Exactly What I Do: Creating Posts

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This is exactly how I create new posts to ensure they are optimised for SEO, Social Media and displaying/layout on my blog (plus more). Lots of little things I specifically do which I believe add up and collectively help give my recipes the best chance possible to reach new audience and enjoyed by my existing readers!

How to create new posts for food blogs which are SEO and social sharing optimised (and more!).

This post is the first in an ongoing series called “Exactly What I Do (and why)” where I will share…well, exactly what I do for a particular aspect of blogging! It might sound like a strange series, but in all honesty, there is a reason behind everything that I do – or I wouldn’t do it. 

So this post is the first in the series. A good place to start I thought!

EXACTLY WHAT I DO FOR EVERY POST

When I started writing down everything I for for every post I write, I realised there were lots of little things that I do for a specific reason. It might not all be completely relevant to you and your site, but I thought it could be useful to at least understand my thought process. :-)

This post is quite long so I know “everything I do” will seem like a LOT of effort, especially if you are starting out. But honestly, once you get into the groove, it becomes second nature. I timed myself last night when I wrote the No Bowl Chocolate Nut Bar post that I published last night – starting from the moment I transferred the photos to my camera – and it was bang on 2 hours. Including editing photos and all the steps below.

So here is everything I do when I create a new post, starting with the photos I have edited (I use PhotoShop).

1. Prepare my photos 

Before I start any post, I select and web optimise the photos that I want to use in the post. The reason is because I often find that I write around the photos I have so I want them in the post when I start writing. So, for example, if I want to describe the incredible sauce in a dish, I make sure the post flows so that I have a photo that “shows off” the sauce right before or after the paragraph where I describe it.

Here’s an example – for this Chinese Beef with Honey Black Pepper Sauce. (OMG seriously, the sauce is SO GOOD!)

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 7.21.18 am

This is what I always do for my photos. Note – I only use portrait photos on my blog (except for some step-by-step photos) because they display far better (because they are bigger) on both my blog and on social media.

  • Resize the photos to 680 pixels wide which is the width of the body of posts for my theme (Foodie Theme). I do this in Photoshop.
  • Then I save a web optimised file (File > Save for Web) and save them in a Dropbox Folder where I have all my food photos (so I can access them from anywhere, especially handy for doing social media wherever  I am!).
  • I make sure the file name contains the recipe name because it helps with SEO. I also append text and numbers to help with file identification. So for the Honey Pepper Beef photos, the file names were “Honey-Pepper-Beef_680px_1.JPEG”, or variations thereof. That’s the typical naming convention I use (because I also have full size versions of each photo).
  • I create a Pinterest pin for the recipe (i.e. a long one with text). And I save that to the same folder. Here’s a post for how to How to Hide Pinterest Image Collages (Long Pins).
  • I create a 600 pixel wide photo of my “hero shot” (my best shot) for the purpose of the Featured Image. This is the photo that is picked up by MailChimp when new post notifications go out and is the thumbnail in recipe indexes. I resize the photo because images in MailChimp emails can only be 600 pixels wide – any wider and they appear stretched when the email is viewed in some browsers. (See point 6 for more information).
  • I create a landscape photo which I upload to the post for nicer display for Facebook sharing purposes (more details below).
  • I create a square photo because that’s what I like to use for Facebook when I upload the photo onto my Facebook page and drop the URL in (as opposed clicking the Facebook sharing button from my site). The photo is larger so I feel it looks better.

Here’s a snapshot of the folder containing the photos for the Honey Pepper Beef.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 7.22.49 am

2. Choose a recipe name

Usually I go with whatever name I want that best describes the dish. But sometimes I will do a bit of SEO research before settling on a name. Here’s a post on how to do that – Best Google Keywords for SEO. It does take time when you first start out, but nowadays I spend all of 3 minutes – at most – on SEO. :-)

See below for more information on SEO keywords. It strengthens the SEO to have the keywords in the recipe name.

3. Insert the Photos and optimise for SEO and Pinterest

Before I start writing, I like to insert the photos into the post because, as I mention in #1, I like to write “around” the photos I use in the posts.

