Phoebe Lapine is a NYC-based cookbook author, chef, culinary instructor, recipe developer and wellness personality. On her blog, Feed Me Phoebe, she shares her recipes for healthy comfort food, gluten-free finds and insights about balanced lifestyle choices beyond food. In 2013 Food & Wine magazine named Feed Me Phoebe as one of the top food blogs in their first ever Digital Awards. She is also a frequent contributor to Food52, Kitchen Daily, and The Huffington Post. Above taste and self-sufficiency, Phoebe believes that feeling good about your body and your food, is the most compelling reason to get in the kitchen and get cooking. She embraces a balanced diet, eats the good with the bad, and thinks that kale lasagna is better than no lasagna at all.
Please tell us something about yourself. Is food blogging your profession or just a hobby?
I am a full time food person of many trades besides blogging, including cooking professionally for private clients, teaching cooking classes at various venues in NYC, developing recipes for brands, hosting web series on gluten-free cooking, and writing for various publications.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?
I began my blogging career as one half of another food site, which spawned my first cookbook In The Small Kitchen. Once I began moving in the direction of gluten-free healthy comfort food, I knew I had to create an online home for those experiments, having seen how powerful a blog presence can be for launching other projects like books, shows, etc. So I started Feed Me Phoebe as my platform for figuring out recipes that taste as good as they are good for you. The site evolves with me, and now I’m starting to move more into the wellness space, talking about recipes for living a more balanced life beyond food. It’s so important to have a virtual home that can iterate with you.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
I used the amazing team over at Aeolidia to develop the site. I had another very talented gal design the logo and I worked with my web designer to create a theme based on those colors and fonts.
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
I am a total url junkie – I buy them like candy. Every time I have an idea, I immediately buy the url. Feed Me Phoebe came to me one day on a bike ride. I thought it was cute so I went home and bought the domain. It took me a year before I ended up using it for the blog.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
Custom WordPress by Aeolidia. Yoast plugin for SEO is great. And I love the Ziplist plugin for recipes.
How much time do you spend blogging?
I could spend countless hours – the work never feels done. There’s always more time you could be spending participating in the community and increasing your social reach. I probably spend 8 hours a week on content creation and lots of other bits and pieces of time on social.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
Pinterest has been most successful for my site. I try to guest post on other sites like Huffington Post, Food52, and Mind Body Green to gain more of a following and find those sites to be better traffic drivers than twitter.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
Through advertising of course, but I find it to be a better jumping off point for other work. I wouldn’t get the brand work I do if I didn’t have this platform. It’s a great place to showcase your work and hope it leads to more, offline or on.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure should they make a blog of their own?
It takes time to gain a following, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I look back on my early posts and cringe, grateful that not that many people were around to read them. It takes time to hone your cooking and photography skills and to find your voice. But there’s no better way to do so than blogging, even if you end up taking the skills you gain elsewhere.
Photos ©: Feed Me Phoebe