Tinned Tomatoes is a Scottish food blog written by food writer Jacqueline Meldrum, which focuses on easy vegetarian and vegan recipes. Jacqueline also creates recipes for some of the UK’s top food brands and writes articles for various magazines. Her first cookbook Living on the Veg is a fun guide to a vegetarian diet for children. Follow Jacqueline across social media: twitter, Facebook, Facebook group, Pinterest, Instagram.
What inspired you to start a food blog?
I started Tinned Tomatoes as a place to store and share my recipes. I’d been on a Web 2.0 course at a local University (social media was new back then), got home and thought I can do that and started my blog there and then.
What are your favourite ingredients to cook with (and why)?
I like to use simple ingredients in my recipes. I use cheap seasonal fruit and vegetables, grains, and pulses, as well store cupboard essentials and easy to find vegan products.
What social media platforms do you use most/find most successful?
I really enjoy using Facebook as I have a really friendly community on both my Tinned Tomatoes Facebook Page and my Facebook Group, Living on the Veg. My readers stop by to chat and let me know they are making and enjoying my recipes. They often share photos too. It always brightens my day.
I also use Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I don’t think Twitter is the same anymore, it’s not as chatty a place to be as it used to be, but I still like using it. Instagram is the thing these days, although I use it, I just don’t find my joy there or as Marie Kondo would say, it doesn’t spark joy.
Pinterest is a great traffic driver and I love browsing it, but they drive me nuts with their constant changes and updates. We think we might have figured it out and they throw all the rules out and start again. Sometimes it seems to happen on a weekly basis. I really wish they’d stop tinkering. Give me a hell yeah people!
Can you share the three most popular posts on your blog?
When the 5:2 diet was at its peak, my 5:2 recipes went crazy. They are still popular today, but not to the same extent. In contrast when looking at my stats I can also see people love chocolate cake. We’re either putting that weight on willy nilly or desperately trying to lose it!
Can you share any tips for newer bloggers who would love to set up a food/recipe blog?
Don’t just set it up with little thought like I did (although SEO wasn’t a thing, way back when I set my blog up).
- Think carefully about your niche, blog name and what you will share.
- Make sure the name is available across the social media channels first, then grab them quick.
- Do your research and learn SEO. Get it right on day one.
- Practise your photography:
- Always photograph in daylight
- Make sure the area you are taking photos in is clean and uncluttered
- Brighten your photos when editing them
- Resize them before uploading them to your blog post (your page will load quicker)
- Remember to name your photos appropriately before saving them (to help Google out) and add alt text when they are on your blog for visually impaired readers
- Find your tribe, there will be Facebook groups for your niche. Find them, join in, share and you’ll soon make great friends and learn so much.
- Post regularly! This can be just once a week and that’s ok. One good quality post a week is better than 10 poor posts.
- Enjoy it! Blogging is fun!
If you could go back in time to when you first set up your blog would you do anything differently?
God yes! Firstly, I’d think more carefully about the name. My blog name is so well known now I’d never change it, but I wish I’d thought more carefully back then. As I go through my blog updating it for SEO, I really wish I’d known what I do now. Mind you it might have put me off.
Which blogs do you love to read for inspiration?
I don’t have as much time as I used to for blog browsing. I used to keep up with all my favourite blogs every week and keep up with my blogging friends that way, as blog posts were more like a diary with a recipe, but now I keep up with my blogging buddies in Facebook Groups.
I find inspiration everywhere. Looking at what’s in season, checking out what I have to use up in my fridge or store cupboard.
I sometimes get inspiration by browsing in magazines or cookbooks too. I’ll see a technique or a recipe and think I could make a vegan version of that or what if I used that style but used these ingredients instead.
What are your blogging plans for the next 12 months?
I’m still updating old content (I have well over a thousand posts on my blog) and sharing new recipes. Once I have completed that I’ll decide what I’m going to focus on next. I’m in my 14th year of food blogging and still loving it.
What would be your perfect meal?
My perfect meal is any homemade meal I can share with my family and friends. My favourites are constantly changing.