Two key things that I do for every single photo I upload to my blog (at least, I hope so!) are the following:

a) Make the photo name the recipe name – This helps with SEO. Here are the Images search results when I google “Chinese Beef with Honey and Black Pepper Sauce”. Refer to the field marked “A” in the media upload step-by-step below for how to do this.

I don’t know about you, but every single person I know who Googles for recipes pretty much always goes to the Images tab when they are searching for something in particular. Myself included. So don’t waste this opportunity!

Photo Name SEO Search Results

b) Insert Alternate Text (Default Description) – This is quite important and it’s a little trick that I think really helps with Pinterest in particular. By filling in the Alternate Text field for each photo, when a reader pins your recipes, the text in the Alternate Text box appears as the default description in Pinterest.

This is really important because it gives you an opportunity to insert words to “sell” your recipe (read more about that in this post – “Sell” Your Recipes). I think it is rare for people to amend that text when they pin your recipe – I know I very rarely do.

And even more important, if you do not insert default text, then the photo name will appear in the pin description field by default. And if you have not inserted a proper recipe name, it just appears as the file name which can be something like “DSC9127.jpeg”. If that is what appears in the Pinterest pin description field, it’s meaningless – and a wasted opportunity to promote your fabulous recipe!

Also, in the Google search results above, notice how there is description text under the recipe name. That is also from the Alternate Text field for each photo.

Step by step

i) Upload your photos onto your blog. The photo Title (A) will default to the name of the JPEG file.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 3.49.21 pm

ii) Change the Title (A) to be the recipe name (to optimise to SEO) and change the Alt Text (B) to be your “sell” about the recipe that you want to appear as the default text in Pinterest.

PS The reason why I repeat the recipe name in the description field is because the Pinterest search is a bit clunky and it seems to me that text in the description field is picked up better than the bold recipe name that is automatically picked up by Pinterest from my blog.

Ddefault-Description-for-Pinterest-Pins

If you do not add Alt Text and if you do not change the photo file name to the recipe name, this is what happens to your Pinterest pins which you do not want!! The photo file name becomes the Photo name AND it is used as the auto filled description field in Pinterest pins because the Alt Text field is left blank. Wasted opportunity!

No-default-Description-for-Pinterest-Pins

As a friend so succinctly put it – I’d have to like someone A LOT to go to the effort of completing the pin description. So make it easy for your readers and put a meaningful default description in the Al Text field for them!

Here’s a tip for an efficient workflow – get all your photos ready and in one place. Upload them all in one go. Change the Title and Alt Text for one photo and copy that same text over to all the photos. :-)

4. Write the post and recipe

Then I do my verbal dump and write the post. I know there is a lot of chatter about tone and content, and I think that it’s very personal. Everyone should write in the way that flows naturally rather than trying to force it. It takes time – I think it was over 6 months before I found my natural tone. So don’t stress, just be yourself. You want readers to follow you by being you, not copying the tone of other bloggers!

For my recipes, I use the Easy Recipe Plug In because I know it is SEO optimised and I like the neat, classic design. The free basic version is a good one to start with but I bet you upgrade to the paid version fairly quickly ($25 one off) because the little extras you get (including more layout designs) are very handy! For example, my readers love it when I include small step-by-step graphics within the recipe. It helps them to have it on hand when they print out the recipe. And you need the pro version to insert images.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 7.38.24 am

5. Post Layout 

The way I lay out posts is a personal preference though I do have logic for it. My typical post layouts go like this:

a) Short (max 3 lines) intro text above the Hero shot. It’s where I put my “sell” of the recipe. I do this  to catch the attention of the reader, especially for those who are “drive through” readers, popping in from Pinterest (or wherever) to grab a recipe. Take every chance to engage with readers!

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 7.40.52 am

And here’s the other reason I am very specific about putting a “sell” in the first lines of each post – because it is what gets picked up by Google in the search results under the recipe name. You can see in the snippet below they are the exact same words I use for the intro text in the post snippet above.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 4.23.53 pm

I have always been very open that I’m not a tech guru and SEO is something that actually does baffle me. I just figured things out by trial and error. I use the YOAST SEO Plug In to ensure my posts are SEO optimised. But I can sure tell you that the “meta description” that I complete religiously for every post (see box below) which I expected to be picked up as the snippets in Google search results is NOT what is appearing in the Google search results, it’s the first lines within the post!

