Carrie from Clean Eating Kitchen has been blogging for over 10 years and brings a wealth of knowledge to working full time as a food blogger.
Welcome to the 8th interview of Full Time Foodies with Carrie from Clean Eating Kitchen! If you’ve just landed here, don’t forget to start at our first interview with Alex from It’s Not Complicated Recipes!
Full Time Foodies is a series which shares stories from full time food bloggers around the world with helpful resources, recommendations and advice.
Now, without further ado – over to you Carrie!
Let’s Get Started
How did you come up with the idea to start your food blog?
I started blogging in 2009 because I was feeling lonely and without a community. I was also contemplating a career change and going back to school for nutrition. I was an avid reader of blogs and wanted to add my voice to the space. So, one day I finally decided to start blogging. I instantly fell in love with it and haven’t looked back since.
My blog has had a few names and niches. It was a vegan blog from 2010-2014. Now, my blog is focused on real food recipes that are gluten-free and dairy-free for women recovering from chronic disease.
What does your day to day look like?
I try to publish something at least every day. So, whether it is a blog post or a YouTube video, I really thrive on publishing new content. A typical daily schedule has me in the kitchen testing a recipe, shooting the recipe, and then sitting down in the afternoon to write it up. Blogging is a full-time job for me, so I am almost always doing something related to blogging.
What task gives you the biggest joy with blogging?
The moment I press “publish” is always exciting because it means I get to share my recipe and thoughts with my readers. I also love when I get nice emails and messages saying that the reader enjoyed my recipe.
Do you celebrate your achievements? How?
I don’t celebrate enough because I’m always on to the next challenge. But, I do share my achievements with my husband and close friends, and I know they are proud of me.
What’s the most difficult aspect of blogging for you?
The most difficult aspect is getting comments or messages from trolls who are just trying to spread negativity. I’ve learned not to tolerate stuff like that, but it can still hurt. I’m working on developing a thicker skin, but I am by nature a sensitive person so it really hurts when people leave unfair and hurtful comments just to be mean. I try to be open to constructive criticism and I always try to see if there is some truth in a critical comment. But, it’s pretty obvious when people are lashing out. A good example is my blog post from 2014 when I announced to my readers that I was moving away from a vegan diet. That post has over 500 comments and a lot of them are not nice.
Have you come across any challenges or pitfalls? If so, how did you overcome them?
I turn to the blogging community when I get challenged or frustrated. I am so grateful for this community! Bloggers are the kindest and least selfish people I’ve ever met. I try to return the favour and am always open to questions from other bloggers, especially from new bloggers.
How do you stay motivated?
My readers motivate me. I always want to give them something better and something more. I feel an obligation to help others who are trying to improve their health, and really want to offer recipes and information that inspire.
Going Full Time as a Food Blogger
How old is your blog? How old was it when you transitioned to full time?
I started my blog in 2009 and went full-time in 2014 after I graduated with my master’s of public health degree.
What does working full time on your blog mean to you?
I am hugely grateful to work full-time on my blog. I feel lucky to work from home and to be doing what I love! My blog means everything to me. I put everything into my blog and I am very passionate about doing it well.
Would you say your blog has grown at a faster rate since going full time?
My blog has had a lot of ups and downs. It did not necessarily grow faster after I went full-time.
Do you outsource any aspect of your business? If so, what?
I don’t outsource a lot because I try to keep my expenses as low as possible. Otherwise, I would not make any money. But, I do outsource the tech part of my blog (backups, updates, etc) to Nerdpress. I highly recommend them!
What is your biggest traffic referrer?
Google is my biggest traffic referrer.
What is your income split between ads, affiliates, sponsorships or other?
- Ads 75%
- Affiliate 20%
- Sponsorships 5%
Does your blog fully support you, or do you have other income streams?
My blog is a part-time income for full-time work. Even with two master’s degrees and 10 years of experience, I don’t net a full-time income consistent with my experience. A lot of that has to do with the cost of doing business and the cost of health insurance (which used to be paid by my employer).
Some of the recurring costs of doing business as a blogger include mailing list management, tech support, equipment upgrades or maintenance, studio space (for my video work), and membership fees for various courses.
What change do you think has made the biggest difference to your blog?
Paying attention to SEO and fixing any technical SEO parts of my website (like having correct alt tags and fixing any broken links). All of that hard work helps keep Google happy with my site. I also now do keyword research before writing new recipes.
What skills have you mastered to get you to where you are today?
So many!!! Recipe writing, photography, social media, marketing, video production, being on camera, etc. Being challenged to learn and master new skills is one of the best parts of blogging for me. It always keeps me on my toes and I never, ever get bored.
How many posts do you aim to publish per month? Do you schedule your work in advance?
I post almost every day, so I am publishing a new post or re-publishing an older post 25-35 times a month. I do not schedule in advance unless I am going on vacation.
Advice, Learning and Looking Toward the Future
What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self about to make the transition?
I would tell my younger self to always think about the reader when writing a blog post, as opposed to making the blog about my journey. I would also remind myself that it is a marathon, not a sprint. So, do good work on a consistent basis, but don’t forget to take time off.
Where do you go when you’re looking for blogging advice?
If you offer advice to food bloggers as a coach or mentor, what’s the best way for them to reach out to you?
Email: carrie [@] cleaneatingkitchen [dot] com
What resources have helped the most, and had the biggest impact on your blog?
I did an SEO audit with Casey Markee at MediaWyse and it was sooooo helpful. I also listen to podcasts: Food Blogger Pro, Blogger Genius, Chopped Podcast, and Search News You Can Use (a totally nerdy but really informative SEO podcast).
I also did a food photography course last year and really enjoyed it: Foodtography.
What’s your current focus or area of study for your blogging?
I am currently using a coach to help me learn Final Cut Pro to edit my YouTube cooking show videos.
What current goal are you working towards?
I am working toward 500K monthly pageviews on my blog and 10K subscribers on YouTube. Those are my goals for 2021.
Where do you see yourself and your blog in 5 years’ time?
I really hope that Clean Eating Kitchen becomes a primary resource for healthy recipes and tips for women who want to feel their best. I also hope to have several million monthly pageviews by that time, and maybe a million YouTube subscribers? I am dreaming big here!
Now we have to ask…
What’s your funniest cooking fail?
I was recently recording a video for how to make sweet potato fries in the air fryer. I must have set the temperature too high because they were burned to a crisp. Needless to say, I had to scrap that video and re-record the whole thing. It felt even more embarrassing since I was recording it on video.
Which recipe do you cook the most from your blog?
I often refer to my Instant Pot recipe index for the exact measurements and cooking times for specific foods.
I also REALLY love my Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Scones!
Finally, where can people find and connect with you?
If there’s a question you’d LOVE to know from full time bloggers, feel free to email us with your suggestions. We hope you’ve learnt a thing or two today to help you with your food blogging journey. Make sure to comment below and let us know your favourite take-aways!
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