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Episode 164: Utilizing Underrated Strategies for Quick Blog Growth with Laura Arteaga

In episode 162 we talk with Laura Arteaga, blogger new to the food blogging world, who grew their blog fairly quickly in 2020.

We cover information about using underrated strategies that can help grow your blog, creating quality content and promotional strategies to get your content seen!

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 Six Hungry Feet
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bio
Six Hungry Feet is a vegetarian family food blog. Together with my husband and 21-month-old toddler, we develop, photograph and write family recipes for families that have a passion for tasty and healthy meals.

Takeaways

  • Find what you love doing as a hobby or that you already incorporate into your daily life and learn how to turn it into an additional revenue stream.
  • You can learn from the community of people who are also doing the same thing you do.
  • It doesn’t take much effort to learn something when you’re really passionate about.
  • Just get started. Put up a blog post and then as you progress in learning, you can improve upon published content.
  • Focus on good quality content and promotion.
  • Hone in on learning a couple key points instead of trying to learn everything related to blogging at once.
  • Make sure to include all the friends and family around you in your blog and get them to participate in liking, following and commenting on your content as well as signing up for a newsletter.
  • Be sure to create content that your audience wants. If you have a recipe to share that’s unusual, find a way to make it relevant to everyone.
  • Learn what information to share about a recipe based on what’s already ranking on Google. Find what information you can cover that’s important to the reader.
  • Learn how to share your content in multiple ways, from using your personal accounts to share in groups to asking people questions about a recipe to get them to engage on a question about the dish.

Need Help With Time Management?

Laura Vanderkam speaks about how to grow your business with tips on managing your time in episode 076.

Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.

Megan Porta:

Food bloggers. Hey, are you looking for new ways to make money as a blogger? If so, we have got your back. We have launched an ebook called Conversations On Monetization. Inside this resource, we take your favorite podcast episodes about monetization, and we put them all in one easy accessible package. We threw a few exclusive interviews in as well. Friends, there are so many ways to monetize your food blog. Inside this ebook, we have interviews with success stories like Todd Bullock, Alyssa Brantley, Kelly McNelis, Jena Carlin, and more. All of these examples have become successful through completely different monetization strategies. Whether you are a brand new blogger, looking for your very first revenue stream, or you are a seasoned pro wanting to diversify, this ebook is for you. Go to eatblogtalk.com to grab your copy. And we can’t wait to hear your success story with monetization.

Hey, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. This podcast is for you, food bloggers wanting value and clarity to help you find greater success in your business. Today I have Laura Arteaga from Six Hungry Feet with me, and we are going to talk about her journey in food blogging and how she and her husband grew their food blog really quickly. Six Hungry Feet is a vegetarian family food blog, along with her husband and 21 month old toddler, together they develop photographs and write family recipes for families that have a passion for tasty and healthy meals. Laura, I cannot wait to dig into your story. It sounds like such a great one, but before we do that, give us a fun fact about yourself.

Laura:

Hi Megan. Thanks for having me here today. I’m really excited to be chatting with you. So fun fact will be something that we still remember and laugh about. I met my husband in Sweden while we were both studying there around nine years ago. He was raised a vegetarian and he loves cooking. So at the time I didn’t know anything about vegetarianism or cooking, but I still decided to cook a paella for him, like the Spanish Paella. I remember calling my mom and my grandma for advice, but it still went horribly. I cooked this really bad paella and it ended up being like a bad risotto. So he still ate it because I think he wanted to impress me. That’s still funny. If somebody would have told me back then, are you going to be a food blogger in nine years? I probably will have laughed.

Megan :

That is super funny. I feel like we all need those stories of massive food failures though, because we can bring them up later and laugh about them. It’s great that it happened when you two were just connecting and getting to know each other. It’s a connection point, right? It’s a good memory. I mean, obviously it was a fail, but if it were a success, then you wouldn’t be talking about it.

Laura:

He’s still here, by my side.

Megan :

There you go. Well, that says it all. That’s funny. Thank you for sharing that. I am super excited to talk to you, Laura, you guys have quite a story to share and I’m hoping this will give food bloggers listening hope and maybe some encouragement to keep going, because it’s not always an easy job to get through week after week, month after month, year after year. So you took your food blog from zero to 50,000 unique page views in less than eight months while keeping your non-blogging jobs right, raising a toddler, which all of that just seems crazy overwhelming. So I would love it if you would talk through your story, how and why did you start your food blogging journey, then bring us up to today?

Laura:

So we started our food blog in April this year when everything went a bit crazy all over the world. So we are in Spain and we had really strict confinement here. We were allowed to go out of the house just for food shopping. We weren’t even allowed to go out for a walk. So at the time when we spent all our time at home and our toddler was still one year old, he was having different naps during the day. That gave us some time to actually think of something that we really wanted to do, or we really wanted to start as a family. So I remember my husband told me maybe we should build something like a side project. Because we don’t know how this situation is going to impact our jobs and we don’t know how this year is going to go.

