So, you want to start your own food blog, but you are not sure where to start or how this would work. Well, no worries, we have all been there. Starting your own food blog can be a daunting task, and it can be extremely frustrating if you don’t know where to start.
Most food bloggers have all these amazing recipe ideas and don’t want to deal with the technical stuff of building a food blog. We have decided to create our own manual on how to create your own food blog for those novice food bloggers out there.
Are You Ready to Start Your Own Food Blog?
You have a couple of options.
You can hire somebody to do it for you. This means you can employ somebody to do all the work for you – setting up the domain, uploading the blog software, creating the emails, designing the website, do the online marketing and even uploading the content. All of this obviously does not come cheap and in most cases can cost thousands of dollars. Moreover, if you need their services after they have built the blog for you, the designer/developer may put you on a retainer. So, if you have the money, then yes, I would go with a designer. Just remember, before you employ somebody to build a blog for you, you need to ask questions on what exactly they will do for you and what you’re getting for your money. (Also, please remember to ask for references before you sign up).
You can do it yourself. You can opt for the DIY option. You build it yourself. This is why we created this guide on how to start your own food blog, for those that would like to do it themselves and learn from the process. Doing it yourself does not cost much. It will cost as little as $3 per month, and you can get a free theme if you’re just starting out. Free themes may seem a bit generic, but if you start making money from your blog, you can always purchase a theme. WordPress food blog theme prices go anywhere from $10 to $150. We built our website ourselves from scratch, and we did everything ourselves (And we are not technically inclined). If I’m honest, I would say that if you want to make a success of the food blog, you need to learn the ropes and do it yourself.
The Basic Steps in Starting Your Own Brand-New Food Blog
You need a name for your blog
This is the name visitors will use to find your website. I advise that you choose something sweet and short, something people will remember.
What is the Cost? It’s free if you purchase it with hosting space with a company like Bluehost.
You need to find a reliable hosting company
A web host is a company that keeps your website data and blogging platform on a server that is accessible to the internet. Your website can be accessed if somebody types in your URL (www.yourblogname.com), and then they access the blog on the hosting company’s servers.
What is the Cost? $3 or more (The price is dependent on the size of the website).
You need to install your WordPress blog
WordPress is the most-used blogging software on the web. It’s also the easiest to use, and because so many people are using it, there are so many tutorials on the internet that can help you on how to use it.
What is the Cost? WordPress is free!
You need to install WordPress plugins
WordPress Plugins were developed by developers to improve the functionality of WordPress blogging software. For instance, you upload a food recipe plugin that gives your blog the ability to upload a recipe in a recipe format.
What is the Cost? Most plugins are free, but some may cost something if you need to get it upgraded.
You need to verify your blog with Google Analytics and Webmaster tools
Google developed two highly effective tools that you can use to check your website statistics and to see if your website is experiencing any timeouts.
What is the Cost? It is free of charge!
Now you can be publishing your own unique recipes and photos.
What is the Cost? It’s free (with some hard work)
Step by Step Instructions on how to set up a food blog
Step 1 – Choose a name for your blog
Ok, so you need a name. Generally, I would suggest you choose a name that is short and explains exactly what your blog is about. If you’re only going to showcase vegetarian recipes, then use some sort of acronym for vegetarian and recipes. Talk to your friends and family and ask other bloggers for names.
Do some research; the name is your brand, so it needs to be something catchy and memorable. If a person visits your website you need a name that is unforgettable in case they want to come back and look at more recipes.
So, the name needs to be short, memorable, catchy, striking and easy to spell. Please avoid names with hyphens or weird characters.
As soon as you have decided on a couple of names, you need to check if these names are still available. We suggest your first choice should be a .com address as this is the most used address on the internet.
Bluehost developed a very handy domain availability checking tool. All you do is add the domain name you want into the tool and click the Check Availability button (green button). The tool will indicate if it’s available or not. If the URL is available, you can purchase it by creating an account and registering the domain. If it’s not available, you need to test other variations of your chosen URL.
By now, you would have chosen the perfect domain name for yourself. By using Bluehost, you will get a free URL with their hosting plan. You do have other options; maybe you want to purchase a domain from GoDaddy for $15. You can also sign up with GoDaddy hosting plan at a later stage.
