Last week I shared a Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup recipe and talked about Three Basic (and free) Changes that you can do to improve your food blog. This week, I’m nibbling on this super fresh and Simple Tomato Crostini while I share Three Investments that you can do to improve your food blog.
1. Get the SSL Certificate
Get the what? I know, this was new to me too. In my own “simplified” words, an SSL Certificate makes sure that your site is protected and secure. This is very important if you’re collecting any kind of information from people or just want people to feel safe browsing your site. For example, I am trying to communicate with my readers more personally through weekly emails. But, if my site isn’t secure, the email they use to sign up could get intercepted by a hacker somewhere else. You can tell if a site is secure because it will read https instead of just http. This also helps with how you rank in Google searches.
Contact your web hosting to setup your SSL Certificate. My host made this very easy to do. I am currently using GoDaddy for my hosting and purchased their Standard SSL Certificate since the only information I collect are my readers’ email addresses (whenever they decide to subscribe).
A two-year Standard SSL Certificate cost me $119.98. Not too bad considering I’m providing a safe site for my readers and boosting my site’s rankings in the process.
2. Get the Cookbook Recipe Plugin
I have not used a recipe plugin with my blog before. (gasp!) I know, it’s silly. I share food photography and recipes. Why wouldn’t I have a recipe plugin?
The truth is, there are a lot of options out there and my research started with the freebies. The main issues I had with the free plugins were that they looked like crap on my site and I couldn’t reach anyone when I had questions. Hey, you get what you pay for, right?
During the rebrand and redesign of my site/blog, I knew that I would need to invest in a good plugin and I decided to land on CookBook.
Why I Chose CookBook
I’m not a developer, so I’m not going to get too technical on you here. I will tell you that if you’re currently using a recipe plugin and might want to switch to Cookbook, you can! Going through each recipe would be really tedious, but they can help you make the switch and save you a ton of time.
Here are the main reasons I chose this plugin.
1. It Looks Beautiful
As a professional photographer (and a former art director), I am a visual person and I want things to be easy to use and look really good at the same time.
2. Excellent Customer Service
The team at Cookbook is responsive, super helpful and oh-so-friendly. And, they were all of these things BEFORE I made the investment. Instant win.
4. Easy to Install and Use
This is key for me, because I don’t have the time to try to figure something out. If I’m paying for a plugin, I want it to be easy to use from the get go.
5. Lots of Great Features
I could go on and on about this plugin, but you may have more technical questions or may just want to read about it yourself. Feel free to check out more information here and see what you think.
The Cookbook Plugin is billed annually at $59.99 to ensure the longevity of the plugin and keep it working at its very best. And, right now they are offering $10 off your first year. WooHoo! Totally worth it to me.
3. Hire A Developer
As a photographer and blogger, I wear many hats. However, there are some hats I am not meant to wear. Web development is definitely one of them. I simply don’t have the time to learn how to do backend coding with my site/blog. Most templates and themes are great on the surface, but after you buy one, it can be a challenge to figure out how to customize certain things.
My developer, Raine Dalusong, is fabulous and so is Brainchild Studios. Raine carries a lot of the development work, but I’ve also worked with Kiley at Brainchild Studios for SEO consultations. I highly recommend finding someone to help you make your site as amazing as you want it to be so 1) you can be proud of it and 2) keep people coming back for more. It’s worth it.
This will vary. Look around and talk to people. They don’t have to be local to you either. Brainchild Studios has offices in Chicago and Milwaukee and Raine lives in Seattle. My communication with them is 100% remote. That is, until Raine comes back in April so we can celebrate the launch together in person. Yay!
Simple Tomato Crostini
Ok, so I’ve given you some good information to think about and now I’m hungry. This recipe is awesome. It’s full of fresh cherry tomatoes mixed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic and fresh basil. Add salt and pepper to taste and let it sit at room temperature for 3 hours before serving on grilled slices of a baguette. So easy, right? It makes a lot, so invite your friends over and enjoy!
SIMPLE TOMATO CROSTINI WITH BASIL
- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes on the vine, chopped & rinsed
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 baguette cut into diagonal slices, toasted
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, julienne cut
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- Balsamic vineager
- Combine the chopped tomatoes and garlic in a medium-sized bowl.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add olive oil and red wine vinegar and mix everything together.
- Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 3 hours.
- Stir occasionally.
- Brush the sliced baguette with olive oil.
- Place baguette slices on a grill pan over medium-high heat.
- Allow grill marks to form so the toasts get crispy.
- Add chopped basil to the tomato mixture and mix well.
- Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Scoop tomato mixture over toasted baguette slices and lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Did you make this recipe?
Show me! Tag @reganbaroni on Instagram.
* This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click or make a purchase through my site, I might make a small commission. I only promote products that I actually use and support. *
All images ©Regan Baroni 2018.