First-Hand Advice for Beginner Food Bloggers

Oana Filip

We’re striv­ing to keep in touch with our cus­tomers in the long run and lev­el up the col­lab­o­ra­tion to a sol­id part­ner­ship. We believe that this approach helps us both improve our Word­Press themes and cre­ate stronger bonds with inspir­ing peo­ple all over the world.


Daniel and Suzanne from Diced and Spiced make no excep­tion. They are two culi­nary afi­ciona­dos who trans­formed their pas­sion for healthy food into an engag­ing blog cre­at­ed with Julia, our Word­Press theme. What fol­lows is an in-depth inter­view for begin­ner blog­gers who dream to kick-off a dig­i­tal jour­ney, but don’t have the courage (or the know-how) yet. Enjoy it!


Q: What’s the story of Diced and Spiced?

Daniel: Diced and Spiced is a cre­ation of myself, Daniel (D) and my wife Suzanne (S). We both chose to go veg­e­tar­i­an as chil­dren. We both grew up pas­sion­ate about ani­mal rights. I became keen­ly inter­est­ed in food and pas­sion­ate about cook­ing. It was 20 years ago when fam­i­ly friends start­ed urg­ing me to become a Chef. As I start­ed adapt­ing and devel­op­ing my own recipes that were free from meat or eggs a few even sug­gest­ed I should pub­lish my own cook­book. (You might say that idea was the seed that even­tu­al­ly grew into Diced and Spiced).

I embrace Buddha’s mantra “If any­thing is worth doing, do it with all your heart.” I know we’re still at a very ear­ly stage now, but we both share pro­fes­sion­al ambi­tions for Diced and Spiced.

Suzanne brings ele­ments to the blog that would nev­er have been there if it were my solo project. She has a keen inter­est in sci­ence and nutri­tion and puts a lot of insight and research into her “health bites” which fea­ture under select recipes. She also con­tributes in a big way by writ­ing lifestyle blogs, such as her veg­an per­fume review. (Def­i­nite­ly not a blog post you’d find writ­ten by some guy from Mon­tana). Last year we both final­ly took the next step in our long term Veg­e­tar­i­anisms and went ful­ly Veg­an.

Q: How was the process of this shift?

Daniel: It was actu­al­ly a much eas­i­er tran­si­tion than we had ever imag­ined, and that gave us an extra push to go ahead and start our own blog and start to share and to show oth­ers like us how easy it can be.

While all the recipes are com­plete­ly veg­an, Diced and Spiced is not only for Veg­ans or peo­ple strict­ly adher­ing to plant based diets. I do whole­heart­ed­ly believe there will be some­thing for every­one on our site, whether they are look­ing for veg­an sub­sti­tu­tions, oth­er par­ents like us look­ing for ways to get their kids to eat more veg­eta­bles, or just look­ing for a sim­ply tasty recipe.

Q: Do you still remember how you felt on your early days as a blogger?

Daniel: In the first post on Diced and Spiced, I write about the pres­sure of start­ing. I had pro­cras­ti­nat­ed for months because I felt like I need­ed the per­fect thing to start with. Final­ly I accept­ed that the first recipe didn’t need to be all things to all peo­ple, and after over­com­ing the hur­dle of mak­ing the first post, it was a lot eas­i­er to make the sec­ond, and third, and so on.

Eas­i­er, not less work. Some blogs, like ours, are more work than oth­ers. Cre­at­ing and test­ing a recipe takes time, pho­to­shoots take time. Of course there are all types of blogs out there and many of them do not require that amount of work to cre­ate a post. But regard­less of the amount of time, effort, or pre-plan­ning that goes into a blog post, I do think for any­one who has a fear of start­ing that the only way to over­come that is to start. So, that’s where we were com­ing from and that’s how it fits in with the rest of our sto­ry.

Q: What’s your biggest ambition with D&S?

Daniel: We’d love to help peo­ple improve their health by show­ing them sim­ple and cre­ative ways to intro­duce more veg­eta­bles and whole foods to their tables. To make peo­ple hap­py by show­ing them sub­sti­tu­tions and alter­na­tive ways of prepar­ing their favourite dish­es so they are not “miss­ing out.”
And of course to help ani­mals. The aver­age west­ern­er eats 202 ani­mals per year.

