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Calling all food bloggers: why do you do it?

Working on an essay for a special food-related issue of a literary mag about food blogging. I'd like to augment my personal perspective by quoting (and of course naming, for what the publicity's worth—come on, it's a lit journal) others about their experiences. I actually intend to mention the very act of creating this thread in the piece, depending on how it goes.

(I *think* that this topic is thread-worthy in its own right; but mods, please let me know if you'd rather sticky it and have me ask people to e-mail me directly.)

These are the two big, broad starter questions; we'll see where they lead.

Why did you start your blog? What were you hoping to introduce or add to the blogosphere?

What have you discovered since launching your blog—what do you like about it, what do you dislike about it, what surprised you?

Thanks all!

Edit: One other question where appropriate: How did you come up with its name?

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  1. I started blogging June of this year. My hope was to give my perspective on restaurants and life in my hometown and perhaps give those unsung heroes some well deserved praise while putting some reality into places that are more reputation than execution.
    I discover my hometown has a nice blogging community and have discovered some new places myself and I feel heard.
    I came up with the name based on how I thought it could be found easily by googling food and richmond and review. The link to my blog is on my profile.

    1. A few reasons I started my blog.
      1. Many people are blogging so I wanted to see what it's about. I'm a techie so this stuff fascinates me.

      2. I use my blog as a way to say, "hi" to my family and friends. My intent is not to gain readership or hits. It's just a fun thing to do.

      3. Another reason, blogging is creative diversion. My job is very left brained. I wanted to work on the right brain - photography, writing and cooking is a creative outlet.

      Discoveries, likes, dislikes, surprises:
      Discoveries - There are some very creative people out there with great photos.

      Likes - blogging is just a fun, creative thing to do.

      Dislikes - nothing really...

      Surprises - I keep my blog on the down low... However, I've received a couple comments from across the US and even from the USSR. A nice surprise!

      1. I took a food writing class through Mediabistro and wanted to put the things I learned in the class into practice.
        Also, I had recently started inviting friends to eat at Chinese restaurants and wanted a way to remember what we ate and to introduce other people to the great ethnic experiences in L.A.
        As soon as I started, I quickly found that in a huge city like L.A., people appreciated having a blog that was primarily focused on one neighborhood and its restaurants. And like Janet, I've really enjoyed spotlighting some hidden gems and local artisans.
        I don't remember how I came up with EatingLA -- it just seemed obvious!

        21 Replies
        1. re: Chowpatty

          A few other thoughts now that I've thought about it a while:
          1) I've discovered that the more you post, the more readers you'll get. The pressure to keep writing every day can be overwhelming, since I also have a day job.
          2) I've discovered that dealing with restaurant owners is quite a mixed bag. There's a large chunk of them that have no idea how to deal with the press and often don't run their restaurants very well either. They are quite capable of very unprofessional behavior and not fun to work with. Others, of course, are wonderful and happy that foodlovers are helping spread the word.
          3) It has surprised to me to see how many people have started food blogs since I did four years ago -- but inevitably many people don't keep them up consistently.

          1. re: Chowpatty

            I'm asking this now as a blogger (I started mine in Dec. 07) rather than an essayist about blogging: what do you mean by #2? Do they contact you or you them? To what end?

            On that note, maybe another question I should ask explicitly is what everybody's focus is in terms of content, though to some extent you all are covering it via the question about intent: do you review restaurants? post restaurant news? cook and provide recipes? do other stuff?

            1. re: tatamagouche

              I have attempted to keep the focus of my blog (The Seasonal Gourmet) quite narrow and on-point. It's quite new but so far the content is mainly made up of: 1) original recipes I have developed based on seasonal ingredients, 2) kitchen tips that are relevant to those ingredients, 3) farmer's market reports about what produce is available and how to use it, and 4) the occasional food/travel report. The overall concept is to provide recipes and tips that are seasonal, home-made (very few pre-packaged ingredients used) and don't require trips to 20 different stores looking for unusual ingredients or equipment. It's written in the first person but is intended to be more about providing information rather than a personal journal.

