Food Blogging 101: 10 Steps for Starting a Blog

By Monday, May 25, 2015 Permalink 0
Foxtongue / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

How to Start a Food Blog: 10 Tips from a Veteran Blogger

by Jonell Galloway

Here are 10 easy steps to follow to start a food (or other) blog. Food blogging can be easy if you start out right.

  1. Keep it simple at every step, because it won’t end up being simple no matter how hard you try to make it so.
  2. Decide on your niche and your subject. Your subject should be specific and something you know about and feel comfortable writing about. If you’ve worked at a French bakery, perhaps you know a lot about baking French pastries. For example, I studied French cuisine, so I mainly write about French cuisine. It comes easy to me; it’s within my range of knowledge. If you want your readers to be passionate, you have to be passionate yourself. If you want them to build confidence in you, you have to write with authority.
  3. Who is your audience? Are there enough people interested in your subject to justify all the hard work? Do you have an idea of who these people might be? Go on Amazon and see how many books are published on your subject. Do a few Internet searches to see if anyone else is covering the same topic.
  4. Define a budget. Can you afford a developer? a webmaster? I recommend both, but if you’re computer literate, it’s possible to build a website on your own.
  5. Choose a platform. The platform you choose has a lot to do with how computer literate you are. This is not a judgment. It’s just a factor that can determine how much unnecessary frustration you risk experiencing while running your blog. If you have limited experience using computers and you want a simple, carefree site, Tumblr, Typepad and Blogger are good choices. Another advantage is that they are free, but they have their limitations. If you know Microsoft Word, know how to use a stylesheet, and feel comfortable with computers, WordPress offers more flexibility in terms of layout and functionality. It is also free. None of these platforms requires knowledge of computer coding. Wix and Medium are also free, but have limitations. None of these platforms requires knowledge of code, with the exception of a few of the cutting-edge WordPress themes. (If you don’t know code, this is a question you should ask when choosing a theme.)
  6. If you have a hefty budget, you can make life easier by hiring a website developer and a webmaster, so you wouldn’t need the free platforms. A developer can custom build a site in code to your specifications, giving you the possibility of a beautiful, unique look, but making it necessary to have a webmaster or the developer make changes and additions, which can be costly. Think this over before starting. It will not be a one-time expense; it will be an on-going one.
  7. If you’re building a website on a free platform, choose a theme. A theme is what you will use as the basic layout or presentation of your site (a paid web developer would do all this in code). It is what you use when you don’t have a budget for a coded website and you plan to use the free platforms. Free or low-budget themes are available for all the free platforms listed above, and allow you to browse examples before choosing. Wordpress offers free themes here.
  8. Choose a host. The “host” is the place where your website resides. They will offer various packages at various prices. The host provides a server on which to store your blog files, as well as other necessary technical services including technical support (ask for details about this before choosing: how much time, availability, etc.), email, domain name registration, FTP access, and various other services and tools. They will offer different bandwidths (250 GB is usually the least) and disk space (5 GB is usually a minimum). How much you need depends on how many images and articles you post, of course, but a basic package usually suffices at the outset. You can always upgrade later. Ask what their average uptime and downtime are; this is what determines part of the reliability of your website. Ask how often your blog will be backed up on their servers.
  9. Choose a name and register it as a domain name (your host may offer this service). Otherwise, you can do this directly with the free online platforms or with an online domain registration company. This reserves the name for you and you only and prevents anyone else from using it.
  10. Take a few hours to familiarize yourself with the technical aspects of creating blog posts. If you’re using WordPress, do some research on the plugins you can use to enhance site capability. The Beginner’s Guide for WordPress is an excellent resource.
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Switzerland: Mountaintop Rösti with Ham, Tomatoes and Fried Egg

By Saturday, August 10, 2013 Permalink 0

Switzerland: Mountaintop Rösti with Ham, Tomatoes and Fried Egg

by Jenn Oliver

A photo essay with recipe

Matterhorn on the Riffelsee

Sometimes we need to let go of the world around us, our daily cares, issues that cause stress, and get away for a few days – relax, recollect, and come back ready to face the world with new resolve and vigor.  This Summer my husband and I have been doing just that, in a series of short little trips. Last weekend, we went to the top of the world (well, it felt like it to us) to slip away for three beautifully brisk and sunny days in Zermatt. It was majestic, incredible, awe-inspiring, and magical.  It was pure escapism as we explored the fantasy-like region around Zermatt and the Matterhorn, and all of our day to day cares floated with the clouds that sailed on past the mountaintops. No worries, no stresses, nothing but pure meditative existence, scenery, and a sense of childlike exploration. What more can one want in a holiday?

