Google+ Communities – Four Months Later

A few weeks ago you got to hear my rant about those people who complain that Google+ isn’t working for them, and I listed my top 12 reasons for failure on G+.   Well  today I feel just as frustrated over the fact that there are still so many of my fellow food bloggers wasting their time in communities that will do absolutely nothing for them.

I still see food bloggers posting their blog posts to 3 or more food related communities on G+ thinking that it’s really helping them.   The problem is that most of the communities that allow you to leave your blog posts are chaotic and basically unmoderated, which means that all your time spent posting, leaving comments and +1′s is not a productive use of your time.    I see these communities and bloggers leaving posts there and all that comes to mind is a hamster on a wheel, chasing their tail.

First of all  most of the other Food Blogger communities allow just about anyone to join,  it doesn’t matter if they’re a blogger or not.   I guess quantity out weights quality for those communities.   But even if they were packed with nothing but fellow food bloggers the only people that would ever see anything you do in that community are the members of that community.

If you had spent that time posting and interacting on the public stream, you could have picked up some actual readers…..gasp……non food bloggers, the type of readers that all successful food bloggers count on for their traffic.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  Food bloggers are not the targeted audience that you need.    We love our friends and like to see what they post, but that will never get you anywhere in terms of growth.    Growth will come when you begin to tap the general public,  when you begin to interact with home cooks who are looking for good recipes to try at home for their families and while you may encounter some of them in food communities, the utter chaos of them outweighs any benefits.

At the beginning of my blogging career I played the comment game, I left them and they were returned, and every post would get 100+ comments without fail.  But my readership was stagnant and never really improved, there was no real growth.   Then I started using G+, and instead of spending my time leaving comments for other bloggers, I began interacting with regular people on G+ and within 3 months my readership had almost doubled.    I actually had subscribers that weren’t just food bloggers and those numbers kept increasing.    Of course the amount of comments I received dropped drastically, to the point of embarrassment…..but my numbers kept going up and I finally came to terms with the fact that I must be doing something right to finally see an increase in my  readership.

Being in communities with other bloggers sharing blog posts is that same dead end. Of course you’ll feel good, because that’s what happens when our friends tell us how much they love our creations, but you’ll never see any growth from those pats on the back.   Now if you spend the same amount of time in the public stream instead of those  “Look at Me Communities”, actually interacting with those home cooks and foodies, you’ll begin to see growth.   You’ll also gain some loyal followers that will look forward to reading your content, and Isn’t that what we all want?   To increase our readership and to keep them?   Or do we want the immediate gratification of  comments on our posts by our friends.

I love my blogging friends and will always appreciate and need them, but they are not my targeted audience……they’re my friends.   Much like when I started blogging and only my family read my posts, I love to have them read my post but understand when life gets in the way.

I still enjoy reading my friends posts and try to when  ever I can find the tine and I love to leave comments when I do get to stop by.   Unfortunately time is the problem, and it’s something we all face, especially as we grow.  Do I miss the early days?  Sometimes I do, life was easier, blogging was easier and I only did for fun.   But somewhere along the way, everything changed and while I still have fun with my blog I’ve decided to see where it can take me, as many of my friends also have.

Google+ can be that vehicle that helps take you to the next level in terms of readership, but you have to use it correctly in order to get the benefits of the time you spend on G+.   So use your time wisely my friends, don’t end up on that hamster wheel!

If you haven’t joined the G+ Food Bloggers Community, please stop by and ask for an invitation.  Add me to your circles, make sure you have your  blog listed in your profile, and your request to join will be approved immediately.   It’s hard to believe it’s only been four short months that communities have been in existence on G+, we accomplished so much in such a short period of time.  We have over 1400 bloggers already on our roll call with more signing up every day.  In our community you’ll find bloggers helping bloggers,  sharing best practices and offering answers to the questions we all have out our craft.

