‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin, my friend! I’ve been working at a pumpkin festival on the weekends selling pumpkins. I was asked to put together some pumpkin recipes to hand out, so I’ve been making delicious treats like my Pumpkin Cake with Salted Caramel Glaze.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this picture I shared of our pumpkins galore at the pumpkin festival!
I needed to make some more recipes but didn’t want a sugary dessert to tempt me all week. So instead, I decided to develop a healthier version of the classic Pumpkin Bread. For this recipe, I used whole wheat flour and substituted honey instead of the sugar.
It may not be 100% guilt free, but it’s definitely a better-for-you alternative. This pumpkin bread makes a great breakfast or snack. You can even bake extra loaves and freeze them for later!
Next month A Savory Feast will be celebrating it’s first anniversary! What started out as a fun hobby turned into a passion and now, a part of my career. I’ve seen so much growth and success in this first year, and can’t wait to see where it takes me in the coming years.
I often get questions from new bloggers or friends about how to start a blog, how I grew my blog so quickly, and how I make money blogging. Today I’m going to be sharing my 10 tips for growing your blog.
What does it take to be successful in the blogging world? First and foremost, it takes work. Lots and lots of hard work. If anyone tells you that blogging is easy, they haven’t tried it! It takes hours of coming up with ideas, writing posts, answering emails, promoting your posts on social media, and so much more.
Whether you are a new blogger or a seasoned pro, here are some ideas to help take your blog to the next level:
1. Start on WordPress! Before I started my blog I did a ton of research. One of the common things I heard was that most bloggers ended up on WordPress eventually. I already had some background using it at a previous job, so my learning curve wasn’t as high. While WordPress is more complicated than Blogger, it’s definitely the way to go if you want to make money with your blog. As far as hosting goes, I recommend using BlueHost. They have a super easy WordPress install that will make getting your blog up and running a breeze.
2. Community is the key to success. The first month or so after I started my blog, I tried to go it alone. My pageviews were lower than low and my social media accounts had only a few followers. Then I discovered the huge community of bloggers and found ways to get plugged in. Once I started building my community, my blog began to take off. If this is an area you need to work on, check out my tips for building your blogging community.
3. Learn about nofollow links! I’m embarrassed to say that this is something I just learned a couple months ago. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this article that explains nofollow links. It will make such a difference in how your posts show up in Google searches! I went back and added nofollow links to older posts and now I get a significant amount of hits from Google searches every day.
4. Great pictures are essential. Pinterest has always been my highest source of traffic. I knew that with better pictures, I could do even better on Pinterest. Take the time to learn some photography skills! I took some food photography classes on Skillshare and paid attention to what other bloggers were doing. I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my pictures, and have been getting even more traffic from Pinterest.
5. Be active and consistent on social media from the start. The second thing you should do after setting up your blog is set up your social media accounts. If possible, use the same handle/username for all accounts. Keep the profile pictures and headers the same, too. Start following other bloggers and sharing their posts. Don’t just share your own blog posts!
6. Be real! People follow blogs when they feel like they connect with the blogger. Have your picture towards the top of your sidebar, put together a great “about me” page, and write the way that you talk. You don’t have to put your whole life story out there or share anything you aren’t comfortable with, but be yourself as much as possible!
7. Giveaways = Growth Giveaways are a great way to grow your social media following. They can also be a great way to collaborate with other bloggers. You can all pitch in to purchase the prize, and show the giveaway on all of your blogs. In order to have a successful giveaway, you will need to put some money into it and giveaway something people will get excited about. I love using Rafflecopter to set up giveaways, they make it so easy!
8. Leave meaningful comments. Comments are a great way to build community and bring new readers to your blog. Take time each day to visit your favorite blogs (and a few new ones) and comment or share the post if you liked it. Write about what you learned from the post, how you related it to something in your life, etc. Don’t just write “great post!” Those comments don’t help you or the other blogger.
9. Set goals and keep track of your progress. A few months ago I decided that I would sit down at the start of each month to review my progress and set goals for the upcoming month. My goals might include a number of page views I want to hit, a skill I want to learn (such as HTML or better photos), a social media account I want to grow, etc. These goals give you something to work toward and focus your time on.
10 Stay true to yourself. When you start your blog, create a mission statement that defines the purpose of your blog and what you want to do with it. Don’t sell out just to get more pageviews! Be thoughtful about what you promote on your blog, which companies you will work with, etc. For example, I offer sponsorships for my blog. One time, a company submitted an ad for my blog. When I visited their site, I found that it was not a company that I wanted to promote. Even though it meant giving up the money, I couldn’t have an ad on my site that didn’t line up with the mission and values I had already determined for my blog.
