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.


492 Comments Add A Comment

  • What a great post! You’re so right – what’s the point of blogging if you aren’t enjoying the process? If it feels like an obligation, it’s lost its magic.

  • This makes me very happy. It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to desperately get more followers and write things people want to read, but in the end you’re very right- what’s the point unless you love it? Also your eighth point: you’re one of the bloggers that I follow to be inspired by :) and I know I’m one of many! xxx

  • What a great article!I’ve been blogging for years but it’s only recently that I think that I’ve found my stride, Blogger made some changes which makes scheduling easier and I stopped worring about numbers and readership and concentrated on enjoying it more.
    I’m a craft blogger which is a bit different, but all the tips apply, it’s very refreshing to hear the truth from an established blogger, thanks!
    It’s so true about the photos, I’ve started using my Samsung Galaxy a lot for taking pics while I’m making new work, and at different stages, then whenever I have a free hour I can write up a good step by step guide, which makes for far better reading than ‘look at this thing I just made’.

    Ps: I found this through the Irish food bloggers association facebook page(I’m always curious where randomers find my posts)

  • So, there are blog posts you read and you think ‘yeah, I should really comment on that – it looks delectable or it sounds familiar or something’. And then you don’t. And there are blog posts like this, where you read it and think ‘thank heaven there are people who started this *way* before me, who know exactly what it feels like, what makes sense – ‘cos out there on your own, sense gets kinda wonky sometimes – and how to help the newer people want to keep going and remember why we started doing it in the first place’. And this post was really one of those ones, just when I needed it. I’ve loved stopping by here for a long time, but big, big thanks for keeping me on track today…

  • I loved this post, Joy – thank you! So many lessons for life tucked away into blogging advice. Even wrote about it on my own blog. So you made me think, and got me to sit down and blog. Appreciate the inspiration and wisdom!

  • Natasha van Doorn November 7, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Thank you! ;)

  • Love this! Great advice and keep up the great blogging!

  • Wise words! This is a lovely piece and I found myself sitting here and nodding all the time! So true. Especially the bit about getting up early . . . me who is reknowned for being a night bird has been getting up at 5am to bake bread! And you right about losing some friends (sadly) but I suspect it is not because they are cross that you have less time for them but more that they are uncomfortable by your food and blogging passion!

  • I’m not sweating the fact that I have fewer readers than I’d like to see, but I would welcome a handful more after blogging for nearly 6 months. I started blogging as a way to archive family recipes for my daughter-in-law who admits herself that she can’t cook. She still can’t cook, orders take-away meals most evenings, and doesn’t really show any interest in learning to cook. Oddly, my son really can cook but prefers take-away because it’s easier. So I pretty much blog for a few friends that visit from time to time. As I said, I don’t sweat it but I wouldn’t mind filling a few seats in the audience.

  • Dear Joy,

    i write this with a tear in my eye…
    This was so nicely said and I can read the passion you put into your blog in every line. I wish, I had this wonderful voice of yours or at least something comparable.
    Well I just startet as a food blogger, and i do LOVE it! If I tell my friends and colleagues to visit me at my blog, they usually say: “when do you find the time for this?” And i often think, well if theres something you like, you always find the time!
    Thank you for providing us with your wonderful personality!
    Hugs.

  • Thank you for SUCH a motivational and inspirational post!

    Love it so much, love you so much, love the blog so much! :)

  • A Great Post!! It makes me smile
    Thanks for the ten tips!

  • Love this, I know I’ll return to it time and time again.

  • I just love your blog, so beautiful and funny at the same time, besides, the photos are great!

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