Joy the Baker

10 Real-Talk Blog Tips Part II

February 11, 2013


on blogging

Two years ago I revealed some blogging truths in something called  10 Real-Talk Blog Tips.  There’s a lot we don’t talk about when it comes to the business of blogging because we want to make things look easy… you know, like all of us bloggers wake up with perfect cat-eye makeup and Bundt cakes that slide effortlessly out of the pan every single time.  Truth is, it’s messy and haphazard.  Some of us have editorial calendars and secret staff photographers.  Others of us just fly by the seat of our pants and super stress out when tax time comes around.  It’s a mixed bag.  

If you’re a new blogger, aspiring blogger, or frustrated blogger, allow me to offer you a different perspective:  it’s not all cat-eye, DIY, and stacked cookies (although sometimes it is, and that’s cool too).

(Another) 10 Real-Talk Blog Tips

One:  It’s easy, ooooh so easy, to feel like you can’t keep up with the blogging world.  Some bloggers offer up new content every few days.  Some bloggers post every single day.  Some bloggers have three kids, are learning a new language, and post multiple times a day.  It’s easy to feel like the Internet is screaming ahead of you.  I understand.  It’s overwhelming.  My advice:  go at your own pace!  You’re the boss of you.  Set a loose posting schedule that works for you, and try hard to reach those goals.  Push yourself, but be kind to yourself.  Both feel really good.

Two:  A new trend in food photography involves downloading loads of super cute fonts and creating awesome text treatments over pretty pictures of stacked  pancakes and glazed doughnuts.  It’s totally a thing.  It’s totally pretty.  Here’s the deal:  it’s ok if you don’t put text on your pictures.  

Someone had to say it.  

Just because it’s a trend doesn’t mean it’s right for your blog.  Every time I consider a trend, I think back to the time I got a short bobbed haircut because it was all the rage in junior high.  The result?  Frizzy triangle hair.  Trends can be a trap.  And yes… I am FOREVER talking about my various hair traumas.

Three:  There are all sorts of ways to rank and rate blogs.  Ignore Ignore Ignore!   Sites like Alexa will rank your blog in terms of traffic, link backs, and God knows what else.  Don’t pay any mind to Internet rankings.  Do what you do, and keep doing it better and better.  Be your own barometer.

on blogging

Four:  In the same way that Internet ranking sites are an easy way to compare blog standings, it’s also really easy to visually compare our blogs.  It’s the Everyone Looks So Cute and It’s Totally Annoying Syndrome.  I know this well.  It’s so easy to get sucked into the gorgeous work of our peers.  It’s also easy to let admiration turn into jealous-reading.  Comparison is a nasty beast.  Its partner Self Loating, is an absolutely useless animal.  Beat those back.  Remember:  No one is better at doing you, than YOU!  Sure… tons of people on the Internet are great bakers with rad food photography… but NO ONE can talk about curly bangs with the passion that I can.  Truth.

Five:  Build communities.  It’s like having a clique in high school, except it’s on the Internet and it’s full of nice and supportive girls.  I’ve found that reaching out to people on Twitter is actually important to the life of my site.  It allows me to connect with people in a faster and more personal way than simply replying to blog comments.  I can also tweet people that I admire.  I think that might be how I became friends with Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere… I may or may not have hounded her on Twitter.  Note:  I’m not suggesting you hound people.  I’m just saying…

In that same vein, Pinterest and Instagram are excellent ways to connect and gain inspiration.  Make friends with people of like minds and similar taste.  Pretty pictures always get the wheels moving.

Six:   Collaboration is the future!  Seek out people you admire, dream up a way to work together and reach out!  Maybe that means adding contributors to your blog.  Maybe that means starting a blog with a Twitter friend who is as obsessed with doughnuts as you are.  Maybe that means partnering on a seasonal post.  Dream it up and make it go!

Seven:  The the dialup tone we used to have to endure to log onto America Online?  Remember the constant floppy disk downloads and counting Internet minute usage?  Don’t even get me started on chatrooms… oh man.  The Internet is always changing.  We can’t expect it to stay the same, and we can’t expect to stay static on the Internet.    Right now Pinterest is on fire, but not so long ago, Twitter was the new hot thing?  With everything always changing around us, it’s important to stay current, but also important to make incorporate the newness in a way that feels authentic to our work.

Eight:  Let’s make a deal to one another.  Let’s always get better.  Let’s learn new camera  tricks.  Let’s try recipes that might sound tricky.  Let’s always post content that we’re supremely proud of.

on blogging

Nine:    It can’t all be about cookies and doughnuts.  Getting out off the computer and out of the kitchen is essential to creating a full blog.  It doesn’t have to be about an extravagant trip, sometimes just bike ride and sunset is all you need to recharge and find inspiration.  Live a good life.  It makes for a good blog.

Ten:  No one wants to be completely alone on their blog.  That’s what our diaries are for.  Super secrets.  Support is a big part of the blogging community.  Reading other people’s work.  Admiring photography.  Repin.  Retweet.  Like. Comment.  High-five.  It’s all a part of the support game.  So… Let’s support each other.