This post contains some affiliate links. However, these are tips that I actually used to grow my blog, and these companies and products helped me get there.
Welcome to Hump Day Happenings! Megan and I are glad that you are joining us for the party this week. Hump Day Happenings has been a great way for me to get inspired by fun DIY and recipe posts, meet new bloggers, and so much more. Thanks for being a part of it!
I’ve said it before, but breakfast is my favorite meal! Whenever Andrew and I have a day off, we always start the day by either making or going out for a big breakfast. Pancakes are definitely my number one choice for a special breakfast.
I recently came across Birch Benders Micro-Pancakery. Their mixes are made with natural and organic ingredients. They are also trans-fat free and non-GMO. It’s not very often that I splurge and make pancakes, so when I do, I want them to be better for me. Continue reading →
I’ve lived in the Sarasota/Bradenton area my entire life. While we have the #1 beach in the U.S.A., we also have some killer places to eat. My boyfriend, Andrew, and I love trying local restaurants. We cook a majority of the time, but we really like to go out for breakfast on a day off or try a new sushi place on date night.
If I had a friend visit from out of town, I wouldn’t take them to a chain restaurant. I would want them to experience a restaurant or type of food that they can’t get back home! Some of my all-time favorite places to eat in Sarasota are locally owned.
If you are planning a trip to Sarasota, be sure to stop by at least a few of these local treasures. Whether you are looking for a breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee or dessert, I’ve got something for you here!
Where to go for Breakfast & Lunch:
Station 400: Built in an old railroad depot and the perfect place for breakfast or lunch. I love eating outside on a crisp Fall day. What to get: Balsamic Marinated Chicken Sandwich.
Star Keeper Cafe: This is one of Sarasota’s best hidden gems. The atmosphere makes you feel like you are at a friend’s house for breakfast. Their donuts will change your life! What to get: Goat Cheese & Mixed Berry Donuts.
The Breakfast House: If you are looking for a homestyle breakfast or lunch, this is the place to go. What to get: Uncle Harry’s Hearty Breakfast
Where to go for Coffee & Tea:
Perq: Easily my favorite coffee shop. The atmosphere at Perq can’t be beat. They feature four different single origin coffees that rotate periodically. What to get: Mocca or Gibraltar.
The Tea House: The perfect place to meet up for a chat with a friend. The Tea House is in an old house, and each room has a different theme with comfy couches, eclectic decor and antique furniture. They have over 140 loose leaf teas to choose from. What to get: Pomegranate Vanilla Tea.
Where to go for Dinner:
Yummy House: This is the most authentic chinese food I’ve found in Sarasota. They are always packed, but trust me, it’s worth the wait! They have a wide variety of options on their menu and huge portions. What to get: Salt and Pepper Eggplant (appetizer), Spicy Yummy Chicken or Beef Udon with Black Pepper Sauce.
Crab and Fin: This upscale seafood restaurant is one of my favorite date night spots! Their menu is printed every day to reflect the freshest seafood available. They are located in St. Armands, so after dinner you can visit the shops and walk down to Lido Beach. What to get: any of the seafood and pasta dishes.
Tandoor: Authentic Indian food that tastes homemade. I prefer going to the lunch buffet so that I can try a variety of dishes; but for a more formal dining experience, you can also go for dinner. What to get: Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken).
Thai Wasabi: Andrew and I love trying new sushi places, but we keep coming back here! They have delicious curries, pad thai and stir fries, but I almost always get sushi. Many of their specialty rolls are so big and loaded up with toppings that you only need one roll for a meal. What to get: Crab Rangoon (appetizer), U-lala (sushi).
Casa Di Pizza: This is one of my favorite New York style pizza places, and Andrew loves their wings. It’s a great low-key place to meet up with friends. What to get: Chicken Finger Pizza.
Kazu’s 2.0: We love to go after 10 for their happy hour $4 and $5 sushi rolls and drinks. Their sushi rolls taste so fresh and they have a huge selection of craft beers, sakes, and more. What to get: Crab Lagoon roll and raspberry sake.
Where to go for dessert:
Sweetberries Eatery & Frozen Custard: I grew up going to SweetBerries for dessert with my cousins. They have lots of sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch or dinner, but my favorite is their custard! They have so many choices of toppings! You can customize your own dessert or get one of their specials. What to get: Utterly Reese’s Sundae.
Big Olaf Creamery: After a day at Siesta Key Beach, be sure to stop by the Big Olaf for dessert! Big Olaf is homemade ice cream company in Sarasota. They have several locations throughout Sarasota, and their ice cream is served at many other restaurants. What to get: Brownie Fudge ice cream.
Have you ever been to Sarasota, Florida? What are some of your favorite restaurants?