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We love: Top 10 Free Luxury Experiences in London – Best Budget Hotels

By Thursday, July 4, 2013 Permalink 0


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We love: Top 10 Free Luxury Experiences in London – Best Budget Hotels

We love A Luxury Travel Blog, and they often have tips for budget travels. Since we all seem to be on a budget these days, here’s a great link: Top 10 luxury London freebies.

London Tower and Lights, creative common license photo at http://lovingapartments.com/London-apartments-home.html

 

 

 

 

 

And while on the subject of budget, here’s The Guardian’s list of the 10 best budget hotels in London.

 

High tea in London, England, creative common license photo from http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2010/1/19/18401/9346/hotels/Revealed%3A_The_London_Hotel_We_Chose_For_Afternoon_Tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Eat Gourmet on a College Student’s Budget

By Monday, March 14, 2011 Permalink 0

by Jonell Galloway

When I was in college in the U.S. and France in the 70s and 80s, my kitchen was about the size of an American half-bath. I was already well on my way to gourmet snobbery, but since I couldn’t afford to eat in gourmet restaurants every night, I was forced to find novel ways to satisfy my taste buds.

Photo courtesy of Carlos Porto.

When I traveled, I was totally without shame. I went to the best French restaurants with my friends and brazenly ordered an assortment of dishes, which we proceeded to share. We would ask for extra eating utensils and split a dozen snails or a soufflé among three, or share a glass of expensive Bordeaux. Amazingly, the French waiters never once ran us out of the restaurant.

Where there is a will there is a way to eat gourmet every day, as the cliché goes. At home, I stocked up on pasta, and once a week I would go to the farmers market and load up on fresh vegetables and make a variation of Bolognese, which was about the only Italian sauce popular at the time.

But my Bolognese took a different twist every day and every week, depending on the vegetables in season and the meat on sale. Sometimes I used ground pork and beef; sometimes bacon. In the winter, I used more root vegetables; in the spring, peas. As commonplace as that may seem today, my friends were always in awe of my culinary skills, so that just encouraged me.

Today’s gourmet college student is not limited to Bolognese and has a wider choice of vegetables. There are a million things you can do with a package of pasta.

Start by stocking up. Pasta, olive oil, tomato paste and sauce, onions, garlic, Parmesan, Balsamic vinegar and a mixture of dried Italian herbs should always be plentiful in your larder.

If there’s a farmers market near you, make it a weekly pilgrimage. Buy seasonal, local vegetables and herbs if possible. They will taste better and contain more nutrients. If you see tomatoes and eggplants in December, turn the other way, no matter how tempting they may seem.

The first night after shopping, sauté a large batch of vegetables with garlic, onion and Italian herbs in olive oil, mix them with pasta and then sprinkle them with Parmesan. The second night, use the same vegetables, liven them up with a few drops of Balsamic vinegar, and serve them cold as a salad. The next day, add the tomato sauce and then a different vegetable every day, simmering it each time.  The last day, use it to make lasagne.

You can actually make a sauce that will last all week, varying it every night by adding different vegetables (or meat or beans) every day. The sauce will become better with time, rather like the “eternal pot” of the French, where they added different meats and vegetables every day to the same cauldron.

And you will have eaten gourmet every day of the week!

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Rosa’s Musings: 13 ways to eat on a budget and improve your health at the same time

By Thursday, March 3, 2011 Permalink 0

by Rosa Mayland

Good food and good eating aren’t a class thing – anyone can eat good food on any budget as long as they know how to cook.— Jamie Oliver

Eating on a budget and improving your health at the same time

A tight budget but a broad mind: Eating humbly and responsibly without decreasing your pleasure and health

Unfortunately too many people have the preconceived idea that eating healthily and with indulgence is synonymous with expensive, and believe that spending less money on food implies that your dinners will be dreadfully bland and grimly boring. Well, today I am about to break with the big myth and set the records straight by showing you how being limited financially doesn’t mean you have to eat like an austere monk on a strict diet or a New Age prophet living on love and fresh air, nor restrain your kitchen activity and stop inventing dishes. Quite the contrary!

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