Food sharing sites, and what is blogging even?

Old School Blogging

I started my first food blog in 2006 on Blogspot before career food blogging, monetization, and food sharing sites were a big thing. And boy, has blogging changed since then! If someone was blogging 10 years ago, it was almost certainly 100% a labor of love, while traffic stats and things like SEO were on the back burner, or not even brought up.

While I’ve attended blog conferences, even presenting as a speaker and workshop leader at vegan blogger conference Vida Vegan Con, and published two cookbooks, I couldn’t tell you the first thing about topics like strategic marketing or blog monetization until recently. To be honest, it’s still a fuzzy area as I find myself, with 11 years of hitting “publish” under my belt, Googling how to use Pinterest to bring more readers to my blog, or how a food blogger was able to make blogging a full-time career over the course of 2 or 3 years. And I’m still puzzled, but really happy that people are able to follow their passion full time, and sharing their stories and resources.

Being a modern day blogger involves spending the majority of your time promoting your work, and eek, perhaps getting a little personal on social media. If you are a perfectionist and reluctant of self-promotion in general (me too!), it’s something to start getting used to. Don’t let anyone tell you not to promote your own work—you’re one of the most important people in your life, and if you’re not promoting your self and your work, you’re only promoting other people and companies in life and work. If you have something to share, and the opportunity to be your own boss, go for it! That’s an amazing opportunity, and curmudgeonly people waxing poetic about the good old days and self-centered Millenials, et al., can shove it. I can’t tell you how to make those opportunities happen, but I can give you, and myself, a pep talk.

Signing copies of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur
Signing some copies of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur back in the day!

Blogging as a Labor of Love

Seitan Beats Your Meat is still a labor of love—I still only really cover my internet rent and other small costs of my blog through ads and the occasional sponsored post. Would it be cool to blog full time? Absolutely! I feel “in between” in many ways—I was born at a time where I wasn’t surrounded by technology until my early 20s. I remember what life was like without a smartphone, but entered my adult life with the requirement to have a brand, and be connected at all times to have a career. It feels like need to keep learning new tech skills everyday just to keep up, while kids graduate kindergarten with a coding degree and a knack for viral social media posts.

On one hand, I feel nostalgic for a time when I wasn’t checking my phone every 5 minutes and blogging was 100% about sharing food and community, but grateful because I have so many opportunities that wouldn’t exist without the internet and social media. And the irony that the good old days, and my close knit community of vegans and bloggers came from the internet.

It’s easy to feel discouraged, but important to keep plugging along. Right? I don’t know everything!

Food Sharing Sites

While blogging is supposed to be a dying medium, and traffic and ad revenue is down across the board, bloggers are supporting their families with recipe posts. It’s a paradox, but hey, I’m used to the “in between” thing.

Circling back to the “dying medium” thing: maybe people aren’t following your blog like they used to, or maybe you’re new to blogging and trying to figure out how to get more traffic to your food blog because it feels like you’re blogging into the ether. One way to start building an audience for your blog is to submit posts to food content aggregators, or “food porn” sites, which I didn’t know existed on this scale until 2013. Again, I’m simultaneously early and late to the blogging game.

I am only writing about sites that I have personally used, meaning they’ve accepted and published my submissions. That way, I can comment on factors like submission process, the time it takes to receive a response, style guides, how it affected my blog visits, etc. Hopefully it is helpful for you, no matter what stage of blogging you’re in.

How to Use Food Sharing Sites (or Food Content Aggregators) | Seitan Beats Your Meat

foodgawker

my foodgawker gallery - seitanbeatsyourmeat
Here’s my foodgawker gallery! Check out which photos were accepted, and how most of them were cropped way in from the original image.

Account needed? Yes
Required photo dimensions? At least 550x550px, square (can be cropped at time of submission)
Acceptance/rejection notification? Email
App? iTunes, in-app purchase for full access
Badges? Yes

foodgawker is generally regarded as the food submission site. The foodgawker editors prefer photos that are close up, evenly-lit (and white balanced), sharp, composed with the subject front and center, and shot from a 3/4 angle. foodgawker is not the place to submit photos with alternative stylistic choices—the editors are not going to see your intent when they’re culling thousands of submissions based on thumbnails with specific guidelines in mind. I like to shoot wide angle, use negative space, and make my food styling about the space surrounding the subject, but when it comes time to submit to foodgawker, I choose a different image, even if the original is more visually interesting. It’s their gallery, their rules, and the benefits of getting photos published on foodgawker outweigh the time commitment of learning those rules.

