Increasing Blog Visitors

Growing visitors to your blog doesn’t happen over night.  It requires time, hard work, media knowledge, and bit of good luck to increase traffic to your site.

Beginning of Blog

As I mentioned earlier, the readers and supporters of Just One Cookbook for the first 2-3 months were all our friends.  Nami started sharing her recipes on Just One Cookbook and didn’t know what else to do besides posting recipes to the site.  Then she joined Foodbuzz and instantly met many bloggers through there, and some of them became her close blogger friends.

Social Networking

If you wish your site to have more readers, promoting your site is inevitable at this stage especially no one knows your site yet.  The fast and easiest way to get immediate connection is to join the food bloggers community.

G+ Food Bloggers Community organized by Chef Dennis Littley is a wonderful network and resource especially for food bloggers.  You get to learn tremendous amount of tips on food blogging, SEO, Social Media, Photography & Styling, and more from fellow blogger members and you can also put any question you may have on the discussion board.  You will meet a lot of knowledgeable bloggers there.

Besides joining the community, Nami started to visit some food blogs that she finds interesting and leave a comment about their post.  Some bloggers may respond to your comment and you may start talking to each other through commenting on each other’s post (blog hopping).  In a way, blog hopping is more personal approach than talking in the Food Community Board, and you might feel easier to ask questions to your new blogger friends.  Nami started to learn a lot about blogging from her fellow blogger friends.  When some blogger comes to your site and leave a comment, it’s a nice gesture for you to do the same for him/her.  If a commenter is a non-blogger, be sure to respond to their feedback, especially if you want to grow your readership.

In earlier days when Nami received a guest post request by her fellow bloggers, she never turned down and took the opportunity for her site to be exposed to a new crowd.  She doesn’t guest post any longer due to two children needing more of her time, but she still appreciates her initial guest post opportunities on blogger friends’ sites.

At this early point, most of the readers were our friends and food bloggers and our site had very few readers from Google and other sites.

Keep on Improving Blog Skills

While you continue promoting your site, it’s important to constantly improve your site so that readers can easily navigate your site and find what they are looking for.  If they enjoy your recipe and content, they will more likely come back to your site or even subscribe to your blog.  Here are some of the elements that we are constantly working on.

  • Food photography and styling
  • Writing skills
  • Unique and resourceful content
  • Layout and functionality of the site
  • SEO
  • Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram)
  • Recipe development
  • Learning Japanese cooking culture and knowledge

As your photography gradually improves, start sharing your food photos on Foodgawker and Tastespotting.  It’s a good way to raise awareness for your recipes and website to the general public on the Internet.

At the same time, make sure you understand the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google for your site, as well as the power of Pinterest.  Here is a good article on importance of SEO.

Currently, most of the readers of Just One Cookbook comes from Google search result.

 *****

Our hobby has turned into hours and hours of hard work.  Nami typically works on the blog at least 40-50 hours a week.  She cooks, photographs, writes posts and replies to all the readers’ questions and emails she receives everyday.  We are really glad that we started Just One Cookbook and get to share Japanese recipes with readers like you.

Thank you for all your support and we hope we learn more things this year to share with you.

– Shen

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  1. Thank you so much, Shen, for this wonderful guide to blogging; I really appreciate reading all of these tips (on the previous pages, too)!

    And Nami, I can’t believe you work on the blog 40-50 hours a week… otsukaresama desu! Your blog is so inspirational to me; you make it all seem quite effortless! :)

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  2. This is such a great post, Shen and Nami.
    I remember n will always remember how you supported me when I started my blog. Blogging is definitely a journey n this post is going to help so many new comers who really feel lost n confused in this big blogging world.

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  3. Shen and Nami-san, thanks so much for your overview of very helpful hints that you would have never been able to share with us unless you had the fine opportunity of experiencing the joy, pain, sweat and tears of food blogging. Thank you for putting everything in a very concise format for future reference. I have so many areas that I want to work on and you have given me the knowledge and the inspiration to move forward. What an awesome husband and wife team! Take care, BAM

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  4. Great story and wonderful insights. I have been blogging for a similar amount of time to you and I have recently started writing a similar series to you. It is lovely how experienced bloggers are always happy to help the new ones coming through.

    The single best piece of advice in this article to me was that if you receive a comment from a fellow blogger, it is good manners and grows a sense of community if you respond to them on their blog. If they brought a smile to your face, return the favour :) I will keep reading the rest of your tips, thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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  5. You both have done an amazing job on your blog!! I can’t believe it’s only been two years for you… I would have guess you have been around for more years than that with the quality of your work. Thank you again for this series of blogging 101. I enjoyed reading it all. :)

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  6. The “people” aspect of blogging is the best part of all. I’ve met so many wonderful friends and my “world” has expanded exponentially, all because someone took the time to share a story, recipe, photo, experience, or something that touched their heart. Tremendous series you two “cooked” up! :) Thank you.

