Accountant by day, food blogger by night (and evenings and weekends), The Golden Graham Girl is a Canadian far from home living the expatriate life in Ulsan, South Korea. Join her on her adventures in and out of the kitchen while she pursues her passions for fitness and nutrition in Asia!
Please tell us something about yourself. Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
For right now, blogging is a hobby. I’d never call it “just” a hobby because it’s something that I am passionate and excited about. There is an expression, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I love blogging and sharing my ideas and experiences for a healthy lifestyle so much that I hope it will become my profession someday.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?
Sunday, April 26, 2015. It might surprise you to hear that I remember the exact day, but it’s crystal clear to me. The momentum for me to start my own blog had been slowly building over time without me even realizing it. One of my best friends has had her own blogs off and on since high school (back when they were still called “web logs”) and many of my friends in the expatriate community had started blogs as a way to record their travel experiences and to stay connected with friends and family. I had also started reading more and more food blogs to get ideas for wholesome and nutritious recipes to fuel me for my fitness pursuits. I happened to share a photo of one of my own recipes on Facebook and a user asked, “How do you make these?” With those five words, a blog was born. I instantly realized that I did NOT want to type out the recipe for her in a Facebook reply. I found myself thinking, “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if I could just share a link to my food blog for that exact recipe?” The rest, as they say, is history. Or the future, in this case.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
I saw positive reviews for WordPress from a few other bloggers and my husband (Mr. Golden Graham!) already had a WordPress blog himself, so I opted to get started with the WordPress.com service. I chose a free theme and took it from there.
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
Picking the right domain name was my first major stumbling block after deciding that I wanted to publish my own blog. I only spent one evening on it but it was if it was meant to be. It combines the connotations of a “golden boy” (or girl, in this case) – someone who is successful and admired, and often used in the context of athletic performance – with my family surname (Graham) AND pulls in the idea of food with the popular breakfast cereal Golden Grahams. Not to mention, the name was still available for an e-mail user account (firstname.lastname@example.org) AND on various social media platforms!
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
I am currently using the free Splendio theme. Ironically, I think the one “must have” plugin for a food blog is Easy Recipe and it’s NOT currently available as part of the free WordPress.com service (it IS available on the paid WordPress.org service). Social media plugins, such as allowing Pinterest “Pin It” buttons are the other “must have” plugins for ANY blog.
How much time do you spend blogging?
Ha-ha – probably both too much and not enough! I spend 10-15 hours a week (or more) on my blog, but I’m also balancing a full-time job, my fitness training (I try to work out 4-5 times per week) and being a good wife, mother and friend on top of it! Any “me” time I manage to carve out for myself is usually devoted to the blog, but so far it’s fun and rewarding and is an activity I want to do, versus feeling like something I have to do.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
Yes! Or at least, I try to attract more visitors to my blog by using Facebook (check out The Golden Graham Girl Page), Pinterest, Instagram (#thegoldengrahamgirl), and Twitter (@goldengrahamgrl).
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
Yes. This is not something I am actively pursuing, but your hosting service may allow you to generate revenue and/or offset hosting costs by running certain advertisements on your site. Food bloggers (and other bloggers) can also establish partnerships with certain brands and sponsors that provide an income to the blogger. Generally, these bloggers need to be well-established, respected and with a strong fan base on various forms of social media for these partnerships to form.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
Absolutely! If you enjoy writing and sharing ideas, insights, experiences and even products with others, it’s a great thing to do. If you’re just looking to make money, you’ll have to be prepared to make a significant upfront investment of time (but thankfully the capital investment to launch a blog can be quite small). Like other small, owner-operated businesses, financial success is not guaranteed, but I wouldn’t tell anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit to NOT give it a try! I find that even reaching just one other person I wouldn’t have ordinarily connected with to be quite rewarding. Like the team at First Site Guide!
Photos ©: The Golden Graham Girl