Well! This is it! I have been a blogger for a whole 1 1/2 years! Isn’t that exciting!
I am not sure if I am getting ahead of myself here… But I am going to share my knowledge with the world! Are you ready?
Want to start a food blog but don’t know where to start? I know how frustrating it can be to deal with technical stuff when you really just want to share that killer recipe and have some readers and feedback. Whether you want to start a blog, or you want to become a more successful food blogger, I hope these tips will ease your technical troubles.
Let me tell you a secret: when I first started blogging, I read every article on Google about it, I did everything every article said, and did it work? yes. (with lots of time) At the end of this post I will tell you everything you need to know, you will only need to read this blog post and you will know every thing.
1. Name your blog:
If you are going to have a food blog, you might as well have a name ready for it 🙂 This step will be very hard.To make it easier:
- Think of your content/ style
- think of your color scheme
- think about you and what you want to be
Remember that you have to pay for a real domain! Or you can try a free website host… Please remember for the rest of this post I will be referring to the costly self hosted method
2. Buy a domain name
I recommend you buy a domain that is simple and easy to remember… They typically end in .com if you are interested in checking to see if your domain is available check out this webpage: https://www.bluehost.com/domains
You can purchase your domain from many places. I would not recommend bluehost for this, you have many other options. Just check on blue-host to make sure you can have the domain.
Good News: None of this is sponsored
I really recommend investing in your own website host and/ or on your own server… There is a free option in: google sites, wordpress, and many more (wix, godaddy) I first started with google sites and it is not a recommended option. never start a site with google sites unless you must…
4. Install WordPress
I found that wordpress is the best option to download on your server! The best part: It comes with plugins and so much comment control! I will continue by assuming that you are using wordpress 🙂
5. WordPress Themes
I love Themes! They are the key to a glamorous website design! There are so many options to invest in:
- Free wordpress theme (these are great) I have been using one for a long time.
- Costly web themes (these are even more beautiful but can be price: $20-$300)
- and finally: website design (I found that Purr design is common amongst food bloggers)
Here is what you want in your theme:
- Well designed: Your theme should suit your aesthetic and offer the features you want. The theme should also be coded by someone who knows what they’re doing.
- Responsive. Responsive designs are built to provide an optimal viewing experience for your visitors, whether they’re visiting from their computer, phone or tablet. That means your visitors won’t have to pinch and zoom to read your posts—your text will already be a legible size.
- Optimized for search results: This goes along with the last couple of points, because a well-designed site will naturally rank higher in search results than a site built on a theme that is full of errors. (Want to know if you potential theme has coding errors? Run its URL through the W3C’s markup validation service. You don’t have to understand what all the errors mean, but know that fewer errors are better than more errors.)
- User friendly: Find a theme that offers built-in design options so you don’t have to edit code to change basic stuff. These features will save you a ton of time. Your theme should make it easy for you to change your logo, color scheme, etc. I really liked the theme that I am currently using, however, the colors were not suiting my blog well so I had to manually code a bit of CSS.
- Backed by great support: When you experience technical issues, a responsive support team and/or community forums are invaluable resources.
6. Have a mailing List
My mailing list has helped me over time. Think about it. If your a food blogger and some one finds your recipe and they like it they will remember you. When they come across you again and they like your recipe a lot, they may subscribe. This helps you retain users. This means they may just be interested in more of your recipes. Make sure that you do not send more than 2 emails per week. People can unsubscribe. Send consistently, frequently, but not too much. If you are looking for a free and amazing (customizable) mailing list I recommend mailjet
Tips for designing a user-friendly food blog
When you’re tweaking the settings on your WordPress theme, keep the following in mind.
- Clear navigation: Keep your blog design clean and uncluttered, so visitors can find what they’re looking for. I recommend a few venues that are visible but not overwhelming! I have a top navigation with 3 important links. I also have a middle navigation bar with about 5-10 links. I have some links in the side bar to encourage users to click. Finally, I have some more in my footer. If you take a look around it is not overwhelming, but rather, it encourages the reader to click. Tip: use categories and put your posts into them.
- Encourage following: Place prominent links to your feed, email subscription option and social media on every page.
- Commenting: Don’t require CAPTCHAs or ask visitors to login first. You probably won’t get much comments other than ones from children if you do.
- Suggest sharing: Provide social media sharing buttons at the end of each post. I later found out that social media brings lots of traffic. I do not have any blog social media, however, buttons will help you as it encourages the reader to share it themselves.
6. Install Plugins:
Here are the best plugins for food bloggers:
Please note: There may be more plugins that you need
- Akismet: Filters out spam comments without requiring CAPTCHA. Nobody likes CAPTCHA.
- WP Recipe maker: Formats your recipes for search engine optimization (SEO), adds star ratings, creates print-friendly recipes, and more. This plugin will help your recipe’s photo show up in the search results, and we’re all more likely to click on those links, right?