              1. re: tatamagouche

                My focus is restaurant news and reviews. I am a professional journalist but my blog is unaffiliated with my journalism "day job." I attempt to run my blog as professionally as possible -- I don't take comped meals and if I go to a press party for a restaurant, the post is clearly marked as such. The trouble with restaurant owners that I referred to is mainly because I also review for a small community newspaper which, like any other paper, solicits advertising from restaurants. One restaurant owner was unhappy with a negative review, complained repeatedly to the publisher of my paper, accused my of forcing his restaurant to close, etc. Another took exception to a realy minor comment I made about the menu of his restaurant before it even opened, but some people are really oversensitive. I don't really ask for anything except to be informed of openings, but it takes some thinking to decide which publicity events and soliciations are worth being involved with, and which can compromise your integrity as, in my case, a professional journalist.

                1. re: Chowpatty

                  That's really interesting. Do you publicize the fact that you, journalist X, are author of blog Y, or do you keep it on the down-low? (You don't have to answer that.)

                  I guess it's obvious that I too write professionally, mostly as a freelancer with a couple of salaried gigs here and there; I started the blog when I moved cross-country without any editorial contacts or anything (sigh, what we do for love), as a way to get to know the dining scene in my new home & keep my writing muscles supple.

                  I admit that I am probably snarkier under a pseudonym than I am able to be when writing under my real name—but not less truthful; in fact, if anything, more, for the very reason you mention—no advertising, no pressure from eds to tone down criticism. I can just say what I mean.

                  I guess, based on soupkitten's comments and that thread about the Yelp scandal, there really are people out there whose agendas include blackmail and starfucking. Depressing. I enjoy blogging & the blogging community for the same reason I'm a longtime Chowhound—the opportunity to contribute to & glean insight from in-depth discussions on food & drink.

                  1. re: tatamagouche

                    Yes, it's clearly marked on my blogger profile with my real name -- and yet people are always surprised when they meet me and say "Oh, you're EatingLA!" I love that anonymous blogs can be as snarky as they want, but if you're trying to get freelance assignments and/or if you're meeting a lot of people in your city's food community, I don't know how you would stay anonymous.

              2. re: Chowpatty

                i think that a lot of restaurant owners don't want to deal with bloggers. doing so can be seen as unprofessional by colleagues, potentially problematic, etc. it is important to understand that bloggers are *not* "the press," & that the quality of blogs vary enormously.

                1. re: soupkitten

                  But deal with how? I'm wondering whether Chowpatty (or anyone) is seeking to do interviews with chefs, be added to press lists, etc.

                  Mostly I agree with you, although some changes are afoot. One restaurateur I admire in my area indicated to me (without knowing I was a blogger) how excited he was to be getting raves from "real people" on blogs, discussion boards etc. That said, some bloggers are *indeed* the press. I know a few people who write professionally under one name and blog under another, for various reasons...

                  1. re: tatamagouche

                    i'm not talking about affiliated bloggers-- example the weekly food blog by the local paper's food critic, with updates and photography not offered in the regular rag-- i'm talking about hobbyists.

                    restaurateurs do love the free publicity provided by bloggers who will give a positive mention of their establishments, discussion boards, chowhound, etc. everybody's gotten used to folks snapping a pic or 2 before starting in on their plate. hey if a pic of the eggplant parmesan or whatever winds up on a blog or a discussion forum with a nice comment next to it, that's great & thanks, or if service was a little off and the restaurateur reads about it on chowhound & can improve it, great-- online forums are able to give instant feedback that actually get back to the restaurant. little places with no advertising budget have a chance of getting noticed by an astute blogger and getting a little local buzz. online food forums and blogs are *great* for small restaurants-- don't get me wrong!!!

