If you’ve had a passion for wine or the culinary world, starting a blog might seem like a great idea. Perhaps you own a vineyard or spent a year sampling the wines of Europe. Regardless, it’s your passion, and it’s time to share your knowledge with the world.
A wine blog can be a fun way to connect with your audience, share your passion, and even make some income. Blogging has a lot of moving parts, though. This guide will take you through each step. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be on your way to launching a successful wine blog.
Picking a Niche
The most important part of planning your wine blog is choosing a niche. Your niche is your specific area of expertise–a subcategory of wine in your case. It’s essential you choose a niche that isn’t already heavily saturated with blogs.
The best way to do this is to do an internet search on what you want to write about and see where the holes are. Then, look at those empty spaces and choose a topic you’re comfortable with. You should aim for something you have basic knowledge of so you aren’t starting from scratch.
A few niche wine blog ideas would be:
- A travel wine blog
- Making wine at home
- Wine regions
- Pairing wine with food
You could also dig a bit deeper into the more granular aspects. For example, instead of a blog focused on every wine region, you could center it on wines from small vineyards in Napa.
Find Competitors & Examples
Your next step is market research. This is the point where you start looking at other blogs like yours to see why they are or aren’t successful. Market research is a significant time commitment, so be prepared to spend long hours reviewing other blogs and studying keyword ranks.
Market research for any blog top will require a deep dive into your competitors. Your direct competitors are other blogs that write on something identical or nearly identical to yours. The easiest way to find your competition is by doing a quick Google search for “wine blogs.” You can further narrow that to your specific niche later.
Once you have a list of results on your screen, make a list of the blogs that most closely resemble yours. Specifically, focus on the first 1-3 pages of search results since they’ll be the highest-ranking blogs.
Next, head over to Semrush and enter the URL for the first blog on your list. Semrush will run a scan of the site and return a full report on the site’s data. You’ll have information on keywords, traffic, backlinks, and other critical information that’ll help you craft a perfectly optimized blog.
Finally, it’s time to start reading. Semrush can give you invaluable data, but only you can apply your knowledge to a blog’s content. Dedicate time to reviewing old posts, taking note of which had the highest number of comments and any themes you pick up on.
Something important to note about competitor research is that your research is never truly done. Content creators post new blogs every day. So to stay relevant, you’ll need to monitor other blogs to keep up to date on trends, keywords, and anything else that’ll drive traffic to your site.
Starting a Wine Blog in 7 Steps
Now it’s time to cover the seven steps to starting a wine blog. Hopefully, once you’ve read through each step, you’ll have a clearer idea of the ins and outs of wine blogging.
1. Pick a Domain Name for Your Wine Blog
Your blog’s domain name will be how your users find you. You need your domain to reflect you, your brand, and your content to make it clear what your area of expertise is. However, choosing a domain name is more than just selecting something that reflects your purpose. Consider the following steps when selecting your name.
- Always aim for brevity.
- Choose a name that’s the perfect blend of simple yet unique.
- Look to your competitors to see if there’s any theme among their domain names.
- Only use your given name if you’re established in your industry.
- Choose a brandable domain that can grow with your business.
One of the most important things to remember when picking a domain name is that your business will always have the potential to grow. That being the case, you want to choose a name that fulfills all of the requirements above.
Specifically, you want to focus on something brandable. Brandable domains are relevant, memorable, and have the potential to become synonymous with you. An excellent example of a brandable domain is Google. It started out as a simple domain but has since become synonymous with searching online.
Another important thing to consider is building your brand around your domain name. In some instances, you might not be able to get the exact name you want. You can adapt your brand to suit an available name when that happens. If you want to better your chances of getting a domain name that matches your brand, try looking at .io, .blog, .co, or another extension.
2. Select Your Wine Blog Hosting
Your blog will need a place to live online, so you need a web host. Web hosts house or “host” your website on their servers, giving your site a permanent place online. Regardless of the type of blog you plan to launch, you’ll need a web host to make it available to users.
There are many reputable hosts to choose from. The best ones will give you top-notch security, minimal downtime, maximum uptime, rapid speeds, and if you’re using a managed host, features that will help make running your site easier.
There are two options for web hosting: paid and free. Both offer security and the bandwidth you need to run a successful site. The main difference between the two is the features they offer. However, there are a few other aspects to consider.
Paid hosting typically offers more support, storage, email accounts, data transfer, and other features than you’d get with a free hosting service. As a single blogger, you might not need access to all of those things. But if your blog is part of your business or you have employees, a paid host might be necessary.
