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Has your blog been the victim of scope creep? This is what happens when we start out with an original purpose and slowly expand that purpose to include more and more. Nora Schlesinger is here today to discuss how to solve those scope creep issues. She refers to it as downsizing your blog. Nora is sharing specific strategies she used to downsize her blog and as a result grow her traffic and revenue!

A photo of Nora Schlesinger with text indicating she's the next guest on the Chopped Podcast.

About Nora Schlesinger

Nora started her first food blog as a conventional baking blog, but life had other things in order for her. Soon after starting that blog with lots of traditional flour and sugar and butter, she discovered she had food allergies to those very foods.

The healing for her and the process of getting herself back to a state of wellness took longer and was more intensive than she thought it was going to be. Her blog, A Clean Bake reflects the new way she looks at food.

Nora is a consultant and has a master’s degree in business. Getting a master’s degree in any topic is challenging, especially when you’re working a full-time job!

Suffering in Silence

Was she nervous about creating a blog focused on restrictive food allergies? Well, yes and no. Nora explains how there’s a whole group of people suffering in silence with digestive issues. They need to change their diet away from processed foods but they don’t know where to start.

Nora decided her blog would be focused on helping people like that.

She talks about how some people are not confident in the kitchen and don’t even have any idea of where to start when eliminating gluten, dairy, eggs, and more.

Offering Value

Nora knew she didn’t want to have her blog be just another voice in the crowd. That’s the question that Nora was asking when life delivered her the answer. Creating Value as an Influencer helps you find your voice. For Nora, the value she offers comes from experiencing food allergies and learning how to make changes in her own recipes and sharing them with others.

Nora wanted to know how her site would be different than other recipe sites out there offering yet another donut recipe.

Her site turned into an interesting form of accountability for herself. Because she was sharing recipes to help others, she stayed committed to avoiding foods that her body couldn’t tolerate.

Downsizing Your Food Blog

Nora felt the pressure like other bloggers to do it all. As a result, she felt like a failure as a food blogger. She finally determined that she needed to change the way she approached her blog.

Interestingly enough, as a consultant, Nora was in brand strategy consulting. Her background was to do market research, and determine what the brand’s purpose was and then give the brand some guidance on how to zero in on their core offering and best meet their audience needs.

She took this expertise and used it for her own site.

She decided to focus on how she could meet her audience needs’ too.

Nora was tired of doing the photography, and the social media, and the SEO, and the writing, and everything all the minutia that’s involved with running a blog. In fact, she asked herself an important question: did she still want to have a food blog?

A Blog Business Plan

Nora decided to create a blog business plan. As part of that plan, she decided to get a full time job and transitioned the food blog into a professional hobby. For her full-time job she works four days a week and then works on her food blog on Fridays.

This step took a lot of income pressure off her shoulders and she could then have the financial resources to hire help for the things she didn’t enjoy to doing with her blog. She was able to hire people without guilt because it wasn’t taking money away from her family.

A Business Plan for Downsizing Your Blog

Nora recommends that if you’re feeling overwhelmed you may want to consider downsizing your blog. Here’s the questions she asked herself to get things started:

  • What I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and who I’m doing it for?
  • Am I doing this because someone else is doing it? Nora worked very hard to resist the comparison trap. That can negatively impact your business and mental health and confidence. All of this is an ongoing process.
  • Are you letting perfect be the enemy of the good? Nora realized she was impacted by perfectionism. She not only wanted to do it all, but she wanted to do it all perfectly too. Getting over this mindset — especially with social media – is so difficult.

For example, Nor realized if she didn’t do so many posts a week that things would be alright. Nora realized she was basing the expectations of how to operate a blog on what she saw others doing. She finally decided that she is the one who gets to decide what she’s “supposed to do.”

Here are some specific steps that works for Nora and her blog:

  • Nora now uses an editorial planner that’s a roadmap for what to do for the next 3 months. However, she gives herself a lot of leeway with that plan so she can enjoy the process.
  • A Clean Bake has Facebook shares and Twitter shares on automation.
  • Pinterest shares are outsourced to a consultant.
  • Nora does Instagram herself.
  • She is doing less work and focusing more on quality rather than on quantity.
  • Nora purposefully downsized her photo process. She used to have two bookshelves full of props and she’s reduced those and removed half of her boards.
  • Nora quit freelancing so she could get rid of the different boards she didn’t like as much. She decided to really develop her own style of photos that worked best for her audience.
  • Nora gave up on a set schedule and she gave herself permission to go with the flow and be confident in her own motivation.

Regarding sponsored posts, Nora developed criteria for working with brands that includes:

  • The brand has to reach out to her (no more cold calling!)
  • It has to be a brand she really likes.

So, Nora doesn’t pitch to brands any more. She increased her rates substansibly and quit working with agencies because they weren’t offering the wage she need in order to justify her time in doing a sponsored post.

Impact on her Blog

Nora describes her blog’s social media numbers this way: her FB had barely grown; her Twitter had barely grown; her Pinterest traffic had been flat because of all the changes they’ve made in their algorithm. Overall, it was a flat line of growth. She didn’t see social media as the way forward.

Instead, Nora invested time and money in SEO and her January search traffic is up 187% over the previous year.

Giving everything up gave her more time to optimize her site and focus on the best content because that’s what Google likes. Her goal is to create content that’s not just some stereotypical food blog post.

The more you direct your post toward your reader they will reward you and come back. — Nora Schlesinger

The main revenue stream for her site is traffic focused via advertising. As a result, she turned her blog over to her ad agency and asked them to help her optimize ads on her site to help her earn as much as possible without her site being plastered with ads.

As a result she’s been able to double her ad income.

Nora has found that downsizing your blog has been a positive experience!

Show Notes

Here are the links and other items mentioned in this post on Downsizing Your Blog with Nora Schlesinger.

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