How to Start a Food Blog

how-to-start-a-food-blog

This article goes into the details of how to start a food blog. You will want to have your basic blog set up before reading this article. For the basics of creating a new blog of any kind (including a food blog), check out my free blogging tutorial first, and then come back to this article later.

 

If you have a passion for cooking or exploring new culinary venues, food blogging can turn out to be a fun and profitable way to become part of an active community of others who share your favorite hobby. If you have some good writing skills, there’s no reason you can’t succeed in this increasingly popular niche, particularly if you focus on a specific area and a carefully targeted audience.

Just like many other popular niches, such as travel or fashion, food is a broad topic, and with the right approach and a well-formulated plan, you should be able to find your unique voice and fill a gap in the marketplace. Food blogging is not just about posting recipes: other content, such as restaurant reviews, tips and tricks, shopping guides and even purely visual content can also find a place on a successful blog.

 

Why Start a Food Blog?

There are many pros and cons of starting a food blog but, with the right approach, many of the drawbacks can also be seen as advantages. Since everyone’s tastes are very different when it comes to food, you’re bound to end up dealing with both praise and criticism in more-or-less equal measures, but it’s a highly social subject that people love to talk about. Most importantly, blogging about food presents the perfect complement to your hobby, since it motivates you to experiment more in the kitchen and further your knowledge in the subject. You’ll get ideas and inspiration during your research as well as through the comments your readers leave on posts. Once your blog becomes widely known, you might even have businesses offering you a free meal in return for a write-up. Alternative, you may even end up being able to use your website as a base from which to write a cookbook or take advantage of other opportunities such as writing for a newspaper or magazine.

 

Who Should Publish a Food Blog?

Some people are great writers and others are great cooks or food connoisseurs, but you don’t need to be either to have a successful food blog.  What is necessary is a genuine passion in your hobby that will keep you cooking and sharing your experiences with your readers. For a wider reach, you can often merge food with another niche, such as travel or lifestyle, to narrow your focus.

In terms of the more technical aspects, such as registering a web address and setting up WordPress, starting a food blog is just like starting any other blog. However, unlike some niches, food is particularly visual in nature. If you’re planning to show off your own recipes and ideas, you’ll really need to hone your photography skills, since you won’t be able to simply lift images from elsewhere on the Web. You’ll also need to clearly define your target audience and be wary of deviating from your established plan. Finally, and most importantly, you’ll need to keep on cooking so that your readers will have fresh content on a regular basis.

 

How to Start Your Food Blog

Once you’ve decided on a specific topic to blog about, you’ll be ready to register your domain name and purchase a hosting package. To help maximize your visibility in the search engines, be sure to choose a short and relevant domain name that people won’t have any trouble remembering. An excellent domain name for your food blog should be creative while also being descriptive.  See Step #1 of my guide for more info on finding a good blog name.

Having a self-hosted WordPress site is by far the best choice for starting a blog. Powering around a fifth of all websites, WordPress is the most popular and user-friendly publishing platform for bloggers. It features numerous themes and plugins, and it’s completely free thanks to its open-source nature. To make things easier, many major hosting companies, such as Bluehost, provide a one-click WordPress hosting service whereby your blog will be up and running as soon as you’ve registered a domain and chosen your hosting package.

A self-hosted WordPress blog provides numerous advantages including excellent customization options. In fact, WordPress is used not only for blogs, but also for e-commerce stores, online news portals, static webpages and much more. Being open-source and frequently updated, WordPress sites also tend to do well in the search engines. You can further enhance the platform’s search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities by installing the free plugin WordPress SEO by Yoast. Just make sure to keep the platform and any themes and plugins you use up-to-date at all times. You will receive an alert in your administrator dashboard whenever new updates are available.

 

Recommended Themes for Your Food Blog

Once you have WordPress up and running, you’ll be ready to start customizing your site and publishing content but, before you get started, you’ll want to improve its user experience and give it a distinct look and feel by choosing the perfect theme. There are literally thousands available, including a number of premium themes. The sheer amount of options can make it difficult to find the right theme, so feel free to experiment a bit. Most importantly, always stick with responsive themes that scale automatically to different screen sizes so your blog remains user-friendly and easily readable on all Internet-enabled devices. If you’re having trouble finding a suitable theme for your food blog, take a look at the following for some inspiration:

 

Food Blog

food-blog-wordpress-theme

One of the few premium themes specifically designed for food bloggers, the aptly named ‘Food Blog’ theme is fully responsive and built using the latest HTML5 technology. It also comes with the Recipe Card plugin, which can help significantly when it comes to food-related keyword optimization.

 

Publication

publication-wordpress-theme

Although this free theme for WordPress is suitable for a wide range of lifestyle-related niches, the large header it provides makes it excellent for food bloggers seeking a magazine-style design featuring an eye-catching header image. Highly visually orientated, it also sports a convenient responsive design.

 

Foodeez Lite

foodeez-lite-wordpress-theme

While designed with restaurants, hotels and other such venues in mind, the highly visual nature of Foodeez Lite also makes it an excellent choice for a food blog, particularly those that deal with image slideshows and other image content. It sports a full-width header image and thumbnail previews for posts.

 

iCook

iCook-wordpress-theme

Featuring plenty of whitespace to help showcase your posts and recipe photos, this premium theme sports a filterable recipe gallery and a sidebar widget for automatically displaying your most popular recipes. It’s also extensively customizable and responsive.

 

Zylyz

zylyz-wordpress-theme

A free theme specifically designed with food bloggers in mind, Zylyz is an excellent choice for any recipe website. You can display large images of your featured recipes in the slideshow header, and it allows you to create custom post types, taxonomies and meta box data.

 

Recommended Plugins for Your Food Blog

Plugins can enhance the functionality of your blog in a multitude of ways. While there are some plugins that every blog should have, such as WordPress SEO, XML Sitemaps and W3 Total Cache, there are a few others that are particularly well-suited to food blogs:

WP Ultimate Recipe

The appropriately named WP Ultimate Recipe is one of the most popular free plugins for food bloggers. It provides everything you need to attach recipes to posts and, using shortcodes, you can embed multiple recipes in the same post. You can also add ingredients, courses and cuisine types to your tag cloud widget.

Pinterest Pin It Button for Images

This small and simple plugin provides an essential functionality for your blog in the form of a Pin It button on your images. Rather than relying solely on social sharing buttons at the bottom of posts, this plugin allows your visitors to share images on Pinterest simply by clicking on them.

Nextgen Gallery

Being a visually demanding topic, any plugin that helps to enhance the images and the way they are displayed can be very useful for a food blog. Nextgen Gallery is a powerful tool for uploading and managing your image collections as well as displaying them in the form of slideshows or thumbnails accompanying your posts.

Unit Converter

A successful food blog normally targets a global audience, making it important to provide both metric and imperial measurements. This plugin automatically detects units of measurement written in your posts, and it will convert them automatically when readers mouse over them.

 

Promoting Your Blog

Starting your food blog is only the first part of the battle. You’ll have to focus on providing regular quality content to your readers as well as publicizing your blog. Becoming a master of the visual social media sites, such as Instagram and Pinterest, is particularly important at this point, and you’ll need to maintain an active presence on both of them to give yourself the best chance of success.  Check out Step #6 of my guide for more info on how to promote your blog.

How to Customize WordPress Menus

The theme you’ve chosen to represent your website often has controls in the WordPress customizer allowing you to design the main menu and header to your liking. But sometimes these controls don’t provide everything you need to really make your menu stand out.

Here are some stand-alone tips and tricks to implement to make your main menu look amazing.

Display Hierarchy With a Dropdown Menu

Displaying your menu in a traditional dropdown format is a built-in feature with WordPress. Almost every theme will be compliant with the dropdown feature, enabling you to provide your end users with an easy-to-understand navigation system that helps them find what they’re looking for quickly.

In the backend of WordPress under Appearance > Menus, you can add the selected pages from the left to your main menu on the right. To have selected pages show within a dropdown under another selected page, simply move that page by dragging and dropping it slightly to the right under the selected item.

You can make your dropdown even deeper by adding another item under the first dropdown, indenting this item as well, to increase the hierarchy. The above example would look like this on the live site:

Hovering over Resources drops down to the next set of menu items, and hovering over the first item displays the next set of items to the left.

**Note: How your dropdown displays is theme dependent.**

Add Icons to Your Menu

Adding Font Awesome icons to your menu is easy to do and makes your menu stand out!

First, download and activate the Shortcode in Menus plugin in your plugin manager.

