In my newest episode of The Blogger Genius Podcast, I’m talking with Cheryl Norris from Bakes by Brown Sugar. We’re discussing how Google Web Stories can seriously boost your traffic.
If you haven’t heard of Google Web Stories yet, you’ll want to stick around to learn what they are, and how easy they are to create.
If you are not making Google web stories yet, this episode will get started. For Cheryl, it was the added traffic from her web stories that got her accepted into the ad network, MediaVine.
In this episode, we talk about how:
- What Google Web Stories are and where to find them
- Cheryl’s amazing traffic results from creating Web Stories
- How to create Web Stories quickly and easily yourself using the Google Web Stories WordPress plugin
- What should go into your Web Stories
- How you need to experiment with the Web Stories you create because not all will take off
If you are working to grow your traffic, this episode is so good! Don’t miss it!
Table of Contents
- MiloTree Easy Payments Beta Tester
- Bakes by Brown Sugar
- Web Stories WordPress plugin
- Become a Blogger Genius Facebook Group
- Free MiloTree Blog Post Checklist
- 5 Secrets Successful Bloggers Already Know Cheat Sheet
- All Blogger Genius Podcast Episodes
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Welcome to the the Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
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How Google Web Stories Can Seriously Boost Your Traffic
For today’s episode. I have my friend Cheryl Norris, from the dessert blog Bakes by Brown Sugar, back on the show. Cheryl was on before talking about food photography, because she is a master and I will link to that episode.
But in this episode, we are talking about something amazing. And if you don’t know about this, it’s time to learn and it is called Google Web stories. And when Cheryl told me the kind of traffic she started getting from her web stories, I was blown away.
And I said to her, please come back on the show to talk about this. Google Web stories are Google’s way of competing with Instagram stories and Snapchat stories and Pinterest Idea Pins.
They are these little pieces of content you create. And they show up on Google on mobile. And they drive traffic. It’s amazing. Cheryl shares all of her best tips, tricks, strategies for creating them and I have to say they are not hard to create.
There is a WordPress plugin to help you. If you are looking for more traffic, this is the episode for you. So, without further delay, here is my interview with Cheryl Norris. Cheryl, welcome back to the show.
Cheryl Norris 3:04
Hi, Jillian. It’s great to be back. Thank you so much for inviting me back to talk about web stories.
Jillian Leslie 3:10
I love it. Cheryl, you have this beautiful food blog. You were on the podcast before talking about photography. So, if anybody is listening to this, and wants Cheryl’s photography tips, I will be linking in the show notes to your first episode.
But the reason why I wanted you to come back on the show was to talk about Google Web stories and your success. So, would you first explain what Google Web stories are?
What Are Google Web Stories
How you initially thought about them like should you make them? Shouldn’t you make them and then once you started, what happened?
Cheryl Norris 3:52
Okay, yes. My pleasure. So, when I first heard about web stories, I was encouraged actually, by Casey Markee to do web stories.
Jillian Leslie 4:01
And who’s Casey Markee? I have another podcast episode where I interviewed him, but would you share who he is and what he said to you?
Cheryl Norris 4:08
Yes, so Casey Markee is basically this SEO guru for food bloggers. And at the time, he was encouraging me to do web stories, I’d actually hired him to do an audit for my existing food blog, Bakes by Brown Sugar.
I encourage you if you’re in the food blogging business to consider an audit because he gave me a lot of good information to improve my food blog. And traffic has improved based on the changes I made.
The ones that he recommended after doing the audit for my food blog. But anyway, he encouraged me to do web stories and I made a note for something I’ll get to but you know, like a lot of food bloggers I just got a lot going on.
And I have a full daytime job. And so, the food blog is, in the evenings on the weekends, and so I put it down and something okay, I’ll get to eventually.
Jillian Leslie 5:03
Yes, my goal is to eventually list is very long. Yeah, I get it.
Cheryl Norris 5:11
One of my goals in looking for ways to build my traffic was to qualify for Mediavine.
Jillian Leslie 5:17
And Mediavine is the ad network. And right now, you need 50,000 sessions, I think, is that right to be active?
Cheryl Norris 5:17
Yes, right now, I believe it’s still 50,000 sessions. And my traffic was growing, but I seem to have topped out at about, 25,000 sessions, so, obviously looking for ways to improve that.