So we thought, okay, well what do we want to do. We both love cooking. We have a really strong passion for food and we decided, okay, why don’t we do a food blog? Even if we didn’t know anything about food blogging. We already had a blog, a traveling blog, back in 2016 because we were traveling quite a lot then, but that had to stop because we had Luca. We basically decided that was what we were going to focus on. We invested our free time at that time doing a food blog. So growing a food blog from little.

Megan :

Wow. So you took your time at home as a way to kind of think through something that you could do that could bring in some extra money and you didn’t know anything about food blogging. That is crazy. So how did you learn? I mean, were you people who had read food blogs before? How did you even know that was a thing? How did you get into that?

Laura:

I normally look for recipes online because my husband is a natural for cooking. I’m not that natural. I need to take recipes and get some inspiration before I step into the kitchen. It’s something that always interested me. We love cooking and we spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Every time somebody comes home, they expect to have a proper meal cooked for them because they know we’re not going to be getting a takeaway. We didn’t know much about food blogging but soon we realized there is this huge community of food bloggers that are more than happy to help. Any question we had, got answered. We got motivated to do it because we saw there are lots of people there, are actually gonna want to help us and that we can learn from. They don’t expect much in return. So at the time we were kind of doing what we expected at the beginning, that was to get help from people that already knew what they were doing.

Megan :

Yeah, you’re right. There’s such a huge community here that when you figure it out, like so many people are willing to help you and get you through this journey and help you with any questions that you have. I think that is the basis for so many things, because if the community weren’t big, that obviously would not be as desirable to launch into it. So you asked around, you figured out what you needed to do to start, and then you just got started. Did you do a lot of research beforehand about SEO or photography or anything like that?

Laura:

He knew a little bit about SEO because of the travel blog that we had before. I didn’t know as much either. My husband, he is passionate about photography. So that was a bonus because he already had a good camera at the point. We already upgraded it, but he wanted to get better at photography. Soon we’re going to start doing videos as well. That’s something that he is still learning, but he’s really into, so it doesn’t take much effort to learn something when you’re really passionate about. Those two big points were already there.

Megan :

Oh, that’s great. I always say this, that everyone needs food. Everyone needs recipes. It doesn’t matter what is going on in the world. There can be a global pandemic, but we still need food. So food blogging really is a good option. Whereas something like travel blogging, everyone loves to travel, but we can’t always travel. That has been more clear than ever in the past year. So I think food blogging, if there’s any sort of blogging that anyone wants to do, food blogging is a good way to go.

Laura:

We are really lucky as well because a lot of people are trying to go plant-based now or eating less dairy, less meat products. We already had that at home. We don’t need to learn how to cook yummy recipes without meat. We already do that everyday. My husband has been a vegetarian since he was born. So it’s something that we haven’t had to learn or we don’t need to be pushy about because it’s something that we already know how to do.

Megan :

That’s so great. People definitely are going more to that healthy side. So it’s like you guys came in with a few pieces of it already in place, which is great for you. So you had a few things on your side. Something else I always say is that people who start food blogging or blogging at all today, compared to starting seven ish years ago, are at an extreme advantage because there are so many people who have come before you and who have lessons to impart that they have learned along the way. So I’m sure that you learned some of those lessons from people who have been through it. So tell us some of your tips, Laura, that helped you find that quick success that you guys have found.

Laura:

When we started the blog, we had loads of questions. Even if we already had a few points that we already mentioned, we knew there was loads of information out there that we didn’t really know how to handle, how to implement that in our blog. So we started creating this first recipe, that is still on the blog. There is one we created in this vegetarian environment and we were so excited because it was going to be the first recipe in the blog. We spent two days creating these recipes. Back in the day we were really happy with the results, but now I look at the recipe and it needs redoing, it needs so much work. It took us two days, but it’s still not good.

Once we had the recipe posted, we thought, okay, now what do we do with this? What do we do with all this information? How do we get people to click on our website? How do we get people to make the recipe, to leave us a comment? How do we promote the recipe? Or how do we know the information we’re given is what people are actually looking for. All these questions that you get from the first recipe. because these are all the things that you have to learn later on. We started looking for information and when you start your blog, there is a lot of information out there that it’s really helpful, but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. So if I had to choose one thing, of all the things that we’ve learned during this eight or nine months of blogging, that will be to focus on good quality content and promotion. I know that this might sound obvious because we know that, but there are loads of other things that can keep you stressed or can keep you sidetracked. It did happen to us. We had to pull ourselves back to, we need good quality content and we need to be promoting the content properly. It can be a bit challenging to find your main focus when you are starting.

