Startup Costs: $10,000 - $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes
It is hard to think of an industry that has broader appeal than tasty food!
Ask the Expert: Timofey Drozhzhin, Co-owner & Operations Manager of Momsdish
What is the first step to getting started as a food blogger?
Determine if you’re ready. Being a blogger is rewarding, but it’s not for everyone. Get plugged into the communities and listen to the stories of many bloggers. Take your time and determine if you are truly ready to commit the next 3-4 years of your life (or longer)
Get connected. The blogging field is constantly evolving. What worked last year may not work this year. Get connected with the leaders in the blogging community and really tap into the entire ecosystem of the blogging world. There are industry-specific SEO, newsletter, web design, revenue experts, that will guide you in the right direction.
Start publishing. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be. The blogging space is getting more congested as more and more people realize the potential. We started a few years after some of our close friends in the community and years later, we are still working super hard to stay relevant and competitive.
What are the current trends, and what type of person is a great fit to try this?
Judging by the trends, we can make one assumption: the audience clearly showed that they are more interested in independent creators than big media companies. Second, the advertisers have yielded higher returns on their investments with independent bloggers and influencers than with the traditional television platform. This leads me to believe that this industry is not only here to stay but will continue flourishing as more tools become available and more creators join in. Anyone willing to take a beating for 3-4 years. Quite literally, blogging is open for anyone willing to pick up the mic and sing hard. The only caveat is to be willing to continuously learn, work late nights, and not look back for at least 3-4 years.
How much money can a person expect to make in the first year and in five years when food blogging?
I know creators that grew to make $400,000/month after three years. I also know those that made around $1,500,000/month eight years into their journey. At the same time, I know those who after spending 10 years in the game, gave up and left the industry. A blog can be a bit tricky to predict because it works a lot like releasing a music album - it all comes down to the content and the execution of it. Overall, for us, it took about one year of hard work before my wife was able to join the company full-time. In year 2, I joined the company full-time. In year 3, we were able to add a total of 7 people to the team.
What kind of experience/training do you need to have?
The blogging industry is a hybrid of software and social media. You have the social media presence mostly for brand awareness, public relations, and your hard-core fans (we love our fans!). At the same time, you have an entire software platform that needs to be built and maintained to provide the product to the audience. This hybrid system leaves us with two important skills – marketing for social media and technical experience for the backend. You’ll notice that I never mention the need for cooking experience or shooting photos. They’re still expected, but surprisingly take up a smaller part of the actual work to thrive.
What do you wish you knew when you were just starting out?
Getting plugged in. This is by far the most important part. Get plugged into the blogging community. The further you can pierce into the community of existing bloggers, the better you’ll be guided. As a first step, find a good Facebook community or a local conference to better understand the field.
Do everything in your power to get accepted into an ad network. The two top choices for bloggers are AdThrive and Mediavine. AdThrive tends to be more selective, but it consists of many top bloggers. Once you’re in the ad network, you will be introduced to their invitation-only groups and linked to most of the resources you will need to grow.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Maybe you don’t like WordPress, a platform most bloggers are using. Don’t try to go out and reinvent the wheel on a different platform. Truth be told, the majority of the industry works on WordPress and most of the tools and tutorials are all based on WordPress. Unless you have millions to play with, just stick to WordPress. Follow closely with the formula that helps many other bloggers grow.
Enough is better than nothing. Avoid being a perfectionist. It’s better to do what you can than nothing at all. The content creator industry requires you to be the kind of person that can constantly tend to a garden and that can get exhausting. We live by the mantra that “some is better than none”.
Who are your customers and where do you find them?
Our main target audience is ordinary people searching for recipes on Google or social media. That’s why a lot of our work goes into research to understand what the customers are searching for before we publish new food recipes. Our acquisition channels always change. It used to be that Facebook and Pinterest were big sources, then long-form videos started to bring in new fans. Things are always evolving so quickly. Right now, short video clips are trending and who knows how long that will last!
What type of growth can be realistically expected year over year?
The growth depends on the industry type, the platform you're building on, and your talent. Nothing should be expected, but if everything is done right, this growth curve is very similar for everyone.
For a good, healthy blog, this is the most common curve that we see today:
- After 12 months: ~35,000 monthly page views
- First 5 years: 200-300% annual growth
- After 5 years: 500,000-1,000,000 page views per month
- On forward: 150-200% annual growth.
Are there any resources you recommend that were extremely valuable to get your business off the ground?
These are the very steps we took ourselves.
- HashtagJeff for blog SEO. He has a talent for breaking down the technical SEO language for a simple person. I would not start a blog without first taking his course. Most people on our team took his course and our company is part of his special mentor group.
- A good Facebook community of bloggers. Keep in mind that the better ones are invitation-only.
- The Food Blogger Pro podcast is a great resource to learn more about the food blogging industry. My wife never misses their episode.
- The Bite Shot is a great place to learn about food photography. That’s where we got trained in our photography.
- Matt Molen has a great course on email newsletters. We had our newsletter pipeline built by Matt.
- Do everything you can to get accepted into AdThrive or Mediavine and get plugged into their communities for guidance. Once accepted, they will provide an abundance of resources for growth. We currently use AdThrive ourselves.