I’m optimizing my existing blog post, I’m applying SEO to new blog posts, different things like that, trying to do all the basic things but just seem to topped out.
Jillian Leslie 5:52
Okay, wait, I just want to stop you for a second. The difference between pageviews and sessions is pageviews is how many people are viewing different pages on your site. Sessions is like how many people are coming to your blog, say in a month.
So, your sessions is typically a lower number than your pageviews.
Cheryl Norris 6:13
Yes, that’s true. Because in a session, people can look at multiple pages.
Jillian Leslie 6:17
Okay, so continue your story.
Doing Web Stories to Grow Traffic to Get Into MediaVine
Cheryl Norris 6:20
So, I actually heard another food blogger, say in a pacemaker conference presentation, that she started doing web stories and had increased her traffic enough where she qualified for Mediavine.
So, I’m like, okay, that’s the second sign. That’s the second thing. I’ve heard the specific thing about web stories. And I will admit, I had dabbled in web stories prior to listen to this presentation for this other food blogger, and it just seemed complicated.
Not quite sure what to do or how to do it. What was right and I’m a perfectionist, even though Jillian, you’ve talked a lot about doing B-minus work, just still that perfectionist tendency.
And if I’m going to do something that’s got to be right, it’s got to be done freight. So, I went back to it, I looked at one of the stories I had started.
Jillian Leslie 7:15
Okay, wait, before you even go there. Tell us what is a web story? And where do they live?
What Does a Google Web Story Look Like?
Cheryl Norris 7:23
Okay, so a web story is basically that. It’s a story about whatever subject you’re the expert in. In my case, it’s a food blog. And so, a web story for me is going to be about one of my recipes.
It consists of a series of panels, it can be images, or video with the appropriate text describing what’s going on, in that particular panel, and ideas that you’re telling the story from beginning to end.
So, if you have a story about a chocolate cake, you’re telling the story, and you’re saying, Hey, here’s this beautiful chocolate cake. And here’s the story of how I made it.
And within that you also have the call to actions like saying, “Hey, get the full recipe or visit my blog, get more information, sign up for my newsletter.” So, when you think about a web story, it’s basically a story that’s existing within the web.
You typically need to get the Google app on your phone, because they only exist on mobile devices. So, you’re not going to find them on a desktop. And within the Google app, there’s a thing called Google Discovery. And that’s where they’re going to live.
And Google basically promotes them as they will. Once you’ve done everything you’re supposed to do and in terms of, laying out the panels, telling the story, doing all the proper labeling with your website.
The only thing you can control is making sure you’re doing it right. And after that, once you release it, once you publish is up to Google to determine how often or how much they’re going to promote that particular story.
Jillian Leslie 9:00
So, I just want to add that as say, started with Snapchat creating stories and Instagram then created stories. And even Pinterest has their idea pins, which are stories, Google is like, wait a second, we want to get in on this.
And so Google created Google Web Stories. And initially, you don’t necessarily in a regular Google search, see them. So, its like, what are these things? And where are they living? And how do they link to stuff.
And so just like you said, if you want to see them in real life, if you have an Android phone, and you go to Google, you will see them. I think they show up on Android phones.
Download the Google App to See Web Stories
However, if you have an iPhone, download the Google app, it’s a free app. And if you do that you will see them. Again, they’re not on your blog, that’s not true. They’re in your sitemap but if go to Bakes by Brown Sugar, I’m not going to see your story.
They’re living kind of in the ether connected to Google. And you can link them to your blog. So, it is a great way to drive organic traffic to your site, as you’ve discovered.
Cheryl Norris 10:18
Oh, yeah, it has been phenomenal for my blog traffic. So, I did my first web story in April, for an upside down orange cake I understand now. I’ve read information online that you just start your most popular posts, because you get traffic for that.
But with my most popular posts, I didn’t necessarily have enough content in terms of photos or video to build out a full story. So, at the time, I’d done this orange upside down cake, I had already started the practice of taking a lot of process shot.
So, I basically started with what I had, as opposed to saying, “Oh, I don’t have these photos for my most popular posts, so I’m not going to do it.” So, I started with the orange upside down cake. I posted it.
