It's time for another serving from Health Bloggers Dish here at Health Blog Helper! I'm your hostess, Alison from Mama's Weeds and I'm here to share some blogging food for thought straight from the finger tips of successful healthy living bloggers themselves.
Today I'm pleased to bring you an interview from one of the earliest healthy living bloggers, Kath from Kath Eats Real Food.
Kath's devotion to real food is infectious and inspiring, as is her devotion to her blog! She shares photos of every meal and snack three times a day, 365 days a year. KERF is read by thousands of people every day – this is a girl who knows her way around blog world! I was very excited to pick Kath's brain and share her thoughts on blogging at Kath Eats Real Food here at Health Blog Helper.
So Kath, let's start with a little history of Kath Eats Real Food!
I started Kath Eats Real Food originally as Sweat, Eat, Sleep, Repeat on August 29, 2007. I moved over to WordPress a few months later and gave myself a new brand: KERF. I am still in awe that I can go back and see every.single.meal I've eaten for over 2 years now!!!
What made you decide to start a blog?
I began journal ("blogging") over at CalorieKing.com during my weight loss and decided I wanted to write about my recipes, meals and share photos publicly. So I started a blog! I am so not a technical person when it comes to HTML and things, so if you'd told me 2 years ago I'd become a professional food blogger, I would have laughed!
How much time do you spend devoted to blogging each day?
Anywhere from 1 to 6 hours. It depends on the day! When I have the time, I spend it creating more elaborate meals, writing longer posts, reading other food blogs and working on freelance projects, but some days (like when I have a test for one of my classes looming!) I might only spend an hour or so. It's nice that I have the flexibility to choose how much time I spend.
How long were you blogging before you felt like your blog was catching on and becoming more popular?
It took me about 2 months of blogging to develop a readership over about 100 or so. Those first 2 months were long! I don't even remember how I started to gain readers, but they came one by one and stayed. Now I have over 7,000 readers per day!
7000 readers a day!?
7000 unique readers a day! Per Google Analytics. Over 20,000 hits. Over half a million pageviews a month.
Incredible! Did you ever feel like giving up?
Absolutely. I've cried and cursed over some of the controversies that have popped up in the comments. But I have to remind myself that this is MY blog and I have control over the direction it heads. I started moderating comments about a year into blogging and wish I had started much sooner. It really helped create a better atmosphere for both me and my readers.
What was one the earliest lessons you learned about blogging?
I learned early on that I needed to focus on keeping my content fresh and upbeat. While we all go through tough times, the posts where I just complain about life are not fun to read. Sometimes I'll write a grumpy post and will go back and delete it and start over with a better attitude. My blog is like a journal for me to release emotions, but sometimes they don't all need to be published.
What advice would you give to a novice blogger?
Photos. Photos. Photos. People come to your blog for the photos, they stay for the writing. Not vice versa. No matter how good your written content is, if your photos are not eye-catching, few will give your blog a second glance. This doesn't mean you need an SLR camera, but make every effort to use natural light and the macro setting. And never use a flash!!
Did you ever imagine KERF would become as popular as it is today?
Never, ever, ever. I still feel like I'm just a girl writing to no one sometimes and when I take a step back and realize the real audience I write to it can be rather intimidating!
Has it been worth it?
Hands down, absolutely. I am so very thankful that I have been able to make a career out of something that still feels like a hobby. Yes, maintaining a blog requires lots and lots of hours of hard work, but it still just feels like a fun hobby to me. And I love being my own boss
What's one of the craziest things you've ever done for the blog?
The craziest thing I've ever done for the sake of a blog post was up and travel to Kenya in the middle of a semester. When I received the invitation from Lipton to go to Kericho to tour their tea estate, I did not want to go. I was so afraid. But I knew I could not turn down the opportunity, so I accepted and it was one of the most incredible weeks of my life.
A trip to Africa – it must have been the experience of a lifetime! Are there any new opportunities or projects you're working on now?
I recently partnered with Goodbite.com and will be working on a series of videos for the site. The first project is a promotion with Quaker called Awaken Your Senses. Twelve of us bloggers have come together to share a favorite food memory. Our memories will be translated into a Quaker Instant Oatmeal recipe by David Lawrence (of Good Bite) who will use flavor and topping combos as inspiration to recreate the memory. Every 2 weeks, a new round of videos will be posted where you can vote for your favorite. With each round, semi-finalists will be selected. At the end of eight weeks the blogger’s video with the most votes wins! And by winning, that means $10,000.00 will be donated to their favorite charity. I will be representing Feeding Americas Hungry Children, and my video will debut in the third round. You can vote at the Quaker Talk YouTube Channel and hopefully my charity will win.
What a wonderful cause and a great way to give back with the blog too! Good luck and thanks so much Kath for letting us take a behind the scenes look at Kath Eats Real Food!
We hope you enjoyed today's interview! If this is your first visit to Health Blog Helper, be sure to check out what some of the other healthy living bloggers have dished about. Matt's got Health Blog Helper stocked with a wide variety of information for novice and veteran bloggers alike. If you're looking to learn more about blogging, stick around for a while and take a look at what Health Blog Helper has to offer.
Do you have any burning questions you'd like to have answered by guest bloggers in the future? Send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org