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How to Start a Food Blog: A Complete Guide

If you’ve decided that your passion for food is worth pursuing, then you probably want to start a food blog — or at least learn about what it takes to become a successful food blogger to make up your mind.

Either way, you’ve come to the right place! Today’s article is a complete guide on how to start a food blog. From choosing a niche and naming the blog, all the way to promoting and monetizing your content, we’re here to walk you through every step of the process.

1. Choose a Food Blog Niche and Name

The very first step of creating a food blog is figuring out your niche. If you observe any successful food blog, you’ll see it focuses on a specific niche and sticks to providing relative content to that niche.

start a food blog

Why choose a food blog niche

Well, because if you dab into everything, you won’t be remembered for anything. If you keep things random, you won’t be the go-to blog for a certain cuisine or style of cooking.

With a niche-oriented food blog, your readers will have a good idea of what to expect. They’ll trust that you know what you’re doing because you mostly talk about that specific area. So when they have a question about it, it’s you who they’re going to ask.

How to choose a niche for a food blog

The question now is, what food niche should you pick? The key is to choose something you’re passionate about and won’t get bored of pursuing. Selecting a niche that you love also makes it easier for you to keep creating content and coming up with new ideas to incorporate into your blog.

Luckily, there are tons of food and food-related niche ideas, so finding one for your blog shouldn’t be too much trouble. Here are a few examples of food blog niches to get you started:

  • Few-ingredient meals
  • Quick desserts
  • Vegan dinners
  • Affordable recipes for students

While deciding on a niche, keep in mind that being more specific is better. Also, don’t pick something with absolutely no competition because if it’s not being talked about, chances are it’s not interesting enough to lots of readers.

That won’t be very profitable now, is it?

Instead, go for topics that are talked about but have nowhere to call home. A good idea here would be surveying different forums to find out what people are currently into.

Of course, you won’t find that everyone is invested in the same area of food. To narrow down your choices, make a list of the 3 most popular niches that you also have a passion for.

Then, for each of these niches, make a new list of topics you can discuss and create content around. From here, choose the richest niche with the most ideas. This way, you’ll be able to pump out content regularly.

Finally, ask yourself the following:

  • Am I passionate about this niche?
  • Do I see myself talking about it one year from now?
  • Are people searching for topics that niche online?
  • Can it make me money? Does it offer room for participating in affiliate programs or selling digital niche-related products later on?

If the answer is yes to all of the above questions, then congratulations, you got yourself a food blog niche!

How to choose a food blog name

Giving your food blog a good name is one of the most crucial steps you’ll encounter when starting brand new. You need to put quite a lot of thought into the process of naming your food blog because that name has to accomplish multiple goals as follows:

  • Your food blog’s name should be catchy and easy to recall
  • Your food blog’s name should be meaningful
  • Your food blog’s name should be unique to stand out among the ocean of other food blogs online.

To help you choose a food blog name, we decided to share a few tips on how to come up with a name that’ll check all the boxes we listed above.

1. Decide your food blog niche first

Giving your food blog a name should happen after you’ve decided on the niche you’ll be talking about. Trying to come up with a name before knowing exactly the type of food blog you’ll be starting is simply not going to work.

You need to figure out your specific niche so you can pick a name that doesn’t only clue readers in about the content you’ll be uploading but also stands out among competitors and the millions of other blogs on the web.

2. Draw inspiration from already existing food blogs

Once you’ve decided on your food blog niche, search for other blogs online that belong to the same niche. This will help you get an idea of the type of names that are popular among readers.

Check if there’s a theme in common between names or a certain number of syllables that seems to catch on quickly with people. You may notice a shared structure in those popular names, so you may want to apply the same structure when coming up with yours.

Seeking inspiration from other successful food blogs won’t just help you in naming your blog, but it can also be a great opportunity for you to find some elements design- and content-wise that’d be beneficial to add to your blog.

3. Create a word bank of vocabulary related to food and your blog niche

Once you’re done getting inspiration, it’s time to sit down and do some brainstorming. Create a vocabulary bank of words related to your blog’s specific niche as well as food in general.

