Why your blog is awesome

A few months ago, I received a hilarious email.  It was called "Your blog has potential" and consisted of a blogger making a cour...


A few months ago, I received a hilarious email.  It was called "Your blog has potential" and consisted of a blogger making a course, who had decided the very best form of getting business was to email other bloggers.  Great idea, right?  Well, yeah, except their grand idea is to tell them why they were sh*t, and how they could be just as fantastic and popular as them. Did anyone else get this honor, or was it just me?



Umm, thanks I guess?  I can only reply with...


YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO.

 

Naturally I told them where to shove their advice politely declined their offer and went on my merry way.  They are, of course, completely entitled to their own opinion.

Except I don't want lots of advertisers, a demographic or a spit-shined blog.  I like it just the way it is.

In my experience, the world of blogging is run by sheer luck and enjoying what you do.  I've read some blogs with only 3 followers and thought it was a millions times better than some of the ones that have thousands.  Followers = nothing in the way of if your blog is good or not.

SO...

Here's why I think our blogs are awesome, and why we shouldn't give a toss if someone has a bazillion more subscribers, a whole friggin gallery of photos on foodgawker or has that amazing theme we wish we'd of done first.

OUR PHOTOS DON'T SUCK....

Our photos don't suck because we got rejected. 

Show me a food blogger who hasn't been rejected on foodgawker and I'll call bullshit.  The problem isn't in the rejection, it's the fact that we care.  Here's what I do: Take it as a compliment.  Especially if the reason for it being declined was something like "composition / styling"

Like any site, Foodgawker / tastespotting are looking to keep within a central brand.  They want the same sorts of shots / angles / lighting and look to keep their homepage looking all pretty and themed, like an overbearing parent who dresses their kids in the same outfits without irony.

So you got rejected, take a step back and realise it's not because your photo is bad, it's just that on this occasion, it doesn't conform.  It's a badass food photo.  Be proud that it stands out from the crowd.



and our photos don't suck because we don't have all the professional equipment.

A helpful tip I see a lot of is "have eye catching pictures" , which is a great tip.  Yet somehow, down the line, this has evolved to mean "have magazine worthy pictures taken on expensive cameras and make sure you buy £10000000 lights and editing software OR YOU MEAN NOTHING."

I agree, having a good picture is fantastic, and I have some photography equipment because taking photos is a massive hobby of my husbands' & mine.  But I'll be honest here, I read blogs with pictures taken on an iPhone and my brain doesn't fizzle out and die, I still enjoy them just as much.

I read blogs because they are homemade and personal.  Sometimes, I feel you can edit your personality right out of the mix with all the photoshopping, styling and 'appealing to advertisers'.

I realised this point myself one day after I spent 20 minutes carefully moving an artfully placed piece of coriander round a dish to take a photo and actually got stressed from the fact it wouldn't look right.  Like really stressed.  Stupid-coriander-placement tears.



Sometimes, you gotta throw that shit on there and make no excuses for yourself.  This is your hobby, and if you think it looks great, then chances are those reading it will too, no matter how much equipment was used to capture it or if your coriander is a little to the left, or on the floor because you threw it there in a fit.


STATISTICS ARE A LOAD OF POO

Sorry, but your page views are bull

I've heard this before "Only people with low pageviews would say that".  Thing is, I just don't look often, and last time I did, the number was pretty sweet I guess, but I value my blog by how I feel after I click publish.  If I like it, then I've done well.




I'm still in awe that anyone else except my mum and husband read this.  Yet here we are.  It doesn't matter to me if there are 2 or 2 million of you, I'm just pleased as punch that anyone took the time out of their day to be here.  I genuinely want to give you all some cake, hell I'd even make it gluten free / vegan or from organic dog farts if that's what you're into.  I'm that chuffed.



So pageviews?  The only time I bother to check them is if a company says "how many pageviews did you have this month? We want to send you free stuff."  Which is when I last checked.

If you ever feel down about your hits remember they aren't faceless numbers, they are whole awesome and amazing people, don't degrade them by shoving them into a 'demographic' and making that the be-all and end all.

That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the views, merely that I don't define my blog's 'success' by it, and that makes me pretty happy to keep wittering on week after week.

After all, will you be sitting on your rocking chair telling your grandkids about that time you got hundreds of hits one random Thursday, or about the awesome community you were a part of?

