I’m generating almost 6 million monthly views on a $70 blog.
Stop spending money on your website.
My website is “basic”.
I’m embarrassed about my logo.
I hate it more than words can describe. It’s a hangover from a past project I dabbled in that never went anywhere.
I’m not tied to it. I could change it anytime, it’s been long enough.
Why the heck haven’t I done it?
BECAUSE IT DOESN’T MATTER
Well, it matters. But not enough.
Not enough to stop my little food blog that’s 3.5 year old, with the ugly logo and basic website design, from growing over 50% in the last 9 months, to 5.7 million monthly views.
Website designers everywhere will hate me for this post.
But gosh, every time I speak to a blogger and I hear the words “I’ll get my designer to change that”, I want to scream.
Scream with frustration that there’s this twisted notion out there that a fancy designed website is going to somehow bring more people to your blog, to grow your traffic, to increase your earnings.
STOP SPENDING MONEY ON YOUR WEBSITE
I know there are flaws with my website design. I know it’s hurting me a bit on traffic – probably…. maybe….
But how the heck have I grown my blog to 5.7 million monthly views in 3 1/2 years with a $70 out-of-the-box website?
Fundamentally it comes down to this – quality of content and knowing your readers.
I hate the term – “Content is King”. When I first started out, I understood what it meant on the surface but didn’t “really” know what it meant in reality, from a food blog perspective. Is it just about taking great photos and making great videos? Heck no. Great photos for questionable recipes = FAIL.
Great photos and great videos might bring flushes of traffic but fundamentally, the traffic and readership will be volatile if the substance isn’t there. No matter how likeable YOU are as a person.
My strategy has always been about the long game. The game where readers come once and come again and again and again….
That’s how to grow a food blog. That’s how I grew mine.
WHERE THE HECK IS YOUR BOOK?
OK, so confession time. Time is my greatest constraint, and my food blog growth book is way beyond its due date. It’s not because I’m deliberately sitting on it. It’s because blogging advice is a side passion, after my own blog, after my own business growth projects. and after….well, enjoying my life. Living my life.
Because that is, after all, the reason I left my corporate life in pursuit on freedom.
Food blogging advice is a side thingy for me. It’s not a primary business and frankly, from a monetising perspective, it’s not even a primary goal. It’s not that I don’t want to help. I just have to be realistic – it’s not where my focus is, unlike others who have made it their business strategy to monetise blogging advice.
I feel guilty all the time about not helping you guys enough. I can’t tell you how much it nags me – constantly – that I don’t put enough time into helping you guys grow your blogs.
Please understand my primary business is not about providing blog advice.
And I refuse to put out any sub-par.
I will never mislead you with a half-assed job. It’s not in my DNA.
When I release the book, it will have 100% of me in it. Right now, I’m not capable of that. Truth. I know you’re frustrated. But I can’t do a half-assed job.
But this post is a snippet of one of the things I’m going to be covering in the book. Stop stressing about website design. As long as your website is clean, functional and mobile friendly that’s all you need. Surely I am proof of that. Some people may argue that my website traffic may be even higher if I had a fancier website.
To those people I say – I’ve grown my blog to almost 6 million monthly views in 3 1/2 years using a $70 out-of-the-box website design that I have never spent a cent on getting customised.
Stop spending money on your website.
Concentrate on quality of content and your readers instead.
More on how to actually to do that will be in the book…
And I will be speaking about it first hand at the Everything Food Conference in Utah in May 2018. First food blogging conference I have agreed to speak at, first conference I agreed to fly 15 hours to appear at.
There is a reason for that. Because I truly believe that conference will be beneficial to attendees.
WHY HAVE YOU BEEN SO FRUGAL ABOUT YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN??
AHHH. Intersting topic my web designer friend constantly hounds me over. 😉
It’s not that I’ve consciously decided to not spend money on my website. It’s that the design I chose does the job just fine and is compatible with all the plug ins I need to do the job I want to encourage increased page views, so why would I go through the pain of getting a web redesign at this stage when I have other priority projects?
I use the original Foodie theme by Shay Bocks, and that theme has now been upgraded to the Foodie Pro theme.
Shay Bocks did an incredible job with that website design. Sure, it might not be as snazzy as the latest ones out there, or even the latest themes she herself has released. But it’s still modern and clean, and it’s clearly appealing to enough of my readers.
I just wanted something simple, easy for non-tech-geek me to set up. Something that did the job, something that wouldn’t conflict with plug ins that I wanted to use, something that was stylish enough (despite dated logo) to make it a pleasant place for my regular readers to be.
IF I HAD $10,000 FOR A WEBSITE REDESIGN…
I would have spent it on Facebook page promotions. I think that would have brought me far more value than the redesign, in terms of traffic.
I would get private lessons from a real-deal professional food photographer, in my home, in my lighting.
I would have hunted down a videographer, I would have invested in a studio.
All of this, ahead of website redesign.
And I say again – because the Foodie theme I use does the job just fine. It may look dated to you, to those who are immersed in the food blog world. But you’re not my readership.
My readership likes my website design just fine.
5.7 million views a month just fine.
STOP SPENDING MONEY ON YOUR WEBSITE.
If you have thousands to spare on a website redesign, be smarter about where else you can spend it – that will actually increase your food blog traffic / monetisation and your skills.
All you need is a simple, clean, easy to navigate website design that is mobile friendly ( <– Important point here). Fancy features and pretty designs will not bring you more traffic. (Proof – Smitten Kitchen, probably the world’s largest privately-owned-food blog, no fancy-pants features on her website, she is all about quality of content. Her recipes actually really work, she is a very skilled cook and damn she has good taste.)
– Nagi x
PS Next post, I’ll show you how I have my blog set up, what plug ins etc I use on my homepage, recipe index, side bars etc.