Let’s face it — good food is hard work. Whether you’re a chef, restaurateur, cookbook author or just a home cook with a passion for BBQ or vegan desserts, you probably spend a lot of time in and around the kitchen, chopping, slicing, dicing, cooking, baking and tasting. Ask the cooks behind the best cooking blogs — those dishes don’t cook themselves.
Every breakfast, lunch or dinner masterpiece is a performance, of sorts. And then, in practically an instant, it’s over. Your customers, friends or family have oohed and aahed and gobbled it all up. Next!
In short, the process of creating fabulous culinary creations for yourself and others is satisfyingly exhausting. So why not get even more mileage from your efforts? That’s where a cooking blog comes in.
7 takeaways from the best cooking blogs
Tell a story.
Include delectable photos, videos and graphics.
Take risks with your content.
Bring in other voices.
Focus on evergreen content.
Go beyond the blog.
Let’s take a look at just what it takes to run a successful cooking blog before we get to my takeaways from the best of them.
The best cooking blogs are a business
The best cooking blogs showcase appetizers, entrees, signature beverages, side dishes and desserts online, share theming not just with customers but with the world. A blog is your chance to chronicle your cooking adventures and share your personal tips and tricks. To teach others about ingredients and how to make your culinary creations in their own homes.
Blogging allows you to turn readers and followers into loyal customers, book buyers, cooking students and fans who can spread the word about you and share your content, which can make everything you do even more worth it. Just think, while you’re whisking up a soufflé — or catching a few winks after closing time — your blog can be working for you.
Start your own cooking blog now with WordPress.
Your recipe for success
Readers have a huge appetite for the best cooking blogs. Still, it’s a crowded field. If your cooking blog isn’t a stand-out, you won’t get much traction online and you might be tempted to give up. The good news? You don’t have to start from scratch.
Here’s my compilation of features that the best cooking blogs have in common. Feel free to mix and match to create something all your own.
1. Tell a story
Why are you writing your blog? Let your readers know why they should listen to you in your posts and your blog’s About section. In Nom Nom Paleo, blogger Michelle Tam tells a great story of how she got her start. It’s interesting to know that she has a degree in nutrition and food science, a fact that sets her cooking blog apart.
So, what’s your story? Tell readers about your cooking philosophy, how you got your cooking start, how your cooking influences your restaurant, cooking school or cookbook — you get the idea. Include your photos, too, so readers can see who you are. The best cooking blogs are personal, like talking to a friend.
2. Include delectable photos, videos and graphics
Experiment with your camera (your iPhone can do the job) to capture your food at mouth-watering angles, inspiring readers to make it themselves and come back for more.
Budgetbytes is just one example of a cooking blog that takes the time to capture food in its best light. Check out this shot of Spicy Baked Black Bean Nachos, for example. Yum! And to take it a step further, make sure your delectable treats are styled for Pinterest sharing to engage with more people.
3. Take risks with your content
Talk about cooking and other subjects that matter to you — your readers will eat it up. It’s what makes your cooking blog different. In Minimalist Baker, blogging duo Dana and John keep things easy by sticking to recipes with 10 or fewer ingredients that home cooks can put together in 30 minutes or less, often using only one pot. Their viewpoint is risky unto itself because every dish is a challenge. What risks will you take?
4. Post frequently
Posting frequently, such as one or two times per week on set days, is key to your blog’s success. Readers will come to expect to see a post from you according to your posting schedule.
On Healthy, Happy Life, a blog that focuses on making vegan versions of classic comfort foods blogger and author Kathy Patalsky posts every two to three days. To post often (even just once a week will do) write in batches and schedule your posts over the course of a month on an online marketing calendar service like Coschedule.
5. Bring in other voices
When you blog often, it can be tough to know what to write about. The solution? Interview others who share your blog’s philosophy. Kate Kordsmeier’s Root and Revel blog, a recipe-based wellness site to inspire to people live naturally, features a section called “In Her Shoes.” It showcases inspirational interviews with influential experts in health, nutrition and lifestyle.
Pro tip: When you feature others, they’re apt to share your content on their social media networks, which can further extend your influence.
6. Focus on evergreen content
In cooking, you might want to use seasonal, fresh ingredients. But don’t make seasonality or newsy posts your blog’s mainstay. The best cooking blogs feature evergreen articles and videos — content that stays relevant forever.
In Naturally Ella, Erin Anderson (whose initials are ELLA) features seasonal, pantry-inspired vegetarian recipes. But she also includes lots of recipes that aren’t tied to a season. Evergreen content is key to running a successful blog, because it’s content your readers will always find appealing. When you have a cupboard full of evergreen content, your blog will have a broad foundation as an anchor for readers to feast upon.
7. Go beyond the blog
Create content with deeper ideas and a range of articles that aren’t just, say, recipe how-tos. TheKitchn features cooking articles as well as content about organizing, travel, gifts and more. Your blog will draw readers in, but the rest of your site can keep them around for more. You can also use your blog and your site to sell courses, books and products.
The secret sauce
Like a stew, there are lots of ingredients that go into a successful cooking blog. The best cooking blogs, however, have one thing in common — they’re passion projects. If you put in the time and effort, your cooking blog can ultimately pay off by becoming a creative outlet and a rewarding extension of your brand and business.