Have you ever browsed food blogs like mine and wondered how to start a food blog of your very own? Do you have some amazing recipes to share, or some food stories from around the world?
You could also have some spare time and you want to do something productive, connect with the wider world, and share your thoughts and ideas to the masses of foodies out there.
I’ve been running my food blog for a few years now and I love it! Being able to share my love for food with the world and tell my stories is an amazing feeling, and I want to share my experience and what I’ve learnt with you to help you start your own food blogging journey.
Starting a food blog is actually a lot easier than you might think. Even for those who aren’t the most naturally gifted when it comes to technology or the internet, you can follow these steps and be up and running with just an evening’s work.
Here we’ll go through all the steps you need to start your very own food blog. We’ll go through the various stages, covering topics such as security and tips for growing your audience, to get you started and ready to share your food thoughts with the world!
- Step 1 – Planning
- Step 2 – Choosing a domain
- Step 3 – Choose a blog platform
- Step 4 – Setting up your blog
- Step 5 – Choosing a theme
- Step 6 – Content and more content!
- Step 7 – Growing your audience
Step One – Planning
The quickest but most important step to starting your food blog is to make sure you have the time to commit to the blog, and enough ideas to regularly contribute to keep the blog filled with fresh content.
An easy way to do this is to sit down with a pad and pen and jot down as many ideas as you can off the top of your head for articles.
These could be recipes, stories of food experiences from around the world, or general cooking and kitchen tips.
You’ll also need to bear in mind there will be some costs involved in starting a blog. Your domain name and monthly hosting fees, plus anything you may choose to spend on marketing on content in the future.
A standard domain name shouldn’t cost more than around $20, whilst the hosting may be as little as $3 or $4 a month depending on where you go. Don’t worry at this point, it isn’t as technical and hard work as it sounds!
If the small costs are not a problem, you’re finding it easy to come up with ideas you can easily write good content about, and you have enough free hours in the week to keep the blog alive, you can move on to step two!
Step Two – Choosing a domain (and blog name!)
This is one the more difficult choices to make, and one of the hardest to change down the line if you aren’t happy with your first decision.
Your domain name should almost certainly reflect the name of your blog. If your blog is called “Stories of an Alpine Chef” for example, you wouldn’t expect the domain name to be “topfoodblog.com”
The perfect name for your new blog should be unique, relevant to the content you want to produce, and say a little bit about your personality.
You also don’t want to choose a name that has already been taken. Admittedly, this can be quite tricky. There is nothing worse than thinking up what you feel is the perfect blog name, only to see someone else had that exact same idea.
My advice is to keep putting your blog ideas into Google, and eventually you’ll find one that is unique that nobody else had. Don’t be afraid to add something crazy into your name if it works for you!
Watch out for: Using the word spice. Thinking of calling yourself the “True Spicey Girl” or using that as a domain? You may end up being buried under hundreds of websites talking about the pop group the Spice Girls.
Next, you need to see if your domain name is available. You can purchase domains cheaply from a number of vendors, usually also with a blogging platform and hosting available as an extra (see Step 3).
Common choices for domain names include GoDaddy, Bluehost, 1&1, and HostGator. They should also give you the option of domain privacy, which I highly recommend you choose for the small extra fee. This will prevent your personal details like your name and email being publicly available to view. It will help with stopping spam, trust me!
Step Three – Choosing your blogging platform
Straight off the bat, I’m going to recommend that you use the WordPress.org platform. Most domain providers have this as their standard option when you look for hosting or bundled with domain names.
If it isn’t automatic it’s usually no more than a one click install. Whilst other blogging platforms are equally simple to install, the amount of support, customisation, and features of WordPress make if the standout choice.
After WordPress, the two most popular choices for start-up blogs are Blogger and Squarespace. Without offering the flexibility and amount of online support though, I really recommend only using WordPress.
You can find a full list of the available platforms and the differences between them here.
Your provider may also offer you the choice of automatically setting up secured hosting. This may be called domain security, SSL security, HTTPS or similar. This will make your site secure and give your website that padlock next to the URL in your browser, just like how I have on my blog.
