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The Newbie Food Blogger’s Guide To Success

May 29, 2019

CONGRATULATIONS ON STARTING YOUR BLOG! Cupcakes are definately in order to celebrate!! But first let’s discuss what comes next. Whether […]


Cupcakes are definately in order to celebrate!! But first let’s discuss what comes next. Whether you are working on your blog alongside a 9-5 job or managing it as your full time hustle, we can all agree there never seems to be enough time in the day to fit in all the things that need to be done. Running a successful food blog is a LOT of work. Scratch that. It’s a TON of work.

From the outside, blogging seems easy. Bake a batch of cookies, snap a few photos and write a couple of paragraphs about the recipe. Simple, right? Not so fast. As most newbie bloggers realize fairly quickly, the business of blogging involves much more than taking pretty photos of last night’s dessert and scrolling through Pinterest while baking a cake. If only it were that glamorous!

I’ve been running Browned Butter Blondie for just over a year now. When I was first starting out, I scoured the internet daily in search of all the things I needed to know to be successful at this job I knew literally nothing about. If you are brand new to the blogging world, I highly recommend you pause here and read my post titled Five Things To Know Before You Start a Food Blog. It comes with a giant pep talk and a list of five things every food blogger should know before getting started. You can also click on this graphic below to save the post for later.


If you have just taken the leap and started your blog, you are probably no stranger to the massive amount of information on the internet about how to run a successful food blog. There is long list of do’s and dont’s when it comes to blogging. In this post I’m sharing five tips that helped me to not only get my blog up and running, but to make it profitable in less than twelve months.


New bloggers tend to want to write about aalllll the things and often have a hard time finding their focus. Once you’ve decided on your specific niche in the foodie space, you’ll want to focus your content so that when readers come to your blog they know exactly what to expect. Be careful not to narrow down your focus so much that you run out of things to write about after the first month. But do keep your message and branding clear and consistent so that your content is recognizable to your followers.

Speaking of content, you’ll want to have a plan in place for the recipes and how-to’s you share with your readers. Nothing is worse than coming up with a last minute post on the spot and having nothing in the cue to share. Having a plan, whether it’s a week at a time or a month in advance, makes your job so much easier and waaayyy more enjoyable. You can use an editorial calendar like CoSchedule or create a simple Excel spreadsheet to plan your content.

If you are struggling to come up with content relevant to your specialty, think about how you can help your target audience and what problems you can solve for them through the recipes and information you share. Also take some time each month to look ahead to any holidays or special occasions that you can build content around. Your goal is to become a go-to resource in your niche by writing quality posts on a consistent basis.

The more you work on creating great content, crafting blog posts and writing Instagram captions, the more you will refine your individual style and unique aesthetic. Through this practice, the goals for your blog will become more defined. Finding your voice doesn’t happen overnight. It’s definitely a process. Give it time and stay true to yourself and your brand’s vision along the way.


Working from home as a blogger comes with a whole host of distractions. Laundry, dishes, cleaning out closets. Netflix! {guilty!}. It’s easy to be busy {that Instagram scrolling sucks up a lot of time!} but it takes a lot more discipline to be productive. I find that the best way to combat the endless distractions that this job presents is to make a daily list of tasks and to-dos and check them off as they are completed. Every item on the list should help you achieve your long term goals for your business. To take it a step further, set time limits on each of the tasks you work on. Once the allotted time has passed, move on to the next job on the list.

This is a copy of the exact Daily Task List that I use to keep me on track each day.


If you aren’t making it through your to-do list most days because you are addicted to your smartphone {happens to the best of us}, try an app like Offtime or Moment to block distracting social media apps and limit your screen time. That content isn’t going to create itself, so productivity is key to a successful blog.


This is an important tip that a fellow blogger handed down to me when I first got started. Granted, when you start your blog and manage to publish your very first post from your own little corner of the internet, there may only be one or two readers signed up to receive it. {Thanks Mom!} But as you grow your following, more and more people will want to receive your recipes directly to their inbox. Building an audience is a top priority for any successful blog. Don’t miss out on potential subscribers by not having your email list set up before you click publish on that first blog post.

It’s true that everyone’s inboxes are cluttered with gobs of emails these days, but those that subscribe to your blog are already interested enough in what you have to say that there’s a high likelihood that they’ll actually open your emails and read them on a regular basis. In fact, the average open rate for an email is somewhere around 25% while the average engagement rate for an Instagram post is often at or below 10%. So generally speaking, your emails may one day reach more people than your social media posts do. Not to mention that you own your email list and Instagram and Facebook could disappear altogether on any given day. Not likely, but possible. That email list is gold!!

I use Mailchimp for my email subscription service. It’s user friendly, the service is free up to 2,000 followers {a big plus for newbies} and it’s fully customizable to fit your brand’s aesthetic. Be sure to create a simple email opt-in on your homepage so visitors can easily sign up. Here’s a sample of what I have on my site’s sidebar. I also have a pop up for first time visitors so they aren’t wasting time looking around the homepage for the sign up.



