When I first wanted to start a food blog, I knew it would take hard work and dedication. While working in digital marketing, I managed blogs and the social platforms of several clients. I realized the amount of work and tedious attention to detail necessary to make a blog successful but it wasn’t until I got into it myself that I realized it was A LOT OF WORK.
Once I was finally ready to take the plunge and go head first into this whole food blog biz, I handled it like I handle everything in life – I googled the hell out of it! So here are 5 steps to starting a food blog. Hope this helps you too!
1. Figure out how to stand out in a saturated blog market
“The more specific you can get with your topic, the easier it will be to stick out and find an engaged audience.”
This blog topic could be something you’re passionate about, something you want to challenge yourself with or a topic you want to learn more about. In other words, GET SPECIFIC.
Don’t be JUST a baking blog, be a baking blog with 10 ingredient baking recipes. Don’t JUST be a healthy food blog, be a food blog with vegan dinners. As long as you’re bringing value and filling a void in the market, your audience will find YOU without you chasing THEM. It’s a beautiful thing and a great way to really stand out from the rest.
Take some time to really figure this part out for yourself. It will be so helpful for you in the long run.
2. Choose a Hosting Service
Once you choose a niche and domain name (which you can do here, if you haven’t chosen a dot com yet), you’ll need a hosting service which is basically a place for your blog to live on the Internet.
You pay a monthly or yearly fee depending on your hosting service and how much space you’d need. A lot of bloggers choose BlueHost, GoDaddy, or SiteGround when they first start but they were epic fails for me. My site crashed in the Fall 2017 during the busiest week of the year and it was just an overall bad experience for me. Don’t let the same thing happen to you!
As soon as I switched to WPOPT, it has been nothing short of AMAZING!
From customer service to site performance, I’ve had 0 complaints about WPOPT hosting. They prioritize site speed which is super important for SEO. They respond fairly quickly to support questions. Not to mention, the price is beyond inexpensive no matter what your traffic numbers look like. Trust me on this, go with them from the beginning, it’s SO worth it.
You won’t have to jump from host to host or risk having your site crash during a high traffic month. I highly recommend them.
3. Choose a Blogging Platform
A blogging platform is where you will write out your blog posts. This is different from a hosting service. A hosting service will “host” your blogging platform. And yes, you can use Tumblr, Squarespace, Blogspot as a blogging platform however you won’t have the freedom to customize your blog to your liking or install food blog specific themes.
I recommend WordPress which is what I have and other food bloggers have as well. A few people have asked me what the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is so let me try my best to explain the two.
- WordPress.com: This version is free but not flexible. Sure, it’s very easy to use and setup however you will be limited as to the type of customization you’d want in order to personalize your site and make it your own. Also, if you’re looking to monetize your blog, you won’t be able to do it on a WordPress dot com domain. Your domain will look like this: blogname.wordpress.com and you won’t have full control over your actual blog on this platform.
- WordPress.org: This version is self-hosted, not free, but gives you full control of your entire blog. This is what I have/use. From monetizing to installing/customizing your own themes, you will be able to use this platform with more flexibility than using WordPress dot com. All you would need to do is purchase a domain and a hosting service. This is what I have and what you’re looking at as we speak.
4. Choose a Blog Theme
Once you have a domain name, a hosting service, and a WordPress.org site, it’s time to decorate your new home!
You can either install a free theme or install a premium one made specifically for food blogs. There are several themes on the market however the one I recommend and currently use on this site is Brunch Pro Theme by StudioPress.
This theme is completely customizable, super easy to setup / migrate and lightweight. It is also powered by the Genesis Framework which is the foundation for WordPress sites (the framework with all that code that makes your site SEO-friendly and fully functional).
While I did hire a developer to customize this blog, you can still DIY the whole thing yourself.
Above all, getting a customizable theme that is fully functional and lightweight vs a free theme is the smartest thing you can do for SEO and site optimization. If a site is too heavy, full of plug-ins, and too much code, your site speed will be affected and so will user experience.
This happened to me initially. When I first started my food blog, I purchased a $30 theme and I was constantly receiving complaints that my site was too slow or too janky. My page views also would barely increase.
The Brunch Pro Theme prioritizes site speed, reducing the time it takes for your site to load, as well as helping you rank higher in search engines. Having a slow site affects metrics like time on site, bounce rate, SEO, your ad revenue, and overall user experience.
You want traffic! Traffic is what pays the bills. When photos are optimized, your WP theme is light, and user experience is seamless, your audience will grow. Trust me, invest early on, you will grateful you did it.
5. Install a Recipe Plug-in
Lastly, I highly recommend installing a recipe plugin. This is crucial for a food blog in terms of SEO.
In lament terms, a recipe plugin has language that only Google understands and prioritizes over your blog post, helping you rank higher in Google searches. Sure, your blog post can help if you use helpful keywords and headings but ultimately, the information you add to a recipe plugin, from nutritional info to the description of the recipe, is what Google uses to rank your recipe.
I use WP Recipe Maker which I highly recommend. Super easy to use and very straight forward. Complete all the fields in the plugin and you’re well on your way to ranking high in Google searches!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below!
Other posts you may like:
- Food Blog Income Report: How I Made Over $100K in 2019
- How I Grew My Food Blog To 100K Monthly Page Views In 11 Months
- A Week in the Life of a Food Blogger
- Food Blog Income Report: How I Made $85,000 in 2018
- Best Photography Tools for Food Photography