Welcome to the first
Blogging All Stars!
This is a new series of posts where I interview working food bloggers to find out what makes their blogs HUGE, what makes them tick and what methods and tips you can steal for yourself! Here at Food Blogging Collective, we celebrate the successes of our fellow food bloggers and love to learn about their blogging worlds – large or small. Blogging All Stars is the place where you can find the BIG, BIG, BIG names!
My guest today is Corina from Searching for Spice. She currently sits at number 66 in the Foodies 100 rankings; for those of you not in the know, Foodies 100 ranks all UK food blogs in terms of their influence and reach. This is an amazing achievement, Corina!
#1 Why did you set up your blog? What was your inspiration?
I wasn’t interested in cooking when I was younger and it was only when my husband and I moved into our first flat together and I had my own kitchen for the first time that I suddenly developed an interest in it. I was reading a lot of food blogs and recipes online and as I tried things out, I wanted a place to record what I was learning and a place where I could save my favourite recipes. I thought of it as just a personal online recipe diary at first. I would just take one picture and wouldn’t edit it at all. Those early pictures are atrocious! I certainly wasn’t expecting to get an audience!
#2 When did you decide to turn serious/professional/full time?
It was only a couple of years ago that I decided I could make Searching for Spice into more than just a hobby if I worked hard on it. I was reading of more and more bloggers actually making a living out of it and I started to think that I could too. A year and half ago my youngest child started doing a few hours at nursery and I decided to use those hours to really focus on blogging. My photography was still terrible and I knew that the first thing to focus on as a successful food blogger was to develop my photography skills. I bought a DSLR and practised a lot. I also started to take my food photos during the day using natural light which made a huge difference as well.
#3 When was the first time you knew it would be a success?
That’s a hard question. In the early days I was very excited when I was sent free products to review. However, in the last couple of years it has been when I have started to make money from it. I’ve started to work with brands and been paid to write sponsored posts and develop recipes. In the last 6 months my monthly page views have doubled which is also really encouraging and I’d love to continue to grow at this rate.
#4 What setup do you use for your blog e.g. host, publishing platform etc.?
I use WordPress and it’s hosted by Siteground. I don’t have many technical skills and so far they have been really helpful whenever I have any technical issues that I can’t fix myself.
#5 What’s your best/favourite/most valuable bit of blogging kit? (it could be software, a camera, a social-media channel etc.)
It would have to be my camera. It’s a Canon EOS 1300D. I think these days in food blogging you have to take good photos. I definitely have a long way to go but my photography has improved immensely since I first started. My highest traffic sources by a long way are Google then Pinterest followed by other food sharing sites. Unfortunately, you may have a great recipe but people just won’t want to make it these days if the pictures aren’t good.
#6 What do you feel you’ve really “cracked”?
That’s also hard to say but it could be being able to get onto Foodgawker. I used to submit my recipes but they were always refused. In fact, I often gave up and didn’t even bother. Then, they gradually started accepting some of them and now, I feel offended if they don’t!
#7 What do you still have to learn?
Well, food blogging is always changing and there are always new things to learn. I have a whole list of things! For example, I’d love to know more about the technical side so I would have an idea of how to trouble-shoot when things do go wrong. However, the main thing I’d like to really get to grips with is SEO. There have been a lot of changes in social media recently and there is a bit of disillusionment around it. As a result there is a growing feeling among many food bloggers that focusing more on SEO may be a better long-term investment.
#8 What one piece of advice would you give to a new blogger?
Focus on creating great content that people will want to read. Don’t try to copy other people but look at what other bloggers are doing and learn from them.
#9 What’s your next project?
I have a few things I’m working on. I’m thinking of producing an ebook, although that might have to wait until after September when both my children will be at school! I run a successful monthly linky around the theme of Cook Once Eat Twice and as many of my recipes fit this theme, the ebook is likely to be related to it too. I’m also slowly updating the pictures and improving the SEO of older posts. As I began blogging a long time ago, many of my older posts have truly terrible photos. That’s probably a project I’ll always be working on! I’d also like to give my blog a bit of a makeover this year with a newer more up-to-date theme.
#10 Where would you like us to check you out?
My blog: https://searchingforspice.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/searchingforspice/ (My favourite social media!)
Thanks, Corina! We’ll definitely be following.