Megan :

Yes, that is, I think one of the hardest parts is figuring out what your thing is. Then you touched on this a little bit. You can have quality content, but how do you know that that content is something that people are actually wanting. So you started out with your ramen recipe and you thought yes, this is great. We love this recipe and you put it out there and you just assume, and I think we all do this. It’s not just you. We all put things out there that we just assume everyone’s going to want it because we love it. So why wouldn’t everyone else love it? Then we realize, Oh wait, maybe not everybody does love this as much as I do. So how do you recommend figuring that out? Is it just a matter of just doing more and creating a bunch of different types or varieties of recipes just to see what people are resonating with or what are your thoughts?

Laura:

Yeah, I think that our main problem was that we were focusing on too many things at once. We didn’t really just focus on creating the recipe and checking what was already out there and comparing that content to our blog. So we were focusing on getting the recipe out, maybe putting it on Pinterest, having it on Instagram. I think all that kind of diluted the results that we wanted to get from the ramen. So our recommendations in this, when you’re starting a blog will be to have some things in mind from day one. For example, building a main list. We made this mistake that was not having a proper signup form where people could see it. So during the first eight months of blogging, maybe we got hundreds of subscribers for our email.

We realized that a bit late. Then we said, okay, we need to do something about it. We need to add a popup window, offering people something. So this last month we’ve been trying that and we got over 10 times more subscribers in that time than we did in the last eight months. I wish somebody would have told me that from the beginning. I know when you start a blog, you cannot offer much to your readers because you don’t have enough content, but you can always have a sign up form where people can actually see it. People that liked your recipe, they will already be in your main list for when you are ready to send your first newsletter. So this is something for example, that I would say, that that has to be there from day one.

Other things like, for example, Instagram, or having your own Facebook page or creating videos, you might not need to have that from day one. It will come eventually, but I wouldn’t recommend spending so much time, for example, on Instagram, following other people or liking other people’s content, if that’s not your main focus. If your main focus at the moment is to grow your content, to grow your audience, maybe you spend a little bit of time on Instagram to have your portfolio or your best pictures there, maybe to have the account set up for when you want to start contacting companies to do some collaborations or when you have a bit more time to invest on Instagram, but not from day one. Because that’s not going to drive traffic to your website from the beginning. It’s really difficult to grow an Instagram account if you are starting from zero today.

Megan :

Oh, that is so true. And I think that is a message that newer bloggers need to hear because there are so many food bloggers who have massive accounts and when you’re new, you get hung up on that and you see those numbers and you think, how can I even get there? There’s no way. So just hearing that from somebody who just started, I think is really good. So focusing on your content, get quality content out there, figure out who you’re serving and what your thing is. Like you said earlier, Laura, don’t dive into too many things at once. Just start simple and test with a few things or maybe one thing at a time to see what resonates. The email thing is huge. I feel bad that you went for so long without knowing that.

Laura:

It’s something that we did know that we were doing it wrong, but we didn’t really have time to sit down and talk about it. So we kept going through this conversation or argument with my husband, saying this is not working, this is not working. So we actually didn’t do anything until last month. I said, okay, enough. I’m going to set up a newsletter that I’m going to be doing for January, a healthy meal plan. We need to get it out there and I want a pop up window and I want it now. So my husband is the tech part of Six Hungry Feet. He said, okay, I’m going to try to get that set up now. But I had to stand my ground.

Megan :

Have some grace with yourself too, because eight months, not even a year into blogging and you’re figuring it out. I mean, that is really good because it took me a lot longer, years, to figure out things that were really important in food blogging. So just have a little grace with yourself. It is very important, but I think it’s great that you figured it out within a year because that probably is faster than a lot of us do. Good job for figuring out that was necessary. The Instagram and Facebook setups, I think it’s good to tell people to have your account set up. I mean, it takes two seconds to open an account. So do that open the accounts, but don’t necessarily dive in right away. I think it’s really good to deliver that message that it’s okay to sit on your accounts until you’re ready to actually do something with them. Are you guys finally diving into your Instagram and Facebook accounts or how long did that take you?

Laura:

When we started Six Hungry Feet, the food blog, we already had the Instagram account set up because I started that before doing the food blog. I just had an account, while I was pregnant, I did it. I called it 6 Hungry Feet and I was posting my food that I was going to eat that day. Then my husband deleted all those pictures because he said, they’re horrible. So we have to start from zero. Then we started posting the pictures we created for the blog. What we do on Instagram is we put the new recipes. Sometimes we share some stories, if we are cooking in the kitchen or if we have, you know, something that we think people might like to see, and we just started doing some reels. We try to not invest more than 30 minutes a day on Instagram because it doesn’t bring traffic to our website. We already had some collaboration with companies that came from Instagram because that’s where we find the companies that have products that can fit our blog. The collaborations we’ve done so far, they’ve all come from Instagram.