Free hosting services provide the same level of security as paid hosts. The main drawback is that you might not have the same level of customer support that you might with a paid service. However, since you’re going to use a CMS for your blog, you’ll likely benefit from the things you’d get with a paid service.
If you’ve decided to use WordPress as your CMS, you can use Bluehost, their in-house hosting service. Plans are relatively inexpensive, so you get the benefit of a paid plan without a hefty price tag.
3. Install WordPress
When exploring content management systems, you’ll undoubtedly come across WordPress. It’s the industry standard for bloggers and site creators, making it a smart choice for beginners.
There are plenty of other options out there, but WordPress is the most robust as far as plans and features.
WordPress is a content management system that allows you to build, manage, and host your blog. It has many user-friendly tools, features, and themes that make creating a beautiful, informative blog a breeze.
You have two options for content management on WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com offers you everything you need without having to install anything, while WordPress.org is open-source software that allows you to self-host your sites.
If you opt to install WordPress via WordPress.org, you’ll also have access to Bluerock, which offers one-click WordPress installation. Bluerock is provided by Bluehost, a popular web host provider.
4. Find a Wine Blog Theme
Once you’ve installed WordPress, the fun part begins. Now, you get to choose a theme and start designing your website. A WordPress theme is a pre-made design for your website that includes professional website structure, fonts, color schemes, and layouts. Many themes are suited to specific purposes, such as displaying art or writing news articles.
WordPress has a large selection of themes to choose from, so it can be a bit overwhelming at first. However, since they each have so many customizable features, you shouldn’t have any problem finding one that fits a wine blog perfectly.
One of the best things about WordPress is its large selection of free themes that work for all types of blogs and websites. You won’t have as many customizations with free themes. However, most provide enough flexibility that you can still make one your own.
If you can’t find the features you want in a free theme, consider looking at WordPress’ paid options. Many paid themes offer features, including plugins, integrations, and more customizations than the free options.
When scrolling through the theme offerings, keep your blog’s purpose in mind. Also, take some time to research what other similar blogs look like. In many cases, readers will expect a certain aesthetic, so you should try to stick as close to that as you can.
If you’re just starting out, your best bet is to choose a free theme. Although you might prefer some of the paid themes WordPress offers, you can make a free theme work for you.
5. Personalise Your Wine Blog
One of the most exciting aspects of setting up your blog is personalization. Once you start exploring themes, plugins, and other features, you’ll see just how easy it is to design a blog that perfectly suits you.
WordPress’ Customizer Panel makes personalizing your blog easy and fun. After choosing a theme, you can open the Customizer and click through the different options. This is where you’ll add or change menus, pick a color scheme, choose your widgets, and add any CSS you might want to include.
A convenient feature of the Customizer is that you can see how different settings affect your page without having to constantly reload your site. Instead, the Customizer loads the changes in the same window, allowing you to implement changes quickly.
6. Carry Out Keyword Research
Keyword research is a critical step in optimizing your blog for search engines and readers. However, the list of keywords for a topic like wine can be pretty extensive. Fortunately, there are tools available to help you find and compile keywords that will work best for your content.
To get started, all you need is that handy list of competitor blogs you saved previously and a search engine marketing company like Semrush. Semrush helps you find the right keywords to drive traffic to your site. You’ll need an account, but since you’re just starting out, a free account should suffice for the time being.
Head over to Semrush and locate the Organic Research tool. Then, feed your competitor links into the search bar and hit “Search.” Semrush will return a list of low competition keywords and their rankings based on the content of your competitors’ sites. Next, make a list of the keywords that work best for you.
Once you have your list of keywords, check out the Keyword Magic tool. Put each keyword in the search bar and click “Search.” You’ll see a wealth of information regarding rankings and related terms. These terms are conveniently sorted into groups in the sidebar, making it easy to find the best ones for you.
7. Publish Your First Wine Blog Post
Now that you’ve wrapped up your market and keyword research, it’s time for the best part—publishing your first post. Think of this part like writing a paper, but more exciting. You’ll start by creating a detailed outline, then flesh out your post once you have your points covered.
The previous step should’ve given you a fairly comprehensive list of keywords. You should’ve also determined which keywords offer low competition but will yield high results. A good practice is to add the keywords to your outline so you don’t have to worry about backfilling.
You should also have a list of questions your reader will expect you to answer. Then, when you create your outline, find the sections where those questions will fit naturally, and be sure to answer them at a high level.
If you come across any competing blogs that you found particularly informative, you might want to keep them up in a separate window to refer to. These blogs offer insight into user questions or other topics that might help expand your thought process as you write.
When you start writing your blog, try to follow your outline closely. Your outline will help you write more quickly and keep your post organized.
