This episode is to relay what I learned while I was on hiatus. It is my introductory episode that kicks off the new season which will begin on January 13th, 2021, so stay tuned.
Photo by Anete Lūisina.
Hello everyone, it’s Elaine and I am back at the mic. When I first announced that I was going on hiatus, I was feeling like all I did was toil away and didn’t have a good work/life balance. So, when I announced my decision to ‘go on hiatus’, I actually didn’t think I’d get back into podcasting.
I thought that was it for me.
Well, I was wrong.
My last episode was published on December 20th in 2019 so, it has almost been a full year since I hung up my microphone and headphones.
During that time, I learned many things.
Let me start with what I learned regarding the podcast, which I found very interesting.
After I pressed publish on that last episode, I danced around the house, feeling free and happy that I didn’t have to reach out, schedule or sit down and perform those interviews.
But even more exciting to me was I didn’t have to edit the episodes. Because as I’ve mentioned before, it was extremely hard for me to let those “umms”, false starts, sometimes-hard-to-follow sentences, and deep pauses just ‘be’.
My training as an actress, performer, and recovering perfectionist reared its ugly head and made me spend hours editing each episode. I tried to make both myself and my guest sound as good as I possibly could.
But in the process, I sucked the fun out of podcasting.
I loved chatting with my guests, but I was starting to dread the interviews. Not because I didn’t want to talk to them, I just didn’t want to edit the episodes. And I wasn’t ready to hire someone to edit them for me since the show didn’t make me any money.
So, after that last episode and my freedom dance party, I enjoyed the holidays and even enjoyed the first few months of the new year. We all know that the pandemic has been a big part of our lives, but I don’t think it had anything to do with why I started to get the feeling that I should get back into interviewing other bloggers and experts.
Those niggling thoughts
By the time May rolled around. I was thinking daily about getting back into podcasting. But then I’d talk myself out of it by reminding myself how I felt the last few months of 2019.
Then it occurred to me, “What if I don’t publish episodes every week?” “What if I published twice a month or even better, ONCE a month?”
I struggled with those questions because I’ve heard from many of my awesome listeners that though they understood why I stopped; they did miss the show. So, if I only published one episode a month, would people still want to hear the content?
I asked a few bloggers their opinion and it ended up being a resounding yes.
That made me happy.
So here I am.
I have rebranded the podcast from Dishing with Delishes to the Dishing podcast because, let’s face it, I was trying to connect it to my food blog Dishes Delish and play on the word dishing as in chatting or better yet, gossiping (because I am nosy) and delishes to represent other food bloggers. But try saying that over and over and over. It’s a mouthful.
Those that helped me
So, the podcast is now the Dishing Podcast. You can still get to the website through the old dishingwithdelishes url. Charles Smith from WPOpt.net has happily and efficiently redirected the site to the new url which is dishing.co.
I also had Vladi of the husband and wife team from LIL Creative Digital Agency design both the artwork for apple podcasts and the logo for the website.
The format for the show will stay the same – interviews with food bloggers and an expert or two, but I need your help. I’ll still ask the questions I’ve been asking my guests all along, but I’d also love to know what YOU want me to ask them.
Please share your questions for food bloggers and food blogging experts with me at elaine @ Dishes Delish dot com. I can’t wait to hear from you.
Photo by Green Chameleon.
Blogging thoughts and ideas
Now, to talk about what I’ve learned about blogging.
When you first start out, everyone will tell you that you need lots of content. But I’ve learned that’s not always smartest move. What you need is quality, not quantity.
And even though that’s what I was learning as a member of Food Blogger Pro, I still decided to pump out as much content as I could because I was excited; I knew one of the recipes was bound to go viral and I’d start making money.
I do wish I hadn’t gone that route and had been more selective with what I published. But I was on learning and on a mission.
When I first started, I published 2 food posts a week. A month or two later I made one of the smartest moves for the blog by adding a cocktail post to the weeks publishing schedule. Once I did that, I started to see growth on the blog.
So, I published 3 posts a week for three plus years.
