Ideas That Rock — Camp Blogaway Presentation May 2014

Ideas That Rock -- Camp Blogaway Presentation May 2014 |

A Collection of Fresh Design and Content Concepts to Get Your Motor Running

As promised, these are notes and links from a slide show that I gave with Cathy Arkle, for Camp Blogaway May 2014. We promised you didn’t need to take notes, so here is the meat of our talk, so you can see examples for yourself up close and personal.

My half was about the content of your site (since I am a newspaper editor by profession); Cathy’s half was about the look and design of your site, since she is an award-winning graphic artist. You can see her portion of the slide show here.

Let’s plunge in to my part, shall we?

Introduce yourself well

1. Brett from “This Mama Loves” has a succinct intro, right out there. You really GET her quickly. “Hi, I’m Brett. Connecticut. Wife & mom of 3. Some say funny, snarky, flawed, blogging about food, crafts, life.” And then she gives her email for press pitches and invites. Smart!

2. Telma from “At the Fire Hydrant” has a similar fast way of displaying who she is – “Bilingual Mami, loving esposa, perrito rescuer. At the Fire Hydrant is a place to share my stories about kids, dogs, foods I (heart) & everything in between that makes life so much fun.”

3. Louise from “Geez Louise” tells you right away in her header – chef, stylist, media spokesperson. Her “hire me” and “published work” also let you know quickly that she’s a pro.

Other ways to show who you are 

Book lists

4. “A Mama, Baby and Shar-Pei in the Kitchen” has “Cookbooks on My Shelf” as one of her navigation tabs. When you see her cookbooks, you get a good idea of the kind of food she is making.

5. Cynthia from “What a Girl Eats” has a page that lists her reading list – cookbooks, food-related bios or narratives and health-related books. 

Recipe Bucket List

6. Recipe Girl

7. Brown Eyed Baker

8. The Orgasmic Chef: She includes links to the blogger recipes she wants to follow, a nice touch.

9. Here’s one on a Tumblr called “I’m Going to be a Cook.”

10. You could also put your recipe bucket list on Pinterest.

The opposite of that: “Things I Don’t Do” List

11. Robin of “The Balanced Life” does a lot of things, but she doesn’t garden, craft, sew, shop, go to the gym, bake, do home repairs or use coupons. She likes to remind herself of the things she does, and those she doesn’t, to keep it real. I got a good picture of her from this. 

An Author Box below posts

12. This social media expert advises an author box below each post, and he suggests you link it to your ABOUT page. He wants it below the post because if people read all the way to the end they are more engaged, they clearly found it interesting, and they are likelier to take further action, like learning more about you the author. Your ABOUT page could lead to your HIRE ME page. Just sayin’

Social media stuff 

Make your socialize buttons clear and out in the open

13. Ani from “Confessions of a Foodie” designed hers into her header!

Make it easy for people to follow you on Twitter and Tweet your post

14. This is embedded within the post on “Namaste Nutritionist,” making it effortless to Tweet something you’re reading that you like. It’s a WordPress plug-in.

Did you start a new Pinterest board? Let people know & make it easy to follow it

15. “Neighbor Food” blog jumped into a group pinning Pinterest board and showed it to her readers here. She used a widget builder on Pinterest to make it. You copy and paste the URL of your board, tell it the size and it builds the widget for you and gives you the code to put in your blog.

Content – a bunch of different content ideas

Lead people to your content

16. “Lunch Box Bunch” has a “most popular today” list, and a little nugget icon showing her #1 recipe. I love finding nuggets like this. I will ALWAYS click on someone’s #1 recipe.

 17. “Family Spice” has a changing photo icon on her left sidebar that leads you to her recipes that are in season right now, and one for her Persian recipe content, for which she is known.

 When other people make your recipes, show them some love

18. “Shutterbean” calls hers “My Bites Around the Net

19. On my blog, “Shockingly Delicious,” I call it “Look who’s making my recipes!

A way to round up dribs and drabs without doing a whole post on something

20. Favorites list on “101 Recipes.”

21. Favorite Stuff I Found This Week on “Daily Dish Recipe.” 

New way to present recipes (or perhaps for mommy food bloggers)

22. On the blog “Kids Draw and Cook,” they let kids draw the recipe. Could be used to cute effect.

Are you answering people’s questions?

23. If you are, like the blog “Chef Marie,” make the “Dear Marie” section visible on your home page and then highlight your answers on a special page that allows people to see the Qs and your As.

Nutritional box on recipes

24. Lots of readers want to see the nutrition on a recipe. This is how “Pinch of Yum” does it. It’s from a free website called Calorie Count that allows you to generate a nutrition label with their recipe analyzer.

Use graphics to show off your content

25. An interactive “Flavors Map” on the world cuisine blog “196 Flavors” shows you how they are cooking their way around the globe. Click on a flag and it takes you to the recipe from that country.

Not everything on a food blog has to be a recipe

26. Patti of “Worth the Whisk” is great at showing people how to solve problems, in this case how to gain more pantry space by tricking out do-it-yourself tilted shelves. 

Don’t be afraid to have some fun!

27. “Mimi Avocado,” who is actually an avocado farmer, has a wonderful post announcing a new avocado variety that will revolutionize the industry – color-coordinated avocados for conventions, weddings and special events. What with all the purple cauliflower, purple asparagus and purple potatoes these days, hey, it could be true! (Except this post was dated April 1.)   😀

28. Sara from “My Imperfect Kitchen” has a page devoted to her bloopers. Thank goodness for a dose of reality after all the Pinterest perfection.

29. Natalie from “The Devil Wears Parsley” isn’t afraid to show her true self (a heavy metal lover / science nerd / computer geek with a master’s in computer science).

If you have something to sell, sell it loud and proud!

30. Mary the “California Greek Girl” did an ebook that turned into a hardback cookbook. She gives it prime proud real estate above the fold. 

31. Deb of “Deb’s Kitchen” has her sales stuff front and center on her homepage. You have to click a navigation button to get her recipes. 

32. So does “Karla’s Kreations,” a personal chef and catering service.

Bragging rights – a good press page and more 

33. April of “Gluten is My Bitch” has a hilarious page, called “Look at me!” done more in prose than in a list form. You have to read it for yourself and snort.

34. Tajimarie of “Trust Your Gut” was on the Food Network show Chopped, and she won! She has devoted a well-done page to it, including answering all the usual questions she gets asked, and a link to the episode.

And finally, advice from me, FORGIVE YOURSELF!

35. Trish from “In Fine Balance” was lamenting that she didn’t get any pictures of her kid’s birthday cake or him blowing out the candles or any number of other scrap-booky milestones, but because of him appearing on her blog, she discovered she actually has a pretty good document of his life! Good reminder for all of us. We are not perfect, and it works out just fine.

That’s it for now. Thanks for listening and checking out my suggestions, and now skedaddle over to Cathy’s design tips.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia@FreshFoodinaFlash May 22, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Dorothy, thank you for this presentation and post. It has been open on my computer all day, as I’ve been going in and out of our new friends’ blogs. Thanks to you, I have some great ideas for my blog redesign.


Dorothy Reinhold May 23, 2014 at 8:12 am

So glad you are finding it useful!


Leave a Comment