How To Start A Food Blog
What Do I Do to Start Food Blogging?
There are lots of wonderful reasons to start a food blog! (I'll get into the pro's and con's in another post soon) And the biggest step to starting a food blog is knowing WHY you want to be a food blogger. This will help you with knowing which direction you want to go with your content, what domain name to choose, your target market, and so much more.
However, if you are looking for quick income...this may not be the way to go. Very few food bloggers make enough to even cover their blogging expenses, even after several months and even after blogging for multiple years. There are some who "break out" almost immediately and are a success, but they are an exception. Not the rule.
Please understand that I am only speaking from our experience. In no way do I want to discourage you. I just think that if you enter food blogging for the wrong reason, without realistic goals and other motivating reasons, you may get disheartened and quit too early (which happens frequently in the blogging world).
Personally, I would love to make an income on this blog, but honestly I would just settle for it covering our grocery costs (ha ha!).
So why do it then? I can't speak for other bloggers, only about why we blog. My wife and I honestly love to cook together. Both of us, like many of you, grew up with food being a big part of special occasions and family gatherings. It's fun to make delicious food together and feed our family. While other couples go dancing, bowling, skiing...we cook and bake!
Here are some basic steps to set up your own food blog using WordPress.
Why use WordPress? Most bloggers use it for a reason. It is the industry standard for bloggers, extremely easy to learn, there are tons of plugin options to customize your site, literally thousands and thousands of templates, and the support you can find is amazing.
*While wordpress.com offers the free option to have your blog hosted (www.yourblogname.wordpress.com/) you will quickly find that you want more options available to you and more control of your website design, and of course, the ability to place ads on your site (because eventually we all hope to make money, right?!).
**Please note that this page/site contains affiliate links. We only link to products we trust and wholeheartedly recommend.
1) Choose and Buy a Domain Name.
Domain names are typically a name of something that captures your brand with an extension on the end (.com) like www.yourfoodblog.com. Although it can be a .net, .us, .info, etc. I personally prefer .com or .net over any other domain name extensions.
Coming up with a name for your new blog might be the hardest step.
(personal side note: we originally chose delectablecookingandbaking.com as it encompassed major keywords 'cooking' and 'baking'. After a year we decided it was too long and did not quite capture us, so after some debate (and personal meaning to us from a recent loss) we changed to bakeitwithlove.com feeling that this name truly encompassed US. Looking back on things after the major difficulty of changing domain names, I wish we would have spent more time on this step, not just been in a rush to buy the first domain name that seemed OK.)
You can start by brainstorming and coming up with a short mission statement or by listing words that describe your cooking style, your lifestyle, your background, etc. If the name you had in mind is gone (this will happen!) try to think of a variation or change the order of your wording. Using our domain name, for example, think bakingwithlove.com vs bakeitwithlove.com. Please choose something that is still your own and not a rip-off of another site (ie. using bake-it-with-love.com), or the same domain with a different extension (.net, .biz, .us).
Remember, these tips for choosing your domain name:
Descriptive, Memorable, Short and Easy to spell. Having a personal meaning to you is a big plus, too!
You can use the form below to check for a domain name that you may be thinking of.
(cost: free to $15.00 a year)
2) Find a Reliable Web Host.
Finding a good web host is vitally important. This is a company who runs servers where your website "lives". A good web host should have great speed, close to or 100% up time, 24 hour customer service with WordPress knowledge. This last one is a must unless you are very WordPress savvy.
I recommend either Bluehost or Godaddy for getting started with WordPress Hosting (both offer Managed WordPress Hosting).
(cost: 3.95 a month and up)
3) Install WordPress.
Many hosting companies will have an expedited install process for a basic WordPress site. In most cases it is a simple 1 click method that will load WordPress via their C-Panel. (C-Panel is a back end software at your hosting company where you can login and manage your website)
Installing a basic WordPress site is free (here is the WordPress installation tutorial).
4) Pick and Install a WordPress Theme.
This is where it can get tricky. There are literally thousands of premade templates, the very basic ones are free (or have a permanent footer link to the company that made it) and there are lots that have a more premium look and feel. Some of these premium templates are made for food bloggers exclusively. In my experience these range from $29.00 - $159.00 Almost every template out there can be completely customized for additional costs. (typically from the company/person who made the theme)
(cost: free to $159.00 typically a 1 time cost)
5) Set Up Google/Bing Tools.
Google and Bing offer many tools for you to track your progress and daily traffic as well as other services to help with your SEO (more on this later) Tools and services such as Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools.
6) Recommended WordPress Plugins.
Yoast SEO for WordPress - This plugin will help you with SEO best practices for all your posts and pages. SEO is essential for a websites "visibility".
WP Recipe Maker - I have been using this plugin almost since the blog started. This company is fantastic to work with, even offering loads of support on the basic (free) version of this plugin.
Social Warfare Pro - You want your posts shared easily! This is one my 'essential' plugins and although it is paid, it is one of those tools that I would suggest early on in your blogging career.
More on these and others soon!
(cost: free and up)
7) Start Blogging!
Publish those recipes, stories and photos. Don't wait for the perfect time. Don't wait until you have x amount of recipes ready and posted as drafts on your site, just waiting to be launched. Go live now! Use what you have on hand and start sharing your creativity!
Last Updated: January 30th, 2018