Are your family and friends always telling you that you should start a food blog? Or maybe you’ve been wanting to create a blog and finally realized you should combine your love of cooking and recipes to become a food blogger.
If starting a food blog is important to you but you’re not sure how to deal with the “technical stuff” that comes with starting a new blog or where to even begin, this step-by-step guide is for you.
I am going to teach you how to start a food blog. Furthermore, you’re going to do it in less than 15 minutes and for as little as $2.95 per month in hosting.
Starting Your Own Food Blog In 4 Easy Steps
These steps, which we will go into in depth below, will help you set up a beautiful, self-hosted WordPress blog just like the successful food bloggers you follow.
- Come up with a blog name and buy your domain.
- Cost: Free with Bluehost; $10 to $15 per year elsewhere.
- Your domain name should be short, easy to remember, and preferably end in “.com.”
- Buy cheap, reliable web hosting.
- Cost: $2.95 per month with Bluehost; $5 to $15 per month elsewhere.
- A web hosting company stores your blog or website and all its files, allowing people around the world to find and access your food blog.
- Install WordPress.
- Cost: Free!
- WordPress is the most popular blogging software in the world. Chances are, 90 percent of the blogs you read are powered by WordPress, including this one. Without WordPress, I would have never been able to start, grow, and manage over 50 blogs.
- Choose a suitable WordPress theme
- Cost: Varies. You can find plenty of free themes to get you started, but you can also pay a little bit of money to get one that works well for a food blog out of the box and allows you to customize your design.
- A WordPress theme controls the way your site appears to people when they visit. It’s the face of your blog, so be sure to choose it carefully.
After the completion of these four simple steps, you’ll be ready to start blogging about food, cooking, and recipes.
Step 1: Choose a Blog Name
Coming up with a blog name can be a challenge for some food bloggers because the ideal name should be descriptive, memorable, and easy to type.
Your blog name will ultimately become a part of your brand, so brainstorm words or phrases that describe you, your cooking style, the types of recipes you’ll be posting, your food blog’s theme, and more.
Tip: Just remember that you can get your domain for free when you sign up to buy web hosting, so wait to register your blog’s name.
This involves thinking up a name, deciding roughly what you want to focus your blog on and maybe an idea of how you want your blog to look. We would recommend looking at blogs of a similar style and topic to get some inspiration if you’re struggling.
It can be particularly hard for those who aren’t as creative and arts-based to really get stuck into making and designing their blog, so you might want to ask someone else to design it for you. This is all down to your budget.
You can eventually make money from blogging but before this you have to get your name out there, so if you haven’t got any spare cash to pay someone to design and make a perfect looking blog then you might just want to pick a platform theme and customize it a little bit.
Brainstorm by drawing a mind map of all your wonderful ideas and pick out the ones you think are best ready for the next step.
Decide on a Theme and Topic (or 2!)
All blogs should follow a theme so your readers will know what kind of content they can expect to find on your blog. If you’re constantly blogging about the best restaurants in different cities all over the world and then suddenly upload an article on the cutest lipsticks to buy, then your readers will definitely be confused.
To prevent this confusion, make sure that you always stick to a certain few topic areas (we would suggest no more than 3).
If you want to blog about food but also travel and technology too, that is totally fine—just make sure your readers know you’re not purely just a food blog. Your blog should become a place that many people visit when they want advice, opinions or perhaps recipes.
You have to ensure you’re fully confident in the area and theme you pick as readers will want to be sure you know what you’re talking about.
Choose a Name, Design and Logo
Choosing a relevant blog name is essential if you want to eventually build a brand. You have to make sure that your name is related to food or whatever you decide to blog about.
If you’re starting a blog that talks about all the different types of pies in the world then try to have this topic in the name of your blog and URL. Examples of this are: a cake blog named ‘ilovecake.com’, a pie blog named ‘everythingaboutpies.com’ or even a restaurant-reviewing blog named ‘welovetoreviewresturants.com’.
You have to choose a unique name that people will remember. Also, try not to make it negative, especially if it’s about food-related items.
Don’t name your blog anything that could easily offend anyone or something that might make people feel sick. Your blog is meant to be welcoming to visitors, try not to scare them off just looking at the name.