You’ll also find Community Education Events that are run almost every week on a variety of topics that are shared to help all of us improve and grow as food bloggers.  You won’t find any  blog posts there unless there tutorials, but you will find a lot great discussions and tons of information.   So if you haven’t already joined please  join today, because remember

Together We Are Stronger

G+Communities

Comments

  1. Hi Chef: I am on G+ but would love an invitation to the food blogging community, how do I go about doing that? I’m still trying to figure this all out :) Thanks in advance, Anne

  2. Hi Chef Dennis, I’d love to join the G+ food blogging community! Thanks!

  3. That was really hepful tip :-)

  4. I still must be doing something wrong or its just that I’m still new. I can’t seem to figure out how to get my blog posted in the photo on my page. I’m not sure if when I’m sending out my posts if I’m sending it properly. Is it best to send it public on Google+ or extended circles? I’d love to double my readership but still must not be doing something right. Although it is increasing. So much to do with so little time. I love your community hangouts, they’ve been very helpful.

    • I think part of the problem is your still new at it, this process will take a good 3-4 months of really working at it. To post, post an image and place your link at the bottom of the blurb you write about your post. The large image will attract more attention than a thumbnail. Always post only to Public, not to any circles at all. If you post to circles you are sending out notification and most of us with any following mute those that send out notifications to us when they post, plus if you post to your extended circles, people will not reshare because that forces them to post to circles as well, and you won’t attract new readers if its basically going out to those that already read you.
      Go through some of our community events that I did, on how to be a good plusser and using G+, I also have quite a few posts on the subject, they will help you better understand how things work.

      Hang in there, its a learning process and one that some bloggers just run away from , so you’re already ahead of the game.

  5. Agreed. It’s all about interaction with the community, and becoming part of the community. That’s what I’ve been doing in various niches for over 15 years to drive traffic to my websites.

    The case with Google+ is that they can boast that they have over a 100 million active users per month, the general populace still hasn’t jumped on board with using it.

    • Your absolutely right about the users on G+, which makes it even more important for us to get a strong foothold before the rest of the world discovers G+, we will be so far ahead of the game at that point.

      thanks for stopping by Scott!

  6. Hi Dennis I agree with you in many respects but there are a few food communities that are trying to build engaging communities that not only appeal to bloggers but the google plus community. I am trying to create just that community and my team of moderators are diligently removing spam posts etc and encouraging engagement but the problem is the bloggers themselves. I’ll explain what I mean, communities are not to be used as another form of audience. Joining 10 food communities to merely drop a link will not provide any growth and quite honestly only puts your blog in the spam filter. My team and I no longer allow those posts in the stream but it doesn’t matter how many warnings we provide bloggers continue to use communities to drop links. Our community has a very decent page rank considering its fairly new and if bloggers used the community properly, “engagement” is key they would pick up new readers and valuable page rank juice.

  7. I agree with you that comments are a closed circle after a while but like you, I’ve found so many like minds through the process of comments. My blog audience kept getting bigger and then just stopped growing. I love my loyal readers but I would like to start the growth again. Please forgive my ignorance but I haven’t figured out how to work g+ yet… oh for the time to figure it out.

    It seems every time I log on the threads are for bloggers with technical issues. I’m not sure how that is interesting to anyone other than a blogger. Am I missing something?

    • hi Deana

      that’s pretty much what are community is about, we can share our work in so many other places, but we don’t have anywhere to get the answers to the questions we have about blogging. In the community you have a place to ask your peers for advice and help, or to share something that has worked well for you. The idea was to build a community to help each other grow and become more successful.

      If you would ever like to log into a hangout sometime I would be happy to walk you through the basics of G+. All you need is a web cam. I’m available mostly after 4pm EDT

      Cheers
      Dennis

  8. Great post, Dennis! I realized that I wanted to focus on the general public and not fellow food bloggers when I left FoodBuzz years ago. I never generated 100 comments per post unless I was giving something away! As I use G+ more, I’m noticing more traffic coming back in return. But, even that is a time investment. Your G+ community and Grace’s PIPO community are the only two that I actively engage in. They are full of terrific bloggers who are genuinely trying to help each other. And bravo with the hangout videos. I’m never able to join the hangouts live, but I do get to watch the videos afterwards and they are full of useful information that I implement in my blog as I hear about them! Thank you again, for always helping out your fellow bloggers!

    • Thank you Laura, I always happy to hear that my friends are enjoying the community and my hangouts. I also appreciate all the hard work Grace has done to help our community as well as her own communities!

  9. Dennis, another terrific post that gets right to the point and the hamster wheel is the ideal visual to drive it home. Navigating the waters of G+ is uncharted territory for all of us. So while we map our courses to achieve our goals, making the right decisions coupled with efficient time use is critical as illustrated. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that creating quality content is equally as crucial. It is, after all, paramount to attracting public readership.

