’s what’s coming in the next little bit. It’s just super fascinating to me.

Sandra: It is. I love Google trends. 

Megan: We have talked about idea pins and how that is the same along the same lines. You’ve given us so much great stuff about how to dig into Google trends and ways to just think through web stories. Create a template, make it part of your system. That’s what else I was going to ask you. Let’s say you create a new recipe today for Crock-Pot chili. Let’s say you post it tomorrow. Do you just automatically post your idea pin and your web story right in line with that.

Sandra: I’m getting a little slower on my deep idea pins on Pinterest. But I would say the best practice would be to do it right away because it’s so easy to do it. As soon as you’ve done that post and the web story, I typically do the same day. Now, I will say that, since the kids went back to school, I think everyone’s noticed, have you noticed a shift with the traffic? September’s been a little different. 

Megan: Yeah. How would you, what, how is it different for you? I’m curious. 

Sandra: It just feels like it’s slower and it feels every, even personally, like my kids went back to school, they had been remote learning for the year, last year. And it’s just that shift and you just, you’re not really in your normal. Let me go check out for new recipes on Pinterest or looking things up. So it just seemed to slow down a bit. Then all of a sudden you can see it starting, people are getting into their groove and they’re starting to look for, the weather’s a little cooler at least it is here. But, I think it’s going to start to really pick up in terms of the traffic. I just picture somebody going out on the weekend to the apple orchard and they’re sitting on their phone and on the Google discover, there comes your apple recipe. So it’s just, it’s a good time. People are out. Think about what people are actually doing and then post those recipes.

Megan: I love that. Yes. Thinking in terms of fall is here, apple season, pumpkin season. People are starting to think about Thanksgiving. I know it’s a little ways out, but they’re thinking about Halloween. There’s so many food related things, topics, events coming up that people are thinking about now. So put yourself in their shoes and think about Halloween parties. Just this morning, I was thinking. Oh, my gosh, I need to get costumes for our boys. They wanted to dress up this year. So people are thinking through all of that. 

Sandra: Oh, absolutely. Halloween costumes are already trending on Pinterest. I noticed that the other day. So I have one more thing I just thought of Megan, that for my upcoming posts, the fall, and a lot of them are seasonal, but I’ve looked at the past five-year data as well in Google trends and really looking at strategically dropping those web stories when they spike the most. If I look at something like pumpkin loaf, for the most part, we know when they start to trend up. I think I’m more drilled down on that because I’m in Canada. We start thinking of pumpkins as soon as the kids go back to school, it’s pumpkin’s right. We start thinking, oh, pumpkin’s right away. Whereas I noticed the US traffic is a little bit more geared towards your Thanksgiving. So really knowing when that spike is going to happen. So maybe you publish your first. Like I’m planning out now when I publish web stories one, two and three. So when I make my post, I’ll post it and then I’ll post another one when it’s going to spike the most. Then a third one on a day, on a week where I need more traffic. 

Megan: We touched on this earlier, but we’re looking backward. I love the five-year trend thing. We’re also looking at where we’re standing right now and then trying to look ahead a little bit. Sometimes when I’m having conversations and oh, what a great idea. Then I completely lose it. So write that one down, everyone. I just see this as an opportunity to really take advantage of this new thing, this new way of getting traffic. Like we said earlier, it might not last, I don’t know, but it is here. Add it into your daily routine, your weekly routine. The way that you move through your process of creating a recipe and getting your content out into the world. It’s just a no brainer, right Sandra? Get started with it.

Sandra: It is. It’s exciting. I have a friend who just started making web stories and she messaged me the other morning and said, it’s so exciting. I’ve heard some people get 20 or 30,000 views. That hasn’t happened to me yet, but I’m happy just to have an extra 500 some days. I think for someone, especially when you’re a new blogger and I think most people have a goal of trying to get into an ad network, to have something that can generate that kind of traffic. The other thing I noticed is my subscriber count goes way up from web stories.

