Evaluating recipe sharing sites before sharing your content | Food Bloggers of Canada

As food bloggers we put a lot of time and effort into creating original recipes, so it’s only natural that we do whatever we can to share them.

One of the most popular ways of trying to get exposure is by uploading your work to recipe sharing websites. These websites often claim to be able to send relevant traffic to your blog, if you add your content to their database.

Evaluating Recipe Sharing Websites

Unfortunately, the reality is that these websites are usually the ones who benefit when you post your content – not you. Many of these sites earn income from ad revenue, without having to create any original content, and give readers little to no incentive to visit your blog.

It can be difficult to figure out if you should contribute to a particular site, and you can’t judge how useful a site is just from its appearance. Some websites are run by credible businesses and publications. Others are co-owned by celebrity chefs. Just because the site looks credible, doesn’t mean that you will benefit from sharing your work there.

Some of these websites are better than others, but how can you tell? Here are some tools to help you evaluate if these opportunities are helpful (or hurtful) to your blog.

1. Look for the legal documents (Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, etc.) on the website.

This information can usually be found in the about section, or at the bottom of the page. If you can’t easily find this information, it could be an indication of an unprofessional or untrustworthy website.

2. Read the copyright terms so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

This information is often found in the Terms of Service. Look for statements such as:

By posting content you herby grant us a worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify or sell without compensation to you.

That example is not an exaggeration. In fact, I found similar statements on several recipe database websites. In layman’s terms, this says that you are giving someone else permission to do whatever they want with your content, without having to pay you.

3. Determine if the website requires you to publish your entire recipe.

Most bloggers would be pretty upset if someone published their entire recipe instructions in a Pinterest pin, right? So why are they ok with publishing their recipes on these websites? Often, it is because they assume that they will benefit from the share.

It is important to realize that even if the website cites your blog as the original source for the recipe, there is no reason for anyone click through to your blog if all the information they need is already in front of them.

You should also consider that these websites are often highly optimized for search engine optimization (SEO). When a user searches for your recipe, it’s possible that the version you shared will show up higher in the search results than your original blog post.

4. Does the website need your RSS feed? Are they looking for syndicated content?

When your entire blog post shows up on another website, this is considered duplicate content. Google says that having duplicate content from your blog can be problematic:

If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you'd prefer.

5. Find out what they are giving you in return.

Will there be a link back to your blog? If the answer is yes, great! Will that link be in an obvious place? In many cases, the answer is no.

You should also take caution with sites that offer you fancy titles like “curator contributor”, or cool badges in exchange for your work. If there are thousands of contributors to that site, the title will be virtually meaningless. And that badge? It’s just an advertisement for their website that will take up prime real estate on your blog.

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At the end of the day, you have to decide if these “perks” are actually a valuable exchange for your content.

If you’ve already submitted content to these kinds of sites, don’t feel bad. In my early days of blogging I fell for the allure of badges and shared my recipes in their entirety on a reputable website. While my posts have been somewhat popular on that website, I realized that none of that popularity translated into traffic for me. Hopefully, by reading this article, you don’t have to learn the hard way (like I did).

Here are two other situations to watch out for:

Sponsored Posts:

Some food brands have their own recipe database websites that feature their products. You may find yourself in a situation where these companies want you to create an original recipe, post it to your blog, and then upload the whole thing to their website.

In this case, you have to decide if the amount they are paying you is enough compensation for sharing your work. Also, make sure both you and your sponsor agree on who owns the content before you sign anything.


Have you ever received an email from a website owner who wants to feature your work on their website? I have.

I was excited at first because I was familiar with the website and immediately thought, “that might be a neat opportunity!”

Until I found out that they wanted to “feature” seven of my recipes, each written in full with a photograph. In return, they would list one link back to my homepage and give me a badge to post on my site. If you get an email like this, be sure to fully investigate what is being offered before you agree to anything.

At the end of the day, you have to decide if these “perks” are actually a valuable exchange for your content.

BONUS: Three Awesome Ways to Gain Exposure as a Blogger

Ok, so I just gave you a whole bunch of reasons not to use some of these websites. I don’t want to end on a negative tone, so here are some ways you can gain exposure without sacrificing your traffic.

1.Create a presence on social media.

It’s not enough just to have a Twitter account, you have to be active and post often for people to notice you. Starting conversations with your followers can help you build a loyal audience. Eventually, this audience will help you promote your content by favouriting or retweeting what you post.

2. Submit your content to sites that only use photo thumbnails.

Websites like Pinterest, FoodGawker, and TasteSpotting publish a photograph for your recipe, which is linked to your blog post. Although some of these websites also benefit from ad revenue, at least the user is encouraged to click through to your blog to get the recipe. These websites, and others like it, can give you a good boost in traffic.

3.    Join a tribe or network.

Having a group of like-minded bloggers who can mentor you, and promote your content, can be a big help. If you’re already a member of Food Bloggers of Canada, you’re already good to go! If not, you can join today.

How to Decide Where To Share Your Recipes Online was written by our resident investigative journalist, Shareba Abdul.  Shareba is a food blogger and freelance writer from the GTA. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Studies, a Diploma in Journalism, and has a passion for writing, photography, and blogging. You can check out her yummy discoveries at InSearchOfYummyness.com or connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Google + and Twitter.


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Lisa Le

Great article Shareba! I think it’s so important to really read Terms of Services, because so many people skip over the fine print. Don’t sign your work away! You worked hard, you deserve to own it.

Barb Bamber

Excellent article. I’m wondering what you think of the various options for recipe plug-ins? Is one better than another? I like that it easily allows a reader to print a recipe.. is that a good thing?? Also, do some plug-ins, like Zip-List give higher SEO ranking?? Thanks for your help:)

Shareba Abdul

Hi Barb, I use ZipList so that’s the only one I can really talk about (although I think Easy Recipe is similar).

Besides being very convenient for your readers, ZipList adds recipe mark-up which helps Google.

“When recipe information is marked up in web pages, Google may use that information to show rich snippets for recipe results, and for inclusion in Google with Recipe View.” https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/173379?hl=en

“Search engines like structure and clear patterns. The more consistent the structure of your recipes are from page-to-page, the better they will be understood, indexed and best of all, found, by search engines, even in the era of new “Recipe View” search results.”

I hope that helps!

Barb Bamber

That does.. by any chance, do you know how to have an actual photo accompany the recipe snippet with ziplist.. I have added them to the recipe, but they don’t appear on a search.. Thanks again, lol, you are my new go to expert:)

Shareba Abdul

I know a little bit, but I’m still learning too. For instance, I updated to the newest version of WordPress today and had to disable ZipList for a while because it wasn’t compatible. So I learned not to update until the bugs are worked out. It’s all from experience 😛

As for the photos, I’m not entirely sure how that works. When my photos show up, they are usually whatever I tagged as my “Featured” image though.

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