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  7. This is very helpful info and I’m glad you shared it with us. Whether we’re old timers or newbies on the blogosphere, there’s always something new to learn ~ and that’s how you improve. Thanks for generously sharing these blogging tips. I’m bookmarking everything. Have a great Pres. Day vacation, Nami and family!

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  8. You two have both put in a lot of work and it really shows. Keep up the good work and I know I love learning more about the food and the bloggers that make it happen.
    -Gina-

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  9. These posts contain such a great wealth of information! I will refer back to these when I have time to really go through it all and try to apply some of this to my blog. I wish that I had more time to invest because I love it so much! My husband and I run a small business so I can only fit it in when it works. Thank you for sharing your experiences and all of this helpful information :)

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  10. Thanks so much for sharing Shen and it’s great to hear from the other person behind such a wonderful and successful blog. Congratulations on all your success and thanks for sharing with us how you have achieved so much in such a short period of time xx

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  11. Great post Nami and Shen! There are so many technology and hosting issues I never considered, because I started my blog as a hobbyists. And I still somewhat consider myself a newbie blogger (going on about a year and a half). Loved reading this :)

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  12. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen

    Thanks, Nami and Shen. This is a wonderful insight for anyone embarking on a blog, as well as more seasoned bloggers on a quest to improve. Great post! Keep up the good work on this mouthwatering blog.

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  13. Patricia

    Hello to nami and Shen
    Thank you so much for all that you two have blogged. I have been reading in the last 2 days and as I get excited about the immense knowledge I have gathered so far, I kept feeling so grateful for what has come my way and this sure is a great help to a newbie like me. I will definitely be looking into your blog again and again.

    Wonderful work for such sincere help to many!

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  14. Wow Shen and Nami, these are wonderful tips! :) I love how you shared all of your gadgets for the photographs you take. Thank you so much for sharing all of these, they’re all so helpful! I love reading about Japanese cooking and love seeing the photos! :) I am truly inspired by the both of you. :)

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  15. Nami and Shen, thank you so much for sharing this valuable information. I’ve been a reader of Just One Cookbook for seemingly ages now, and love Nami’s approachable and friendly style. It’s no wonder you have been so successful – 40-50 hours a week! You deserve it!

    Cheers to two more years + many more to come, of beautiful Japanese recipes!

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  16. Nami san and Shen (san). As I am facing a next challenge to increase the number of readers on my blog, I found this post so helpful! Thank you for taking time to share with us. Congratulations on your second blog birthday!

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  17. Thanks Shen for a thorough guide to blogging-you’ve included so much useful information and given me lots of ‘food for thought’. It’s apparent to all who follow Just One Cookbook that a lot of work goes into these pages-believe me it shows (!!!) as this is one of the most inspirational and informative blogs I follow, thanks again 😉

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  18. You are blogging do required a lot of behind scene hardwork and time. But i am sure all these pay off from your blog success now. With all your wonderful recipes and friends that you meet/have a long the way of blogging I am sure you gain many true friends too :) Keep the good work up! Nami.

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  19. I love tour blog! What an inspiration you are to your wife. Thank you for sharing these helpful tips and good luck to you guys in the coming year! You guys are one of the best!

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  20. Clar

    Thank you Nami for these great tips; very useful indeed. Good job on your site. Great recipes and beautiful photos. I’ll definitely come back :)

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  21. Thank you very much for writing and sharing these blogging tips! I’ve had my share of hosting issues with the hosting company I use, which I’ve shared with Nami over emails in the past. =) Thank you also for sharing the useful photography equipments. That was a very useful article for me and I know I will be referring to it many times in the future. Congratulations on being featured in the food magazine in Singapore! Your hard work and commitment to the blog shows and it must be so rewarding to see where the blog has gone two years later! Keep up the excellent work Nami and Shen!

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  22. Thanks so much for your sharing.

    I just started my blog last year and still very new in photographing and blogging.

    Honestly not many people would like to share their blogging experience or even how to take nice pic for the blog.

    Really appreciate your heart to share.

    GOD bless your family

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  23. Thanks for all these helpful tips, Nami and Shen! You’ve been generously sharing recipes, ideas, family stories and now SEO info. How kind of you. Nami has been a great blogger friend and I appreciate all her support. Best regards and more power !

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  24. Shen and Nami,
    I’m a frequent visitor of Namis blog since I started blogging myself about 1/2 year ago.
    It’s a brilliant blog and I appreciate all and each one of her posts and beautiful shots.
    This is the first time I’m reading your blogging tips and I want to thank you both for sharing with such generosity your knowledge and experience in the blogging world!
    All your advise and know how is highly appreciated.

