Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Posting: Frequency, Topics, and Accuracy

Lil Sis Birthday Bash 1

"You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, via PlainLanguage.gov
Sure you like to eat, but how often do you think you can talk about food? Every day? Every other day? Every week?

When I started, I wrote a few posts, then my blog languished for months and months because I couldn't figure out what I really wanted to write about. When I finally started to blog regularly, I discovered there were just so many topics I wanted to write about that even though I post every day, my queue got longer and longer. This is partly because I photograph everything. The more photos I had to work with, the more topics naturally presented themselves.

But mostly, I'm able to post frequently because I threw away those rigid parameters that I thought I had to have in order to maintain a food blog. Though I mainly blog about food, every once in a while I post about gardening or quilting or other musings. The gardening connection is obvious, the quilting not so much. Sure, it was a Sushi and Dim Sum Quilt, but the key is that I keep myself from being bored by varying my topics. Don't worry so much about what you're supposed to say, and just say it. It took almost two years of blogging before I even got around to writing a proper "About and FAQ" page.

So just write.

Tuong Ot Xa 1
Tuong Ot Xa (Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Sauce).

The more frequently you post, the more content you'll have for your blog. => The more content you have, the more your blog shows up in searches. => The more your blog shows up in searches, the more visitors you'll have.

If there's no content, there's nothing for people to look at. If you don't post frequently, people won't visit frequently.

Quantity yes, but not at the expense of quality. It's far better to write an excellent post once a week, than to post daily about nothing. Now, if you can write quality posts every day, then you're almost set. Almost, because that's still not enough and I'll address how to get your blog noticed later in the series.

Choosing the right topic also makes a difference. While I still post about a variety of topics, I've increased my Vietnamese recipes because of demand. I noticed my Vietnamese recipes garnered the most hits so I started posting more of them. A reader asked for an easier way to find my Vietnamese recipes. So I created a separate archive page of just my Vietnamese Recipes by Category, which then helped make my Vietnamese recipes even more popular. Many of my Vietnamese recipes are on the first page of Google searches, if not the very first item on the list. Sometimes it's because my recipe is the only one available online, but in many cases, it's the quality of the post that caused people to click on it, save it, or spend time reading it. The longer someone stays on your post (This is called "bounce rate" and I'll discuss that aspect later in the series.), the better the page ranking, and the higher Google rates your blog. The higher Google rates your blog, the higher you show up in searches.

The other popular topics on my blog are Little Saigon and San Gabriel Valley restaurants. And again, I responded by making those topics easier to find by sorting the Restaurants by City and Restaurants by County.

Of course, this comes from the supposition that you're writing content that someone wants to read about or what someone is searching for.

About that content, provide a reasonable amount of information. If you're writing a restaurant review, provide the address and phone number of the location. I know for some foreign places this may not be possible, but a restaurant review that tells me it's located at the corner of this street and that street, isn't very helpful. If you got the information from someone or somewhere else, provide the link so readers can get the information there.

Same goes for recipes. Give credit where it's due. Double-check foreign words. While I'm at it, please, for the love of Vietnamese food, don't ever misspell banh mi. NH! Always.

Also, please, please use spell check! A few typos are forgivable. A lot of tiposs n u don wan red NE more. [sic]

Some people don't care and can gloss over errors, I can't. I get jolted out of the story and it affects my reading pleasure. If I don't derive any pleasure from reading your blog, I won't be reading. While we can't be expected to catch every error, I think it's entirely reasonable to try to reduce them as much as possible.

The definition of a quality blog post is so subjective. What I enjoy reading may not be what you enjoy reading. I like reading blogs where personality shines through, where the blogger is engaged with others and is willing to share a part of themselves. Yes, it starts with food, but it's the blogger who pulls me back. If I just wanted recipes, I have cookbooks for that.

"People think I can teach them style. What stuff it all is! Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style." -- Matthew Arnold, 1898, via PlainLanguage.gov
  1. How to Start a Food Blog
  2. On Blogging and Food Blogging
  3. Choosing a Blog Host
  4. Picking a Name: Be Clever, Original, and Memorable
  5. Posting: Frequency, Topics, and Accuracy
  6. Giving Credit: The Right Way to Link, Copyright, and "By," "Inspired," and "Adapted"
  7. Your Online Identity: Blogging Interactions and Comment Policies
  8. Photos: Photography Tips, Storage, and Watermarking
  9. Design: Layout, Navigation, and "Above the Fold"
  10. Blogrolling: Will You Be My Friend?
  11. Building Traffic: Participate in the Community and Respond to Your Stats
  12. Measuring Success: Cheerleader or Nerd?
  13. Public Relations: Handling the Freebies and the People
  14. Monetizing Your Hobby: To Ad or Not to Ad
  15. Bottomline: Have Fun, but Protect Your Work
Did you find this series useful? I'd appreciate credit if you use any of the information. Thanks!

1 year ago today, Squash Blossom Omelet.


  1. Just writing to let you know I'm finding this series very informative. It's almost midway so just wanted to let you know I'm reading. Thanks!

  2. hey baby love....of courseeee i am going to do your event hehehe

    i made an eggplant dish which looked TERRIBLE a few days back. i am not gonna submit something terrible, baby! i'll work my bruised azz off hehehe wait for meeee

  3. JS,
    Glad you're still reading and that you're finding this useful.

    Haha! Just as long as you still love me! :)

  4. This is pretty pathetic, but my New Year's resolution (9months ago) was to at least post twice a week! And I don't think I've accomplished that more than a few times. I just don't have it in me, WC :(

    It's not that I don't ever have anything to say, i'm just very lazy, a procrastinator, and very lazy. Hopefully my weekly posts fall into the "excellent" category as you say.

  5. Marvin,
    Of course your posts are all excellent. Besides, I think that just proves that you have a life and I don't. :P


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