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The Truth about Food Blogging

This is a guest contribution by Amy Murnan, writer of TheFreshFresher. 

It is slim pickings in the world of food blogging.

I know this because, about a year ago, I had a bright idea. I said to myself – hey, don’t worry about your lack of job prospects after graduating University! You like writing and you like cooking, so start a food blog – you’re bound to get a book deal!

Needless to say, I was a tad naïve. In reality, the truth about food blogging is tougher than any other blogging niche. You may not want to believe it, but food blogging is no picnic.

I didn’t want to believe it either, but the fact is that anyone who has ever tried food blogging knows that it is near impossible to get noticed. And why?

Because, these days, anyone can do it.

With the dawning of sites like Instagram, anyone can be a flash-food-blogger. We all know at least one foodie updating the world on every morsel they chew. So why would anyone want to see yet more food on the Internet when so many people are writing about it? And it isn’t just the technology that has changed.

Simply being a good cook won’t get you noticed.

Being (or knowing) a good photographer with a good camera is a standard requirement. You have to be able to transfer that taste – that smell – through the screen. You have to provide something enticing. After all, nobody is going to find my recipe for profiteroles when Good Housekeeping’s looks tastier.

But the fact remains that it is only near impossible. So, how to make food blogging work? I am by no means an expert, but I have learned a few lessons on the subject and mainly from other food bloggers:

Go Niche

And I mean really niche. Diet blogs are slightly more viable, although even gluten-free and vegan sites are becoming more competitive.

Find a gap in the market (easier said than done, I know, but that’s blogging for you) and fill it.

Go Luxurious

Live a jet-set lifestyle? Luckily for you, people love to read about glamorous lives, and glamorous food. Just take a look at The Londoner’s blog. Unfortunately this option doesn’t apply to many.

Go Somewhere

Travel-on-a-shoestring, travel around one city, travel to the middle of nowhere – as long as your posts are good, you’ll have a chance. Food lovers love food culture, and if your blog reveals cultures and dishes they’ve never seen before, they’ll like it. Take a look at The Road Forks.

Go Expert

If you work in catering, food prep or some other food-related profession and have other knowledge to pass on – industry insights, career tips and advice – you will gain an advantage. SugarHero is a great example – it is written by an ex-pastry chef with a book deal.

For me, food blogging was a huge learning curve, and still is. If you are ready to take on the blogosphere and make mouths water, be prepared to think, plan and work hard. But most importantly, be prepared to learn.

Amy Murnan is the writer of TheFreshFresher, a food blog aimed at students and young people craving fresh and flavourful food. 

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Comments

  1. Mark says:

    It really is hard to create a new food blog that stands out from the crowd. It seems especially hard to get attention when you don’t have skill, time, or equipment to create the delicious looking photographs.

    In my own blog, I really stopped focusing on describing recipes, and started to focus on why we use the ingredients we do, giving as much detail as I can. The research is still a lot of work, but so far, this seems to be working pretty well for me.

  2. Good post. Food blogs are as in as One Direction. With camera phones it seems people are taking pictures of whatever they make and then posting it on instagram/facebook/pinterest. Those sites also make it a lot easier to post pictures and share fatty goodness with people. The problem is that it’s one of the easier niche blogs to do.

    If you could tie food into health you could have a good blog. However, the paleo world is another popular niche area that’s getting too popular with too much competition. I don’t necessarily think that it matters that these areas are popular blog topics – people will realize how hard it is to run a blog or see that it’s not that profitable right from the get go and the authors will fall off the map. Most people don’t have the want to stick it out in the long run so those that keep up with the blogging in the long run will probably be just fine.

    Also, I don’t think the area is just specific to food blogs. Everything has been done. Whether it’s a blog about being a pro blogger, photography, SEO, food, fitness. It has all been done – a million times. The trick is to have passion and keep blogging longer than those that give up.

  3. Jim says:

    Hi Amy,

    Do you think one of the reasons for this is that you are using wordpress.com not .org and having your own website?

  4. The food niche is very competitive, but as with anything if you love what you are doing and are willing to stay dedicated and work hard at it you can do it.