                    that doesn't mean it would necessarily be appropriate for a restaurant to treat an unaffiliated online blog/blogger the same as the regular press, grant the blogger interviews/access to the restaurant, etc. that's potentially problematic for many reasons. who is to say the blogger's intentions are pure, or that a year down the line they don't decide to use their blog as a platform for unsavory politics, or other objectionable content? new blogs surface and fizzle out every day. some are excellent, of course, but not every blogger is a great journalist, and most tend to overestimate their own blog's importance ;-) hey, we know it's your baby-- it's all good!

                    i've had no problem with print media journalists, t.v. camera crews etc coming into my kitchens, or freelance photographers under my employ-- but if a blogger wanted the same access i'd think it was extremely pushy. i'd most likely say no way, unless i knew the blogger very well personally and had a high regard for her/his blog's content and professionalism. i think that bloggers need to respect restaurant establishments-- professional reviewers, many of whom have great journalistic integrity, do! bloggers, by contrast, often have a rep for unprofessional behavior like demanding freebees and unreasonable amounts of resources. bloggers who want to dispel the negative impression many restaurateurs have of bloggers need to step up their own game and act professionally. just because you start a blog does not mean other people's businesses are your playground, and if chefs and restaurateurs are turning you down for interviews/access, you probably have more work to do to to be seen as legit. these are very general comments, not aimed at anybody.

                    1. re: soupkitten

                      Ah, interesting to hear from a restaurateur on this thread. Though I'm certainly familiar with your username, I don't think I realized your profession.

                      I actually meant that I know professional writers who blog in their own time under the radar. They are journalists, but they also run blogs not supported by their employers.

                      As for your comments re being really careful about giving bloggers the same sort of access you give credentialed journalists—that's fair, to be sure. We sometimes forget "blog" is short for weblog, meaning that it originated as a forum for very personal (however public) expression; though it has evolved, it remains an individual's domain. I'm not hiring an editor/fact-checker over here.

                      Of course, its existence beyond the bounds of journalism is what has made it so appealing to many—if, in a post about a restaurant, I feel like throwing a poem in the middle of my review, I can. As many here have already said, it's a creative outlet.

                      How do other bloggers responding to this thread feel about soupkitten's comments? Do they shift anything in your own perspective?

                      1. re: tatamagouche

                        I'm sure their are shady bloggers, but I think the same can be said of some journalists too. We're all human. I'm fairly certain there has been a professional food critic or two who has taken kickbacks in some form from restos.

                        That said, I would be cautious of bloggers intentions too, just as soupkitten said. I certainly wouldn't give them the same access that I would a credentialed journalist. In fact, I checked out a local food blog and they had a recent post about a dessert lounge here in town. There were all sorts of photographs of the chef posing w/ his sugar sculpture, various desserts, etc. and I just found it strange and annoying. It seems a bit intrusive. It was as if the blogger was trying to sell herself as a bonafide critic when she more than lacks the chops (IMHO).

                        I think the appeal of blogs is the view into someone's private life . There's a voyeuristic quality that appeals to many. Photographs and words from a person you've never met before but the more you read the more you feel as though you are getting to know them. It can be very personal. Another for instance, I was reading a fairly popular blog and I was surprised that the blogger unexpectedly mentioned a bout of depression they were suffering from. All the while writing about what interesting food she was cooking up. It was also strange and uncomfortable but interesting, nonetheless.

                        1. re: lynnlato

                          Many print reviewers mention personal details as well, which I think adds to the writing.
                          But what exactly is a "credentialed" journalist? There are only journalists who write for big papers and magazines, those who write for small ones, and those who write for the Internet, many of which are interchangeable. While major publications such as the NY Times, LA Times and major magazines have certain standards you must adhere to, many smaller papers do not. After a while in the business as a writer, you develop a reputation, and are thought of as trustworthy or not trustworthy by editors and readers. But there's no such thing as a credential for writing.

                          1. re: Chowpatty

                            Don't know, just responded to soupkitten & tatamagouche who used those words. I'm not in your biz. I'm just a lowly food blogger who is kinda sorta in the resto biz still and was once in the resto biz full time and for many, many years. I love it and always will.

