We get it. Many people who search for recipes online want food bloggers to stick to recipes. They don’t want a backstory, tips on how to make the dish — none of that “nonsense.”
We’ve all seen the tweets:
“Why does every recipe have to have a mini-essay preceding it? #justgivemetherecipe”
“If you blog an 8-page life story about a recipe that you have instead of getting straight to the point, then you deserve to be judo chopped in the neck and I will forever pray that a swarm of bees follow you around for the rest of your life. #justgivemetherecipe”
Apparently, no one has the time or patience to scroll for 30 seconds (unless they’re scrolling through their Facebook or Instagram feed), to find what they came for.
For food bloggers like us, it’s annoying. Sometimes it’s infuriating. Because it’s clear that most people have no clue how much thought and work goes into each and every one of our posts. These readers don’t give us enough credit. They don’t wonder if those backstories and tips might be there for a reason.
Chances are, those of us who write those long, annoying posts have little interest in sharing anything other than our recipes with readers. Actually, our lives would be easier if we could just develop a recipe, take a photo, and post it on our blog.
So why don’t we food bloggers just stick to recipes, and cut out all the “nonsense?”
1. Food blog posts are a ton of work.
Food blogging means more than cooking something, snapping a couple of pictures and posting them on a website and social media. Every single recipe at MayIHaveThatRecipe.com goes through a long process before being published.
For our blog, each recipe has to be researched and well thought out (we’ll get into that in a minute). It has to be tested (often quite a few times), measured, written down, and photographed. It also has to be shared on social media channels (sometimes that can be a full-time job!). Why?
2. We make a living from our food blog.
Both of us, Vicky and Ruth, work full time. We gave up our cushy, decent-paying jobs to research, create, prepare, photograph, write and share recipes, so our readers can have them for free. And since we want to keep giving them out for free, we need to find ways to make money.
One of the main sources of revenue for full-time food bloggers is advertisements. Yes, we’re talking about those pesky ads that pop up everywhere, and we are not particularly fond of them. But unfortunately, that’s the way it works (much like TV shows and other media, where viewers have to pay extra for premium channels to avoid ads).
Advertisements become a true source of revenue for full-time food bloggers through increased traffic. That means that the more views their website gets, the more income. How does a website reach high traffic? Mainly by snatching a spot on the first page of Google.
And for that to happen, food bloggers have to play by Google’s rules. One of them is that we should write long posts. But even so, the rules are ever-changing, maddening, bang-your-head-against-the-wall rules. They are also known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
3. The rule of SEO: Comprehensive, useful content
Simply put, this means those of us who make a living from blogging have to write about the recipe. We have to share tips. It’s because we have to show that what we’re writing is worthy of the first page of Google results.
No matter how simple the recipe is, that’s the formula. Because Google values content (AKA lengthy posts).
Before even thinking about creating a recipe, food bloggers must be strategic. They ask themselves:
- How many people are searching for this recipe?
- What words are they using to find it?
- What questions are they asking about it?
After gathering this information, creating the recipe, photographing it and writing about it, we put it all together in a nice little package and post it on our website. Every single word is there for a reason, from the title on the top, to the bullet points in the middle, to the call to action at the bottom.
And, we already have a solution
We food bloggers have already handled readers who want us to stick to recipes. At the top of every post, a little button says “Jump to recipe.” If people don’t want to read and scroll, they can click on it.
So that is why we don’t just stick to recipes. We hope readers will cut food bloggers some slack. We think they do, but every once in a while, tweets like these sends us into a rant. All we’re trying to do is make a living. Just like everyone else.
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Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox are sisters raised in Barcelona by Syrian-Lebanese Jewish parents. The sisters now live in the U.S. They are the Chief Foodie Officers of May I Have That Recipe, an 8-year old vegan and vegetarian food blog that offers recipes from around the world. They are the authors of the cookbook Tahini and Tumeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics – Made Irresistibly Vegan. Follow them on Instagram.
(Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.)