Such brainstorming sessions are an effective method of coming up with as many ideas as possible until you have a hefty bag to pull from. This allows you great freedom to play around with combinations of words until you find one that clicks!

The best way to create a word bank is by making two separate lists: one for general words related to cooking, kitchen, eating, and food, and one for words focusing on your specific niche.

Be sure not to exclude anything that pops into your head. Write down or type whatever words or phrases you can think of — just let them flow.

If you’re planning on using a name generator for your food blog, having a rich word bank at your disposal can be a huge help as you get to feed it different words you like and wait for it to spit out various name ideas.

4. Stay away from generic word choices

Next, you should review your lists of words and try to make them as non-generic as possible. This means taking out the words that seem too general or “regular”.

One helpful tool you can use to spice up your word bank and include a few more interesting options is a thesaurus. There are several thesaurus websites online that can help you with this task.

5. Mix and match to formulate the ideal food blog name

With your extensive lists of words, it’s finally time for you to mix and match words until you arrive at a name that you love.

This may take a while, so be prepared to spend some time trying out a lot of word combinations. You don’t want to jump on the first decent option that comes up. Instead, simply save it and continue trying other combinations of words.

This will give you a chance to compare the names so you can pick the best one. During this step, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use other add-on words such as conjunctions to better round out the combination of words. But make sure this part sounds natural and not forced.
  • When mixing and matching words, use words from your general list with your niche-related words to give readers a quick idea of what you usually talk about in your blog.
  • Try to use alliteration. This is a fantastic way to get your food blog’s name stuck in people’s heads. Just think of how easily you can recall franchise names like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts. This also applies to food blogs such as the popular Budget Bytes and Love and Lemons.
  • Don’t be afraid to play with your words. People are more likely to remember a blog’s name with an interesting play on words like a play on words or a pun than a “safe” name.
  • Include your name in the mix. This can spice up your name generation process and it’s more common than you think in the world of blogs. Throwing your name into your food blog’s name can give it a personal feel that many people like and associate with trustworthiness.

2. Set Up Your Food Blog

start a food blog

We’re now at the most technical part of starting a food blog, which is setting it up to go online. This stage is critical in the success of your food blog because it determines how readers see and interact with your content. So without further ado, let’s discuss how to set up your food blog:

Step 1: Buy the domain name

Now that you’ve chosen a name for your food blog, try not to get too attached until you make sure it’s available as a domain name. The standard domain suffix is “.com” and you may need to try a few potential names till you land one that’s available in .com.

Remember not to include hyphens or any special punctuation marks in your domain name. You want to keep it as simple as possible so it’s easy to remember.

Step 2: Find a web hosting service

Next, you need to seek a reliable web host to support your food blog website. We recommend you subscribe to an affordable hosting plan at first, preferably one that installs WordPress automatically like Bluehost.

There are a bunch of details you need to consider when choosing a web hosting service, so be sure to do your homework first. Examples of reliable web hosts include GoDaddy and Bluehost.

Step 3: Install WordPress

WordPress is a standard blogging software in the industry. The ease of this step depends on the web hosting service you subscribed to.

If you got one that automatically installs WordPress like Bluehost, then you’re good to go right away. If not, you can manually install WordPress from the company’s website. Either way, it won’t cost you extra money.

Once you’ve installed WordPress and logged into your site, open ‘Settings’ then ‘Permalink Settings’. On this page, select the permalink structure to be ‘Post name’ so that each permalink links to a specific post.

start a food blog

Click ‘Save’. Now get ready to make your food blog look stylish.

Step 4: Choose a WordPress theme

This is one of the more fun steps in your food blog setup journey. Here’s how to install a WordPress theme:

  1. Hover your cursor over ‘Appearance’ in the sidebar.
  2. Select ‘Themes’. Choose whether you want to browse the available free themes or upload a theme.
  3. Hover your cursor over any theme to get links for previewing and installing it.