And it took about a week for it to kind of catch on. So, nothing really happened. And then about 7 to 10 days later, my traffic exploded for that particular recipe. I think I had something like, over 300 clicks. I have to double check that.
But I have over 300 clicks just for that one recipe based on the web stories.
Jillian Leslie 11:33
Getting Traffic Spikes from Google Web Stories
Cheryl Norris 11:35
Yeah, it was a one day spike. So, it was like that one day spike and went back down to normal traffic. But I was like, wow, that’s like phenomenal to see that type of traffic for one blog post.
And, it was a pretty competitive blog posts too, just the whole idea of orange upside down cake. If you Google that there’s a lot of competition for that.
Not as competitive as a pineapple upside down cake but still, I was really excited to see those type of numbers for a single blog post.
Jillian Leslie 12:06
Wow. Now, one thing I wanted to say is you’re going like, okay, I’ve never heard of these Google Web Stories. And Cheryl’s talking about making them, how do I make them? And one thing that I want to say is there is a WordPress plugin.
So, if you’re on WordPress, now, there are also some other plugins that you can use, but I recommend you download the Google Web Stories plugin onto your WordPress blog, and then you create them on WordPress.
Cheryl Norris 12:35
Yes, I agree with that with getting the plugin. The nice thing about the plugin is everything that you need is within that single plugin in terms of including how to connect it to your Google Analytics.
So, you can see the traffic that you’re getting from the web stories. When I first started, web stories had maybe about two or three templates, or maybe four templates that you could use, and doesn’t really work for me.
I tried using one of them. But I was doing a lot of editing just in that existing template. So since it was taking so long, I just started with a blank slate. And just played around with creating that first web story.
Creating Your First Web Stories
The first web story, I will admit, probably took me about three hours, as I tried to figure out things, put the right pictures in, like what am I supposed to do. Like, where should the text go? What should it look like?
I actually went to look at other web stories to see how they were showing the tags to figure things out. I will say that even with that it was still really, really rough. It was mainly not my finest work.
However, like I said, I still got traffic from it. And as I learned, I went back and updated it because like a blog post, you are able to update what stories even after you publish them.
So, if look at it, and you’re like, “Oh, I should have put that panel in.” Or, “Oh, I now have a video, let me insert that video.” You can easily do those on web stories.
So, if you’re new to web stories, I would encourage you don’t do what I initially did was like it has to be perfect. Just go ahead and do it. And if it takes you a while to do it, like I said, it took me about two, three hours maybe to do that first one, don’t be discouraged by that.
Consider that a learning curve because I learned a lot, even though it took me a long time. And now I’m down to probably about, I don’t know, 40, 45 minutes to do a web story. So, your time to do it will shorten as you just get better and better at it.
Jillian Leslie 14:33
So, initially, we were confused. And we’re like, “Hey, do we take the link to the web story? And do we insert it in our blog post? How is Google going to see this?” And the answer really is, no. It’s connected to your blog.
But again lives someplace else, and you do not need to embed it nor should you really embed this in the blog post. It’s really just directionally going from web story to blog post.
Cheryl Norris 15:01
Yes, that’s correct. So, that’s something that I read online, I believe I read it at Mediavine. And there was one other source, too, because like you said, you want the web story to drive traffic to your blog, not vice versa.
And also you want to embed the web story in your actual blog posts, because that could actually slow down your page, the loading of your page. And the nice thing about the web stories is that they’re going to exist out there and Google will bring them up from time to time.
I’ve seen that where they initially bring them up when I first published them, and then they might bring them up maybe two months later. Now part of that might just be seasonality of the subject of your web story.
When I first did this since I started in April, a lot of my newest web stories are summer fruit focused. So, I think that’s why they got some of the replay. Now that we’re moving into fall, I don’t know what’s going to happen with the traffic.
But at the same time, I am creating new blog posts and new web stories that are now featuring pears and apples and pumpkin and Christmas cookies. So, we’ll see what happens with the fruit for web stories versus the fall baseball stories.
Jillian Leslie 16:26
Now, how many total web stories have you created so far?
Cheryl Norris 16:30
I have created 10.