Megan :

That’s great that you started before you even started your blog, that you had the account set up and you kind of knew how it worked and hopefully you were collaborating with some peers and figuring out who you could connect with in the food blogging world. So Instagram does have benefits. It doesn’t drive traffic, but I’ve met most of my food blogging friends through Instagram. There is huge value in being there, but you don’t have to be there all the time. 30 minutes a day is such a smart way to go about Instagram, especially when you’re just starting out. Because like you said, the traffic isn’t slowing in from that source, but it is good to just be present there for a little bit. I have days where I set a timer for myself, and 30 minutes is my timeline too, for being on there. I will set my timer for 30 minutes and when it goes off, I’m done. Otherwise it can just suck you in and I don’t need to be there. So why do that to myself?

Laura:

I have to do the same. Sometimes I go on Instagram to just post a picture and I find myself looking up cute baby pictures. Instagram has that. You can get sidetracked really fast. We see Instagram more as a portfolio for our pictures. So it’s a place that people can see what we do, what we cook, our photo style, to find our website there and a little bit about what we are as 6 Hungry Feet. We do the same with the Facebook page. We have a Facebook page set up and we post regularly, but we don’t want to spend much time on it because you don’t reach many people on Facebook. We have a thousand followers there, but every time we post something, the people you’re going to reach is not nearly that number. It doesn’t bring traffic directly if you post on your facebook page.

Megan :

There are people who really dig into Facebook and Instagram and see huge wild success. I am not one of those people, but they’re pretty rare. I think for the most part, it’s more normal to just kind of let your Facebook page sit and collect followers over time. It’s more of a long game for most people. That’s not true for everybody.

Laura:

The good thing with Facebook as well is that you can invite all your friends and family and they are going to be your biggest supporters from the beginning. So they are the ones that are going to be happy seeing your new recipes, and they’re going to go inside the website. It’s a good place as well to let the people, your friends and family, to let them know what, what you’re doing or what you started.

Megan :

So let’s talk a little bit more about quality content, because you’ve said this a few times and you guys came into food blogging already having great photography skills, and you knew how to build a post with decent SEO. So what are some other things we can do to make sure that our content is quality from the beginning?

Laura:

Before we start writing any of our recipes, what I do because this is my side of the job is I do a little bit of research, that helps me to create good content or content that people will want to actually read or look for. This is something that I think everybody can do. The research I do, it’s totally free. For me, it’s really worth it. The first thing I do, I ask myself if this is something that people will actually look for. If the answer is yes, then there’s no question there, just go create. So for example, one of our top recipes is the Pad Tai. We made a vegetarian Pad Thai, and it was one of our first recipes. I don’t know if it was in two months of blogging and it’s still our top recipe, because it’s something that people know and people look for.

There’s many recipes for Vegetarian Pad Thai out there. We kind of specified a bit more on the name. So we got good ranking and if you create something that people are already writing about, even if there is so many food bloggers that already wrote about, I’m sure that you can give it the unique touch that your blog has and still add value into that recipe. If the recipe you have in mind is something that people might not actually look for, if the answer is no, then you have two options. One of them is to think of another recipe and say, okay, maybe I’m not going to go for that one. But then another option is to check if you can maybe change the name into something that people would know, or people can relate to.

So a few weeks ago, we wanted to do this sobrasada, which is a local product from where we live. It’s something really, really local. So we knew that we weren’t going to get people looking for it in English. This is something that is made with meat and we veganized, and we made it be sun-dried tomatoes. So we thought, okay, why don’t we call it sun-dried tomato pate? Then we put the vegan sobrasada. Then this is something people can actually look for. Or if we promote it and somebody sees, then they will know straight away what it is. Okay. I like sun-dried tomatoes. I like pate. I’m looking for a spread to put on my bread. Then maybe I will go in and look into this recipe. That’s something that you can do too.

Megan:

That’s a great tip. So if there’s a recipe that you’re really loving, but when you search on Google to see if other people are liking it, and it really isn’t very visible, just give it a spin and change the wording so that people are more familiar with it. I think that’s such a great tip. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that. I liked that you just turned a recipe that maybe people in America wouldn’t know and you turned it into Pate, which they do know. How has that recipe done?

Laura:

Well, it’s good. We just posted it last week. It’s going well. It’s not going to be our biggest recipe. It’s a spread, it’s not the main dish, but we are including it in some snack boards as well. So it’s linking into other recipes and it’s something that we make weekly and we love it. We really love this at home. So I really wanted to get it on the blog. We just thought, okay, let’s do it this way. Then this way we can promote it and people will actually know what we’re talking about.

Megan :

Yeah. That’s a great tip. Do you have anything else for quality content? Just making sure our content is super quality.

