Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Ramblings – Food Blogging For Dummies Review

If you are a food blogger, or are thinking of starting a blog, stop what you are doing and read this book: Food Blogging for Dummies.  The only complaint that I have with it is that I didn’t have it when I pushed “publish” for the first time 15 months ago.

When Kelly contacted me to ask if I’d be willing to review her book, I was thrilled to accept.  I have long been a fan of Just a Taste!

I met Kelly in Nashville at Food Blog Forum last October and knew instantly that she was someone to learn from.  At the conference she spoke on recipe development and many things she said then have stuck with me.  The content of this book is no different.

This is me, getting a pedicure, craving pancakes,  and learning how to be a better blogger.

Kelly’s writing style is easy to follow.  And she presents information that is relevant, educational and useful.  The writing flows well and is what I would call “activating”.  Meaning that I wanted to take immediate action after reading Kelly’s tips and tricks.  I was really encouraged as I read.

Before shooting these Healthy No-Bake Peanut Butter Bites, I read the photography section in which Kelly gives some great tips on photography backgrounds.  (Spoiler alert!)  She mentions using a beat up cookie sheet for food photos and that every time she uses it, it looks a little different.  Almost immediately, I pulled mine out and shot these bites and fell in love with the sort-of “rustic” look.  You’ll probably be seeing a bit more of my beat up baking supplies in future posts.

Other high-points and take-aways:

Each chapter stands alone so you don’t have to read cover-to-cover to get what you need.  You can reference and re-reference as you need to.

The superficial stuff matters: pay attention to site design, “about me” page, even your blog name (Kelly talks specifically about this!)

The book is full of icons that draw attention to: helpful tips, things to remember, and things to avoid.

If content is king, then quality is queen.  Perfectly said.

The book includes a nice overview of photography with a dSLR camera.

View your blog and yourself as your brand.  Be the valuable and credible resource behind the blog.

Kelly gives real life examples of other blogs and bloggers.  She includes experiences of not only herself, but also from many others who are successful and inspire me  every day!

Things I would change:

As I mentioned, I sincerely wish this would have been written before I started my blog.  I could have avoided a few headaches.  At least I have learned from those, right?

I really have no other complaints.  The in-depth information provided is very relevant for the current state of the “blogosphere” but I could see that it might quickly become outdated so I hope to see updated versions in the future with more examples and information on the continued evolution of food blogging, and food writing in general.

Here are six action steps that I wrote down that I personally want to take to be a better blogger.  All of these ideas were sparked while reading the book:

1. Be better at responding to comments from readers; not just commenting on their blogs, but replying to the actual comment.

2. Make top 10 lists and “behind the scenes” and other posts to invite readers into my life outside of food.

3. Post a video!  What do you want to see?

4. Make an editorial calendar. Right now I use an Excel spreadsheet which functions well but I need to plan more diligently.

5. Be my brand.  (See above.)

6. Keep learning.  Especially in the photography realm.  I have a lot to learn!


Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of Food Blogging for Dummies to review.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own, as always.  I was not compensated in any other way to provide this review.  Some links in this post are affiliate links.


59 Responses to “Wednesday Ramblings – Food Blogging For Dummies Review”

  1. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — April 18, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    love this review! and i love you and kelly! such great bloggers 🙂 i like that list you made..i want to make videos too so you’ve inspired me!! thanks! what do you want to see? haha

  2. #
    Ryan @ Spicy Richmond — April 18, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    Love this post! I started my blog about 7-8 months ago and I wish I had read something like this before I started blogging too. I’m ordering it now on Amazon!

    • Cassie replied: — April 19th, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

      Let me know what you think!

  3. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — April 18, 2012 @ 11:02 am

    Cassie, I just love your blog and your review has influenced me to buy Kelly’s book as well! I’m excited to learn more about ways I, too, can improve my blog – photography, “behind the scenes” posts, and branding. What a helpful post, Cassie! I really appreciate your advice. A BIG thank you to you and Kelly. Can’t wait to read my copy. 🙂

    • Cassie replied: — April 19th, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

      Thank you so much, Sally! I hope you enjoy the book, let me know what you learn!

