Joy the Baker

10 Real-Talk Blog Tips

November 7, 2011

boss

It’s time for just a touch of real-life blogger talk.

It’s not often that bloggers talk honestly about the beginning, the behind the scenes, the flops, the late nights, and all the doughnuts.

Allow me to lay a tiny bit of truth speak on you.

I’m the boss of me… dig it.

10 Real-Talk Blog Tips

(in no particular order)

One: What’s the secret when it comes to successful blogging?  What SEO trick will work magic?  What recipe will make people swoon.  What words will make people follow?  Truth is,  there is no secret.  Bummer, right?

Here’s the deal…

Only blog if you LOVE it.  Only make it if you want to eat it.  Only photograph it if you think it looks pretty, sparkly, or otherwise awesome.  Only write about it if you’re really into it.  Only wear it if you think it’s major.  When it comes to blogging… only do it if you love it.

Two: When it comes to photography there’s something you should know: find a camera that you’re comfortable with. You don’t need the biggest, baddest camera and lens to create a beautiful blog space.  Know what I love to shoot with?  My iPhone.  All of the photos pictured here are from my phone.  My blog started because of the photographs I was taking of food with my big, blocky TMobile phone.  Seriously… It took me years to work up to a major camera, and even now I love to shoot with my cell phone.

time

Three: Let’s talk about real life.  You have a day job because you totally have to pay your bills and buy cute shoes.  By the time you get home at night it’s a) dark, b) you’re starving, c) you totally just want to order Thai food, d) you’re out of butter, and e) you have The Walking Dead on your DVR and you want to scare yourself with zombies.  I totally understand this.  When are you supposed to create content and work on your blog… right?

I have the answer: it’s not easy. You’re doing a hard thing.  I know because I spent a lot of time doing the very same hard thing.  Know what I would do… because I was totally nuts-o?  I would wake up early in the morning and make and photograph an easy recipe.  I’d then come home late at night and blog about it.  On the weekend I would go nuts trying to create content that I would blog about during the week.  My friend all thought I was bonkers… and I was.  Most of my friends shrugged their shoulders.  Some of my friends made fun of me.  A few friends fell away because I wasn’t making the time for them.  I was following the (incredibly dorky) thing that I loved the most… that’s it.  I made sacrifices and I created time and… now I just sleep less.

Four: Make friends in the community because friends are awesome!!!! I think Twitter can be a magic/weirdo/Internet friend making machine.  I also think Instagram is fun.  Find people who do what you love and make friendship out of it.  It’s really exciting to see where those connections can lead.  Want to know a fact?  I met Tracy at a blog conference two years ago… now we’re major.

cheese

Five: Make things pretty.  Pretty things are important, and more simple than you might think.  Layer plates and patterns.  Use colorful napkins.  Burlap is cheap and totally adds texture.  Crinkle up some parchment paper and use it as a background.  Buy a few nice pieces of silver from a thrift store.  Raid the Anthropologie sale section.  Add a glass of sparkling rose to the background of your shot… and definitely drink it later.  When in doubt, add bacon and/or caramel.  People like pretty things.  It’s universal.

Know who is good at making things pretty?  The Cuisinerd.

ps.  Cheese plate preparation coming this week!

caramel

Six: Blogging with dedication isn’t easy.  It’s not rocket science… but it takes time, effort, vision, and more time.  But!  I try to make it look easy and feel effortless.   This blog isn’t about my heavy lifting, lack of sleep, or sweaty brow.  This blog is about cinnamon rolls and cupcakes and boys.  Keep it positive.  Keep it pretty.  If a recipe flops… and recipe always flop… move on, try something different, and add more chocolate.  Work hard to make it look easy…. and just be ok with the fact that it’s totally not easy.

Seven: I don’t think this blog would work if you didn’t know how silly bonkers my life is.  You know that there’s cat hair everywhere.  You know that I burn toast.  You know that I date boys and get dumped.  You know that I crash my bike.  You know that I occasionally eat my feelings.  I think sharing is important.  You know that weird thing you do with your sock drawer?  Share that!  Find you voice and  be vulnerable.  You’ll be surprised by how many people connect to your weirdness.

I admire Shauna of Gluten Free Girl for her disarmingly vulnerable writing.