Here’s the YOAST SEO field for this post. You can see at the bottom the description I put in and the Snippet Preview provided which I expected to see in the Google search results. I fill out the Meta description field anyway – just in case it does start getting picked up!

YOAST SEO Snippet

b) The Hero Shot – After the introduction / “sell” text, I insert my Hero Shot. My best shot because it’s the photo people see first.

c) Few paragraphs of writing. No rules here, whatever I want!

d) Photo #2.

e) More writing and sign off.

f) Photo #3 – I like to finish with a photo before getting to more words with the recipe. I just feel it breaks up the layout of the post. That’s a personal preference.

g) Recipe (Easy Recipe plug in)

h) Nutrition table (I use caloriecount.com and insert a screen grab).

I typically only use 3 photos in a post. I’ve gotten into a routine of aiming to get 3 shots for every dish I shoot, and I feel like it’s a good number in that it is enough to show the dish in various states / angles without creating too much pressure on myself to get lots and lots of shots for every recipe. To much editing! :-)

6. FEATURED IMAGE

Insert your Featured Image. This is the photo that will appear as the thumbnail in recipe indexes. Don’t forget to rename the photo and insert the Alt Text!

Here’s a tip for anyone who uses MailChimp for their newsletters – the default image size is 600 pixels wide. So for anyone like me using a theme that caters for wider images (I use the Foodie theme which uses 680px wide photos), make sure you resize your Featured Image photo to 600 pixels otherwise it will appear stretched in your newsletter emails in certain browsers and email apps. I had that problem for months and months – no one told me!

7. FACEBOOK PHOTO

This is a personal preference. And it is a pain. It is something I started doing recently because I’m a control freak. I invest time and effort into my photos so when someone shares a post to Facebook, I want it to look nice!

Before I started doing this, when someone clicked the Facebook share button on a post, one of 3 things would happen:

i) One of the photos (not always the Featured Image) is auto selected and cropped into landscape. Because I always use portrait photos on my blog, that means the centre cropped photo is usually not very flattering! Here is an example – and this is one of my most popular posts. See how the top of the copped up Rotolo is cropped? That’s because Facebook just centre crops the photo.

Facebook auto landscape cropping

ii) An odd photo is selected, not the Featured image. Like for this recipe. Sometimes it even picks up an ad from the sidebar!

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 4.58.41 pm

iii) The 3rd scenario is not as bad but it is not a preferred option for me. What happens is that the image is displayed as a small portrait photo, like this. While the photo doesn’t display badly per se, it is certainly NOT optimised for Facebook by having full width images.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 5.22.10 pm

Also, I haven’t tested how Facebook shares are displayed on different mobile devices and browsers.

So to take some control over what is shared on Facebook, what I do is upload a landscape photo for each recipe especially for the purpose of Facebook sharing.

A pain. Yes, for sure. But I’m a big believer in diversifying and while my Facebook traffic is still very small, I am committed to trying to grow it and one way to do that is to ensure my posts are optimised for Facebook sharing. So I do this extra step.

By uploading a landscape photo, this is how the image looks when it is shared from my blog.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 5.14.48 pm

To Upload an image for Facebook Sharing:

I use the Simple Share Buttons plug in for my social sharing buttons. At the bottom of every post, there is a Share Image field and I simply upload the landscape photo I want shared on Facebook into my Media Library then select it as the Share Image. Here’s a snippet.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 4.50.31 pm

This is how the photo appears using the Chinese Beef example I’m using in this post when shared to Facebook. Much happier with this rather than Facebook just auto cropping the Featured Image into landscape.

Note: Sometimes when the Facebook share button is clicked, it will show a preview like the above photo where there is a small portrait photo on the left and text on the right. But on Facebook, it will switch over to the auto landscape cropped image.

Facebook-sharing-photo-display

8. “READ MORE” Break

I always forget this. Always! By inserting a “Read More” break in my posts, this is how I ensure that the latest post is not displayed in its entirety at the top of my homepage. I am fairly sure that this is a Genesis specific thing, so if you don’t use Genesis as your framework then you might not have a problem.