Laura:

So this is the first question that I normally ask myself, and then I Google the name of the recipe that I want to make. I use Google. Then I see what the competition is for this recipe. For example, if we go back to Vegetarian Pad Tai, if you Google Vegetarian Pad Thai, there are so many big food bloggers out there that have already written about. So at the time, when you are Googling the recipe that you want to write about, you can decide, depending on how big your blog is, I need to specify a bit more what my recipe is about so I get a chance to be shown in Google, or is this something I can rank because the competition is not as big. So for us at the time, we decided to call our recipe Vegetarian Pad Thai with Tofu, which is already a bit more specific. It’s telling a bit more about recipes. By just adding that to the name, you don’t actually change what you are going to be cooking, but you are being more specific and that will help you rank better. That always depends on how big your blog is, but I think if you are starting, you need to be quite specific about the name of the recipe that you are going to be posting.

Megan :

Okay. Yeah. That goes into keyword research and key phrases. I know some people can get really confused about all of that, because it is kind of a confusing topic, even for bloggers who have been in it for a long time. Do I go for a high-ranking keyword or do I not? Do I add words to my recipe title? Do I not? It’s not a cut and dry thing. You have to weigh all of these different options and are you a bigger blogger? Are you just starting out? Do you put something that’s more difficult to rank for? It’s just like one of those things that I think stresses people out, but I think testing with it is good. Don’t you think, Laura?

Laura:

I think you need to, you need to know as well, there is a point where you cannot be too specific because people are not going to be looking for so many different words for a recipe. So I think in this sense, trying is good, trying and making mistakes, and you will see that some recipes are not ranking because maybe the recipe name was a bit too general and there are already other food bloggers that wrote about it and they have really good content. Sometimes you go for it and then your recipe will run good and you will get many organic searches or traffic from that recipe. So I think it’s a matter of trying. It’s a matter of knowing where your blog is standing at a certain point. What I do as well, when I have decided on the name of the recipe that I’m going to be writing about, I check the blogs for that search.

So I normally go into five to 10 different recipes, and I am not gonna say that I read them all from top to bottom, but I do kind of go through them and I see the content that they posted. You can find so much useful information there because every food blogger has different things to add into a recipe. From reading other blogs, you can realize maybe what value can you add to this recipe that is not already out there. What can you talk about that these other blogs are not talking about, or maybe three blogs made the point that you want to talk about as well, because so many people have questions about. Something that I found really useful to do as well is to go through the comments, because people are asking questions and sometimes the food bloggers will go back and write a paragraph about it.

But sometimes they don’t, they just answer the question. You might think, okay, maybe I can talk about this in my posts, because a lot of people have questions about it. Maybe it’s an ingredient that they don’t know where to find. Maybe something that they don’t know how to cook or the time that you need to be cooking this, there are so many questions out there that you need to decide. Which ones are you going to be focusing on answering.

Megan :

I think the strategy that you just talked through is the most underrated strategy out there. We get caught up with hearing from the experts, you need to be certain, and we don’t always see this thing that’s sitting right there. There are other blog posts that rank for the same keyword that you’re trying to rank for. Just taking the time, I think that’s it right there. It’s taking the time to do it, but taking the time to just go in and just really thoroughly read what they’re writing, because they are ranking for a reason. Something in their posts is resonating with Google and they’re ranking high. So go through it, read, and then see what speaks to you within their posts and then going through the comments, Laura is such a great suggestion. I don’t do that frequently, but I’ve done it before, periodically. I should do it more. It’s really helpful because some of the comments are, I wouldn’t necessarily put that in a post of mine, but some are. Some will speak to me and I’ll think, okay, I need to put this in my post about Chili or whatever it is. So that is such a great recommendation

Laura:

As well,  I normally ask myself, I read all these posts that are ranking really good. What can I do better? So what can we offer the readers that these people haven’t really written about, or that they are not answering? How can I add value basically to all these posts that are already out there. Sometimes it’s really hard because the food blogs that come first, when you look at a recipe, they’re normally really good and the pictures are amazing, but we all have a unique blog and I’m sure everybody will find a way to still add something to those recipes.

Megan :

The question, how can I add value? I think it is so huge and so important to ask yourself when you’re creating anything, whether you’re comparing it to someone else’s or not, because that’s ultimately what we all want to be doing, is adding value for our user, for our reader.

Laura:

Yeah, totally. There is other places that you can get information quicker, because this might not seem like the fastest way to see how you can start writing your posts. If I can do it, everybody can because I’m really busy. You can look on other resources, like Answer The Public, this website where you type your recipe name, in this case, and it will give you the most common questions that people ask. You can visit Ubersuggest just as well. That is a key search that you can put your recipe name, and it will tell you the volume of searches for that recipe, or it might suggest other recipe names. So there’s other ways to do this research. The one I am doing at the moment, I really like it because it gives you so much information and sometimes it will do it faster, sometimes it takes more time. Depends on the recipe you want to do, or how much information you want to get before you start writing. I don’t want to leave out the photos because otherwise my husband is gonna kill me. But I think photos are a massive piece of content on the website and they are the things that people will check first. So I think by the photo, you already know if you want to be making that recipe or not. I want to say that no matter from where you starting photography is something that you can learn and you can master. There are so many tutorials out there that you can do for free on YouTube. You can do even backdrops at home by painting a piece of wood.