Step 2 – Search for the perfect hosting company
If you do a basic search online, you will find hundreds of hosts online. Hosting a website is big business, but not all of them are excellent. When you are starting out, we would advise the Bluehost hosting company. We say this for a couple of reasons: they are cost-effective, have an easy to understand interface, and they make it really easy for you to install your WordPress website. Bluehost is known as the “Starter” blog host and is also the cheapest – You can start your own food blog with Bluehost for under $3.95 per month, and you get a free URL in the deal – Now that is a bargain.
Like most hosting companies, you will have to pay upfront, but you don’t have to worry and think you may lose your money – if you are not happy with them or you decide you don’t want to own your own food blog anymore, then you can cancel the hosting within 30 days and get all your money back. (Just note that this does not include the domain fee, as this is something Bluehost would to pay themselves and would lose out if you cancel your order).
First, you need to choose a Plan, and then you need to choose the term. We suggest you choose the year term as you will receive a free domain name and a substantial discount if you compare this deal with other hosting companies. (For us that is a win-win) You can always opt for an extra 12 months if you’re really eager to make a success of your blog.
Some online marketing gurus have even said that Google favours blogs and websites that have registered their domain for two years or more, but that is a conversation for another day.
With Bluehost, you will be asked to choose Add-ons. You have a couple of add-on choices, but generally, we suggest that you only opt for the “Domain Privacy Protection.”
This add-on was developed to keep your personal data safe. Bluehost will then keep your private data safe by not displaying your domain information when people are searching for it. There’s no need to have your hosting information displayed all over the internet. They can email you if they would like to contact you.
Step 3 – Installing WordPress
Bluehost have made it really easy for first timers to install WordPress on their hosting account.
How to install WordPress on Bluehost?
- Please Login to your Bluehost Account (you would have received an email with login details).
- Now find the Website Section and select the Install WordPress.
- Please click on the Install Button. (see below).
- Now, please choose the domain that you registered.
- It will ask you if you want to edit certain settings – username, email addresses, and passwords. For now, you don’t have to make any changes.
- Click on the Install button.
And that is it. You have just installed WordPress on your domain name.
Step 4: Let us install your first theme
Well done, you are almost done! Let’s get busy with the look and feel of your website. The theme is the color and fonts of the blog. It is what makes the site pretty or not. It is really important that you choose a theme that will work for you. It’s also the first direct contact a person visiting your website will have of your blog. You have heard the saying, “first impressions last.” Well, the same applies to websites or blogs.
Basic requirements when it comes to a theme.
- Your theme needs to be responsive. This never used to be that important, but things have changed. Almost half of all searches on Google are now done with a mobile phone and tablet. Thus, it’s really important that your website is fully responsive. Also, search engine giants Google have noted that responsive websites are favored when it comes to search engine rankings. And to be honest, you don’t want your visitors to pinch and zoom into the website so they can see your recipes. They will quickly get fed up and leave the website and never return.
- A blog needs to be well-designed. You will need to review a couple of free themes and paid themes and see what works for you. Basic points include easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and it should not be generic. Most themes have features that can make and break a blog.
- SEO Friendly Blog. This subject is a book on its own. You need to make sure that the theme you choose is SEO friendly. The abbreviation SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which basically means that you optimize your website to make it more search engine friendly. By optimizing the blog, you will naturally rank higher on the search engines. Most new themes should have this feature built in but just make sure before you install it on your blog.
- Blog backend should be user-friendly. If you are starting out, you will need a WordPress theme that is user-friendly. You need to find a theme that offers a built-in design interface. This will allow you to make general changes to your color scheme, logo or fonts. This will save you a ton of money and time, as you don’t want to employ a designer each time you want to make a change to something on your food blog.
- Find the Best Themes company for your needs. Do some research and find the best theme design agency in your niche. Whoever you decide to use, make sure that they will be able to help you if you experience a technical issue and will answer your questions in a timely fashion when you email them.
We advise that if you are starting out, you should opt for a free theme, but if you do have a little bit of money to spend, we would advise that you choose a theme from a reputable WordPress theme supplier. In most cases, choosing the best theme will save you a ton of money and time.
We have researched a couple of WordPress theme development companies in the past, and we made a list of our favorites.
Our favorite Theme Companies
When we started out, I installed four different free themes before I purchased the current theme. Each time I uploaded a new theme, I realized that something was missing with the theme, or I wanted to make a modification but could not as the theme would not allow it. I finally tested the current theme and found it to be 99% perfect for our needs.
I’m not sure about the numbers, but I have been told that Template Monster is probably the biggest most sold theme company on the net. On average, a template costs between $50 – $100 per theme.
