We believe good things are worth sharing. Like friends. Like advice. This post attempts to put them together. Every blogger around the world knows the top 10 US blogs in their niche, but some of us are still discovering new blogs beyond. One of the great things we love about living in the Middle East and in particular the UAE is that the world truly lives here and it affords us the opportunity to make friends with people from near and far.
One of the challenges though of being an expatriate anywhere is that the culture you may be resident in may be far removed from your own. We have used food to bridge that divide over and over and encourage you to take heed of the sound advice of our friends who we have met through food via the regional collective of bloggers called Fooderati Arabia. We have also included other friends in this round-up on account of their brilliant advice.
We will continue to update and add to this list from your comments as well as from friends who were unable to make the first published edition.
- Don’t expect fast growth as a starter. Build your content and your blog identity. baby steps and steady growth is way to go. Shaima Al Tamini, Pots and Patterns
- Consistency is important, but for anyone who doesn’t blog full-time, there will come a time when a million other things are more pressing than putting up posts for the week. Blog when you feel that you have something to say, not just to put up a post. The pressure to constantly issue new content can be overwhelming if work, family and social commitments are also on the agenda. Create a schedule that works for you, and don’t be hard on yourself if there are times when you have to be more flexible. Chrystal Baker, The Duo Dishes
- Always remember why you blog. Stick to what you love to write or feature. Don’t get side-tracked. Sally Prosser, My Custard Pie
- Three things: be consistent, be authentic and never get too big for your britches. Nichelle Stephens, Cupcake Takes the Cake
- I would say it is important to figure out what separates you from other blogs. There are so many blogs now that I can’t keep track and a ton of them are amazing. You can see a lot of recipes being duplicated which is kind of unavoidable to some extent but what makes someone want to visit your blog or make it part of their weekly read versus other blogs? It has to be your personal voice and angle and I think that is important to discover. Jocelyn Delk Adams, Grandbaby Cakes
- Don’t copy & paste from the internet- the information has to be written in your own words to show your efforts and understanding. Don’t include any poor quality images, because they do not add anything to the blog and make your precious blog uninteresting. Ritu Chaturvedi, Fuss Free Cooking
- Find your ‘happy space’ to write and always write there. For instance sitting at a table doesn’t work for me as I’m more of a casual writer in terms of where I like to be (lying on the sofa usually) and when I like to blog (I seem to be better writing first thing in the morning or last thing at night). Debbie Rogers, Coffee Cakes and Running
- A blog, just like an individual goes through its phases when it’s trying to figure out what it reflects, what it aspires to be. And this period of ‘introspection and confusion’ is but normal and a part of the growth process. And then onwards whoever it connects to, are the real connections – just like in real life. Also, breathe some new thoughts/absolutely different outlook into your blog once in a while (simple things like going sans photographs for a photograph-heavy blog or a photoessay for a text-heavy blog, or simply go black and white – whatever comes to your mind), even the blogger and the blogs appear ‘different’ and ‘rejuvenated’. Bottom line – it should have a personal voice and should be genuine. Ishita Saha, Ishita Unblogged
- Never underestimate the value of investing time upfront to build a ‘secure blog.’ There is a sea of information out there on best practices around scanning and securing your website, so make sure you swim through it all. Make security and downtime response (I.e. how quickly your provider sends in the paramedics when your site goes down) when you select a host and blogging platform. Hacking is always something that happens to ‘someone else’ so we are least prepared and researched for it if ever the scary situation descends on us. But it can happen to anyone and it’s the most nauseating feeling to have some bad virus/hack violating your personal writing space. Don’t wait for something bad to happen before you figure out your rescue game plan – do everything you can to invest in cyber security and have a checklist of things you must do on a regular basis (scans, back ups, removal of unused plugins, etc.)and a checklist of immediate actions (email host, ftp access, names of good tech savvy friends who you can run sobbing to for help) if the unthinkable happens. Arva Ahmed, I Live in a Frying Pan
- Back up, back up, and I’ll say it again, back up your blog. The Cloud is a fickle and nebulous beast and hard drives die. You do not want to lose all your hard work when everything crashesAnd I believe that everyone has a story. Stacy Livingston Rushton, Food Lust People Love
- Reach out to other bloggers and engage in blogger communities (such as Fooderati). Blogger collaborations are great to boost your traffic and create awareness about your blog. Start commenting on other blogs you like and try answering all the comments you get from your readers. The interaction between blogger and readers makes your blog seem more alive and makes it more fun to read (if there were no interaction, you might as well just publish a newsletter or an e-mag). Turn online friends into IRL [in real life] friends: at the beginning of this year a fellow blogger and I arranged a dinner for bloggers we’ve both been following for months. We were a bit worried that nobody would show up, but almost everybody came. Lots of great ideas came up during the dinner and we decided to create a blogger network (Bloggers in the City) to support each other, help each other out with technical issues and have a lot of fun. This is one of the best thing that has happened to me in 2014, and I can highly recommend other bloggers to join forces, create smaller groups and share experiences and advice. Mitzie Mee, Mitzie Mee Blog
- Read other blogs, don’t get jealous but be inspired by others’ success, don’t check your stats more than once a week, remember it’s a blog and not a professional website but make it as professional as possible, organise your tags and categories so it’s easy for people to find things of interest, add a “search” box, ask your readers for comments, make mistakes and laugh at them. Sarah Walton, The Hedonista
- During my first 3years of blogging, I didn’t read other blogs and I never answered any if the occasional comments I got. I had an average of 20 readers a week and I suspect that most of them were family and friends. First when I started reading other blogs, left comments and made blogger friends, my traffic started taking off. Some might claim that other bloggers visiting and commenting isn’t what you really want as most of them just do it to attract visitors to their own blog. So were my thoughts to begin with, but then I realized that all those incoming links, likes and shares are really good for your performance in search engines etc. and eventually “real people” (not just bloggers) will learn about your blog and start reading it. The essence of what I’m saying is that you can be the best blogger in the world and nobody will notice it if you do not reach out to other bloggers:) Mitzie Mee, Mitzie Mee Blog
- Blog for your personal satisfaction. Be Honest with your opinions [for example avoid] saying that a restaurant is good or giving neutral reveiew, [only because you got] a free meal or a trip abroad. One can advertise to get many page hits but substance is the key. Do what you love, Love what you and do it well. Shiyam Sundar, Food n Flavours
- My best advice is be yourself and show the reader through your stories and photos who that is. Your voice is unique. Other people may have made similar recipes or taken better photos, but only you can tell the story your way. And I believe that everyone has a story. Stacy Livingston Rushton, Food Lust People Love
- Make sure to brainstorm your subject well in advance, as it gives good content and u also don’t miss out on important points that makes ur post interesting. Its always good to write 2 or 3 drafts before finalising the actual post. . This is my blogs link Allz Ahmad Mukhtar, House of Allz
- Give the readers a sense of where you belong, a peek into what the back story was which led to the post. Allow the readers to be a part of your growth as a food blogger and the cuisines, flavours and opportunities you discover en route. Saloni Jolly Banga Taste Charades
- And equally as important, whether you are blogging to make money or as a hobby, always make sure your joy shines through. If you aren’t having fun doing it, your followers won’t have fun reading it. Stacy Livingston Rushton, Food Lust People Love