That’s what we actually have been doing. Then I’m sure in your kitchen, you have loads of different things to do, to put as props, or you can go to secondhand shops and get some cutlery to make your pictures look better. You don’t need to get the perfect photos from the beginning because if your content is good, if your recipe is good, you can always go back to that recipe and update the pictures. It’s something that it might take a bit of a bit of time, but you have resources out there to help you improve in that sense.

Megan :

There are so many free resources available for food bloggers and photography is no exception. You can improve your photography skills really quickly if you just make the decision to dive into it. I think, and even if that just means practicing every single day, getting out whatever’s in your fridge and just practicing. Take a picture and put it on Instagram, you don’t need to post it on your blog necessarily, but it is so important to have good photography. I completely agree with you, Laura. So many people look past this, and I see this on Pinterest, especially where people are like, why don’t I have any Pinterest traction? They get so frustrated and I think, you have to have good photos, especially on Pinterest because it’s a completely visual platform. So if people see something that doesn’t look appealing or mouthwatering, they’re not going to click on it. You need to have those good photos.

Laura:

You have to have good light as well. So make sure you have a good light, whether it’s artificial or natural. You can take photos with your phone if you are starting and you don’t have a camera because the phones we have at the moment, they have really good cameras. We created our own backdrops. You don’t even need to invest money on that. Just create a little studio where you take your photos and the light is good at certain times of the day and just improve from there.

Megan :

The sun is such a great source of light. It’s perfect. If you can just figure out how to take great photos with the sun, then you’ve got most of it covered right there. So that’s a huge piece of it. Is there anything you wanted to say about photos before we move on to promotion? So what do you think about promoting? Because starting out, it’s hard to get in that mindset of thinking that you need to now promote all of the stuff that you’ve just created. So what are your recommendations?

Laura:

Promotion is a big thing and I think different things work for different food bloggers. I’m gonna talk about what worked for us so far. At the moment, our three main sources of traffic are Facebook, Pinterest and organic search. Facebook that doesn’t come from our Facebook page. As I said before, that doesn’t drive much traffic to our website. But Facebook in general, it has been driving traffic to the blog since the very first day we started. Then Pinterest and Google are slowly sending us more and more traffic every month. That takes a little bit longer to recognize your page as trusted information. Facebook is something that you can do from day one. If you do it in a smart way, you can get loads of traffic from Facebook because millions of people are there.

So what we did from the very beginning, we took our personal accounts. So me and my husband, and we started joining a bunch of different Facebook groups for recipes. So we are a vegetarian family food blog. So we joined different groups that were related to that, where we could find people that actually shared an interest for food with us. So we joined different vegan groups, vegetarian, pescatarian. We joined some family groups or toddler kid recipe groups. We started promoting our content there. We didn’t want to be spamming these groups. We didn’t want to be going there and say Hey, that’s our new recipe, click on here, or try it. So we wanted to make it in a way that people could actually, instead of telling them, go to our website, check this website, it was more about recommending a recipe.

So we don’t pretend that this is not our recipe and we just tried it randomly from the internet because we don’t like to do that either, but we don’t make it clear. What we do is we try to interact and connect with people in these groups. Sometimes that we post two recipes that are similar and we say, okay, would you prefer this recipe or this other recipe? Because we can not decide. Then you will post the links to your two recipes and people are going to start commenting, Oh, I will do this or I will do the other one. Sometimes we ask what would you feel like cooking tonight? We are thinking about cooking this recipe, what do you think? So what we found out on Facebook is that people love talking about their feelings.

They love talking about what they want to eat, or what they think about your recipe or which one to choose because people like to have things to choose between. So we started doing that a lot and it works really well. So even for me, when I go on Facebook, I sometimes like to see all the people posting two recipes. Like which one would you choose? I always comment on that because I like that. I think it’s a fun way to interact with people. It’s a fun way for people to start knowing who you are and we comment from our personal accounts, but they still know it’s our recipes. In some groups we already have people telling us like, Oh, I saw this recipe the other day and I tried it. So we go and ask them, oh, would you mind leaving a comment on our website too, if you like the recipe. So it’s a way as well of getting comments on your website from people that already tried the recipe and they really liked it. So it benefits us and benefits the people that get new recipes to try, because that’s what they are in this group for, to get new ideas to cook. So I think it’s a win-win and for us, it’s worked really, really good to be in this Facebook community.