                          2. re: lynnlato

                            For me it's just a great outlet to express how much I love food. It's an additional vehicle for me to have food pleasure. Not everyone one I know gets it the way us foodies do. It can be cathartic for me to do a data dump and just lay it all out there on my blog. In a very true sense I do it for me. When reading others blogs, say yours for example I just get a rush feeling the passion others have for food. When you describe a recipe or a restaurant I can connect to what you're saying because you're speaking our shared language ( foodlish) . When the person blogging lacks the chops it just wont work. I read the same local blog that you mentioned and no connection happened. This chick sounds like she can pound back some groceries, but no knowledge, no love of quality ingredients, no passion , no way. So for me when its good — like yours its great and when it's not all its good for is comic relief.

                            1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                              You rock, GFL. Thanks! If only I could write - ha! Like you said, it's mostly for me to share w/ others who are passionate about food. That's all. I'm not trying to be a writer or a photographer or both. I'd say seeing yours inspired me that I could have one too. Then I read a thread on CH about what host was the best and next thing I knew I was up and running.

                              Love the comic relief aspect of the one... thanks for the heads up! HA!

                              1. re: lynnlato

                                Thank You, nice of you to say. If my blog inspired you in any way I am extremely flattered. If anyone seeks inspiration the GodfatherofLunch blog can be found at http://gflreport.blogspot.com/
                                I don't think I'm much of a writer. I can be funny and maybe even sarcastic. Some punctuation might be a nice addition. Should have paid more attention in school instead of clowning around. Hear that kids?

                            2. re: lynnlato

                              Lynnlato...could you provide the link to the blog? I'd be curious to see the entry of which you speak (the one about the bout of depression).

                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                Yep, and I'd just like to add that this person is amazingly talented. She takes phenomenal photos and writes very well.

                                http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/the_w...

                                1. re: lynnlato

                                  it's a wonderful blog & tatama, the wednesday chef blog runs ads. Example you were looking for, see the right side of the blog main page.

                                    1. re: tatamagouche

                                      There are also bloggers who refuse ads and/or free stuff. For instance,
                                      http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/200...

                2. I started my blog a few months ago (see my profile) for a number of reasons, many of which echo what has been said by others:

                  1. I've been doing recipe development for quite a while now as a creative diversion and want to do freelance writing for other outlets. I would also like to one day write cookbooks. Developing a website that (hopefully!) features solid recipes and visuals is a small step toward getting some experience and exposure.

                  2. I am passionate about my topic (cooking with a lot of local, seasonal ingredients) and want to share my ideas with others. While it is something my family has practiced for decades, I feel that the message is a timely one given some of the issues in the media today.

                  3. At the very least, it's a way to keep in touch with friends and family (although my blog tends to be less of a personal diary than some).

                  4. It's a great creative outlet. I have a background in teaching and design so I love putting it all together.

                  As for what I've learned: the biggest thing I've learned is that it can be difficult to get exposure. There are literally hundreds of thousands (if not millions!) of blogs out there so getting noticed can be difficult. I've submitted to foodgawker.com which helped get some attention but the number of hits each day can really vary (plus foodgawker rejected my last two submissions because the photos weren't up to their standards!). At the end of the day, I'm really having fun with it and I did manage to get a freelance gig so we'll see where it all goes.

                  1. I've always loved food and photography (not that I'm particularly good at it)... and then Chowhound came into my life and someone started a thread asking what blog host site folks here preferred. As I read the thread it sparked an interest in me. I enjoy writing, sharing w/ others from near and far and being creative and the idea of learning some new techie internet stuff also appealed to me.

                    Three months ago I started www.mamaliciouseats.wordpress.com and it's been a huge learning experience. I've gotten a lot of comments from CH folks and that's always interesting to connect w/ fellow CHers outside of CH.

                    I write about family recipes, cooking, farmers markets, deli's, picnics, restaurants - basicly anything remotely related to food. I enjoy the creative outlet.

