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Food blogging 101

We asked the experts – some of South Africa’s top food bloggers – to share their tips and tricks so you too can start (and maintain!) a food blog

So, you want to start a food blog? Or maybe you already have one, but you’re wondering how to maintain and make it even more successful. We asked some of our favourite food bloggers for their tips and tricks. 

 

Here’s what the experts have to say:  

 

Drizzle and Dip

Samantha Linsell

 

  1. Food photography: People eat with their eyes so it’s worth learning as much as you can about food photography. Use at least one good food photograph for each post.
  2. Social media: Link your blog to a variety of social media platforms – like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter – so that people can help you get your content and info out there. Also, when sharing your content on these platforms, stick to one link per post. Anything more will just annoy your followers.
  3. Tech support: Use a good host who offers technical support to help you with the back end of your blog. Dealing with all the areas associated with blogging can be quite overwhelming, especially in the beginning.
  4. Original content: Find your own voice. In order to stand out and to keep your readers interested, you need to create content that has a unique feel about it.
  5. Stay in shape: Blogging about food means that you might end up eating more than you normally would. Make sure you get a lot of exercise to balance out all the eating.

 

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Healthy Vegetarian Foods

Usha Singh

 

  1. Blog because you enjoy cooking and baking and sharing your recipes. Remember, it is hard work and there is no real financial gain so you have to be willing to do it for the love of it.
  2. Your blog needs to be original with original recipes that you have tried, tested and tweaked. It should be meals that you prepare for your friends and family at home.
  3. Personally, I share recipes that are traditional and true to myself, my beliefs and my culture. I am proud of being a Hindu vegetarian and that is portrayed in my blog posts.
  4. Let there be uniformity in your recipes. If you are using measurements in cups, ensure that all the ingredients in the recipe are measured in cups and teaspoons.
  5. Always take pictures of the dishes you prepare. Try not to use pictures from the internet, and give the necessary credit when you do.

 

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Live to Eat

Bern le Roux

 

  1. Do yourself a big favour and get The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. It’s a brilliant book with excellent advice from starting up to building your blog.
  2. There’s only one reason, I believe, to blog. And that’s because you love it! Generally speaking, readers get suspicious when they see advertising. Yes, you can make your blog work for you, but don’t ever let it compromise your integrity.
  3. The blogosphere is community-driven. Read lots of other blogs you like, comment and encourage interaction on your own.
  4. Use social media. Facebook and Twitter are great tools to help you build your blog.
  5. You should really try to blog regularly… though I’m a fine one to speak! Statistics prove that the more you blog, the greater your hit rates.

 

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The Food Fox

Ilse van der Merwe

 

  1. Write about the kind of food that you love. Real passion is very transparent.
  2. Don’t ever copy recipes without crediting the original source or writer.
  3. Write as often as possible, even if you don’t publish all of it. Practise makes perfect!
  4. Make as many friends in the industry as you can! Twitter is a very powerful networking tool.
  5. Don’t “air your laundry” on public platforms. Rather focus on building a strong and positive image. In this industry a good name is priceless.

 

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lifeisazoobiscuit

Anél Potgieter

 

  1. Don’t get intimidated by the “computer stuff” – it really is quite easy.  There are blog platforms, like WordPress, which makes blogging simple and easy.
  2. Blog regularly! Making time to blog is perhaps the biggest challenge in our already busy lives. And remember that blogging is not just about cooking – you need to write about it, and style and photograph your food.  But it is really, really rewarding!
  3. Buy yourself a decent camera and learn how to take your own food photographs. Food blogging is firstly about what people see – if they fall in love with your images, they will fall in love with your blog too.
  4. Give credit where it’s due and don’t copy recipes – this is a big no-no in the blogosphere.  Be original and honest. Don’t blog about food that you haven’t made or tasted yourself. If people are to trust your blog, they need to know that they can go to your blog for original tried and tested recipes.
  5. I am certainly no professional journalist, so I often ask others to check my blog for grammar and spelling errors. Even the best writers in the world let someone else check their work.

 

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Rumtumtiggs

Tami Magnin

 

  1. The more you read, the better you will write so read anything and everything you can get your hands on.
  2. Always test your recipes. Never post something on your blog that you haven’t tested. Your readers count on your accuracy.
  3. Read and engage with other bloggers as often as possible. Leave comments if you like what you read and also engage with them on Twitter/Facebook.
  4. Be yourself. Don’t try to copy another blogger. Your readers want to hear what you think and your honesty and integrity will be appreciated.
  5. Credit and trackback if you use someone else’s recipes or pictures. If possible, get their permission. Never copy and paste someone else’s blog post or pictures.

 

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My Easy Cooking

Nina Timm

 

  1. Choose the right platform before you start your blog, and do your homework. If  your idea is to just have an online diary, choose a template and platform suitable for that. If, however, you want to build a brand or a site that can be monetised, make sure that the template can grow with you. In other words, make sure you will be able to add more advertisers as you grow.
  2. When choosing a name for your blog, make sure it is catchy but SEO-friendly, i.e. people must be able to find you easily. Also remember that you are embarking on building a brand, so choose your name wisely!
  3. Content is king. From the minute you start your blog, your content should be authentically you, interesting, fresh and relevant to your niche market. Leave the gimmicks in the beginning and rather make sure that each and every word or post you write has some “meat” to it. If you want people to return to your site, your blog must be interesting to read.
  4. Credibility is also very important. Stay true to yourself. If you are trying to be something that you are not, it will reflect in your writing and your readers will lose respect for you. Stay true to your brand. Writing from your heart is a winning recipe!
  5. A picture paints a thousand words! When it comes to food blogging, a drool-worthy picture can forgive a multitude of sins. Food speaks to your senses, and excellent food photography isn’t referred to as “food porn” for nothing. Study the manual to make sure you get the best from your camera. Visit other food sites and “steal” with your eyes – never to copy, but always to improve and better yourself!

 

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Lavender and Lime

Tandy Sinclair

 

  1. Choose the title of your blog carefully. It should be short and sweet, and memorable. Check the internet before committing to a name to make sure it does not already exist.
  2. Create original recipes using proper ingredients. Posting a cake recipe using a box mixture is not the way you want to go!
  3. If you make use of other people’s recipes, be sure to acknowledge the source.
  4. To join a food blogging community you need to be actively involved in reading and commenting on other blogs.
  5. If you are starting a food blog from scratch, I suggest you start blogging on a platform called WordPress. It’ll give you a lot of freedom to grow your blog in future.

 

Stay connected:

 

undomestiKATEd

Kate Liquorish

 

  1. Use a well-known host like WordPress or Blogger,as they are the easiest to use and have tons of online tutorials and articles to help you learn as you go.
  2. Blog about something you love. Blogging is all about passion. If you are not interested in what you’re talking about, then no one else will be.
  3. Food blogging – there are a lot of us out there so you need to find what sets you apart from everyone else and explore that.
  4. Food photography – light is everything! Natural light is best, so take your picture near a big window or outside where you can get soft natural light without shadows.
  5. Take photos before, during and after cooking. Don’t be afraid of making a bit of a mess – sometimes a photo of a half-eaten plate of food looks far more interesting than an untouched dish.

 

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