The look and feel of your food blog directly depend on your WordPress theme. So, you must choose wisely. To help you pick the right theme for your website, here’s a list of points to consider:

  • Your theme needs to have a well-thought design, meaning it should look up to your standards while providing enough features for a user-friendly experience for both the creator (that’s you!) and the readers. Not to mention, it should be coded by an expert who knows their stuff.
  • Your theme should be responsive. This will allow your readers to smoothly view and interact with your site regardless of the platform they’re using (smartphone, computer, or tablet). We all know how annoying it can be when you have to zoom and pinch over the screen to read posts properly.
  • Your theme should be optimized to rank high in search results. This goes hand in hand with the aspect of a well-designed theme since such themes will have no issues appearing frequently in the top spots of search results.
  • Your theme should be creator-friendly. This means including simple, built-in design options to allow content creators and blog owners to customize their sites and change basic elements without having to deal with complex coding. This will save you tons of time and frustration!
  • Your theme needs to offer helpful customer support so whenever you encounter technical problems, you can get solutions as soon as possible.

In addition to the tips above, we have some tips to help you ensure the design of your food blog is user-friendly. You can apply them when you’re selecting the settings of your WordPress theme:

  • Make sure all the elements of your site’s design are clean and clutter-free to provide a smooth navigation experience. This helps visitors quickly find what they came for.
  • Incorporate the following elements in all your site’s pages: RSS feed prominent links, email subscription feature, and social media shortcuts after each post to facilitate sharing your content.
  • Enable commenting without asking readers to log in or require CAPTCHAs.

Step 5: Sign up to Google and set up tools

The next step in setting up your food blog is to sign up to Google and create an email address with Gmail.

Your food blog is better off with a separate account and email because this adds to its credibility and professionalism. Don’t go using an old account and email that you use personally or for other work.

Once you have your Google account and email ready, you can set up the following tools:

  • To help you gain a deeper insight into your audience and keep track of your site traffic, set up Google Analytics.
  • To help make sure your food blog is working properly, set up Google Search Console.

Step 6: Download and install WordPress plugins

The final step of setting up your food blog is to polish up your site by downloading and installing WordPress plugins. Here’s how:

  • On your WordPress dashboard, locate ‘Plugins’ in the sidebar.
  • Hover your cursor over ‘Plugins’ then select ‘Add New’.
  • Find the ‘Search Plugins’ option and type in the name of the plugin you want to download and install.
  • Once the search result appears and you find the plugin, click ‘Install Now’ and proceed as directed to configure the settings of the plugin.

Plugins can be quite valuable as they often provide features that may not be included by default in your WordPress theme. Here are a few plugins we recommend considering for your food blog:

  • Tasty Recipes — although this plugin costs some cash, the services it offers are well worth the price. You get a beautiful format for your recipes with smooth scaling, star ratings, search engine optimization (SEO), a print-friendly layout, and a lot more. Not to mention, this plugin helps promote the appearance of your recipe’s photo in search results, which makes readers more likely to click on your blog and check out what you have to say.
  • Yoast SEO — helps you tackle the bases of SEO, which can be a complicated department for content creators and blog owners to deal with when first starting. Keep in mind that you’ll need to invest some time to complete all the setup steps to get it running smoothly. Don’t forget to use this plugin to set up the Google tools we talked about in the previous step.
  • jQuery Pin It Button For Images — allows your visitors to easily pin images on your site via a ‘Pin It’ button that shows up when you hover over any picture.

Very straightforward to use, this plugin lets you choose which images you want to feature the ‘Pin It’ button, which images you don’t, the source of the pin description, as well as whether or not you want the button on the home page, certain pages, specific posts, or category pages.

What’s more, you get to select the level of transparency according to your needs and even use your preferred design of the Pinterest button.

  • Akismet —  reviews comments to filter out spam, preventing the publishing of malicious content on your blog. The best part? It’s free and doesn’t require CAPTCHAs.
  • A plugin for Share Buttons — you can easily find a bookmarking plugin for social media platforms that’ll add share buttons for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. This is necessary to help spread the word about your food blog.
  • Subscribe To Comments Reloaded — when you reply to a visitor’s comment, this plugin will have the visitor receive your reply via email. This feature can be rather beneficial in boosting engagement.