                    Oh, and the name... my 6 yr old son started calling me mamalicious a few months ago. It seemed like a no brainer for me!

                    1. Actually, I find this topic very interesting and quite relevant, so I hope the mods see it the same way as well.

                      I just started blogging recently as well (June!). I started it for three or four reasons. Primarily, it was because I was tired of the main local reviewer, who is biased (asks for free meals and comps when he goes to restaurants) and more interested in developing a local celebrity status (book signings, panel reviewer for events) than providing a fair assessment, was being quoted repeatedly by friends as the definitive food source for our town.

                      Secondly, i had visited lots of cool restaurants globally, had taken pictures, and people kept asking to see them.

                      Lastly, a friend and I wanted somewhere we could write unbiasedly, and share our experiences with others - to help good establishments get more business, and hopefully shed some light on some of the less savoury places.

                      Since we've launched the blog (I've recruited a couple people to help), I've discovered how much work it is. I've gained a bigger appreciation of how long it takes to write blog entries. I especially am cognizant of how i don't travel to eat without a camera - and make everyone wait while i take photos :) What i don't like about it is theft. I've had feelings in the past that some of my writings were stolen off of various boards. And now i discover that a North American lifestyle site has stolen my pictures, and paraphrased my entry, and represented it as their own.

                      As for the name, i asked my friend a long time ago what he was doing shooting photos of his meals , and he called it Phoodography. Our site is really about our philosophy on food, so i decided to name it foodosophy.

                      For those who are interested, we're available here: http://foodosophy.wordpress.com

                      1. I started my blog because I found I was reading a lot of food blogs and wanted to share things I've found with other people. I also use it as a way of documenting my thoughts and my progress as I try new recipes and learn new ways of cooking. I'm not writing the blog for other people, and wasn't looking to add anything to the blogosphere, just wanting to put my thoughts down somewhere. Also, one of the other things I've been developing is my own photography, and it just seemed logical to put the photography, the food writing, and the blog all together.

                        Since I launched the blog, I've been surprised by the amount of postings I've made so far. I've had a personal blog before and found that I periodically became tired of posting there and would stop for long stretches of time. So far, I haven't had this problem on my food blog. Another surprise are the different posts that get the most hits and the search terms people use. Some of them are just odd!

                        As for the name, I actually talked about it in my first blog post: http://bruleeblog.wordpress.com/2008/...

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: anonymoose

                          Ha, that's true, and is something I plan to bring up in my piece...the weird, voyeuristic thrill stats can impart. If anyone wants to share some of the oddest search terms/referrers you've noticed, that'd be great.

                          In my town there's a place called Sushi Den which I generally love & praise but sometimes knock for one reason or another...in so doing in one post, I called it Sucki Den.

                          I have since learned that "sucki" means, uh, different things to different people.

                          By the way, if any lurkers out there would prefer to e-mail me, the address is tatamagouche@earthlink.net. (I will of course update all of you when the piece is published, especially as I will undoubtedly be quoting many of you. Again, it's for a lit journal, not Saveur or anything, but even so.)

                          1. re: tatamagouche

                            tatam, Here's a question....when does ad revenue factor into a blog? For example, more and more I see ads on food blogs with a growing number of blog contests. Readers participate by viral raffle and prizes are funded by ad revenue. How do the rules pertaining to games of chance/raffles factor into a viral blog contest say to win a high ticket coffee maker? Does a blog owner apply for a raffle license? Does the "winner" need to report a large prize? How is this activity reported? Does it need to be?

                            The blog genre, as with many viral portals reshapes so fast...who is going to work on a blog guidepost that provides the rules of growing a blog strictly for personal enjoyment into a blog that grows into a major revenue site with real small business issues? The distinction is not always obvious to blog owners. Who is building the legal eagle infrastructure for bloggers?

                            Would having small business rules applied to blog owners, now building revenue, KILL the genre?

