Disclaimer: All products/services/companies that I have linked to below are ones that I use, love and trust. However, please note that some of those links are affiliate links. That means that if you click and/or make a purchase through these links, I will receive commission.
So let me guess? You love reading blogs (hopefully Runway Chef included!), you have a topic that you’re really passionate about, and you want to start a blog. If you answered yes, yes and yes, then you’ve come to the right place (or at least I hope) ! I’ve been running Runway Chef for close to 4 years now so I like to think I know a thing or two when it comes to blogging and I’m always happy to share my knowledge.
Blogs are a fun way for anyone to share whatever makes them happy, or a specific interest they may be passionate about, but there is still a bit of work involved in getting them up and running.
For more detailed information, read on below, but if you’re just looking for quick links, here’s what I use:
Hosting & Domain Services: Bluehost
Design: Foodie Pro
Photo Editing Software: Photoshop Elements
First and foremost, I think you should have a bit of a plan before you start to help you better understand the direction you would like to go in (whether it be with the name, the content, or, eventually, the branding). To begin, ask yourself:
- Am I starting my blog for fun?
- Am I starting it to showcase products I sell or another business I work on?
- Am I hoping to leverage my blog as a platform and portfolio to gain freelance work?
Next, pick a name. While it is important to have a name that you like and that appropriately represents your blog and brand, it’s also important to make sure that it is available on all social media channels. As far as selecting the actual name, I suggest making a few lists, one with the topics of your blog, one with some of your favorite things, and one with synonyms for these things (put that thesaurus to work!). Then play around with different combinations to get something you like.
Besides making sure that your name is available on social media channels, it’s equally as important, if not more important, to make sure it’s available for domain name purchase. A domain name is essentially the name of your web address, i.e. mine is runwaychef.com (who would have guessed, right?!). For my domain name services, I use Bluehost. Speaking of which, I also use them for my hosting services. I seriously can’t say enough good things about them. Their support team is available around the clock and they’ve basically helped with everything from site loading time to recovering my site when I accidentally deleted it (don’t even ask!).
Once you’ve got your name, your domain purchased and your hosting, you’ll want to set up your actual site. Don’t be like me and start on blogger before switching to WordPress. While blogger is easier to use, WordPress gives you far greater results, is much more flexible and has a much better platform. Plus, switching from one to the other is a pain in the you-know-what (I speak from experience). In other words, don’t be like me. Save yourself the trouble and set up your site on WordPress from the get-go. Bluehost even makes it super easy for you…there’s a WordPress button right on the Bluehost dashboard.
Lastly (for now, at least), develop your branding and design. Don’t be intimated by these words, they are actually both simple things. In fact, the simpler you keep your brand and design, the better. Gather inspiration from sites that you’re a fan of, create a Pinterest board, stick to a few basic fonts and colors, select a simple layout and you’re good to go. Of course, you can hire someone (anywhere from $200-$10,000+) to design a site and install it for you, or you can purchase many of the great pre-made ones readily available (Etsy has lots of wonderful options). I used StudioPress to purchase my latest theme, Genesis, and my latest design, Foodie Pro (that we heavily customized ourselves).
While it’s not crucial to start your blog, I think having quality photos is very beneficial for your blog content, especially in the long run. Invest in a good camera (I would recommend a DSLR Camera by Canon…we currently use this one with this lens) and some photo editing software (Photoshop Elements), to really showcase content. Even though DSLRs can be a little pricey and overwhelming to use at first, believe me when I say that they are totally worth the investment and time you put in to practicing and honing your shooting skills. I highly recommend taking photos of everything you can as often as you can to practice and get comfortable, reading articles to help you improve your technique, and even take a class or two. In a world run by pictures (Hello, Instagram and Pinterest!) good photography is more important than ever.
After blogging for almost 4 years, I could literally go on and on about all the different things to do and not do, from creating an LLC to setting up a business bank account, to tracking finances and receipts, to photography set-up and styling, to building connections with PR agencies and business, to how to reach out for collaborations, to creating a media kit, to the appropriate ways to use social media…it’s truly overwhelming, so that’s why my best advice for anyone starting out is to just stick to the things I mentioned above. The rest will come.
Be yourself. Seriously….don’t add to the sea of copycats.
Be nice. There are a lot of nasty people in the world….don’t be one of them.
Be a hustler. Go after what you want….no one is going to hand it to you.
Be a networker. Because how else do you think you’re going to get your name out there?!
Mr. RC (aka Dave) is available for hire for BLOG & BUSINESS BRANDING AND SETUP (NAME & DESIGN GUIDANCE, LOGO CREATION, MEDIA KIT DEVELOPMENT, and SOCIAL MEDIA USE). To find out more about his services, he can be reached at: [email protected].
- Blogging and Business Tips
- Photography Tips
- Food Photography Basics (a post I wrote for my friends over at TBC)