Trevor Kensey is the author/photographer behind Sis. Boom. Blog, the award-winning blog founded in 2009 with no purpose other than to explore the way food punctuates his own personal history. Featured on CNN’s Eatocracy, Huffington Post and elsewhere, he continues to be ignored by Saveur.
Please tell us something about yourself. Is food blogging your profession or just a hobby?
Like most other bloggers I began food blogging to stay engaged creatively, share with others and see if I could win a free Kitchenaid mixer. (I’ve succeeded at only two of these goals.) While not exactly a profession I can no longer say the blog is “just a hobby” either. It’s been six years and while my bills don’t get fully paid it has led to unexpected cash from recipe development, writing, brand and photography work. (Let’s just say it is more than enough to buy my own mixer!)
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you to be online?
I am an accidental blogger. Years ago I stupidly said “yes” when asked to contribute to a group blog. One by one my collaborators quit and left me holding the bag and I have never forgiven them! But this is 2015 and being online is everything if being around creative people with more talent you admire is what keeps you inspired.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
The one smart thing I did when I jumped from Blogger to WordPress was hire the very talented Kita Roberts of Silhouette Graphic . I am living proof that just because one can cook, write and take pretty pictures doesn’t mean one can also build a functioning website. Know your strengths and get help for the rest.
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
Obviously with a blog name like “Sis Boom Blog” people aren’t flocking to me for food blog naming advice. Food blog names pretty much all sound the same to me once I started following more than a dozen or so. What makes a food blog stand out for me is an entertaining voice and content I connect with. A witty food pun in your title won’t get me to return.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
I cannot recommend Yost SEO for WordPress enough. All the social media in the world won’t add up to good SEO results and this plug in makes it very easy to do things the right way. Also, think about getting a plug in that makes your site easy to read on mobile devices.
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.)?
WordPress. Once set up its extremely easy to use and should not intimidate anyone.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
I refuse to spend more time on social media promoting my blog than I do actually cooking, writing, and putting together its posts. No amount of tweets or pins will get anyone to come back if they don’t enjoy what you lead them to the first time.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
Experience taught me quickly that far too much attention is spent chasing clicks for advertising revenue when it is far easier to sell a photo or write for other sites. I don’t know many bloggers who make a profession out of the blog itself anymore.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
Absolutely! The internet is infinite that way so there is always room for one more. It takes 20 minutes to start blogging with ‘do it yourself’ templates so if you have something unique to contribute and you want to blog there is no reason not to.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure should they make a blog of their own?
Just be yourself because everybody else is already taken. Don’t worry what other people are doing. There are many ways to do this and all are valid. If your blog reflects what you truly enjoy doing then people will take notice and support you. Also, don’t be afraid to make connections with others whose creativity you admire and ask them for help and advice. I’ve never met a more generous group of creative people eager to help than food bloggers.
Photos ©: Sis Boom Blog