                            1. re: HillJ

                              That's an interesting question that probably applies to most types of Internet businesses, not just blogs. I have to say I haven't given any thought to the raffle end of it, but I do have to pay taxes on the ad revenue like anyone else being paid by a commercial business. U suppose that like anything else, when you get big enough, you incorporate and do whatever else growing businesses do.

                              1. re: Chowpatty

                                Chowpatty, u could suppose but I'm going to bet that the guidelines and a much need guidepost are in the works. Like most things viral, the hard wired counterpart will be the model for now but the web is unique and should receive special attention sooner than later. Not all bloggers are natural business people and it's my suspicion that when their blogs mature into revenue producing and thus open the doors to unlimited possibilities some of the business protcols escape notice.

                                I'd love to see a tool for end users.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  I'm not even aware of this...ad revenue, yes (and I would be interested to know how that factors into bloggers' sense of their goals and roles), but the contest aspect, no. Can you provide a link as an example?

                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                    Rather than point to one blogger (the ads are very easy to spot), I'd like to point you to Blogher. There you will see a stellar example of how a personal journal turned into a mega-watt blog profession.

                                    http://www.blogher.com/about-blogher-0

                                    http://www.blogher.com/topic/food-drink
                                    Blogher food & drink section will take you to registered blog members and from there you can research ad revenue.

                                    1. re: tatamagouche

                                      http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/09/a-d...

                                      tatama, here's a new example of a giveaway offered on a terrific food blog, Smitten Kitchen.

                          2. My current blog is my third. The first one was called The Occasional Cook. I jumped right in. I later noticed that I had the same name as a cooking show in Australia. It seemed that even though my picture was on the blog, stating I'm from Massachusetts, people still thought I was that person. After a while, I felt unhappy with the blog and was too bogged down in my life to feel happy about doing it. No one read it. So I deleted it and felt relieved.

                            The second time I entered the blogosphere I went in in a rush. I decided to call it My Little World of Food just because it was about what I'm preparing and eating in my little corner of the world. But later felt the name was inappropriate due to the name conflicting with one of the reasons I'm doing the blog. One of the reasons that I blog is that I want to expand my horizons in the food world. I want to try new things and gain an appreciation for them and how they are prepared. You can go to a restaurant and appreciate the food they serve, but that is completely different from gaining an appreciation for its preparation. At least it is for me!

                            I get bored eating the same things over and over and it helps me to push myself and experiment and experience new things. I love trying new things, but I live in a very backwoods area (a town of less than 5,000 people) where anything out of the everyday ordinary doesn't seem to be appreciated by most. My big opportunities to cook were family gatherings with my in-laws. But they actually make fun of the kind of food I make and eat. They are total meat and potato people who like apple pie and store-bought cakes for dessert. So if I'm going to make the kind of food I like, I have no one to share it with, and I want to share.

                            It also is a way to appreciate y semi-creative side. I'm not so talented in that I can create recipes on my own. I adapt and try to put a little spin on it that says me!

                            So, in expanding my horizons, I felt that My Little World of Food was really aiming toward becomeing a bigger world of food. Also the name was too long.

                            While I realize that most of the reasons for my blogging seem selfish (my aim was not to add something to the blogosphere), I also wanted to have people see my blog. I looked at the blogs I like and noticed they have short, catchy names. I spent about a week trying to find one that had an available .com (mine does and I own it, but I don't use it right now) and an available blogger name. I wanted to make sure there's no other person in another country with the same name. I basically brainstormed a list of words and played with combinations till I came up with something. I like my new blog name - Inspired Bites.

                            I like having a reason to experiment with food often and try new things, so I'm enjoying my blog because of that. I enjoy having people to share with. I've met a lot of other food bloggers online and I like that. The only downer is that I don't have enough time to update my blog as frequently as I'd like. I teach, so during the school year, I am constantly overwhelmed with life. I have to push myself sometimes to update once a week.

                            Oh, and the blog meshes well with another passion of mine - photography! I've always had a thing for it and it's great to photograph my favorite thing - food!