WordPress has a lot of tools available that will help you create a clear, concise, informative post. You can include media, adjust headings, and arrange your content to flow well and have visual appeal.
Keep the following tips in mind when writing your blog:
- Use as many keywords as you can, but avoid keyword stuffing.
- Use HTML headings (H1, H2, and so forth) instead of changing your font size.
- Consider an optimization service like Market Muse.
- Include one image or graphic for each heading.
- Aim for a middle school reading level.
- Utilize a proofreader like Grammarly to help check your spelling, grammar, and sentence structure.
Marketing Your Wine Blog
As your launch day approaches, you’ll need to promote your blog to ensure the right people see it. Unfortunately, promotion takes time, but it’s critical when creating a blog.
Blog promotion is how you drive traffic to your site. You can promote in several ways, but social media, email campaigns, and affiliate marketing are the most popular places.
As a new blogger, your content alone can’t speak for itself unless readers know who you are. Running a robust promotion campaign can incentivize users to visit your site by telling them you have the precise answer they’re looking for.
Here are a few blog promotion tips to try:
- Become a pro at social media advertising.
- Start building a network with other bloggers and influencers to help expand your target audience.
- Consider running an email marketing campaign.
- Never stop researching keywords and trends to keep your blog optimized.
- Don’t be afraid to outsource promotions.
SEO For Your Wine Blog
One aspect of blogging that might take some getting used to is optimizing your content. Specifically, you have to ensure your content adheres to SEO (search engine optimization) best practices.
Fortunately, once you have the basics down. SEO becomes another part of the content-creation process. You’ll be able to work it into your writing process efficiently.
So, what is search engine optimization?
When a user performs a search, search engine crawlers scour websites for keywords, links, headings, and other organizational features to find content that matches the search. Remember the list of keywords you made? They’ll play a vital role in your wine blog’s SEO.
You might be surprised at how many things Google looks at when it performs a search. Although it used to focus on keywords, Google’s AI has made it possible for Google to infer context from a site. That ability allows the search engine to return more accurate results.
To ensure search engines can see your site, you’ll need to focus your SEO on keywords, links, and structure. Keywords should be tailored to the wine industry. Don’t be afraid to use technical terms since your readers likely already have a basic knowledge of wine.
When choosing links, avoid competing wine blogs. Instead, select high-authority sites. For example, suppose you’ve decided to write a post on the wines of Napa. Your links could include vineyards’ websites, technical information, and a link to a wine tour. Don’t forget to include a few internal links, too.
Finally, place a heavy focus on your blog’s structure. Avoid walls of text entirely. Search engines look for HTML headings, images, and tables of contents when determining which websites suit a search query. This is one of the easiest aspects of SEO to achieve because most content management systems have tools in the content editor.
Here are a few wine blogging SEO tips you should keep in mind when developing your blog’s SEO.
- Never link to competitors or low-authority sites.
- Create compelling, clickable content.
- Use internal links to keep readers on your site longer.
- Don’t forget to optimize for mobile users.
- Avoid keyword stuffing.
Social Media Marketing For Your Wine Blog
One of the top forms of online marketing is social media marketing. Social media platforms offer the benefit of detailed, targeted advertising that can make it easy to drive traffic to your blog. There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to social media, but it’s a worthwhile skill to learn.
The most hands-off approach to social media marketing is ads. However, you shouldn’t stop there. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are excellent venues for meeting like-minded people within your community. Not to mention, they offer the perfect platform to interact with readers and humanize your brand.
A key step in learning to wield social media marketing is understanding which platform suits your blog best. Different platforms have different demographics, so be sure to study up before dedicating a lot of time and money to one platform.
As a wine blogger, you’ll likely have the most success on highly visual platforms where you can set a scene. Instagram and Facebook are ideal options. As TikTok rises in popularity, you can incorporate short, informative videos that help drive traffic.
Keep these tips in mind when planning your social media marketing strategy:
- Research hashtags just as rigorously as keywords.
- Find and follow similar content creators.
- Post daily, if possible.
- Consider reaching out to influencers to help promote your blog.
- Add personality to show followers the face behind the blog.
- Promote content creators that suit your brand, such as chefs, small businesses, or other wine bloggers.
Content Marketing For Your Wine Blog
As you immerse yourself in social media, you’ll notice other bloggers posting relevant articles, images, or clips that have little to do with their niche. However, it’s a clever and effective way to draw new followers and more traffic.
Using relevant content to market is called content marketing. The purpose of content marketing is to attract readers who might have an interest in wine that doesn’t fall into your niche. By sharing content those readers might come across, you’ll undoubtedly land on a few new FYPs and Newsfeeds.