Then download and activate the Font Awesome plugin.

Now it’s time to search for the icons you want to appear in your menu. Go to the Font Awesome website and search for an appropriate icon.

Click on the icon you like and notate the name of this icon. Now, back in your menu settings, add the icon shortcode from the Font Awesome plugin to the navigation label for any menu item.

You can add the shortcode before or after the menu item name. Replace the code below with your page name and your icon name.

[icon name=”your-icon-name-here”] About

Don’t forget to save!

Make Your Menu Sticky

A sticky menu adheres to the top of the pages as the end user scrolls. This keeps the navigation at the user’s fingertips. Many themes will provide a sticky header as an option, but in case that option is not available, you can make your menu sticky with some custom CSS.

In your dashboard, head to Appearance > Customize. Click “Additional CSS” and add the following code:

#main-menu {
   z-index:199;
   margin:0 auto;
   border-bottom:1px solid #000000;
   width:100%;
   position:fixed;
   top:0;
   left:0;
   right:0;
}

Replace #main-menu with the CSS class of your navigation menu which will differ depending on your theme. You can find the class by hovering over your menu and right-clicking on “Inspect”.

If you would rather not deal with CSS, you can simply install the plugin My Sticky Menu for an easy, plug-and-play option to create a sticky menu.

Show/Hide Menu Items Based on User

The most common example of this would be to show a Login and/or Join Now tab in the menu for non-logged-in users, and a Logout tab for logged-in users while any Login or Join Now tabs are hidden for the logged-in user.

In the Plugin Manager of the dashboard, download and activate User Menus – Nav Menu Visibility.

Back in your menu settings, you can create your Login, Join Now, and Log Out Buttons. You may have a separate page for a user login and for joining. For a Logout Button, create a menu item using the “Custom Links” selection.

The universal WordPress logout link to add is:

http://yourdomain.com/wp-login.php?action=logout

Make sure you use your domain name and the correct http version (http vs https).

Once you have these tabs created, you can hide or show them based on the user’s state. Under “Who Can See This Link?”, choose a Logged In or Logged Out User.

Membership sites can hide or show menu items based on user role for further visibility options.

Add Hover Effects

A hover effect can change the menu item tab text or background color – or both! All you need to do is add some custom css in Appearance > Customize > Custom CSS. Here is an example:

#main-menu  li.menu-item a:hover {   background-color:#ffe6f2;   color:#cc0066;   border-radius:5px;   border: 1px solid #cc0066;   padding-top: 20px;   padding-bottom: 20px;   padding-right: 10px;   padding-left: 10px;   Margin-bottom: 10px; }

Replace #main-menu with the CSS class of your navigation menu which will differ depending on your theme. You can find the class by hovering over your menu and right-clicking on “Inspect”.

The example above would produce this hover effect when hovering over the Portfolio tab.

Customize a Single Menu Item

You can easily create custom CSS for a single menu item by assigning that menu item a CSS class. In the menu settings, click on Screen Options at the very top right of the screen.

Tick the box for CSS Classes which is unchecked by default. Then save the menu settings.

There will now be a new text box underneath each menu item. Here, you can assign a different CSS class for each and every menu item. In this example, we added the class “services-menu” to the menu item “Services”.

Now you can add your custom CSS to Appearance > Customize > Custom CSS section. I can use the same CSS above using this class.

**Note: You would not need to add li.menu-item as an identifier since you have already assigned an individual class.**

.services_menu a:hover {
  background-color:#ffe6f2;
  color:#cc0066;
  border-radius:5px;
  border: 1px solid #cc0066;
  padding-top: 20px;
  padding-bottom: 20px;
  padding-right: 10px;
  padding-left: 10px;
  Margin-bottom: 10px;
}

This produces the same result as above, but only for this menu item.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed this compilation of unique tips and tricks to customize your WordPress menu. Have you tried some of these ideas? Do you have other favorite tricks you like to employ? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Blog Anonymously

There are many valid reasons to blog anonymously. Perhaps you want to write about a controversial issue and would rather not be “doxxed” (publicly outed) by opposing minds. Or perhaps you want to reveal private parts of your life without revealing your identity. Unnamed references to individuals in your life story can also stay anonymous. Or, perhaps, you are divulging the inner workings of a named business as an employee and whistleblower and need to stay anonymous to avoid the firing squad or any other type of employer retribution.

