Well, I guess the cat’s out of the bag! After tons of deliberation and back and forth with myself, I finally decided to start a brand new blog.
To give you a little history about me and my blogging journey to this point, I’ve been a food and lifestyle blogger over at Kristine in between since early 2015 and before that, I was a whole food baking blogger at The Pink Sprinkle (no longer published) from 2009-2015, so to say that I’ve been in the blogging world for a while is an understatement.
I’ve done a lot, tried a lot, and learned a lot and to be totally honest, I’m not at all where I want to be. Part of the problem is my inconsistency with blogging as well as my total loss of interest in the topics I was covering at Kristine in between.
While I was passionate about Kristine in between for a long time, it has been a struggle for me to grow. I think this is because it has a really broad focus and my readers over there are all over the map, making it hard to market to or reach my exact target reader.
To elaborate on that a little bit more, the problems I’ve had at Kristine in between are my own fault. When I started that blog, I couldn’t commit to one niche, so the blog has many different categories, and therefore so many different types of readers. The name itself implies that I couldn’t commit. Therefore, growing that blog became tough for me and I just haven’t been able to get it where I want it.
So, I started thinking about trying something different – a food focused blog in a pretty tight niche, but one that had a lot of content possibilities.
After brainstorming all the topics I am passionate about from cookies (been there), photography (done that), baking (most definitely done that), I came across an idea that was fresh and new. Brunch. BRUNCH!
I have always been a breakfast food lover and there are so many different directions I could go with brunch – recipes, decor, cocktails, food photography, and before I knew it, I had pages of content ideas written down and I was excited about blogging again!
I owe a big thanks to my wonderfully smart 18-year-old daughter, who came up with the name Bunch of Brunch. It’s short, catchy, and definitely explains exactly what you’ll find here. A BUNCH of BRUNCH. I loved it instantly, and my new blogging journey began.
Since I’ve started so many blogs over the course of my blogging ‘career’ the actual setup wasn’t terrible. I’m already self-hosted with Siteground, so I just purchased the domain and added it to my current plan. So simple. If you’re new to blogging, you’ll need to establish hosting services first.
Siteground offers staging environments as part of their hosting plans, so I was able to build the Bunch of Brunch website entirely offline and then push it live when it was complete, saving me the headache of trying to get a brand new site up and looking the way I wanted it to in a rush. It also allowed me a couple of weeks to perfect and photograph some new recipes to get published before the site even went live.
I would definitely do a soft launch this way again. I didn’t feel any stress about getting the site built or having an unfinished website sitting out there for people to stumble across and potentially have a less than desirable first impression of. It made the startup process a breeze.
My second (but biggest) hurdle was social media. Again, because I am an established blogger, I have established social media followings that I have been building for years. YEARS! The thought of starting completely over from zero made me want to cry big elephant tears, so I struggled hard with how to approach this one.
On one hand, I could set up all new accounts and try to attract my target audience from day one, slowly but surely. This seemed like a solid plan. But I wanted to see how quickly I could get this very specific niche blog to grow and that just seemed…so, daunting.
So, what I decided to do was change over my top performing social media accounts and use them to help me grow Bunch of Brunch. Pinterest is my number one social referral, as it is for a lot of bloggers. And luckily, it was an easy switch; I just had to change my name and verify my new site with a meta tag and boom it was all done. I also had to switch things up in Tailwind to allow me to access analytics for the new site, which was also pretty simple. More on Tailwind below.
Twitter was also a piece of cake. I literally just changed my username, bio, website address, and email address. I was able to become Bunch of Brunch in two minutes flat. Thank you Twitter for being totally rad! …And I’m sorry I don’t use you more.
Facebook…don’t even get me started on Facebook. I don’t spend much time over there anymore and for that I’m glad, because in order to change my page name, I’m going to have to sell my soul. So for now, I have a brand new Facebook page with 1 follower. Me. It’s fine.
I have spent a good part of 2019 working on my Instagram, so when I thought about my social media, this was the one platform I was MOST concerned about. I really struggled with what to do with Instagram. To start fresh or to change my name, that was the question.
I finally decided I should ask my people. I put out a poll on my Insta story with a teaser for the new site and asked them to vote about changing my name. I was so relieved to learn that 94% of them said they’d be down with a name change. Only a handful of people said it would be confusing, so I decided it was a risk I was willing to take. I haven’t officially changed my Instagram name yet because my poll was only able to reach about 1/6 of my followers. I plan on giving them ample warnings before I officially make the switch on August 1st.