  4. #
    Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef — April 18, 2012 @ 11:30 am

    Sounds like a good read. I’m afraid I’ll feel like I started too soon. I hate it when I want to say, “Can I have a do-over??”

    • Cassie replied: — April 19th, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

      You won’t feel that way, I promise! It has great tips for any level blogger.

  5. #
    ErinCroutons — April 18, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    Well this is very useful rambling! Thanks for bringing this book to my attention, I’m gonna go grab this right now!

    • Cassie replied: — April 19th, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

      Hope you enjoy it!

  6. #
    Shannon — April 18, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

    Ah I want to read this! Thanks for the review, I was wondering how detailed or basic it was:)

  7. #
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits — April 18, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

    OK, you’ve convinced me. I’m going to order it. Although, I’m not sure I like the “Dummies” part. Can we now call it, “Food Blogging For The Sexy”? I’d be much happier to buy it.

    • Cassie replied: — April 19th, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

      “Sexy” would be a much better word!

  8. #
    Tina@flourtrader — April 18, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

    This does sound like a good read. However, I think my biggest issue is the time factor and I am afraid this book may have a lite of more things to do in addition to what I am already doing. But then again it may tell me to dump some of the things I am doing that are not a benefit… I will have to ponder some more on that.

    • Cassie replied: — April 19th, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

      I understand that, Tina! I have priority lists all over the place!

  9. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — April 18, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    I need this book!

  10. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — April 18, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

    Great review! I am reading my book right now!

    • Cassie replied: — April 19th, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

      Hope you enjoy!

  11. #
    Anna @ hiddenponies — April 18, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

    Oooh, I can’t WAIT to check out this book! I definitely dived into blogging headfirst and blindly, not even initially knowing I wanted to do a food blog – I have SO MUCH to learn!

    • Cassie replied: — April 19th, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

      I understand the feeling Anna!

  12. #
    Lacy @ NYCityEats — April 18, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

    Great review! I feel like there is so much more for me to learn and I too wish that I had read any blogging book prior to hitting Publish. I think I may have to go purchase a copy & soon because as you said I’m sure not too far in the future some of the information will be outdated. Thanks for the post!

    • Cassie replied: — April 19th, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the post Lacy! There is always so much to learn!

  13. #
    natalie@thesweetslife — April 18, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

    ahhh what a great resource!

  14. #
    Jennifer | Mother Thyme — April 18, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

    Great review Cassie! This book looks like a great read full of fabulous tips! I definitely want to get this.

  15. #
    Lemon — April 19, 2012 @ 2:58 am

    This is so interesting. It seems it is the book we were all looking for when starting our blog but did not find. Thanks for sharing this, otherwise it might have took ages until I knew such an interesting book exists.

  16. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — April 19, 2012 @ 4:03 am

    Great review. I should really get this book because I still have so much to learn!

  17. #
    Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — April 19, 2012 @ 11:37 am

    This review is pretty helpful – I’ve seen other bloggers talk about this book and I’ve been on the fence as to whether I need yet another Dummy’s Guide, but you’ve got me thinking I should go for it!

  18. #
    nicole {sweet peony} — April 19, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

    Wow, thanks so much for sharing your honest review! It sounds like a great book that I should get! 🙂

  19. #
    Choc Chip Uru — April 19, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

    Great review 😀
    I think I should definitely get this book to get a little bit of an edge in blogging!

    Choc Chip Uru

  20. #
    Catalina @ Cake with Love — April 19, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

    I will buy this book over the weekend for sure! At least I guess I am doing one thing right, I always relpy to the comments on my blog, and after that go an check the blog of that particular reader and leave a comment as well!

    • Cassie replied: — April 19th, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

      That’s great, Catalina! I always love learning from books, but even more from other bloggers. Hope you enjoy the book!

  21. #
    Sheila — April 19, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

    Oh my you are so far ahead of me my dear Cassie! I am going on three years and some of you ladies have started up and blown right by me in that time. I really need this book. Hep meh there’s so much to learn and know and do, it’s overwhelming at times.
    Thanks for doing the review.

    • Cassie replied: — April 19th, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it, Shelia! I have so enjoyed meeting you through blogging!!