- Share Buttons of some sort: There are many social bookmarking plugins that will add a Facebook like button, Pin-It button, etc. to each post. Pick your favorite! I am currently using AddtoAny it is very simple but I am sure that there are many more better options please leave a comment of you know of a prettier and cleaner one.
- Comment reply Notification: With this plugin, your commenters will receive your replies to their comments by email. This is a helpful feature for readers and improves engagement. There was one thing nobody told me when I first started blogging: That my commenters don’t see my replies unless they happen to really care (honestly, how likely are you to return to a random blog for an answer you can find elsewhere?)
- Yoast SEO: SEO is a complicated, but, this plug-in will help you make sure you have covered your bases. You will need to take the time to go through all the steps and set it up properly, though. Be sure to use it to set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console. It will be worth the effort!
- WordPress Related Posts Thumbnails: This one helps your readers find a recipe that they may like more and makes readers have a reason to come back and try a recipe!
7. Start your blog
all that is left is blogging! Congratulations!!! Now you’re ready to start publishing posts on your new food blog.! If you want to watch your traffic, try google analytics. you will need it to stay up with trends and see how many users you have. It is very easy to install and easy to use check it out!
I am no expert, I just thought that it would be great to share some helpful tips to some other beginners out there! One last thing: Plan out your time and make sure that you give your blog time, and to invest in it!
Pro Tip: if you ever need ideas try google trends! 🙂
Every thing you need to know for a successful blog:
- It does not happen in a month. or a few. or even a year. Most blogs say: “It does not happen over night” they are right. But it hardly happens in a year! I just started getting real traffic (like a few thousand) on my blog less then 3 months ago and I am still investing more and more into my blog. So my first tip is just go with it: focus. write. publish. repeat. Traffic will come. Even if you do everything they say it will take quite a while for real traffic. Do not be discouraged.
- Write REALLY good recipes. Whether you’re a new blogger or just a beginner one, you won’t have more than 500 users. Eventually, one of those users will try your recipes, they might even leave a review. (Please, If this person is your family member or friend, it does not count!!)
- Take good Photos. There are 2 types of bloggers. One who spends so much money on their photography. Another, who hopes no one will notice how bad theirs is. I fall into the latter. We eat with our eyes. I promise this is not a lie. You do not have to have equipment, use your phone it will look great! Take good photos, please and thank you!
- Reply to comments: I reply to comments even if they are on posts that from years ago. I promise, people will visit your old recipe every day and SOME have questions. reply. You will get better reviews. Please and thank you!
- Make it easy to comment on your blog. Again: No CAPTCHAs or required logins, please. Find a way to let your commenters know that they are appreciated, whether that’s by emailing them privately, responding to their comment publicly or by commenting on their blogs.
- Quality is quantity: Every article I read says something different its either quality or quantity. Why not both? It has taken me 5 hours to write this blog post and I still publish up to 10 recipes every month that are of high quality. Do the same and build your archive with QUALITY. This may apply for some not all, we are busy after all 🙂
- Use the Internet: The Internet is a crazy place. It can be of use to you. When I first started I did not use any social accounts. You do not have to follow this point but it can be helpful. If you do not want to use your social, install social share buttons and your readers will do the rest (I had to go through 7 of them to find the perfect social buttons for my blog) You can also comment on other blogs and hope that they are willing to click! (Leave a link to your new blog if you started one! I would love to check it out and I am sure my other readers will too)
- Be Genuine and Authentic: Use your own recipes and photos. Try your best to use your own recipes and photos. know how hard it can be but in reality: if they can find the recipe on another blog that is already successful why come to yours? It is the hard truth. If you need images and yours do not look so good there are plenty of food photography videos out there you can also use Unsplash. HEY—BEFORE YOU GO, you can always use my recipes and photos if you write in a tiny font a link back to me and mentioning that it is not your own. Thank you
- Keep your site design clean and easy to navigate. Clutter detracts from your content. I have been trying my best to not have any ads and have a nice and sleek web design. What do you think?
- Post on a regular basis.Whether that’s every day, once a week or once every other week, don’t let your blog look abandoned, Users take less than 5 seconds to decide if they should leave your blog
- Be you: Enthusiasm is infectious, so don’t be afraid to show it people like looking into each other’s lives. They want to see that you are human too, for example have you ever wondered who is behind allrecipes or Tasty? people go their for recipes but humans always need a doze of human. One of the coolest things about blogging is that you can connect with people who share the love for, say, cookies!!
Quick note. I work alone. I develope recipes, make videos, edit videos, take photos, write my blog posts and write my emails all by myself. And I love what do! Make sure you love blogging and make sure that you are always proud of it. It can be a bit hard to blog consistently, but stick to a time, but not too much posts. If blogging becomes too hard take a break (write a post about it to let your readers know) or hire some temporary help from a friend or family member. I always recommend that you write your own blog posts and reply to comments by yourself in your own voice, manner and love for this hobby and job. Thank you
If you need more blog readers leave a comment, I will gladly advertise for you 🙂
Leave a comment if you have any questions or comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org