Building My Blog – August 2015



Welcome to my 14th monthly food blog update, all about what I’ve been up to on Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen in August 2015.

Building my blog August 2015 badge

As always I’ll share with you my experiences and hopefully pass on a few helpful tips, as well as the usual visitor and follower numbers. If you’ve not read one of my reports before and want to know a bit more about why I write them, then take a look at my very first report.

Food Photography Tips

Firstly let me apologise for the lateness of this post. I know I’m not the best at posting it right at the start of the month, but this is late even by my standards. The reason it’s so late is that for the last couple of months I have been promising that I would write a food photography tips post. Well I was determined not to write my monthly report until the photography post was finished and I finally completed it last week (yay!). I’ve had some really lovely comments about it which has definitely made the time spent on it worthwhile.

I really enjoyed writing the post, and I plan to write more in future, delving into different areas of photography in more detail.

Tips for better food photography

Pinterest

As mentioned at the end of my report last month, I had the boys home for the school holidays during August and so I cut back on the amount I was posting to make the most of the time with them. Therefore there is not a huge amount to share with you this month. I did though find time to understand Pinterest just a tiny bit more.

If you have a look at my Pinterest page you’ll see that over time I have joined/been invited to join over a hundred group boards. I was interested to find out which were the most successful boards in terms of repins, and whether different pins did well on different boards. My conclusions are nothing surprising:

  • The boards which have the most followers provide the most repins. In my case the boards ‘Amazing Appetisers’, ‘Best Comfort Foods’, ‘!!Best Desserts!!’, ‘Dessert Recipes’ and of course Le Coin de Mel’s ‘Food Blogging Community’ and ‘Food…free from recipes’ provided on average for each pin over 20 repins (with Mel’s boards c.35 repins). Each host of the board has follower numbers well into six figures and some nearing seven.
  • A common theme I found is that sweet things generally always do OK, people love cake and chocolate. However, main courses and side dishes tend to be either a huge hit or a total miss. I have two very similar recipes, my chicken chow mein and my salmon noodles, yet the chicken had on average 10 times more repins than the salmon!
  • In general the same pin will do consistently well/badly across all boards (there are of course exceptions, for example healthy recipes always do much better on boards that want exclusively healthy food). This though is consistent with a couple of articles I have read on Pinterest, which suggest that Pinterest will only show your pin to a small amount of people initially to gauge how popular it is. The more clicks/repins that pin receives the more Pinterest will show it to other people in their home feeds. It will also look at how well a pin linking to that article had previously performed and again link this to how many people it shows the new pin to.  If you are interested there is a really good article here providing an insight into how Pinterest’s algorithms may work.
  • Sunday is by far the best day for repins.
  • And finally… in general the perceived wisdom that longer pins do much better is true. I pin single and double pins for each recipe and almost always the double pin will outperform the single.

Moving to a .com

Back in May I changed my domain from a ‘.co.uk’ to a ‘.com’. Part of the reason was to try to increase my Google traffic, with the idea that I might get more non-UK visits being  .com. In case anyone else was having the same dilemma, I thought I would provide an update as to what I have found so far.

Google Visits non UK

Google Traffic – UK vs Non UK

As the chart shows, visits from Google have been steadily increasing since the switch. However, non-UK has been falling as a % of all traffic. In reality I don’t think the name change has made any difference whatsoever so far to Google, although I will continue to track and let you know if that changes.

A little bit of research suggests that if you have a non-country specific domain such as .com, Google will use other means to work out where you are based, e.g. where your hosting company is based and where most links to your site come from. In my case I’m with TSO host (UK based) and many of the follow links to my blog are also from the UK so it’s not surprising that it’s concluded it should show my content to UK based searchers.

A change that has happened is more of my content is appearing higher up in the search rankings. In June only five recipes had over 100 visits from Google in the month. In August this increased to thirteen, with three in excess of 1,000 visits. Hopefully it is a trend that will continue!

Visitors

August saw a healthy increase in the number of visitors, and page views exceeded well over 30k. After a period of steady increases, it was nice to have a little bit of a step change. There was no one cause, Google, Pinterest and direct traffic all increased by at least a thousand visitors each.

Site Visits - Charlottes Lively Kitchen

Charlottes Lively Kitchen – Visitor StatsPageviews - Charlottes Lively Kitchen Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen – Pageviews

  • Google – 9,667
  • Direct – 6,309
  • Pinterest – 6,022
  • Yummly – 1,516
  • Foodgawker – 644
  • Tastespotting – 273
  • Wholeyum – 237
  • Recipechart – 212
  • Foodyub – 180
  • Facebook – 171

Yummly was slightly disappointing this month, with a decrease in traffic after what had been a steady increase for the past 6 months.