  22. #
    Reem | Simply Reem — April 19, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    I don’t think it will be to late to read this book at least once if we are into food blogging ..RIGHT!!!
    thanks for sharing this is a great review… Thanks Cassie…

  23. #
    Melanie @ Nutritious Eats — April 19, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

    I can’t believe that there is a “for dummies” book about food blogging. Love it! I am going to have to buy this one- sounds very helpful.

    • Cassie replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 9:31 am

      Helpful it is, I hope you like it!

  24. #
    BertiesBakery — April 19, 2012 @ 6:40 pm

    I actually considered buying this book and then thought, “how good could it be?”.Sounds like I might have to reconsider?

    Thanks for the review and your honest thoughts!

    • Cassie replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 9:31 am

      Yes, I think we all can learn from this one. Hope you enjoy!

  25. #
    Steve @ the black peppercorn — April 19, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

    I didn’t lmow this book existed. So thanks for the info on that Cassie! I appreciated all of your pointers. It is interesting 9 months into my blog how many things I would change or have changed and tweaked. You learn so much just doing it eh!?!?

    • Cassie replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 9:31 am

      Yes, always so much learning to do. Glad you enjoyed the review, hope you are well, Steve!

  26. #
    Holly @ Life as a Lofthouse — April 19, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

    I need to get this book, pronto! :)))

  27. #
    Baker Street — April 19, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

    Sounds like a good read. Thanks for this review Cassie! 🙂

  28. #
    Anne@FromMySweetHeart — April 19, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

    Cassie…what a GREAT review! I’ve seen this book, but wasn’t sure if it was too basic, because like you…I first saw it quite some time after I already started blogging. But it sounds like you got some great tips from it anyway! And thanks so much for sharing those tips with us! : )

    • Cassie replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 9:29 am

      You are welcome, Anne! I hope you are doing well!

  29. #
    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — April 19, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

    I agree – I wish this book had been around a year ago! I still have loads to learn though!

    • Cassie replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 9:29 am

      I feel the same way, Jen! I learn new things every single day!

  30. #
    Kristi Rimkus — April 20, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    Nice review. I picked up a copy and look forward to diving in. Have a good weekend!

    • Cassie replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 9:29 am

      Let me know what you think about the book, I hope you enjoy!

  31. #
    Audra@The-Baker-Chick — April 20, 2012 @ 8:53 am

    Ok I just ordered it! Sounds like a great read 🙂

    • Cassie replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 9:28 am

      I hope you enjoy! 🙂

  32. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — April 20, 2012 @ 9:21 am

    Oohh, I want to get this book! I still feel like I have so much to learn!

    • Cassie replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 9:28 am

      It’s a great one to learn from!

  33. #
    Suzanne — April 20, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    Hi Cassie,
    Glad to visit your blog here, you have some lovely looking recipes. I have seen you on several of the blogs that I comment on too so it’s about time I introduce myself. Great post on food blogging, I need to get that book and read it too.

    • Cassie replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 9:56 am

      Hi Suzanne, I just jumped over to your blog and can’t wait to look around. Thanks for stopping by, so glad we connected!

  34. #
    Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl — April 20, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    What a great review! I totally need this book!

  35. #
    Luv What You Do — April 23, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

    That is a great review of the book. I had never heard of it before and learned a bunch from your post!

    What do you use your editorial spreadsheet for?

    • Cassie replied: — April 23rd, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

      Thanks for the comment, I am glad you enjoyed the review. The editorial spreadsheet is mostly used to keep track of my posting schedule, what I am going to post and when, etc. The sheet that I currently use is also the same sheet that I use for my meal planning so it’s kind of all done in one place. I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  36. #
    Denise — April 23, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

    Honestly Cassie, although I am all for learning new things and improving what we are all doing, I really think you have done a great job with your blog!! I love reading it and feel like I have come to know you a bit through it. I would love to see videos on in though. You could have your husband playing music in the background 🙂

    • Cassie replied: — April 24th, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

      Denise, thank you so much. I know that you have been with me since the beginning. I am humbled by your sweet comments! Great idea with the music too! 🙂

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