See how there is a “Read More” button under the photo where the text is cut off? I do that by inserting the Read More break into my post where i want the preview to stop.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 5.54.59 pm

The “Read More” break is this button here on the WordPress toolbar. Just insert it where you want to cut off the words that display on the homepage. Note: This is only relevant to my latest post.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 5.41.00 pm

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 10.28.45 am9. CATEGORISE AND TAGS

Don’t forget to categorise and tag your recipes! :-) Make it easy for your readers to browse and find recipes on you site!

10. SEO

This might be down the bottom of this post but only because I do it last! But this is one of the most important things that you must ALWAYS remember to do for your posts – SEO Optimise them.

I use YOAST which is a plug in for WordPress for SEO Optimisation. It is as simple as choosing and inserting the SEO keywords into the YOAST SEO field which is under every post.

You can read more about choosing SEO keywords for your post in this post here: Best Google Keywords for your Recipes.

YOAST SEO Snippet

11. PROOF READ!!

I am lucky, I usually have family members available who I call upon to proof read most of the posts I do for my blog (not FBC – they aren’t interested!!). If no one is around, I come back to the post later and do a clean read.

I am really convinced that quality content that is written well makes a huge difference to make blogs stand out. I’ll be honest with you and tell you that I’ve had quite a number of comments from readers who have specifically made mention of the writing on my blog, thanking me for writing “well”.

Believe me, I have made plenty of errors though – hey, I’m only human! But I really try to make my posts as “clean” as possible.

That includes the recipes. Especially the recipes. I am extra careful to triple check typos in recipes. It gutted me when I made a major mistake and a reader had a disaster with one of my recipes. I felt so bad.

****************

Phew! That is WAY MORE than I expected to write! Sorry for the information dump but I thought it was useful to put everything into one post. Social sharing and promoting is a whole separate post!

Just to reiterate, I know this is overwhelming, especially if you are new to blogging. But I promise you, it becomes second nature. The more posts you do, the more practice you get, the easier it becomes. Everything I’ve explained in this post I do almost mechanically nowadays!

THE KEY TAKEAWAYS

In order of priority, here are the key takeaways from this post:

1. Never forget your SEO keywords for every post.

2. Always SEO optimise your photos by changing the title to the recipe name.

3. Always add a description of your recipe in the Alt Text field for each photo.

4. PROOF READ!!

If you found this post useful, share it with your friends!

Nagi #FBC shares exactly what she does for EVERY post for SEO and social sharing optimisation! Click To Tweet

Thanks for reading! Any questions, ask below so others can benefit from the response!

– Nagi x

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The Food Photography Book by Nagi from RecipeTin Eats

Comments

  1. says

    This is a super informative post! I was having such a hard time figuring out “alt text” and also how to make my images the right pixel size for the blog, Pinterest, etc.

    Thank you for your tips. They are beyond helpful.

  2. says

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for writing this. I’m new to food blogging and it can be so daunting at times trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing. 😉 Thanks for laying it out step by step and explaining the rationale behind it. I follow this to the T now. Keep up the great work!

    Rachel K
    Feedingdaniel.com

  3. says

    Thanks for that awesome lowdown on how to create the best posts. I had been adding a description in the alt text of only the longer Pinterest pic so you definitely straightened me out on that one. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. says

    CAPTIAL “A” AWESOME! Thank you. I started blogging in 2010 and just loved the pretty pictures and sharing recipes. I did NOT love or understand that SEO stuff. As I rebrand my site I am cleaning up all old posts (what a chore) and am committed to doing it right going forward. Thank you Nagi for taking the time to pour out all that is in your brilliant mind :) xoLexie

  5. says

    OMG Nagi This site is so useful and so much information generously given. Thank you. I shall be back again and again I’m sure. I started my recipe blog a couple of months ago but didn’t tell anyone about it until I had a small bank of recipes on it so have only just gone public. I have worked as a professional food writer and food stylist (but I am not a food photographer and have no experience of editing photos etc) in the UK for over 20 years but in old media, so the net is all very new to me and i do feel a bit like an old dog trying to learn new tricks.

