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Daily Inspiration: Meet Kristen Wood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Wood.

Hi Kristen, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My food blog, MOON and spoon and yum, is the culmination of passions intersecting (cooking, photography) and also necessity (the blog was born in a tiny studio apartment with very limited resources and big dreams).

Shortly after starting my blog, I realized that people were actually making money doing this, and good money at that. So, I set out to teach myself everything I could learn about food blogging, SEO (search engine optimization), and more.

It isn’t an overnight success story, but with hard work and determination, I’ve far exceeded the goals I originally set for myself and now solely support my family of four.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Not at all!

When I first started out, I pretty much committed all the big no-nos in the food blogging world.

I started my site on a platform that wasn’t conducive to growth, my articles were too short and not very helpful for readers, my posts did not contain the coding necessary for Google to understand what they were about, my photos were definitely lacking and I wasted time focusing on avenues that were really just a waste of time.

However, I probably learned the most from those mistakes! On a personal level, behind the scenes, I was a new mother and our little family was struggling financially (I think we all know how expensive Flagstaff can be!).

Much of the business was born during the wee hours of the night and any spare second I could find in-between feedings, etc. It was all very challenging, but well worth it in the end.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a cookbook author, recipe developer, photographer, writer, and the creator of MOON and spoon and yum, a gluten-free vegetarian food blog, and also now Schisandra & Bergamot, an herbalism and DIY-focused blog.

My income sources are the ads served on my sites, affiliate links from the products I recommend, cookbook and printable sales, and I also do a lot of sponsored and freelance work. Brands hire me for everything from creating recipes with their products and posting them on one of my sites, to commercial product and food photography and everything in-between.

I think I am most proud of making my dreams a reality! It was a long, hard journey, but I never stopped believing in myself and what was possible, and I think that made all the difference. In that same vein, I think that is also what sets me apart (if anything!). Statistically speaking, most food bloggers do not make it to the traffic level I’m at and tend to quit before they see real results.

Food blogging is a long game and requires a lot of fortitude to stick it through. I do not think many are aware of the various hats a food blogger has to wear.

It isn’t as simple as taking a photo and sharing it alongside a recipe. We do everything from the basics like photography, videography, writing, editing, and recipe testing to web development, graphic design, marketing, social media management, strategic keyword research, SEO (search engine optimization), and more.

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to bring in, maintain and continually grow blog traffic. And, then there’s the keeping up with the times and the algorithmic changes search engines and social media networks undergo continually!

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
As a child, I was very curious, adventurous, and in love with the natural world.

I spent most of my time playing outside and dreaming of faraway travel destinations. But even then, there was a strong creative streak and drive to create something in my life outside of the normal expectations. I was always a dreamer and an outsider, in a sense.

And, it has served me well!

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