You’ve probably noticed that many food blogs often begin a recipe with a lengthy story. This is a divisive topic among foodies all over the web. Some people love reading the context behind recipe posts, which usually involves an anecdote about why the blogger loves the dish or may include a historical account of how the dish came to be. However, it’s also become somewhat of a joke and is often the subject of complaints – “Why can’t the author get straight to the recipe?”

Whether you enjoy these stories or not, you’re probably wondering what their purpose is. 

Bloggers use this format for recipe posts for a couple of reasons. It adds a personal dimension to posts and plays a big role in improving SEO. Any food blogger who wants to find success should consider both of these factors.

Let’s take a look at why they matter and the true value of an in-depth recipe story.

Understanding the trend of lengthy stories in food blogs

Food bloggers have been adding stories to their recipe posts for a long time; it’s not a trend that has come out of nowhere. If you’re wondering whether you should be doing this yourself, have a look at the top reasons why most major food bloggers do this: 

The SEO benefits of driving long narratives

SEO is one of the key reasons long-form content is included in recipe blog posts. Detailed narratives help to keep people on the page longer, which is a good signal to search engines that your content is valuable and relevant to the user.

By writing longer stories, there’s more content, which increases the amount of material that can be indexed by search engines like Google. This can lead to improved organic search visibility, increasing the ranking of your blog posts in search engine page results (SERPs). In turn, this will help to improve your traffic, which is another positive sign to search engines that your content is working.

When you begin a recipe with a related story, you have the opportunity to incorporate long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords, which consist of more than two or three words, are less competitive and can be easier to rank for. They’re generally more targeted toward user queries, too.

For example, consider the example below, which discusses the history of shahi paneer. This increases the chances of the recipe showing up in search results for people actively searching for terms related to the history of this dish.

A recipe story focusing on the history of shahi paneer.

The role of personal touch in recipe blogging

Including longer text gives you an opportunity to show your personality and give your food blog a unique style. The food blogging niche is highly competitive, so doing everything to help your blog stand out is essential. Telling a story helps you convey passion and show your expertise, which boosts your credibility and authenticity. Your readers are more likely to trust you if they see you as a real person with great knowledge.

When you’re thinking about what to write, focus on what differentiates you and your recipes from others. Maybe your blog has a family focus, or you want to help people cook on a budget. Perhaps you’re enthusiastic about promoting a certain cuisine, or maybe you cater to specific dietary requirements. Once you’ve defined what this is, you should use it to help you find long-tail keywords around that topic. You can then incorporate these keywords naturally into your stories to boost your SEO.

Finding a niche for your blog will also make it easier to find the right audience. When you focus on a particular area of food blogging, you’ll be able to narrow down your audience and make sure your recipes and other content are tailored to them. The people who read your blog are then much more likely to become loyal readers who sign up for your mailing list, share your recipes, and are more receptive to sponsored posts and affiliate marketing. You’ll be able to get them to come back again and again because they’re engaged with your content.

The Defined Dish newsletter sign-up form.

Adding background to your recipes can make them more useful 

Food bloggers often include personal stories and background information in their recipe posts not only to engage their audience but also to make the recipes more useful and accessible. By sharing insights into ingredient substitutions, preparation techniques, and personal tips, bloggers empower their readers to adapt the recipes to their own preferences and dietary needs. These additional details go beyond the basic instructions, providing valuable context and guidance that can help novice cooks feel more confident in the kitchen. Moreover, by sharing their own experiences and experimentation with the recipe, bloggers demonstrate that cooking is not an exact science but rather an enjoyable and creative process that allows for flexibility and adaptation.

Stories are opportunities for monetization strategies

Food bloggers often incorporate personal stories into their recipe posts as a strategic method to monetize their blog through partnerships and sponsorships. By weaving narratives around a recipe, bloggers create engaging content that attracts and retains readers’ attention, ultimately increasing their blog’s traffic and visibility. This heightened engagement makes their platform more appealing to potential partners, such as food brands or kitchenware companies, who seek to collaborate with influencers to promote their products to a targeted audience. By seamlessly integrating sponsored content into their storytelling, bloggers can leverage their authentic voice and connection with their audience to endorse products in a natural and compelling way, thereby maximizing the commercial potential of their blog posts.

Moreover, the addition of personal stories adds a unique and relatable touch to sponsored content, enhancing its effectiveness in capturing readers’ interest and fostering a sense of trust and authenticity. By sharing personal anecdotes related to the sponsored product, bloggers can demonstrate its relevance and value in their own lives, making it more appealing to their audience. Additionally, storytelling allows bloggers to highlight the features and benefits of the product in a subtle yet persuasive manner, without resorting to overt advertising tactics that may turn off readers. Ultimately, the synergy between storytelling and sponsored content enables food bloggers to monetize their blog posts effectively while maintaining the integrity and authenticity of their brand.

Navigating the balance with WP Recipe Maker’s tools

We’ve learned that starting a food blog post with a lengthy story has some amazing benefits. But even with those benefits for both bloggers and readers, some people will always want to get straight to the recipe. Even if they read the story later, they may want to initially get a look at what the recipe entails to see if it’s suitable for their needs. If they’ve found your recipe through a search engine, they’re less likely to be invested in your stories. Or perhaps they’re returning to the recipe after saving it and simply want to get straight to the instructions.

Having to scroll through a lot of text to get to the actual recipe can be frustrating and might even make people leave, having the opposite effect of what you’re aiming for. That’s why a jump-to-recipe button is invaluable, giving readers the chance to skip the story and just get the recipe.

“Implementing a jump-to-recipe button on your website is a game-changer for user experience. It respects the reader’s time by offering direct access to what they’re looking for – the recipe – while still accommodating those who enjoy the narrative. It’s a small yet impactful feature that enhances accessibility and keeps your audience engaged, catering to their preferences effortlessly.”

Birthe Vandermeeren

WP Recipe Maker is a WordPress plugin designed specifically for food bloggers. It’s packed with features that make life as a food blogger easier to manage. One of the most useful features is the aforementioned jump-to-recipe button, which gives your readers the option of jumping straight to the recipe card. WP Recipe Maker also has a handy print recipe button, so anyone who prefers to print out a paper version or save a digital copy can do that with ease.

An example of a Jump-to-recipe button added with WP Recipe Maker on 

Give your recipes an SEO boost, too. WP Recipe Maker automatically includes recipe details in the metadata of each recipe post.

Maximize your food blog’s potential with WP Recipe Maker

So, long stories at the beginning of recipes aren’t just there for the sake of it. They help to give your blog a unique voice, build loyalty with your audience, and are beneficial for SEO reasons. If you’re looking to monetize your blog, the text before your recipe is also a great opportunity to include information about brand sponsorships or details about affiliate marketing.

WP Recipe Maker is a must-have plugin if you’re a food blogger who wants to elevate your blog. Its many features help you boost the user experience of your blog, enabling you to create consistent formatting with recipe cards and options to share and save recipes. You also get features that boost both the SEO performance and monetization of your blog. 

Don’t shy away from writing longer recipe posts for fear of getting it wrong. You can enjoy all of the benefits of including stories with your posts while offering your readers that all-important option to jump straight to your recipes when you display them with WP Recipe Maker.

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