How To Stand Out from 227 Million Blogs

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How to make your blog stand out from 227 million other blogs | Another great tip from Food Bloggers Central

Apparently, as of April 2015, there are more than 227 million blogs….

I have no idea how many are food blogs, but a quick browse of any social media is all it takes to know how flooded the food “blogosphere” is.

Which, as a reader, I love! So many new ideas, sources of inspiration……

But as a blogger, my question to you is….

Does your blog stand out from 227 million other blogs?

Talking Bluntly

Sometimes on FBC, I’m going to write really bluntly. Because I know you want me to. Who has time to waste reading posts written sweetly in 5,000 words when I can write it in 1,500, just a lot blunter?

So this is one of those posts.

And I want to be really clear, that this is a post written for those who have ambitions to make a decent living from their blog. If you blog as a hobby or are not focussed on traffic and monetisation, stop reading. Please. Really. I don’t want you to read what I have to say.

Just a Reminder…..

And before you read on, please remember: A blog’s worth is not determined by how popular it is. A blog is a labour of love and it’s value is what it means to you.

AND monetising by means that is heavily dependent on traffic is NOT the only way to monetise blogs. I know a blog with a CPM of $50+ (that’s $50 per 1,000 views). Obviously it is not via ads. And sometime in the near future, I am hoping I can convince this blogger to share insights with FBC. :-)

OK. Back to business.

The Ugly Truth

For the vast majority of bloggers in this world, food blogs are a product of passion for food and sharing. But many of the blogs will never “go anywhere”.

You know what I mean. Less than 1,000 visitors per month, plodding along like that for years until they fade away. The blogger demoralised, just stops and the blog, after all that hard work and effort, dies a slow, sad death.

It’s the harsh reality.

So something I was very focussed on from the outset, even before I started blogging was this:

Standing Out

Even before I started blogging, it was obvious that the blogosphere was flooded and it would be a challenge to get a footing let alone grow to the scale I had ambitions for.

I want you to ask yourself some questions and be honest with yourself.

1. Are you copying the style (photography, recipes, the way you write) of a popular blogger you admire?

2. How is your blog any different from blogs you mould yourself on?

3. Do you blend in….or stand out? 

The million dollar question is –

HOW CAN YOU STAND OUT FROM 227 MILLION OTHER BLOGS?

Here’s my number 1 tip.

Pick Your Niche. Own that space.

I think the biggest mistake bloggers make during the growth phase is that they don’t pick a niche. It’s the same principles that apply to starting a new business and is something I learned first hand in my former life in corporate finance.

Here’s the context. In my former life, the company I worked for wanted to expand operations into a new country. They could have just set up shop and started to contact everyone and anyone, trying to win large jobs that all the major players were bidding on. But the chances of that succeeding would have been extremely slim.

But instead, we started with a niche sector, which in this case was “saving” distressed half finished buildings. They were easy wins because the big players didn’t want to be associated with them. And once we won those jobs, we were able to trumpet about them everywhere and build off that to start bidding and winning larger more prestigious jobs.

Starting small, thinking big. It’s my motto for almost everything new I embark upon.

OK. That’s Interesting. But how does that relate to ME and my BLOG?

Completely different sector, but a tried and tested method that works. It worked for me.

It’s impossible to cover everything. So get real specific and pick a topic that you can focus on. OWN that niche. Let me say that again. OWN THAT NICHE!! Watch as your return visitors grow as readers remember that your blog is an incredible source for brunches and breakfasts, or whatever it is that you chose to specialise in.

You aren’t trapped. You’re just growing strategically. By building a reputation and readership by specialising in one category, then expanding later.

That doesn’t mean you can’t ever post recipes outside your niche. Just stick mostly to your niche.

Remember: You want your readers to build confidence that you are an expert in that niche.

Do Something Different

When I started out, I focussed on doing some things that were a bit different because I wanted to try to get some quick runs on the board. I created recipe “guides” (like formulas) and created posts with multiple recipes on one page (like Pantry Pastas). I’ve written about these types of posts previously – you can read about it here: Stand Out – Recipe Formulaes and Multiple Recipes on One Page .

Using these, the “niche” that I became known for was quick Asian stir fries and noodles. I did a whole stack of them and some of these posts (especially the All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce and Asian Stir Fry “Formulas”) remain as some of the most popular posts on my blog.