Generally, if you get a feel for foodgawker’s style guide, and submit professional-quality imagery that follows that style guide, the majority of your photos will be accepted. foodgawker is selective and some people find that controversial, but I find these complaints to be mostly sour grapes. Yes, some of the rejection reasons are vague and bizarre, or they will decline a photo one day, then accept the same photo a few months later (your “declined” list gets wiped after so long, which is more reason to keep track of your submissions in a spreadsheet.) Most of all, food photography takes years to perfect, and it’s important to select the right image—creative professionals who are used to client work and image style guides will have a leg up here.

Tastespotting

seitanbeatsyourmeat on Tastespotting
Here’s my Tastespotting gallery!

Account needed? Yes
Required photo dimensions? At least 250x250px, square (can be cropped at time of submission)
Acceptance/rejection notification? Email
App? No
Badges? No official badges, but there are user-created badges*

Tastespotting is the other big food submission site. They have a similar style guide to foodgawker, but I find Tastespotting to be a little more lenient with creative styling that deviates slightly from their guidelines. The same advice from the foodgawker section applies here—submit quality photos, choose the photos that the editors are looking for, and your acceptance rate will be high.

*Please enjoy the irony of me linking to badges from a self-described “carnivorous” blogger.

Finding Vegan

seitanbeatsyourmeat's finding vegan gallery
My Finding Vegan gallery

Account needed? Yes
Required photo dimensions? Smaller than 1000x1000px, images will be cropped to 300x260px at submission
Acceptance/rejection notification? Yes, email
App? iTunes, $2.99
Badges? Yes

Finding Vegan was created by Kathy Patalsky of Healthy Happy Life. As the name suggests, all photos and recipes are vegan, and we vegans love us some food porn. You do not have to have a 100% vegan blog to submit, but your submission must be 100% vegan. Kathy does all of the submission approval and posting herself, so it can (understandably!) take a little bit of time to hear back about your submission. But no worries, you’ll get an email when your submission is accepted or returned.

Fridgg

See my photos on Fridgg.com!
My Fridgg gallery

Account needed? Yes
Required photo dimensions? At least 400x400px, any aspect ratio
Acceptance/rejection notification? Not applicable
App? iTunes, Free
Badges? Yes—find them in your settings once you create an account

Fridgg operates a little differently than most of the other food sharing sites. There is no submission and acceptance process—you simply sign up, start uploading photos to your gallery, and they’re instantly posted to the site. When I signed up and started uploading a few photos, the creator of Fridgg, Allison, left a personalized comment on one of my photos, and followed me back on Twitter and Instagram. This was indicative of the type of community you’ll find on Fridgg, which feels more personal than the other sites: inclusive, interactive, and respectful. Even though there would be nothing stopping someone from depositing a month’s worth of photos on the feed at once, bloggers and photographers generally follow the submission guidelines and chime in at a good pace with their best work.

Yummly

Seitan Beats Your Meat on Yummly

App: iTunes, Free; Google Play, Free; Microsoft for desktop, Free

Yummly differs from these other food sharing sites because your recipes get submitted to Yummly when your readers “Yum” (save them from your website to their Recipe Box) them. At first glance, Yummly is similar to Pinterest because recipes get on the website from people “pinning” them from blogs and websites. Users can then organize their recipes into categories, and browse Yummly to find other recipes to Yum. The cool thing is that you will only see recipes that fit the specific preferences you enter in your profile. For example, my Yummly feed only shows vegan recipes that do not contain my disliked ingredients: cilantro, eggplant, or mushrooms.

Since the benefits of being published on Yummly come mostly from other people Yum-ing your recipes (if you sign up as a user, you can Yum your own recipes to keep tabs on them), the best thing you can do as a blogger is put a Yum button on your blog. The easiest way to do this is to pick a social sharing plugin that includes Yummly—I use Shareaholic, which places the “sharing is caring” social sharing options at the end of each post. You’ll see a Yum button there, as well as on the left sidebar sharing options. Your blog may even be on Yummly without you knowing. I found mine at http://www.yummly.co/page/seitanbeatsyourmeat, so replace “seitanbeatsyourmeat” with your own URL if you’re curious.

If you prefer reading blogs over blogging yourself, you can sign up with Yummly to Yum recipes from your favorite blogs. To Yum a recipe, click the button, and Yummly will prompt you to create an account. Thereafter, you can enter your dietary preferences, allergies, and disliked ingredients to customize your feed. Whenever you’re logged into your account, clicking the Yum button on any blog will save the recipe to your Recipe Box instantaneously, and it will be entered in the Yummly website.

Yum Goggle

My Yum Goggle posts

Account needed? No
Required photo dimensions? Between 300x300px and 740x740px
Acceptance/rejection notification? No, however… (read on)
App? No
Badges? Yes

Yum Goggle publishes your submissions as blog posts on their website, so while you don’t always get an email update, you’ll get pingbacks in your WordPress notifications (or a Google Alert if you have alerts set on your name or your blog name) when your post is published. They instruct you to add your blog name as a tag when you make a submission so that you can find all of your published submissions by searching the tag. For example, here’s where you’ll find all of Seitan Beats Your Meat’s posts. This way, you don’t need to make an account and have yet another username and password to keep track of, which is nice! Yum Goggle is excellent with promoting your posts, and will tag you when they share your photos on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

Dishfolio

Seitan Beats Your Meat on Dishfolio
See my Dishfolio gallery!