Megan :

That’s really funny that you mentioned this because I’ve chatted with another blogger here on the podcast who grew really quickly like you guys did and that was her number one strategy for getting a ton of traffic really quickly. It was going into huge, massive Facebook groups and establishing herself as an authentic kind of user of the group. Like you said, she wasn’t being spammy, but she was actually engaging with the people and building trust. Then once she started her blog, she started doing the same thing you guys did. She would ask, Oh, what do you think about this recipe? Or this one? People clicked over and she got a ton of traffic. I mean, she grew like, I want to say after one month she was on Mediavine. So she grew really, really fast.

Laura:

I actually think Megan, that I listened to this podcast. I remember because I was listening to the podcast while I was walking in the morning. I remember thinking I need to join more Facebook groups. I need to really see the Facebook groups that work for our blog. So I need to find people that will be interested in our recipes. You are putting a recipe out there that people are not going to be interested. That’s when the spamming thing happens. But if people are interested in your content and you’re going to be helping people decide what to cook tonight, let’s say, then I think that’s nice. It benefits you as well because, at the end of the day, we are spending lots of time doing our food blog so we can reach people. It’s so nice when you get your content there and you get traffic because it makes everything to be worth it.

Megan :

That’s so true and strategies like the Facebook one are a win-win because you are going in those groups and you’re actually helping people. They’re in the groups for a reason. They’re not being forced to be inside of there. They’re actually there to look for recipes. So you’re providing the recipes and then you’re getting traffic. So it’s a win all around. I think that the new title of this entire episode should be underrated strategies because we’re talking about all of these strategies that are so easily overlooked that are just so easy to do and easy to implement in our blogs and in our processes that we put together, our systems.

Laura:

I don’t want to underrate Pinterest because Pinterest is our second source of traffic. As I said, it’s growing slowly. It’s not giving us the results that we were expecting from the beginning, but I think it’s an amazing platform to put your work out there, especially for food bloggers, because if I was using Pinterest before it was to look for recipes, and I think we have a lot to add into the Pinterest platform. Facebook is just so much worth it for us at the moment. It gives you a true review as well because everybody feels like free to speak on Facebook. Sometimes they will say mean things as well. I remember one time I posted a vegan and not low in a group that is not for vegans.

It’s just called Easy Recipe group. I got lots of bad comments like, “oh this is so dry”. “How can you be making a vegan meal??” and I thought, I actually love it and it’s a Christmas family dinner we have every year. We got really good reviews from plant-based recipe groups. We already have reviews on that recipe that people tried it and loved it. So I realized, okay, these people are actually mean, but you know, at the end of the day, it’s everyone’s opinion. I understand that it might not have been the place to post a vegan recipe because people sometimes get, Oh, why do they have to do this? I think it’s a good place as well to know if the recipe is good and it will do good in the future because people just speak up and they will be truthful about what they think, they will just be sincere.

Megan :

Oh yes, they are. That is such a truth about Facebook. They do not have any qualms about stating their opinions. You mentioned Pinterest. This is actually for me, my underrated strategy that I like to tell people about because I grew really fast on Pinterest when I was just starting and this was 10 plus years ago when Pinterest was just starting itself. Here’s what I did. I mean, it’s so simple. I made sure that my photography was quality and that I got at least one good image from every recipe shoot I did that was really mouthwatering, that would make people say, Oh my gosh, I need to make that recipe. So that was it and I put it on Pinterest and my Pinterest traffic grew, it was wild for so many years.

Laura:

I know. I’m still struggling with Pinterest. I remember at the beginning I was spending so much time doing this today, where you pin other people’s content and they will pin yours back. Then I just put my name into this newsletter that they were going to send me every day some tips to grow your Pinterest or to get your Pinterest set up. That was really helpful. From there I started growing, but it’s just difficult, I think when you start to figure out how many boards do I need, how many pins should I be pinning? Do I need to be pinning just my pins or do I have to be in other people’s content? If you ask this question to experts, they come out with different answers because Pinterest is changing the strategy as well, and we need to keep up with it. I’ve just been into this food blogging world for nine months. I feel like it’s already changed from when I started. It’s difficult to figure out what’s going to work for our Pinterest account. I trust that in the near future, we’re gonna start seeing actual good traffic from it because it’s growing every month, it’s just a slow growth.

Megan :

You guys came into Pinterest during a time that was very unusual because I do think that the growth we’ve seen in Pinterest in the past year has been really, really unusual unlike any other year, because in previous years it was what I just said, put up great pins and you will see the traffic. Now that is not the case. Things have changed so drastically. Now it’s the story pins that aren’t giving you traffic, but do them anyway because that’s what they want. Then they’ll favor your other stuff and then create video pins. You know? So it’s really complicated right now.

