Well, are you? Setting up a blog is simple, come up with a name, secure your web address and decide on the package to do the writing, I’m using WordPress. WordPress has 4 main advantages, it is free, a stupid person can work it, it is free and finally it’s free.
Some of the setup looks daunting but the people who sell you the place to host your site are there to help. In some cases will set you up for almost free, they want you to have your site based with them. I use 123Reg.com. You will also be surprised, once you mention to your firends you are thinking about setting up a blog a number of them will turn out to be experts.
So starting with Blogging
Before I launched bonabaking.com I looked at lots of blogs, not all of them food based. Some I found on a top 50 blog list, with various target audiences, naturally some of them were baking based. I wrote to a handful of them saying roughly the same thing…
I have just set up a blog and I’m a total novice. I’m contacting experts like yourselves to ask what 1 top-tip would you give to a beginner.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
I received some replies with standard –‘we do read your emails and thanks for your comments’. Some people tried very hard to sell me services and a few ignored me.
However some people expended a great deal of effort, they were very generous with their time and incredibly encouraging. This is my collection of top tips garnered and distilled from the responses. I have included links to their sites – do wander over to their blogs and take a look. These people are the experts although some are too modest to admit it. Naturally I have let all of the people who responded know that I’m including their comments on this blog.
First things first
The first response came from the lovely Nova at cherishedbyme.com
One tip….comment on other blogs so people go and look at yours.
Good idea that one, you have inspired me to write this blog and share your collective wisdom.
Sarah from letscookathome.co.uk is a fellow resident of Brighton, so she must be brilliant! Her tip was….
Never be surprised at who might be reading your blog.
She was contacted by Channel 4 and appeared on their programme Food Unwrapped, she has subscribed to my blog – Hi Sarah!
Third to reply was
Catherine, Founder and Editor of the prestigious Red Carpet Fashion Awards advises
Write about something you are passionate about.
She is so right, these blogs take a fair time to write, taking one-handed photos is a skill I’m having to develop; so if I didn’t have a passion for it I’d go round the bend!
Onto the forth
Louisa from Biscuiteers (yes biscuiteers.com – the people that make the most incredible iced biscuits – no believe me incredible) – what she thought was important was…
Frequency of blog posting really increases your followers and traffic. Make sure your content is relevant and has a clear voice.
I’m following her advice and blogging once a week, minimum. Admittedly this blog post is off my usual topic but I have to write it after people had been so generous. The clear voice… well this is as clear as it gets – people who know me would admit that.
Fifth is next
Fiona at fifimcgee.co.uk thought I was on the right lines (thank you for that). Another Brighton based blogger – so she must be good. She advises
One thing that I wish I knew when I first started is the importance of design. There’s only a few minutes to capture your audience’s attention.
I do hope you find my layout clear?
Heather at hewdesign.co.uk modestly denies being an expert – have you seen her blog? Have you seen her photography? I disagree – it’s a great blog. Her suggestion was
I’d just advise you to stick at it and enjoy yourself.
I do Heather, I do. Oh and Heather thanks for pointing out the typo! Doh!
Phil at Liveforfilms.com was extraordinarily helpful – he advises
If you get bad comments just ignore them. Don’t let them get you down. Link up your posts so they cross post to twitter, Facebook etc. Finally, post whatever interests you.
Phil, so far no bad comments. I’m cross-pollinating with Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. As to writing about ‘whatever interests me’… I’ m writing about baked goods – what’s not to love!
Roland at geeky-gadgets.com wrote a very helpful reply… so generous with his time. Among other points he advises
The number one priority you should have is creating the content for your site, everything else comes after that, if you produce quality content regularly, then people will read it.
Next Rosie from rosieposiespuddingsandpies.co.uk Another brilliant Brighton blog, what is it with Brighton, so many great blogs. Her biggest tip would be social media.
Twitter, Instagram and facebook all send a lot of traffic my way. Post regularly. Write stuff that you’d want to read but always have your target market in mind.
Fran from thegraphicfoodie.co.uk claims to be a terrible baker – I do hope she reads this – I can help you there – get in touch, come visit and cook! She is also Brighton based- so not far to come for a bit of baking! For her…
Success to any blog is content! The ones that do well regularly post, say one or two a week and keep it up. Good photos help.
Tia and Laura run the uber-successful littlebuttondiaries.com, they made several points…
Take time planning and scheduling your posts. We have a timetable for two months ahead, it keeps us motivated and ensures a variety of content. Our second tip would be to do with image styling, it makes all the difference if your final shot is good.
Ladies, I have set up a diary and am filling up the spaces with which blog goes where. They also recommend Foodgawker – so I have just checkjed that out and enlisted!
Julian at catchmyparty.com was to the point:-
Focus on beautiful photos!
Although struggling with one handed photography I’m trying!
Melanie at Lakeland – (my preferred store for all things baking – natch), said
If you are writing about something you love and are passionate about you won’t go far wrong.
Years ago I corresponded with a famous British Actress Joyce Grenfall. I asked what made a good actor? She commented ‘Actors… act!’
I suppose, taking all of the above pieces of advice into account if you want to write a blog – then just get blogging.
To paraphrase Joyce… Bloggers… blog!