On our site there will be some­thing for every­one. Our grand­est hope is that vis­i­tors to our site will be giv­en the inspi­ra­tion and courage to use some of the plant based meals we share in place of their usu­al meat based meals. You could say our lofti­est goal is to save lives.

Q: Do you use your blog as a speaking-tube?

Daniel: Absolute­ly!
I think every blog­ger does…Certainly every self-pub­lished blog­ger, I sup­pose it would be very dif­fer­ent if you were a guest blog­ger on a cor­po­rate blog. Maybe that’s the great­est thing about start­ing a blog of your very own.

Q: What do you aim to accomplish with your food blog?

Daniel: Of course, it’s always been our ambi­tion that the site is a suc­cess. At the moment we’ve not attempt­ed to reap a mon­e­tary gain from Diced and Spiced, but progress is mea­sured in dif­fer­ent ways.

Shar­ing recipes with the vis­i­tors to our blog has that same appeal. It is giv­ing away some­thing I’ve cre­at­ed for the nour­ish­ment and/or pure enjoy­ment of anoth­er.

First and fore­most we want the site to be func­tion­al, attrac­tive, help our vis­i­tor find what they want (whether that’s a spe­cif­ic recipe or meal inspi­ra­tion), and hope­ful­ly enter­tain them a bit along the way.

Finan­cial suc­cess may be a pipe dream, but there is that hope that one day through the intro­duc­tion of help­ful affil­i­ate links and ad place­ment we could start to see a return on our invest­ment. Break­ing even on the ongo­ing costs would be nice, see­ing some reim­burse­ment from our time would be awe­some, if at some stage it added up even to a full-time min­i­mum wage job, that could be life-chang­ing.

The most com­mon com­plaint I hear and com­mis­er­ate with my fel­low Chef/Parents is that the job takes so much time away from our fam­i­lies. There are days when you don’t even see your kids (for­get about qual­i­ty time or bond­ing). Being able to earn some­thing while work­ing from our fam­i­ly kitchen would be an absolute game chang­er.

Q: What do you love (and hate) most about blogging?

Daniel: I love hav­ing my own space where I’m free to share what­ev­er I want, to freely speak my mind, to cre­ate, and to give. My pas­sion for food is at its strongest when I’m cook­ing for loved ones. I enjoy giv­ing food away far more than I ever did sell­ing it. Shar­ing recipes with the vis­i­tors to our blog has that same appeal. It is giv­ing away some­thing I’ve cre­at­ed for the nour­ish­ment and/or pure enjoy­ment of anoth­er.

The only thing I dis­like about it is the pres­sure I feel in between posts. The one thing I’ve always felt per­pet­u­al­ly short on is time. Some­times life gets in the way and I leave it too long between posts. If only I had infi­nite time I could write bet­ter posts, and post them more often!

Q: Which is your current struggle as a blogger?

Daniel: Find­ing the time. Behind the scenes it takes a lot of time to plan and per­fect a recipe, write the recipe, pro­duce the dish, pho­to­graph it, write the arti­cle, opti­mise the SEO, pub­lish it, and final­ly pro­mote it on social media. With all the unplanned things that pop up in between, I have yet to stream­line that into a reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled rou­tine.

It’s an uphill bat­tle. Alarms help, reminders help, deter­mi­na­tion helps even more. The beau­ti­ful thing is, because we’re work­ing for our­selves, there is no penal­ty for stay­ing still but rather incen­tive for mov­ing fore­ward.

Q: Do you have insights about your audience?

Daniel: Oh yes, we know every­thing because we use cook­ies. Usu­al­ly we use choco­late chip cook­ies. But some­times oat­meal, pump­kin, or snick­er­doo­dle.
Pas­try humour aside, I think we real­ly do know our audi­ence, in no small part because they’re very like us. Like us, they are peo­ple of dif­fer­ing lev­els of expe­ri­ence in the kitchen.

Some of them (like us) want to know how to sub­sti­tute meat or ani­mal prod­ucts in their favourite dish­es. Some of them (like us) are par­ents who want to find new ways of get­ting their kids to eat their veg­gies. Some want to be health­i­er them­selves. Some are strict­ly adher­ing to a plant based diet, some are even veg­an. And some of them are here just for the good food.

 This is what good food means for Daniel

Q: How do you keep momentum on your blog?

