By Marie Ebenezer
About three months ago, I had to get an MRI for a knee checkup. Anyone who has ever had an MRI knows that you have to lie completely still or else the scan will be blurry. So I found myself with 20 minutes of nothingness – no movement, no phone, no internet, no book – it was just me, my thoughts and the numbing sound of the machine. My mind started to wander and it quickly ended up at the question that hovers over any soon-to-be university graduate: what should I do after I finish school?! I would like to work in PR, this much I know. My internship at OWC was a valuable first step for me, but where to go from there? It has been almost two years since I went to Los Angeles, so I’ve been feeling like I have to do something to get back in the game. Well, it was while I was lying in the MRI scanner that I figured it out: I should do a recipe website. It all made sense: I love to cook and bake, I enjoy writing about things that interest me, and if I created my own website, I could also gain some valuable PR know-how. This seemed like the perfect plan, and I eagerly went home to start working on my little project.
The first thing I did was to decide what I wanted my page to be like. There are countless of recipe websites, let alone food blogs, so it was important for me to find a niche that had not yet been explored. I came up with a concept that reflected who I am, and that I thought could be successful: fun family style recipes from Europe and beyond, accessible to Europeans as well as Americans (and others, of course!). I also debated for a long time whether I should do a blog or a regular website. I went for a mix between the two! What I like about blogs is that people can see right away what the newest posts are, but I find that websites are often more clearly laid out, with a distinct menu bar and a more user-friendly setup.
Having a concrete idea of the website in mind, I then thought about a name for my “brand”. Obviously, the name had to be catchy, but I also wanted it to be “transparent”, which means that people intuitively understand what a word or phrase means. I decided to call it “The Kitchen Corner”. Intuitively, people will know that The Kitchen Corner has something to do with food, and the simple name with a positive ring is in line with the easy and tasty dishes I want to write about. I checked online to make sure that no website called The Kitchen Corner already existed, and I was in luck. Now that the name was settled, it was time to get serious!
To create your own website, you have to get a domain. A domain is basically an address, or a piece of “internet land”, that you buy the rights for from a web hosting service. Because I am not an apt web designer, I chose a web host that allows you to use WordPress (WP) for the domain you bought. This is great because as soon as your domain has been activated (which usually only takes a few hours), you can get started with designing your website using WP as a framework. WP has hundreds of different themes and customization options, so you can create a personalized layout that meets your needs exactly. For the layout of The Kitchen Corner, I chose a clean and feel-good look with recognition value. It took me about 6 weeks until I was happy with the layout of the website – 6 weeks of intense googling and watching video tutorials with the occasional verbal assault against my laptop! And then, I could finally start writing and “PR-ing”!
Before going public, I wrote an about page, as well as five recipes as a starting point. This way, first time visitors of the page could see right away what the idea behind the website was, and what kind of recipes they could expect to see in the future. I also created a Facebook page to go hand in hand with the homepage. The purpose of it is that people who are interested in The Kitchen Corner, can “like” it on Facebook, where they will be informed when a new recipe goes online. Social media are a must if you want to maintain an online presence, and users are much more likely to comment on the links posted on social media platforms that on the website itself. In addition, I downloaded an SEO plug-in to my website, which helps you write your posts with a certain SEO key word in mind. The aim of that is to increase potential traffic and to decide yourself what the snippet preview of each page should look like on search engine result pages. And, finally, I also went old school and ordered some business cards with my logo and a slogan on it: “Simple, tasty, family style recipes – from my kitchen to yours…”
I am glad I put my plan into action, and seeing the result is very rewarding, even though running the website is taking up a lot of my free time. For the The Kitchen Corner to keep growing, I am always on the look for new ways to make it stand out. I have many ideas, but first, I should probably finish my degree!
P.S.: If you are curious about The Kitchen Corner, check out the website at www.thekitchencorner.net. And don’t hesitate to share this if you like the page!
Ebenezer is a former OWC intern.