Jillian Leslie 16:32
And of those 10 are all 10 driving new traffic or just certain ones that took off?
Cheryl Norris 16:39
So, the ones that are driving traffic are the ones that use summer fruits. So, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, those have given me a lot of good traffic. The one that I have that’s not a fruit based is a chocolate hazelnut stone.
And I get very little traffic from that it pops up occasionally. But yeah, I’ve gotten very little traffic from that.
Jillian Leslie 17:04
Got it. So, it’s not even across the board. There are ones that have been hit and others. So, it’s kind of like you got to make a bunch of them, because you’re hoping that one or two or three take off?
Cheryl Norris 17:15
Jillian Leslie 17:16
And it’ll be interesting to see again, as the seasons change and who knows, like whether Google recycles them. It’s still early.
Cheryl Norris 17:26
Yeah, that’s what I’m waiting to see. When I first did this and I saw the traffic that I got with the one I did in April, I did between May and June, I did four web stories. And they’ve been recycled all summer long.
Like I’ll get that initial bump in traffic for two or three days and it will die down. And then it’ll come back up. In August, Google took four or five of my web stories and gave them heavy rotation.
And I had some nominal traffic for like 10 straight days, I went from having maybe over 1,000 sessions a day just with normal traffic to having between 3,000 and 4,000 sessions a day based on the web stories.
Jillian Leslie 18:21
So, the name of the game is traffic. That’s how we grow our businesses. doing web stories is a great way to drive traffic to your blog. But the only way to get people to stick is by creating great blog posts.
Grab My Free Blog Post Checklist to Optimize Your Posts
So, grab my free blog post checklist by going to milotree.com/blogpost checklist. It’s a simple one-page PDF, and I go through step-by-step everything you need to have a highly optimized blog posts that your audience will love and Google will love too.
Again head to milotree.com/blogpostchecklist and get yours today. And now back to the show.
Jillian Leslie 19:11
Let’s go deeper. So, you’re saying it’s a story. Let’s pick one of yours. First of all, one thing that I wanted to say is and you say this too, do not name your web story the exact same as you name your blog post.
Because you do not want to compete with yourself when it comes to Google in terms of your content. So, definitely alter the title of your web story. Just so that Google doesn’t get confused.
Cheryl Norris 19:44
Yes. Definitely, and it doesn’t have to be a radically different name. For instance, I have a peach bourbon upside down cake on my blog post. And when I did the web story, I renamed it peach upside down.
How to Create a Google Web Stories Step-by-Step
Jillian Leslie 20:01
Got it. So, let’s talk about then what this means with a story. If you were to take this story, how many panels? How many slides are there do you usually typically do to tell the story of the recipe?
And then would you break down what that means? Like, the first panel might be, “Here are the ingredients?” Or how do you tell that story?
Cheryl Norris 20:27
So, typically, my web stories are between 10 and I think 18 panels. My first ones, I kind of threw everything in. So they’re, like, 22 panels, but Google recommends, like, more between 11 and 18 panels, because you’re trying to keep the attention of your reader.
And when you’re looking at a web story, you reach a certain point where either it doesn’t interest you, or like, “Oh, I want this recipe.” So, I’m going to play, I’m not going to get all the way through the web story.
And when I look at my analytics, that is true, most people don’t go all the way through a web story. I am looking at the analytics, it looks like they get through the first I don’t know, like, four or five, before they click to the site.
Jillian Leslie 21:17
Got it. Now where can you see this? Where can you see that in your analytics?
Adding Google Analytics to Your Google Web Story
Cheryl Norris 21:25
So, within the plugin, you can add Google Analytics tag to your web story information. And then I can see it on my phone. I have the Google Analytics app on my phone. And so, it’ll show the web stories, and it’ll show how many people start the web story.
And it’ll show how many people finished the web story. So, it can be like 1,000 people start the web story. And then when you get down to the final panel, there might be only 10 people who get to the final panel.
So yeah, a huge drop off. But at the same time you are seeing them, you are seeing the increase in traffic in that blog post. And that’s another reason to give it a slightly different name, because you can see the difference between the traffic and the web story.
How much of that traffic is your web story? And how much is your actual blog post?