Not only will the security help give those who visit your new food blog peace of mind, but this also helps your site when it comes to ranking in search engine results on sites like Google.
Step Four – Setting up your new blog
Please note: This step is based on selecting WordPress.org as your blogging platform. If you are using another platform you can skip to Step Six.
Okay, so you have a name, a domain, and have chosen WordPress as your platform. You should be assigned an initial login details and the URL to access the admin panel. If you have to choose your password, I recommend you use a random password generator.
If you also have the option of choosing a username, I would also recommend something other than admin or your email address. This will help with website security, which we’ll get to shortly.
Once you’ve chosen these and you’re logged in, you’ll be presented with the standard WordPress interface. If there is an automatic prompt to update to the latest version of WordPress (not all providers initially install the latest version) I recommend you select it and let it briefly update to enjoy whatever benefits the update brings.
Now, before you start go wild adding all that delicious food content, there are a few things that we need to get in place to make sure your site is secure, healthy, and fit for the harsh online world.
There are also a few tricks that can make life easier when it comes to running and managing your blog, which we’ll look at individually now.
Plugins are what really set WordPress apart from the rest of the blogging platforms, and the reason why you made the right decision. With over 54,000 plugins available, there is something that can do pretty much anything you want to do with a website.
They are installed in just a few clicks, and most need minimal set-up, if any, to get working.
I’ll take you through the top 5 plugins that you absolutely must have to get your food blog up and running, and briefly explain why and how to set them up.
- Classic Editor
WordPress recently updated the way that you edit pages and posts, but they also allow you to go back to how it was in the before times. This is one of the most downloaded plugins available, and the new editor really isn’t all that user friendly. Just trust me on this one.
- Wordfence Security
If you’ve heard all the stories about websites being hacked, details being stolen, and all that other cyber stuff, you’ll know it’s a present a real danger. Your blog, however big or small, won’t be an exception.
Wordfence Security acts as a barrier between your website and the wider internet, prevent suspicious users from attempting to login to your website, and preventing known actions hackers may use from altering anything on your site.
It also creates daily back-ups of your site should anything break or the worst happens, which is good for peace of mind.
It’s free to use and requires no set up, yet does an essential task and is an absolute must for any new blog.
- GDPR Cookie Consent
When users from the EU reach your site, you’re legally arrived to serve them a cookie consent banner with a simple “OK” or dismiss button.
This plugin creates a very small banner at the bottom of your site when a user visits their first page. Once dismissed it doesn’t appear again, allowing you to convene with all EU laws whilst ensuring there’s no impact on the way users browse your website.
You can even change the text and colours if you like to suit your website.
- Yoast SEO / RankMath
Next, you should choose a plugin that will take care of your site’s SEO. This will help you rank better in search engines, so more people will come to your site to enjoy your food stories!
These plugins also ensure you site is ready for social media, adding all the important code in the background to ensure your post formats right when you share it on Facebook, Twitter and the like.
Both of these plugins also have a feature that tell you whether a page or post you’re currently editing is optimised, or whether there are tweaks you can do to improve it’s visibility on Google and other search engines.
This is really hand if SEO isn’t something you know or want to know about. It just tells you what to fix and where with nice simple instructions, and they also tell you the reason why in case you get curious.
There are a lot of advanced features to these plugins, but unless you really want to get your hands dirty in SEO then they can be left well alone.
- Google Analytics
Google Analytics allows you to track web stats such as page visits, where your visitors are coming from, how long they spend on each page and so much more.
This is a really good tool if you want to get a feel of what your popular pages are, and which of your articles may need a rethink. If there is a page where people aren’t spending long reading and has a high exit rate, there may be a reason to revisit what you’ve written and find out why.
There are a number of Google Analytics plugins that will do all the hard work for you, and there is this guide to creating a Google Analytics account that will do the rest for you. Once installed, you can just log in to your account periodically to see how things are getting on.
Alternatively, you can install the Google SiteKit plugin and connect it to your Analytics account. This lets you see the latest stats right in your admin dashboard which is a great time saver!
Step Five – Choosing a Theme
You may have noticed that your website straight after its installation looks very…bare. Nothing like all the fancy designed blogs you’ve seen before.