DESIGN & CONTENT IS YOUR CHOICE

We are all a little obsessed and meticulous

Have you spent more than 3 hours slaving over the design of your blog?  Slowly moving the colour marker around between two different shades of red?  Does this scene look familiar to you...





In my world it can roll between being the most fun thing ever and something that makes me want to throw my computer into the garden and shoot it with lasers.  If someone comments on it favourably, I actually want to kiss them.  Full on the mouth, just to make things weird.

Your layout is your personal choice and I love that every blog I read has their personality injected into it.  Like fairies?  Slap some winged little buggers onto everything!  Love your cats?  Post a picture every day, hell, why not give them a bitchy column on there called "Catty Remarks" (someone PLEASE do this.)


Who the hell said blogs are all the same!?

If everyone's blog was the same there would be no point in there being more than one, we'd all just congregate around this circumscribed area of the internet and it would be boring.



Instead I get to read a varied and wonderfully batshit crazy world of blogs.  There is something for every mood.  CASE IN POINT:

When I'm feeling a little fruity I can go visit Thug Kitchen, and for serious inspiration I'll rush onto Supergolden Bakes.  When I feel like having a laugh and some reading some stories I'll read Get In My Mouf and How To Philosophize With Cake.   For serious pasta making envy I'll skip over to Emily's Recipes and Reviews, and for the creative healthy recipes and lots of tasty bread I'll gander at Angie's Recipes.  On the other side of the coin, for a sugar coma I'll induce myself into The Sugar Hit.  To learn about rooftop gardening and get serious life envy I'll spend some time over at Brooklyn Farm Girl.  For inspiration and what feels like a warm hug, I'll spend some time at The Noble Foodie or Day Dreaming Foodie.  For restaurant reviews that feel like they're being delivered by a friend over a glass of wine, I stop by at The Food Tourist or New Girl In Toon.  To feel like I'm visiting a friend for a slice of cake and a chat, I'll stop by The Baking Explorer and Bake Then Eat.



[[You would not believe how long it took me to bloody link all those up.  They are all worth it though, all fantastic in their own way.  I wanted to put so much more, there are some seriously talented bloggers out there.]]

The only thing these guys have in common, apart from making me hungry and having a passion for food, is that their blogs make me feel like I'm dropping by for a visit.  Which would be great, God, imagine the spread they'd put out.  I'm drooling just thinking about it.  Instead we have to do it through our computer screens.  But I'm happy with that.



 It's your voice and your place

I can't define myself or my blog, but I can tell you that I swear because I do it in real life and I can't help it if a bugger slips out here or there. 



 I type like I talk.  This is me.  Come round my house and I will bake you a cake, give you a cup of tea and we will talk about boobies, farts and our favourite TV shows.  My dog will literally make you worship her and I will make you hold a rat.  Mostly we'll have fun, because I can't think of the last time I had someone over that didn't end in gut-wrenching laughter or a brilliant heart-to-heart over a cuppa.


To end this rant-that-wasn't-really-a-rant, I'll tell you a tale.

I once got chatting a lady in a PR department. She had emailed to ask me to do some stuff for free and I had politely declined, because the offer was ridiculous. She had then emailed me back saying that she didn't blame me.  She said she hated asking, and that blogging looked like a full time job in itself - and that to run a website of our standards, with the content we put out, would take a team of at least 3 in a company.

So keep that in mind next time you feel a little inadequate. 

So I open the floor out to you.  What do you love about your blog?  Blow your trumpet and be proud, because I really want to hear it.





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38 Comments

  1. *warm cuddle* thankies for the love.

    You are so right though, blogging has to be all about YOU - otherwise you are fighting a losing battles before you start. Too much personality?!? WHAT?!?!

    Im off to spend the afternoon browsing said blogs - a great distraction from work ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I aim to provide the ultimate procrastination service.

      Thank you!

      Delete
  2. I can honestly say that I look forward to Fridays because I know there will be a "Thank Fork it's Friday" post for me to read. It always provides a much needed laugh to start my work day. Thanks so much for the shout out - Glad to be mentioned in the same breath as all those fantastic blogs!

    Now tell me more about this gluten-free, vegan, organic dog fart cake...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pahaha, that made me exhale a very loud HA. Will be sending you one through the food chute.

      Thanks for the lush comment, it's a well deserved mention, your blog kicks ass.

