Lorraine Elliot was in her mid 30s and bored of her advertising career when her husband built her website. “I was just writing for writing’s sake. For the first year, I didn’t get a peep back from anyone. I didn’t think you could actually make a living from it.” But three years later, Not Quite Nigella is a profitable blog, attracting 140,000 unique readers a month.
Elliot says she never looks at her stats, but her husband (referred to as Mr NQN on the blog) does. “One time he asked me if I knew how many readers I had and I said ‘Oh God, why, like 30?’. He said ‘No, 30,000.’ I went ‘OH MY GOD! Shit! What do I do now?’” But she still never looks at her stats. “I think that helped me develop my style. A lot of bloggers get caught up in the stats, and they change their style to accommodate what they think people want.”
Elliot has just kept writing about what she loves: food. “There’s always something happening in the world, something funny or sad or important and you can tie it into food. I think a lot of people assume that bloggers are struggling for content. I’m sort of overflowing with it!”
As far as the business side goes, she says her advertising background has been vital. “I know what I should be paid, and what I’m worth,” she says, which has been important as advertising and promotion opportunities flooded in. “I’ve always taken it seriously as a brand. You have to understand where it lies in the marketing space.”
Elliot met her blog’s namesake Nigella Lawson at the behest of Tourism Victoria when the world-famous cook visited Australia recently. “All I wanted was for her to be like what she is on TV, and she was, and even more! She was very warm, she knew who I was (which was incredibly flattering!), and she liked my shoes.”
Elliot works out of her tiny kitchen and thrives on it. “I love it. I’m not a procrastinator. As soon as I get up, I want to write, I want to talk to people. And I can bake in my pyjamas if I want to!” The biggest challenge, she says, is that it’s just her. “I’m wading through hundreds of emails a day myself. I should probably get an intern, but the blog is an extension of me, I’m quite careful about who I let in.”
Not Quite Nigella has a publishing deal for a book which will hit shelves next year.