“Anything rich, gooey, and decadent seems to do well with my readers,” says Barabara Schieving of BarbaraBakes.com. Since 2008 she’s been serving up recipes of all kinds to her readers, but has an inclination towards dessert recipes.
Now in her eighth year of blogging, Barbara doesn’t have a typical food blogger origin story. “I started my blog so I could participate in the Daring Bakers challenges,” she says, adding that they, “get me out of my comfort zone and challenge me.” But that wasn’t the only reason Barbara started posting her recipes online.
Like many daughters, Barbara’s frequently called her asking for recipes, particularly Martha Stewart’s Oatmeal Toffee Cookies. After an incident when her daughter got her out of bed to get the recipe, Barbara decided to just post it online. And so started her journey into the world of food and dessert bloggers.
At first she didn’t post regularly, approaching Barabara Bakes as a hobby. But the best food bloggers always find that breakthrough. For Barabara it came almost three years after she’s started her site. She posted an adaptation of her mother’s recipe for Overnight Monkey Bread. “It’s like getting just the best part of a cinnamon roll, the ooey, gooey middle in every bite,” she wrote.
What resulted was her first big success. The post was shared nearly 400 times on Facebook and was pinned clost to 3,500 times.
“I started blogging for fun and it took several years before I decided to commit to posting on a regular basis,” she says. After that she started accepting advertising.
All bloggers improve as they produce more work, and Barabara is no exception. “My photography has really improved over the years,” she says. If you go through her site chronologically, you can see her progressions through the months.
Her improved photography skills led to her greatest viral success to date, her Strawberry Cheesecake with an Oreo Crust. Asked why she thinks the post was shared so much, she said, “It’s a beautiful picture and the dripping strawberry sauce really draws you in.”
Indeed, the post was pinned over 68,000 times and shared on Facebook nearly 3,000 times. Add in over 900 Google+ shares and it’s a smash hit.
Don’t think that Barbara created such a successful site just by creating great recipes and improving her photography. While those are essential elements of any successful food blog, she knows that you have to go the extra mile. Like all of the best bloggers, she spends her share of time on social media: “Several hours a day sharing my posts and other bloggers posts, and networking with other bloggers.” Like so many dessert bloggers, her posts perform best on Pinterest.
While she does what the best bloggers do to succeed, she still has skills and characteristics that allow her to stand out. “I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I spend time making my desserts as close to perfection as I can get them,” Barbara says. “They have to look pretty as well as taste fabulous.”
As with all of our Sweetest Bloggers, we asked Barbara what her favorite blogs were. “I am inspired by food bloggers who are also great photographers,” she told us. They include:
What advice would she give to new food bloggers? “You have to have a passion for whatever type of food you’re blogging about. It’s more than a full time job. You’re the recipe developer, the baker, the food stylist, the photographer, the writer, photo editor, and PR person all in one.” In other words, start learning skills now so you can develop them as your blog grows.
There is great reward in being a food blogger, and Barbara knows that as well as anyone. “The most rewarding part of being a food blogger is all the wonderful people I’ve meet and the opportunities that have come my way. My first cookbook, Dream Puffs, is scheduled to be released in October, 2015.”
We’re looking forward to the book, Barbara.