So, you’ve decided to turn your love of food into a blog. You want to share your recipes and be part of an active community of fellow food-lovers and home cooks. You’ve got the passion part down, but how do you even begin to start your own food blog?
The task ahead might seem daunting, but don’t worry - our Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Own Food Blog has got you covered. From choosing a catchy name to the nitty-gritty of setting up your website, this is everything you need to know before you put up a food blog.
Why should I start a food blog?
Anyone who wants to share their talents and expertise to the world can start a food blog. You could be a home chef, food photographer, or simply a person who loves food! It’s a broad topic that you can tackle from any angle, and it will still sound fresh and fun thanks to your unique voice.
It’s a lot of hard work, but a little dedication goes a long way. Here are some of the top reasons you should start a food blog today.
Create the content you’ve always wanted to read
Have you ever furiously Googled a topic or recipe for HOURS, only to come up empty? Is there a specific kind of food blog you would love to read but have never been able to find online? That’s where you come in.
Your food blog is a great opportunity for you to share your story and build a community around your shared passions. Because you have full control over what you write and post, your blog can host all the things you’re interested in, no matter how niche.
Promote your brand
Whether you’re an organization or just one person trying to make their big break in the food industry, a blog is a great way to let people know who you are. You’ll be able to reach the people you want to, making it so much easier to sell your products and services (if you have any).
Earn money doing what you love
Your food blog doesn’t just have to be an avenue for your creativity and self-expression, it can also be a source of income. Now, you’re not going to be earning full-time wages off the bat (unless you’re really, REALLY lucky), but it’s a low-risk way to earn a little cash on the side while doing something you’re passionate about.
Your favorite bloggers and websites might make food blogging look really easy. What many new bloggers don’t realize is how much actually goes into making a food blog successful. We listed some of the biggest challenges newbie food bloggers face, not because we want to scare you, but because you need to know what you’re getting into before you commit your 110%.
Regular content creation
For any blog to stay fresh, interesting, and relevant, its content needs to be updated regularly. If you post great content, your readers will want to hear more from you. If you want your readers to keep coming back to your website (who doesn’t?), you have to keep up a regular posting schedule.
Lots of competition
Loving food is a universal experience. Case in point? There are over 3 million food blogs, and new ones pop up every minute. You’ll have to find a way to stand out and convince people to read your blog instead of your competitors’.
Takes time, skill, and effort
When you get into food blogging, you’ll realize that the “food” part is the easy part. Blogging is practically a full-time job on its own. You’ll have to learn a whole team’s worth of jobs and skills, such as website design, writing, video production, photography and editing, and so much more.
Should I build my own blog or hire someone else?
Creating a blog takes up either a lot of time or a lot of money, but thankfully there are a lot of resources online that can help you get started. Here’s the lowdown on how to build a blog, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
Hiring a professional
If the thought of building your blog from scratch terrifies you, you’re not alone. Many people - from big corporations to small bloggers - hire website development experts to handle the technical side of running their blog. This might cost a lot of money (somewhere in the hundreds or thousands of dollars), but you at least get a professionally-done blog with all the features you could want and need.
Paying someone else to set up your blog for you is extremely convenient, but is also often out of the budget of most first-time bloggers. You don’t have to give up on your dreams just because you’re strapped for cash, though.
You can build your own blog using content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, SquareSpace, or Wix. Some are harder to learn than others, but it’s a cheap alternative to getting a professional. Plus, you’ll learn new and valuable skills along the way!
The 9 Steps to Starting Your Own Food Blog
- Choose your niche
- Find a blogging platform or website builder
- Name your blog
- Buy the domain and find a web host
- Create and design your website
- Install plugins and Google Analytics
- Publish great content
- Promote your blog
Step 1: Choose your niche
If you’re at the stage where you’re seriously considering starting a food blog, you’ve probably already thought this through. But it doesn’t help to take a step back and really think about what you want to blog about.
Are you going to be a recipe site? Will you post restaurant or product reviews? Does your site cater to a specific diet, like vegan or keto? Do you want to specialize in sweet treats and desserts?
While it can be tempting to want to do all of those things at once, it’s both more realistic and much more marketable if you choose a specific niche. Sure, you might be catering to a smaller demographic than if you did a general food blog, but your chances of cultivating a loyal and passionate readership are much, much higher.
However, you also don’t want to do something so specific that it’s not sustainable to write about anymore. You still need something that is broad enough that you don’t run out of content.
The most important thing is to choose something you’re genuinely interested in. You have to be excited about what you’re blogging about; otherwise, your readers won’t be!
You also want your blog to be the authority on whatever it is you’re writing about. If there’s something you’re good at - an area of expertise like baking or healthy food - that’s a good place to start.