Traffic Sources - Charlottes Lively Kitchen

Monthly Comparison of Visitor Sources

Followers

In August I spent quite a bit more time on Pinterest, in particular looking at other food blogger boards for inspiring food photographs, income reports and other interesting articles to add onto my own boards. It confirmed to me how many talented food bloggers there are in the world. This meant however that I wasn’t posting as often on Instagram, the result being a slow down in the number of new followers. Everything else was on trend, with perhaps a slight uplift on Pinterest.

Social Media Followers - Charlottes Lively Kitchen

Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen – Social Media Followers

Plans for September

Well being so late into September when I post this I know what I have done already!!!

  • As stated earlier my focus has been largely on completing the food photography post. Please do take a look if you haven’t already.
  • I also had the opportunity to write a number of review/sponsored posts and I’ll talk about my experiences with those.
  • Finally I got the chance to meet up with a number of fellow food bloggers at the River Cottage. I’ll be sharing a separate post about my experience in the next couple of days.

That once again leaves me to say that I am very grateful for you taking the time to read this post and I hope to see you here again next month (hopefully not as late in the month) xx


Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

22 Comments:

  1. It’s really interesting for me to read this, and see how different it is for a food blogger compared to mine. There’s so much more potential readers because recipes are basically what searches were made for, and so many more places to promote – although obviously the similarly massive number of bloggers and food websites. Looks like it’s all going well.

    • You’re so right, food is a great thing to blog about as there’s so many opportunities to promote posts and find new readers. I’m not sure I’d know where to start if I’d chosen a different theme for my blog!

      I’m really happy with how it’s going at the moment, but I feel like it’s happening naturally rather than me really driving the growth (which is great!). I’m hoping to get back to experimenting and trying new things in October as I love learning what works and what to avoid.

  2. Thanks for a really informative post Charlotte, it’s always difficult to know where to begin with getting your blog noticed. I think I’ll be taking a look at Pinterest, if I get some time 🙂

    • If I could only promote my posts in one place it would definitely be Pinterest. If you’ve not got a lot of time pick a couple of the best group boards and focus on them.

  3. Love the detail in your reports, sweetie, and the fact you noticed 2 of your similar recipes were performing differently on Pinterest! Thanks a lot for mentioning me and the Food Blogging Community. I’m glad it brings you a bit of traffic. x

    • I analyse everything, I honestly find it really interesting (I’m such a geek!). Your boards bring me more than a bit of traffic, they’re absolutely brilliantly and you should be really proud of them xx

  4. Really interesting and useful, as always! Love the scientific way you go about analysing what works best! x

  5. Hi Charlotte
    Thanks for this information- I am hopeless at Pinterest – i really need to look at it and I think you have just spurred me on (I don’t really ‘GET’ Pinterest) unless i’m looking for things myself 😉
    Thanks Clare

    • Pinterest is a great place to get visitors so it’s really worth spending a bit of time on it. Are you on any group boards? It’s difficult to build up your own following (mine’s still only small) so using group boards is a great way to get your pins seen by a much wider audience. Take a look at the ones suggested in the post.

      • Oh Thanks Charlotte I will – spent a couple of evenings trying to get a bit more done on Pinterest. I’ll have a look at the group boards – Thanks you! Being a newish blogger you post was very informative Cx

        • Glad you find it useful. Please feel free to ask any questions you have, I’ll always try my best to answer x

  6. Charlotte – very silly question – how do you pin to another board? see i have no idea on Pinterest 🙂 Thanks Cx

    • You need to get permission to pin to someone else’s board. If you click on one of my group boards (you know which they are because there’s an icon of two people on the top right hand corner) there’s usually instructions in the board description on how to join, along with any rules. Make sure you look on a computer rather than your phone as you often can’t see the full board description. Once you’ve got permission to pin then it’ll appear in your list of boards alongside the ones you already have and you can pin to it the same as you would normally.

  7. Great thanks i appreciate it – i will nail Pinterest if it kills me 🙂 Cx

    • Ha ha. You’ll quickly learn with blogging that you never nail anything, you just get a little bit better each day. There’s always more to aim for – that’s what makes it fun!

  8. You know what i’ve been doing this for just 18 Months – what did i do with my time before 🙂 cheers again x

  9. Charlotte could you please help me – i am trying to pin to someone else’s board – where it doesn’t say you need to be invited and i can’t – how do you do it? I am going insane – thanks Clare x

  10. Hi Charlotte

    Thanks – for example Dessert Recipe on Ricky Taste

    I think i’m going mad 🙂

    Cheers Clare

    • Hi Clare

      You always need permission to pin to someone else’s group board, but some people make their joining instructions a little clearer than others (and some people don’t want to be asked, they just invite people when they want to).

      We’ve had a quick look at the board you asked about. If you click on Ricky Taste (the board owner) and go to his first non-group board (called French Food) then you’ll see that people are leaving comments against his pins on there asking to join the group boards. If it’s not entirely clear how to join then have a quick look at their pins to see if people are leaving comments along these lines. If they have a website, you could also use their contact page (if they have one) to get in touch and ask to join.

      I hope that helps x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *