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


674 Comments Add A Comment

  • Well said and very inspiring, as usual. I actually just launched a blog (deuxdilettantes.wordpress.com) with a friend of mine, who is as passionate as I am about food and Seattle (an interesting combo) and I consequently identify a lot with what you wrote.
    Never stop being so sincere, it’s so nice and refreshing!

  • I like number 10 the best! I’m the worst for lurking in the shadows of my favourite blogs, despite comments being the BEST THING EVER about blogging. So I hereby resolve to comment more! :)

    Love, Jennifer at http://www.foodess.com.

  • I feel like blogging is a crazy sort of thing. But most things that people are passionate about are. I bake probably 4 times a week, but that’s just as much time as I would spend if I were in a band or designing clothing.
    As long as you are happy with what you are doing, then it’s perfect.

  • As a new and totally terrified blogger, this has just made my day – thank you, Joy! x

    penandpudding.wordpress.com

  • Love the advice. I completely understand the concept of getting frustrated because I don’t update as often as others or my pictures don’t turn out as well. But, its something I find fun to do and so I continue on @ simplybysteph.com

    Love all your posts and recipes.

  • Thank you, Joy! (As always!) I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now, and I love your blog, and all of these tips and bits of advice. (#s 1 and 4 are key! …though it took me long enough to figure them out.)

    My blog is here: http://spontaneoustomato.com/

    Please stop by (even if you hate tomatoes!). I post plenty of non-tomato-related recipes, too :)

  • Beautifully written, really. So thoughtful and encouraging. It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind that is the internet, but I love your advice about slowing down and appreciating your peers. I can’t tell you how wonderful it’s been to be a part of the blogging community– every time I get lost and start to feel lonely and competitive, I find that by reaching out and connecting with people my perspective shifts. Food bloggers tend to be a pretty amazing, warm and supportive group. I love being inspired and challenged by this community!

    And on a personal note, thank YOU for being the kind and generous blogger that you are. Plus thank you for reassuring me that my non-existent Photoshop skillz are okay, because my photos don’t really need cute writing and arrows and hearts.

    Here’s my blog, y’all: http://thecozyherbivore.blogspot.com. Can’t wait to check out yours!

  • Totally crying right now. I needed this, Joy. I have been having issues with my pictures (my point and shoot that I knew how to use got spots inside, so upgraded to my husband’s that I am absolutely flummoxed trying to figure out using) and cannot deal and my lack of enthusiasm at editing pictures is effecting my posting schedule. I usually give up on it and end up using pictures I took from my iPhone. This was supposed to be fun! Thank you, Joy, for helping me remember.
    You are right about the communities. They make me smile every day.

  • My blog (www.emilydensten.tumblr.com) is mostly just me rambling to get myself writing, because now that I’m graduated I have nothing that is specifically making me write other than my own desire to do so. Still, I find these tips really helpful and appreciate you taking the time to write them.

  • Always so good at telling it how it is. Life became better when you started blogging (all those moons ago :) )

    x Elena @ Randomly Happy

  • This was just what I needed, winter is slowly killing my creativity. This will remind me to get back on track! Thanks! Michelle @ http://www.dustandwanderlust.com.

  • Love it. I’ve been in the biz for awhile now, but if I’m not careful, it’s easy to let the comparing and the what-ifs and the insecurities become debilitating.

  • Thank you so much for this post – I’m still relatively new to the whole blogging thing and sometimes I’m worried I don’t do it as well as others or the “right way”, this is so inspirational and you’re totally right, I’m the best at being me so I should just stick to that from now on :D Yours is one of the first blogs I read when I got into food blogging and you gave me the final push to start my own blog, thank you so much and stay being awesome! :D

  • Really great suggestions, I’ll have to keep reminding myself about some of these on a regular basis, but it’s still nice to hear.

    http://blondiescakes.blogspot.com
    Stop by if you like :D

  • perfectly said! i made goals for myself at the beginning of the year, and one of them was to always be myself. i actually wrote “you are not deb, you are not joy, you are elizabeth.” i’ll never be you, but you are such an inspiration! so thanks for that :)

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