                            One more thing. Having my blog is also helping me to learn more about HTML and possible experiment with Web Design in other ways so that I can use my Inspiredbites.com instead of dealing with blogger. That is my goal in that area.

                            Meryl
                            http://inspiredbites.blogspot.com/

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: puppymomma

                              Puppymomma, I'm sure you know this already, but you can set up your .dom address to refer people back to your blogspot account very easily. That's what I do, although I was too cheap to spring for the .com site without an advertising banner.

                            2. The community aspect that comes from a blog baker's challenge (like the kind the daring bakers have started) is so much fun to read. Today's tastespotting.com features an eclairs challenge and the yummy results can be seen in photo after photo (leading to individual food bloggers and recipes).

                              To join Daring Bakers blogroll visit http://daringbakersblogroll.blogspot....

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: HillJ

                                That's terrific. Great link; thanks.

                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                  This has been an interesting thread. I just started my blog this year and I am having lots of fun with it! A co-worker asked me to start one so she could link it to our work website, (which is why I didnt put a link here...it's in my profile, not trying to pimp our work) because my life is kind of crazy, (in a good way) and people were asking to hear more, (write for the company newsletter as well). Very weird for me at first but now I find that I love doing it. I don't get paid to blog, I do it on my own time so I have the freedom to say whatever it is I want, food, wine, vacation it's all there.
                                  The name was easy for me, I'm a Champagne freak, (Champagne with no added sweetness is Sans Dosage) and my name, so me without added sweetness.

                              2. UPDATE: A specific question for those of you whose blogs are cooking-oriented: What brings people do your blog most? Is it a particular dish? What one dish seems to get the most hits?

                                What about when a dish you're attempting fails? Do you detail the failure as a cooking lesson? Or do you save the blog for successes?

                                THANKS!

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                  I find the thing that seems to bring the most people to my blog (aside from people who check in regularly) are searches for particular ingredients. As a result, I try to title my posts very specifically and repeat key words related to the post throughout my write-ups (a trick I learned from writing for another website). For example, you'll get more specific hits from a search engine if you title a recipe "Quick Tomato Sauce" as opposed to "Grandma's Garden Sauce". A bit boring (especially since I sometimes like to play on words) but it tends to work.

                                  As for testing the recipes, I only feature the finished recipe so someone should be able to print it off, prepare it and (hopefully!) have it turn out. I'm always open for feedback concerning improvements and will adjust them as necessary. I'm constantly testing new ones and working to improve ones I've already developed (I have 3 going on this afternoon alone) so there are plenty to go around if something needs to be tweaked and isn't ready to be posted.

                                  Edit: I should add that while I don't go into huge detail about failed attempts, I will point out things that haven't worked for me and suggest ways to avoid potential pitfalls. I also like to give helpful tips for newer cooks about things more experienced cooks would likely already know.

                                    1. re: anonymoose

                                      Yes, I agree. When I first started, I didn't know how to use some of the features (on Wordpress) but once I added tags it really helped get more hits.

                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                    I will certainly blog about my failures in the kitchen. The only way we become better cooks is trial and error.

                                    I just checked my blog stats and the post that generated the most views was one I did about having my mother's recipe selected and published in a Cook's Illustrated cook book. The recipe is for Brooklyn Cheese Puffs.

                                    2nd most views was a recipe I did for Italian stuffed peppers which I posted b/c I was feeling nostalgic and wanted some good ole Italian-American fare to take me home. :-)

                                    Wordpress has an amazing amount of info they give on a page titled blog stats. It gives u # of hits per day for your blog in general, for specific posts, etc. You can view this info by day, week, month or total overall. It also tells u who is linked to your blog and how folks found your blog (for instance I can see how many people came to my blog from a link in a CH thread vs. a link from my CH profile). It's pretty interesting. Do other blog hosts offer this information?

                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                      Typepad does, yes...

