For some people, starting a website is a breeze and takes minimal effort to get up and running; for others, it is a giant leap into completely uncharted territory. When Brandy O’Neill started her website Nutmeg Nanny, she was definitely in the latter category.
“I was absolutely clueless,” she remembers. “I had no business starting a website.”
Though creating a website was unlike anything she had done before, it’s a good thing she followed her instincts. Since 2009, Brandy has slowly but surely developed Nutmeg Nanny into a great food blog that continues to attract thousands of loyal readers. Her recipes and photography have allowed her to reach people all across the globe and make meaningful connections through her love of food. Here’s how she got started:
Brandy grew up in small town Ohio and eventually moved to the Hudson Valley region of New York. Here, she spent her days working as a nanny. This involved all of the many responsibilities involved with looking after children, but one of the ways that she was able to best connect with her kids was through cooking. While cooking was a great experience for both Brandy and her kids, it was also a chance to relive memories from her own childhood as well as her many travels around the world.
Around the same time, Brandy was also getting more and more interested in photography. One day, it dawned on her that she could connect the two by creating a food blog. She could then use her blog share all of the great recipes that bring her memories back to life, and take great photos to go along with them.
Feeling inspired, Brandy set out to create her very first website.
As a nanny, Brandy’s daily tasks had virtually nothing to do with website development. She was very much starting from scratch.
The first thing that she did was think of a name. She wanted something food-related, cute and reflective of her. She was also a fan of alliteration, so that helped guide her brainstorming. It was also important that her name be available on all of the social networks that she would be sharing her content on as well. After thinking of many different names, she finally landed on Nutmeg Nanny.
With her name decided on, Brandy then created her blog using WordPress. She then began to post regularly, but initially it was mainly for an audience of one.
“It was very much for me,” Brandy explains. “No one was really reading me in the very beginning.”
Over time, though, the blog began to slowly attract more and more readers. Among these were other food bloggers, who helped teach Brandy different ways to improve her site. For instance, she originally didn’t have her own domain name and was instead using nutmegmanny.wordpress.com. Her blogging friends urged her to secure nutmegnanny.com for her site before someone else did, which she promptly did.
She also got great insight into how to make her site more shareable, take better photos, look at analytics and attract advertisers. As she continued to make her site better, she eventually reached a point where her site was taking up most of her time and so she had a tough decision to make.
Brandy started Nutmeg Nanny as a fun hobby to do on the side. Over time, though, it gradually morphed into a more serious endeavour.
The first major step in this direction was when a company contacted her and offered to pay her in order to help them create a new recipe.
“When that happened I was like ‘woah, you can make money doing this?!’”
After realizing the potential that her website had, Brandy began considering different ways to earn money from her site. She started working with other companies to develop recipes. She also added ads to the site in order to generate more revenue.
While all of this was happening, she was still working full-time as a nanny; however, her site was generating enough opportunities that she was going to have to start turning down work because she didn’t have enough time for both. After thinking about it very carefully, she decided to go all-in and work on the blog full-time, which she has now been doing for the past 2 years.
Brandy has learned from her mistake of not registering a domain name and urges everyone to do so as soon as they get an idea.
“Now it’s the opposite — if I get an idea for something I just buy the domain name right away, even if I don’t do anything with it,” she explains. “Then I think ‘ok, I have that in my back pocket just in case I want to put something else on my plate.’”
She also encourages everyone to be original and to be themselves.
“Just be yourself and rock being yourself.”
Finally, the advice that’s helped Brandy the most of all is to be patient.[Tweet “”Eventually success will find you. If it doesn’t happen right away it will, just give it time.””]
If you’re looking to create a website just like Nutmeg Nanny, here’s the tools that keep Brandy’s site running:
Domain name: Hover
Hosting: WP Engine
Social Networks: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram
Social Media Management: Shareaholic, Viraltag
Email Newsletters: MailChimp
Analytics: Google Analytics, PadSquad
Advertising: Mode Media, Google Ads, GumGum, TripleLift, PadSquad
Ready to get started on your own big idea? Get it a great domain name from Hover: