So, since you’re here, you’re probably thinking, “I could do this. I could start my own blog. Make a little extra cash and pursue my passion.” You totally could! You could start your own blog.
I started my own recipe blog in 2009, formerly known as Gast Family Recipes, now The Mighty Mrs. I’ve tried and failed along the way and in some cases succeeded. Blogging is not hard but it does require a lot of time in short bursts. It’s really similar to gardening which is another passion of mine. You just have to tend to your blog here and there, weed out what’s not working, put energy into what is and then sit back and watch it grow. That’s the cool part. Once you finish your work, you really do get to sit back and watch growth happen. Once I finish up a post I publish it, pin it and share it. Then I hope that it spreads. If people love it, then it spreads. When that happens I get a bunch of traffic to my site and traffic, my friend, is how you monetize your blog. (If you’re curious about specific ways to monetize your blog check out this How to Monetize Your Food Blog ebook. But don’t forget, first you need a blog. 😉
There are just 5 basic steps to get started.
Please note, some of the links on this page are affiliate links and I do earn a commission should you make a purchase using one of the links.
Step 1 : Choose a Domain Name
It took me a long time to come up with a unique, memorable name with a url that wasn’t already taken. While you are brainstorming, head over to Blue Host, under “hosting” at the top you will see “WordPress hosting.” Click that and you’ll land on a page where you can enter in the domain name you want. Blue Host will tell you if it’s available or not and will suggest alternatives if it’s not. Get creative! Don’t get discouraged. I’ve dreamed up and checked out literally hundreds of names only to find someone else had already dreamed up the same name and had already registered the url. So stay flexible here.
Step 2 : Set up Hosting
Once you have your domain name picked out, go ahead and follow the steps laid out on the Blue Host site to set up a monthly hosting plan. By the way, I would not recommend the Search Engine Jumpstart. Ask me and I’ll tell you how to submit your sites to search engines, there’s no need to pay a monthly fee for that. I do however recommend opting for the Site Back Up Pro. It’s a small price to pay for recovering your files should you accidentally delete them, overwrite them or if your site gets hacked.
Step 3 : Choose a WordPress Theme
Being a web designer, I often use WordPress for my clients but I finally made the switch over for my own personal blog. I started with Blogger which is free, but there were so many limitations I finally decided I had to make the switch. If I had to do it all over again, I would have just started with WordPress. Let me tell you transferring 5 years worth of content over to a new site is not really that fun. So first you will want to find a WordPress theme. There are lot of decent free themes you can use. I purchased a ready-made theme specifically designed for recipe bloggers from ThemeForest. It came with star ratings, a variety of page layout options, built-in social media sharing buttons and ad space. All things Blogger or other themes were lacking that I wanted. So, I’d recommend looking really thoroughly through the available themes at ThemeForest. (Make sure you are looking at WordPress themes only — see screen shot on the right.) I use the Food and Cook theme which I paid $58 for and it was totally worth having all those extra features in my opinion.
Step 4 : Install WordPress
Luckily WordPress is so mainstream now that Blue Host makes it really easy to install WordPress. Once you have your account set up, you just have to log into your control panel and there will be a WordPress icon there. Click that and follow the steps to get WordPress installed on your server. Once that’s done and you have your WordPress user name and password set up, you’ll need to log into WordPress. This will be a place you’ll be coming quite often so bookmark it! The link will be www.your-domain-name.com/wp-admin. By the way, I highly recommend you record your passwords somewhere. You will have a TON of different accounts you’ll use on a regular basis as a blogger. To make life a
little lot easier, try using a password app like 1Password or the built in feature in Safari (if you use a Mac) to store your passwords. (Both are free!)
Step 5 : Install your WordPress theme
This is easy. Whether you opted for a free theme or purchased one from ThemeForest, either way you’ll get a .zip file. DO NOT UNZIP IT. Trust me from experience, it won’t work. All you have to do is, once you’re logged into WordPress, hover over “Appearance” on the left-hand side list of links, and then click “Themes.” Click the “Add New” button at the top of the page and then “Upload Theme” button. You just want to browse and select that whole .zip file and upload that. Once that’s upload, boom! Your theme is installed.
That’s it. You’re officially a blogger! Now, go generate a bunch of amazing content. “Wait, how do I do that??” you ask. Well here are a few tips…
How to Generate Amazing Content
The #1 most important part of a blog is content. Unique, useful, quality content. You have to come up with your own content. Sharing other people’s content is not going to fly. You are not Facebook. Running a blog means creating and publishing your own content. The content has to be valuable to others and something you’re passionate about because 1.) You’ll stay with it if you’re passionate about it and 2.) People want to be inspired when they read your blog. They want to feel your passion for what you do so that it inspires them to take action whether it be to make a recipe, start exercising, or learn do-it-yourself auto repair.
Starting a recipe blog? I highly recommend investing in the Tasty Food Photography eBook published by Pinch of Yum a very successful food blog. It’s 60+ pages of priceless tips for taking your own food photos that will save you a lot of trial and error. Totally, 1 million percent x infinity worth the $29. My photography improved SO much after just putting into practice a few of her tips. Also, if you can swing it, I recommend investing in a quality DSLR camera. Read about what I use.
Already started a blog? If you’ve already got a blog you are posting to regularly and want to see if you can make some income with it, check out this ebook originally published by Oh My Veggies! a successful food blog and has since been taken over my the lovely Lindsey and Bjork of Pinch of Yum. The ebook is only $15 and offers lots of very specific ways to monetize your blog as well as tips. Learn more about the How to Monetize Your Food Blog ebook.
Need professional help?
I’m now offering my marketing and creative services to help people like you who want to start a blog (or a creative business) and you just can’t do it all yourself. There’s no shame in not being a DIYer. It’s in my blood to do try to do everything myself and I can tell you, it’s not the best thing if you like sleep or being efficient. I’m slowly learning to outsource things that: 1.) I’m just not that good. at. 2.) I don’t want to do. and/or 3.) Are affordable enough to outsource. So, if you’re coming to the realization that you can’t possibly do it all, perhaps you have a full time job still or kids at home, then I’m available for hire to help you build the framework for your blog or online business.
Through my creative services business Mighty Creative, I offer graphic design, product photography, and online advertising services to people like you who want to start a blog or a small business but want to outsource the branding, website building, and/or some or all of the content creation. I also offer online advertising and strategic consulting services. So check out Mighty Creative if you feel like you could use some hired help to get your blog or business off the ground or to take it to the next level with professional grade content and strategy.
I’m happy to answer any questions so feel free to comment or email me!