Do you want to get started on the internet with your own blog or forum? Perhaps a different form of content, and if so, then all of these ideas will still apply. Brainstorming ways to get things going is always a fun exercise and one I tend to do daily with people. Whether or not you are new to building online content or just need fresh ideas for their projects, my goal is to bring out some thoughts. This is still a very beginner look at ways to start off on the right foot.
This topic came from a question that a reader asked me and I wanted to share some thoughts on it in longer form. You can replacement “Cooking Blog” with almost any type of content you want and the same thoughts will apply in most cases. Exploring the different levels of opportunities is what’s important here and not just the sole focus on one niche being cooking.
Content is a primary concern for any website. People are coming to your site for a good reason and that could be an informative blog post, video, or podcast to listen to. In this case, it’s a recipe that they might want to try out for the first time. This means that we need to pull content from somewhere, and while you can search around copying and pasting from the internet, I would suggest not doing so. You will have to research your local laws on copyright, but I would personally steer clear of any duplicate content issues and instead go for something much more original. Post your own creative recipes from the kitchen and share them.
Original content makes you stand out from the crowd and brings people into your brand like no other. It’s a much harder endeavor than just simply dropping all the recipes you can into your site from other sources. The payoff will always be higher because you will be unique. Think beyond the recipe and how you write it, bring your personality to the table, and engage with your soon-to-be chefs in comments and email. It’s not just about the simple recipe, but the experience. Don’t cut that experience for the sake of more content. It won’t help you out in the long run.
If you don’t want to take this adice then please seek professional consultation on copyright before you just start posting recipes from cookbooks or other websites.
Monetizing Your Efforts
You could install ads and then just get angry that everyone is using Adblock Plus, or you could do something creative like I am about to suggest below. Ads suck and no one wants to see them even if you feel like they should. That’s the ugly truth, but there are ways to make money and have your visitors feel like they have helped keep your online world going. I know there will be plenty of readers that disagree with my stance on ads, but it won’t change the minds of those that prefer the internet without intrusions.
It takes time to monetize a website. It could take a month, or in some cases years. This is a game of passion and patience like none other. Here are some ideas you could do once there is a following or traffic built through organic search, social media, and word of mouth.
- Offer some merchandise to your visitors/members. Perhaps a special edition cookbook, or a handmade apron from a partnership with someone from Etsy. The biggest thing here is to provide your users something special and beyond just recipes. If you do this correctly, you will make money even with your visitors instituting Adblock Plus. Give them a chance to support you on their own terms.
- Get cooking on YouTube! That will be your biggest strength and give you amazing opportunities to cash in on your talents. I couldn’t scream YouTube enough! People want to watch videos as more folks cut the cord with cable companies. I watch daily on my Chromecast and haven’t paid for cable since 2008, but I watch cooking videos daily.
- You have to do something that your users can’t get on other sites. Perhaps that’s the way your recipes print out (think the way Medium prints their posts) or your imagery that you provide them. Imagery also leads to Instagram and Pinterest opportunities to build a stronger following if you aren’t doing this already. Be creative and think outside of just the measurements and bake times!
- You can cold call sponsors that match your type of cooking. Be careful not to fall in love with corporate money though, it could turn off your user base a bit.
- You could also put a donate button on your site for people to optionally support you. This can also include Patreon as an additional platform for crowdfunding. Don’t underestimate the power of a platform like Patreon.
- You could create a premium member offer that they can pay monthly for something extra special. This could be a special type of content, mail-outs, shout-outs or other ways to connect with this segment of your audience.
- Create a cooking podcast and talk about what you are making this week, or interview chefs, or find other topics people want to listen to.
- Start an affiliate program where people can buy things by clicking on special links that companies send you money for referrals. This works out very well for so many websites out there.
Hopefully, some of those ideas will interest you. There are many ways to make money without ads and your visitors will appreciate that. The most important part is to sit down and come up with ways that you can give people more in exchange for financial support. People are willing to give for something in return and the internet has matured enough to allow this without the awkardness.
No matter the niche of your next online idea, think about all of the possible ways that you can make something from nothing. You can certainly make a living off of the internet, you just have to get creative, roll up your sleeves, and get to work!
I am not a lawyer and do not provide any type of legal advice regarding copyright. If you plan to use recipes that you did not create please seek the original creator’s written permission or seek a lawyer’s advice on your project. Copyright is nothing to treat lightly and you should be well-informed before copying & pasting content to your blog. I will always stand in support of original content, but understand that others might have other ideas in achieving success.