Blogging anonymously can be tricky. But it can be done so long as all identifying markers are avoided.

1. Develop Your Nom de Plume

First, come up with a pen name you’ve never used before. This can be anything you want but make sure you like it, because it might be sticking around for a long time. If you plan on making a possible career out of this blog, you can protect your new name with a federally registered trademark. And to protect your identity further, contact an attorney to create another entity, such as an LLC or trust, which you would then use to register the trademark instead of your real name. This way, you can shoot for the moon with editors, book deals, interviews – all using your anonymous nom de plume.

2. Sign Up for a VPN

A VPN is a virtual private network. Some are cloud-based and some are software applications you can download and activate on your machine. When you use a VPN, your identifying IP address will be shielded and your browsing data will be completely anonymous. Whenever you start to work on anything related to your new anonymous blog, activate the VPN.

3. Get a New Free Email Account

Using your new VPN, create a new email account with Gmail or another free email hosting provider. You can create a completely anonymous account. This new account shouldn’t be connected to any of your identifying email accounts – however, even if it is – it will remain confidential.

4. Choose Your Hosting Wisely

A web host is the service that puts your blog or website online. When choosing where to host your blog you have two broad options: free or paid.

Free platforms like Blogger offer the ultimate in anonymity since your payment details are not connected to your account. However, free platforms have several drawbacks as well. They are susceptible to being removed at the whims of the host (should someone complain about your content), and they just don’t look professional, so people are not likely to take the content there very seriously.

Because of these drawbacks, free blogs are best-suited for those looking to journal about a private matter, but are not a good choice for those who want visibility for their content.

For information on how to set up a professional blog on a paid host, you can read this tutorial. To keep things anonymous, it is recommended that you only host your anonymous blog in your account. Don’t host any other websites/blogs you have that include personally identifiable information on the same hosting account. So if you start a new WordPress blog that you think is anonymous, but also host a website where you post public book reviews under your name and on the same hosting account, your anonymous profile will be outed quickly.

For the tech-savvy: You can edit your .htaccess file with the following line of code to prevent nosy people from being able to see a directory index listing all of your folders and websites.

DirectoryIndex some-file.html

5. Keep Your Domain Name Private

If you’re going to use your own domain name, you will have to purchase it. You can keep your personal information completely private by activating the “WHOIS” privacy feature available on most registrars to keep your information out of public view. This will prevent your information, except for what you choose to reveal, off of sites like WhoIs.net and Icann.

6. No Names, Genders, Locations, Ages, Etc.

Now that you’re ready to start blogging with your new pen name and using your VPN, it is essential that you change up all references to yourself and other real people by altering names, genders, occupations, ages, and locations. The last thing you would want after going through all the trouble to stay anonymous is for some lonely soul to recognize your caricatures and name you and your blog publicly. It would be a disaster, and could potentially land you in legal trouble if someone claimed defamation.

7. Schedule Your Posts to Go Live at Different Times

Another identifying factor that many people don’t consider is TIME. If you’re an employee, for example, posting about your arduous daily work life at a company that is desperately trying to find out who their naughty blogger is, you could be identified simply by deducing who could be blogging during non-working hours. So if you schedule a post to go live while you’re hard at work – it couldn’t possibly be you, could it? Have your posts go live while you’re busy with friends, at work, or out in public in some way. This will relieve you of most suspicion.

8. Be Careful with Social Media

You may be tempted to create social media accounts using your new pen name to be associated with your new blog. This is fine, so long as these social media accounts are created using your VPN, and attached to your new anonymous email. But be careful. Do not associate your own profiles in any way with your new social media accounts. Make sure there is absolutely no connection between your real profiles and your anonymous ones. No “likes”, “follows” or “connections” between the two.

9. Don’t Be Tempted to Tell Anyone

If you are serious about staying anonymous, don’t tell anyone about your blog. Don’t tell your spouse, your children, your mother, your siblings, or even your best friend from fifth grade. Don’t tell anyone. I can’t stress this enough. If you tell one person, that person could accidentally let it slip. Suddenly ten people know. Then everyone knows. TRUST NO ONE.

With these steps in place, you are set to begin blogging anonymously. Good luck and stay dark!