                                      Can you both give examples or provide links to examples of when you dealt with failures? One thing that interests me about this whole subject is that bloggers, it seems to me, are at greater liberty to take readers behind the scenes of recipe creation, where things go wrong, than do pro media (Cook's Ill. being an exception).

                                      1. re: tatamagouche

                                        My blog is still new and in it's infancy and so I haven't had a kitchen failure since I started blogging. But I INTEND to blog about mine when they happen. ;-) Until then...

                                      2. re: lynnlato

                                        lynnlato, I loved the story about the cheese puffs! Fun read!

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          Thanks! Hey, FYI, I got some marconi peppers and I'm going to stuff them tomorrow for dinner. :-)

                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                            oh that sounds marvelous...I'll be following along!

                                      3. re: tatamagouche

                                        After receiving a comment from the USSR, out of curiosity, I installed a counter and mapper on my blog. Much to my surprise, I'm getting 40 hits a day from various parts of the world. Wow! So much for trying to keep my on the down-low. lol.

                                        Apparently, the most popular pages are barbecued ribs and making your own corned beef.

                                        To be honest, I'm shy about my blog, writing and picture taking... I've been kind of sloppy at proofreading and taking pictures. Now, I feel like I have to do a little more for the occasional visitor.

                                        In regards to dishes that fail, I post it all. If I'm experimenting with a recipe and it flops, it's on the blog. I detail what I thought of the recipe and what I would do next with the recipe.

                                        1. re: chow_fun

                                          Would love a link to an example re a flop from you too (if you're shy about posting it, feel free to e-mail it to me, e- address in profile)!

                                      4. Why did you start your blog?
                                        My blog started as a way to hold myself accountable when attempting to eat raw for one month. Going raw was just something different for me and my husband to try. A friend suggested we blog about it so they could keep up with our progress and we did.
                                        After the raw month i kept blogging in order to participate in The Daring Bakers and other blogging events. I have tons of recipes bookmarked and I've set a goal to cook at least one a week and the blog is a good motivation to stay on top of that. I also use it to post updates and pictures for my family who live far away. It's not something I take too seriously. I'm very much a just for fun blogger.

                                        What were you hoping to introduce or add to the blogosphere?
                                        Nothing really. The blog was very much just for myself, husband, and family/friends.

                                        What have you discovered since launching your blog—what do you like about it, what do you dislike about it, what surprised you?
                                        I've only been blogging for a few months and I've been surprised by the amount of interest. I've been contacted by several people who are more interested in me and my life than the food content of my blog. Several military wives, young homemakers, etc. It's touching when people see some of themselves in you and make a connection. I love that part.
                                        I also really love participating in The Daring Bakers and other blogging events.
                                        I don't like how competitive people try to make it. I'm not a photographer by any stretch and don't try to be, but a few of my pics have gotten on photograzing. Anyhow, I had another blogger say how surprised they were that one of my photos "actually made it on". I never realized blogs were judged as anything other than a fun means of personal expression until that day.

                                        One other question where appropriate: How did you come up with its name?
                                        The original name of my blog, Gone Raw, was pretty straightforward. The blog was about going raw. Now the blog name is My Yummy Life, referring to both food and other good things I have going on. Unfortunately my url has not changed from http://rawforamonth.blogspot.com so it seems totally random. Fortunately I don't take any of it too seriously. =)

                                        1. I write my food blog strictly for my own pleasure. I started it to help me keep track of the recipes and ideas I come up with and monitor the success or failure of them. It's a form of self expression (as is cooking). It also helps me remember my favorite restaurants. I really didn't think it would add anything to the blogsphere.

                                          Since launching my blog I have discovered that there are far more food bloggers out there than I had ever believed. I also learned that if you want to be taken seriously by other bloggers, you have to have photos and you have to have your recipes written out.

                                          My blog name is The Essential Rhubarb Pie. I call it that because all of my life the words "Rhubarb Pie" have made me laugh. I also love pie. It seemed I couldn't start a food blog without mentioning rhubarb pie.