When we first started The Fitchen, we were living in a funky little upstairs apartment at Purdue. We loved to cook together and we wanted to share our recipes and adventures with friends, family, and the wonderful world wide interweb.
We spent so many nights brainstorming blog name ideas, scribbling lists of recipes, and stumbling through the beginning stages of blog setup, not knowing what lay ahead of us or what our blog would grow into.
In the 3 years [Oh my God has it really been that long?] since The Fitchen was born, we've learned so much through trial and error and persistence and we've grown it into a business.
1 – Choose a Name (and make sure it isn't taken)
You may already have a name in mind – something brilliant and unique and perfectly suited for your baby blog. But if you don't, I encourage you to think about the goals of your blog and what you want to share with your readers. Are you going to do a lot of baking? Or are you an ace at cooking Indian dishes? You don't have to limit your blog to one type of recipe or even one cuisine, but many successful blogs have names that hint at their specialty.
The Fitchen : noun
A hybrid word that resulted from our love of fitness and being in the kitchen. Fit + kitchen = Fitchen.
We thought [and still think] that it's a clever name and lets readers know that we focus on healthy eats and clean foods – the type of stuff that fuels your body.
Think of what you want your blog to be about and what you want readers to think when they see your blog's name. Jot down ideas and don't hold back – you never know what might stick!
2 – Purchase a Domain and Set Up Hosting
For domain purchase and hosting, we prefer to use BlueHost. To begin the process, search for and select the domain [aka, web address] that you want for your blog, and then easily get your site up and running from there. BlueHost comes with incredible customer service and it costs as little as $3.49 per month. Your domain is also free for the first year when purchased through them, so there's yet another perk!
Once you select your hosting package, the next screen will prompt you to enter your domain name. These next few steps are mostly self-explanatory, but follow along with the photos if you're unsure.
You'll fill out your account and billing information in the next step.
3 – Installing WordPress.org on your new domain
We started The Fitchen on WordPress.org and we've been blogging from here ever since. It's a user-friendly platform that offers plenty of room for customization and growth. There are plenty of other platforms out there, but I haven't used any of them so I'm not going to recommend them.
In a nutshell, WordPress is a blogging software that allows you to publish posts, categorize and tag them, accept and respond to comments, and install apps for tracking your analytics [page views, traffic sources, etc.]
To set up your WordPress.org site, you'll need to have your domain purchased. Luckily, BlueHost make this process super easy – yay!
Log into your account and navigate to the hosting section. Click cPanel and then click the WordPress icon.
Next, you'll click Start to begin your WordPress install.
Your domain should appear here.
Then you can create your account and start installing WordPress!
Which will look like this.
4 – Purchase a good camera
Unless you're some kind of prodigy or you have photography experience, I'll be honest with you: your first few recipes are going to suck. Just like riding a bike or learning to swim, it's going to seem daunting at first. But I promise, you're going to get better!
When people are looking for recipes online, they can't smell the food, they can't taste the food – they can only see the food. And your job is to make the food – whatever kind of food it is – look tantalizing.
We started out with a nice Fujifilm point-and-shoot because that was all we could afford and we had no idea what we were doing. It was a good start, but we eventually knew that we had improved as much as we could with that camera. We upgraded to a refurbished Canon T3i and it literally changed everything.
Before we had the Canon, our photos were good, but they never looked as good as the food did in person. And that got to be increasingly frustrating. After we bit the bullet and invested in the Canon, the colors, resolution, and overall vibrance improved drastically. As a result, our images started to be shared and pinned more and we noticed an immediate increase in our average daily traffic.
A good camera is worth the money.
5 – Start blogging (and don't stop!)
If you've decided to start a food blog, you probably have good reasons for doing so.
No one will be reading your first few [probably more like your first 20] posts except your family. Keep showing up, keep posting, and keep improving a little bit each day. Before you know it, you'll be a seasoned pro.
Why We Started The Fitchen
It was our final semester together at school and the last one before we got married that August. We were staring down the barrel of adulthood without the slightest clue what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives.
What we did know was that we wanted to work together and that we needed to find a way to make that happen. We wanted something that would allow us the freedom to make our own schedule and that we could take with us wherever we decided to live/travel/move/go.
Has it been easy? No.
There have been days that I've wanted to give up on it. Days where I felt like my recipes weren't good enough, my photos were shit, and the blog would never amount to anything. But as a team, we kept showing up to work. We've kept posting, innovating, learning, and improving. The Fitchen is not yet our sole form of income, but it's well on its way.
Whether you have a partner or you're doing this solo, try your best to stay positive. If you've started a food blog, you've already embarked on an exciting and rewarding adventure. You will grow creatively, gain confidence, and benefit from new relationships that develop as a result of your blog. Keep your focus on your own blog and don't compare it to other sites; each one is at a different stage in its development, just like your blog is. As long as you show up, work hard, and keep learning, your blog will have limitless success.