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Part 1: Are you serious about making money through blogging?
This post includes two free downloads to assist you in your journey.
Hey beautiful people!
Please don’t take this post lightly. This series of HOW TO START A PROFITABLE FOOD BLOG will have all the tools to help you turn your passion for cooking into a source of income. I am planning to share everything, and I mean everything with you; my ups and downs, my mistakes, and my wins! If you are not a food blogger, this series of posts will prove beneficial to you too, so please go on reading.
You might be wondering why I’m sharing such information openly and for free? It’s because I was in your shoes years ago, and wished for someone to take my hand and help me understand how blogging could change my life without scamming me. To be honest, part of me is annoyed with those who promise the moon and deliver nothing after snatching your money. And what qualifies me to talk about this subject? Well, I’m making a living off my blog and my income is increasing rapidly. I guess this is ample qualification
Now let’s start!
How serious are you about food blogging? And why do you want to start one? Do not ignore answering these questions. Think deeply about them. Take your time, take an hour or two, take the whole day if you wish, but do consider them seriously.
If your answer is something like:
I love cooking and I want to share my recipes with others.
I want to do what I like and make money on the side.
There are many food bloggers out there who made it and so will I.
I want to eventually write a cookbook and be famous.
The above answers and thoughts will not make you money. That’s the truth and I am so sorry to burst your bubble but, like I promised earlier, there will be no fluff in here.
The answer that will bring you money and fame is:
I want to share great (Vegan, or quick meals, or Indian cuisine, or desserts…etc.) recipes and present them in an attractive manner. I will work hard on improving my blog’s SEO and will utilize my time in promoting my blog posts on social media. I will invest in myself (educate myself on SEO, food photography, Social media understanding.) My blog will be updated regularly and will make sure to keep my blog clean and easy to navigate at all times.
This is just an example but the point is when you know your goal and how to achieve it, the development of a successful blog catches a faster pace.
If you want to blog as a hobby, then that’s great. I did the same for many years, in fact I just got serious about blogging at the end of 2015.
If you are in for making money, it is a good industry to join but the competitiveness and challenges are real and most of the time they are overwhelming.
If you want to run a profitable food blog you have to :
Decide on a niche.
Will it be a baking only blog, gluten free recipes, budget friendly recipes, vegan recipes, low calorie recipes, or do you want to have a general one (like mine)? There are advantages and disadvantages here. If your blog caters to one niche; like dessert, it will become the hub of everyone looking for a dessert recipes but you will miss out on those who look for quick dinner meals. On the other hand, there are many successful food bloggers who narrowed their niche and are making thousands of dollars each month.
Treat your blog as a business.
The moment you think of making money through your blog, you must treat it like a business. Invest in your blog wisely and don’t be stingy. When I took blogging seriously and invested in it I started seeing results faster than I thought. Remember, your blog is a reflection of you and a good looking and organized blog that loads fast will attract companies and potential partners.
Give it your time.
You’ll be spending a lot of time on your blog, it is no joke. Buying groceries, cooking, plating and food styling, taking pictures, editing the pictures, writing the post, editing the post and making it SEO friendly, publishing the post, promoting the post on different social media platforms, and then monitoring the progress of your post, all that will lead to a successful and profitable blog.
As you can see from the point above, there is so much to do and if you don’t want to lose your mind and hair, you better be organized and distribute your work in a balanced manner. I have created a mini blog planner so you won’t get lost in the details, Download the planner Now!
Grow thick skin.
Food bloggers do not attack each other (not in my experience), they are quite peaceful but you might come across readers who will criticize your work, the layout of your blog, the way you write your posts and recipes, and of course there could be some attacks toward your food photography. To outgrow this, keep in mind that people are different with different tastes, what I see pretty might look hideous to you! Read the criticism and analyze it, if it is a positive criticism then work on it, if it is negative and was expressed to make you feel bad disregard it, your time is precious and please don’t spend it on negative people, we have work to do here
Growing loyal followers, traffic, and income will not be easy in the initial stage. We all went through it. There was a time when I got so frustrated and felt like shutting my blog down but I came to my senses and gave it time…the reward was amazing. Just like any business out there, with time people come to know you and your work and eventually will decide to stick around and invite others to check your blog out.
Don’t sell your soul.
Many companies will approach you to sell their links on your blog. That’s a big no no, they will offer money and request you to sneak their link in any of your old or a popular post. Don’t do it, it will ruin your blog’s ranking, while the money might sound good but remember that your blog is your baby and you always want the best for it.
I noticed that online courses are trending since 2015. Some of these courses teach how to become a master in social media, how to grow traffic, how to increase income. Now, I’m not saying that they all are bogus and that you should ignore them. I enrolled in more than one course (with a few regrets) and they actually helped me become a better blogger. Right now, I am studying a new course and enjoying it.
Do your research. Read the course reviews, go through its content list, and don’t hesitate to approach and ask people who enrolled about their experience.
Don’t get tempted and buy followers, fake followers make you look phony and will mess up your social media account. I understand that seeing a huge number of followers on others’ accounts might devastate you but let me tell you this, bought and fake followers do not interact, they are like zombies who won’t visit your blog and will not help spread your name on social media. Some bloggers buy followers to deceive and attract sponsors. What some don’t know is that companies go through your blog and social media accounts, study and scan them in depth before approaching you. Believe me; it doesn’t take time to spot fake followers. If you go to my Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram accounts you won’t find huge number of followers, yet I work with many companies on regular basis. I keep it true and companies respect that. Oh, and that’s another proof that you can make big money with few followers!
Educate yourself, Knowledge is the key.
Remember when I told you that you have to look at blogging as a business? You can’t achieve much in your business if you don’t learn and educate yourself. It’s not a matter of spending big money on books and courses; instead you can visit popular food blogs and learn from them. Those bloggers have been around for years and have designed their blog in a manner to bring them more traffic or keep readers engaged. Read a few of their popular posts, but take your time when doing so, and I’m sure you’ll learn a thing or two. If they suggest a course, software, or a service on their blog, most probably they’ve used it and found great results from it. Check it out and see if it fits your needs and budget.
If you are not a food photographer, you’ll need to learn how to use the DSLR camera, how to style food, and how to play with lighting to produce great pictures. I took this very lightly in the beginning and I’m still regretting it. Learning food photography will allow you to take appealing pictures for products too which will lead to more companies wanting to work with you.
You can’t make money from your blog unless and until you look at it as a business. Invest in it, improve it, promote it, and believe in it.
In my coming posts, I’ll share what I did to improve my blog and make it a source of income. Until then, here’s a worksheet to help you identify your goals.