Benefits of using Template Monster
- 24/7 technical support
- Get access to source files (HTML and PDS source files)
- Full documentation on how to use the theme
- 100% guarantee
The perfect solution for any online presence. All themes have been developed to be responsive, and this company also develops their own plugins.
Benefits of using Mythemeshop
- Fully responsive themes
- Fast loading sites
- 24/7 helpful technical support
- Include video tutorials
Elegant Themes have been around for years. On their website, they mention that they have over 500,000 clients (half a million)
Benefits of Using Elegant Themes
- Make sure it has drag and drop (easier to use for newbies)
- Make their own WordPress Plugins
- Less expensive than competitors
- Buy membership to all themes
One of the most well-known and popular WordPress theme development companies. They also have a special section for Foodie themes.
Benefits of Using Studiopress
- Provide hosting
- 10 K+ active community members on their forums
- WordPress themes are powered by the Genesis framework
- Special theme section for food blogs
According to their website, they are one of the fastest growing WordPress theme development agencies. They also provide a one-off price for all their themes.
Benefits of Using Studiopress
- 24/7 Support included
- Access to all themes for $69 (less than $1 per theme)
- Regular updates
- 30 Day money back guarantee
Step 5 – Setting Up the Most Important WordPress Plug-Ins
As mentioned before, WordPress Plugin-Ins are an important part of developing a blog that’s user-friendly, secured, SEO and socially optimized. We have created a list of the most important WordPress plugins you need to make your blog stand out from the crowd.
List of recommended WordPress Plugins for food blogs
- Yoast SEO: By far the most important SEO plugin you will need for your website. Yoast SEO is a plugin made specifically for WordPress blogs so that you are able to individually optimize each page on your website. You can also use this tool to set up your Webmaster tools account and verify your domain with Google Analytics. As an added bonus, this tool will show you a rating on each page you create to indicate if you are optimizing the page to its fullest. A real handy tool for bloggers who would like to do well on the search rankings.
- W3 Total Cache: Most people wait for about three seconds for a website to load, and if the website doesn’t load within this time frame, they leave. W3 Total Cache is a WordPress Plugin which compresses and caches files to people visiting the website. This basically means that the website loads faster on the visitor’s computer. Faster loading equals a better user experience for your visitors.
- jQuery Pin It button: You can almost say this plugin was made for food bloggers. Easy to install, this plugin allows visitors to Pin images. It is called “Pin it,” and it adds a pin it button to all images on your blog. The user then can choose if they want to pin it. An extremely valuable tool for free marketing.
- Social Share buttons: There are many plugin options that you can install to do this functionality. Social sharing buttons make it super easy for your visitors to share the pages on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. By just clicking on a button, they will be able to share that specific page to social media.
- Tasty Recipe Plugin: This plugin was developed with food bloggers in mind. With this plugin, you can create print-friendly recipes, your visitors are able to leave star ratings, and it formats the recipes and helps with SEO. This is a plugin you will need to pay for, but it’s worth it. Just make sure that before purchasing this plugin, your design theme doesn’t already have a recipe formatting plugin that comes already installed free with the theme.
How Do I Go About Installing a Plugin? (5 Easy Steps)
Super easy! You need to login into the backend of the WordPress blog.
- On the side, you will see the plugin category.
- Hover above the link and click on the “Add New Button”.
- At the top, you will see the Search Plugins. You can now search for the plugin you want to install.
- When you find it, click on “Install Now”.
- You can now configure it as you like.
Step 6 – Setting up all the Google Tools
Google make their money with AdWords. They also give back by developing tools people can use on their blogs and websites. These tools help bloggers to see who is visiting their website and when. They also provide tools that will give you the low-down on what may be wrong with your website. Before you even start, you need to install these tools and get them working.
We advise that you first set up a Google Gmail Account. It’s free and will become invaluable when you start marketing your blog.
- Google Search Console: This tool will make sure that your website is up and running and that your blog does not have any errors (Remember that you use Yoast SEO to connect your blog to this tool).
- Google Analytics: This amazing tool will normally cost thousands of dollars if you were to purchase it from an Analytics company. It basically tracks traffic to your website. It has hundreds of settings you can use.
Ok, so now you have successfully developed your own food blog – Congratulations!! Obviously, this is not the end of the road. Having a blog and uploading articles will be good, but this will not bring you thousands of visitors each day.
You will need to do online marketing – there is no such thing as “build it and they will come.” It’s more like build it and market it, and they will visit your blog.
For more information on setting up your own food blog, please visit our contact us page and email us any questions you may have. And have a wonderful day.