Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned in my 3 years of blogging! This is a work in progress so check back often 🙂 Disclaimer: this page include affiliate links – meaning I might get a few cents or even a buck if you click and make a purchase! 😀
- Create your site
I would strongly recommend starting your site on WordPress (see below for more info on the pain of migrating from Blogger to WordPress). WordPress is a much more powerful platform for content publishing. Note – there are two different ways to use WordPress – either WordPress.com or WordPress.org . WordPress.com is a hosted site and offers far less flexibility. WordPress.org will cost you more money because you will have to self-host, but can give you an incredibly powerful platform to develop and run your site from.
- Host it!
Now that you registered your site, you’ll need to host it somewhere. I use Blue Host, it’s fairly straightforward, reasonably priced and they also offer security scanning. Click the blue ad box to the right to sign up (disclosure: I’m an affiliate and if you click through my link I get a couple bucks!).
- Theme It!
A theme gives your WordPress site – if WordPress is your kitchen, your theme is the set of ingredients in your pantry. I used the The Thesis Theme for WordPress which is used by many bloggers due to it’s flexibility and extensibility.
Activate! Engaging an Audience and Creating a Community
Create awesome content on a regular basis. Find your voice and stick to it – it’s what will differentiate you from the 9 zillion other food bloggers out there. Get yourself on a regular posting schedule and stick to it. The beauty of most CMS (Content Management Systems) nowadays is they allow you to schedule posts out – that ensures you can have awesome content flowing your site at all times – no matter where you are!
- Beautiful photos
This was a tough one for me to learn and I’m still learning. Good photography is essential in engaging your audience. I mean, who doesn’t like to look at beautiful pictures, especially of delicious food! Think of it this way – since your readers can’t taste or smell the food, it’s all the more important you show them how good it is. Furthermore, food photography is very different from portrait or landscape photography – make sure to read up and practice. Tasty Food Photography is a great start by the folks over at Pinch of Yum.
Finally, in order to build a presence you have to become an active part of the larger food blogger community. Find other bloggers who are creating great content that you like and connect with them. Write thoughtful comments and let them know if you tried one of their recipes. I mean, wouldn’t that make you feel good if somebody told you that?! As your blog matures, you can start doing more advanced outreach like guest posts, partnerships and other forms of cross-linking.
- Advanced Engagement
There are a lot of ways to go beyond the basics of engagement – this could be in the form of contests, giveaways or creating new types of content. Let your imagination go wild!
Make it Beautiful
Create a beautiful place for your readers to visit! A lot of this is tied to your content – and photos – after all that is the cornerstone of your site! However, the rest of the site and its visual treatment makes a huge difference. Play around with different themes and designs. You may want to design a nice logo, header image and icons for your site. Not only does this create a nice looking page for people to visit, it can create visual continuity and help build your brand across all channels (the site itself, social media, etc).
After a couple of years of a very basic site lacking any kind of design, I decided to invest in a professionally designed logo, header and social media icons for my site. I used Kate from Blue and Theory and the experience was awesome – not only was I super happy with the results, she is very professional, responsive and competitively priced.
Moving from Blogger to WordPress
Start with WordPress – seriously. If you goofed and started on blogger like I did, migrating will not be easy. Here are the following things you should consider to make it easier:
- Do you want to keep your domain? –> This is your chance to change it if not.
- What do you want your new site to look like? –> This is your chance to redesign it and relaunch
- How much control do you want of your site? –> More advanced control, use WordPress.org. Plug and play, use WordPress.com
- Do you need help? –> Consider engaging somebody for help. I used the help of a fantastic professional who helped set up and moved all of my content, metadata (time stamps, tags, author names) over to WordPress in about a day. You can contact him @mintblogger on Twitter.
Monetizing (Making Money!)
Well, I’m still figuring this part out, but here are some of the things I’m trying out at the moment.
Let me add that Ahu Eats will always be a passion first and foremost, but if I can make some passive income from it in addition to making and sharing delicious food – why not?
- Amazon Affiliates – you create links to products in Amazon, and if people purchase anything within 24 hours of clicking your link, you get 4% or more of their purchases! This can add up – especially with all the random stuff on Amazon like this OXO Cherry Pitter.
- Sovrn (formerly Lijit) – ads you place on your site – look to the right! In laymens terms, you get paid per 1,000 impressions (CPM = cost per mille which means thousand). An impression is how many times the add is served on your page. Simply, if you have 2 ads on your page, and 10 people view the page, thats 20 impressions because the ads were impressed upon your readers 20 times. Now throw in your fill rate – that means how out of the number of visits to your site that the ad was actually displayed – if your fill rate is 50% that means your ads are actually served up 1 out every 2 visits.This is a great way to make passive income and the readers don’ t have to do anything like make a click or a purchase with Amazon.