What is my blog niche… if you asked me this a week ago I would have been a bit undecided on how to answer, except to say it’s about halaal food, travel and a few tips and tricks that I learned here or there as a baker and caterer.
One of the resounding messages that I heard during the Food Bloggers Connect conference in London during September 2015, was that every blogger should find their niche, or the segment of the market to whom they specifically appeal.
Around the same time I read a thread in a Facebook group that I belong to that was called ‘Get a PEEK Inside Your Readers’ Minds!’. This too mentioned finding your niche, and that working it was the key to successful monetization and growth in the long and short term.
There was some good advice recommending that a visitor to the site should know what the blog is about from the logo, the tagline, the about section and the type of recipes visible on the home page.
Although I am a creature of habit for the most part, I tend to be a rather eclectic cook who no longer has the time or patience for complicated recipes starring the latest food fads. I must confess that I bought quinoa for the first time a few weeks ago, and only decided to cook it after the server at the deli counter of the supermarket implored me to taste his colleague’s new recipes.
I realized something very profound yesterday while reading an article called ‘8 Things I Am Too Old For’. It had nothing to do with blogging but resonated very deeply with where I am in my life right now. It was very easy to get so caught up in all the mechanics of blogging and trying to grow the reach and brand of Tantalise My Taste Buds, that somewhere along the way I forgot something very important:
The food that I cook is the food that I love and want to eat and share with my family and friends.
My life doesn’t have a theme. It is lived one day at a time, savoring every experience and morsel that I cook or eat, or every place that I visit. Cooking and eating should be pleasurable experiences, for myself as well as for the person who decides to make one of the recipes on this website.
Many of my recipes are born of nostalgia; the memories and yearnings for the food from my mother’s kitchen, and the aromas and textures of the foods of my youth. Others are inspired by my travels, farmer’s markets, grocery shopping, aromas from staff eating in the pantry next to my office (yes really!) or even other bloggers.
Although I am aware that I have a wheat sensitivity, I unapologetically love baking with wheat flour, but have begun to explore gluten free flours in order to expand my repertoire. Today I may explore gluten free recipes, but the next day it may be low carb, nut free (my nephew has a nut allergy) or dairy free.
I believe that being adventurous in exploring new ideas, new produce and new techniques will be a benefit for myself and my readers, who know that my recipes are not a waste of good material. I don’t want to constrain myself by restricting what I can and cannot publish so that I can pander to any specific niche or dietary challenge (there are too many). My only restrictions are that my recipes do not contain pork or alcohol, as these are not permissible for me as an observant Muslim.
My blog niche is the aspirational home cook and adventurer who loves authentic, unpretentious tried and tested recipes that are fragrantly perfumed and easy on the eye and the taste buds.
The cook who knows that they can as easily find a tried and tested recipe for a beautiful cake; a quick lunch or a lush evening meal under the same roof on the Tantalise My Taste Buds website. The cook who may be a single person working long hours wanting a delicious easy to prepare meal like the Red lentil soup; a student learning to bake cookies like the Chocolate chunk pecan cookies; or a parent wanting to bake a cake like the Chocolate cake with ganache for a family celebration.
It is the aspirational traveler who loves to see new places and meet new people and immerse themselves in the culinary traditions and culture of their host destination.