Account needed? Yes
Required photo dimensions? 756x756px—the site won’t stop you from submitting smaller images, but the images might not look great on all devices
Acceptance/rejection notification? Yes, email
App? No
Badges? Yes, in profile

Dishfolio accepts all kinds of food, and they are very prompt with reviewing submissions. When you create an account, you can upload a profile photo, and write a bio with links to your blog and social media pages so people can find more of your work.

Tasteologie & Liqurious

Account needed? No
Required photo dimensions? At least 500x500px, square (no cropping feature)
Acceptance/rejection notification? No
App? No
Badges? No

Tasteologie and Liqurious were both developed by NotCot, and have an identical submission process and file specifications, so I’m writing them into the same entry. Tasteologie accepts all types of food and drink photos, while Liqurious, as the name suggests, is just for cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. Since I’ve shared quite a few cocktail recipes on Seitan Beats Your Meat, especially for the Mad Men project, I’m a big fan of submitting to Liqurious.

These sites have, hands down, the easiest submission process: upload your photo, paste the link, select one of their categories, and write a short description. No keywording, signing up, or logging in required! The downside of not needing an account or to provide contact info with your submission is that you won’t be notified when your submission is reviewed. The workaround here is to keep an eye on your incoming traffic data in WordPress or Google Analytics.

Potluck at Oh My Veggies

Account needed? Yes
Required photo dimensions? Between 400x400px and 800x800px
Acceptance/rejection notification? No
App? No
Badges? No

Potluck is a 100% vegetarian food submission site, and further categorizes posts by other dietary needs like gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegan, etc. If you have a vegan blog, you can submit to this one regularly!

Find Seitan Beats Your Meat’s Potluck posts here.

Healthy Aperture

my healthy aperture gallery

Account needed? Yes
Required photo dimensions? At least 250x250px
Acceptance/rejection notification? Yes, email
App? No
Badges? Yes

Healthy Aperture is self explanatory: photos of healthy food. There also has to be at least a line or two in the blog post you submit about why the recipe is good for you. I can’t speak too thoroughly on how strict or lenient they are about what’s considered “healthy” food. Just having a vegan recipe helps your case, whereas a similar recipe that uses animal products would not necessarily be “healthy”. I had my recipe for cold brew coffee with lavender simple syrup published on Healthy Aperture, which is literally just coffee, water, and white sugar. Perhaps the fact that I paired it with non-dairy milk, and suggested using cashew milk was the deciding factor? Either way, I’ll take it. I also had my giardiniera recipe published because I described it as “low oil” in the submission and the blog post.

One of the cool features of Healthy Aperture that most of the other sites don’t have is the ability to include a video in your submission via a YouTube link. They embed the video in post, and since it’s YouTube, you receive views on your video, ad revenue if you’re a YouTube Partner, and people can click through to visit your YouTube channel. you can view my Healthy Aperture posts here.

Food Foto Gallery

my gallery at Food Foto GalleryAccount needed? Yes
Required photo dimensions? At least 250x250px, square (no cropping feature)
Acceptance/rejection notification? N/a; submissions posted automatically
App? No
Badges? Yes

Food Foto Gallery does not have a submission and approval process. You simply submit, and your post is instantly live. There’s quality standards guidelines of course, but because all submissions are automatically posted, this makes Food Foto Gallery ideal for bloggers just starting out and working on gaining some clout. This site’s readership isn’t as large as many of the others, but you never know what will take off, so it’s certainly worth it to submit your work, whether it’s the only place you’re posting, or in addition to the main food blog aggregators.

More Niche Sites

I either haven’t used the following sites yet, or haven’t been published. Some of them are for more niche topics, so you wouldn’t submit every posts to these sites. Either way, the following sites are active as of June 2017, and I will update this post as I use them more!

Food Porn Daily

Food Porn Daily only publishes one photo per day, so make your submissions your best work!

Jalapeño Mania

You can actually submit recipes featuring any type of pepper to Jalapeño Mania, but jalapeños are a clear favorite.

Cookie Hound

All cookies, all the time at Cookie Hound! I, the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, have plans to check this one out more.

Dessert Stalking

Dessert Stalking is all dessert, naturally!

Which of these food sharing sites do you use, and what are your favorites?

Kelly Peloza is the blogger and photographer at Seitan Beats Your Meat, and the author of two vegan cookbooks: The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, and Cheers to Vegan Sweets.

She lives in Chicago and runs a photography business called Kelly Peloza Photo.

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