Resources for Bloggers
Here are the resources I’ve found most helpful while creating Paleo Grubs. As you go along you’ll find there are some things you like better than others, and you’ll develop your own list of helpful resources, but these can provide you with the basics for what you need to get started and succeed on a long-term basis.
First Steps: The Essentials
You cannot create a blog without a reliable host and blog platform. You can visit this page to learn how to start your own paleo blog using Bluehost and WordPress.
Your blog will need a home on the Internet and that’s called hosting. There are hundreds of web hosts out there, each with their own offering of different features such as bandwidth and data, and cost. There are maybe a dozen or so really good hosts out there, that have been around for a long time and will definitely be around for the foreseeable future. I recommend BlueHost, they have a long track record of success, are very reliable, and offer competitive rates and features.
WordPress is the way to go for blogging because it’s free (bonus!) and it’s used by blogs of all sizes. It’s been around for so long and has so many users that many of the details on how to get a new site up and running quickly have already been figured out for you. BlueHost and other hosts will have it set up so that you can deploy wordpress in a matter of minutes, and with just a few clicks. In no time at all you’ll have a fully functional blog on the Internet.
Making It Work: Themes
Themes are like skins that make your WordPress blog look pretty, and also helps format your posts so that users have an easier time navigating your site and finding the information they wanted. A quick search for “WordPress themes” will show you just how many there are to choose from, and it can be a bit exhausting trying to find one you like. Here are my two recommendations for themes that work well and have stood the test of time.
The Thesis Theme is a very powerful yet simple theme that you can use to make a very attractive page that’s easy to manage and make changes to from your admin area. Thesis uses “Skins” that allow you to quickly change the way each page of your blog looks without having to edit each page. It also has SEO (search engine optimization) tools built right into it, so your posts will look good in search results.
The Genesis Framework is a WordPress theme that you upload into your WP site and it gives it enhanced features and functions. You then choose a theme to work on top of the framework and you’ll have a professional looking blog that rivals some of the best sites out there. You can even elect to have a custom theme built around the framework so you have a one-of-a-kind look to your blog.
Making It Work Better: WordPress Plugins
WordPress plugins are like little apps that you install into your WordPress site and they enhance the way your blog works, and the way it appears to the end user.
Yumprint is a WordPress plugin that makes your recipes look really good on your page for your visitors, and makes it really easy behind the scenes entering them into the post. It has saved me tons of time since the formatting is already done for you, and you won’t forget any important parts of the recipe.
Akismet is pretty much mandatory these days, and it will prevent you from (most) of the spammy comments you just won’t want to deal with on a day to day basis. Akismet is so handy that it comes preinstalled in your WordPress site, you just need to activate it and enter in your API key. Once it’s activated there isn’t much upkeep involved, it will automatically filter out the messages you don’t need to read.
Taking Awesome Food Photos
Great-looking pictures is what separates a good Paleo blog from a mediocre Paleo blog, and it is essential for getting people to come to your blog, and getting them to stay there once they arrive.
This is a handy guide that will take you from photo novice to an aspiring food photo pro. It walks you through the steps on how to adjust the settings on your camera so that you can take better pictures than just pointing and shooting. It also shows you editing tips so that you can polish up your photos so they’re ready for the big time.
Setting Up a Mini Studio
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take great food pics, but you’ll want to set yourself up with the right equipment if you want to make your creations look their best. A DSLR camera is a great start. Here’s a top-rated DSLR camera by Canon that will get you started off on the right foot. You’ll also want to consider the proper lighting, and this lighting package will make sure your dishes are well lit and pop in pictures. Down the road you can invest in a macro lens, but it isn’t entirely necessary in order to take good pics.
Getting Traffic to Your Paleo Blog
You can have the best Paleo food blog on the planet, but if no one ever sees it you’ll get pretty frustrated. That’s why right from the start you should give your focus to creating great content as well as sharing that content with the world and bring visitors to your blog.
Starting a Facebook page is key, and you have to make sure that you keep up with your fans and answer any questions they may have. You’ll also want to spend time making your page look good. Awesome photos will be a big part of that, which is why I highly recommend the Tasty Food Photography book discussed above. Photos will also play a big part in the next step for getting traffic.
Start an account on Pinterest specifically for your blog and make great-looking boards that other Pinterest users will find interesting and helpful. Once you grow your list of followers on Pinterest you can ask to join group boards that are related to Paleo or other diet and fitness topics. This is a way to reach a much larger audience of people that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get in front of.
Keeping in Touch
When you start attracting visitors to your site and greet them with stellar content and impressive photos, they’re going to want to follow you and be the first to hear of any new developments. Aweber makes it easy to develop an email list of subscribers so that you can send one message and have it be received by everyone that has expressed an interest in what you have to say.
Monetizing Your Blog
Eventually you’ll have enough traffic that you can start to earn a living from your blog. There are some programs you can join up with right away, and start earning money from day one.
Google will show ads on your site and will send you money each time someone clicks on them. This is a fairly straightforward way to make your first dollars with your blog, since Google will be tailoring the ads to fit what your visitors are most interested in.
You can team up with other Paleo bloggers that have created downloadable books and programs and will send commissions your way if you send them paying customers. The Paleo Recipe Book is one resource we’ve recommended as well as Your Guide to Paleo. You’ll want to try out any program first before recommending it to your followers, nothing speaks louder than a sincere endorsement.