How to Start a Food Blog?
Blogging is more popular than it has ever been. I believe that this is mainly because blogging is not exclusive. You don’t have to be a tech genius to start your own blog.
In fact, everyone, from teenagers to stay at home moms can run a successful blog. Like any other popular industry, blogging comes with various niches that include culinary arts, fashion, and animals.
Food blogging is probably the most popular niche after fashion and beauty blogging. There are many people from all across the world who are curious about food blogging.
You might be wondering why someone would want to start a food blog.
To be honest, most people who become food bloggers are already passionate about cooking or baking in general and simply want to share their work with other food lovers. Of course, the other reason is to turn your passion or hobby into a financially profitable career. Some people might be looking to kickstart their careers by getting internet recognition.
Regardless of what your reason is, you will need some help before you get started, especially if you are new to blogging in general. That is why I have decided to create this guide to show you how to start a food blog that looks professional and appealing enough to draw readers’ attention.
What You Need to Start a Food Blog?
Above everything else, the most important step you need to take before venturing into food blogging is doing your homework. Much like any other industry, digital or otherwise, researching food blogs will help you get a much better understanding of market trends and popular marketing techniques. Think about it this way, taking the time to do your research can help you avoid creating blogs that are identical to someone else who is already very popular and successful.
I always tell my readers that you want to be more than just another blogger on the internet.
After you have done your research, you can then focus on setting up your blog, creating quality content and finally, reaching out to the audience you are targeting. Just to recap the steps you have to take:
- Do your research
- Set up your blog
- Create your niche based content
- Reach out to your audience
It’s worth noting that you cannot skip any of the above steps if you want your blog to be successful. I find that many of the readers who turn to me for assistance in improving their food blog have usually missed one or more steps. You cannot rush success, especially if you are hoping to achieve long-term profits.
Now that you know how to go about starting your own food blog, I will explain each step in detail to give a clear idea of the work and effort involved in creating a successful blog.
Research Your Niche
As I mentioned earlier on, food blogging is very popular. From organic cooking to blogs dedicated to expensive desserts, there is so much you will find when you research this niche. The good thing about venturing into such a popular market is that the chances of doing well are greater than starting a blog on a topic many people are either uninterested in or lack sufficient knowledge of. That being said, if you want to stand out from other food bloggers, you need to refine your list of topics. You can try focusing on any one of the following as a start:
- Vegan cooking
- Desserts (you can further refine this topic by focusing on a specific brand of desserts be it chocolate or exotic desserts)
- Cooking for children
- Holiday recipes
- Fitness based recipes
- Gourmet cooking
There are plenty of other topics that you can choose. Regardless of your pick, make sure that you know what you are doing and are not simple plagiarizing other people’s recipes.
Now that you have picked your blog topic, the next step is to set up your blog.
Set up Your Food Blog
I presume that by the time you reach step 2, you will have not only done thorough research on food blogging in general but you will have also chosen a specific topic to focus on that you are comfortable with and experienced at.
Successful blogging is not just about the food and recipes you share. It also depends on how well you set up your blog. I have found that a lot of people fail on this particular step, mainly because they work with the wrong tools and web hosting services. If you want to run a professional grade blog you need to follow this procedure:
Use WordPress as Your Blogging Platform
In my expert opinion, if setting up a professional blog with long term benefits is your goal, look no further than the WordPress software. You can download this software from WordPress.org free of charge. What I like about downloading the WordPress software, aside from the fact that you can do it for free, is that you can also download the WordPress themes and plugins for free.
Choose a Brandable Domain Name
The domain name will help people identify your blog. Now, many free platforms come with simple connected URLs that you can use but I have found that using a domain name gives your blog its own unique identity while enhancing its professional aesthetic. Just remember to make your domain name simple enough to remember but not too common that it might be drowned out by similar domain names.
Choose a Good Web Hosting Provider
For beginners, a web host holds all of your images, files, and content. If you have chosen to download the WordPress software you will need a trustworthy web host. I would suggest using BlueHost as it offers a lot of options that are specific to WordPress while providing storage space for your plugins and themes as well. In addition to this, BlueHost also offers 1-click WordPress installation. In just a few minutes, you can have your WordPress site up and running without any need for tedious programming.
