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I’m still relatively new to blogging. A year and a half and counting, so still considered a newbie in the blogosphere. But to say I’ve learned a lot in that time would be an understatement. I hope to to continue to learn, and as I do I promise to share as much as I can, but for now, here’s a few helpful hints and links.
I started out on Google Blogger, and as many bloggers do, I eventually outgrew the platform. When I made the switch to WordPress I went with BlueHost as a host, seeing as it was recommended by lots of other self-hosted WordPress users, but, in truth, not giving a whole lot of consideration as to why. Well, now that I’m using BlueHost, I can tell you why I recommend them. I’m awful when it comes to tech stuff, and by awful, I mean your second grader stands a better chance of straightening out website issues than I. I’ve been calling these guys no less than twice a month or so since making the switch, usually starting my call with a panicked “I don’t know if this is even something you guys can help with, but I broke my blog…” As you can see, my blog is fixed, and I have BlueHost tech support to thank. If you’re a blog breaker like I am, this is the host for you.
Genesis Framework + Foodie Theme
The other thing you’ll need to get set up with, whether just starting a blog or just starting with WordPress is a theme. I spent a great deal of time shopping around on this. It maybe should have been obvious that the Foodie Theme from StudioPress was the way to go. Foodie is built on the Genesis Framework. I didn’t really have a clue what that was when I made the purchase, I just knew that Genesis was a requirement to support Foodie, so I had to buy it. I’m glad I did now. The Genesis Framework has all kinds of helpful features that I thought I was going to have to buy elsewhere or (eek) figure out how to create on my own. SEO optimization? It’s built right in. That little customized invitation to subscribe to my newsletter and get a free e-book? Genesis helped me create that, and there was no hair pulling or headache medicine involved. Genesis supports a bunch of StudioPress themes, all of which are pretty snazzy, but if you like the look and layout of this blog, go with Foodie.
How to Monetize Your Food Blog
Reading what I’ve just wrote and what I’m about to write makes me question my decision to start a blog, because I’m about to reveal yet another area in which I was clueless: Monetization. At some point a few months into blogging I slapped up a couple of AdSense ads and spent the next year or so making pennies a day and thinking it must be absolutely impossible to make money blogging. When I saw that Kiersten Frase of Oh My Veggies put out an e-book titled How to Monetize your Food Blog, I had to give it a shot. I’d followed along with some of Kiersten’s journey to becoming a full time blogger and figured she probably knew what she was talking about. I was astounded at just how much I was doing wrong. The details (and by details, I mean details) on how to optimize ad income were the most valuable to me, but this book also gets into optimizing other revenue streams including affiliate programs, working with brands and freelancing.
Photography is definitely a skill you learn by doing. I know my pictures have improved significantly over the life of this blog. However, you won’t get anywhere simply taking pictures without some guidance. That’s where this book comes in. You’ll learn the basics of photography and the specifics of applying those principles to food photography. I’d have been clueless if I hadn’t picked up a copy of this book. I read it early on when I started blogging and I still refer back frequently.
Tips for Monetizing
For anyone who hasn’t seen Pinch of Yum’s monthly revenue reports yet, get ready to be inspired. And informed! I love reading these because it shows that not only can you make a (really darn good) living doing what you love, but also gives you the nitty-gritty details as to what goes into making that living. Early on every month Bjork from Pinch of Yum tells you exactly what they made the previous month, gives you a breakdown of where those earnings came from, and offers up a bunch of helpful tips. I learn a lot from these reports and they give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. What better way to give back to your readers? Awesomeness.