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.
If you’re having trouble making a list of blog names you love, consider using synonyms and adding adjectives, prefixes, or suffixes. This list of alternate options will be useful in case your domain name isn’t available. However, I would not recommend you resort to hyphens or anything but a “.com” extension.
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.
Step 2: Choose a Web Host
If you want to start your own food blog and be taken seriously by readers and other bloggers, you need to buy a hosting plan and set up a WordPress blog. A free Tumblr or Blogger account just won’t cut it if you really want to grow your blog and make money online. But you don’t have to take my word for it – look at all your favorite food bloggers and a vast majority have a self-hosted WordPress blog.
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.
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.