Are you wondering how to start a food blog? If so, you came to the right place.
Before I talk about how to do that, I want to first disclose that this post contains affiliate links to products and services I use and recommend if you’re starting a food blog of your own.
I started Good for You Gluten Free – my food blog – in September 2014, and I must admit, the learning curve has been steep. With a small start-up budget, I had to spend my money wisely and only use tools that were most cost effective to me.
To save money, I decided to venture into the food blogging world by teaching myself how to build a WordPress site. Of course I ran into snafus along the way, but I wanted to share my story for those of you who are aspiring food bloggers like me.
Over the last several years, I have learned so much about how to do everything. Today, I want to today share with you some of the tools that enabled me to start a food blog on my own as well as maintain my food blog over the years.
P.S. I am continually adding to this as I discover new and exciting tools and services to use too.
Start a Food Blog: Set Up
Domain and Hosting: You are going to want to purchase a URL (domain) name and set up with a host for your site. You can do both of these things on Big Scoots. I used to use BlueHost for my hosting – but after a year and a very very slow site, I decided to make the switch to Big Scoots. (Many bloggers will push you into BlueHost because they offer large kick-backs, but I find BigScoots much faster – and site speed is everything!) The support team at Big Scoots is incredible too – they are very responsive and helped me switch from BlueHost quickly and efficiently.
Tesla Themes: You can quickly get a great WordPress theme in place by using a template. A theme template is a predesigned WordPress site that is customizable to your preferences (as long as you work within the theme’s general framework). Look for themes that are mobile responsive. I use the Genesis theme for this site. Find other Responsive WordPress Themes here.
Codeable: If you run into WordPress trouble and need WordPress support, try Codeable. Sign up, post your “project” and receive bids almost immediately. I found someone who would spend a few hours troubleshooting my site and fixing all the quirks I inevitably came across. Remember, the WordPress learning curve is steep, but Codeable can provide that tech support you need from time to time without breaking the bank.
Recipe Plugin: I bought the Cooked – A Super-Powered Recipe Plugin to help organize and categorize my recipe collection. This is a must-have in my opinion and best to have from the very start so you’re not going through old recipes trying to organize them once you get serious about food blogging.
The Logo Boutique: The Logo Boutique is where I purchased my logo. They professionally designed it for me and it only cost me $75. I think they did a good job and I still use the logo they designed for me to this day! The logo enabled me to have a clean, professional feel from day one.
Start a Food Blog: Social Media Schedulers
CoSchedule: This is a fantastic tool to use to help you schedule your blog posts to appear on social media. Most bloggers share their content once, but CoSchedule enables you to share it many times so it gets maximum exposure. This is a must for anyone who wants to simplify their social media efforts and grow the pageviews of their blog. Learn more about CoSchedule here.
BoardBooster: BoardBooster is a must-have tool if you’re serious about Pinterest. Food bloggers definitely should be pinning a lot on Boardbooster. Sign up for a subscription (at $5 per month, it can’t be beat!) and learn how to automate your pinning strategy, grow your pinboards, board followers and more! Here’s where you can sign up and learn more about Boardbooster. I use it every day (actually, I set it up and it’s working everyday with little effort on my part!)
Start a Food Blog: Education
The best ways to promote a food blog include a Pinterest strategy and an email list building strategy. You can learn these lessons from the best teacher around – Melyssa Griffin. Melyssa’s List Surge class helped me go from about 15o subscribers to 1,000+ subscribers in less than three months – seriously! You can also learn so much from her Pinfinite growth Pinterest course. Because of many of the lessons I learned from Melyssa, Pinterest is my #2 source of traffic, second only to SEO. Check out Melyssa’s classes here.
Start a Food Blog: Design & Photography
Photography: Learn how to take stunning blog photos. Click here to visit Pinch of Yum – Tasty Food Photography eBook. This awesome ebook show you how to take incredible photos and make your blog shine – and it’s just a small investment for learning the ropes from an experienced and successful bloggers like Pinch of Yum.
PicMonkey: PicMonkey is a simple tool that allows you to refine your photos. You can upload it and simply add color or sharpness, or you can add text and designs to your photos as well. I also use PicMonkey to create photo collages and pin-worthy creations. It’s so easy to use even with zero design experience. I highly recommend this tool if you’re a newbie photographer. It’s the perfect photo editing tool for food bloggers. Visit PicMonkey to learn more and sign up. I think I pay about $30 per year to keep my PicMonkey account going. So. Worth. It.
Canva: I’m able to create beautiful social media graphics (and pins for Pinterest) using Canva. Most services are free – you just pay if you want to purchase stock images.
Camera: You can use your iPhone or a basic point and shoot. You can download Lightroom on your phone for editing photos with ease. It’s free. I’ve learned that it’s not the camera, it’s the person that makes the picture. That said, this is my dream camera if anyone wants to buy it for me.
Start a Food Blog: Newsletters
MailChimp: MailChimp is an easy to use tool to host your email newsletter subscriber list and for sending out blast and automated emails. It’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers, then you’ll transition into the pay models. Learn more about MailChimp here. (Don’t forget to learn about how to build your list in the List Surge course.)
MailMunch: MailMunch is a free tool (although premium tools are available for a fee) that allows you to put a little pop-up message that appears when visitors come to your page. It’s likely you saw my pop-up message when you visited my site – asking you to sign up for my newsletter. Within 2 days of setting up MailMunch, I gained 13 new subscribers. That may not seem like a ton, but in over a year I had only 60 subscribers. This works fast to grow your list and MailMunch integrates with most email providers, like iContact, MailChimp, AWeber and more. Check out MailMunch online for more info.
Start a Food Blog: Affiliate Marketing
A great way to make passive income from blogging is through affiliate marketing. When someone clicks on an affiliate link and then purchases the product or service, you get a percentage of the sale. The reader pays the same price regardless if they went through your link or not. It’s the vendor that pays you for the referral. Two GREAT affiliate programs are Share-a-Sale and Awin. I encourage you to sign up for both!