By design, we mean the layout of the pages and blog articles on your website. Get inspiration from other websites and look at various food blog themes that are available on the platform you’re using, whether that is WordPress, Blogger or self-hosted.
There are some that you have to pay for (normally between $5 and $150), but others are free. It all depends on the design you want and how much you want to customize it to make it look unique.
You can customize your design and create a logo that matches it perfectly. There are websites that sell logos for relatively cheap prices which are ideal if your budget isn’t super high.
Obviously you will get a better service if you pay more money for a uniquely designed logo. For someone who is just starting out though, often just your blog name and a few little icons would be a good start for a logo.
Step 2: Sign Up for a Platform or Register your Domain
All of the relatively hard stuff should be out the way now. Next you must decide on the platform you wish to use for your blog. While there are many to choose from, some are better and more popular than others.
If you’re new to blogging and will need help and advice with uploading and scheduling content during the first few months of blogging, then we would recommend using a popular platform as you will be able to easily access tutorials and tips.
If you’ve decided to host the blog yourself then you will have to buy and register your domain.
When you’re doing this make sure you use a reputable company, otherwise they may try to take more money off you and not end up giving you the domain you requested. It is essential to understand whatever platform you use and know what comes with it when you sign up!
There are tons of different memberships to choose from too, and if you want more customization and uniqueness then you may have to pay more. For beginners, any good-looking blog with quality content can start getting traffic and eventually make money, which you can reinvest in improving the design.
Try not to worry too much about the design of your blog when you’re just starting out—just focus on the content and growing your audience.
When it comes to buying the best web hosting, I highly recommend Bluehost for beginners.
While I’m also a fan of GoDaddy because of their comparable server performance, their back-end user interface is far more complex for new bloggers.
Bluehost offers the perfect balance between cheap hosting, excellent customer service, 24/7 tech support, reliable and fast server performance, and a user-friendly platform.
Step 3: Install WordPress
When starting a food blog, click here or the image below to get my special 40 percent off discount with Bluehost.
No promotion code required — you’ll just get a rare discount on their normal rates.
After clicking “Get Started Now,“ you will be asked to pick a hosting package.
For new bloggers, I recommend the “Starter” plan option, but if you can afford it and want the flexibility to start any number of blogs on the same server, you can opt for the “Plus” option, too.
After choosing a hosting plan, you will have the chance to get your free domain. Enter your blog name in the box labeled “New Domain” and click “Next.“
If your domain name is available, you will be directed to a page asking for your account information; if not, go down your list of creative food blog names.
After settling on a name, complete your account information.
Now, the next section on “Package Information” is important. Personally, I always sign up for the “Starter 36 Month” option to lock in the cheapest price.
First, you won’t have to worry about web hosting for a long time.
Second, if you change your mind for any reason and want to cancel your plan, you will be refunded the balance of your payment, so why not take advantage of the low rate for three years?Nevertheless, all the options offer the same server performance and type of hosting, so select whichever plan best fits your budget!
The only add-on worth buying is the “Domain Privacy Protection” because it shields your personal information, including address and phone number, from being publicly displayed. While it isn’t a necessity, I prefer to have it.
Once you’ve completed the billing process, you will receive an email confirming the creation of your Bluehost account.
Log in to your account, find the “Website” section and click on “WordPress” to begin the installation.
On the next page, click the “Install” button to get started.
Choose your domain from the drop-down menu and click “Check Domain.“ Be sure to leave the “Directory” field empty.
Now check the “Show Advanced Options” box to enter your site title (blog name) and WordPress username and password information.
Your blog’s name and password can always be changed later, so you don’t need to stress over those options. However, do not make your username “admin” for security purposes.
When you are done, check the terms and conditions box and then click “Install Now.”
WordPress is now installing! In a few short minutes, you should see a message stating “Your install is complete!”
At this time, click on the “View Credentials” button and save your admin URL, username, and password. You should also receive an email with this information.
To access your WordPress blog, go to the Admin URL (YourDomain.com/wp-admin) in your web browser and enter your username and password.
