Why is Food Blog Design Important?
How many times have you been on Pinterest, saw an image of a recipe you thought looked amazing and then dove into the blog to find the recipe ridiculously complicated, or couldn't find the recipe at all? That number is HUGE for me, and I have come to read only certain food blogs, or trust certain food bloggers because of the lack of design that goes into the back-end of their site.
Literally, the amount of times I have said "oh must remember, this one has pop-up ads - don't go back" is astounding! Look, I totally get that it's a way to get people to pay for your content, but I truly believe you can have a successful blog with only one little side ad, or no ads at all. It's all about a different approach to the content. SO no surprise, the ones I love to read are the ones that put content forward.
I have said it time and time again, that many of my sites, and why people book me (Meg Summerfield) over another designer is the fact that I put content forward with a knowledge of the platform that not that many other people really have. We can talk sacrifices of social life another time (I am about to head out the door to the beach - I've just done about three hours of work before 9:30 am to do so, and will be back by 3pm).
Content Forward. What the Bleeping-Shit does that mean?
Content forward design is the idea that the content is what the brand is all about, there are some brands where the graphics, and the brand are what make it - a lot of PR, Design, and Service based brands do this and it's perfect for them, but when it comes to blogging, portfolio sites, or anything where the audience needs to dive into the written and photo/illustrative content you better put a huge focus on the design of the content. This means Layout, Typographical Hierarchy and the BORING basics of Graphic Design are paramount.
So let me not BORE you with the reasons why the design is key in all text. Let's dig into it visually.
Let's talk about the biggest and most successful places to find recipes out there and why some might need a little work. PS. You will come to read that the reason they need work is that they aren't putting content first. DUH it's the theme of this blog post.
- Food52 Recipes Ok so they are KILLING it on creating a community around foodies right now. Am I right? Yes, but what are they in the end? An ecommerce store. So the website is set up to funnel you to purchase things. So the main purpose of the site is NOT community recipes. It's a way to get people to stick around longer on the site and be more active. Supa smart. So the typography is lacking or hierarchy and clarity of a recipe, but the point was to get you to stick around, and you did ;)
- NYT Food These smarties just went to a premium paid version to get access to their website, but before they did you could find all the recipes posted in articles on their site. They are THE best out there I think in terms of organization, quality and hierarchy, and they know that --> hence the new paid service.
- BonAppetit Advertising is where it's at here. THAT and subscriptions. So you will see a focus more on other articles, and potentially a -- this article was featured in this issue along the way. The recipes here are some from the most recent issue most of the time, not an archive of all of their recipes like blogger have, so they dont need the organization that others need in their sites.
- Pinch of Yum Their income comes from quite a few different places, from sponsors, from Food Blogger Pro, from affiliates, etc. So as a site they can really put a focus on their content, and let it shine. Lindsay and Bjorn really have been able to create a kingdom out of featuring content with structure, branding and the right marketing tools. What makes them great is their independence and ability to spread out their income over a variety of sources which allows them to really care about each post and each piece of content they provide.