How to Migrate Your WordPress Site to BlueHost

Website migrations are complex and these complexities are not always simplified with WordPress blog or sites. There are a number of steps that should be followed in the correct sequence to ensure a proper migration.  If done incorrectly you may experience website downtime.

Please make sure to read through this entire guide before initiating your website migration.

Step One: Setup Your New BlueHost Account

I recommend using BlueHost because of their reliability and cost-effectiveness.  In addition, in my experience their customer support has been top-notch, which is particularly nice to have when you are doing something like migrating your site.

Disclosure: The Blog Starter receives a commission when you purchase a BlueHost package through our link.

Use this link to get the discounted rate of $2.75 per month on a BlueHost package.

Bluehost offers a number of packages.  For most people the Starter plan will be fine (if you are just hosting 1 site), or get the Plus plan if are hosting multiple sites.

Step 2: Create FTP Credentials in Your Existing Hosting Account

In the cPanel of your existing hosting account, navigate to FTP Accounts usually under the “Files” heading.

Add a new FTP account by filling in the user name and password. Often, a file path under “Directory” will be automatically created. Delete this file path completely so that your new FTP account will have ROOT access.

Make sure the quota is set to “Unlimited” and click “Create FTP Account”. Make sure to notate your new FTP account password.

You should see the new account at the bottom of this page. Click “Configure FTP Client” next to the new account and then notate the User Name, Host Name, and port number.

Step 3: Download Filezilla

Filezilla is a free FTP client and is the most commonly used. You can download this software here. After downloading the installation file, click “run” to begin setup.

Step 4: Connect to Your Server

Once Filezilla is installed on your machine, open the program and under “File” click “Site Manager”. Here you’ll be setting up the connection to your existing server. Add in the hostname and port from above, and then your username and password.

Click “Connect” to begin the connection.

Note: If you’re unable to connect, try adding @yourdomainname.com to the User Name. If that doesn’t work, you may need to call your hosting provider to troubleshoot.

Step 5: Download Your Files

On your local machine, create a new file folder where you will be able to transfer all of your website files and remember its location.

In Filezilla and connected to your server, navigate using the top right window to the file folder containing your website files. Usually, this is under the public_html file. If you click on the public_html folder, the files within this folder will appear on the bottom right window.

Your website files may be in a different folder within the public_html folder. Locate the appropriate folder and open it.

In the top left window, navigate to the empty folder you created on your machine. Open the folder by clicking on the + icon to the left of the folder name. The empty folder will open in the left bottom window.

In the RIGHT bottom window, click on the first folder and then scroll down to the very last file, press and hold the SHIFT button and click the last file. All files and folders should be highlighted.

Drag and drop all of the highlighted files and folders into the bottom LEFT window by pressing and holding the CTRL button and clicking on any file/folder and dragging them over.

The download will begin in the bottom window. This will take some time. There are a LOT of files in WordPress. And don’t worry, you’re only copying the files, not removing them!

Go have a cup of coffee. Or move on to the next step which you can do while the download is running.

Step 6: Download Your Database

In the cPanel of your existing server, navigate to phpMyAdmin under Database.

On the lefthand side, click on your website’s database.

Note: If you have many databases, and you’re not sure which one it is, take a look at your website’s wp-config file and notate the database name. That’s the one you’re looking for.

With this database file open on the left, click on “Export” in the top menu of phpMyAdmin. Keep the export at “Quick” and the format as “SQL”. Click “Go”. This will download the SQL file onto your machine. It’s a fairly quick process.

Step 7: Create a New Database

In the cPanel of your new Bluehost hosting account, navigate to MySQL Databases.

First, create a new database. Give it any name you like next to the designated prefix and click “Create Database”.

Next, scroll down to the bottom of this screen to create a “User” attached to this database. Under “Create User” add a new user name and password, and click “Create User”.

Under “Add User to the Database”, select the user you created and the new database you created, and click “Add”.

Note: Remember to notate the name of the user and database (with the prefixes!).

Step 8: Upload Your Database

Access the phpMyAdmin of your new Bluehost server in the same manner described above. Select the new database you just created on the left-hand side.

Navigate to “Import” on the top menu. Here, you can browse from your computer and select the SQL file you recently downloaded. At the bottom of the screen, select “Go”. This will upload your database and your new DB will show on the left-hand side of the screen momentarily.

