Food Blogging: My First Month

So it has been about a month since I first launched This Guy Cooks. It’s been so much fun already and I’ve learnt a heap of stuff already. From the do and do nots of web build through to how to photograph food in a more exciting way. This post, My First Month, is the beginning of a monthly update to how the website is performing and growing, sharing anything I think has helped it get there and where I want to take it next.

The site has been received really well. Lots of people who I’ve spoken have seen through the facebook activities have seemed really interested and even a few questions as to when the next recipe comes out.

Twitter has been amazing. In just over 3 weeks I’ve accumulated 240 ish followers from all over the world. This is huge for me because although I’ve used twitter in the past, usually to catch up with what Lord Sugar is saying about The Apprentice, I’d never really used it to engage with people and I certainly didn’t expect to have things retweeted and spread as well as they did. Biggest social wins were being picked up by a food stylist in Chicago and interacting with food legend Atul Kochhar. I’ve met some great people already on it and have had some laughs. The best thing I’ve found on twitter is to use the old biblical “do on to others as you would have others do on to you” which basically translates to retweet things that catch your attention and hopefully those people you’ve helped spread the word will do it for you too!

My First Month’s Recipes

Bacon, Brie & Cranberry Short Crust Pastry Tart

Bacon, Brie & Cranberry Short Crust Pastry Tart

Bacon, Brie & Cranberry Short Crust Pastry tart.

This was the first recipe I posted on This Guy Cooks. It received a lot more attention than I thought it would with it being successfully submitted to taste spotting (big win for my first go), Food Foto Gallery and a few others. It was the first time I’d also really thought about taking a classic flavour combination and preparing it in a way that hadn’t been done (at least I can’t find it anyway).

Posh scrambled eggs on toast

Posh scrambled eggs on toast

Posh Scrambled Egg on Toast

Although this is a really simple dish it’s such a great way to start the day and one of my all time favourites. When shooting this it was the first time I started to play around with the composition. Adding foreground interest and even using the grooves in the wood to create some leading lines. The ultra wide aperture and fast shutter speed created a nice dark bokeh background which doesn’t let anything distract from the background. Vanilla Ice CreamVanilla Bean Ice Cream

This Vanilla Bean Ice Cream was such a win for me. It was the best I had ever made before that day and it just happened to be when we had family and friends over for a BBQ. They were as impressed with it as I was which was so important to me. I love cooking for people and get a real kick out of getting positive feedback! Panna Cotta & Blackberry Coulis  Panna Cotta & Blackberry Coulis.

The guys and girls where I work are still taking the mickey out of me for spending so many lunch breaks foraging for blackberries but when you’re able to make beautifully creamy, rich desserts like this that just look so tempting its completely worth it. Again I had thought about how to both plate the dish up and again how to photograph it in a pleasing way.

Blackberry and apple crumble tray bake cake

Blackberry and apple crumble tray bake cake

Blackberry & Apple Crumble Tray Bake Cake.

The Great British Bake Off started last 2 weeks ago. Eleanor & I absolutely love watching this. This is a cake I’ve been meaning to try for ages and GBBO just pushed me over the edge to make it!

Traffic

One of my first priorities for launching This Guy Cooks was to be able to understand for myself how traffic is generated and how you can measure them. Although I have sold solutions like this as part of my day job, I’ve not seen it from inception to launch and so forth! The analytics provided by Google have been invaluable to me in showing me who is sending me traffic, how many referrals, how my actions on twitter are working and so forth. It’s been a really interesting read. Here is the first months view:

first month analytics

first month analytics

In my first month as a food blogger I have attracted 172 unique users, some of whom have come back more than once. 1117 page views which is great because it means that readers aren’t just reading the recipe they came for, they’re interested to find out more which from my point of view is great! The ratio between new visitor and returning visitor is about a 50:50 split which I also think is encouraging.

The most exciting aspect of analytics is that I can see where my traffic is coming from. I can’t begin to describe the moment I had my first referral from Google! to recieve any traffic from Google to me ensures that how I have set up This Guy Cooks has been the right way, both from the front end and content through to the back end and how I ensure Google can see me.

Other traffic has come generally from Twitter and Facebook, followed by FoodFotoGallery.com and Tastespotting.com

Well that’s it for “My First Month” The next one will come towards the end of September and I think I’ll just name them after that month. Otherwise, if all things go well I’ll have “my fiftieth month” or “my one hundredth month” which just seems silly.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading so far. I really do! Bye!

What did you think?