This post contains affiliate links to products and services I highly recommend if you’re starting a food blog or any blog on your own.
I started Good for You Gluten Free 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 year and half, I have learned so much about how to do this and that. I want to today share with you some of the tools that enabled me to start Good For You Gluten Free. I will add to this as I discover new and exciting tools and services to use too.
Tools to Help Start and Grow My Blog:
BlueHost: BlueHost is a great place to get started with your food blog, as this is the place where you’ll want to register your domain and email services. (Your domain is your URL or web address, for example, goodforyouglutenfree.com.) I work with BlueHost to host this blog and other websites I manage too, so I definitely recommend it and believe BlueHost offers the best price and value. New BlueHost customers even get a discounted price (less than $5 per month for 30 months) and the company offers a money-back guarantee, giving you the freedom to cancel at any time for a prorated refund. Click here to learn more about BlueHost’s services if you’re interested in starting your own blog. (Contains affiliate link)
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 responsible. I used Tesla Themes to purchase my iCook WordPress site theme – find other Responsive WordPress Themes here. (Contains affiliate link)
Codeable: 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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I use all these sources mentioned to develop the Good For You Gluten Free food blog website, and I share this information with you to help you on your journey to be a food blogger like me!