Laura:

It’s really difficult. And that’s, that’s how we felt with Instagram as well. We feel like people that started on Instagram a few years ago, they grew their profile really, really big or their account really big in a short time, because at the time that was booming. So people would follow other people more often. But I think now people don’t follow you as easily as before, even if they like your content, they don’t feel the need to follow your account. Then once you posted it, that might not even reach all your followers because that’s how Instagram is showing the information. Now you are just going to reach a percentage of your followers, the same with the stories you’re going to reach as a percentage of your followers. So we find Instagram as well, a really difficult place at the moment to grow your account.

Megan :

There was a sweet spot for every single platform for food bloggers that so many of us missed out on. We hear those success stories about people who just went from zero page likes on Facebook to a million within a short period of time because they got in on that sweet spot when every single video was just going wild. Then that same thing happened with Instagram. I got in on the Pinterest sweet spot. Thank goodness, because I’ve reaped a lot from my Pinterest traffic, but I did not get in on the Facebook sweet spot or the Instagram one. So I missed out on those two.

Laura:

Yeah, I’m in the Facebook group one now. So that might just go off in a few months. But I think at the moment it’s something that can work for many, many food bloggers. What we do as well, the recipes that we have on our website, are recipes that we cook, not weekly, but we cook often. Some of the recipes we do weekly, some of the recipes we posted them twice a week or twice a month. So what we do is every time we cook a recipe that ‘s already on our blog, we just take a picture with our phone, like a simple picture of me holding the plate or our toddler holding the plate. Then we promote that as well as a recipe. We just say on the Facebook groups Oh, that was my lunch today.

What did you guys have for lunch? So it’s a way of starting a conversation and I list the link to the actual recipe, which happens to be our recipe on the blog. That brings traffic again. I want to say to just not promote the recipe, once it’s fresh posted in the blog, keep promoting the recipes, because I’m sure many food bloggers end up cooking loads of the recipes from their own food blog every month. That’s another chance to promote your content without taking the perfect picture or photo. It’s a simple way that we find as well to keep promoting things every week.

Megan :

Repurposing is another underrated strategy, I believe. I’m really glad that you mentioned that. Is there anything else you have about promoting? You’ve covered Facebook, how that was a really quick way to get your foot in the door and get traffic really quickly. Pinterest is great, if we can ever figure out what’s going on this year. What about organic traffic? What are your thoughts on that?

Laura:

So the organic traffic we have just recently started seeing a big amount of traffic from Google Discover, that I’ve never heard about before. I’m a bit bad in this sense, but from my knowledge, we were just seeing this growth in organic traffic and it came from Google Discover because apparently some of our recipes we’re gonna be showing there. It’s something that you need to be patient with. I read that when I started the blog that it might take at least six months for Google to recognize your recipes as a trusted place for information. I think it’s true. It took us some months to start seeing traffic from organic search.I f your content is good and you have good pictures and you’re using plugins such as a recipe card.

If your recipes have what Google is asking for, I think it will happen, eventually it will happen. You just need to be a bit patient. I know we all try to write our blog posts so it has all Google requirements, but we need to keep having personal recipes. You need to keep showing who you are in your recipes. Why are you writing this recipe and write a little bit about how you got to know the recipe? Is it a family favorite? You need to have a bit of a bit of yourself on the blog and while meeting other Google requirements, but I wouldn’t get too crazy about it. We’ve never been really upset about these things and it seems to be working for us.

Megan :

It’s a balancing act. It takes time just to figure out how to balance that. It can be such a point of frustration for food bloggers because it is a longer game and you do need that patience to get through it because you start making changes and you want to see results immediately. That just doesn’t happen with Google.

I’m interrupting this to let you know that that was part one of my episode with Laura Arteaga and if you want to continue listening to part two, you will need to go into the Eat Blog Talk community. You need to be a member to hear us talk about how Laura organizes all of this work that she does, and also for tips on free blogging resources and so much more. Go to eatblogtalk.com to become a member. This episode is not all you will be finding inside of our membership.

There’s so much more, you guys. I really hope you consider becoming a member of this year in 2021, because we are putting a huge focus on planning and just being productive with our time. So many other great tools and resources are available for you inside of there. So we’ll see you over in the community, until then, I’m going to end this episode with telling you where Laura’s show notes can be found and a few last words from her. So thank you for listening.

Laura, we will put together a show notes page for you, and if anyone wants to go peek at that, you can find them at eatblogtalk.com/sixhungryfeet. Laura, tell everyone where they can find you online.

Laura:

So they can find us on Instagram, where we share the latest recipes. It’s at @sixhungryfeet or on the website. We have an email there that you can reach to us and feel free to ask us anything you want to know or any piece of advice you might think you can get from us. I know our Facebook page as well, we’ll be happy to be in touch with anyone.

Megan:

Well, thank you so much again, Laura for being here and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.

Intro:

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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