  5. Dionne says:

    It seems that a lot of food blogs get tons of traffic per month, mostly coming froming from Pinterest, but the blogs don’t make much money and conversion rates are terrible.

    • Jim says:

      Have you ever hear of Pinch of Yum Dionne? They post they monthly income reports. They do pretty good. Next month will probably be even better for them as they just released an E-CookBook that deals with just Califlower Sauce.

  6. Edson Hale says:

    You are right Amy people don’t need simple recipes which they can find easily somewhere else. This is the main challenge of food blogging where you can’t change the contents so much because most of the contents are recipes and you are not that much great cook to invent a few hundred new recipes and stun the readers. That is why you are that instead of simply recipes one needs to write food culture, cuisine curiosities and flavor stories instead of just making the blog a menu of hi-fi restaurant.

  7. Kazi says:

    Food market is very competitive . It is quite a daunting task nowadays to get noticed . I fully agree with you on going niche and probing around for a gap in the market. Nice post.

  8. If you’re not going to dedicate yourself to food blogging then it’s best to pick another niche. I have blogged in two other niches and what most people don’t realize is that food blogging takes much more work than other niches,

    Anyone can snap a picture of a plate of food they are eating and share it on Instagram but if you are a serious food blogger then there are so many other steps that are involved to get a good post up.

    As Ryley above stated if you love it and are dedicated they (traffic) will come. That’s not to say it is easy , because as the author states almost anyone can and are doing it these days…….. but will they be good at doing it?

  9. John says:

    “food blogging is tougher than any other blogging niche” That’s a bit pretentious. How would you know how tough other niches that you’re not involved with are?

  10. John says:

    Plus, photography is not a necessity — oh sure, if you want to run some swanky site, but there are plenty of sites that know how to TALK about food (not necessarily recipes or “doesn’t this look amazing on this white plate”) without the gimmickry.

  11. Surkhab says:

    I totally agree with you. Being a Food Blogger myself, I find it pretty tough to keep up. I spend time on Innovation part, then take photos step by step, then edit photos, write the post, format it, publish it and finally promote it. One post takes 5 to 6 hours. I have been doing that since last year. It took me over 14 months to reach 1000 unique visitors per day from 200. It’s still not great but makes me happy and optimistic that I can make it further.
    What kept me going was sheer passion and curiosity to learn every aspect of blog.
    If Problogger allows me, I have my story to share. Someday, maybe.

  12. Maddy says:

    Being a student of Hotel Management i can say that its really tough job, blogging about food. You Need to know about cooking and to know about the depth of writing and skill of photography. But to achieve any milestone you need to put lot of efforts.

  13. I’ve been food blogging for almost 5 years now and break pretty much all of these rules. Haha. I don’t have a specific niche, am far from luxurious, don’t travel, and am the opposite of an expert.

    The only thing I think that has given me a tiny leg up is that I’m consistently there. I write regularly and have been doing it for five years. Most food blogs burn out after a year at the most so if you can survive, then you can probably thrive. ;)

    Good luck!

  14. Amrik Virdi says:

    Hi Amy,
    Great post, indeed!

    There is no doubt every niche has their own market and definitely Food blogging is another great niche to get started.

    Thanks for the post.
    Regards,
    Amrik Virdi.

  15. Himanshu says:

    I could’nt agree more with your point “Find a gap in the market” and i know it takes time but if you could do it then it becomes easier.

  16. shazad kadri says:

    food blogging is never ending niche.. anyone can experiment in making food and upload the trick to their blog..

  17. Nikki says:

    Hmmm good to know. I’m thinking of starting a food blog – not of what I cook but of what I’m planning to eat during a six month trip to Europe. Hopefully I’ll fall into the ‘go somewhere’ category and have some luck. My French isn’t good enough to get into food culture. (I’m hoping my experience with personal blogging and reviewing will help contribute to the success :P)

  18. Loveable post because I love food blogging but It is so much competitive as It take more time to get organic traffic. Thanks for sharing a nice post

  19. Shalu Sharma says:

    I think you have a good point. Simply being a good cook does not mean than that you are a good blogger. Most people eat with their eyes so a good camera is requisite and not an option. Secondly, you will need to to take images that pop out from the screen and straight on to your lap.

  20. Kishor says:

    I am new to this blogging world .But Blogging about anything is tough and easy according to your Interest

  21. Zenelia says:

    hey Nice post…well food blogging is a nice thought to cover for blogging…as per my personal opinion yes I am completely agree that first its our view which tastes the food , if u are able to put some cool pics describing the flavours of the food then that thing will surely gonna attract audience in mass to go through it..

    Any ways nice tips to follow …Thanks for sharing

    Keep Posting

    Thanks

  22. Mi Muba says:

    Despite stiff competition in it, food blogging has still great potential for newbie from different mix of culture; for example a western food blogger can never write over Arabian cuisine like a Middle Eastern can do; it means being local is more important to cover food specialities of a specific region like Chinese, Indian or Italian food. So newbie should make extensive research of their local foods and start a food blog of their own

  23. Saif says:

    Excellent post. I am a big fan of food and you have given excellent points about food. I am thinking to start blog on food too ;)
    Thanks

  24. Johnw says:

    Hey Amy, i am agree with you that creating food niche blog is very hard. But one thing also keep in mind that every niche has maximum competition so never fear about anything. Just start your niche blogs and write a kind of interesting content that people really like it.

  25. I think a vital part of food blogging is having the ability to take attractive photographs of the food – there are heaps of blogs out there which have unflattering photos which in turn make the food seem unattractive. Without good visual content you don’t stand a chance.

  26. Muhammad says:

    It is so easy to start a blog on food niche but after uploading a few hundred posts on different multi-culture food recipes you get stuck up and fail to bring the new ideas that is why it is advisable to first get command over this niche and if you have more than hundreds of idea you can do great in this niche

  27. Daryl says:

    Interesting post…

    Indeed, I’d say that food blogging isn’t easy.

    Then again, I’d probably say the same thing about any blog.

    The trick is, differentiation.

    Why should people read your blog over any one of hundreds of other choices?

    Higher quality information? Great photos? Guest posts from famous/authority figures?

    What makes your blog more deserving of someone’s time and energy?

    Loving the photos, even though I’ve suddenly become hungry…

  28. Andy says:

    I would say food blogging must be on par with movie blogging for difficulty as everyone seems to think they can watch a movie and write a review. But it is much harder to compete with so many well established sites and professional critics who dominate the first pages of search results. Even when you try and go niche and focus on a specific genre or actor you still end up behind the big sites in the search listings. And as for making money through it, you would get richer picking up coins from the street.

  29. Dwayne says:

    This is interesting feedback and I feel it is challenging as well. I agree that it’s grabbing your reader’s attention, that can make success a reality.

  30. Mehmood says:

    Thanks for your Article. Food blogging is no doubt a very competitive market but blog with informative and unique Articles can stand between them.

  31. Patrika says:

    It is definitely a amazing post to share their ideas. I have never read such a interesting article on any topic specially related foods about blog posting thank you very much !

  32. Rahul says:

    I love Bloggin’ , now looking forward to make one !

  33. gaurav says:

    hi great man now i am also moving to thia niche

  34. gaurav says:

    hi great man now i am also moving to this niche

  35. gaurav says:

    yes robin, just read the article carefully and yes the cpc is also high

  36. Rina says:

    Build a niche blog on the topic of food is very good, I’m sure the search will continue much because the food is very fundamental to the lives of every person. But to compete in the SERP, I think it is quite difficult, mostly dominated by large sites that have thousands of articles in it :(

  37. Easier said than done, go niche, go expert … everyone knows about it. But the thing is … it’s too hard! You need at least 100 niche posts to get some attention. Distribute all the 100 posts to some popular sites to draw backlinks. These are minimum requirements for your blog.

    You can get notice even if everyone is doing it, just need to spread where the people are.

  38. Faust says:

    Oh no… this is going to be difficult for me I used to rank first in the search results, but now its zero! its making me insecure, I think I have to go local instead of global. competition is tough..