Also, one final note about Instagram. You want to make sure you have a business profile, not a personal one, so you can have access to all of the analytics of your posts and stories. It’s helpful to see what your most popular content is!
With the domain set up, website constructed, and social media under control, it was time to focus on some new and relevant content. I didn’t have anything that I could move from my old sites, since I was going with a different cuisine and a different aesthetic.
So, I spent the better part of two weeks perfecting my favorite traditional old brunch recipes and getting them photographed and edited. After I had enough recipes and images to fill up my homepage and blog page (six for this website), I sat down and wrote all of the accompanying articles. That was a chore, and I love the writing. It was just a lot all at once.
Categories & tags
After I got all six posts finished up. I published them. Then I spent some time setting up my categories, tags, and recipe index to make sure everything was organized the way I wanted it to be. If you’re looking for information on how to setup your food blog, I found a few helpful articles here and here.
Analytics & Verification
Once the site was live, I made sure it was hooked up with Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and verified with Pinterest. There are several tutorials out there to help you with this if needed, but the sooner you can list your site with Google, the sooner you’ll start receiving search engine traffic. Being verified with Pinterest means you’ll have access to analytics that can help you see what pins are performing (so you can keep them scheduled in Tailwind and drive traffic to your site)!
Email subscription service
Again, because I’ve been blogging a while now, I already have an email list established. A lot of new bloggers don’t set this up right away and it’s a mistake. You want to start collecting email address as soon as you possibly can. There are lots of services that are inexpensive or free and it’s definitely worth the time to set this up when you launch a blog. I started a separate list for Bunch of Brunch so I can target just those readers. Sign up here!
Cost of starting a new blog
This is an important one, because while it doesn’t cost a ton, it does cost money to start a blog the right way.
- Domain name. You’ll need to purchase your domain; they’re only 10-15 bucks. You’ll want to buy it through your hosting provider if you can, it makes the process smooth and easy. If you buy it from someone other than your hosting company, you’ll have to get it transferred over and that can be a hassle and takes some time. When I bought bunchofbrunch.com, I did it right through Siteground.
- Hosting. If you plan to monetize your blog (and why wouldn’t you!), you’ll need to be self-hosted, meaning you need to pay for hosting services. Siteground has great customer service and they are very reasonable, especially for just one blog. They have plans starting at just $3.95 a month. I have the GoGeek plan, which is $11.95 per month because I have several websites.
- Website theme. You’ll probably want to invest in a good theme to help you with web design. When you purchase a theme a lot of the coding and heavy lifting is already done for you. I used the same theme for Kristine in between and Bunch of Brunch, mainly to make my life easier and have them both operate the same way. It’s easy for me to update them and make changes when they’re both the same. I am using Beloved by Restored 316 with customizations (by me). I’ve also used Foodie Pro in the past and I love the functionality of that theme too; it’s built for food bloggers.
- Scheduling programs and apps. There’s not much cost involved with having social media accounts, but there is with the scheduling programs that make social sharing efficient for bloggers. I use Tailwind for Pinterest and Buffer for Twitter. These programs help me schedule out content every hour or several times a day and allow me to schedule, sometimes months of content in a big chunk. I consider these programs an investment in my business because Tailwind is $120.00 per year and Buffer is $15.99 per month, which is a pretty substantial cost. I usually post to Instagram and my story manually and/or in real time, though I have used both Planoly and Later in the past. You want to make sure you share, share, share that content!
- Email service. This is another service I consider an investment because it costs me $50.00 per month. I use Convertkit because it allowed me to attempt to segregate my email subscribers by interest, which was very important at Kristine in between. There are lots of other email subscription services out there that cost less money and are better suited for new bloggers, one I’ve used is MailChimp.
My total cost to start Bunch of Brunch was less than $100.00.
My starting numbers
- Pageviews – 26 (and I’m pretty sure they’re all me)
- Instagram – 11,287
- Pinterest – 38,886
- Twitter – 3,075
- Facebook – 1 (unless I’m able to change my page name, Kristine in between has 3,831)
- Email subscribers – 1,162 (I recently did an email purge of cold subscribers and was able to delete over 1,000 subscribers)
Blogging is a lot of time and whole lot of dedication and hard work initially, but I will say, that even after all these years, I still find it worth it and I love to do this every single day.
As I work on growing Bunch of Brunch, I plan to track and report my monthly growth with income reports to help me track my progress as well as to share what I’m doing as far as growth efforts and how they’re affecting my numbers, I hope you find it helpful!