Congrats! You’ve officially logged into your new food blog and are ready to become a successful food blogger. Well, almost. There’s just one more step: You need to choose a WordPress theme.
Step 4: Choose and Install Your WordPress Theme (and Any Relevant Plugins)
Once you’ve logged into your site, you need to decide what you want your blog to look like. This is where choosing a WordPress theme comes in.
When choosing a food blog theme, you should keep these considerations in mind:
- How you’ll display new recipes (and make them easy to print and save for later)
- How you’ll display photos of your food and recipe steps
- How easy your site will be to search (if someone is looking for a particular category of recipe, for example)
- How much you’re willing to spend. You can get solid free themes that will help you get your blog started. In theory, you could even use one of the default WordPress themes and be fine. However, if you can spend a bit of money, it can be worth it to get a premium theme that’s easier to customize and makes your creations look beautiful and tasty.
Best Free WordPress Food Blog Themes
If you want to go the free route, it’s important to choose a theme that’s been updated recently (and that looks like it will continue to receive updates in the future).
Your best bet for finding this kind of theme is to pick a theme that also has a corresponding paid version. If a paid version exists, then it means the developer has a way to get paid for the time they spend creating the free version.
One great example of this is the collection of food blog themes from Lyra Themes. This company has created over 15 free themes that are perfect for food blogs. They also have paid versions if you want additional customization or support. This means you can be pretty sure the free themes will stick around and keep getting updated.
Best Premium WordPress Food Blog Theme
If you want to get a quality food blog theme that allows you tons of customization options, then our top pick is the Foodie Pro Theme.
This is what top food blogs use, and for good reason. Just take a look at this theme’s elegant design:
It makes categorizing recipes a breeze:
Furthermore, it has a design that’s tailored to the large, vertical, Pinterest-ready food photography that you want to include.
To install the Foodie Pro Theme, you’ll need to purchase and install Genesis. Genesis is a WordPress framework that makes it much easier to customize your blog’s design (without having any coding know how).
With the combination of Genesis and Foodie Pro, you’ll pay $129.95. This includes the Genesis framework and the theme itself. If you already have Genesis and just want to buy the theme, it will cost $75.
In addition to Foodie Pro, we also recommend picking up one key WordPress plugin: Cookbook. This plugin makes displaying recipes and nutritional information much easier than it is in WordPress by default:
The Cookbook recipe plugin costs $59.99 per year. We know this may seem like a lot to spend when you’re first getting started, but it will make your life a lot easier.
That being said, you don’t have to spend money on a theme or plugins when you’re starting out. You can do just fine with free themes and plugins, growing your blog to the point where it makes sense to start spending some money. The choice is up to you.
Start Planning Content
Before you can start to grow your readership and audience, you will need to plan what you will be writing about. If you’ve followed the previous steps in this guide then you will know the theme you’re following, but you have to know the exact topic and decide on some article titles.
We would suggest planning articles a month in advance. This is the best way to be prepared and organized and put your first foot right in the blogging world.
If you want to take it seriously and would prefer it to become a job rather than just a hobby, you need to have a regular schedule and engaging content. You may have to research some blog articles more than others which means they could take longer to write.
If you want the SEO of the blog to be good and rank higher in Google, you may want to do some research into keyword research. For those of you who aren’t aware of what keyword research is, it is when bloggers research the most searched-for words to do with certain topics.
There are some keywords which have a lot of searches but not many good answers on Google. Answering these is even better as you may automatically rank high.
Plan your content using an Excel or Word document. Anything that is easy to navigate when you’re stressed will act as good planner.
You may want to brainstorm your blog post ideas on paper, but if you’re forgetful then we would suggest putting everything (including a little description of the post) in a table of some sort.
You can also add the keywords to use in the blog post so that you remember what words to include. If you’re struggling with titles, take a look at other blogs and how they word titles.
Top ten, reviews, recipes and “all you need to know” articles are popular and create easy-to-read titles. It is likely that your blog will be a hit on Google if your titles are self-explanatory and seem to answer a question.
Upload and Schedule your First Post
After much preparation, this step may seem very daunting and the reality of posting your recipes, dishes or thoughts online will start to set in.
Read up on how to use your platform, schedule your first post and then simply wait until it is uploaded.
