Joy the Baker

10 Real-Talk Blog Tips

November 7, 2011


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.

494 Comments Add A Comment

  • Thank you, Joy! Valuable tips taken to heart, I promise.

  • Hi again! I clicked over here from your post today. I admire your writing style so much, it is just easy to read and makes me want to continue reading. I love that you said you like to shoot with your phone sometimes. I find that sometimes I get frustrated when I can’t get the lighting right on my camera, and then I take a picture with my Iphone and I love it so much more. I am using a simple point and shoot right now, but soon investing in a nice canon. Even though I studied graphic design in college, Photoshop was never my forte and it is already making me nervous to get back into it! Thanks for sharing your words of advice!

  • Great post! It ‘s great to hear that you went through the same struggles I am going through right now in the early months of my blog. I love your photos! Helen

  • Joy, I started blogging this past January and decided to take the plunge and self host because – I just love it! As I continually read to keep learning, I am so glad to have found this posting of yours. It is heartfelt, straight talk and refreshing to read from someone who has gained the success that you have achieved. So just a simple thank you for sharing a bit of yourself!

  • Great advice :) Thanks for sharing!

  • Such a fabulous post and echoes everything I believe about blogging, but written far better than I ever could!

  • As always you talk perfect sense Joy – and make it such fun to read.

  • Love this post. It’s refreshing to hear, as a new-ish blogger trying to find my voice and my place in the blogging world.


  • Wow! These are really fantastic. I often get so caught up in the ‘my blog is crappy and I need to try harder’ phase. I get all furrow-browed and it stops being fun for a bit, but I read lots of articles and blog posts like yours and get all inspired again. :)

    I need to learn to take it easy on myself as a blogger, and stop trying to be a ‘superblogger’ until I’m out of college, yo! This shit’s hard work! XD

    Thank you for this. It makes me feel much better/happier as a new-ish blogger about where I am. :)

  • Alright. Believe me when I say, you inspired my new blog. As in, the blog that just came to me, moments ago, and has yet to be created. Just the idea of going home to put it together [revamp my current blog so it fits this idea] has me all jittery. Thank you. THANK YOU THANK YOU.

  • I just circled back to this post on a day when I just couldn’t get my ju ju going. Thank goodness for people like you. This post gave me the juice I needed today. Thanks!

  • hi Joy! I am taking advice #8 on your super rad blog article and writing to tell you that I love your site. Your style is so pretty and beautiful (another thing people like # 5) and easy-going. Love it. Have been a fan for awhile.

  • Joy,
    This is my second time reading this post and I really love it. I have been reading your blog for awhile and it is super fantastic.


  • I see a jajillion comments, why bother leaving another? BECAUSE YOU ARE AWESOME. My friend sent me your link and I was fed mightily. Thank you so very much. MWAH.

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