Step 2: Find a blogging platform or website builder
Unless you’re paying big bucks to not think about the next few steps, you’ll need to spend some time choosing a CMS or blogging platform. You’re going to need an interface to build and manage your blog, as well as easily add content as you move along your blogging career.
The most popular one by far is WordPress - it’s behind 59.9% of websites and blogs. Out of all the content management systems you can choose from, this has the most functionality and customizability. If you’re willing to put in the effort for a beautiful and functional blog, choose WordPress.
On the other hand, if your goal is to get one up and running as soon as possible and for the least amount of effort, consider building your blog with a website builder like Squarespace or Wix. The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy for anyone to create gorgeous-looking websites without ever learning a line of code. Plus, many of them offer packages with free domains and web hosting (more on this in a bit).
Best blogging platforms
Step 3: Name your blog
One of the most fun steps also happens to be the hardest. With literally billions of websites floating around the internet, and - don’t forget - MILLIONS of food blogs, you need a name that stands out among the crowd. A good food blog name is an opportunity to make a statement and tell people who you are and what it is you do.
At this stage, you shouldn’t get too attached to one name just yet. Come up with a shortlist of names that are unique, interesting, and memorable, then check if the domain is still available.
One of the hardest steps because with the literally billions of websites on the internet, and thousands of food blogs specifically, you want yours to stand out, describe who you are, what it is you do, and make a statement. Remember: your food blog name is going to be people’s first impression of your blog, so make it count! Don’t be scared to let your style and personality shine through.
At this stage, don’t get too attached to a name yet - come up with a shortlist of names you love, then find out if they’re available as domain names by checking websites like GoDaddy.
Tips for a great food blog name
- Keep your blog name short, simple, and catchy.
- Avoid punctuation (like the dash “-”) as much as possible.
- Make sure it’s clear that it’s a food blog. It doesn’t have to have the word “food” in it, but something similar or related will tip people off as to what your blog is about even before they click on it.
Step 4: Buy the domain and find a web host
Once you’ve settled on a blog name that hasn’t been taken yet, snatch that baby up! Buy that domain before anybody else beats you to the punch. If you’re using a website builder like Squarespace, they usually throw in a free domain for you. However, if you’re using WordPress, you’ll need to buy it separately. This usually costs around $10-15 per year.
Now that you have your domain secured, it’s time to find a web host. A web host is basically a service that stores your website online and makes it accessible to everyone. Some web hosts offer packaged bundles that include a domain name, so be sure to look out for those.
Web hosts will offer different plans at different price points depending on what you need. Plans with more features and add-ons will, of course, be more expensive than your basic web hosting package. If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t need anything fancier than the standard plan, but you can always upgrade this as your blog grows.
We personally recommend Bluehost, the #1 web hosting service. Millions of WordPress sites use Bluehost because of their affordable payment options, flexible plans, and on-point customer service. If you choose Bluehost as the web host for your food blog, it comes bundled with a free domain name, saving you even more money.
Things to look for in a good web host
Cost. Newbie food bloggers won’t have a lot of budget to work with. Figure out what you need to jumpstart your food blog and don’t get tempted by all the fancy bells and whistles that cost extra coin. Stick to a small budget, and upgrade only when your blog needs it.
Reliability. The biggest enemy of bloggers? Downtime. If your website is down, it prevents people from accessing it, and they might turn to your competitors’ blogs instead. Make sure to do your research on which web hosts have a proven track record of uptime reliability.
Loading time. Have you ever rage quit a blog because it took too long to load? Don’t be that blog. It also goes a long way toward your CMS.
Customer service and support. - If you have questions or concerns about your web hosting, you need to be confident that the web host will address your issues as soon as possible to prevent unnecessary downtime.
Best web hosting services
- WP Engine
Step 5: Create and design your website
Ah, now for the REAL work to begin. The first step in designing your blog is choosing the right theme. No matter which blogging platform you choose, you can select from a library of themes that you can later customize. Some CMSes, like WordPress, have thousands of themes you can choose from, while others have maybe a few dozens.
Just make sure you pick a theme that is suitable for a food blog. There’s no single answer as to what the best template is; it largely depends on what you want your site to look and feel like. Are you focusing on food photography? Then an image-heavy theme is best. Are you posting recipes? Then a classic blog template will work for you.
The most important thing is that your blog is easy to read and navigate through. Some basic themes are free, but the more complex and feature-rich ones can cost up to $130.
Best food blog themes for WordPress
- Meridian Recipes
- Foodie Pro
Step 6: Install plugins and Google Analytics
Now, this part is technically optional, but we highly recommend going through this step if you want to maximize your food blog, attract new readers, and rake in more money.
