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

  • I love this post. Blogging is definitely a lot of work and commitment, but I agree – do it if you love it! This, you, your blog – so awesome. I’m bookmarking this :)

  • Thank you for the tips. Just what I needed. :)

  • I have that watch! I love it! and wear it everyday….and will probably be getting another one with a different band soon. It ticks SO loud though.

  • Dear Joy,
    You rock! This post is wonderful!
    The girl who is making your brown sugar bacon biscuits right now

  • Love this! Thank you for acknowledging how hard it is to blog. A lot of us work full time and still blog! Some even have kids! Wow! We are superstars!

    Joy, I saw you @ Foodbuzz, made a decision to talk to you, you were busy, I moved on, looked up & you were gone :( So sad! Someday we will meet. Someday!

  • Joy, thank you so much for the post! I’ve been blogging now for a little under 6 months, and I do find it sooo hard to keep up with a more than full time job. I totally know that other bloggers probably experienced this at the beginning, but it’s still nice to hear it from someone with a crazy popular blog like yours. I’ve been looking for a little kick in the pants to get re-inspired, this just might be it! Thanks for your words and your yummies :)

  • Thanks for the tips. Great post.

  • “if you love it, just have a doughnut and move on” LOVE it!

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I really needed to read this today. I’m trying soooo hard to make my blog into this great big thing and it’s wearing the heck out of me! When I just sit down and write and not sweat the small stuff, then it’s fun again. I also love to bake and when I bake I want it to be fun, not a chore. I love the adventure of baking so thank you for sharing your tips and being super candid! You are one of my new favorite bloggers. :-)

  • You are a true inspiration. and I too love to take pictures with my phone, especially since Shouka the whale at Six Flags splashed or rather soaked my actual camera and it no longer works. Cheers

  • Joy, Joy, Joy.

    This was so what I needed.

    Thank you.

    Love, Anna

  • I think the most important things you’ve said here are do what you love and be authentic. It’s just so easy to think, “No one wants to read about that!”

  • I freakin’ stinkin’ agree with 100% of what you just said. I needed to hear it too. Weird how that works.

    You’ve made my diddly do day.


  • I loved this post, with all my heart. I was pondering whether or not to post, and you have inspired me to look deep within myself and make ANOTHER back of snicker doodles, kthanks. :) You’re the

  • Joy, you totes ROCK! I couldn’t agree more, especially the “it isn’t easy” – my sister thinks I’m crazy for JUST baking all day. Sure I’m crazy, but it’s more than that. You know. Anyways, thank YOU for doing what you do, I think you’re brilliant. I really do.

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