When I was considering starting this blog, I made a list of pros and cons. The pros list was full. I love to cook. I love to write. I have a little bit of spare time. I love to take pictures and had a good quality camera. I love to share ideas. I managed social media for several businesses. “I can do this”, I thought!
The only con was that I’m really not very tech friendly. But I was determined. I got blackberry babe launched in one week, and had 10,000 visitors and made a small profit my second month out the gate!
Here’s how I did it:
1. Decide on a name. It can be meaningful to you, totally silly, or just something catchy! Check to make sure this website name is available at a domain broker like Nameboy. I purchased www.blackberrybabe.com at a very low price for two years from Nameboy.
2. Purchase hosting. Hosting is a boring but necessary evil. HostGator was recommended to me. I found their rates affordable, they have unlimited storage and bandwidth, a super-user friendly control panel and great support.
3. Find a WordPress theme. My theme is “Innovative” by The Pixelista, which is built on the Genesis Framework. The Genesis Framework helps you build and customize your site, and is widely considered the most user friendly (look it up!) My second theme choice was Crave. All of The Pixelista’s themes are responsive, meaning they’ll look good on mobile devices without you having to do anything extra! I love her work!
(Pssssst. Everyone uses the “Foodie” theme. Yes, it is set up great for food blogs. No, you probably don’t want your site to look exactly like everyone else’s. Just something to think about.)
5. Build a backlog of content. Before you even try to get followers to your blog, I’d recommend that you post for at least 3 weeks, with a minimum of 2-3 posts per week. Try to build up as much content as you can stand! Schedule it out for weeks, and even months out! Then, get to the business of promoting and growing your blog.
6. Promote your posts. I claimed my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Bloglovin, Foodgawker, Tastespotting, Tumblr, HealthyAperture and Imgur profiles and got them set up (whew! I know!). Post your recipes and pictures to them and use relevant hashtags. Ask close friends and family to follow you, and provide honest feedback.
7. Monetize. Monetize. Monetize. There are a million ways to monetize your blog. I’m happy to say that in my first month, I will cover my hosting costs. In my second month, I made a (very) small profit! I look forward to being able to apply to more exclusive ad networks as I grow my viewership. Here’s what I’m using now.
- Viglink: If you link to a site or a product, and that results in a sale, this pays a commission. It does not apply to all companies, but the list is pretty extensive.
- Social Fabric: Once your visits get above a few hundred per day, check this out. You can apply for sponsored posts opportunities with companies. They typically pay $50-400 per post, plus product reimbursement.
- ShareASale: Using ShareASale, you can apply to be sponsored by companies. When approved, they provide you with links and ad designs to use.
- IZEA: This one is new to me, but looks promising! I think it will be more fruitful as my site traffic grows.
- Google Adsense: And of course, I’ve been using Google Adsense. I applied as soon as I started my blog, and was declined. I re-applied every week thereafter. Declined, declined. I was approved after one month of posting, and then made $16 with Adsense my second month. Make sure your posts are at least 200 words long. Your earnings on Adsense will fluctuate based on site visits. As you average more visits daily, your site’s “worth” will increase to Google.
- Gourmet Ads: I LOVE working with Gourmet Ads! Placing their ads on my page helped me triple my ad revenue in one month without my traffic changing much. Check them out, for sure!
8. Open your blog to the masses. I waited about a month to officially announce my blog to my Facebook friends. By then, I had gained a small following on Instagram through use of popular food hash tags, and my close friends had recruited me some followers on Facebook. Once I made an official announcement, I gained a lot more followers and things really started to rock and roll! You want people to spend as much time on your site as possible, and view several pages when they visit. So, take advantage of that huge influx of visitors you’ll receive when you announce your blog!
I’d love to hear from you if you’re thinking about starting a blog!
Best of luck!
*I’m required to disclose that some of the links on this page are affiliate links, and if you click them and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. Don’t worry, I’ll use it to offset my monthly wine budget!*