Google Analytics is a free data tracking and analytics tool for your website or blog. You’ll be able to monitor important information such as how many people go to your website and which pages are the most popular. This is crucial in tweaking your blogging strategy to get more clicks and sales.
Plugins are basically add-on functionalities you can connect to your blog, making it a better, custom experience for your readers. WordPress has over 50,000 different plugins for you to choose from, such as spam comment filters, social media integration, or recipe optimization.
Best plugins for food blogs
- Yoast SEO - helps you optimize your blog posts for search engine results pages
- Akismet - filters out spam comments on your blog’s comment section
- EasyRecipe - standardizes your recipe entries and lets you add info such as rating, nutritional info, preparation time, and more on search engine results
- Editorial Calendar - lets you schedule blog posts
- Related Posts Thumbnails - shows your blog’s other similar content at the end of your blog posts
Step 7: Publish great content
Finally, we get to the meat (pun intended) of food blogging. Your content is your main hook, your selling point to your readers. You’re battling for their attention with millions of other food blogs, so you need to create content that is original, fun, fresh, and relevant to your readers.
This means you’ll have to update your food blog regularly. You can post recipes, reviews, kitchen hacks, cooking tips and tricks, and deals or promotions. Follow our below tips and tricks to creating good blog posts and photos.
Tips and tricks to producing good content
- Stick to a regular posting schedule, whether it’s daily, weekly, or something else. Give your readers a reason to keep coming back to your blog.
- Quality over quantity. Take your time making valuable, well-written posts rather than spamming your food blog with low-quality ones.
- Use your own style and voice. Don’t try too hard to copy how other food blogs do it. As long as you sound natural and are easy to understand, give your personality a chance to shine through.
- Use photos and videos when you can. People are visual creatures - instead of making us use our imagination, show us exactly how delicious your recipes look.
- Write short and clear titles that tell the reader exactly what they’re about to read. Use appealing keywords like “How to”, “Recipe”, and “Review” to attract more people to your posts.
- Write longer articles...but not too long. More words mean you have more space to dispense valuable information, but you also don’t want to turn people away because you posted a 10,000-word epic food saga. Stick between 500 and a couple thousand words.
- Never ever ever ever plagiarize photos or content from other food blogs. Not only does this not add any value for your readers, but it could put you in some legal hot water as well. You can take inspiration from others, but be unique and make it your own.
Tips for good food photos
- Lighting and composition are everything. People will be more likely to click on your recipe if it’s accompanied by a mouthwateringly gorgeous food photo.
- Style your food. Take the time to make it look pretty - use a patterned backdrop or add decorative props.
- Save your photos in JPEG or PNG format, these are best for viewing online.
- Investing in an expensive camera is optional. Many food bloggers just use their phones! It’s about HOW you use your tools, not what they are.
- Practice, practice, practice! Experiment with different angles, colors, setups, etc. Eventually, you’ll find a style that works for you.
Step 8: Promote your blog
Think that the work is over? Think again. You can’t just set up your blog, sit back, relax, and hope that people will come to you. You have to put your food blog out there and let people know that you exist. The more people that go to your website, the more money you can earn from your food blog.
There are a few ways to make it easier for your target market to find you in the wild jungle that is the world wide web.
Tips on increasing traffic to your food blog
- Read up on SEO (search engine optimization) and how it can help you grow your food blog.
- Set up an email list so that your readers will get updates on new posts, deals, and more. A subscription or membership option is one way of creating a loyal readership that keeps coming back to your blog.
- Set up social media accounts for your food blog. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest are great avenues for attracting new readers. There are more chances of people stumbling upon your blog on one of these social media platforms. YouTube is best for recipe videos and how-to’s, while Pinterest can show off your gorgeous dishes and link people back to your blog for more info.
Step 9: Profit
Making money might not have been one of your major motivations for starting a food blog, but it sure is nice to earn from something you’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort to.
Some people can earn a lot of money from blogging and have made it their primary source of income. Now, this doesn’t mean you can quit your job the day after you start your food blog. But this does mean you can earn a little cash on the side while you grow your online community, and then maybe one day you can make it a full-time career.
Tips on earning money on your food blog
- Use Google AdSense. You earn money when readers click on the ads on your blog. Simple, easy, and requires little to no effort on your part.
- Sell ebooks that compile your recipes or reviews.
- Sell memberships on your site that allows readers access to exclusive, premium content or special offers.
- Sign up for an affiliate program like Amazon Affiliate. You can add links to other websites in your content, and if your readers purchase items from that website, you earn a small commission.
Starting a food blog doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, difficult process. These nine steps will guide you through your food blogging journey and help you become a successful food blogger. Good luck and happy blogging!