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How to Share Your Passion Online

How to Share Your Passion Online

Starting a food recipe blog and related YouTube/Facebook/Instagram channels has been an amazing experience. I think we all naturally want to share our knowledge and experience with others, even if it’s not a food blog (I started a guitar lesson site years ago as well). It’s been over 2 years and I thought I would try to help you get started with your own food site. But how do we get started? There are many ways but with the ups and down of many social media sites (remember MySpace?) it’s best to have your own website that you control. The social media channels then act to send traffic back to your website. Fortunately websites are really easy to set up nowadays and there’s no coding knowledge required! You can do this on the side if you have a day job and even develop revenue over time if you want to.

To get started you’ll need a domain name. Examples of domain names are www.amazon.com or in my case www.potatostrong.com or www.willkriski.com (I’m also webmaster for a wildlife rehab center atlanticwildlife.ca). You’ll need to come with a unique name that reflects what your blog/channel is about. For that you need to go to a site like Bluehost and search for names that you would like. Sometimes it takes a while to come up with a good name that isn’t taken. If the name you want is taken for the .com domain you could also try other extensions like .org, .ca, .us and so on. The domain is your unique space on the internet. If you sign up for web hosting (where you web files will reside) with BlueHost you can get a free domain name and it’ll be much easier as you won’t have to configure it as you would if you buy the domain name and web hosting separately. Here’s what you will see at Bluehost when you sign up for web hosting (under Products->Shared Hosting).

domain name

Along with the domain name you need a place for your website pages to exist. This is done by a web host provider such as BlueHost (includes free domain).

Once you’ve signed up for web hosting and picked a domain name, I recommend you install the freely included software to run your website called WordPress. It allows you to add and update pages right in the browser so you just edit, save and the changes are live! So once you sign up for web hosting, you typically login to an admin panel and can click a button to install WordPress on your site. They do all the hard work for you! One advantage of using sites like BlueHost is your website will automatically be set up to use your domain name, otherwise you typically have to get your domain name info from the domain name registrar and enter that information at your web host. Bluehost has optimized hosting for WordPress but this is not really necessary in my opinion and will cost you extra each month.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 4.27.20 PM

I’d go with the plus plan, as you can have unlimited sites but you can switch over later if you want from the standard plan. I started a few different sites and even host a site for a local wildlife rehabilitation society so it’s nice to have unlimited website capability.

Once you sign up for webhosting with your domain name the next step is to get WordPress installed on your site which is pretty easy these days. Your web host will provide easy instructions – it’s basically a one-click operation to set it up. Then you’ll need to make your site look good. In the past you used to have to hire a web designer and spend thousands of dollars for them to make your site look pretty. Luckily there are also lots of free and paid themes for WordPress which allows you to make your site look really good. A theme is a layout for your site and avoids you having to be a graphic designer, which I am definitely not! There are also lots of free and paid plugins that allow your site to do so much more such as have a shopping cart, membership sites, and more. The theme I use is from Themify (Magazine theme) as it offers an incredible amount of flexibility in laying out your site and you can use it on unlimited sites. The other benefit of WordPress is you can easily add or modify content whenever you want without having to hire anyone to update your site. Picture of sample theme is shown below:

themify magazine theme

You also want to build your own email list. Don’t wait to set this up as you want to capture the email addresses of people who visit your site. Remember the social media sites come and go but you want a site that you can control for the long haul. Also having an email list is great because you can email the group whenever you want and studies show that email is still amazing for getting sales should you ever decided to create a product or service. I use MailChimp but the best one out there is Aweber.

If this all sounds scary and complicated, let me assure you it’s not that bad especially with BlueHost as you get hosting, domain and easy install of WordPress to get you going and the people there that can help you get set up. But contact me if you have questions after you’ve signed up for the services above and I can try to help!

Remember you don’t have to have the most beautiful and perfect food photos (or whatever niche content you want to provide) to get started, although it will help tremendously.  Just dig in and keep going and things will grow over time as people find your site and learn to love you and your unique offering to the world. Good photos can get you sponsorship opportunities from businesses who want to promote their food products with quality websites. So if you want to take better photos a great book (and videos) is Tasty Food Photography based on how amazing Pinch of Yum’s food photos are!

I plan to do more content and even videos on this, how to do social media (Facebook page, YouTube, Instagram, etc), saving and investing, debt, so let me know if you want to see more of that!

*Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning I get a small commission if you decide to sign up. Rest assured these are quality services that I recommend and use myself and are an integral part of having a web presence that you control in addition to the social media sites out there that come and go over time!

For more info check out my Share Your Passion Online YouTube channel, my coaching services and website.