3. Create the Content and Start Blogging!

Now that your food blog is all set up, what you need to do next is create the content so you can start blogging. To make things easier for you, we’ll talk about the content you need to put up in two main categories: written and visual.

How to create written content

Before all else, you need to know how to properly write a recipe. After all, recipes are the cornerstone of any food blog.

First, you should write the name of the recipe. Then, you should include the following details if appropriate: number of servings, serving size, prepare time, and total time.

Next, comes the core of the recipe, which consists of two main parts: the list of ingredients and the preparation instructions. Here are some general guidelines and tips for writing each section:

The ingredient list

  • All the ingredients should be listed in the order you use them in the step-by-step directions for preparation.
  • If in line with the order of use, the most important ingredients should be listed before the less significant ones.
  • Keep consistent about the format of your measurements. For example, if you use abbreviations for units such as tbsp for tablespoon, keep using the same abbreviations throughout the entire recipe.
  • If the recipe consists of multiple elements, divide the ingredient list using a heading for each element. For example, the ingredient list for a pie recipe should be divided into ‘crust’ and ‘filling’.
  • If the recipe calls for the use of multiple ingredients at the same time (for example, when mixing dry ingredients in baking), list the ingredients by volume where the largest volume goes first.
  • Never type two numerals back to back. In this case, you must separate the second value in parenthesis. You’ll often encounter this when talking about the sizes of containers or packages.
  • For ingredients that start with a letter rather than a number, capitalize the first letter only.
  • If the recipe calls for easily prepared ingredients such as chopped carrots or beaten eggs, list the technique next to the ingredient in the list. For example, “1 large carrot, chopped” or “1 tablespoon butter, melted”.
  • If the recipe calls for the same ingredient to be multiple times, the ingredient list should mention the total amount of that ingredient at the spot where it’s first used according to the instructions, followed by the word ‘divided’. Then, in the preparation portion of the recipe, specify the amount used of the ingredient when it comes up in each step. place in the ingredient list where it is first used, then add “divided.” In the method part of the recipe, indicate the amount used at each step.
  • Always call ingredients with their generic names, not their brand names.

The preparation instructions

  • Mention the size of the cookware whenever helpful. For example, “a large saucepan or a small mixing bowl”.
  • Be as concise and to the point as you can. There’s no need to write full sentences.
  • Whenever you’re writing instructions cooking on a stove-top, indicate the heat level.
  • State the cooking times, whether approximate or exact. Include descriptions to hint at the doneness if applicable. For example, “Fry 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown”.
  • Like you did with the ingredient list if the recipe calls for multiple elements, divide the instructions using a heading for each element. For example, the preparation steps for a pie recipe should be broken up into ‘crust’ and ‘filling’.
  • Each step should be a paragraph on its own. For example, if you’re talking about cutting dough to make different cookie shapes, all the directions for that step should be in one paragraph.
  • Save the serving directions till the last step. This includes garnishing, plating, and serving temperature.
  • If there are instructions related to storage, these should be in the very best step.

Non-recipe content

If you’re wondering what else you can write besides recipes, you have two major directions to consider: writing about the food itself or sharing stories.

Writing about food

Here are a few ideas of writing materials surrounding food itself:

  • Tips on how to perfect certain cooking techniques.
  • Tips regarding the storage of various foods.
  • Talk about your favorite ingredients in specific categories.
  • Talk about traditional ingredients and preparation methods of a recipe.
Sharing food-related stories

Here are a few ideas for how to relate stories to food:

  • Write a story describing what made you want to make the recipe.
  • Write a story about what inspired you to make the recipe or what it means to you.
  • Write a story about the person who gave you the recipe from when they served it to you.
  • Write a story about the event or season associated with the recipe.