Here’s a thing we should do.  If you’d like, you should leave a comment on this post with a link to your blog (if you’re into that sort of thing) in the body of the comment.  Then take a few minutes to click around to other links you find in the comment section.  You might find some new favorite blog people.  Let’s do!

xo joy


670 Comments Add A Comment

  • The perfect words of wisdom…thank you

  • Game on! http://www.stirandstrain.com

    If you like cocktails, please check out my site!

    Thanks for these sanity tips Joy.

  • love all these tips! I realize that I LIKE writing on my blog and want to keep it that way, so that means no crazy ridiculous pressure to write–just write when I want about what I want, and people who want to hear funny (I hope!) rants on life with a few picture thrown in are still willing to read.

    i’m at jennalorence.blogspot.com

  • What timing! I feel my blog (just a writing blog, no food) is languishing as I am. I needed this., Joy. Even though what I do is totally different, I share your attitude and I needed to be reminded of this. Thank you!

  • Thank you for the tips, an inspiring post as always.

  • Love this. I’d just echo that when I started my mostly knitting, but now cooking and grad school life and cute pictures of my dog, blog five years ago, I had no idea that the internet could feel like a community. The friendships I’ve built in blogland have been the best part. (www.barefootrooster.com)

    Thanks, Joy, for sending these good vibes out to readers here in blogland.

  • Beautiful words, Joy :) thanks for the inspiration. keep on, keepin on!

  • Joy, you’re so cool. Great thoughts, lovely posts. I appreciate you and your writing. I just found Kara thanks to your suggestion! And I’m at http://thepancakeprincess.com.

  • I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a while, but I think the fear or not being good as (or even coming close to ) the blogs I love, is keeping me from even taking the first leap. Maybe i Just need to go for it.

    • Totally just go for it! \(*^_^*)/

    • Cassie–I felt the same way for months and finally, one day, i realized that the only person telling me that I wasn’t/couldn’t be as good as XYZ bloggers was myself. And I suddenly decided to stop being negative, stop doubting myself and making excuses, and take the leap. Do it for yourself, first and foremost. It’s a passion, it’s an adventure, and you’ll be surprised at all the support you get from others–I promise! I started my blog (Chocolate + Chard) in December. It’s still a baby but i’m so happy that I did it!

      • Thirded over here, but the only person holding you back really is you to begin with. I found that blogging on my own and not sharing it initially has given me a chance to get more confident as I muddle along. Brave the leap and see where you end up!

      • I am in the same boat as you! My blog was my new years resolution, I bought the domain name a YEAR ago and only plucked up the courage to actually do something with it in January. And I love it!
        Mere, your blog is super pretty, I love love love your green windmill plates.

    • Do it!! :) I’ve been blogging since October. I used to follow a few “big” blogs, but I never really sought out or appreciated newer or less fancy/well-known blogs. I’ve discovered so many creative, kind, awesome people since I started!

      • Claire, I feel the same way! Sometimes following “big” blogs makes me feel so small town, but even blogs that haven’t been around for years have authors with a beautiful and quirky voice.

        Can’t wait to check out your blog, I am enjoying being inspired by others. I started my blog, http://www.theartfulife.com last November and love sharing photos, recipes and my thoughts with the world check it out!

    • Yes! Go for it!! I was so nervous too for awhile and then I just went for it and have really been loving it;)
      Good Luck! xo

    • I felt exactly the same way for ages…and I just took the leap in December. I’m still figuring it all out, but it’s fun! I didn’t tell anyone about it for a few weeks because I was still scared, but I’m getting braver as I go along! Give it a try-I bet you won’t regret it :)

  • You get the love all the time (we TOTALLY stalk your comments) and we love your voice. It’s totally girl gang and idiosyncratic. You inspired thedalstonyears.wordpress.com and it would be totally cool if one day you came and visited (I loved that post you did about your parents especially).

    fanks pal (from the UK)

    thedalstonyears.wordpress.com

    we’re reaching out to you, and we hope that’s ok.

  • You are awesome. Never stop being you because I admire your cool and quirky ways, I only wish to be half as cool as you when I grow up! Thanks for always being entertaining, helpful and consistent!
    YOU ROCK!!!!

  • Joy – I love the tips and I have to admit I’ve gotten sucked into some of those things in the past myself.

    I will say one thing for putting text on photos: Even if you don’t use a fancy, flowery font or make it all curly-cue or graphic, putting a simple descriptor and the name of your blog (or url) on your images really helps if any of your posts/photos get pinned to Pinterest. I love it when I come across a pin that has the name of the creator on it – it means I can find the original post, even if the image and the link are separated.

    (and my slowly becoming revitalized blog is http://www.karacooks.com)

    • Kara,

      Thank you so much for your great insight about adding text to photos… It
      makes so much practical sense. I will definitely have to incorporate that into my blog photos. I look forward to seeing you on your blog and learning even more from you… :-) My blog is http://www.CreatedToCook … It is currently still in the construction phase, but I hope to launch it soon.

      Lots of Love and Success,
      Ann

  • Love so much about this. You’re so right on. Great!

  • Thanks for sharing! It is easy to get caught up in the comparison game, but way more fun to pat people on the back for their great work.

  • Thanks for this. I particularly needed to hear the part about reaching out. Not my strong suit.

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