As with any new endeavor, it takes time to observe the landscape in which you’re operating. When I started my blog a year ago, I had no idea that there were so many food blogs out there. Wow! I hardly spent time online both because I worked so much and also because I don’t enjoy being glued to a computer.
Here I am last year before I had a food blog. We had no countertop space yet and I dragged the living room end table into the kitchen so I could bake. I was in the kitchen because I wanted to be and there was no stopping me! I wasn’t in there for a blog post. I didn’t have a blog. I didn’t have Facebook or an Instagram account. I was just LIVING!
I admit to having been very naïve to this a year ago. I now see there’s an unprecedented number of food blogs out there with an endless flow of information—but often the same exact information is on multiple sites. I’m not talking about basic staples (like how to make almond milk or how to make whipped cream). I’m talking about full-up recipes with at least 5 ingredients. I see a lot of the same recipes being handed out if they were originally created–in other words, invented. How valuable is the information that food bloggers put out there and how original are the recipes? I would argue that there’s not much originality out there. This led to me question: What is the goal of the majority of these food blogs, really?
Let me pause here to clarify that what I’m saying does not apply to all food blogs. I do not believe this for all blogs because I have not seen all of them, obviously. In fact, I do follow a few lovely blogs that are run by lovely people with clear intentions, who work very hard on their recipes, and deliver amazing content. But I can’t deny the majority of what I see and I think it’s worth considering.
I thought that food blogs contained the work, experiments, trials, failures, successes, tips, and original recipes of the food blogger. I have not found this to be the case in the majority of what I see. It’s extraordinarily disappointing. Mostly, it’s disappointing because it’s simply so lame. It’s also disappointing to me because I’m part of the food blogging community and I would never want to be put into a category with bloggers that operate in this particular way.
Here is one of my experiments. It’s sort of sweet potato pie but kept ending up more like a soufflé (which is not what I wanted). So, I spent an entire week on it with three full attempts and never posted it. It’s good and was tasty every time! We ate it and my husband really liked it. But I didn’t feel like I wanted to hand it out unless it was REALLY good. I may revisit it in the future. My point is that it’s not fair to the readers who spend THEIR time and THEIR money on ingredients to give out “pretty good” recipes or things that are not original or interesting.
My observations have made me keenly aware of how food blogging works now. It’s my personal opinion that the goals for many food bloggers are a combination of recognition, passive income (generated by “clicks”) and other income (generated by sponsorships or a book deal). I’m not against any of these things (except the desire for recognition IF earned and warranted). These are good things to work towards. But the problem as I see it is that these ARE the goals for many. Unfortunately, the goals are not sharing original, thoughtful and good content.
So if these are the goals, you need to drive traffic to your site. Here’s a short list of how this works.
- Doing an overwhelming amount of recipe posting (as in 3-5 posts per week), regardless of content, even if it’s a recipe with no explanation of how it was developed, with only mindless banter about the latest reality TV show or a household pet.
- An overwhelming amount of social media posts (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter)
- Sponsorships where companies promote you when you promote them
As I said, I don’t think these are necessarily bad things to work towards, but, in my opinion, the originality and quality of the content often suffers when the goal is to simply drive traffic.
I have to wonder how people actually have time to create, develop, make, photograph, and post 3-5 original recipes a week while dealing with marketing activities, sponsorships, the giveaways, and the various social media mediums. How original and valuable is the content, really? Everything you’d create would have to be a success! The majority of people I know can barely make a fried egg, let alone develop recipes. Yet, suddenly thousands of people are creating original recipes they’re written, tested and perfected? I’ve found this to be very curious over the past year.
Let me say something. Photographing food is not easy. You have to deal with the sun and where the sun is and what window and what time of day to photograph. You need decently cute props. There is quite a bit of work involved. This is not something that takes 10 minutes. Here is the set up I made while photographing my almond butter. No glamour here!
I’m not judging bloggers who have certain goals or choose to run their blogs in a particular way to meet those goals. People have their own desires and reasons for doing what they do. But after a year of having my blog, I think it’s important to look around and consider what I see and then reflect on what I am doing with my blog. I’m happy with what and how I share.
For me, it’d be rather presumptuous to suggest that I’d have something both original and worthy of your time and readership on a daily basis or even 3-5 times week. To me, it seems unrealistic.
I spend a lot of my time doing this…making notes, messes, and dish dishes that I have to wash! This was a 4-hour project in the kitchen.
I want people to visit my food blog and not be accosted by pop-ups that ask for your contact information. I don’t want advertisements plastered all over my site and slowing it down for those who are just simply trying to read. There’s enough being flashed at us on a daily basis. If you want to read my blog, then read it when and if you feel inclined. If you make your way to my blog and come back – great! If you don’t come back, then you will find something else that speaks to you, which is also great. Your readership is not just a “click” to me that I’m desperate to maintain. You can’t read everything!
Many food bloggers are racing against other bloggers—trying to get THEIR Christmas recipes out there FIRST by posting them before anyone else. I was reading a food blog last week and other posts on Instagram where the bloggers noted they were “so over Thanksgiving and are ready for Christmas cookies.” I think it’s nice to give notice with seasonal recipes so that people can buy ingredients and test things out on their own. But to be “so over Thanksgiving” a week before it happens seems obnoxious. I’m guessing it’s just another way to get more readers feeling like they are getting MORE information and are getting that information SOONER! People are already mildly stressed about cooking for Thanksgiving. There’s no need to bombard people with Christmas cookie recipes in mid-November.
After thinking long and hard, these are the 3 most important things to me when it comes to my food blog, Sulten Skat.
It’s essential to me that my content be original, thoughtful, and valuable. God gave me a brain and the ability to create. I owe it to God and myself to use my brain to use work on my own ideas and produce good work. Anything else isn’t genuine or authentic–which is what God wants me to be. (That’s what he wants all of us to be – ourselves).
Your time is important to me
I don’t want to waste anybody’s time. If you take the time to stop by my blog, you will always find something that is original and new – whether it’s a life experience from our time in Denmark or an original recipe. This is what I offer. I do not take recipes and alter them and call them my own. That’s simply not interesting. It’d also be stealing. And it’d also be super lame.
I can answer questions about my recipes, what’s in them, why I’m using what, and why I’m using the methods I’m using. I’m happy to answer questions and help. To me, that is what’s interesting, worth reading, and worth sharing. The fact that I could make someone else’s recipe would simply be called “cooking”. How would THAT be interesting or worth your time? It wouldn’t be! This is a food blog!
My time is important to me.
I spend my time standing in the kitchen creating and learning. I get out and am inspired by life – by what I see in the food store – maybe a new vegetable that I’ve never seen before – or while traveling – or something I can’t eat and want to re-create. Then I work on it. Sometimes there’s success! Sometimes I have to try many times and will occasionally have to give up on an idea. All of that takes time. I’m not inspired daily and I don’t have successes daily. Who does? Just because I’m inspired, doesn’t mean things always work out. That’s life and life takes time. So, posts take time. Good results and anything worth doing and sharing takes time. And quite frankly, I’m ok with that. That is how I want to spend my time –on the successes and the failures.
And that’s what you can expect here from me on Sulten Skat. I keep it real!