Daniel: We have a tra­di­tion in our house called “Nation of the Month.” And it’s actu­al­ly been a great method of keep­ing momen­tum. Every month we gath­er the kids around a globe and one of us spins it. Wher­ev­er it lands, we cel­e­brate that country’s cul­ture, cus­toms, and cui­sine! We have dis­cov­ered count­less new dish­es through the prac­tice.

Nat­u­ral­ly, we now share our favourite recipes from each month on the site. We have to post them with­in the month we’re cel­e­brat­ing, so there is a very organ­ic momen­tum to it.

Q: As a customer of our food blogging theme Julia, what do you appreciate most about it?

Daniel: Julia cus­tomis­es very well, and that was a very impor­tant fac­tor for us when choos­ing a theme. Of course being cus­tomis­able means that we can adjust things to make the site our own. It’s also incred­i­bly impor­tant for any site which is going to expe­ri­ence growth. We have big visions for DicedAndSpiced.com, but we knew we would be start­ing with only one recipe. The options and fea­tures of Julia meant we could make the site look great with 5 recipes, or 5000.

Julia is mod­ern, clean, and attrac­tive, and fits per­fect­ly with our vision of Diced and Spiced.

In addi­tion to being cus­tomis­able, what we love about Julia is the ease and sim­plic­i­ty of it. Word­Press is an amaz­ing plat­form for blog­gers, it’s no won­der how quick­ly it became the world’s most pop­u­lar blog­ging soft­ware. A good theme like Julia doesn’t com­pli­cate any­thing on the back end, but rather sim­pli­fies the blog­ging expe­ri­ence even fur­ther!

On the front end, Julia is mod­ern, clean, and attrac­tive, and fits per­fect­ly with our vision of Diced and Spiced. We espe­cial­ly like the respon­sive frame­work. The site looks great on every mobile device we’ve test­ed on, and it scales espe­cial­ly well through var­i­ous screen and win­dows sizes all the way to the full screen desk­top.

Q: What are we missing at the time being with Julia?

Daniel: I would love to see recipe schema incor­po­rat­ed into Julia. Julia makes beau­ti­ful work of recipes writ­ten in Jetpack’s [recipe] short­code. Jet­pack assigns recipe schema for name, recipeYield, and total­Time.

It would be amaz­ing if Julia con­nect­ed the ‘meta­dots’ for image, author, descrip­tion, recipeIn­gre­di­ent, and recipe­In­struc­tions! You could even go a step fur­ther by iden­ti­fy­ing recipeCat­e­go­ry and recipeCui­sine based on the assigned Cat­e­gories of the recipe. It would be a pow­er­ful fea­ture for a theme that’s built for the food blog­ger, sav­ing recipe authors such as myself a lot of time, and it would be invalu­able to the SEO scores of sites built on Julia.


Conclusion

After an intense ping-pong of ideas with the guys and gals behind Diced and Spiced, we thought it would be great to put togeth­er a list of take­aways which any begin­ner blog­ger could ben­e­fit of. Here you go:

  • Find a strong mantra around your pas­sions and explore it through the pow­er of blog­ging (start from your hob­bies and core val­ues)
  • Don’t be shy in bring­ing oth­er peo­ple on board to con­tribute to your blog. Their dif­fer­ent approach and com­ple­men­tary know-how can expose you to new audi­ences.
  • Write down the mis­sion and goals for your blog and be con­sis­tent in writ­ing con­tent in line with those state­ments.
  • Explore ways to impact the non-dig­i­tal world through what you do on your blog (run work­shops, mee­tups, train­ings in the offline as well to cre­ate stronger bonds)
  • Make your blog tru­ly yours by being coher­ent in every sin­gle action (from the tone of voice of your arti­cles to the pho­tographs you use inside your sto­ries)
  • Devel­op a rou­tine to help you keep momen­tum and to always have a clear focus with your blog (con­tent cal­en­dars, for instance, work great)

There’s no bet­ter end­ing to this inter­view than the fol­low­ing video from Daniel and Suzanne. Push the play but­ton and hear once again first-hand blog­ging advice. Now it’s your turn to shape a dig­i­tal path! 🙏

Learn first-hand advice for beginner food bloggers from the creators of DicedandSpiced.com
Oana Filip
Oana Filip

Digital storyteller @Pixelgrade and community builder for creative industries. A true believer in the power of making the world a better place.