If content marketing sounds a bit confusing, don’t worry. On the surface, directing users to content that isn’t yours might seem counterintuitive. But, in fact, this is just another great way to humanize your brand.
Content marketing is also an easy way to build your network. You can develop mutually beneficial relationships with creators who fall within your field of expertise by promoting other blogs, businesses, or podcasts.
For example, if your blog focuses on wine and food pairings, you might not spend much time talking about bottling. However, in an upcoming blog post, you want to include information about the benefits of a specific bottle type. Now is the perfect opportunity to promote a how-to video on your social platforms.
Here are a few more content marketing tips to consider:
- Use relevant content, but keep your content the focus.
- Find interesting, relatable content you know users will enjoy.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to other creators to swap mentions.
- Always tag a creator if you’re posting on social media.
Email Marketing For Your Wine Blog
After getting your blog up and running, you have to make sure readers keep coming back to your site. Your social media campaigns will help, but those campaigns won’t reach readers who don’t sign on daily. That’s when email marketing campaigns come in handy.
Email marketing has several benefits for bloggers. One of the most significant benefits is that it’s incredibly cost-effective. Through services like MailChimp or MailerLite, you can send campaigns for just a few dollars a month. These services cost far less than advertising and allow you to reach a broad audience.
Another major perk to email campaigns is that you don’t have to worry about finding the right audience. If you have a person’s email address, it’s because they gave it to you. Your goal with an email campaign is to get those people to click through to your content and keep reading.
An email campaign is only as good as the email service you choose to send it. So, take some time to explore the various email marketing services out there. Find one that you’re comfortable using and that won’t take up a lot of your time.
Here are a few helpful tips for creating an email marketing campaign:
- The only recipients should be those who signed up to receive emails.
- Go for short, informative content that’s easy to digest.
- Your goal should be engagement, so encourage readers to click through to your site.
- Make your emails easy to read and optimized for mobile use.
Paid Advertising For Your Wine Blog
Paid advertising on social media and Google is another effective way to direct traffic to your content. They’re beneficial for bloggers who are just getting their feet wet or haven’t quite nailed down a social media marketing strategy yet.
Although the thought of advertising costs might make you cringe, you might be surprised to find advertising doesn’t have to use up all of your marketing dollars. In fact, it can be pretty cost-effective once you get the hang of it.
Paid online advertising involves targeting an audience and crafting your ad around their interests. Typically, you only get charged when someone clicks your ad. However, you need to target people who are likely to click your link to truly get your money’s worth.
Unfortunately, targeting takes practice. Not only does it require a complete understanding of your audience, but it also requires an understanding of what readers expect to see. That said, once you understand your audience, your paid ads can help bring in a lot of new readers.
Check out these quick tips for using paid advertising for your blog.
- Study advertising trends and do your best to follow them.
- Utilize A/B testing to find ads that work.
- Take advantage of the analytics tools available on your chosen ad platform.
- Monitor your ad results regularly.
Monetizing Your Wine Blog
When you started your blogging journey, your goal might’ve just been to share your content and join a community of other wine lovers. However, monetizing your blog content is a great way to earn a bit of passive income. Fortunately, there are several ways you can monetize your blog easily.
You’ve probably seen content creators gushing about a new product they tried online. In many cases, they’re acting as affiliate marketers for a business. Affiliate marketing involves promoting a product in exchange for a commission. It’s one of the most popular ways to earn money as a content creator.
You can also run ads for other businesses on your sites. This is typically only successful if you have high site traffic. However, as your blog and brand grow, paid advertisements could be valuable for gaining income.
Another income option is through merchandise. T-shirts, stickers, and wine glasses are all popular items readers will undoubtedly be interested in. Merchandise also offers the benefit of adding eCommerce to your site, which will help improve your ranking.
Webinars and online courses are also incredibly popular. For example, as a wine blogger, you could offer online wine-making courses or cooking with wine. Or, if you’re an experienced blogger, you could offer a course on blog writing.
Keep in mind that monetizing your blog isn’t a simple process. In most cases, you need to have experience and a bit of online clout for someone to pay for your services. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t able to monetize right away. Give your brand time to grow, and you’ll be there before you know it.
A few other blog monetization methods are:
- Coaching services
- Email marketing
- Write guest posts as a freelancer
- Offer subscriber-only content
Starting a Wine Blog: Final Thoughts
Starting a blog can seem a bit overwhelming at first. Not only do you have to create content, but you have a laundry list of other tasks to complete before you launch. Don’t let that dissuade you, though. With the right determination, you’ll be able to reach your goal of being a successful wine blogger.