Are you a hot-blooded foodie with a true passion for either cooking or dining out that borders on obsessive? Do you love experimenting with recipes and find true pleasure in feeding your family and friends, …or do you love eating out and pride yourself on trying exotic dishes, things like molecular gastronomy and different cuisines from around the world? If you answered YES to any of that, then you should be food blogging, baby!
Since the summer of 2011, I am proud to be of the ‘dining out’ variety food blogger clan. My blog in India is Secret #58 in Condé Nast Traveller‘s ‘100 Secrets of India’ List and it is the Google ranked #1 ‘Bangalore blog‘. I feel honoured to have been interviewed a couple of times by business and financial publications on what it’s like being a part of the growing global trend in social food reviews. What started as a personal blog in the spring of 2011 to chronicle my expat adventures morphed into a big fat food blog and it wasn’t until this week that I realised just how much I love it all, and just how important it is to me – when the topic of no longer food blogging came up. Turns out though that aside from traveling and a good cardio workout, it’s the hobby that de-stresses me and helps me to disconnect from work more than anything else. Who’da guessed!
When I first started food blogging I made so many mistakes and goofed up so many times it’s not funny (well, maybe a little)! I figure that sharing some of the pitfalls to avoid would let you skip those rookie mistakes I made and go straight on to seasoned blogger. Now, given that I don’t blog about recipes, here is the first in a series of posts on the essentials you’ll need to become a rockin’ ‘indulgence’ blogger. This one is on Getting Started:
In order to start, the first thing you need to decide is how much time and effort you want to put into this new hobby and determine your STYLE. Being a food blogger can take as little or as much time as you want to give it, so rate yourself from one to ten on the following: 1) the amount of free time you have, 2) how computer savvy you are, and 3) your level of ambition.
>> If your score is low, consider being a social influencer and share your experiences exclusively on social media platforms like Facebook (check out my Facebook blogger Page), and Pinterest. This is a fantastic alternative to building a website or blog for someone with lots of passion but who has limited time or desire to be in front of a computer for too long. You can share lots of enticing and delicious-looking photos with descriptive captions to round them out. Then later if you decide you love it and want to expand to lots of writing you can always broaden out to a blog.
>> If your score is mid-range, perhaps being a photo blogger is for you, via a platform such as storiesig – that way, you only have to write a minimal amount of text to accompany mouth-watering images, yet you still have the fun of starting up and maintaining a blog or website to do it.
>> If you scored high, be a traditional blogger! Maybe add in the twist of video blogging from time to time, too! YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, so piggy back on that and let your followers experience your food reviews in a whole new way.
Now the fun begins because it’s time to pick a name for yourself to be known as to your followers. When I first started, mine was Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore. It was the name of my blog and the name on my social media channels and I really loved it. Well, now I’m moving to China next week so I’ve started this new geo-proof blog so I can stick with one blog ‘til I’m old and pruney (instead of continually losing my Google ranking and leaving a trail of location-specific blogs around the globe, a strategy likely used in the SEO for travel agency businesses who want to be a relevant search result for an assortment of world locations)! Truth be told, using just my name now isn’t as fun … but every cool .com address I could think of was already taken so … voilà! On a positive note, what I do love about it is that now I can food blog, write about a social media marketing or my expat experiences all in one place. Since it’s not themed, it’s a catch all for whatever I wish and that is somehow VERY liberating after 2.5 years of being limited in what I could write about. Take it from me! Think ahead and pick a name you’ll love for a long time, something that suits your personal style and the focus of your blog!
>> All three blogger styles above need social media accounts and pages. For food bloggers, Facebook and Pinterest are for everyone! Traditional bloggers also need Google+ so your photo can show up in organic Google search results with Google Authorship. And if you plan to video blog from time to time, don’t forget YouTube. Establishing a loyal following on video sharing sites like YouTube can be particularly lucrative for bloggers, and thanks to useful social media marketing resources such as Getfans for instance, building your subscriber and view counts has never been more exciting. Twitter might be useful too, so try that if you want too, just be sure to #hashtag your posts just right. We can’t forget Instagram too. Food bloggers might also be interested in setting up an Instagram account, this way you can show off your meals to your followers. Instagram also works really well for communicating with your followers, they can send you messages and you can reply to their instagram dms online if you download an application similar to the one that igdm offers. All social media platforms can work well to boost awareness for your blog, you just need to decide which ones you’re most comfortable using.
>> Last but not least is SETTING UP YOUR NEW BLOG and I highly suggest using WordPress in the beginning. It is simple to use (even for non-techies) and there is a free version so you can take blogging for a test drive. They offer an endless supply of free, beautiful and modern templates for photos or traditional bloggers that look great, even on smartphones and tablets. TIP: be sure to choose a template that has ‘responsive design’ so anyone can read your reviews, anytime, from any device.
**SUBSCRIBE to my BLOG >> in Part Two, I will share my secrets for creating the perfect review in detail. I will also give tips on the importance of being a RESPONSIBLE blogger, on how to get into bed with Google so your blog posts show up in Google search results and Google Image results … and for becoming a sought after blogger that’s in demand by every restaurant in town!
© 2014, Angela Carson and Angela-Carson.com. All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.