Jane (more commonly known as Koko) writes A Taste of Koko, the premier food and travel blog featuring delicious finds in the city. A Taste of Koko covers the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. She strive to inspire your inner foodie by guiding you to the most delicious finds in the city through mouth-watering food photography. She also hosts the largest food crawl at SXSW with over 20,000 participants.
Please tell us something about yourself. Is food blogging your profession or just a hobby?
A Taste of Koko is both my profession and a hobby. Fortunately I’ve been able to work full-time as a Social Media Manager while doing my blog on the side.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?
I was feeling restless while studying Nutrition at the University of Texas at Austin for my undergrad when I needed something that was more hands-on. At that time, blogging was fairly new but I decided to try it out. Being a blogger means it’s super important to be online and active on social media.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
I did it by myself. I launched my blog on Blogger and then moved to WordPress after two years.
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
I brainstormed for a couple of months before I settled on A Taste of Koko. I wasn’t a fan of the name but I decided to run with it. Bought the domain and claimed the username on all of the social media channels.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
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.)?
I use WordPress, it’s the top CMS that you can use for a blog in my opinion. I was originally on Blogger for 2 years but after I made the switch, it was the best decision. I wish I did it sooner, or started on WordPress. It can be difficult to learn at first but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy!
How much time do you spend blogging?
I typically spend 10 – 15 hours a week on my blog. This includes editing the photos on Photoshop and writing the editorial on WordPress.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest extensively to promote my blog. Connecting with other bloggers on those channels and helping share each other’s content also helps expand your reach.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
Yes, you can host ads through a publisher. I recommend MODE Media but there’s also BlogHer, and other networks. You can also work with brands through partnerships.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
Depends on what you’re hoping to get out of a blog. If you’re looking to make money, no. It can take months or even years before you can generate any revenue or have any brands that are interested in working with you. If you’re looking for a creative outlet or looking to build a portfolio, then yes! My blog has helped me open many doors to job opportunities that I may not have been considered for if I only had my resume.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure if they need a blog of their own?
Just try it! You’ll be surprised on how much you’ll learn along the way. I wasn’t a writer, photographer, and didn’t know anything about social media. If you’re not ready to launch a blog, try Instagram. It’s become a micro-blog for me that is easier to share pictures and what I’m up to.
Photos ©: Jane Ko