How to Start a Food Blog for Beginners
Want to start a food blog? Food blogs, packed with gorgeous images and mouthwatering recipes, have quickly become one of the most popular niche blog topics. Whether it be a hobby or a passion, food bloggers can now easily share their culinary creations with the masses and even pocket some money while doing so!
But getting started on creating a food blog and seem like a daunting task. Don’t worry! We’ve drawn up a road map to help get you and your food blog started in no time at all.
1. Choose a Blogging Platform
There are lots of blogging platforms available on the market for you to choose from. Each will have its own benefits and downfalls.
All-in-One Website Builders
There are numerous website building platforms out there that are more of an all-in-one service. For example, WordPress.COM, Weebly, Squarespace, Wix, etc.
Services like these will host your site for you on their own servers. This can be quite convenient, though it comes with lots of drawbacks including being able to only choose from their themes and not being able to monetize your blog (for some options).
The “Original” WordPress Platform
Alternatively, WordPress.org is a wildly popular and free open-source service that currently runs over 30% of all websites. All you need to do is secure webhosting first.
The reason we love WordPress.org for creating websites (not just food blogs!) is its wealth of customization options, ability to choose from thousands of free and premium themes online, the ability to use third-party plugins to add additional features to your site, ability to monetize your site (or, generate income), and much more. The list goes on and on.
In this article, we’ll be working with the WordPress.org platform and the fan-favorite Bluehost web host provider to give you step-by-step instructions on how to setup your own food blog!
2. Securing Web Hosting & Installing WordPress
Bluehost* is a perennial favorite of bloggers and website creators all over the world. In fact, they’re one of the official recommended web hosting providers by WordPress! With free domain name registration, easy 1-click WordPress install, and super-affordable hosting plan prices, it’s understandable why they’re so well-loved.
*Please note: we may include referral links to services in our articles. Any sign ups we potentially send their way may result in us receiving an affiliate commission. We only refer services or products to our readers which we stand behind 100%.
We’ll go through the steps of signing up with Bluehost to show just how simple and quick it is.
Getting Started with Bluehost
From Bluehost‘s homepage, click the “Get Started” button.
They have several different hosting plan options available. If you’re just getting started blogging, you’re more than likely fine choosing the “BASIC” plan as opposed to a more expensive option.
Browse through the various hosting plans they offer using the chart. Once you decide, click the green “Select” button for the plan.
TIP: To secure the lowest price,
opt for the 36-month hosting package which locks in the best rate!
After selecting a hosting plan, enter your desired or existing website domain name. For example, our domain is “solopine.com”.
Once that’s done, choose any optional add-ons and complete your web hosting plan purchase. Congratulations! You’re one HUGE step closer to start the food blog of your dreams!
To install the WordPress platform, click the “Install WordPress” button at the top of your screen. Bluehost‘s 1-click WordPress install function makes the installation process as easy as pie!
3. Choosing a WordPress Theme
Great! You’ve now secured web hosting for your blog and installed the free WordPress platform. You’re so close to making your food blog a reality.
Now you can choose a WordPress theme for your blog.
WordPress has endless possibilities for your blog when it comes to a theme. WordPress themes are a package of files created by an author which adds design and functionality to your website.
Different themes will include vastly different styles and features.
Themes are either free or are premium, which means that you’ll need to pay for a license to use them.
Free WordPress Themes
WordPress has thousands of free themes available to you. However, keep in mind that you do get what you pay for. In this case, free WordPress themes may be light on features or not come with technical support if you have any questions.
Browse and install a free WordPress theme:
- Log into your WordPress platform.
- Via the left-hand Dashboard menu, go to Appearance and then Themes.
- Select the button at the top titled “Add New“.
- If you find a free theme you’d like to use or simply test it out, you can click the “Install” button to install the theme.
- After installing, be sure to “Activate” the theme (via Appearance > Themes). This applies the theme to your live site.
While free themes are definitely an option, we would strongly recommend considering a premium theme.
Premium themes may cost a bit of money, but you’ll be getting a much more substantial website with features that free WordPress websites probably won’t offer.
Premium WordPress Themes
What are they exactly?
Premium themes are WordPress themes you pay for. The price of a theme can vary depending on the author, the marketplace, or the particular features included in the theme.
Why should I consider one?
Premium themes come in hundreds of specialties, meaning they’re created to accommodate a particular type of blog topic. For example, photography themes, real estate themes, fashion themes, and even food blog themes. Because of this, premium themes are often more customizable and offer features better suited for a particular interest.
Lastly, many premium theme authors will provide technical support if you find yourself with any theme-related questions. This can be hugely helpful if you’re just getting started with blogging!
Where do I buy them?
At Solo Pine, we offer a number of flexible WordPress blog themes which can be used for food blogs and any other sort of content! We’ve proudly helped support bloggers since 2013. Our themes are all a one-time fee (no subscription!) and come with 6 months technical support at no extra charge so we can help you launch your dream food blog.
We also have one blog theme specifically created for food bloggers!
Sprout & Spoon – A WordPress Theme for Food Bloggers
Sprout & Spoon has loads of features ideal for any food blogger including it’s own custom recipe card, category index shortcodes to create beautiful recipe indexes, sidebar promo images to highlight particular posts or pages, and much more. It’s the perfect companion to start a food blog!
Installing a premium WordPress theme:
- After purchasing, download your theme.
- You will likely need to unzip the theme package you downloaded. Within, you should see a zipped folder with your theme’s name. Leave it zipped.
- Log into your WordPress and navigate to Appearance > Themes > Click the “Add New” button.
- Clicke the “Upload” button.
- Search for your theme’s zipped folder and upload to your WordPress.
- After installing the theme, be sure to then “Activate” the theme (via Appearance > Themes) to begin using it.
For detailed steps on installing the Sprout & Spoon food blogging theme, you can check out this article: Beginning Basics – Getting Started with Sprout & Spoon
4. Adding Plugins & Tools
One of WordPress’s greatest features is the ability to use plugins which add extra functionality to your website beyond what your WordPress theme may offer right out of the box.
You’re very welcome to use any sort of plugins with your site, though we’ve noted some personal favorites (and free to use!) below.
- Yoast SEO: A reliable powerhouse of a tool to help your site’s Search Engine Optimization.
- Google Analytics Dashboard: A blogger must-have! Sign up for a Google Analytics account & install this plugin to track traffic, clicks, and more via your WP Dashboard.
- Easy Recipe: A popular WP plugin that lets you fill out your recipes in card-format & embed them into posts. Visitors can then easily print it out.
- Contact Form 7: A simple, straight-forward contact form so visitors can send you emails without needing to disclose your contact info.
- jQuery Pin It Button for Images: Let visitors pin your recipes to Pinterest simply by hovering over images! Use standard Pinterest icons or use your own custom icon.
- MailChimp for WP: Create a MailChimp account & add a newsletter sign-up form to your site. Visitors can subscribe to your newsletter mailing list.
- Backup Guard: If your site crashes or is hacked, don’t lose everything! Be prepared with an auto-backup function so you can blog without worries.
Please note: Not all plugins will be 100% compatible with all themes.
For more WordPress blog resources we personally recommend, check out our Solo Pine Resources page!
5. Add Your Content!
Now here’s the really fun part– with your perfect WordPress theme installed, you’re ready to start filling your site up with all of your beautiful foodie photos and delicious recipes!
For more detailed information on using WordPress’s various features, check out: WordPress Codex – Getting Started with WordPress
6. Ways to Monetize Your Blog
Who wouldn’t love to earn some cash while blogging about their passion? There are several ways to earn money via blogging, no matter the specialty.
Inserting advertisements via an ad service
There are numerous ad services, like Google Adsense, where you create an account & insert a bit of code onto your site to pull in advertisements. Alternatively, there are also more involved ad services like AdThrive which will do much of the work for you.
Leasing ad space to other bloggers
Have some extra space in your sidebar or in your posts you can fit an ad? Fellow bloggers will often pay to have their ads placed in another related blog to drive similar traffic. Contact fellow food bloggers to see if they’d be interested in compensating you to promote them on your food blog via an ad!
Leasing ad space to general public
There are services like BuySellAds that let you put an ad space on your food blog up for rent to the general public. An interested party, who may have a product or service related to yours, can contact you and rent your ad space.
Writing paid reviews of products
Many bloggers will write paid reviews for products or services and post about it on their site. From kitchenware to WordPress themes to food items, the sky’s the limit. Just be sure to disclose that it’s a compensated post!
Joining an affiliate program
From webhosts to marketplaces, many websites will offer an affiliate program. Affiliate programs often include a unique URL suffix which you can add to a hyperlink placed on your website. If a visitor to your site uses that link and enrolls in a service or purchases a product from the affiliate host, you make a little cash! It’s sort of a “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” deal.
In fact, we at Solo Pine have affiliate/referral opportunities via the ThemeForest and Creative Market online marketplaces. To learn more check out: Solo Pine Referrals // Share the love, earn some cash!
7. Drive Traffic to Your Food Blog
There are loads of high-traffic websites that assemble and showcase recipes for their community. You can submit your own recipes to them to be considered for inclusion. If a recipe is selected within their curated collections, it could mean hundreds or thousands of new visitors headed to your food blog!
You’ve secured web hosting, installed the famous WordPress.org platform, chosen a WordPress theme for your site, and learned how to boost your changes for blog victory. You are now well on your way to start a food blog.
Have any questions? Feel free to let us know!
Additional resources to optimize your site
What’s the difference between WP.org and WP.com?: We break down the differences between the similarly named WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
[COMING SOON] How to monetize your website to earn money: Helpful resource for ways to monetize your website in order to earn a little dough!
How to add Google Analytics to your WordPress Site: Google Analytics is a free, must-have tool for any blogger to help track & analyze your traffic!