Thankfully, I’m delighted to say you can make you website look beautiful in literally seconds. WordPress gives you access to thousands of themes that you can casually browse and install at your leisure.
To do this, simply navigate to Appearance on your menu, and select Themes. Once you click Add New, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can search through all the available themes and, when you find one you like, simply click the install button!
You can even search for words such as “food” or “recipe” and you’ll get shown all the themes that have been designed with foodies like you in mind.
Once installed you’ll be given the option to activate and customise the theme. This is where you can choose things like colours, layout options, menus, social media, and all the little details that will make this blog truly yours.
Don’t worry about getting everything perfect the first time, you’ll be able to tweak the look and layout as your website grows.
Remember that without content and pictures, your website won’t be looking its best until you’ve got all the content in place. So, don’t dismay if your installed theme looks nothing like it did in the pictures. It will do, we just need to get to the business of writing content!
Tip: If you decide to change theme, bear in mind if you decide to switch back you may have to re-customise your original theme. Always think long and hard before making another theme switch in the future.
Step Six – Content, Content, and More Content!
Now you’ve chosen your theme and set it up just how you want it, the time has come to start writing those posts…almost!
First things first, we need to sort out the standard pages any blog should have. Before you start writing down all your recipes and food stories, you need to give your blog a more professional look.
This should be a fun page for you to write where you explain a little about you and your blog. Between 300-500 words, you can talk about anything from how you first got into cooking, why you started the blog, a bit about your life story and anything else your readers may find interesting.
Another page that is considered essential is somewhere for visitors to get in touch if they like. This could be something as simple of a page with few small texts about how to get in touch, response times or things you do/don’t want sending to you.
Some themes come equipped with a built-in contact form should anyone want to get in touch without using email, but it is acceptable just to list your email address if you so wish.
I recommend you make a new email for your blog, so your personal email doesn’t end up getting taken over once you become a successful food blogging star!
Once you’ve got these important pages written, looking good and live, you are finally good to go!
It’s time to start writing to your hearts content. As you write your posts on your freshly made blog, make sure you put them into Categories when creating them in the WordPress admin panel. You can always make more categories later, so don’t worry about making them all before you’ve written your posts.
This is now your time to shine, get writing those recipes, telling those stories, sharing those tips, and being the best food blog to hit the net!
If you need pictures for your blog, then I highly recommend getting whatever food and cooking pictures you need from Pixabay. They are all free to use however you wish, and there are some really stunning food pictures on there!
Step Seven – Growing Your Audience
The more you write and share your food inspirations and stories, the more you’ll feel like they deserve more eyes, and rightly so!
Growing your audience is a crucial part of blogging, and there are a few easy steps you can try that should spread the word of your blog and increase the chances people find it when searching the web.
- Get involved and spread the word
The food blogging scene is pretty big right now, and a great way to start getting your new blog some traction is to get your name out there. Most other websites, mine included, allow other users to leave comments on their articles.
This is a great way to get involved with discussions, and you can often include your web address as well as your new blog’s name.
An added bonus is you can often get inspiration for your own articles, or a design feature you may want to try on your blog too.
- Optimise your blogs
If you’ve used the Yoast or RankMath plugin you’ll be able to get real-time SEO tips for the blog you’re writing or have just written. Doing this will help more people discover your site when searching the web.
The tips will usually encourage you to use more instances of certain words, or alter the URL slightly. All small changes that added together can make a huge difference!
- Write articles to answer food-based questions
For example, if you’ve written an article about the different sake substitutes, you could call the article “Sake Substitutes” but that isn’t very enticing to people when choosing which site to click.
“Need a Substitute for Sake in a Recipe? Here’s 4 Perfect Alternatives” is what I went for in this instance. A creative, descriptive but relevant title. It shows visitors the question they want answering, giving them confidence to click through to my blog in search results.
Got a question? Maybe we can help!
If you have a question about anything that I’ve covered, I’m more than happy to help if I can. You can comment below about anything to do with starting a food blog, or a blog of any kind, and I will try and give you what advice I have based on my many years’ experience of running a food blog.
If you want to privately ask me a question you can get in touch with me via email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.