If you like photography then you may want to add some photos to your post and even add a cover picture for each blog post.
Ensure any editing on your first blog post has been done and check it as many times as possible, because this post will be the first impression a lot of people get of your blog. It may also determine if people come back and read more in the future or if they stay clear.
Create Social Media Channels
If you haven’t done this already, this is probably the best thing to do next. Use your personal social media platforms to initially post about your new blog and then slowly start to get your friends to like or follow your blog accounts. This will mean that anyone who really is interested in following and reading your blog will be able to do so.
Having your own blog will allow you to post everything you want and putting this on social media will then allow people to read it and give their thoughts.
A lot of people are very critical on social media which can be a good thing (as well as sometimes a bad thing!) as you will get to know all of your blog’s flaws, including grammatical and spelling mistakes. This may be unpleasant at first, but you have to take all criticism as constructive as you only want to improve over time, not stay the same.
Instagram is a great tool if you’re a chef or love to cook. If you take lots of photos of food and don’t want to share them all on your blog you can share them here, including a few hashtags to get your photos recognized. This can also help grow your following.
It isn’t easy to make money from blogging but using a few quick and simple tips you will be able to. Making the most of the social media channels and platforms you have is one of the most important things to do. It can sometimes be surprising how much traffic you can get from your personal Twitter or Facebook.
There are a lot of useful tools on free social media platforms that will come very much in handy when you’re looking to find more readers for your blog.
Build Up a Following
Having a blog isn’t just about posting engaging and interesting content, it’s also about having a readership and followers to encourage you on your blogging journey. The more readers you have, the more successful you are.
Building up a blog following isn’t easy and will require a lot of time and hard work. It may be easier to pay for targeted advertisements towards your audience and build up a following that way, but if you only have a small budget you will have to do a lot of the promotion yourself.
Posting on social media, regularly uploading content and interacting with the people who comment on your social posts is important if you want to successfully grow your following. You can also research some other ways to organically grow your following.
However, if you just want to use your food blog to share recipes and recommendations with your friends and family, you may not want to build up a worldwide audience and following. That’s totally fine too.
Those who want to build up a following are often the ones who want to make a little money from their website, which is totally great too. It’s all down to personal preference—for some people the readership of friends and family will be enough encouragement whereas some want to share their love of food with the whole world.
Any advertisements or promotions on social media must be targeted at a particular type and age of person, which is why it’s best to know who you want the target audience of your blog to be. Often the target audience is self-explanatory.
For example, you could have a food blog about home-cooked meals and interesting lunch ideas for parents of young children. Researching the biggest and most popular social media users can help to decide on your target audience.
Post Every Week and Share your Links with Followers
In the above steps, we suggested posting regular content as it will give your readers a chance to understand your schedule and stay updated. Posting every week, even if it is only once a week, is good for SEO rankings, as well as being easy for your readers to understand.
If your blog becomes a viral or international success then people will eventually get to know your schedule and upload times, sometimes even down to the hour.
Always share the link on your social media channels just after the post has been uploaded so you can get the organic traffic from that day, as well as posting links later on in the week or whenever your post is relevant, for example if there is some relevant news or if a trend becomes popular.
Remember that just because your blog articles are more than a few months or even a year old, it doesn’t make them any less relevant. If there is a particular trend that one of your previous blog articles relates too and you think it may get you traffic, share the link again on your social channels.
Starting your very own food blog, whatever strand of food it relates to, maybe a scary process but the reality of writing down your thoughts, opinions and advice isn’t as daunting as it may initially seem.
Just start a blog, make it unique and make it your own. You’ll soon forget what life was like without it and never want to live another day without it by your side. Blogs are unique to the individual person. Everyone is different and that’s what makes blogging so special.
Get Your Food Blog Off the Ground
Of course, there’s a lot more to creating a successful food blog (or any type of blog) than just installing WordPress, choosing a new theme, and logging in. You’ll also need to choose a promotional strategy (we recommend email marketing), come up with new blog posts each week, and ultimately figure out how your blog will make money (if that’s a goal of yours).
If you’d like more guidance on how to start a blog in general, check out our guide to starting a successful blog in 2018.