  6. says

    Hi Nagi, I am relatively new to your blog, although I’ve been blogging about food for a while now. I started out reading your posts here on FBC and I’ve learned a lot from these concise, common-sense tips that you so generously share. Keep up the good work!

  7. says

    Hi Nagi,
    I’m recently new to this site and just want to say Thank You! It’s always so helpful to find suggestions and ideas from successful bloggers! I do have a question—you say that you insert your Featured Photo and that you resize it to 600 for Mailchimp—where and how do you do this? I’ve always just used the Featured Photo option in WordPress which allows you to set a photo that you’ve already uploaded as the Featured Photo. However, the WordPress doesn’t give you an option to resize. What am I missing? Thanks!

    • stelliciouslife says

      Hi Lucy, you are correct you can’t resize your photos directly in WordPress you have to do that either in Lightroom or Photoshop, when you export your edited photos you can set the parameters such as dimension, meta tag, etc, and that’s where I change the height&width pixel size.

      • Marlene says

        WordPress does have an “edit photo” feature that lets you resize to you desired pixel width. If you click on an image in your media library, there is an edit media button. I’ve used it quite often. Is it not really resizing properly?

        • Natasha @ Salt and Lavender says

          It’s not a good idea to do that because you’re still uploading potentially huge file sizes (especially if you shoot in RAW format) onto your blog, and it can slow it down. It’s not really resizing the photo, it’s just displaying it the way you want it, if that makes sense.

      • says

        Yes, I do resize before exporting my photos. I am just a little confused about what she’s doing with the Featured Photo. If I were to size the photo that I want to use as my Featured Photo to 600 p width, then it would appear considerably smaller than the other photos in my post. So I was wondering if there’s some way that Nagi is having it appear as 680 on her blog but then 600 for Mailchimp.

        • stelliciouslife says

          Hi Lucy,

          maybe someone else can help as I’m not sure if I understand correctly.

          In the WP dashboard on the right sidebar in the Post Editor mode there is an option to add a featured image and an index image. This is where I upload the Mailchimp sized photo as featured image, and notwithstanding I upload the correct and bigger size (680) into the post. That way all photos displayed in the post are of the same size, and a separately uploaded featured image will be sent in my newsletter.

          In the event you don’t upload a specific featured image, Mailchimp will simply take the photos from your post.

          • says

            I think I get it—so you are saying you actually UPLOAD a separate image to be the featured image? I always just selected the Hero shot that was already uploaded as my Featured image. So you have two sizes of the same image, correct?

          • stelliciouslife says

            Yes, correct :-) I upload 2 different sizes of the same photo, but only one is displayed in the post.

  8. says

    Great post Nagi! Your workflow is very similar to mine. Thank you for teaching me about the Facebook share image. I actually use that same plugin but I didn’t know that was a feature. I just wanted to add- that in order for that field to show up, you need to “enable” meta tags. This option is found in the plugin settings. Also I *think* there might be a way to NOT have to insert the read more tag. Only because I don’t have to do that. It may be a theme thing? Or maybe it’s because I have “summary” checked in “settings”? Right where it says “for each article in a feed, show:”.

  9. says

    Hi Nagi,
    I have recently been debating with sizing my photos for retina display screens. I have learned that in order to do this, you save your image file as twice the size needed in your post then resize it after it is uploaded to your post. My problem is that the larger file size takes longer to load and I am hesitant to it. Do you worry about how photos display on retina screens?

    • Nagi says

      Hi Dahn! No I don’t, not yet. I’m worried about site performance because I recently got my site optimised. Until I bed that down I’m not looking at loading up my blog with double sized images. however, I DO use @2 images for my sidebar for ads for my eBooks. That makes a huge difference in image quality because the photo is so small. :)

  10. says

    Great post, so informative. The organization info with dropbox and the resizing info was game changing for me. I literally did a happy dance when I saw my photos on my blog when they were sized correctly. I aspire to get the work done in 2 hours…. It took me 6, but I had to set up dropbox, learn to resize without photoshop and make a checklist for myself on coding the titles so all photos over the long haul are the same. I cannot thank you enough and am so looking forward to meeting you in November in California 😉

    • Nagi says

      YAY YAY YAY!!! I know what you mean, I used to have so many dramas with sizing my photos!!! I’m looking forward to meeting you too – it’s going to be so much FUN!!!!