BlueHost Web Hosting
If you are considering using BlueHost as your web host, there are several different options you can choose from. For beginners, I recommend starting with a Basic Plan. Now, this option is quite basic as its name suggests and comes with a handful of limitations. However, you can always upgrade once you get the hang of blogging. The main purpose of a Basic Plan is to help you familiarize yourself with professional blogging.
When you decide to upgrade, you can move on to a Plus Plan which offers unlimited services or a Pro Plan if you want even more services. If you want something bigger and better, I recommend upgrading to the Go Pro package which comes with many services that include your own dedicated IP address, spam protection, domain privacy and much more.
For bloggers whose traffic is too much for even the Go Pro plan, you can buy Optimized WordPress Hosting for as little as $19.99 per month. This hosting service is offered by Bluehost and comes with enough resources to handle large volumes of web traffic.
Design Your Food Blog
In order to create the general look for your blog, you will need to set up your plugins and WordPress themes:
As I mentioned before, when you download your WordPress software, it comes with free themes and plugins. In general, choosing your theme should not take you too long. Just go for something simple and try not to think too much about it.
Plugins add a certain functionality to your blog. If you are running a blog on WordPress, I recommend looking into WPMU DEV’s list of plugins you should install. They even offer niche based plugins which is important since your blog is also niche based. Plugins such as Image optimization and Pinterest buttons will help your content stand out in search engines which in turn increases the volume of traffic to your blog.
Should You use SEO for Your Food Blog?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is important if you are looking to increase traffic to your platform. I won’t go into too much detail about SEO because it is such a vast topic but here are a few things you need to know:
- If you want to learn how to optimize your blog posts but are not familiar with the general SEO language, installing a Yoast plugin will help you get started.
- To improve your Google rankings, optimize your blog for mobile phones. You can start by creating a WordPress theme that responds well to mobile phones. Remember that a lot of people prefer on-the-go internet use so if your blog is mobile friendly, more people will be able to visit it.
- Creating content that is interesting, fun, unique and relevant will help to improve your Google rankings.
Create Good Content – Amazing Recipes
Now that you have covered the technical components of how to start a food blog, the next step is to create your niche based content.
Your content is, of course, the most crucial aspect of your blog.
When many people think of content, they tend to focus on articles more than graphics and audio/video. Of course, if you prefer sharing recipes alone or just talking about your favorite foods, then you can focus on the text. However, I have found that successful blogs tend to incorporate all 3 types of content. I am not suggesting you flood your blog with pictures and videos of recipes but adding some visual representations of your text will definitely attract more readers. For beginners unsure of how to structure their content just remember:
- Always make sure that your content is unique. Since food blogging is so popular, there is a chance that your recipes have been posted elsewhere. The goal, in this case, is to present them in a different and fascinating manner that will attract readers even if they are familiar with the food.
- Follow the golden rule: Do Not Plagiarize! Copying directly from another blogger is grounds for punishment by Google which will affect your rankings.
- Add pictures for your recipes and ideas. Seeing an image of a recipe if drastically different from reading a description. Visual representations enhance the appeal of your food which attracts more people to your blog. You can even share a video of yourself showing how you make the recipe.
In general, as long as your content is unique and creative, you should be able to attract a lot of readers to your blog. I do advise every food blogger to plan ahead. It’s much easier as a professional blogger if you plan out your content months in advance instead of randomly posting whatever comes to your mind as you go.
Reach out to Your Audience
Once you have set up your blog and created content, the next step is to reach out to your audience. Even in the early stages of your posting, you should be working hard to draw more people to your blog. I have already discussed the importance of SEO to improve your rankings and attract more followers.
Besides SEO, you should take advantage of social media platforms. Posting pictures from your blog on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook is a good way of reaching out to people. Many professionals use social media to promote their blogs because it is a free, simple and easily accessible means of promotion.
I hope that now you are a bit more educated on how to start a food blog. Despite having so many key steps that you should follow, starting a food blog is not a complex process. All you need are unique ideas and some good internet access to get you going and you should be well on your way to becoming a professional among other professionals.
All in all, remember to have fun with your blog and do not stress too much about what other people are doing. At the end of the day, it is your blog and the most important thing is that you enjoy what you are doing.