Jillian Leslie 22:19
Got it? So, now let’s say you’ve got 11 to 18 panels. Walk through how you think about telling your recipe story, because that way, let’s say you’re a DIY blogger, or you have some sort of how to, like how do you think about that?
Cheryl Norris 22:37
So, in telling the story, the first panel is that introductory panel that says, hey, this is what this is, it’s got the completed bake.
So, if we’re talking about the peach upside down cake, it’s got the completed cake with a name and my logo, so people know that, hey, this is Bakes by Brown Sugar. And then the first panel is the ingredient shot that I usually take.
So, I usually take an ingredient shot, and I label all the ingredients. So, then that’s going to be the next panel. If I just say have the ingredients without those labels, I’ll add verbiage below that or above it, say, “Here are all the ingredients that you need.”
And then I go through just the steps of that recipe. So, “Hey, here are your dry ingredients. Whisk your dry ingredients together. Here’s another shot of the sugar and butter in the mixing bowl. Cream your butter and sugar for four minutes.”
And then just the next step, add your eggs, add your flour, add your milk. Here’s a shot of putting the cake batter, or here’s another shot of putting the peaches on the bottom of the pan.
No shot of the cake batter. Here’s what it looks like when it’s ready to go in the oven. And here’s what the cake looks like when you flip it out onto the plate. And then the final shot where maybe I’ve got a slice of the cake with ice cream.
And it says on there and each of those steps I have verbiage that’s telling people what to do. So, what the shot where I have the butter and sugar in the bowl. I say, “Cream for four minutes until fluffy.” So, you’re giving people enough information.
While I’m not giving them the whole recipe, I am giving them enough information that if they’re going through this they’re thinking oh yeah, I can do this. Or yeah, this looks doable. And then the final shot is, “Hey, serve this with ice cream.”
So, I’ve got a shot of the cake slice with ice cream and then my last panel is usually kind of that call to action, “Hey, get the recipe. Connect with me on social media.” Again with my logo, so kind of repeating that information.
And then on each panel, I have the call to action that’s at the bottom, which is, “Get the recipe.”
The plugin makes it really easy to add that to the bottom of each panel and they place it just right so it doesn’t block your picture, or block your verbiage or anything like that. But it’s easy for people to click on it.
Jillian Leslie 25:08
Right. And they click on it, and they end up directly on your site. So, what I love about that, you don’t have to add it to every panel, but you do and I recommend you do.
Because then at every step, you’re right, if you go, “Oh, I could cream the butter, like this. I can do this.” That you want that person to go, ” Going to go get the recipe right now.” Versus like, “Where do I find the link to the recipe? This is too complicated.”
It actually makes it easy to be like, I’m going to flip over. This reminds me yesterday, I was on Airbnb. And they do this thing where you look at Airbnb’s and you know when they have the listing, they have those little thumbnails.
But you can click on the thumbnails to get a sense of what the Airbnb is before you click into the Airbnb. And then if you don’t like it, you then have to back out and I was like, “Oh, this is kind of like that.”
Like, “What do I need before I get into your recipe before I really think about committing to this?” I’m going to get this little teaser to go like, “Yep, I can do that. Yep, I can do that. Oh, this looks pretty. That’s tasty.”
And then I see this final picture with ice cream. And I’m like, “I’m all in. I’m going. I’m doing this.” So, it’s kind of like that little bit of teaser with enough information, so that you can entice somebody to get over to your blog.
And you were sharing this that Google doesn’t want an incomplete story. Will you talk a little bit about that?
Google Wants You to Complete Stories with Your Web Stories
Cheryl Norris 26:33
Yes. So, when you’re building web stories, it’s about your reader, it’s about the person who’s looking at this.
So, what I’ve read, and what I’ve heard from Google is that, they don’t want you to do two or three story panel that has basically what would be considered an incomplete story.
Or any type of bait and switch, where you’re like, “Hey, go to my website and check this out.” And it’s not related at all. So, I read another article that says they might penalize you for that. I don’t know too much about that, or how that works.
But they do have a point that if you’re doing this for the reader, if you imagine that they have a five minute break, and they’re just going through their phone, you want to give them a complete story of how to make this recipe.
And why it’s good or just entice them to come to your blog, but you want it to be informative for them. And when I look at other people’s web stories, I appreciate that as I’m going through saying, “Okay, that makes sense. That makes sense.”