  11. Marlene says

    (Why did my comment default to my WordPress.com account and not WordPress.org, as it does for comments I leave on Recipe Tin Eats?)

  12. Marlene says

    Nagi, this post is pure gold! I could go on and on, but no need; that sums it up. The three-picture concept made me rethink; the few posts i’ve written so far have more including step-by-step for things I thought might be tricky. (Plus I find them helpful in others’ posts with regard to technique or texture.) When I’m ready I’ll seek input. Moving forward, I will apply what you suggest in the post.

  13. says

    Nagi, this site is amazing, thank you so much! I am a teeny tiny food blogger, who is trying to get more serious and get more views to her blog. It feels like so much work at times, but your invaluable (and free!!) advice has already helped me so much.

    I actually just created a Facebook profile with the sole purpose of joining the food bloggers central Facebook group. I hope I can get accepted as I literally made my profile 10 minutes ago!

    • Nagi says

      Hi Abida! I’m so glad you are finding useful information here! It IS so much work to grow your blog. :) It just takes perseverance, blogging smart, hard work and a little touch of lady luck. :)

      I will check the FB request list right now! You’re a doll Abida! N x

  14. Linda Thornbrugh says

    Hi Nagi, thank you for this awesome detailed post. I am a total newbie still building my blog. I used this info to fortify my “Before You Post Checklist.”

    Quick question, is the Featured Photo for FB the first photo in your post?

    Please keep these informative posts coming!

    • Nagi says

      Hi Linda! The featured post in FB is the one I upload to the Facebook box under the post. If I leave that blank, it picks up the Featured Photo in my post for Facebook. :)

  15. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this Nagi! I’ve printed it out and it’s become part of my “Bible” for blogging! I’m learning so much, I can’t wait for the conference in November!! 😀

    • Nagi says

      Hi Karen! The tweet I have in this post is using a plugin called Better Click to Tweet. I don’t use it on my blog though. :)

  16. Christine says

    Yes! Why do I always forget the ‘read more’ tag??? Also, the first thing I do is edit the publish immediately field to schedule for some future date. I once mistakenly published an unfinished post because I am rapidly losing my mind and it was only when I got a COMMENT (from a friend THANKGOD) that I realized I published the sucker instead of saving to drafts. Flustered doesn’t begin to cover it.

  17. stelliciouslife says

    Hi Nagi, thanks so much for this helpful post, there was a lotr of things I didn’t think of/do yet (like the image naming and resizing, so I’ll do that).

    I would have 2 questions/requests:

    – I see in your SEO screenshot that almost all of the categories are red and was wondering if this didn’t hurt your SEO results?

    – could you please make a social media strategy/schedule post to show us how and what you do to promote your content? I’m so lost when it comes to social media, and I have plenty of questions to which I don’t know the answers, like:

    – how many times to post on FB/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram a day?
    – what to post? isn’t it spammy if I post 5 times to FB reposting my old blog posts/recipes? Is there a ratio: some posts to be about thoughts, Real Life things and some about self-promotion? or how do you do it?
    – I read that there are programs/apps that post Pins in your stead, but that way how can you make sure a pin isn’t posted several times in the same group? Or is there an etiquette: you can repost old pins after some time has elapsed (1 week, 1 month?) or how do you make sure you do not violate the group’s rules?

    Sorry, but I still find this aspect of social media confusing… Thank you! :-)

    • Nagi says

      So glad you found this useful! Re: green light and key words order, mine are rarely green but they rank pretty well :) I think it is the perfect situation to have the keywords in the same order as the words in the recipe title to get the green light. But in reality, I find it is not practical so I don’t do it.

      Re: promoting my own content, yes I will do posts on it! I just need the time. I’m seriously lacking time at the moment!

  18. says

    Nagi! This is great!!!! And I’m very happy to say I do about 90% of this!!!! The only thing I don’t do is insert the photo in Facebook through share buttons… But I will now!

