Cooking To Cash: A Guide to Food Photography and Monetizing Your Foodie Blog

June 13, 2017

A lucky handful of food bloggers have found the recipe for success and have been able to create a large following for their blogs.  With that large following, they have been able to generate an income from their blog – sometimes even substantial incomes.

Case in point, Lindsay and Bjork Ostrom, the couple behind Pinch of Yum, were able to make blogging their full-time job.Their blog earned more than $430,000 from Dec. 2015 through November 2016, according to a Huffington Post profile. Other successful food blogs like Cookie + Kate and Sally’s Baking Addiction are making money as well.

How have they been able to accomplish this?

Certainly, there are plenty of qualities that go into a successful blog, but two qualities that we would like to emphasize here are the value of photography and keyword targeting.

The Value of Good Food Photography

Let’s face it, the web is image focused.  Let’s also realize that we like looking at photos of delicious food almost as much as we like eating it.

Food photos are eye-catching and high quality images will set your blog apart from others. Buy a good digital SLR camera and photo editing software. Yes, it’s a big upfront investment, but it will pay off if you would like to have a successful food blog.

Also, consider scouring house sales and flea markets for interesting looking serving plates and accessories that will create a unique backdrop for the foods you’re presenting.

Set up Pinterest and Instagram accounts and publish your blog photos there. Then link back to your blog to drive more traffic there.  Food and drink is the most-pinned and most-browsed Pinterest category, according to Cision. And food photos are a natural for Instagram.

Cookie + Kate has some great tips for how to compose effective and aesthetic food photographs.

Keyword Targeting and Other Blog Marketing Tools

Use keywords effectively. Go for specific “long tail” keywords: simply adding the word “vegan” or “high-protein” to a generic recipe title will push it upwards into less competitive search territory.

Also, attract readers to your posts by writing intriguing headlines that make people want to read on.

Bloggers with large followings can make money from advertising on their site. Well known ad networks include Google AdSense and MediaNet. They pay based on cost per impression, so the blog’s followers need to number in the 1,000+ category. Others pay based on click through rate, or the number of clicks an ad gets. The Foodie Blogroll Publisher Program is designed specifically for food bloggers and helps them monetize their blog and social network pages.

Some bloggers charge a subscription fee. You can do this yourself by charging a small amount, or use a service like ConnectPal. ConnectPal is a social media site where members set their own monthly fee to let people view their ConnectPal pages. Users can add videos, audio and photos to their pages.  It’s free to set up an an account and users can promote their ConnectPal presence by linking to it from their other social media profiles.

Mentioning specific products or ingredients can be a way to get paid endorsements from the companies that make or market them. But if you decide to go this route, choose your product carefully. Make sure it’s a good fit for your blog’s personality and focus.

Most blogging experts recommend cultivating a diverse stream of revenue sources. While none of the above may generate a ton of money, together they could add up to freedom from day jobs.

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