Today we’re so excited to unveil our new look! Health Dish got a huge site makeover which in a nutshell means we revamped the whole site ourselves to give you an organized and clean visiting experience. Since we started blogging, we ran into many problems and tried countless solutions to have a functional site. It may have looked pretty from the outside but it just wasn’t working on the technical side of things. We decided with this post we would share our experiences with anyone starting their own food blog to save you time, money, and a headache!
RESEARCH A PLATFORM & IT’S FEATURES
When you are thinking about creating a site, be very specific about what you want. Start with your platform and consider categories, recipe index style, any extra article organization, type of comments section, right down to share buttons and sidebar material.
Basically, a platform is a how you publish material. You’ll notice each platform like WordPress or Square Space has its own default look and feel. Before the makeover, we were using a Joomla platform which we soon found does not work for food blogging! The positive thing about using Joomla was that we learned a lot about how blogs work on the technology side and a little bit about code. We finally came to our senses and moved over to WordPress, probably the most popular blogging platform. Check out these links to help choose the best blogging platform for you and the 10 best blogging platforms. Many blogging platforms designed for the beginner blogger are user friendly and easy to set up yourself.
When we started blogging, we had no clue what a platform was and even worse, we didn’t even choose our own. As naïve as it sounds, we thought you asked for a blog and all of it’s features for blogging were included.
FIND A DEVELOPER OR DO IT YOURSELF
After you decide on a platform or narrow it down to a couple choices, research its ease of use for beginner bloggers especially if you want to host and/or manage your own site and plugins. Searching terms like “tips for starting a food blog” or “how to start a blog” will give you tons of reading material for setting up your own domain, host, and basic site. Setting up a website yourself is a learning process but well worth the effort if you are technology friendly.
The alternative is to work with a developer who may take care of purchasing your domain, setting up hosting, and developing your website based on what you ask for. If you decide to go this route, find a developer who understands the components that make a food blog. After your blog is set up decide how you will maintain the hosting, updates, and add-ons. A developer can take care of all this too. We love self-hosting our own site and managing our plug-ins/add-on features ourselves at home on our own time!
Website organization like categories, tags, and SEO capabilities is important for your readers but also SEO (search engine optimization). Our old Joomla site had no categories! I’m not sure if anyone noticed but we could not figure out how this worked. Under our Recipes and Nutrition pages, we manually re-entered a picture, heading, and blog link. There are systems that manually tabulate blog posts and recipes according to categories and tags which we didn’t have before, but now we do!
Aside from blog organization, consider how you will organize your recipes. Some platforms offer plugins so visitors can easily save/print your recipes from a blog page by simply clicking a button; whereas others require a quick copy/paste. You can either categorize your recipes in a Recipe page using a text list, categories, or a recipe box type plugin. We love our new Recipe page complete with categories and easy to search tags.
In this past week, we updated our host and platform, created a new and organized recipe page, and updated categories all by ourselves! Instead of migrating our old posts from our Joomla site to WordPress, we manually re-uploaded most of our blog posts and images. That’s why you’ll notice our blog posts to date are all under two dates Our biggest piece of advice to potential bloggers out there is to spend time researching what you want from your blog!
We hope you like the changes and are excited for what the future brings for Health Dish! What advice do you have for new food bloggers?