How to create visual content

In addition to recipes and food talk, a successful food blog should also feature visual content. This mainly consists of pictures of food, so we decided to give you a few tips to help you get started with food photography:

  • Try to take photos of food only in natural lighting. Avoid using the flash on your phone or camera, lamps, or overhead lights.
  • Take several test shots from different angles to make sure you find the best lighting. Move around the food and remember that you don’t have to take photos in the kitchen only. The lighting may be best in your living room in the morning and your bedroom in the afternoon.
  • Be sure to take several photos from various orientations (top, side, and angled views) so you can pick your favorite shots when it’s time to post.
  • Keep clutter around the food to a minimum. This means removing unnecessary items from the shot such as utensils, napkins, ingredients’ containers, or anything else that doesn’t add to the aesthetics of the image.
  • While you want to focus on the most important part of the dish, don’t zoom in so much that visitors can’t recognize the food.
  • If your pictures often come out blurry, try the following:
    • Train yourself to hold the camera with a steadier grip.
    • Mount your camera on a tripod that supports remote control.
    • Try taking shots with a higher shutter speed by opening up your aperture and/or finding a room that lets in more light.
  • If the colors of the food in your pictures are often not true to life, you can resolve the issue via image editing software. In many cases, adjusting the white balance of the photo can fix your food looking too pink, yellow, green, or blue. Also, try the RAW format in shooting to make it easier to adjust the color balance when editing later on.

4. Promote Your Blog and Grow Your Audience

Now that you’ve started blogging and pumping out high-quality content, you need to promote your food blog to gain a wider audience. Contrary to what most people think, the most important popularity metric is the number of followers, not the number of page views.

Here are some pointers to help you drive traffic to your site:

  • Use SEO tactics to rank high in search results. Although this is one of the most effective ways to boost traffic, it’s also one of the most challenging because competition is usually quite stiff.
  • Promote your blog on traditional media platforms such as magazines and newspapers. A lot of folks say that these platforms are outdated, but food blogs that get featured on such mediums get much more exposure than ones that don’t.
  • Share your blog on social media. This is probably the easiest way to get the word out about your food blog since there’s a whole bunch of social media sites with millions of people on them. Not to mention, most social sites offer paid promotion services to ensure your content reaches the audience that finds it most relevant.
  • Employ email marketing to keep people who don’t browse the web every day engaged.
  • Do guest posts on already established blogs. This is a wonderful way to build connections in the industry and widen your target audience.

How to Use Social Media to Promote your Food Blog

The following are the top 4 social media networks where you should focus your promotional materials:

  • Facebook — with more than 2 billion active users per month, this social network is invaluable when it comes to promoting content and growing your followers count. You can use it to post in relevant groups,  start a page for your blog, and do targeted ads.
  • Twitter — use it to start conversations with individuals who share your interest, link posts back to your blog, as well as reply to questions from potential collaborators and followers.
  • Instagram — you can share pretty pictures of your recipes to attract millions of visual-oriented users on this site.
  • Pinterest — as a search engine that relies on visuals, this is probably the biggest traffic source for bloggers. You can use it to feature pins that link visitors to your blog.

5. Monetize Your Food Blog

Once you begin generating good traffic, go through the following methods to make money off of your food blog:

  • Allow ads to appear on your site using programs and plugins such as Google AdSense and WordPress Ad-inserter.
  • Consider being an Amazon affiliate where you directly link your visitors to products available on Amazon.
  • Sign up for affiliate programs with other websites and services that are relevant to the content you present and your audience. For example, a fresh meat delivery subscription or a vegan food delivery subscription.
  • Consider creating and selling digital product related to your niche like recipe e-books, meal plans and shopping lists.
  • Finally, when your food blog is established with a solid base of visitors, you can feature sponsored posts for companies looking to promote their products to foodies and get reviews from popular food bloggers to gain market credit.

Check out this article later for more ways to monetize your blog.

Wrap Up

As you can tell by now, you need to invest time, energy, and money to start a food blog. Becoming a successful food blogger doesn’t just happen when you post recipes and wait around, it’s a whole process that requires you to do a lot of research in departments of web design, marketing, and finance.

But as complicated and frustrating it can be, starting a food blog is a fantastic way to develop a wide set of skills (inside and outside the kitchen), share your passion for food, make extra money, and most importantly, have fun!

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