Shannon Cremer is the Founder and Editor of Sydney food blog Urban Chic Guides. It’s fair to say she has spent the majority of her free time eating and entertaining her way through the globe’s greatest cities. She is particularly fond of her home city of Sydney and has made it her personal mission to recommend the best of Sydney’s eating and drinking experiences through her blog, Urban Chic Guides. She believes life is too short for a lackluster latte.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?
I quickly gained a reputation amongst my family and friends as being the go-to person for eating and drinking recommendations. I guess I’ve made it my life’s mission to eat and drink my way around the world. Tough gig, right?
So, the idea came to me one weekend and I wondered ‘If my family and friends like my recommendations, then maybe other people might also find them useful’.
The idea was born and I set my website up by the end of that very weekend. Of course, it looked a lot different to how it does now, but my site has evolved over the past few years as my knowledge and experience has increased.
I have never looked back since that fateful weekend.
Did you have someone help making the website or did you do it by yourself?
I set up my website and maintain it myself. I had no experience with web design when I created my blog, but there are many resources out there, both print and online, to help you. You do not need to be an expert and with professional themes available, really anyone can create a website these days and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.
I use WordPress for my website and I highly recommend this for new bloggers. It is very easy to use, especially for beginners.
I also suggest creating a self-hosted WordPress site and securing your own domain name.
What kind of Theme do you use on your website and what are the “must have” plugins you would recommend?
I think it is worth investing in a premium theme, rather than using a free theme. These themes look more professional and offer a variety of easily customizable features for the non-web developer (like me!).
I am a plugin junkie! It is easy to add features and functions to your site through plugins. Some of my must have plugins are – Akismet (spam filter), Google Analytics by Yoast and Vaultpress (site backup). Just be sure to always update your plugins and to delete any that are no longer in use. Oh, and less is more.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
I promote my blog through social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. Social media is a great way to encourage engagement and sharing. But most of my traffic comes from Google searches.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
Of course. From traditional banner advertising, whether that be paid advertising or affiliate marketing, to sponsored content, to running competitions and giveaways, to ambassadorships, to speaking engagements. There are many ways to make money through a blog with a loyal following. Though, I must warn that blogging is not a get rich quick scheme – it takes a lot of hard work and effort!
Would you encourage other people to make their own blog/website/online business?
Absolutely! Blogging allows you a creative outlet and provides a huge and rewarding challenge. Just because you are a beginner does not mean that you cannot create a blog and gain a following. All you need to do is start.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure should they start a blog of their own?
If there is any advice I would give to a new blogger it would be to blog about something you are passionate about. Find your niche. You will be devoting many hours of your time to this project and if you do not have a passion, it may be hard to maintain your stamina. If you have that passion – then go for it! You will work out the ‘how’ along the way.
Research, research, research! I have learnt a lot from watching Youtube videos, from reading books and from good old Google. There is a world of information at your fingertips – use it!
Lastly – enjoy the ride. I hope blogging brings you as much joy and happiness as it has me!
Photos ©: Urban Chic Guides