Well there you go, I have made it to my 1 year blogiversary. Happy Birthday Baked to Imperfection.
I will be posting about my 1st birthday party and revealing my new logo later this week, I am just making some final tweaks to the identity. So make sure you watch out for that, I am so excited to share it with you all. But for now, a look back on my first year of blogging…
There were many, many (many) times I didn’t think I was going to make it here. It has been a tough year with some really great baking highs and some pretty rubbish blog related lows. I want to share some of the challenges, my greatest achievements and goals for the next year.
I’m quite a determined person and when I decide I want to do something, I do it. However, I am also quite a reactive person. I can be really excited and positive about my blog one day and the next day I am ready to throw in the towel and give it up. There have been a few of those days but luckily I have pulled through with the help of my lovely supportive friends.
Until I started blogging, I had no idea how much work it would be. I thought I would bake a cake, take a pic, write a blog and hey presto, loads of people would look at it. I WISH! Blogging has taught me to not only be a better baker but; a writer, a web site designer, an SEO guru, a coding buff, a designer, a photographer, a food stylist, a social media expert and a marketeer. There is so, so much work involved in writing and promoting a blog and when you have a full time job it sometimes feels near impossible.
My biggest challenge has not been the baking (surprisingly!). It’s getting people to actually READ the posts that has taken days to put together. Social media is great for exposure but its not just a case of popping the blog on Twitter or Facebook and letting it go. You may get a couple of friends reading it but then they get fed up … you need to target the people who actively enjoy baking, read blogs and want to interact. This takes hours and hours of promoting.
A bit of advice for new bloggers
A year ago I had no idea what a linky was but now they are one of my main forms of promotion. A linky is another blog or website where you link your blog post so that like minded people can share ideas and view other blogs on the same subject. Linkys are a great way to highlight and share content. Some of the linkys I use include #BakeoftheWeek, #CookBlogShare, #TreatPetite and #Recipeoftheweek.
If you are thinking of starting a blog or have recently started a blog, interaction is key. And I mean spending hours on Twitter and Instagram liking, commenting, retweeting and following people. My tops tips would be to find a like minded group of people of Twitter and introduce yourself and your blog. These people become your ‘tribe’. Interact with them, get advise from them and most importantly encourage them by liking and sharing their brilliant posts. It’s not a competition. Blogging is about sharing ideas and encouraging each other. I have a lovely group of friends on Twitter who are so supportive and have helped me so much ( THANK YOU!)
I love Instagram, I could spend hours on there looking at unicorn cakes and watching cupcake decorating videos. Due to the new algorithm it’s important that you like and comment on peoples images, not just look at them. This will increase your Instagram presence and hopefully gain you more likes and follows. Also use hashtags!! Research what hashtags people in your field of interest are using and then use them yourself.
Some of my best moments have been experimenting with new and exciting recipes I wouldn’t of dreamed I could do a year ago. One of my favourite bakes from the last year was my Gingerbread layer cake with salted caramel buttercream. This was the first time I had properly researched my method, sketched out my idea and I even had the the correct tools, like a real profesh! The cake turned out really well and all my family seemed impressed with the revamped Christmas cake.
Another big achievement for me last year was winning the Renshaw Christmas blogger competition. People were asked to vote for their favourite bake. It wasn’t a huge competition but that wasn’t the point. It was the feedback I received from Renshaw that made my day. I quote …
” It’s a fantastic result – the best engagement to a single image post Renshaw has ever seen! We also posted out some adverts on Facebook and Instagram as dark posts, and your Instagram post generated 7,999 likes which is phenomenal – well done you!”
Somehow, I managed to get into the Foodies100 top 250 food bloggers. This just sort of happened…I didn’t really know it was a thing until I started to read other peoples blogs and they were setting themselves goals to get into the top 500 or 250. When I looked I was 215!!!! WHAT!!! I have now slipped a little, down to 243 but still top 250 so I am very happy with that.
Finally, some of the best moments of the last year has been to see others baking my cakes. Its the ultimate compliment and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. For those of you who have tried my recipes, I hope you enjoyed making them as much as I did.
Goals for the next year
I don’t really do targets. I have never had a job where I have to meet a target – I don’t think I could work like that. So I’m not going to set myself targets as such but there are a few things I would like to improve.
I would like to increase my social media following and hopefully this will increase page views on my blog. My Twitter following has been increasingly steadily however Instagram is a constant game of gain 3 followers and lose 7. Instagram is my favourite social media outlet though so whatever happens I will keep going with that.
I would also like to work with some brands/ companies doing sponsored posts and product reviews. I don’t think I will be able to make money from my blog let alone make a living. However, if I can get a free products here and there then that would be fab!
Finally, and I think most importantly, I want to improve my photography. I don’t think any of the above will be possible until I improve my photography. Tim bought me a photo booth and lighting set for Christmas which has been great as I can take pictures when there is no natural light. I have also borrowed a friends camera ( thanks Andy). I would like to buy my own camera this year but thought I should get some practice before making the big purchase. Using other food blogs for inspiration, I am trying to style my photos and improve my presentation.
Finally I want to say a huge thank you to all my friends and family but especially Tim. Tim has stuck by me and Baked to Imperfection from day one. He has picked me up off the floor and wiped away my tears many times. He has even had to come up with baking solutions when I go into total meltdown mode (a certain yellow ombre cake comes to mind!). Thank you Timmy xxx
I also want to thank my big brother Rob who helped me set up my website and showed me the ropes with WordPress. And of course the lovely Jade who designed my lovely new logo ( which I will be launching properly later this week!!!) I love it so so much. Thank you Jadey Cakes xx
So here’s to the next 12 months …..