Well, we did it. We planned, promoted, and put together the very first Food Blog Success Summit. You remember me talking about that right? It was basically an in-person brainstorming master mind session of food bloggers. It was a powerful day and and so I asked Tessa Arias, one of the expert FBSS panel members, to come talk with me about the Food Blog Success Summit Overview so you can join in on some of the discoveries we all experienced.
I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. — Elon Musk
We all walked into the Food Blog Success Summit not knowing exactly what to expect. Would the day go well? Would people on the Hot Seat feel criticized? Would the folks not on the Hot Seat feel like they got enough value from the day? Would we have lettuce in our teeth after lunch?
Yes, we were all a bundle of nerves as we got things started.
But it didn’t take long before things started to gel. We thought you would enjoy hearing some of the top take-aways from the day, based on our feedback for the six bloggers who were on the Hot Seat.
First, let me thank each of the panel members who provided feedback to all the participants, but especially the Hot Seat folks.
- Marly McMillen (that’s me!)
- Tessa Arias (see link below)
- Kathryne Taylor (see link below)
I was so impressed by the passion showed by the panel for helping the bloggers in the room and the expertise shared!
Then there were the Hot Seat participants. It took a lot of courage to be the first members of the Hot Seat getting feedback from virtual strangers about something so important as their blog. Each of these six bloggers were allotted 30 minutes of time. They spent a couple of those minutes talking to the group about their goals and the things they had done that were successful. Then we put their blog on the big screen and panel used a well-thought-out process to go through each site. Here’s a summary of some of our common findings throughout the day:
- Navigation. A lot of sites had their “Search Bar” in places that required another Search Bar to find it. Tessa points out that using a heat map tool reveals that a Search Bar is heavily sought out feature on a site. If yours is hidden, your users might just head over to another site rather than spend time poking around.
- Your Big WHY. Some of the bloggers on the Hot Seat felt a little hemmed in by their area of focus and expressed a desire to spread out a little. Do you know what we told them? Narrow in even tighter! That’s right. Until you completely own the concentrated area you’re focused on, it’s not time to be expanding. Are you the go-to resource for your topic area? If not, buckle down before your build out.
- Core Real Estate. Know which areas of your site are the core real estate for your audience and then make sure everything posted there is filled with everything relevant for your audience. For example, remove Food Gawker badges. Yes, we’re all proud of the fact that our photos (finally) made it into Food Gawker, but having that badge on your site on the front page in a place where your audience could be served by information relevant to them, is wasted space. Think about your site from the perspective of your reader and serve them!
- About You. Interestingly enough, your About page should not be about you. Sounds weird, I know. But when people go to your About page, what they really want to know is whether or not your site is about them or not. Do you offer what they need? We recommend that an About page start out with your mission or tag line, followed by links to your top posts, and then go into more about you, your qualifications, and your family or whatever else you want to talk about there. And one more tip on your About page? If you’re going to show photos of your family or your dogs, don’t apologize for them by making them small. Post big, beautiful photos on that page.
Tessa also shares about some exciting things coming for her over the next few months. Listen to today’s episode to learn more about the Food Blog Success Summit Overview with Tessa Arias.
If you’re interested in learning more about upcoming Food Blog Success Summit events, take a moment to fill out this form. We’ll stay in touch!
Featured Content – Food Blog Success Summit Overview with Tessa Arias
Here are some of the highlights of my discussion with Tessa, where we discuss:
- The flow of the Food Blog Success Summit (FBSS)
- The room setup and the energy from participants
- How many folks were on the Hot Seat
- How many folks wished they had volunteered to be on the Hot Seat after we were done!
- Key take-aways from the advice given throughout the day (see above)
- Tessa’s new e-cookbook coming out in December
- Updates coming to the Food Blog Academy
This episode includes references to some resources you might find interesting. Here they are:
- Check out Tessa’s sites: Handle the Heat and Food Blog Academy
- Give a shout-out to Tessa and connect with her via Twitter and Instagram!
- Thanks to Kathryn Taylor of Cookie + Kate for being part of the FBSS Expert Panel!
- We talk about two services that can provide heat maps, a tool for understanding where your readers are spending the most time on your site: SumoMe and HotJar
- Here’s summary of the Food Blog Success Summit by Amy of Accidental Happy Baker
- Connect with Chopped Academy Online: Instagram | Twitter
- Connect with Marly: Namely Marly | Instagram | Twitter
- Production, music, graphic art & sound design by Shawn Beelman
- Learn about future Chopped Podcast episodes by subscribing to the ChoppedCon newsletter. Just add your email in the subscribe section at the bottom of this page. You’ll be glad you did!
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Thanks so much for listening to today’s podcast. I hope you found it informative and helpful to your food blog. Make sure you don’t miss out on any of the Chopped Podcast episodes by heading on over to iTunes to subscribe to the Chopped Podcast. While you’re there, provide a review and rating is a great way to help other podcast listeners find it too!
That’s it for today’s podcast. As always, thanks so much for joining in the discussion!