Food Blogging in Kenya :How to design a blog or website easily
A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with a friend of mine who happens to be a top food blogger in Kenya. We got talking and she told me that she was planning to go hard on starting and growing her website where should share her best recipes and kitchen adventures, that’s apart from her YouTube Channel.
I felt some sort of inner peace that she was finally acknowledging how important a website could be for her food blogging career. Apart from giving you absolute control over your users and content (unlike social media platforms where if they go down, you go down the first), a website presents more monetization opportunities for your content.
With rising food blogging in Kenya, every foodie wants to utilize every asset at their disposal to stay ahead of the game.
My friend, however was struggling on how and where to even starting as far as the website technically goes. I immediately thought that sharing a quick guide on how to design and develop a food blog that can help you share your culinary fantasies with other foodies was necessary.
This guide is specifically for food bloggers or any online entrepreneur who has no skills in web development or an in-house developer but they want to be in the know of what’s happening where, when and how. This can help build a synergy between you as an entrepreneur and whoever is building your site be it a freelance developer or an agency. Let’s get into it!
- Layout the needs and purpose of the project
The first and most important part is analyzing the purpose and goal that you want to achieve with your website. Do you want to sell physical products or services ie ecommerce to your customers? Do you want to share a lot of content with your audience or do you just want to have a simple website with a list of services and contact details? Answering these questions will help you know the needs of the project and perhaps a rough budget estimate as well as the time it would take to complete.
- Secure domain name, hosting and SSL certificate
You now need to register a domain name and acquire hosting space and an SSL certificate. A domain name is basically a unique address that people type in a url bar in the browser to access your website. They come with different extensions eg .com .edu .net etc with the most popular one being a .com. The prices of the domains vary depending on the company you buy from and also its (domain) availability.
A hosting and storage space account is also a necessity as this is where the website files will be stored. Be sure to choose a hosting company that is reliable, safe, fast and with minimal downtimes. An ssl certificate is needed to help secure your site against malicious cyber-attacks.
You can get all the three from the same hosting and domains company as a package.
- Choose colours and fonts for your brand
We are assuming that your business already has a brand or you are in the process of developing one. Your offline brand should be in total synch with your online brand. Think through your brand colours or colour scheme, the fonts that you will use and any brand details that are unique to you so that you infuse them into your website. This will help you not to look conflicted and or confused before your users and, yes you know in business you just need to be utterly organized
- Develop content
At this stage you need to come up with content that will operationalize the website. This includes but not limited to your brand logos, articles that will be turned into blog posts, infographics, service and product information and perhaps an inventory list for in the event that yours will be an ecommerce website. With this content in your armor you will be well on your way to move with confidence into the development phase
- Plan the site layout and architecture
This is part you plan on the general layout of your website. It’s more of a visual illustration of how the website will look like when done. Come up with a mockup of the pages, elements, navigation, content ratio and all the knitty gritty details. You can develop the mock graphically by using design tools such as adobe illustrator. I recommend maybe you get a graphics designer person to help here.If done correctly, it will reduce the amount of time the developers will use to actualize the project.
- Choose the tools,CMS ,languages and scripts you will use
Now you have a mock up for your site,its time to choose the tools and programming languages, scripts and Content Management Systems to use if need be. The choice of the resources that will be used here is partly based on the specifications and technical needs of the project eg security on one end and personal preferences of the developer on the other end. This part mainly will be chosen by your technical team or whoever you have contracted to do the job.
- Delve into development
It’s time for your programmers to dive into the deep end of developing the website. A competent developer or team that is well resourced with specifications and you have agreed on timelines of delivery and other knitty grittys like payment terms should be able to deliver within the set timeframe and quality of work agreed upon. Here are steps to choosing a good developer or freelancer to reduce your headache.
- Optimize for seo and speed
During the development phase, your developers should be making an SEO ready site on the go by implementing On-page SEO tactics like provision of fields Headings, Meta Keyphrases,alt attributes ,internal linking etc.A well optimized site will help you generate traffic and sales for your business ,it’s such an important aspect that you don’t want to misstep. We have a guide to doing On page SEO for your perusal here. Also the site should be optimized to load as fast as possible because you don’t want to irritate your users with a slow loading website as you will loose!
They should also ensure cross browser compatibility and responsiveness simply meaning the website should be usable on any screen size and browser seamlessly.
- Consider any necessary external integrations
Depending on the needs of your website, your developers should consider necessary external integrations to maximize usability and delivery of results. These integrations could be third party services such as Mailchimp to help with email marketing,twilio for sms marketing ,Mpesa API for payments processing and so on.
- Install/integrate website performance trackers eg analytics
When you take your website live, you will definitely want to check and track its performance. This could be to monitor traffic, usage and the keywords that are driving users to your website. Install Google Analytics and Google Search Console to achieve for this.
- Reinforce security, backup etc
The internet is somewhat a risky space. Be sure to have a backup of your site and other security measures in readiness for the rainy day which is likely to come when you least expect it.In case you are using a CMS install security plugins. Also add your site to CDN so that you have a copy of your site that users can access in case of a downtime with your hosting provider.
If you need help with coming up with a site for your food blog or business in Kenya or anywhere in the world, shoot us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org we will be more than happy to help you achieve your dreams. Happy hustling!