      Delete
  3. Don't you dare change a dam thing about your blog, I love it just the way it is. Who is this pompous ignoramus to tell you how rubbish the blog is? What an arsehole

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  4. I'm not a blogger, I have wondered whether it is something I could do- but then I also wonder who in their right mind would want to read about my daily struggles with a little sausage (dog)!

    Such a rude email! Look how AMAZING I think I am, you too could be just this fab, just let me use you as an example of what not to do..... Brilliant. You couldn't make that up!

    Keep up the good work, I read because I followed your WW blog and laughed at your "homey" style and down to earth outlook.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would totally read a blog about life with a sausage dog! Oh my god, the fun you could have naming it!

      Thanks for the lovely words :)

      Delete
  5. I'm gutted I didn't get one or those emails :(

    Thanks so much for the mention and I love this post (not just cos I'm mentioned .. Honest!)

    I went for lunch at a local restaurant once with some marketing types. They were full on quizzing me about my stats and couldn't understand how I didn't know my exact page view numbers or why I was a Legal Secretary writing a blog (they laughed at that bit .. rude!)

    Blogging is my very very fun hobby that I love, if I started taking it too too seriously it would probably turn into hard work that I'd hate!

    Chloe x
    newgirlintoon.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. Exactly, I know some people can make a proper good career out of it, but I mostly love the little community of it all :)

      Rude marketing types, like we've memorised that boring information!

      Delete
  6. That email is ridiculous, but I love your response here, it's spot on. Your voice and blog are awesome! And never stop posting pictures of your animals! Hasn't she ever seen Ratatouille? :)

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    Replies
    1. Which is an awesome film and probably the only reason I've considering getting my rats chef hats.....

      Delete
  7. Awesome Friday post as always! I did a little hop, skip and jump at being mentioned too :)

    Can't actually believe that email though! Please carry on being as hilarious, individual and as sweary as you damn well please xx

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  8. Aw thank you for the lovely shout out, that made me smile a lot!

    You are 100% right though - I love a blog with personality, it makes me come back and read every day/week/hour - if all blogs were generic and the same, how boring would that be!? And I'm generally veeeery nosey so love the pics of your dog ;)

    Keep up the great work, Friday just wouldn't be the same without your posts xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why I love them too! My nosy nature tends to best me! Haha.

      You are more than welcome, your blog is awesome!

      Delete
  9. I like my blog because I can share not only recipes that mean something to me, but also a bit of myself as well. I write a lot of food articles for newspapers and magazines, but on the blog I can just be me. (That's way I love your blog, too! You're personality shines through!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Linda! I agree thats the best thing about blogging!

      Delete
  10. The first thing I noticed is IT Crowd...so hilarious! And THANK YOU so much for the lovely shout out, Emma :-)) One day if you decide to get some changes on your blog, don't move Thank FORK it's Friday...I totally love it.
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Angie

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    Replies
    1. Thanks angie! IT Crowd is the perfect way to add flourish to a post I feel!

      And anytime, your blog of bread and colourful salads makes me a happy chappy!

      Delete
  11. What an utterly ridiculous email and probably sums of a lot of what I hate about how blogging has changed over the years. If I wanted to look at plain old recipes with artily shot pictures completely stripped of personality and put together entirely based on money to be made and stats, then I would pick up a magazine or dig out a cookbook (not that they are all guilty of that of course!). The ace thing about blogging is you can have amazing recipes and beautiful pictures as well as getting an insight into the people behind him, their lives and personalities and what makes them tick. This morning I decided I MUST bake something with the peanut M&Ms I've got in the cupboard and so I went straight to The More Than Occasional Baker's blog and hit up the search box because I know she loves peanut butter and M&Ms and what do you know? Recipe identified and I'm off to the shop shortly! I struggle a bit with my blog, because I don't find it easy to talk about myself, I can't take good pictures or write witty posts, but I do it because I like to keep track of what I've made and I'm proud I've kept it up for over 4 years now and it's nice to look back on some of the horrors and see how far I've come. It's hard not to notice the pageviews or the lack of comments, the foodies100 position and the opportunities others get (especially when emails like that come around!) but I just keep reminding myself that that's not why I'm doing it. I'm still doing what I set out to do, and anything else on top of that is a bonus. (sorry for the ranty comment, this clearly touched a nerve!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I like your blog, so you seem be doing alright to me! Completly know what you mean though, blogs arent magazjnes, and thats why I like them!

