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Cheat Sheet

Food Blogging For Dummies

From Food Blogging For Dummies by Kelly Senyei

Building a thriving community centered on a food blog requires engaging and inspiring content. A consistent recipe style encourages readers to return, and effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategies helps boost a blog's rankings in search results. And a food blog just wouldn't be a food blog without beautiful photos, so know the basics of food styling tools and a standard food photo setup.

Engaging Food Blog Readers

Although every post on a food blog should be aimed at engaging the audience, certain posts will elicit more of a response than others. Popular food bloggers can post a recipe and get more comments than a blooming onion has calories. Any of these five types of blog posts are guaranteed to engage readers and stir up a conversation:

  • Link roundups: Link roundups highlight the blogs and sites you're reading or simply want to share. They're themed posts, such as seven recipes for fried chicken from across the web, or they're generic shout-outs to an interesting post or a job well done.

  • Behind-the-scenes: Everyone loves a glimpse of the reality behind your blog, whether that's a view of your photography setup or a shot of your kitchen pre- and post-remodel.

  • Guest posts: Inviting other bloggers to publish a post on your blog (and hopefully you vice versa on theirs) is an effective way of introducing a new voice and attracting a new audience.

  • Polls: Polling your readers has two big benefits: It gives you valuable insight to their preferences and desires, and it encourages them to have a voice (and be heard) outside the comments field.

  • Giveaways: Everyone loves free stuff, which is why giveaways are one of the tried and true methods for attracting readers. But keep in mind the traffic may be only temporary because giveaway lovers come and go with the prizes whereas devout fans stick around for the intellectual freebies, too. Note that some legal implications are associated with giveaways that pertain to the value of the prize and how you collect entries.

Abbreviating Recipe Measurements for Your Food Blog

Whether your recipes appear in blogs, books, or magazines, be sure to use a consistent recipe style; it indicates credibility and professionalism. The table shows common measurements and options for abbreviations. Regardless of which style you choose for your food blog, pick one and stick with it.

Measurement Abbreviations
teaspoon t, t., tsp, tspn.
tablespoon T, T., Tbsp, tblsp, tblspn.
ounce oz, oz., fl. oz.
pound lb, lb., #
cup c, c., C, C.

Maximizing SEO in Food Blog Titles

The more visible a food blog is to search engines, the higher it appears in search-engine results, and the more likely an online user is to find it. Here are two critical tips for making the most of organic search engine optimization (SEO) — that is, the approach that doesn't involve buying your way to higher rankings:

  • Keywords: Tap into keywords (the main words or phrases associated with a topic) by including them naturally in the text of your blog post. Avoid the urge to get cutesy with obscure titles for your posts and instead use tools, such as Google Insights for Search, to determine the most searched for words and phrases pertaining to a topic.

  • Links: The number of inbound links (links from other sites to your blog) is the search engines' measurement for how popular your blog is across the web. Creating original, quality content is your best shot at getting some inbound link love from the bigger sites.

Essential Items in a Blogger's Food-Styling Kit

A food-styling kit — an essential tool for food bloggers — helps you stage food for photographs. Here's a short list of tools for your food-styling kit, but remember that these tools are for food styling and not food preparation. All food bloggers have their unique needs and preferences, so pick and choose appropriately:

  • Paper towels: Arguably every food stylists' best friend, paper towels are used for everything from blotting up messes to safeguarding from drips.

  • Windex: From removing a sticky residue on a surface to providing streak-free shine on a cocktail glass, there really are fewer all-purpose solutions than Windex.

  • Salt: Salt is not only effective as a seasoning, but its larger flake varieties make for great garnishes. Insider tip: Add a pinch of salt to a flat beer or glass of Champagne to create the perfect bubbly foam. Keep in mind that this also makes the beverage undrinkable (to most).

  • Q-tips: Q-tips allow for precise clean-ups. Keep a handful of them at your disposal to clean inside cocktail and Champagne glasses, to soak up unwanted liquids, or to swiftly clear excess crumbs.

  • Paintbrush: Get in touch with your inner Monet by swapping paints for olive oil. A few brushstrokes of the golden liquid on your seared meats and vegetables adds a glistening glow, one stroke at a time.

  • Long tweezers: They might look like a tool from sixth grade science class, but ten-inch tweezers are food stylists' go-to instrument for every task from placing individual peas in a pasta dish to stacking ice cubes in a tall pitcher.

  • Candlewax: The tacky property of candlewax makes it the perfect tool for securing small props in place, such as affixing silverware at an angle on a plate.

Constructing a Food Photo Setup for Your Blog

Food bloggers don't need an elaborate setup to photograph food. This photo depicts the typical food photography setup in which the light source comes in from the 3 o’clock position. The fill card is placed opposite the light source to reflect the light onto the food in front of it.

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