This is part of my Makin' Bacon podcast, you can check out all the episodes or subscribe on your favorite podcast player.
Quality doesn't matter. Too many food bloggers focus on increasing their quality and it's holding them back. I'm going to tell you why and what you should be focused on to maximize your productivity.
One of the things we strive for as food bloggers is to get better at everything we do. Most of us, when we get started aren't good photographers, are not good recipe writers, we don't know how our blog works and we don't know how to design a website.
We're learning all of this as we go so it's only natural that we keep trying to get better and better at what we're doing. And at the beginning, this is really important. However, at some point, it starts becoming counterproductive.
You can only get so good at some of these tasks before you're going to plateau, and a lot of people can get frustrated then. I want to explain to you why it's okay to plateau, why you should probably stop before you hit the max of your limits and how you can really focus your energy on things that are going to make more of a difference.
The video of the interview is also available on the Makin' Bacon YouTube Channel.
Obviously, when I say quality doesn't matter, I mean above a certain level. If your pictures are completely blown out, if your recipes don't work, people are never going to come back to your website. Yeah, we need to improve. We need to keep getting better up to a certain point though, and it's that point a lot of food bloggers don't look for.
A good example is food photography. Most food bloggers when they start out, they have horrible pictures. I know I did. Looking back at some of my original stuff, it's really, really sad. And I think a lot of people start out like that. I had never taken a photograph of my food in my life before I got started blogging 10 years ago, so I had a lot to learn.
My original photographs didn't look good, and I'm embarrassed by them now. But they were good enough at the time to get out there and start writing some recipes.
Over the years, I've gotten a lot better at photography. I think most people look at my photos and say, yeah, this is a well taken photograph. Are they the best photos though? No.
I read too many food blogs and I read too many cookbooks and I see too much amazing work out there to think that mine are the highest quality photos you can do. There are people that do this for a living and they do amazing things.
If I continue to spend more and more time trying to maximize my photography, it's really not going to help my site. Readers aren't going to notice the difference. It's already good enough for them, it looks like a great photograph but it's not the best.
And it's taken me a while to realize that's okay. I'm not writing my blog for me, I'm not creating this content for me or taking the photographs for me. I'm doing it all for my fans and if my fans are happy with what I'm doing then I probably should be as well.
Because trying to maximize my photography at this point is going to take a lot of time and I don't think it's actually going to help my blog at all.
This is not to say that if you love photography, you should stop learning it. I would never say that. But realize you're doing it because it's something you love. Or it might be something you're using to differentiate yourself.
I'm never going to be the world's best food photographer. I'm aware of it. So getting closer and closer to that skill level really doesn't give me anything at this point.
On the other hand, my friend Lori Rice wasn't a good photographer. Then she got into blogging, became a good photographer, and fell in love with the photography aspects of it. And now she does client work with photography. She teaches photography courses and she's an amazing photographer! (And I even interviewed her about photography).
For her to spend more time trying to get better and better at photography makes sense. That's her thing, that's her deal, and that's what she focuses on. So yeah, she needs to keep getting better and better.
But the thing I focus on is making sous vide and other cooking methods simple for my readers. Having better photography from already professional looking photography doesn't contribute to that.
I need to spend my time focusing on simplifying concepts, of putting out recipes and guides for problems people are having out there and making sure that it's simple and it's easy for them to consume. That's my thing and what I need to continue getting better and better at.
The first step is to look at your blog, look at your fans, look at what resonates with them. And start to narrow down what it is that makes you special and focus on it.
If your blog is for quick and easy desserts that working parents can make for their kids, then in your cake recipe, the frosting probably doesn't have to be perfect. It can be "good enough".
It doesn't have to be the spotless work of art that's going to wow everyone, because honestly it would probably intimidate the working parents who are reading the recipe. They will look at it and say, "I could never do that, so why should I even try?" But if it's a little messier, a little sloppier, they're probably going to think, "You know what, I might be able to pull this off!"
But if you have a blog that talks about making high-end wedding cakes, then every aspect of the frosting better be perfect because your audience is probably going to be people who make wedding cakes and they want precision.
They want it to look amazing. So you need to keep working harder and harder to make sure that your cake decorating is perfect.
Where for the busy parents, it doesn't matter, it's not what they care about. So you shouldn't keep pushing yourself in that direction unless you want to change your niche eventually.
Once you figure out what your main thing is, you can really start to pare back your other activities. This same concept relates to the quality of your recipes. If you're writing about competition style barbecue, then you better test that recipe 10, 20, 30 times until it's perfect and exactly what people are looking for.
If you're writing quick and easy weekday meals, then good enough is probably going to be good enough. They're not going to be eating it with this nuanced palette trying to determine what the actual spice mixture is. You want to focus on the quick and easy aspects in this case, making sure it's accessible to your fans.
It also relates to things like SEO. You want to make sure you have a good baseline of SEO, but if that's not the main way you get visitors, then it is probably not worth focusing a ton of your effort on it. The same with Pinterest or Facebook or all these other hundreds of tasks that we can do as food bloggers.
There's not enough time to do all them. It's just a simple fact. So you need to find out what really matters both to your fans and to the success of your blog.
And honestly, you also need to think about what you enjoy doing because that should play a large part into this. You don't want to spend all your time doing something you hate.
Once you figure out what really matters, then you can pare back the quality of the other things cause it's not going to affect the success of your blog. Focus on moving forward in the directions that matter. You're going to be more successful, you're going to be happier, and your fans are going to relate even more to you.
If you want to read some more about this, here are a few helpful links.