Then in year 2, I started a podcast called Maturepreneurial to help individuals over 40 to either start or succeed in their businesses. During that time, I made my mistakes and learned what I needed to learn in order to feel comfortable enough to launch the Dishing with Delishes podcast in year 3, which was the podcast I really wanted to do.
As you can see, I love piling more things on my plate.
After I started the Dishing with Delishes podcast, I decided to stop the first podcast, which I eventually sold to a lovely woman who has integrated it with her own podcast.
But even with one less podcast, it was still a lot of work – three recipes a week on the blog and one episode on the podcast.
For at least a year, but probably more, I kept saying I was going to go down to two recipes a week – one food and one cocktail. But I was afraid that my growth would stagnate. I was also nervous about taking time off and in a day or two here and there or a two week vacation where I didn’t do anything for the blog. I felt if I did, my traffic would plummet.
I finally asked friends, guests on the show and members of Food Bloggers Central whether any of them who cut back on publishing new content saw an adverse result on their blog. Surprisingly, the majority said no. If anything, they saw an increase in their traffic when they stopped posting as often. Or took time off.
Everyone needs time off
And sure enough, that’s what happened to me.
You need the time and space to rejuvenate, reflect, to have ideas germinate without the constant thought, “I’ve got to publish a post.” And even if your traffic went down a smidge – though I did not see that on my site – it will bounce back when you either start publishing again or your audience settles in with your new schedule. And isn’t doing some self-care worth the risk of a small impact, if any?
So, after 3 ½ years, I went down to two posts a week.
Before I reduced my schedule, I had my audit with Casey Markee and Casey’s advice was to work on either shooting and re-writing the recipes or culling them by no-indexing or downright deleting them.
I had created close to 425 recipes in those 3 ½ years. That’s a lot. Too many, in my opinion.
Now, I understand why people tell you to pump out the content, but just know that it might not be the best thing for you.
You have to work within the limits of the time you have in a day, in a week and in a month and so on. You also have to consider all the things you have to do around the post, like social sharing, while maintaining quality content and having the time to enjoy living your life.
The appeal of touching a unicorn
One other thing I’d like to relay, and this might be a little controversial – although experts are experts and know more than we do, we still have to trust our own intuition. I remember reaching out to someone about a post that was a unicorn because I wanted to insert some process shots. I already knew what this expert would say, which was “do not touch a unicorn.”
But I wanted to touch that unicorn, horn and all because sometimes you have to buck the system and see if your intuition is right. So, I decided to do some testing, even though I realized it could impact that post.
So, when I republished this post with new photos including process shots and updated the copy, I watched it very carefully on Google.
I actually tested this with two posts. Both posts had been in the search results carousel and week by week, they remained in the carousel, even after I touched them.
I’m not saying experts are wrong and we shouldn’t listen to them. What I’m saying is, my instinct was telling me to update these posts with process shots because it would be better user experience. And thankfully, I was right. They are still in the carousel and haven’t budged. In fact, the original unicorn moved from #3 in the carousel to #1.
I have since found out about the Limit Modify Date plugin which allows you to update a post without a change in the modified date. Now whether this stops the powers that be from knowing you made updates, I don’t know. I’m thinking their crawling bots can see the changes anyway. But for whatever reason, my test posts weren’t affected.
Back to my publishing schedule
After seeing that reducing the schedule didn’t affect my growth, I decided to reduce it even further.
Now I’m publishing one post per week and that has given me the time and mental space to do other projects. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for you to go down to one post a week: I’m advocating figuring out (and doing) what’s right for you.
I’m excited for the coming year and can’t wait to see how it plays out. It feels like it’s going to be an expansive year.
Here’s to a fabulous new year with incredible growth for everyone.
Thank you for listening and stay tuned for my next episode on January 13th when I re-interview Tanya Harris from My Forking Life.
I decided to interview Tanya again because she has had explosive growth in the two years between my first interview and the new one.
She went from 100k pageviews a month to over 1 million. How’s that for growth?
Tune in on January 13th to hear how she did it.
Until the next time, this is Elaine Benoit signing off.