Eight: Find people and blogs that you admire.  Know them.  Love them.  Emulate them but add your own twist, voice, and style… then write them an email expressing your sincere affection.

I adore Heidi of 101 Cookbooks.

Nine: Start small and let yourself grow and learn. I started this blog with three readers.  I was stoked.  Three months in I had 32 readers.  I was majorly stoked.  100 readers a day!?  I was over the moon!!  What I’m saying is, don’t sweat your numbers.  Don’t worry about the amount of comments you get.  Really.  Leave all that mess alone.  If you love it… just have a doughnut and keep going.

dinner

Ten: Buy yourself flowers, take yourself out to lunch, drink a lot of tea, find the time and make the time to blog… but only if you love it.  If you don’t love it… that’s totally ok too.  Be kind to yourself.  For serious… it’s just a blog.  No bigs.

Joy the Baker is fueled by:

WordPress.  Butter.  Flour.  Black tea.  Late nights.  Flickr.   Twitter.  Facebook.  Instagram.   Canon EOSm.  iPhone.  Emails.  Friendship.  Aperture.  Natural light.  Michael Friedman. Kettle corn.  Post-it notes.  To-do lists.  Deborah Lippman nail polish.   Nesting bowls. And an irresponsible sweet tooth.


491 Comments Add A Comment

  • Hi Joy

    I’m here due to twitter…

    This is a really great piece of writing. Fun and reassuring for a new-ish blogger like me.

    I’ll now just concentrate on having fun writing & taking pictures: no fussing about numbers.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  • Oh wow! This post just blew my mind. I love your posts and I even baked some of your recipes but this writing totally kicked me in the butt to get up and do the things I am dreaming of doing. Thanks for the reminders and the honesty. Keep on the brilliant job you are doing.

  • Thanks for that great post! Loved reading it!
    Besides enjoying the cooking and writing, I very much love meeting new people online and in real life, through blogging. Food bloggers seem to be a very kind and helpful lot. I do my best, to use my blog and online services to connect and support foodies, many of whom are bloggers, too.

  • Number 1! So absolutely profoundly true. People can always spot a fake.
    I love your blog, it has that perfect mix of cute, funny, weird, cat hair, chocolate that I look for in a blog.

  • Thanks for such a beautiful, honest post! And thanks for such a beautiful and honest blog!!! :)

  • This is a fantastic post. I too have found blogging to be a lot of work… but it is also very rewarding. I am still learning and trying new things constantly. It’s quite a journey, and I hope I’ll always enjoy it.

  • Great list! Thanks for the tips and the friendly encouragement to eat more doughnuts.

  • Reading this, I had a little “ahh” moment (the relaxed one, not the light bulb kind). It’s nice to hear this from you cos I really love your blog and your “voice”. It isn’t easy doing a food blog, people get annoyed with you because they are not allowed to eat until I’ve taken a photo. And if the photo looks crappy then I get upset, and make them wait even longer…

    So thank you!

  • this is a wonderful reminder for all bloggers (new, old, big and small) out there! I love how “real” you are! Thanks for sharing.

  • This post was just what i needed! thanks! xx

  • Great post! Thank you for your blog, it’s awesome!!! P.S. The Walking Dead totally distracts me from everything. You can never have enough zombies.

  • What a refreshing post! Thank you for being so honest. I’ve started blogging only a few months ago, and it is so nice to hear somebody be honest about how hard it can be.It’s relieving to know others feel like that sometimes, especially when it comes from a beautiful blog like this!

    -Amanda K.

  • Congrats, first off, Joy on your Foodbuzz award! You rock, you deserve it.

    Next, I have seen the pics of you giving the panel talk at the event and I wish I was there to hear it. I was at FB last year but not this year.

    And finally, I adore this post. Love it. Love everything you said and thank you for saying it’s not easy, that you would wake up to make and photograph a recipe and then blog about it that night and spend tons of time on weekends with your blog. No one talks about this. But I can relate to it and it may resemble my life just a wee bit.

    Pretty things, photography, finding people you admire, blogging with dedication. I love love love it all. Thank you for giving this gem to us all :)

  • Thanks SO much for this post.. It might just be a normal Monday morning for me, but I’m really touched and motivated.. Am going to bookmark this!

  • Thanks. For just doing what you’re doing.

    That’s all.

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