Step 9: Create an FTP account in Bluehost

Using the same method described above for creating an FTP account, create a new FTP account in Bluehost, remembering to notate your credentials.

Step 10: Connect to the BlueHost Server

Assuming your download is complete (Do NOT disconnect if it is not complete! Wait until the transfer is done!), under File and Site Manager of Filezilla, click “New Site”.

Using your new BlueHost FTP credentials, and the method described above, connect to your Bluehost server.

The local file containing your WordPress files and folders should be already showing in your left-hand window. In the right-hand top window, your server, navigate to public_html or to the file you would like to store your WordPress site.

Using the method above to select all files, move all files and folders from the bottom left-hand window to the right-hand window.

Again, this will take a while. Go walk the dog.

Step 11: Adjust the WP-config file

Once all of the files have been uploaded, access your Bluehost cPanel and navigate to the file manager. Then navigate to the folder where you’ve uploaded all WordPress files. Open the wp-config.php file in the editor.

Change the DB_NAME to your new database name, the DB_USER to the new database user name, and the DB_PASSWORD to the new password you just created.

The DB_HOST is normally ‘localhost’ and you won’t need to change this. However, if you have a VPS, the hostname might be different.

Step 12: Is there an SSL?

If your existing website has an SSL certificate installed, you will need to have one installed on your new hosting account for the same domain before you point your site over. Contact Bluehost and make sure the SSL is installed and ready to go.

Step 13: Point Your Domain

Now that your files and the database have been transferred, you can point your domain over to Bluehost. You can achieve this by changing the nameservers or by creating DNS records.

Navigate to the domain registry where your domain is registered. Select your domain to manage the DNS and find the nameserver section. Change the nameservers to:

ns1.bluehost.com

ns2.bluehost.com

It can take up to 24 hours to propagate to all servers, but most of the time your site should be working correctly within 1-2 hours. Keep checking your domain and make sure everything looks good. If you have a database error, recheck your config file for the proper credentials.

Note: Changing the nameservers will also change the email to Bluehost. Log into your Bluehost account and create new email accounts.

Note: Domains registered through GoDaddy often encounter trouble with changes to the nameservers, especially with SSL. Rather than changing the nameservers, make DNS entries instead of altering the nameservers.

Six Comprehensive Strategies for Increasing Blog Traffic

You have a blog and you’ve been writing for weeks, maybe even months or years, but the traffic is lackluster. You’ve been putting in the time and effort, so where are the hordes of people who should have found your content by now? Where is your audience?

Blogs are rarely set-and-go assets. They require daily work that goes beyond the scope of writing and posting to acquire a growing audience and maximum views.

The six major arms of blog traffic growth are: Calendar, Content, Social, Engagement, SEO, and Advertising. Each segment offers a number of methods any blogger can and should use to increase traffic at supersonic levels.

Calendar

Create an editorial calendar: Create a writing calendar and stick to it. This could be writing Monday-Friday, as an example, and could even include different subjects or themes for each of the days involved.

Regularity: One your editorial calendar has been established, do not  – under any circumstances – stray from this calendar. If you plan on a vacation, write posts and schedule them for the days you’ll be absent.

Your schedule is monitored by search engines: As you start posting on a regular schedule and with frequency, search engines will begin scraping your site with the same regularity. Your posting schedule sets the schedule for search engine bots. Imagine that!

Content

Know your material: If you’re writing about how to get rich online and, in reality, you’re flat broke and know nothing about online businesses, readers will know. You don’t have to have a Ph.D. in your field, but you should be passionate about your blogging niche, be able to provide interesting, relevant, and educational information, and be knowledgeable in general.

Know your audience: People who are interested in the topic you blog about – this is your audience. This can vary from blog post to blog post. For example, one post may be geared toward those who understand technical terminology within your field while another post may be geared toward potential new audience members who don’t know much about your topic but want to know more.

Imagery: Include images in your blog posts. Try to use your own photos or manipulate stock photos to create a cohesive look. People are visual and often initially attracted to the imagery.

Video: Selfmade videos are a powerful way to bring people to your blog. Video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo allow you to upload your own videos, providing you with bits of code to place those videos on your own blog while using their bandwidth and video speed strength. Better yet, these platforms have the ability to drive traffic straight to your blog on their own.