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  25. I’ve been blogging for several years, but just recently re-started my chocolate blog. Thanks very much for the links here to Foodbuzz and the image blogs. And I think the commenters here and you make a good point – that it’s the friendliness and generosity of exchanging comments, etc, that makes blogging great.
    And PS , hope you enjoy most of those hours on the blog. :)

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  26. I want to thank you for your honesty with growing a blog. I have found many bloggers don’t want to share their ‘tips’ with those of us who are interested in the same thing. It shows your confidence as a blogger as well as your wanting the same success for us. Thanks again!

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  27. Thankyou so much for such inspireing information… You have a excellent blog with great pictures..Hope to see more tips and tricks soon..Naz

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    • Maureen, thank you for your kind comment. We really wanted to do the similar post for this year (3rd anniversary, this one was written last year around the same time), since we learned a lot during last year. But we haven’t had the time to write a lengthy post… You and John are one of the great blogger teams I know. Unfortunately my husband is not techie enough that we need to hire some people… There are so much to do that we always feel 2 people is not enough (not to mention my husband has a day job… lol). Thank you so much for your kind words – it means a lot to us. :)

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  28. Hi Nami. I’ve just started blogging and I chose blogger.com as my platform. (www.enzaladang-utak.blogspot.com). I am thinking of shifting to wordpress.org after reading your great tips. I just want to ask you how to monetize the blog using the said platform. See, I’m starting a food blog as a way to express my passion for cooking and as a hobby. I’m looking forward to eventually monetize and earn from it. Do you have some guidelines regarding this? Blogger, which is powered by google, has adsense to start with. How about wordpress? Many thanks in advance. I am learning a lot of good japanese foods by reading your blog. More power to you and your future endeavor!

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    • Hi Enz! If you plan on monetizing your own site, I recommend starting with your own domain and hosting. You can find shared hosting for really low price and in the future it’s much easier if you ever decide to a more robust hosting platform. Most shared hosting services provide a 1 click install for wordpress. With your own site, you can run wordpress with no limitation on advertisement.

      I know a few people who started on blogger and eventually migrated to their own site running wordpress. Also I think you mean wordpress.com and not wordpress.org. WordPress.com is where you can start with a free site. WordPress.com allows some affiliate links but they do not allow any banner ads or Google adsense (http://en.support.wordpress.com/advertising/).

      Hope this helps! :)

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  29. Hi,

    Thank you for this post – as a newbie to food blogging I’m finding it trickier then I thought – who knew taking photos of food would be so tough! I also underestimated how difficult it is to direct traffic towards my blog! (although I’m confident once they get there they’ll want to hang around!) It’s great that there are so many sights like this offering useful advice – I’ll definitely look to get involved with a community to share ideas.

    I’d be grateful for any advice offered for http://www.homemadeandhealthy.com – a work in progress!

    Thank you again

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  30. sabreen

    I do not know how to thank you … I think to start blogging and i’m looking in the Internet pages since a period of time for clear, useful and simple steps to direct me and show me the beginning of the road … and here I find the most fascinating story sharing your experience step by step after many pages frustrate me, your story informed and inspired me .
    thank you very much

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    • Hi Sabreen! Aww thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so glad this post was very helpful and don’t be afraid to ask questions around – food blog community is very nice, and everyone went through similar experience and they are happy to help you out. We’ve been blogging for 3.5 years and wish we had time to update what we learned last year (since this was written a while ago). Thank you for writing, Sabreen! :)

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  31. Hi Namiko and Shen, thanks so much for all you do. I bothered coming to your website and reading through this entire post because I’m just so drawn to the high quality videos I started noticing on the Just One Cookbook youtube channel. I mean, the incredibly perfect HD videos, the wonderful selection of background music, the consistent content creation, all worked together to get my attention.

    So I found myself watching the videos more than once because they’re just so delightful to watch – even if I’m not meaning to learn the recipes! I also found myself telling my friends about this particular channel, and they’re not necessarily foodie friends. I told them I watch the videos to relax!

    And then when I read your article and found out just HOW MUCH hard work and the incredible amount of time you guys invest into this blog business, I truly understand that your hard work has paid off. Congratulations for all the success you’re experiencing!

    More importantly, I appreciate you describing the entire process in this blog post. I have several sites and am experiencing slow traction, and your realistic description of your journey just encouraged me about just how much sheer hard work, determination, patience, and a constant strive for improvement is needed for online business success.

    Thanks for all you do, both of you! I look forward to more videos and seeing more success!

    Sandra

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  32. Thanks so much for writing this article! I started my food blog a few months ago and am excited to move it to the next level. Nothing is easy though, and your suggestions look like they will help me get things moving.

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  33. question
    Can I register multiple sites in adsense?
    Can suffer penalties to put the code on a site that signed up in my adsense account?
    And how that is paid?
    help me

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    • 1) Yes, you can register multiple sites in adsense. Each site and ad should have their own unique codes.
      2) You will be penalized if you put your adsense on a site that is not approved.
      3) Google pays via bank transfer.

      Hope that helps!

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