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Whether you love to cook or read food blogs, learning how to start a food blog of your own could be a game-changer in your life and career.
Not only will you have a creative outlet to showcase your culinary knowledge, but you could also build a blogging business with limitless earning potential.
But before you can start sharing your recipes and photography, you’ll need to get your food blog up and running.
To help you get started, I’ve put together a step-by-step guide on starting a food blog. Follow these steps, and you’ll have your sweet (or savory) food blog online in a matter of hours!
How to start a 5-star food blog
You’re pumped up and ready to go. There’s no turning back now. It’s time to learn how to start a food blog and turn your blogging dreams into a reality!
Keep reading, because there will be step-by-step instructions on how to start your kickass food blog. Plus, I’ll share tips on how to harness the power of SEO to get thousands of visitors each month.
Now let’s get cookin’!
Table of Contents
- Figure out your niche in the food blogging world
- Come up with a yummy blog and domain name
- Sign up for the most appetizing web hosting
- Install the deliciously free WordPress
- Pick a scrumptious theme for your food blog
- Cook up your blog’s main pages
- Create some tasty content for your blog
- Turn up the heat on your traffic
- Save some room for monetizing your site
“No, I’m not a snack at all. Look, baby, I’m the whole damn meal.” –Lizzo, and you to yourself when you need a reminder to keep pursuing your food blogging dreams. You’ve got this!
Whether you pronounce niche like “witch” or “quiche,” figuring out your niche in the food blogging world is important.
You’re not going to have much luck throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks, but instead need to choose a specific focus for your blog.
Do you want to blog about easy vegan recipes? Family-friendly meals on a budget? The luxurious and decadent world of chocolate desserts?
The possibilities are endless, but you’ll have the most success if you choose a focus and stick to it. If you’re not sure what your niche should be, it can also help to think about your ideal reader.
Who are they? How old are they? What do they like to eat? What are their cooking goals? Do they have any problems (aka, pain points) that your blog can solve?
Once you have a clear idea of who your ideal reader is, you can create content that will attract that specific audience.
As your blog grows, you might eventually expand your niche and focus on other areas. But it’s useful to start with a specific focus and establish yourself as a go-to authority in that space.
Also, don’t get stressed out by the competition. Sure, there are thousands of food blogs out there, but no one has yet shared your story or your perspective. Whatever you create will be unique, since there’s no one exactly like you.
Once you’ve figured out how to start a food blog with a specific niche in mind, it’s time to brainstorm names for your blog.
I recommend sitting down with a pen, piece of paper, and a thesaurus handy and letting your ideas flow. You can also play around with a blog name generator like Business Name Generator.
A few tips for a catchy blog name:
- Make it short. Don’t go past 3-4 words, or it will be cumbersome to say and harder to remember.
- Reflect your niche. Although not 100% necessary, it can be great if your blog names gives a reader insight into what your blog is all about (e.g., veganyum.com). That said, don’t box yourself in if you’re unsure about your niche or think you might expand into other topics in the future. If you name your blog Chocolate World, you’ll be stuck if you get sick of your topic and decide you want to write about savory dinner recipes instead.
- Avoid confusing jargon. Try not to use jargon or slang that the average reader won’t understand.
- Be unique. Make sure your name stands out from the competition. You don’t want to get confused with another blog, and you can’t register a domain name that’s already been taken.
Once you’ve come up with names for your blog, use this handy tool from Bluehost to make sure the domain is available.
Once you’ve finished cooking up your food blog vision, it’s time to get your blog online. To do this, you need to sign up for web hosting.
There are a few free web hosting services available (e.g., Weebly’s free plan), but I don’t recommend a free plan. Here’s why:
- You won’t get your own domain. Instead of “weirdoughbakes.com,” for example, your URL would be something like, “weirddoughbakes.weebly.com.”
- It’s bad for SEO. Blogs on free hosting plans simply can’t compete with blogs on paid hosting plans.
- The host might put ads on your site. On a free plan, the host will probably advertise for themselves directly on your website.
- The host could remove your site. You won’t own your site, so if the host decides to remove it for whatever reason, it could disappear.
- You won’t have much control over the look and design of your site. You’ll have far fewer options for customizing your site, too.
- You’ll have fewer (or no) ways to make money. On a free plan, you’ll likely be limited when it comes to monetizing your site.
With a paid hosting plan, you won’t have any of these limitations. You’ll own your domain, be able to design your site however you want, and have unlimited ways to monetize your content.
For beginning bloggers, I like to recommend Bluehost, since it’s affordable, easy to use, and integrates seamlessly with WordPress. Plus, it’s fast and secure, and plans start at only $3.95 per month.
If you prefer to shop around though, head to my guide on the best web hosting services for new bloggers.
How to sign up for Bluehost
Signing up for Bluehost is easy and only takes a few minutes. To get started, head to Bluehost.com and choose your plan.