  19. Kathryn says

    What a wonderfully thorough look at all the parts of posting! I’m finally doing almost all of this (after going back and adding SEO to my initial dump of recipes when I was first getting started and had totally ignored that part!) I especially appreciate the in-depth look at how you organize your photos for different sites. I need to get on the LESS IS MORE train! Your photography book is helping me improve immensely and I’m excited for the recipes I’ve been photographing recently that will be appearing on my blog in the weeks to come. Now that the photos are better, I want to focus on using fewer in each post and doing more of these specific sizes. I use most of the same tech stuff as you, so this was particularly useful.

    I’m also curious about your SEO titles not matching the recipe title and how that affects your ability to rank. I thought I had to get to “green” for it to have a chance. Would love to hear your thoughts! (Also read through your Google Keywords post – so helpful. I know I have lots to learn in this area.)

    Thanks so much for all the advice and specifics – and the screenshots, too – such a help!
    XO

    • Nagi says

      Hi Kathryn! I’m so glad you are finding my book helpful and I can’t wait to start seeing your photos! :) Re: green light and key words order, mine are rarely green but they rank pretty well :) I think it is the perfect situation to have the keywords in the same order as the words in the recipe title to get the green light. But in reality, I find it is not practical so I don’t do it. Hope that helps!

  20. says

    Oh I kinda do most of this, but not always and it’s always a bit haphazard but after reading this through I had a couple of lightbulb moments – I need to get more organised!!!

    I spent way too much time with editing my photos and I need to cut down to three like you do too. All good stuff – as always.

    • Nagi says

      Photo editing can be such a time sucker. And photo sorting!! I faff around for ages trying to figure out which photos to use!!

  21. says

    Loved this and thankfully I am do most of this as well. So it looks like you leave the description field blank (in your photo) which I do too, but I always wondered if that is what Pinterest pulled for it’s description (rather than the alt text info). Obviously it’s not, I just wonder what that field is for.
    I hate that Facebook pulls the images wonky like that, but not sure I will commit to the landscape shot yet. At least now I know how to do it if I chose to. I also never noticed the issue with Mailchimp and the photo size because I don’t see an issue with the photos when I view them in my email. What a pain! Also ditto what Michelle asked about how your rearranged your key words. I thought they had to match the tittle to get the “green” stamp of approval.

    • Nagi says

      Hi Melanie, sorry I don’t know what the description field is for, I don’t use it :) Re: keywords, I replied to Michelle below!

  22. says

    Nagi, as usual, many thanks for your sharing.

    We are definitely in sync in approach, which is fantastic to me as I learned to do it all on my own! To know it’s your technique for each post helps me know I am on the right track, great post.

    Thanks for making me aware of the Google snippet and Yoast SEO plugin meta description. I never noticed that the first couple of lines “IN” the post are what’s picked up, not the Yoast SEO meta description! I still do that snippet, but will take advantage of that before-the-hero-shot-blurb from now on! Also, how you mentioned the ALT text and title is exactly spot on for what I do, too.

    New tips for me were the different photo sizes you do (Mailchimp, Facebook), while I use landscape for Twitter and FB posts, I will start using the 600px for my Mailchimp and see the difference in making a square hero photo for Facebook now. While I used to include 5 or more photos per post, you and others have changed my view in doing that, and my posts recently have been less, with my photography getting better I feel, to 3 (different angles). Less IS more.

    I always wondered about the calorie table, so thanks for that link for a screen grab!

    As for the Simple Share plugin, I do use that too, but no where do I find the Simple Share Buttons Meta field you mentioned (screenshot) at the bottom of every post. I too use Foodie, but the Pro version, and after each post in Edit mode there is Layout Settings, Yoast SEO, Revisions, Comments, Related Posts and then Scripts. Could you elaborate for me on that I find that info valuable!

    Thanks again, you’re Aces!
    Kevin

    PS – my site is migrating this weekend to MediaTemple, so hopefully everything will be normal soon without those darn pop ups after my site was hacked! I am hoping by Wednesday to be back posting again.

    • Nagi says

      Hey Kevin! Hope your server dramas are sorted now :) I use Simple Share Buttons Pro, it costs $10 or something like that. :) I am pretty sure that field down the bottom is a Pro feature. Definitely worth getting!

  23. naturalfitfoodie says

    Thank you Nagi! This is probably my favourite post so far. I’ve been trying hard to remember to take landscape shots just for facebook. In the past I took ALL portrait.. yikes! Thanks again.

  24. says

    Nagi,
    This is exactly what my husband and i were talking about this morning …(we’re deciding when to order your photography book) and he said “I wish she would share her ‘business’ thought process, too.” Then I found this post! I shared this link with him. We’re both going to use it as a reference!

    I especially love the tips about “Featured Photo” as I have been struggling with that – having a hard time understanding when it shows up, why people use it and how come I can’t make it work lol.

    Thank you, thank you from both of us!
    Noel

  25. says

    Back again! I have one question. What is the reasoning behind using Dropbox to store your photos instead of on your computer. Are they stored in Dropbox only temporarily (until you upload them to your website)? Or is that where you permanently store your photos? I need to get control of my photos before it becomes too big of a job to handle!

    • says

      Hi Nagi, I have the same question as well, are you using Dropbox like a cloud for all your photos or do you also back up your photos to another cloud? I need to organize my photos a little better for past posts in case I need to go back and find them and am wondering what other people do. Thanks!

    • Nagi says

      I use Dropbox because I can access my photos from any device, anywhere. :) I am often doing social posting when I’m out and about. I keep all my edited, web ready photos in Dropbox and the way Dropbox works, it replicates that folder onto my computer too. So they are both on my computer and in Dropbox which I can access from anywhere!

  26. says

    Thank you! So helpful to read the “why” you do what you do. I will re-evaluate how I handle photos. I’m definitely not taking all the steps you’re taking. That’s now my No. 1 priority! Thanks again for taking the time to put this altogether for us!

  27. says

    Great summary of all the steps and Nagi, I never realized I could put the FB photo I choose in the social sharing area of WP. I also need to remember to change that alt text for Pinterest Thanks for pulling it all together here and look forward to meeting you in LA in November! :)

  28. says

    Love this post Nagi! It also made me feel good because I do most of this already 😀 I definitely need to start adding a landscape photo for facebook though (yoast has a social tab to upload the facebook pic too). I also really need to organise my filing way better, you’ve inspired me to do that! I name all my photo files with the recipe title, but then they’re just numbered, so no idea what is what until I look at the “get info” – not very efficient!

    One question for YOAST, I see you’ve just put the four key words in focus keyword box so Yoast hasn’t picked up that they’re in the title, content etc because they’re not in that specific order together – have you found that doesn’t matter? I’ve found myself editing how I enter my keywords so I get each bit checked off, but would much prefer to do it the way you have so I have more freedom with my choices!

    • Nagi says

      Hi Michelle! To be honest, I don’t know specifically if the word order being different matters or not. But I can say that my recipes index pretty well, so I’m leaning towards “not”. I think having them in the right order is ideal, query whether it’s critical. :)

  29. says

    Nagi, thank you!!
    This post is priceless to a beginner like me, I’m usually all over the place when creating a post now I have a step by step method to go about it.
    I’ve written everything down to follow through.
    You are the best in your generosity to share the knowledge. Now let me see if I can get my someone in the family to oroof read my post.

  30. says

    Hi Nagi, thank you for this absolutely excellent post! :-)

    I follow a pretty similar “creating posts” workflow, to yourself, but you have provided valuable information to me here, like using a landscape photograph for sharing on Facebook.

    But most of all, I followed your link in this post to your explanation “Best Google Keywords For Your Recipes. I’ve been struggling for ages to understand how to set up an account, and why my account doesn’t look anything like the demonstrations of using the tool Google actually provide. It’s because I need to go through the part of actually setting up an ad first! Ah! Now I see, I didn’t like that part because I don’t like giving my payment details unless I’m actually buying something, but I see I can delete the ad after.

    Thank you for giving me that “eureka moment” I’ve been trying to get to!

    You have made my weekend. 😀

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