You’re going through the steps of this recipe, and I’m more likely to go to that blog post, if it looks complete. And if it looks like something like, “Yeah, I can do that.” And that looks really good.
Jillian Leslie 27:54
Right, versus say, doing one panel with a link or two, you do one panel, you say, “Check out this recipe.” And then the next panels like, “Oh, to get it go here.” It’s not like a little ad, it is a complete experience that hopefully entices somebody to want more.
Cheryl Norris 28:12
Yeah, and one thing I should say, I don’t have a whole lot of video stock. And so, most of my web stories are, the photos, and my traffic is still doing well. So, according to Google, if you have video that will do even better.
So, just to encourage people again, if you know they’re hesitant to do this. Like I said, Just go ahead. Usually, I believe Google said that there’s a time limit on the video should be in the panels.
And if you Google web stories, I think they have information on how long that video clip should be.
Jillian Leslie 28:55
And then you can put text on top of the video clip. And Google is reading that text. Am I right?
Cheryl Norris 29:04
Yeah, they are. I believe they are reading that text.
Jillian Leslie 29:08
So, in terms of say, like creating an image in Canva, where you’re putting text on top of the image, I think it’s better to be putting that text onto your story in your story text rather than on a static image. Does that make sense?
Cheryl Norris 29:26
Yes. That does make sense. The other reason it’s good to do that is because when you’re looking at the panels, there’s a frame, and you typically want the text to be within that frame so it doesn’t get cut off on a particular phone.
So, that’s the other reason to use the plugin and the text boxes for adding the text so, the text doesn’t accidentally get turned off.
Make Your Google Web Stories Easy to Digest
Jillian Leslie 29:51
Got it. And again, I want to say to everybody, this is a mobile experience. So, thinking mobile, people are reading this on their phones, and you know, I always say this while watching Netflix.
So, therefore, if you can edit out words and make it short and make it punchy, do that versus writing an entire novel in your web story, wouldn’t you say it’s the pictures that sell it?
Cheryl Norris 30:18
Oh, yeah, definitely. Definitely focus on the quality of the pictures. Google has a nice feature within the plugin, that’s called a checklist.
And so, if there are issues with any of your panels, or the contrast, between your text and your picture, they will give you a heads up because you want text that’s easily read. But to your point doesn’t need to be a novel.
Like for instance, typically, in one of my recipes, I’ll say something like creaming the butter and sugar, and I’ll give all these visual clues, like how do you know, you’ve done it, right?
I don’t put that on the web stories, I say, “Cream, your butter and sugar, until light fluffy for four minutes.” Or the recipe, I’ll give some of these visual clues like, “Hey, how do you know it’s ready?”
Jillian Leslie 31:08
Got it. And that makes perfect sense. And one thing that we were talking about is thinking, I would say even before you create your web story, what problem are you solving?
And focus on what problems somebody might have and how your web story is the solution to that problem. So right at the get go, somebody goes, “Wait, I need a dessert for my barbecue.” “Hey, this could be that dessert.”
Like, “Here’s a problem, I need an easy dessert that looks really good that makes me look better than I am as a baker.” “Hey, this could be that, this will make you look good.” And then this solves my problem.
Just always be framing. I believe this in terms of any content you’re creating, frame it for your audience. They’re struggling with something, they’re not coming to me because of who I am. They’re coming to me because they have a problem they need solving.
And I might be able to solve that problem. Eventually, if they keep coming back, they might be like, “Hey, Jillian is my girl, she hooks me up.” But at the beginning, really, again, I always say this, it’s not the Jillian show. It’s like, I’m the problem solver, hopefully, for you.
Cheryl Norris 32:19
I absolutely agree with that. And, when you and I talked about that earlier, I thought, that’s a really good thing to start adding to the intro of my webstore, what problem am I solving for you?
Or how will this dessert help you, solve a problem, if you’re trying to come up with a dessert for family get together or you’re looking for a reliable recipe for a particular cake or cookie. And so, my intent is to add that.
But then I saw something another blogger had done, where they did a short video introduction, and I tend to be camera shy, I’m definitely a behind the scenes type person.