      Delete
  12. Great post. I can't believe the cheek of that email! I'm really pleased with my blog at the moment as I've just have a complete re-vamp so it's looking all fresh and lovely at the moment! I think the other good thing about it is that it keeps me trying new things and experimenting.

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    1. Great answer, your blog is looking lush at the moment!

      Delete
  13. That email...wow...! I'm glad you 'politely declined' (to say the least!!). I love my blog but it is so hard not to focus on what I'm not doing, when I clearly should be focusing on the good things I am doing! Brilliant post and very inspirational. Thanks for the mention too :)

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    Replies
    1. Anytime! Yeah, some peke can be right turnips.

      Delete
  14. Good on you for declining, that email sounds crazy! WTF is the reply to go with... your post was super awesome and made me smile - way better than anything that weirdo could even try to write!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    ReplyDelete
  15. This post is straight up flipping awesome!!! GOOD ON YOU for telling whoever sent that candy-ass email to go screw. Who actually would ever agree to PAY someone who was such a dick via email? Good lord.

    Anyway, your blog is boss, girl. I love your flow, there aren't nearly enough IT crowd gifs in my life, I need to get that fix from somewhere! Thank you for the mention, and thank you for writing this post. We need to start a 'keep blogs weird' campaign! Should we get jackets? I feel like we should get jackets.

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  16. Love that you've posted the links to the blogs you read, it's great to see which ones you follow. Blogpower! (Like girl power but for bloggers). I wish I had more hours in the day as I love blogging but life gets in the way sometimes.

    The thing I like best is inspiring people to try new restaurants or foods. I love it when people ask me for recommendations or give me a recommendation for somewhere they have been. I could talk about food, restaurants and drinks for hours so any chance to do this is very welcome.

    I totally love the sense of community, I'm new to this game but most folks are really friendly and welcoming.

    It's Thursday today so come tomorrow you'll have another Friday post to entertain us all & I echo the sentiments above - don't change a darn thing, it's your blog, your voice, your choice.

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  17. I loved everything about this. Except the part where I had to read that awful email. I can't BELIEVE someone would write that. The level of boldness, rudeness, just downright meanness is crazy to me. Good for you for standing up to her. I might not have been as kind.

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  18. Aw yiss. This is an awesome post. Will you make me dog fart cake? I want to see that.

    On second thought maybe not, but thanxxxx so much for the shoutout! I made a little yelp when I saw that. Very surprised that anyone other than my friends like my blog too :)

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  19. Also, please tell us who sent that email. They deserve to be shamed. to be SHAMED.

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  20. That email certainly was awful. The only good thing about it is that it sparked the inspiration for this excellent and heartfelt post. I'm glad I'm not the only one who rarely goes to check their analytics. What I like most about my blog is that it is an extension of me. Aspects from my life were incorporated into the header and logo and also in my posts. It has been the reason for me to learn new cooking techniques along with writing, photography, and so much more. Because of it I've met such wonderful people in the food blogging and WordPress community. And nothing, I mean nothing, makes me happier than to have someone I never met to tell me they tried a recipe I shared and loved it <- and that is why I started it in the first place - to share and connect with the world.
    Renee at Magnolia Days

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  21. Seeing this today, when I really needed it because, you know, I work my ass off 7 days/week for free on my blog and my numbers still suck. Now I care a little less. You rock, Emma!

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  22. I love this post for so many reasons!! Hilarious photos are the best. Thank you!

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  23. emma, AWESOMENESS all around. I love this post so much. and, amen to never checking stats! ;) anyway, I don't have much to add, you took care of all the good thinking today.

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  24. I can't tell you how many times I have cried "Stupid-coriander-placement tears." This is probably the best blog post of all time. IT Crowd gifs are like the cherry on top.

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  25. What a bloody cheek that email sender has..... I'm like you I enjoy what I do so either enjoy it with me or go somewhere else! It's a bonus if foodgawker and the like take a photo but I don't have the time (or truthfully skill) to get it spot on every time I can deal with that; you are right they have an image to uphold - a bit like the Stepford wives - and I don't always fit in. But I would rather just be happy with what I do otherwise I would be in the nut house screaming about why am I NOT a millionaire yet? After all I have been blogging for nearly 2 years now!!! Why god damn it, why???? I have missed your Friday rants / posts since I have been away I am glad I am back to read them again :D

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