Lists: With long-winded articles, people can get bored which, in turn, can cause a high bounce rate. Break up your content into smaller, readable portions such as lists and shorts bursts of information within subheaders.

Evergreen: Make sure your articles can withstand the test of time. A blog post about “The Best Places to Eat in Portland, Maine” written ten years ago will most certainly have no relevance today when restaurants come and go. Either refresh your posts that have gone stale (updating them yearly) or write “Evergreen” posts that will withstand the passage of time.

Guest Contributors and Posting: Encourage guests posts from those in your field who are admired or well known. In the same vein, offer to contribute guests posts (with a backlink) to blogs within your field of expertise.

Social Media

Inspire curiosity with a great title: Sharing your blog post on social media will display the title and a snippet. That title should be amazing. Create an irresistible blog title that will cause people to click the link with urgency. They must know more!

Find your people: Find groups and communities on social media platforms devoted to your interest or a variation of it. When you find your people, share your posts there and like-minded individuals will follow.

Social sharing buttons: Include social sharing buttons on your blog posts. It makes it easy for people who want to share your information to do so.

Reshare old content: Recently updated content or blog posts that are suddenly relevant again can be reshared on social media platforms. Think about using this strategy at least once per week.

Engage

Use a comment system: Allow readers to leave comments and encourage the use of your comment system by asking readers questions and/or their opinions.

Employ giveaways: Contests and giveaways can have a viral effect, especially if you set a condition for entry by requiring the post to be reposted, liked, or tweeted by the entrant.

Use USG (User Generated Content): A common way for bloggers to gather USG is through Reddit. Pose a question to people in your related interest groups, and utilize their answers. The same method can be used on other social media platforms.

Encourage email signups: Add an email sign-up box on your blog that captures emails to be used by an email system such as Constant Contact. Sending monthly recap emails remind your audience of your existence and brings back readers.

SEO

Use keywords: Use the most relevant keywords multiple times in your copy, in your headings, in your metadata, and in your image alt tags. Don’t overdo it, but make sure they are used more than once.

Use links: Linking to high-ranking, relevant, authority sites is a powerful way to signal to Google and other search engines that you can be trusted.

Crosslink your articles: A great way to “connect the dots” and create a hierarchy of related pages within search engine indices is to crosslink your own posts. Link to related posts that might be of value to the reader for the current post.

Write long articles: If you’re looking for better rankings on search engines, write long articles – the longer the better. Google gives a nearly disproportionate amount of weight to longer articles – the more information, the better.

Advertise

Spend the money: Advertising online can cost a pretty penny, but the stakes are worth it when building your audience. Online advertising delivers highly targeted traffic straight to your site, readers who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. It is definitely something to consider.


Each fundamental strategy for blog traffic growth has multiple facets, and each of these facets can be discussed in great detail. Conduct your own research on each facet and work to employ all items in your daily blogging schedule.

Happy blogging!

How to Create a Custom Professional Email Address for Your Blog Domain

One of the benefits of having your own domain for your blog is that you can setup a custom email address with your domain name. So if your domain name is “PatsBlog.com” you can create an address like pat@patsblog.com or info@patsblog.com. This is a professional email address that is great for all bloggers, but especially those looking for a business email address to give to customers.

If you used the process I outline in Step 2 to setup your blog, you can create personalized email addresses for no additional charge. Here’s how to do it:

1. Go to the BlueHost homepage and click the “Login” tab on the top right.

2. Enter your details to login to your BlueHost cPanel.

  • Keep in mind that your password for your BlueHost account may be different than for your WordPress blog.
  • If you don’t remember your password you can always use the “forgot password” link on this page to reset it.

bluehost-cpanel-login

3. Once you are logged-in click the “Advanced” tab in the left sidebar.

4. Scroll down and click “Email Accounts”

5. Click the blue “+CREATE” button on the right.

6. Enter the details for your new email account and click the “+CREATE” button at the bottom of the page.

  • 100MB storage space is enough to start, and will last you awhile unless you are getting lots of emails with large attachments.

7. Now that your account is created you can login to start using it.

  • The easiest way to do that is to go back to the BlueHost homepage. Just click the login tab at the top right, and then choose the “webmail login” option.

bluehost-webmail-login

If you are feeling more technically adventurous, you can also checkout the “forwarding” and “autoresponders” sections in the BlueHost email manager. These are very useful tools that I will go over in a future blog post.