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Maybe your food blog started off as a hobby. Your ambitions were limited to entertaining a few friends and family with stories about your adventures in the kitchen, perhaps making a little pocket change from ad sales.
However, you’ve been at it a while now. You’ve become part of a broader blogging community. And you’re beginning to grasp the true potential of your blog. What’s the next step?
If you’re ready to go big in 2016, it’s time to freshen up your site and give your online presence a professional makeover. Here’s how to go about it.
Why not just let my mom take the photo? you may ask. After all, she’s always chasing you around with her camera, right? We’re sure your mom is the best, but when it comes to the headshot that will appear on your blog and social media accounts, hire a professional.
A professional will capture you in your best light because that’s what they live and breathe. Let’s face it, your mom thinks you’re beautiful when you’ve just rolled out of bed after a week with the flu. A professional, on the other hand, will take an honest look at you and then tailor shots that truly bring out your best features. It’s a worthy investment, and one that all professionals should make.
Google Apps provides a suite of affordable, integrated tools for professionals, including email accounts that can be configured for your domain name. In other words, rather than using the email address email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, you can have the more professional address email@example.com. It’s one of those small details that has a big impact on your professional appearance.
Most lifestyle blog readers enjoy feeling as if they’re developing a relationship with a real person, and real people have backstories. Take time to tells yours on your About page, but do it concisely and with style, keeping it positive and relatable. Also, be sure to have someone objective read over it and provide feedback (while double-checking for spelling and punctuation errors and typos).
Saying that your souffles never fall is one thing, demonstrating it is another thing entirely. People tend to have greater trust in what they can see. By incorporating videos into your blogging routine, you provide readers with an opportunity to connect with you in a new, more personal way, and you build authority, which goes miles in a market where there are hundreds of cooks in the proverbial kitchen.
As long as blogging is just a hobby, you’ve got the freedom to post whenever you feel like it and no more. However, if you’re attempting to develop a professional presence online, if you’re wanting to compete with the pros, you’ve got to treat your blog like any other career. You’ve got to commit to it, create deadlines, and meet them.
This goes back to building trust. If your audience enjoys your writing, they’re going to want to read it regularly. If they can never gauge when you might post, there’s a good chance they’re going to quickly forget about you and move on to the next best thing.
You’re doing what you love, right? So smile. You’ve made it. Remember, however, that not everyone is going to be a fan, and sometimes even fans are going to be unpleasant. How dare you use chocolate with only 60% cocoa?! The nerve! When comments get ugly, take the high road and stay positive. You’re a professional now, and that’s how professionals stay in business.
If you need help developing a professional presence online this year, reach out to the food blog fandom at OnceCoupled. Bloggers are our favorite people, and we live to help move dynamos just like you from casual bloggers to food blog moguls using cutting edge, beautiful WordPress themes. Check out some of our featured bloggers here.