PS I later built off the “quick Asian stir fries” and expanded into broader “15 Minute Meals”. Then more broadly into “Fast Prep, Big Flavours” which is my current tag line. :-)

Some Blogs that Stand Out

Here are some blogs that I think stand out for exactly the reasons I describe above: they are different and have a specific niche.

  • Lady and Pups – An Angry Food Blog (with a tag line like that, need a I explain why this is so unique?). Specialising in real (serious) Asian food.
  • Hapa Nom Nom – a food blog (just happens to be run by a member of FBC – the lovely Kathleen) that provides an incredible source of inspiration for new foods and cuisines yet made with familiar ingredients and are real easy.
  • Thug Kitchen – A vegan food blog littered with f-bombs that’s written in gangster style (but is actually written by two totally non-gangster preppy types! Hilarious!)
  • Immaculate Bites – again, a food blog that happens to be run by an FBC member, the gorgeous Imma. She specialises in African and Caribbean food and shows how they are (or can be) made with everyday ingredients. My “go to” when I want to go tropical!
  • Booze Nerds – where I go for cocktails. Plus, the writing is hilarious!
  • Scrummy Lane – fast becoming my “go to” for cool shortcut recipes but aren’t hacks (ie. no cake mixes on there). For example – gnocchi from scratch in 30 minutes, 6 ingredient Swedish chocolate cake (seriously amazing). Really clever ideas. Great for day to day cooking.

The point I’m making? Each of these blogs are known for specialising in something. Which is why I remember them.

Take a Hard Look At Your Blog

So my question to you is this: look back over the last 20 posts you did. Are any of these really unique? Do they stand out? Are they something left field? 

I’m not talking about whether you’ve taken a great food porn shot or whether they are recipes we all know are easy “popular potential” recipes (stretchy cheesy, pasta, dripping eggs, gooey sticky desserts, piles of pancakes with dripping strawberry sauce – you know the usual suspects). (PS For the record, I’m not denying I lean towards “food porn”. But I do try to make them unique)

I’m asking you if I think any of your last 20 recipes stand out against 227 million other blogs.

The Test

Here’s how to test yourself. Describe your blog in one sentence. Be specific. Don’t try to cover everything you blog about, just focus on your main types of recipes.

Based on that one sentence, will people who have never seen your blog know what type of recipes they can find on your blog? If yes, great!

Here’s an example.

Omnivore’s Cookbook is a blog that shares authentic Chinese recipes and shows readers how easy it is with practical step by step photos and plenty of explanations about Chinese ingredients that may not be familiar to Western readers.”

So it’s clear what kind of blog it is, right?

So first time visitors to Omnivore’s Cookbook – with the odds being stacked in the favour of coming via a recipe within her niche – are there because they are interested in that kind of food, right?

And people will remember her blog as the place to go when they want to cook real Chinese food.

So she stands out from the 227 million other bloggers out there who simply share “yummy food”.

Remember….

How to make your blog stand out

Hope you found that useful! And OOPS! I exceeded my 1,500 word count quota by 6! 😉

– Nagi xx

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The Food Photography Book by Nagi from RecipeTin Eats

Comments

  1. says

    I recently launched a food blog set in NZ, during the Zombie Apocalypse. I was thinking it might be too ridiculous, but reading this post made me realize that at least it is different – and I’m having fun writing the content. Thanks for the tips!

  2. says

    I adore this post, Nagi!! I have been pondering this theme too and that it is so critical to emerging and pick a corner. Plan to have the capacity to execute this counsel and emerge from the group. Much obliged to you for the colossal cases and your fabulous post! Thumbs up!

  3. says

    Hi Nagi, I’m finding your blog so useful- thank you! I’d wanted to start a blog for a long time and finally started one last year, mostly writing about things I wanted to, which has been enjoyable for me but discouraging when not many people have been reading it. Your advice is fantastic. I have now implemented the 50/50 rule for my blog and am thinking about my target reader as well as how to make my blog stand out. Time to take some risks and get specific!

    • says

      Hi Nagi, I’m finding your blog so useful- thank you! I’d wanted to start a blog for a long time and finally started one last year, mostly writing about things I wanted to, which has been enjoyable for me but discouraging when not many people have been reading it. Your advice is fantastic. I have now implemented the 50/50 rule for my blog and am thinking about my target reader as well as how to make my blog stand out. Time to take some risks and get specific!

