I moved to France 8 years ago from London. In 2011 I launched Delicieux and it quickly became my passion. Since then I have written articles for newspapers, been featured on well known food websites, and in 2013 I won the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Award for Food.
Please tell us something about yourself. Is food blogging your profession or just a hobby?
Food blogging started out as a hobby. Something to help me market the little business I started here in rural France as a private chef. I never thought that it would lead anywhere but in fact, it has opened many doors for me and has ended up as the reason for my new profession. In 2013, I was asked to cook for some holiday makers at a private medieval village. After successfully completing the job, I was asked if I would like to become a manager at the village and also the onsite chef. Fast forward to now and I am running the only private fortified village available to hire in France, catering for up to 150 guests at a time and helping people to plan their weddings and events. I continue to write my blog and I believe it is something that compliments my profession perfectly.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?
The idea to launch Delicieux was born out of a need to release my creativity. I wanted an outlet, a chance to write and share my love of all things food. Living in this part of France can sometimes feel a little isolating and writing the blog made me feel a connection to the world. Building up a community and reaching out to people, knowing that they are trying out my recipes, is extremely gratifying.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
My husband is a web designer and so I was lucky that he basically set it all up for me. We chose a good WordPress theme and he built it up from there. I must confess to not really knowing much about code etc but once he had it set up for me, the day to day running of it and functionality is simple and I manage it all myself.
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
I decided on ‘Delicieux’ as it is a French word that is universally understood. It sums up everything that I hope my recipes are! What makes my blog different from other food blogs is that it is truly French inspired, written by an expat soaking up all things gastronomic and cultural here. So the name just had to be French….
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
Mine is a WordPress theme and I highly recommend it. I would also suggest a plug in to help manage spam on your site – I use Akismet. Also, to ensure you are interacting with your readers, a plug in that sends an email when comments are replied to is great. And Google Analytics of course. And a plug in to allow readers to sign up to my mailing list so they never miss a post. Those would be my top picks.
What CMS (Content Management System) do you use on your blog? How hard is it to navigate within your CMS (making a new post, inserting images, moderating comments, etc.)?
The CMS is part of the WordPress theme and is very easy to navigate. It is super well designed and I honestly believe anyone could do it, whatever your technical ability.
How much time do you spend blogging?
Food blogging can be laborious. It takes time to plan a recipe, then cook it, photograph it and write about it. When I am in the quiet season with my work, I try to post a recipe every two weeks but during the Summer when I have my hands full with weddings and catering, I just can’t keep that up. I read somewhere that in oder to have a truly successful blog, you need to post everyday! I think that would be pretty much impossible for a food blogger. I do what I can and I am happy with the success I have had, that’s enough for me.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
Promoting your blog is essential. You could write the most amazing posts with engaging content but if you don’t tell anyone, no-one will ever know. I promote my blog through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and also via emails to my subscribers. I also participate in blogging challenges hosted by my fellow food bloggers. Being active in your blogging community is super valuable.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
It is of course possible to make money from your blog. However, it is not easy. There are just so many brilliant bloggers out there that the days of discovery and fame are on the whole, over. I have been paid for recipes and interviews though but that money could in no way make me a living. The real way that I have monetized my blog is by using it as a tool to get catering work and ultimately my current job.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
Absolutely! Blogging is my passion and I know so many others out there like me who love what they do. Sometimes it is hard to find a way to be creative or to have a voice but a blog offers anyone the opportunity to do just that. It is what you make of it, so be free.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure should they make a blog of their own?
The first year of blogging can be a little lonely and discouraging. It takes time to find your tone and to build interest. I would advise new bloggers to read as many other blogs as they can, get ideas, learn from others. Throw yourself into your blogging community where you will find much encouragement and support. Get involved with other blogs, leave comments and participate where you can. You will soon find that your efforts are reciprocated and you will meet lots of lovely new friends too.
Photos ©: Delicieux