And that’s a way to help me start getting more comfortable with, being in front of having this verbal introduction about this recipe. And again, it’s something short, maybe like 10 seconds, 10, 15 seconds.
And hopefully, in a way connecting with my readers, because I really do like that part of blogging, I love to hear from readers what a recipe has worked for them.
I just recently heard from a woman from Brazil, she did the orange upside down cake, she had to make some substitution, because the availability of ingredients, but she talked about passing this recipe on to her kids.
Recipe, and I was like, oh my gosh, stuff like that just totally makes your day as a food blogger when you hear from readers and a recipe work for them. And they presented it to family and family loved it.
Yeah, because I’m putting these recipes out there for other people to enjoy.
Jillian Leslie 34:03
Well Cheryl, I’m going to out you because you’re an engineer. And that, to me, is always what your special sauce is. Your photos are just beautiful. And again, I think you’re putting your engineering mind, on your shots.
In fact, if you listen to our first podcast episode, you’ll see that. But there is something so trustworthy about you because I know that you’re not just creating a recipe and slapping it up. That you’re testing recipes. You are doing all that work.
So, if I bake whatever it is you’re putting out there, I know it’s going to turn out well, because I know you and I know behind the scenes, you’re in there going, what if I reduce the butter? What if I have the eggs? I don’t know, but that is so true. That is what you do?
Cheryl Norris 35:01
Yeah, I won’t post a recipe if I’m any way dissatisfied with it. And I’ll just go back to the kitchen. Some of my readers have asked me for gluten free recipes or gluten free versions.
And I’ve been working on that. And the reason I haven’t posted anything yet is because I haven’t been happy with the texture, and the look of it and the feel of it.
And so, it’s something I’m continuing to work on as I tried to get a feel and understand how to make something gluten free, but how to make it where it still taste good, and still has the right texture.
And oftentimes, I don’t get a recipe posted because I’m testing testing, and the seasonality of it has passed. And so I’m like, “Okay, I guess I’ll come back to that next year.”
Jillian Leslie 35:51
Oh, how funny. You’re like America’s Test Kitchen. David, and I would watch that all the time, and they would be, “We’re going to change this variable and see what happens.” So, again, I love that about you.
And I feel like if I need some, like baked goods, you’re my girl because I just trust what you’re putting out there.
Cheryl Norris 36:21
Oh, thank you.
Simple Tips for Creating Google Web Stories
Jillian Leslie 36:22
Really, I think that’s really phenomenal. One last question about web stories. Are there any simple tricks that you have learned now in creating them that you would pass on like, hey, do this or hey, try this to just help people like, whether it be even your process?
Like, are you doing a web story now about for every recipe, do you recommend that? And then once you’re in there creating one, like, are there any shortcuts that you know?
Cheryl Norris 36:46
Yeah, so the best shortcut I recently implemented was, I created my own template based off my previous web stories and features that I liked about that. So now, my template includes all the call-to-action, a place for that.
So, now all I have to do is include the recipe link. Whereas before I was doing that, from scratch, for all the panels, I have a built-in text box. So, now all I have to do is enter the text for that.
And that actually, depending on how complicated the recipe is, that’s actually taken my creation time for a web story down from an hour to about 35 minutes. And I also do want to say that within the plugin, they have a lot more templates.
So, I would say check out the templates, however, the templates aren’t working for you, it really is simple to create your own template.
Mine simply consists of a bunch of panels with a call-to-action and a text box, and my logo already built in. And then all I have to do is add the photos.
The other thing I do as part of my workflow, once I’ve created the blog post, I go into web stories, and I pull all the photos into that web story, that first draft of it. And then I’ll come back to it maybe a couple days later, and start to finish it out.
So, that’s part of my workflow as part of that process. And that does shorten the process.
Jillian Leslie 38:22
Now, are you planning to create web stories for every new blog post or are you going back to your top posts, and building them out from there? Where are you when you think to yourself, I need to create a web story, which were you going?
Cheryl Norris 38:39
So, going forward, I do plan to create a web story for all my new blog posts for my older post when I optimize those per Casey Markee, going back and optimizing those for SEO. So, when I optimize those, that’s when I’ll also create a web story for the older blog post.