  4. says

    Nagi, I’m reading this post about a year late and that 227 million are sure 500 million now. For me, your post is a reminder to put more thought into my blog. Thanks a million for writing and passing this information. Your words are always encouraging and informative. xx

  5. says

    Hi Nagi, first time writing anything here…I have been reading almost all the website in the past week. I feel is a lifesaver and exactly what I needed. Thank you so much! Moving on…my issue right now is that I have a baby blog nothing relevant and my goal is to go food blogging like you as a job and being my main income. Said that, I’m trying to decide if I should do my blog bilingual (Mexican, living in Vallarta -sunny beach times- good stable job but not my passion or dream #ups) and what would the implications over a niche would be because some niche ideas I was researching (as you can see I have been practicing what you post on the website) are great in Spanish but not in English or vice-versa {and then the naming is driving me insane because of that}. I have not seen much for bilingual resources or blogs and I was wondering if you have any advise and how the game changes because of that? Thank you once again.

    Dany ‘@’

  6. says

    This post really resonated with me. I’ve been chugging along as a “hobby blogger” (GASP!) but I want to to get serious. I’ve been posting (I wouldn’t call what I’ve been doing “blogging”) since 2012, and while I have readers, it’s not near the readership you were able to cultivate. Should I throw in the towel and start anew with a targeted niche, or is there a way to give myself a blog makeover and keep the meager beginnings I have in place? I’d prefer the latter since it is still a part of the work I’ve put in, but I think I need an objective kick in the rear on this front! Need help and advice!!!!

  7. says

    Ok, you and I just had my morning coffee together and the wheels in my head are spinning from all I read. I wrote notes and brainstormed ideas for an hour. This post has impacted and inspired me! I’m heading over to FBC group to ask more questions about this topic. :)

    • Nagi says

      I’m so excited to hear that! I love the idea that we just had a morning coffee together to chat about your blog strategy :)

  8. says

    Nagi, I thought this is very helpful. As you suggested, I looked into my blog and I concluded that it just blend in among the rest. I am in my study table right now and I am defining my niche to Filipino food; but what made it difficult is how can I stay focus to it when I also want to have more healthy food in the blog (most Filipino food are unhealthy and I am a health freak). Would I post Filipino on Monday and Friday the healthier ones? Thank you.

    • Nagi says

      Hi Shobelyn! I think that sounds like a great compromise. You know, even the healthy food blogs I know also share sweet treats! So I don’t see anything wrong with doing both – just make sure you tend slightly more towards what you say your niche is :) That way you’ll keep your regular readers happy!

    • einepriselecker says

      just read this, it´s a bit old, but you could also try to make the filipino food more healthy. Like healthier versions of well known recipes or so.

  9. says

    Loved how you took what you learnt in the corporate finance sector and applied it to food blogging! I too have a finance background and appreciate these connections! :) Thanks for the reminder on how to make our blogs stand out. Now for the tough part – finding interesting recipes and creating a space that makes people remember us!!

  10. says

    Hmm.. I think my blog stands out within the Norwegian food bloggers, but worldwide? Maybe not? I have to think about that.

    Once again: great post! And thank you :)

  11. says

    I have to say, I think my blog does stand out from the crowd… I think I am branded myself/blog enough to make it stand out… However, it will always be a work in progress too – and I am not one to EVER give up! :)

  12. says

    Great post, not to sound arrogant but I think my blog is niche I do recipes that are from my Caribbean heritage only I make healthy alternatives which are gluten and dairy free. Unfortunately I don’t think Caribbean food is widely recognised or even understood and that seems to be my issue, aside from only blogging for a year and still working on photography and traffic. Creating a niche was the first thing I considered when I started blogging I just need more exposure for what I do.

  13. says

    I love your bluntness–we all need more of it in life :) And speaking of being blunt. My tagline for A Mind “Full” Mom is: Real Food. Real Families. Real Inspiration (when people ask me what I write about I say real food for real families.) That may be too broad….I do have a disease that has changed my eating to clean and have a vast knowledge of dietary restrictions/needs. Any thoughts?