The Basic plan is a good choice for new bloggers who are only looking to start one site.
Next, you can register a domain name or transfer one you already own. If you sign up with Bluehost, one year of free domain registration is included.
Your third step is filling out your account information and choosing your term. If you opt for a longer term, you’ll pay less per month.
Then, you can choose any add-ons to your plan. I recommend Domain Privacy & Protection, since it will protect your private information.
The rest you could do without, though if you don’t mind spending a little extra, you might opt for Codeguard Basic, which provides backups of your site.
Finally, enter your credit card information and hit submit.
Congratulations, you’ve just signed up for hosting, claimed your domain, and are well on your way to starting your awesome food blog!
Now that you’ve got hosting, it’s time to install WordPress. You can think of the host as the land your website lives on, and WordPress is your actual house and everything inside it.
Basically, WordPress is responsible for your blog, pages, design, functionalities, and everything else that makes your site.
And it’s 100% free to use! Just make sure you sign up for an account with WordPress.org, not WordPress.com.
Once you’ve signed up for WordPress, sign into your Bluehost account. Once there, you can click Install WordPress and Bluehost will automatically install it for you.
Your WordPress dashboard will look something like this:
Play around with the dashboard to familiarize yourself with it, especially the pages, posts, plugins, and appearance sections.
Now that you’ve got your accounts in order, it’s time to design your blog! WordPress comes with a ton of themes, both free and for a fee, that you can use to design a gorgeous food blog.
The design elements are all there for you, and you can just customize colors, texts, images, and other elements to make your site look exactly how you want it to.
Here are a few examples of WordPress’s free themes.
If you want even more options and functionality, you could also purchase a theme. I’m a big fan of the Divi theme, which has an easy drag-and-drop builder and gives you access to hundreds of beautiful templates.
A few other themes that are popular among food bloggers include,
There are so many more, so make sure to browse around and find one that feels like you!
By the way, you can hide your site while you’re designing it. Simply download an “under construction” or “coming soon” plugin and activate it to hide your site. When you’re ready to launch, you can deactivate the plugin to make your site live.
As you’re designing your food blog, make sure to create a few main pages for your blog.
These include your,
- Home page: This may be the first impression of your site for some visitors, so make it snazzy. Think about what action you want readers to take when they land here, and make it easy for them to take that action (e.g., you could include a button to an important post right under your tagline).
- About me: Here’s where you can share your story and what your food blog is all about.
- Contact: Give your readers a chance to get in touch with you.
As you play around with WordPress, you’ll notice that your blog is a dynamic page where newer posts appear above older ones. You can create new posts in the “posts” section of WordPress.
By the way, I also recommend downloading the Yoast plugin, which lets you set a keyword and meta-description for your blog posts, as well as gives you a readability and SEO score on your blog posts before you hit publish.
Before launching your blog, I recommend writing 5 to 10 blog posts. That way, you’ll have some tasty content to share with readers, rather than an empty website.
As you’ve probably noticed, a lot of food bloggers share stories about how they developed a recipe or other thoughts before getting to the recipe.
There are a few reasons for this. For one, writing longer content that incorporates keywords helps with SEO, or search engine optimization.
In other words, more in-depth blog posts tend to rank better on Google. What’s more, it increases the reader’s time on your page, which may be another factor that Google takes into account when determining the ranking of your posts.
And finally, a lot of food bloggers monetize their site with ads once they have enough traffic. By writing longer content before each recipe, you’ll keep your reader on the page longer and increase your chances of making ad revenue.
Apart from all these technical concerns, your blog posts can also share your story and connect with readers. You can write in your own unique style and share your thought process with your readers.
Also, make sure to include enticing images of food that will appeal to your readers. The best food blogs make you hungry for more, so don’t be afraid to create mouthwatering content for your audience.
When you first start a blog, it can feel like you’re shouting into a void. Is anybody out there?
Sadly, at first the answer is usually no. You’re not going to have a ton of readers at first; it takes time to build a following.
But here’s the bright side: Every blogger starts at zero! By using tried and true methods to gain traffic, you can grow your audience month after month.
My favorite method for getting visitors to your site is SEO. By figuring out what Google likes, you can write blog posts that rank highly in search and attract free, organic traffic month after month.
Here are a few tips for boosting your blog posts’s SEO.
SEO tips for food bloggers
- Target a primary keyword in your blog post. Make sure each post targets a primary keyword that people are searching for, as well as some related supplemental keywords. Try to use your keyword at least 3 to 4 times in the body of your content (you can tweak it slightly if it’s not grammatical; it’s better to make your content well-written than force a keyword that’s not written right). For example, the primary keyword in this article is “how to start a food blog,” so I use it several times throughout this post.
Where can you find keywords? I’m glad you asked! I recently wrote a post about the best keyword research tools for bloggers — check it out here!
- Make your content lengthy. Google loves in-depth articles. That’s not to say that you should go off on tangents; you want each blog post to discuss a specific reader query. But try your best to expand on your answers, so you have a thorough and comprehensive post of 1,000 words or more.