Jillian Leslie 38:58
I love that. So, Cheryl, you are going to be doing a teaching session a workshop on web stories will you share about that and how people can learn more?
Cheryl Norris 39:11
Yes, so I’m working on putting that together, tutorial on web stories and how to build web stories. I plan to launch that in October.
Sign Up for Cheryl’s Web Stories Workshop
So, if you are interested in attending that tutorial on web stories, please go to my website, Bakes by Brown Sugar. And just leave a note in the comment field that you’re interested.
And you can also connect with me on Instagram @bakesbybrownsugar and just leave me a DM if you’re interested in the tutorial. And I will make sure that once I get that schedule, I’ll send you information on how to sign up for it.
Jillian Leslie 40:00
And what will you be teaching in that?
Cheryl Norris 40:03
So, I’ll be just be teaching the basics of putting together a Google Web story, based on my experience. I’m an engineer so I’ve been doing the research, with Google and Mediavine, the best practices.
Walking, the people that attend just do the basics of building their own web story.
Jillian Leslie 40:25
I love that. I love that. And again, when you go to Cheryl’s blog, or you follow her on Instagram, you will be blown away by how beautiful her photos are.
Cheryl Norris 40:37
Jillian Leslie 40:37
Literally, I’ll scroll through my Instagram and immediately I’ll see just a beautiful photo of some sort of delicious looking dessert. And before I even see that it’s yours. I’m like that Cheryl. That’s Cheryl.
I see that Cheryl. It makes me so happy just even to consume your photos.
Cheryl Norris 40:56
Oh, thank you so much.
Jillian Leslie 40:59
I’m such a fan.
Cheryl Norris 40:59
I love photography. Yeah. You’ve very complimentary from the beginning.
Jillian Leslie 41:03
From the beginning. And in fact, I ultimately think you should be teaching photography tips as well, because you just have such an eye.
And because you’re an engineer, not only is it just the sixth sense, you actually really put your engineering brain on your photography as well. So, I just appreciate what you do.
Cheryl Norris 41:22
Thank you so much, Jillian.
Jillian Leslie 41:24
Well, I just want to say so people want to reach out to you go to, bakesbybrownsugar, follow her on Instagram, all that good stuff. And anything else? Any other places where people can find you or is that good?
Cheryl Norris 41:36
Yeah, you can also find me on Pinterest also at bakesbybrownsugar, or Facebook, also at Bakes By Brown Sugar, I would love to connect with people.
And if you ever have a baking question, please feel free to reach out to me if I don’t have the answer I will research it and find you the resource.
Jillian Leslie 41:53
I love that. Well, Cheryl, thank you so much for coming back on the show.
Cheryl Norris 41:59
Thank you so much for inviting me back. It’s really fun.
Jillian Leslie 42:02
My friends, I think this means we all need to try Google Web stories. From what I keep hearing, you don’t know which ones are going to hit. So, you kind of have to make a bunch and see if any take off.
I’ve been hearing though people having success with them. And I recommend trying evergreen content, and also trying seasonal content to see which ones do better.
And please reach out to me and let me know what you think of Google Web stories. And if you’re having any sort of success.
So before I go, I want to again, just mention MiloTree Easy Payments. And let you know that one of the great benefits to it is you don’t have to sign up for some expensive platform to house your membership where you’ve got to learn some new technology, and your members have to learn some new technology.
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And we give you this easy dashboard to manage the whole thing. From where we sit all we want to do is come up with solutions that help you make money.
So, head to milotree.com/easypayments and sign up and remember we don’t charge you until you start making money. And I will see you here next week.
Other Blogger Genius Podcast episodes to listen to:
- How to Take Photos Like a Pro with Cheryl Norris
- Get More Traffic With These New SEO Tactics with Paula Rollo
- How to Grow Your Traffic with the New Google Update with David Leslie
Imagine a world where growing your social media followers and email list was easy…
If you are looking for ways to grow your community whether that be email whether that be social media, right now head to Milotree.com install the MiloTree app on your blog and it will do the work for you. Let it do the heavy lifting for you.
Let it pop up in front of your visitors and ask them to follow you on Instagram Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, join your list, check out the exit intent but really get your community growing. And we’d love to help you with MiloTree. And I will see you here again next week.