I think it was really sad. I think I was at 55 or 60 signups for my email. I’m over a thousand now, that’s in a couple of months. I would say. 90% of that is because of web stories. They’re more engaged. They come on and they want to see your recipe and they sign up. They want to see more. 

Megan: Okay. You had probably a thousand people just go, what? Because that is the goal of so many food bloggers to beef up their email list. So that is so great to hear. I’m glad you mentioned that. So they come to your page and they’re actually more engaged. They’re more excited to be there as opposed to oh, this recipe on Pinterest looks really great. I’ll click over and then they click off. So it’s a different type of audience.

Sandra: It’s completely, totally different. I feel like it’s very engaging. I feel like when I have a web story, the first couple of days when it takes off, I get more comments or I’ll have somebody emailing me, it’s in the oven now. I feel like it’s a very engaged group. Yes, definitely. 

Megan: I love that. This has been so enlightening. I am just so grateful that you’re sharing all of your expertise with us, Sandra. By the way, congrats on growing so fast and just tuning into what you needed to tune into. Just taking note, I feel like you’re just being really mindful, taking a step back and looking around and seeing what’s working, not just for you, but collectively and tapping into it. I think that is such a smart thing to do. We all get caught up in that whirlwind of food blogging and all of the things that we don’t do that enough. So thank you for just leading us in that way. I feel like this is really cool the way you’ve just dug into this. 

Sandra: Oh, thanks, Megan. I really appreciate you having me on the show. I think that the food blogging landscape, even since I started just over a year ago has changed so much. I describe it to my kids, like when you have a remote control car and hits the wall and then it just turns around and goes the other way, and that’s like what you’re doing, right? You just have to find another direction for where the traffic is coming from. 

Megan: That’s so true. You’ve just got to roll with it. Those are the food bloggers who make it, who find that success that they want. Honestly, I have been doing this for a really long time and there are so many people wh,. When they’re that remote control car and they hit the wall, they just fall over and they can’t. They’re like, wait, I can’t take another one. But you’ve just gotta keep rolling with it. Bounce off those walls and bounce back. Find another avenue who knew that Google web stories would be such a great source of traffic for so many people. Kudos to you, Sandra. Thanks for being here. It has been a pleasure to talk with you. Before you go, we would love to hear either a favorite quote of yours or words of inspiration to share with food bloggers.

Sandra: Okay. I have a quote. If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, but never change the goal. 

Megan: That is good. Who said that quote? Is that a Sandra quote? 

Sandra: No, I have no idea where it came from, but it resonated with me. It’s so true with food blogging. You have a plan and you think you’re going to get there one way and then that doesn’t work and you have to change the plan, but at the end of the day, if you’re focused on your goals, you get there. 

Megan: You’re speaking to me with those words. I love that. I’m so aligned with that. I am serious. I would love to have you back to talk about just the positive mindset aspect of life, but also bring that into business because I say this all the time, but that is the most important part of being a food blogger and entrepreneur. Because if you don’t have that down, you can’t get anywhere. I know you agree with this.

Sandra: One hundred percent. Oh, I would love that. I think that actually was the game changer for me was getting my mindset. When I published those first 10 web stories, they didn’t click because I was thinking, what if they don’t click? You have to just really picture, oh, Google is sending me thousands of traffic. So absolutely. I believe that the mindset piece is important. Also if anybody has questions or they want to reach out to me I’m more than happy to answer any questions. I’m always looking for a blogging buddy. 

Megan: Oh, I love that. Thank you for extending that. So we will put together a show notes page for you, Sandra. So if anyone wants to go look at those, go look at those links that Sandra is going to provide for Google analytics and getting set up with web stories. You can find that at eatblogtalk.com/shesnotcookin with no G on the end. So your offer was generous. So tell people how they can get ahold of you and also where they can find you on Instagram and elsewhere. 

Sandra: Sure. So I’m on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest under She’s Not Cookin and shesnotcookin.com is my website address. Yeah, you can hit me up on the contact page or DM me on Instagram. 

Megan: Thank you again, Sandra for being here and thank you so much for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time. 

Outro: We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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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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