With all the zillions of things to do when starting a food blog, it can be easy to put a lot of tasks on the back burner. But if you have any plans to eventually monetize your blog and begin making money by working with brands, you’ll want to have a professional media kit and rate sheet created to market your brand.

Companies aren’t always looking for bloggers with thousands and thousands of followers to their name so you may end up hearing from brands looking to collaborate sooner than you think. My best advice…be ready!  Wouldn’t it be a shame to miss out on a potential opportunity because you didn’t have your marketing materials ready to go? Brands are often on a timeline so they won’t always wait around for your response.

A one page PDF including your photo, a short bio, social media stats, and your brand’s mission is all that you need to get started. You can view a template of my media kit below which was created on Canva. If you aren’t already using Canva, sign up pronto! It has tons of useful design tools and templates to create graphics and images for your blog, Instagram, Pinterest and more. And the best part is it’s all drag and drop. It couldn’t be easier! It’s a one-stop-shop to create and it will transform the way you do business.



There’s no doubt about it. Pinterest is a beast. It’s a huge platform with a big learning curve. It’s also the #1 source of quality, organic traffic for many blogs, no matter the size. Writing a great blog post is only the first step to getting your images and recipes out there. Once you’ve posted the content to your blog, you’ll want to spread the word and that’s where Pinterest comes in.

Pinterest can be a bit overwhelming at first but don’t let that deter you. Once you’ve set up a business account that is linked to your blog, you can find hundreds of tutorials and blog posts devoted to the ins and outs of Pinterest strategy. It’s clear that the most seasoned Pinterest experts agree that consistency is key for successful Pinterest growth.

I highly recommend joining Tailwind to help automate your pinning schedule in order to free up some time for you to focus on other creative aspects of your business. You can schedule your pins in advance and then refill your cue when it gets low. It’s important to remember that Pinterest traffic ebbs and flows over time and this is normal. With a little trial and error you’ll find your groove and start building your Pinterest following at a steady pace.

I hope you’ve found this post helpful and I welcome your insights and experience with starting a food blog. Leave me a comment below…I’d love to hear from you!

And don’t forget to grab the recipe for these seriously irresistable Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream. I mean…chocolate, espresso AND a homemade salted caramel?? It’s a wee bit over the top but you deserve it!


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Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Browned Butter Blondie
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 18 mins
  • Total Time: 38 mins
  • Yield: 12-14 1x
  • Category: Dessert


A rich, dark chocolate cupcake with a hint of espresso. Topped with the most heavenly homemade salted caramel buttercream. These cupcakes are ultra decadent and simply delicious!



For Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup hot espresso

For Salted Caramel

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

For Salted Caramel Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/24 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 6 TBSP salted caramel, room temperature
  • 12 TBSP whole milk


For Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, sugars, oil and vanilla on medium-low speed until well combined.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix on low speed until well combined.
  6. Add half of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat with the other half of the dry ingredients and buttermilk.
  7. Do not over mix.
  8. Add hot espresso and mix on low speed until just combined.
  9. Batter will not be too thick.
  10. Evenly distribute the batter between the cupcake cups, filling 2/3rds of the way full.
  11. Bake 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with few crumbs remaining.
  12. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before removing the cupcakes from pan. Let cool completely before frosting.

For Salted Caramel

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
  2. Add brown sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken.
  4. Add heavy cream, vanilla and salt and stir to combine.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before transferring to a bowl to cool to room temperature.

For Salted Caramel Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and confectioner’s sugar on low speed until combined.
  2. Increase to medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add salted caramel and whip on medium speed to combine. Once combined, increase speed to medium high and mix for 3-4 minutes until buttercream is light and fluffy.
  4. If buttercream is too thick, add 1-2 TBSP of whole milk. If too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar.
  5. Pipe buttercream on to cooled cupcakes and top with drizzle of remaining salted buttercream. Top with chopped dark chocolate if desired.


Store left over cupcakes in a cool, dry place for up to 3 days.
Cupcakes may be frozen before being frosted.


  • Reply
    Carl Gutierrez
    July 9, 2023 at 1:42 am

    I love this! Thanks for sharing this guide, Heather! 🙂

  • Reply
    July 7, 2020 at 1:50 am

    Valuable information….thanks a lot….loved ur recipe too

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      July 8, 2020 at 10:55 pm

      Thanks so much for reading!

  • Reply
    September 30, 2019 at 10:50 am

    This is a great post, Heather! So informative and helpful for beginners. Also, those cupcakes look AMAZING!
    you are great blog writer .keep it up

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      September 30, 2019 at 4:51 pm

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate that!!

  • Reply
    Lexi Harrison
    May 30, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    This is a great post, Heather! So informative and helpful for beginners. Also, those cupcakes look AMAZING!

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      June 5, 2019 at 6:16 pm

      Thank you SO much Lexi!! I appreciate that.

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