Blogging Essentials

Bloggingessentials

Getting Started:

You may have found your way through my How to Start a Blog in 5 Simple Steps post, and have gotten yourself going with starting your own blog! CONGRATS! I wanted to take today to walk you through in a little more detail of some of my blogging essentials. This first section talks similarly to things I mentioned in that first post, but then we’ll get into photography, relationships, and more!


 

  • Domain: What will you call your blog?

 

  • Hosting: The hosting is how your website runs. Here is a good starting option!

 

  • WordPress.org account: Read this post on why I recommend WordPress.org over WordPress.com!

 

  • Theme: You can find these through wordpress. There are free themes and premium themes.

 

  • Logo/Color Scheme/Fonts: Stick with a few colors and a few fonts so people remember your style!

 

  • Aweber or MailChimp for email subscribe list: I use Aweber.

 

  • Media kit- these are amazing!

 

  • Quality, original content. Plus, show your personality! Quality over quantity, always.

 

  • Don’t forget… Beautiful photos! 

 

The Blogger Project



 

Social Media/Traffic Driving Sites:

Driving traffic to your website is ultimately your goal, right? Here is a list of the sites that I primarily focus on right now. There are a ton to explore, but the ones listed here are the sites I focus on most. 

  • Pinterest account 

  • Facebook page

  • Twitter account 

  • Instagram account 

  • FoodGawker

  • Yummly

Make it easy for your visitors to follow your blog! Display clear images/icons for your RSS feed and social channels on each page.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.35.43 AM


 

My Essential Plug-ins:

  • Akismet: Blocks spam (you’ll NEED this).

  • Recipe Card: There are many recipe plugins you can use, whichever you go with, just make sure they are optimized for Google. I use Recipe Card and have been happy with the customization and results.

  •  

    Shareaholic: This is a great way to allow readers to share your content! 

  •  

    Pin it for images: This puts a handy “pin it” button on every image so people can easily pin to your site- P.S. Pinterest is a huge traffic driver!! A few Pinterest tips: join group boards, recirculate old content, create long images, spread out your pinning (so you aren’t pinning the same recipe to 7 boards all at once)!

  •  

  • Google AnalyticsSet up analytics so you can track traffic coming to and from your site. Google analytics is a great way to see the times of day people come your way, along with your popular content, unique visitors, page views, etc.

 


 

Food Photography Essentials:

  • CameraI am currently shooting with a Canon 5D Mark III after using a Canon Rebel with a 60mm Macro Lens  for the past 2 years. All of the pictures on my site previously are shot with the Rebel base + the Macro. I’m super excited about my upgrade to a full-frame base that has WiFi capabilities, HD video, and more. It is definitely an expensive camera and a big investment, so if you’re just getting started look first at purchasing something like the Canon Rebel to start out!

 

  • Macro lens(es)I highly recommend macro lenses for food photography. 

  • TripodYou can find cheaper tripods, but you’ll notice the difference with a good one.

 

  • Memory CardsInvest in a nice memory card that can hold some serious content! 

 

  • Extra camera battery: A very good thing to have on hand.

 

  • Photoshop or LightroomI use Photoshop to edit my photos!

 

  • Light reflectors: You can use white foam board as a cheap option.

 

  • Photo boards:  My favorites: Erickson Wood Worksreclaimed wood, chalkboard, marble slab (see below, this one is good too)

 

  • Food propsHome Goods, Anthropologie, Antique Stores, and Crate and Barrel are a few places I find props often. I have a HUGE cabinet filled. To start, try some basics: (white dishes are always a good one), some fun cloth napkins, and some silverware.

What I’m using:


 

Make Relationships With:

  • Brands

  • Bloggers

  • Authors

  • Writers

  • Local businesses

It is so important to have a community to help you! Fellow bloggers will become your best (virtual, or if your lucky you’ll meet in person) friends. You can help and support each other, learn from one another, and so much more. Don’t bury yourself in your little corner of the internet! 

 


 Tips:

  • 1. Learn about SEO: here’s one article!

  • 2. It will come to a point where you are ready to monetize your blog, but remember who your audience is. Only work with brands that you truly stand behind. Your readers are trusting YOU and your word. Post quality content, and opportunities will come your way.

  • 3. Work hard.

  • 4. Post consistently.  That way your visitors know to come back on a certain day(s) for new content.

  • 5. Be responsive! Comment back. Engage your audience!

 

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all of the products listed below and recommend them because they are companies that I have found helpful and trustworthy. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything listed below!

What blogging tips would you like to learn more about? What questions do you have? Leave them below!

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6 comments on “Blogging Essentials

  • Do you have any tips for finding cheap backgrounds or surfaces for food photography? As a new blogger I’m always hestitant to spend too much on food props early on

    Reply
  • This was a super helpful post Lexi!
    I would love to know your opinion on ads. How much traffic should a new blogger have before you think it is worth setting up? Speaking of ads, I would love to know more about how you receive the money? does it go into paypal or do you need to get a separate (business) bank account.
    Loved the post and look forward to more!
    p.s. those grab and go french toast cups look AMAZING!

    Reply
  • HI Lexi,
    Thank you for creating this, I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a long time about my journey with re-kindling my health through food. I work full-time and have 2 kids, so time is limited when trying to create new recipes. I use a lot of your recipes and alter them to work for me and my lifestyle. How does it work when you may have 15 of your own recipes and then a ton that you have altered from other people. What are the “rules” when blogging. I don’t want to steal content. I’d love to hear more about this!
    Thank you for all you do! You’ve helped me on my journey to health and I want to help others!
    Heather

    Reply
    • Heather,

      I am so happy I’ve helped you!

      A general rule is that it needs to be pretty altered to rewrite it as your own, multiple ingredients being totally different, etc. If so, you can write adapted from or inspired by so and so.

      Does that help?

      Lexi

      Reply
  • These posts are so helpful!
    I have two areas of interest right now as I am learning how to get started in this crazy world of blogging. Could you do a post on food photography, more specifically composition and how to use those prop ideas. My second question is about choosing a color scheme and creating a logo, I am sort of stuck here and really want to hire it out, but in the mean time, I would like to have some type of branding that I am proud to put out in the world. Do you have any advice for this?
    Thanks a million! You Rock!

    Reply

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