When I was a freshman in college, I learned about this thing called WordPress. The sophomores in our journalism school were all working on a project – creating a blog – for their digital media class. I was so interested in it and thought I would give it a try myself. After a few entrepreneurial projects throughout my childhood like starting a babysitting business and taking it 100% seriously to creating a cake decorating business called Cake Girl, I thought the blog would be another fun venture. Initially I combined my love of food with writing and documented my freshman year. My posts ranged from restaurant reviews to microwave meals to travel stories. After sophomore year, things really picked up and by senior year I completed my honors thesis creating a three-part web-series for Gourmet Gab.
I love writing Gourmet Gab more than anything, but maintaining this hobby after four years has certainly had it’s ups and downs. Here are five things to know what it’s really like to run a blog.
You are Your Brand
By junior year of college, people were calling me “Gourmet” or “Gourmet Gab” sometimes more than Gabriela. Once you build your blog brand, people will automatically reference it often and it’s hard to get a break. I like to take off my Gourmet Gab hat every once in a while and not feel hypocritical. Eating unhealthy food (fried chicken! dessert! In and Out!) feels off-brand to me, but it’s important to show that I’m a real person.
You Have to Keep Up with It
Blogging takes a lot of time. It’s not just as easy as pulling in photos and writing a few quick paragraphs. There is SEO optimization, tagging, categorizing, building social promotion around posts, creating Pinterest-worthy images, building an email list, creating newsletters and more! Not the mention the behind-the-scenes dashboard things like keeping WordPress updated, renewing GoDaddy domains, updating plug-ins, researching customizations, etc. Beyond creating great content, there is also a lot of time spent making sure things are done well behind the scenes, too.
Do it For the Blog
Everyday life, cooking, travel or nights with friends now automatically turn into blog content. It’s challenging for me to not think about photographing, taking video or remembering certain stories that I can write about. People also automatically assume I will blog about everything. It’s nice to take trips, make new recipes or simply live life beyond thinking about how it will translate into a blog post.
Are we Dating?
I have been single for a few years now and I truly believe it’s been a blessing because I have spent all my free time and energy into building my blog. This year alone I’ve launched a new brand, created a shop, filmed videos for Food Network Snapchat Discover, mentored my first intern and published dozens of posts. I spend an average of probably 15 hours a week on Gourmet Gab and after seven years, this blog is certainly my longest relationship.
In a Sea of Many
There are millions, literally double digit millions, of WordPress blogs around the world. (These stats are unbelievable.) It can be easy to think blogging is no longer relevant unless you have boomed into popularity or your content went viral. For me, writing Gourmet Gab is my creative outlet. It’s how I document my growth and experiments in the kitchen. Writing this blog is a part of my daily life, whether I have hundreds of readers or thousands.
Go for It
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, go for it! There are so many resources out there about how to go about it and what to do first. Bloguettes is my go-to source for blogging and learning tips and tricks. Jenna Kutcher is rocking it with her Goal Digger Podcast for entrepreneurs. Minimalist Baker, chloedigital and The Everygirl are among a few others that have great resources! The most important things I’ve learned: define your niche, have lots of content ready to publish before you launch, know that not everyone will read your work and be okay with, and finally, remember that you will not be an overnight success – you have to work for it.
Have questions about blogging? Want to learn more details about my Gourmet Gab journey? Comment below!
Love food. Love self. Love life.