May 202014
 
Stephanie-Stiavetti- Anime

Tech guru Stephanie Stiavetti

A guest post by Stephanie Stiavetti

I’m sure you’re familiar with the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO), one of the biggest time sucks we food bloggers endure to get more people to our blogs.

There’s no way around doing this work, as all bloggers must bend the knee to Our Great Google Overlords, with the exception of a handful of folks who are so insanely popular that they transcend the realm of mortal blogging (*cough*Ree*cough*).

The problem with keeping our websites search engine-friendly, however, is that every so often, Google changes the rules. And inevitably, for months following these changes, my inbox is flooded with the doleful cries of bloggers who have lost a chunk of their traffic.

If you’re smart, though, it won’t matter how Google alters its algorithm. All you have to do is produce good content and avoid questionable SEO practices. There are countless finer points, a few of which I’ll get to in a moment, but the fact remains that you’ll need not fear even the most Machiavellian changes Google makes to its ranking methods.

Here are a few tips for maintaining your trusted liege status to The Goog. They’re easy enough so that even if you’re  Continue reading »

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Aug 252010
 

The upscale eatery that invited the blogger to a meal.

Here’s a story that could have happened to any food blogger or restaurant reviewer who receives email invitations to restaurants.

A restaurant p.r. person invited a food blogger to a “food tasting session,”  where she said the restaurant would host him for lunch.

The food blogger couldn’t make it at the suggested time, and later sent an email saying he’d be in the following Sunday for brunch, not lunch. He did not confirm that he expected it would still be a “food tasting session” where he would be hosted.

Lesson #1: If you’re changing the game plan, seek confirmation that you can still be hosted. Just because a restaurant invited you to a specific event doesn’t mean Continue reading »

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Aug 232010
 

Photo by Heather Lunan

This is the best part of being an author: when your book comes out and you have a signing at a terrific food-centric bookstore like Omnivore Books in San Francisco.

Photo by Owen Rubin

It also helps to have a great interviewer like food blogger Sean Timberlake of Hedonia, who lives in the neighborhood, to make it fun and dynamic. We talked about food blogging, mostly, but also got in a little bit about restaurant reviewing and freelance writing.

Photo by Kirstin Halgedahl

And it helps to have a good crowd. Among those who came out were food Continue reading »

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May 172010
 

In the last week I’ve been editing recipes for two books by food bloggers. Both have short deadlines, and I’ve been working long hours.

That’s okay. It’s so much fun to see such creativity and invention, to fantasize about which recipes I’m going to try, and –yes– to nitpick. Such is the job of an editor. For one book, I make comments in pen and add little colored stickies to the paper copy. For the other, I make comments using Track Changes within the Word document.

And here’s what I’m finding: errors and inelegant phrasings. I thought you might want to know about  the most common mistakes. First though, let’s review the terminology: The list of ingredients is called (funnily enough) the “ingredients list,” and the directions are called the “method:”

1. Ingredients out of order. This is by far the biggest error. List ingredients in the Continue reading »

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Apr 272010
 

Cooking for a dinner partyWhen three big food bloggers  forwarded an email invitation to me within minutes of each other, I had to take a look. All three were insulted by this offer but knew that other food bloggers would take the companies up on it.

Here’s a condensed version of the invite, with sponsor names deleted:

“We enjoy your culinary blog, and share your passion for cooking and fine cuisine. To provide a fun way to try new recipes with your friends, we offer you the opportunity to host an Easy & Elegant Dinner Party in your home.

“Here’s how it works.You and 1000 fellow foodies across the country will simultaneously host Easy & Elegant Dinner Parties. If selected as a host, you will receive a generous party pack – including Continue reading »

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Feb 182010
 

criticsIt seems that when it comes to reviewing, the food blogging community is more interested in promotion rather than in a balanced critique. I can’t tell you how many bloggers have said, in comments on this blog, they only do positive reviews because “the reader’s time is short” or “I’m only going to write about it if I love it.”

Why? Rave reviews are boring. Totally negative reviews are rare and difficult to do well. How about going for middle ground, where the review is mostly positive, but acknowledges the cons?

Finally, I can point to a few examples from people Continue reading »

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Sep 272009
 

P1100134 BlogHer Food in San Francisco was one long day of group hug. It started at the networking breakfast at 8 a.m. and ended at the after-party thrown by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman Cooks and Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes beginning at 8 p.m.

Here you can see just part  of the crowd, everyone talking at once in deafening volume, in the hallway in front of the bookseller.

Read about the party… I mean conference, on these early posts from Carrots ‘N Cake and Kath Eats Real Food. Well, girls just want to have fun. And we did.

Sponsors, who subsidized the cost of the event, prevailed between the sessions. Hunky Chef Rocco DiSpirito hawked Bertolli frozen meals over a grouimagesp lunch while they actually served us the frozen pasta as entrees. (Hello?!) Celebrity chef and Citizen Cake owner Elizabeth Faulkner demoed with Scharffen-Berger during a break, and booth people plied us with cans of chicken stock and spray Pillsbury frosting for a cupcake challenge. A classy cocktail party on the rooftop sponsored by Campbell’s Soup Co. capped off the official part of the day. I was so excited about seeing bloggers in person after reading their work online and Twittering and Facebooking with them, I almost didn’t mind.

And oh yeah, we went to sessions on such topics as the blogger’s voice (where I was a panelist), best practices, and new opportunities. More on what I learned later. First I need to lie down.

Did you go or write a post about the day? Have a comment? Let me know.

P.S. Updates: Transcripts of BlogHer Food 09 sessions are now online. More reports on the conference from Simply Recipes, Pioneer Woman, GlutenFree Girl, Tartelette, and Steamy Kitchen.

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