This month we are with the wonderful Becca who is over at Easy Cheesy Vegetarian, which was formerly Amuse Your Bouche. Over to you to Becca to tell us more…
What inspired you to start your blog?
I started the blog in 2011 when I was job hunting, to give me something fun to do in between writing applications! I used to read heaps of food blogs myself, and thought it was something I could do to fill my time. I never dreamed I would keep it up this long (I have a habit of starting things and then giving up!), but running the blog is now my full-time job, and I absolutely love it.
Has your content changed much since you started?
Yes, definitely. At first my blog posts were just ramblings about my life, accompanied by some dark, blurry photos of my cooking. The recipes weren’t even that great – I once blogged a recipe and said ‘it didn’t work very well, don’t make it’! Now, I try to make my blog posts as valuable as possible to anyone who might come across them, with clear photos, good quality recipes, and lots of useful information.
There’s also been another major change to the blog lately – earlier this year I rebranded the site from Amuse Your Bouche to Easy Cheesy Vegetarian. It was a huge step to take, but I’m so happy with my new blog design. And the new name is much clearer, letting people know exactly what sorts of things they’ll find on the site – simple, hearty vegetarian recipes!
What have you learned since starting your blog?
I’ve learned that if you want to make a career out of blogging, you need to understand that it’s far bigger than just documenting your life. If you’re going to go to the effort of running a blog (which takes a lot of time!), you really need to think about who is actually going to be reading your content, and what sorts of things they will want to see. Just documenting your life is great if you’re only writing for your friends and family, but strangers are going to need a bit more than that to get them hooked!
What has surprised you about blogging?
How amazing the blogging community is. I’ve made so many great friends through blogging – both online friends, and those I’ve met in person. The vast majority of bloggers are supportive people, and there’s a real camaraderie – everyone tries to help each other out, with very little sense of competition.
How do you balance blogging and real life?
I treat my blog just like I would any other job – I work a few days a week, usually 9-5, organised around my toddler’s days at nursery. I try to turn my brain off in the evenings so I’m not constantly working, and I always put my phone out of my reach while I’m playing with my daughter. With so much blogging-related work able to be done on a smartphone, it can otherwise be all too tempting to pick it up.
What’s the best thing about writing your blog? And the worst?
The best is definitely the responses I get from my lovely readers! My favourite thing is when someone sends me a photo of something they’ve cooked using one of my recipes, and says they enjoyed it – it makes me so happy! I also run a private Facebook group called Easy Vegetarian Dinners, and the personal interaction I can have with my readers in the group is just brilliant.
I’d say the worst thing is the fact that there’s literally always some work to be done. I imagine a lot of self-employed people have the same problem – I haven’t completed a To Do list in years, as there’s always something new to add. I have dozens and dozens of tabs open on my browser, each one reminding me of a task I need to tackle! It can be a lot to keep on top of.
What advice would you give someone starting a foodie blog now?
Assuming they want to grow their blog, rather than just blogging for the fun of it (which is fine too, by the way!) – do your research before you begin. There’s so much competition these days, with new food blogs being started every day of the week, so you really need to start on the right foot, and try to implement best practice straight away.
Having said that though, try to be yourself as well – it’s fine to put your own stamp on blogging and be individual – you don’t need to do everything exactly how everyone else is doing it!
Has blogging brought you any amazing opportunities or experiences?
Yes! Thanks to blogging, I’ve been on some amazing trips – to Slovenia, to Sweden, to the south of France… The trips are usually organised with groups of bloggers to learn about the region (for example, to learn about a particular food that is produced there), and they’re so much fun. It’s always great to meet up with other bloggers.
Which have been your most popular posts?
My readers seem to have very similar tastes to me – they love hearty, cheesy casseroles and comfort food! One of my most popular recipes ever is my very veggie lentil bake, which surprised me a little – I didn’t realise lentils were so popular! My very basic posts are also pretty popular, such as how to make the perfect roast potatoes – rather than anything too fussy, I think people often just want to know how to make simple food well.
And which are your personal favourites?
I share a lot of Tex-Mex inspired recipes, which are probably among my favourites – I can’t resist anything spicy and cheesy! I sometimes have to restrain myself from cooking Tex-Mex every single day. Luckily, my readers seem to like those posts too! I also love anything with pasta, especially hot and bubbly pasta bakes.
How does it feel to be chosen as Foodies100 blog of the month?
Brilliant! Despite what I’m sure some people think, blogging requires an awful lot of hard work, and especially since it’s such a personal job, any bit of recognition is hugely appreciated.
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