  14. says

    Loved this post, it’s definitely something I struggle with. I know my regular readers know me for taking classic ideas and giving them a twist, and just very indulgent desserts. But I don’t think I’m unique enough to stand out in the sea of food porn on pinterest!
    This post has definitely given me a lot to think about! I definitely appreciated the bluntness too, definitely more useful than sugar coating it all

  15. runwiki says

    I feel like a hamster on a wheel lately and this post was exactly what I needed to read. I consider myself a creative type, but my blog is getting boring because I’ve been following the pack. Time to step off the wheel and take a look at how I can change. On another note, love the blogs you featured. I clicked through all of them and they have beautiful content– as a reader, I too am bored with seeing the same 10 “big bloggers” I want new fresh, unique material to read as well! Your spot on!

  16. says

    I loved this article and I cooked from Omnivore’s blog, it’s a well written blog. Yes, standing out is very difficult and if you have a niche and stick to it with honesty and love you will be different. I was raised to be a leader and not a follower!

  17. says

    Yo have given me so much to think about, I have consciously stayed away from the usual suspects on INdian blogs, usual curries and dals of every kind!! people know me for gourmet made easy for Indians.. :) And now, even for my cocktails 😛 😛 But this was GOLD. I have so much thinking to do.. just designing my new website..and been thinking of tweaking the about me.. Now I MUST!!!

  18. says

    Nagi, I’ve been thinking about this topic a LOT lately, and I’m so glad you wrote this post because it is a reminder that I need to hone in on a smaller niche. Thanks for this!

  19. says

    Loved every word of it, Nagi.. Simply awesome post. I wait for you to post in this blog. I don’t know how it applies here, but definitely your words are worth it’s weight in gold. How many times I have read that, Choose your niche, choose your niche, but never before it has hit more hardly than now, even though I know what is gonna be my niche in furute, I simply didnt implement it. i am gonna go and look at my last 20 posts now.. Thanks for this post, dear

  20. says

    Thank you for this post Nagi! I have been struggling with finding a niche. I started off doing this for fun but I am now starting to take it more seriously and have been thinking about this a lot. Originally I was thinking “home cooked comfort food” but I’m thinking that that may still be too broad. I am now leaning towards taking a “back to basics” angle. Simple yet delicious recipes that everyone can make! We will see how it all works out, but this gave me inspiration!

    • Nagi says

      I’m so glad Victoria!! I think that Home Cooked Comfort Food is definitely a niche if you define it with the style of recipes you share i.e.. Winter comfort foods. Comfort Food is defiantly a specific style of cooking and types of foods! If you pop onto any cooking site, you can definitely see a theme. :) But I also love the back to basics angle too! I was thinking of making my blog “10 ingredients or less” as the tag line. But I blew that in the first recipe I did – oops! But I thought that was a fun angle :)

  21. says

    Great read, my niche is based on my way of eating. I need to work on the logistical & technical aspect of the blog, for me that’s the hard part…..the recipes are easy its the analytics, CPM, monetizing all the other sides of the blog that are a challenge for me. I learn more and more with each post you do, I am eternally grateful for the support you and others offer!

  22. says

    I can be a bit blunt at times, so I respect (and love!) your blunt posts 😀 To the point! This post is just awesome, and frankly, exactly what I needed to read. I’m about to redesign my site and was just thinking the other day, “how would I describe my blog, other than, just a food blog?”. Thank you so much!! I have to thinking to do :)

  23. Mira says

    So helpful Nagi! I still have a lot to do and this post is so helpful! Love all the blogs you mentioned, they are so unique!

  24. says

    Great post Nagi!

    I’m just starting out my food blog, it’s about Indonesian food. Before I started the blog, I read a lot of tips and tricks from other food bloggers but by the time started posting things I made a conscious effort not to read too much from other Indonesian food bloggers, just because I don’t want my content to get influenced by other people’s idea. It’s actually so easy to get inspired from the creation of others!
    I did feel when I saw a great bunch of photos, I was trying to emulate their photos, the setup, the lighting, etc. So.. I can totally relate with trying to build your content and owning your specific niche first.

    • Nagi says

      A blog about Indonesian food is definitely niche! I look forward to reading your posts – I LOVE Indonesian food. It’s also growing in popularity here in Australia, that’s for sure! :)

  25. says

    Aww thanks Nagi! So humbled you would mention me. I am always excited to read these posts , because they are very informative. Believe me they are. I keep saying I would have TOTALLY pay for this… “Beaucoup money”. And have done so. Yet you offer them for FREE. God Bless you!

    You know this came at just the right time, I am about to embark on another food related adventure and am struggling with redefining my niche. Definitely going to use this as a guide. Thanks

    • Nagi says

      Imma, you know full well how much I love your blog! As I keep telling people, it’s a cuisine I don’t know very well yet I usually have the ingredients I need! I love it. :)

  26. says

    You have just confirmed, for me any way, that I’m doing the right thing. My partner is a vegetarian, but I am not. Yet, I do all of the cooking, and preparing two meals was not an option. My recipes are vegetarian and carnivore friendly. Yay me! 😉
    Loved this post, Nagi. Thanks!

    • Nagi says

      I LOVE THAT!! I actually have a category on my blog called “Meat Free for Carnivores”. Being Vegetarian food that is SO meaty carnivores don’t miss meat! I must check out your blog. I bet you’ll have plenty of ideas for me!! :)

  27. says

    Nagi … lol … as I was reading the beginning of this post I was thinking ‘nope, I probably don’t stand out all that much – must look at that …’, then I saw that you’d mentioned my blog as an example to follow … hahaha! Blush, blush. Thanks, my dear friend … actually, I enjoyed reading your description because it has somehow ‘cemented’ for me in my head what my blog IS about. But I’ll let you into a secret … all these ‘shortcut recipes’ just means I’m a lazy so-and-so!!
    Anyway, thanks so much for this post. It’s a great reminder to keep thinking about this and working on it. Oh, and Omnivore’s kitchen is such a perfect example of how things should be done. I LOVE Maggie’s blog!

    • Nagi says

      But Helen! 90% of the WORLD is lazy when it comes to cooking! You’ve totally nailed it. Especially because your lazy cooking is MADE FROM SCRATCH without compromising on flavour. Do you know what i mean? I see 3 ingredient wings. Soy + honey + wings. Ew! That would be so flat. SO wrong. But you do 6 ingredients chocolate cakes that taste like they took 20 ingredients!! :) You rock. I love your “finds”!

  28. 918plate says

    I love the way your sentence about the slow sad death was structured, because it reads like the blogger is going to die a slow sad death, instead of the blog. 😀 It gave me a good giggle.

    I have blogged for 2 years and just now created a brand new blog and am trying to monetise it. It’s daunting, but these are good tips! Thank you!

  29. says

    Thanks for your blunt approach! I always appreciate that approach the most. I guess I struggle with this. I do healthy cooking with a global flair, but I’m afraid my writing style is too cerebral. I have a background in teaching, and I really want to help people understand flavor profiles and how to use them to get away from recipes and cookbooks. I’m really going to give this some thought, as I’m really not making a lot of progress growing my blog… Is this not focused enough?

    • Nagi says

      I think the focus of your blog is fantastic! And the passion you have for sharing and teaching is wonderful. :) Why don’t you try writing a description of your blog in one sentence (two at most) and giving it to a friend? Ask them if by reading that description they know what kind of recipes they will find on your blog. “Healthy recipes with a global flair” is pretty broad. Does that mean mainly mains? Sides? Pastas? You’ll get feedback right away if you try running that “test” by your friends! Hope you find this helpful! :)

  30. says

    Thanks so much for mentioning my blog Nagi! Although I’m feeling a bit guilty that I didn’t stick to my niche so well lately, since I’ve been making new experiments in Austin. lol
    Really agree with the point in this post. My traffic grows faster, and my readers got more engaged after I defined my niche and sticked to it. It’s really about being unique and do this one thing in a perfect way.

    • Nagi says

      You shouldn’t feel guilty Maggie. I think readers get bored if the only thing you do is in your niche so throwing in left field ones is GREAT! I love the fusion ones you do in particular. Really unique but I also know that they aren’t totally b4stardised Western dishes, they are REAL fusion. :)

  31. ciaoflorentina says

    Thank you ! I just love and appreciate your direct priceless intel on the food blog business!!

  32. deliciousmeetshealthywp says

    I love this post, Nagi!! I have been thinking about this topic as well and how important it is to stand out and pick a niche. Hope to be able to implement this advice and stand out from the crowd. Thank you for the great examples and your excellent post! Thumbs up! :)

  33. says

    I love reading all of your posts, Nagi! They’re always so informative and well thought out – and I LOVE your ‘blunt’ posts! Tell it to me like it is, don’t sugar-coat anything for me 😉

    Also, totally flattered that you mentioned me in this post! xoxo

    • Nagi says

      Phew! I was a bit worried I was being too blunt in this one. I can’t tell you how many times I redrafted it! PS No flattery. You really DO stand out.

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