  10. Dennis, this another great post, you are right, first started posting every food blogger communities in the G+ now I stopped doing it. It doesn’t helped increase in my traffic. Also I always post publicly not in circle. Thanks for shedding light the we need to focus on people who are not food bloggers. Always hangouts help to learn something new. thanks

  11. Thanks for your enduring and tireless efforts for all that you do, Chef Dennis! What would we do without your help? This is a great post & I’m sharing this all over my social media :-) Enjoy the warmer weather!

  12. Interesting post. I am not a blogger. I read blogs for inspiration. It’s not easy to make dinner “interesting” so I’m always open to new ideas. I have decided that bloggers blog for other bloggers rather than for people like me.

    • hi Lyn

      I think a lot of them do post for other bloggers and its a real catch 22, they do it because they don’t have enough real readers, and they don’t have real readers because of their posts.

  13. Great post Chef Dennis. Thanks for the recommendations.

  14. Thanks Chef Dennis for everything you put in to building this community. I realize that I still have a lot to learn but I benefit so much from everyone’s wisdom.

  15. Great post. I agree with you 100%. Thanks for all your helpful info. I really recommend G+ Food Bloggers Community.
    Have a wonderful week.

  16. Dennis, in the short time I’ve been on G+, I’ve been tickled with the number of new folks coming to visit my blog or leaving comments on my G+ posts. (Which I can only credit to posting to “public.”) Recently, I joined a scientific community (no “foodie posts” allowed there — just an extension of my love of astronomy) and I’ve also been following a photography group that’s brought color and delight to my day. G+ is as limited or diverse as you make it. I’m looking forward to expanding my “world” even more!

    Thanks for pointing out the hamster wheel, too, lol. I entered G+ needing a lot of hand-holding and have tended to share food-related posts because of it, but your advice is spot on. There was a time for fellow-foodie comment trading (and I, too, treasure the friendships that have resulted from encouraging each other), but G+ is a new, here-to-stay phase — a G+rown Up phase. Hugs to you for being so darn right with your vision of what blogging is about!

  17. My friend, as always you are right! Once I quit focusing on other food bloggers, my daily traffic doubled. And, my comments sank…and sank…and sank. Like you I had to get over it. Now, I love it when I go someplace and someone’s a reader and they tell someone else what wonderful recipes they can find on my site. They’re not bloggers but home cooks who love to cook. And, there are those who are looking for great quick and easy recipes and tell me how much I’ve helped them. That’s what I’m in this for. Help others with great recipes. Enjoy cooking. Share. Once we get thru the year from H&$# I’ll join Google plus and ask you for an intro. I may finally even join pinterest. Alas, I have no time for anything else in my life right now! Hugs, Kate

    • hi Kate

      I’ll be happy to help you with Google+ and especially happy to have you in our community!

      Just let me know when you’re ready!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, it was so nice to hear from you.
      Dennis

  18. Dennis, thanks so much for the information you provided. I think I’m up and running :-). I would love an invitation to join your community andI have one other question. I am able to attach my post to my profile page but the companion photo does not appear and the photo spot is defaulting to my blog header. Is this as it should be or have I made a mistake in my set-up? Again, thanks for the great background info you’ve provided.

    • hi Mary

      just add me to your circles and I’ll send an invitation to our community! As for posting your large image, instead of the blog header coming up. Post an image with the little camera icon, then add your blurb about your post with a link after that, and hashtags. This will showcase your beautiful images and gain you much more attention, plussers love foodporn!

      If you wanted to just use your thumbnail, if you hover over the picture, before you post, you should see little arrows that will let you scroll through the available images to use. Your current post image should be one of them.
      I look forward to seeing you in our community!
      Dennis

  19. Hello Chef Dennis – I have a few questions for you about your Orange Yogurt Cake

    Can vegetable oil be used instead if olive oil? Can brown sugar be used in this cake and why is sea salt used? I would like to try this cake but I’m allergic to olives/olive oil. Thank you in advance for your response.

    • hi Leonie

      yes you can substitute other oil for the olive oil, you can use brown sugar but it has more moisture that regular sugar and usually isn’t an cup for cup substitution, it ma change it a little bit. As for sea salt I use that instead of regular salt for everything I cook, but you can sub regular salt

      Cheers
      Dennis

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