On Fish and Chips and Recipe Blogs: Where’s the Fish?
Ordering Fish and Chips is a crap shoot. Will there be fish in there, or just fried batter? Will the fish be flaked fish mixed with mostly filler, or a nice thick fish filet? You have to order to find out. And all too often you have to take your fork and try to peel off greasy, gooey fried batter to find the fish.
That’s what it’s like to click on a link to a recipe blog; you may have to pick off the thick layer of fried batter first. Most recipe pages have a very, very thick layer of stream of consciousness between large photos with a processed recipe in there somewhere at the bottom. And, the recipe is often something they stole from someone else’s site. This happened to one of my clients. I found an image on Pinterest that lead to my client’s writing, copied to a scraper blog without a single mention of my client.
But, good Fish and Chips isn’t a pan seared fish fillet, it is a crispy, battered fish filet. What’s missing too often is balance. What makes Fish and Chips different from a fried bread is the fish. Fried bread is wonderful in all its variations: doughnuts, churros, Indian fry bread, etc, but not when you ordered Fish and Chips. Recipe blogs should have enough text to put the recipe into context … and mostly recipe. On the other hand, food blogs should be about food experiences, or ingredients, or tools or eateries, but with well-researched information.
Often the layout of a high quality food blog is the same as the layout of a scraper blog or a just plain poor quality blog. All the time and attention has gone into writing content and gathering images, with little thought to how the viewer uses the page. It’s worth your while to make yours stand out, not only in content, but in layout. Many food blogs and recipe blogs take a lot of scrolling, which is especially a problem on smart phones. Think about how long you like pages to be when you write yours!
A good recipe blog post can be accompanied by links to food posts about the ingredients, about techniques, and other relevant topics. In fact, linking to supplemental ingredient sources, history of the dish, and technique lessons may be exactly what some viewers need. But, don’t make all viewers have to weed through it to get to the recipe. When a viewer is looking for a recipe, they generally need that recipe now. They may have a particular ingredient or combination of ingredients that they want to use in a dish. If you align your recipe blog with their needs, they will be more satisfied with your post.