You’ve come up with a great recipe for your blog or website. You’ve tested it, tasted it and tested it again. You’ve even got a killer image that you know will get a lot of Pins and Likes. Now you’re ready to post it!
Ask yourself this: Will this recipe really inspire your readers and guarantee success? In other words, if I pulled a random recipe off your website and tried to make it in my kitchen, would it turn out as lovely and delicious looking as that image on the top of your page?
If a recipe fails, whether that recipe came from a blog or a website or a cookbook, do you think twice before returning to that source? I know I do.
So when you write and publish a recipe, you need to make triply sure your readers have every bit of knowledge you had when you created the dish. You want to take out any guesswork and give them total confidence that your recipe will work the first time and every time.
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Here are the Top 5 Tips for Writing Recipes for your blog or website that will be readable, bookmarkable and memorable!
1. GRAB THEIR ATTENTION: THE TITLE
The title should be interesting and clearly describe the recipe, without being too cutesy. You want your readers to be able to easily search for recipes on your website (and in a Google search, too): “Kale and Pomegranate Salad” works better than “Christmasy Salad.”
Some recipes include a headnote, or tag line after the title. This is great time for enticing your readers to make your tempting recipe. My blog recipes are always led by a short story or vignette about why or how I created the recipe or something else interesting, like an unusual ingredient or cooking tip. This is where I do my storytelling and have the most fun writing.
2. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE AND HOW MUCH WILL IT MAKE?
Prep time, cooking time and the number of servings, or the serving size, should be at the top of every recipe. Your readers want to know how long it will take them to make the recipe and if it will feed their entire family.
I’m VERY guilty of leaving out how much a recipe will make or serve because, a lot of the time, I just don’t like preaching about portion control. A 9-inch pie technically should serve 12 people. But it all depends on how you slice it. In my house, it’ll serve 8. Or 4, if it’s a Coconut Cream Pie. Or one.
3. WHAT YOU’LL NEED: INGREDIENTS
The ingredients should always be listed separately and in the order that they’ll be used. Unless it is the first ingredient used, don’t put the main ingredient at the top. If something needs to be thawed, softened, melted or drained, let your readers know!
It is important to be really specific with ingredient measurements by calling out the size, weight and volume. If possible, give your readers two different ways to measure an ingredient. For example, write, “1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup).” Calling out the weight of certain ingredients is also helpful, like “1 butternut squash, (about 2 pounds) peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces.”
Always make sure you tell your readers whether something should be diced, sliced, crushed, chopped or grated BEFORE or AFTER measuring. A cup of almonds is different than a cup of chopped almonds.
If necessary, the ingredients should be grouped, such as “for the salsa”, “for the fish”, “for the shells.” This makes the recipe easier to read and follow.
Offering a substitution for an ingredient is also mega helpful. If ground turkey will work just as well as ground beef, let your readers know!
Oh, and let go of those measurement abbreviations, they’re just too confusing!
4. YOUR TIME TO SHINE: STEP BY STEP
Writing the recipes steps, or method, is where your readers can really see (hear?) your blog voice and style. I like recipes that sound like we’re hanging out and cooking together in the same kitchen. Many recipes leave out articles (“a,” “the,” “an”), but I like a more easy-going type of writing. You decide what works best for your blog.
Include everything you need to do to make the recipe: “Line a cookie sheet with foil;” “Place oven racks 4 inches from the top;” “Heat the oven on 425°F.” “Chill four glasses.” Call out specific size pans and dishes and anything that needs to be done in advance.
The recipe steps or method should still be simple, clear and accurate. Think about this:
“Sauté onions in a small saucepan over medium heat, for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until translucent, not brown.”
Numbered, highlighted or bulleted steps make the recipe appear simpler and easier to make.
5. DOUBLE CHECK: READ AND EDIT
You’ve written and tested the recipe, but before you publish, read it again. And again. Spell check is wonderful, but auto-correct can sometimes sink a recipe.
As you read, try to visualize the Recipe Steps using each of the ingredients. This helps you see if you’ve included all of the ingredients, and that you’ve written the proper amounts. It also insures that you haven’t left out a step!
Join me at #BlogHerFood15 for more tips and insights into creating recipe enchantment on your blog or website!