I originally wrote this for a friend who is looking to start a food blog and Jeff thought it would make a good post for BestTechie–so here it is!

A note before you start reading:

While my examples are geared towards my friends interest in starting a food blog, you can literally swap in your own words (based on your interests) into the post and it’ll still make sense and be helpful. The overall recommendations, tips, and advice can apply to any type of blog.

GETTING STARTED

blogger-dude1. Determine your audience / who you want to target. Beginner foodies or more advanced chefs? Mix of both?

2. Outline a plan. What kind of posts will you be writing about? I suggest a mix of recipes, tips/tricks, favorite kitchen tools/appliances, product reviews, food photography. For inspiration, bookmark some other food blogs that you like and see what they write about!

3. Come up with a catchy name for your blog.

4. Create an account on a blogging platform (or purchase some web hosting and host your own blog). I’m most familiar with WordPress so that is what I recommend. WordPress also offers a self-hosted version of its software which in my opinion is the most versatile and customizable platform out there.

5. Design – install a clean and simple theme.

6. Create a secret Pinterest board to pin resources and ideas that you like.

7. Familiarize yourself with Google Analytics. It will give you insight into your readership and give you an idea of what posts people are liking and sharing. Additionally, you may want to consider other analytics products such as KYA (Disclosure: my boyfriend, Jeff, founder of BestTechie is also the founder/CEO of KYA) that work well with Google Analytics to provide additional insights and features to increase engagement on your site.

BASIC TIPS

1. Writing your first posts: Write as if you are having a conversation with and telling a story to a close friend! Sprinkle in personal stories that are relevant to the topic. You want to build a relationship/connection with your readers and by sharing personal/funny stories they are more likely to relate to you and keep coming back. Your passion will shine through and will leave people wanting more.

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2. Photography: probably one of the most important parts of a food blog so you’ll definitely want to invest some time in making sure your photos are appetizing!

3. Product reviews can be highly engaging! If you choose to do product reviews, start with your favorite products and explain what you like/don’t like about them and if it’s an expensive appliance, maybe offer a few alternatives to cater to those with smaller budgets. Write honestly and openly. Don’t be afraid to say what you don’t like, your readers will appreciate it. Once you gain some traction, you will be able to reach out to your favorite companies and request their products for review. Many companies love providing bloggers with their products for free in exchange for a review + the exposure. Sometimes they will even reach out to you! If you aren’t interested, say so. Don’t be afraid to turn down a product that you don’t see value in.

DRIVING TRAFFIC

blogging-inside1. Share your posts on social media and ask your friends and family to promote it as well!

2. Include social media sharing buttons on all of your posts. If a reader finds your post useful, they will share it!

3. Join a Facebook group to interact with fellow bloggers. There are SO many Facebook groups. Join a couple: general blogging, food blogging, food photography, business, etc. These groups are incredibly valuable because you are encouraged to share your blog and tips and ask for advice!

4. Join a “loop giveaway.” I have not personally done a loop giveaway but I have heard they can increase your following by hundreds even thousands! In a loop giveaway, several bloggers team up to host a giveaway of several big-ticket items (think KitchenAid mixer, Ninja blender, $500-1000 gift cards, etc) and promote the giveaway on their blog and encourage their readers to enter and share it. In order to enter, the reader has to complete several “tasks,” where each one gives them an additional entry. For example, they could follow your blog, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or sign up for your newsletter, etc. By the end of the giveaway, you could have a ton of new readers!

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5. Collaborate with other bloggers. They don’t necessarily have to be food related, but still somewhat relevant. Get to know each other and ensure that your partnership will be beneficial for both parties. Link back to each other and promote each other in unique ways. For example, say you partnered with Cheerful Chic (my boutique). You could create an exclusive recipe such a simple holiday dessert and we would share it on our blog just for our readers.

MONETIZING

1. Sign up for affiliate programs. If you write a recipe/tutorial and you mention your favorite mixer, you can insert a referral link into your post. That mention alone may entice your loyal readers to buy it because you have it and love it! If they click your link and buy it, you will receive a commission.

2. Once you have a large enough following, you can offer “advertising” in the form of sponsored posts, display ads, etc.

3. It’s important to build your audience before you try to monetize your blog. You want to build the trust of your readers. They will be happy to support you in order for you to continue bringing excellent content to them.


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