- Make your content unique. Before writing a post, Google your primary keyword and check out what the competitors are doing. Evaluate their pros and cons, and try to write an even better piece of content that has the potential to outrank them. Besides writing an even better post, consider incorporating unique images, infographics, tables, charts or any other visual elements that will make your post stand out.
- Get backlinks to your site. So this final tip might be a surprise if you haven’t heard of backlinks, but it’s important for boosting your site’s SEO. A backlink is basically a link from another site. If reputable sites link to your food blog, your site will gain higher authority in the eyes of Google, and thus move up in the rankings.
One way to gain backlinks is to reach out to other food bloggers and ask to write a guest post that includes a link back to your blog. This outreach can also be great for making friends in the food blogging world who can share tips and inspire you to keep going.
Once you’ve formed a relationship with another blogger, you might also ask them if they’d be interested in a link exchange (i.e., you’ll link to one of their posts in one of your articles if they’ll link to one of yours).
And a final strategy is to get quoted in the media. You might connect with journalists over Twitter or sign up to be a source at Help a Reporter Out (HARO). HARO sends you queries from journalists three times a day who are looking for people to quote in their articles.
Social media tips for food bloggers
While SEO is an important part of blogging, it takes time. In fact, it can take several months before an article ranks in Google’s search results.
For more immediate wins, turn to social media.
Since food is so visually appealing, a lot of food bloggers do really well on Instagram. Along with posting tantalizing content, try reaching out to other bloggers and readers to build community and grow your followers.
For a little food Instagramming inspo, check out these mouth-watering pics from Great British Bake Off alum, Benjamina.
Facebook is another avenue, but I don’t recommend spreading yourself too thin. It’s usually better to stick with a single social media platform and really work at it than to divide your attention among all the different platforms.
If you’re making videos, you could also start a YouTube channel. Or, you can make a business account on Pinterest and create pins that link back to your articles, as well as join group boards.
Note that YouTube and Pinterest are also search engines, so it’s a good idea to incorporate keywords into your posts and descriptions to help your content show up in search results.
Finally, don’t get discouraged — building traffic takes time! If you keep putting out quality content, the readers will come.
Once you’ve built some traffic to your site, it’s time to put some monetization strategies in place!
There are several ways to make money blogging; here are a few of the top ones:
Perhaps the main way that food bloggers and other bloggers make money is through affiliate marketing.
You can sign up to be an affiliate for a huge number of companies. As an affiliate, you’ll generate your own unique link for a product or service.
If someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you’ll gain a commission.
For instance, if you recommended the best instant pots and included affiliate links, you’d make money anytime someone clicked on a link in your article and bought an instant pot.
So, how can you become an affiliate? Well, there are a few ways:
One giant affiliate marketplace is Amazon Associates. When you sign up, you can generate affiliate links for any product sold on Amazon.
Make sure you only promote products and services that you actually believe in or have great reviews. That way, you can build trust with your readers.
Another way to monetize your food blog is through ads. Once you’ve built enough traffic, you can place ads on your site and make money when someone clicks on them or makes a purchase.
You can run Google Ads on your site, for instance. However, I only recommend this once you’ve built thousands of followers; it’s hard to make much money from Google Ads without a big following.
An even more lucrative ad management company is MediaVine, which you can apply to once your blog gets 50,000 sessions per month.
Once you’ve built up a following for your food blog, you could also make money via sponsored posts.
With a sponsored post, a company pays you to review or promote its products or services. If you follow any Great British Bake Off contestants on Instagram, for instance, you might have seen them promoting sponsored products.
Sponsored posts don’t necessarily come to you; you might need to pursue them by reaching out to companies and sharing your media kit.
A media kit shares your blog’s analytics, including traffic and the demographics of your audience, and explains how you’d help market the company or its products.
Basically, you want to prove to the company that paying you to promote them would have a good return on investment.
If you need to make a media kit for your food blog, check out the media kit templates from Canva.
Selling your own products
As your blog gets more popular, you might consider selling your own products. Popular food bloggers often create their own cookbooks and get publishing deals thanks to their big fan followings.
You could also sell a physical product or digital products, such as a collection of your recipes. Really, the sky’s the limit when it comes to selling your own products, but you need to make sure you create something your readers are interested in buying.
Before you make anything, consider sending a survey to your readers or doing market research to figure out what they would be interested in purchasing from you.
Start your food blog
There’s a lot of work that goes into building a food blogging business, but the payoff could be well worth it.
Not only will you get to be creative and blog about something you’re passionate about, but you could also have limitless earning potential.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that everyone starts at the beginning. There’s a lot of trial and error that goes into building a blog, but if you like to cook or bake, you know that experimentation is an important part of the process.
By following these steps, you’ll have all the ingredients you need to start an incredible food blog. So enjoy the journey, and bon appetit!