Do you enjoy cooking, good food, taking pictures of food, and/or expressing yourself in a creative manner? If so, starting a food blog may be a great way to share your knowledge and passion with others. It can also help you make some money on the side or even become your primary job if you become successful in the niche.
Starting a food blog isn’t without its challenges, however, There are over 16,500 food blogs on the internet, and some have huge followings. If the task seems daunting, the following guide can help you understand what you need to do to increase your chances of success in this field, so you can get off to a good start.
Find your Niche in the Food World
Take a moment to consider the style of cooking and/or type of food you enjoy the most. Are you good at preparing Thai food? Do you enjoy baking desserts or have a passion for making homemade ice cream? Do you want to focus on low-carb recipes, gluten-free recipes, Kosher food, or recopies that use only organic ingredients? Alternatively, you may decide to focus not so much on the cooking process but on food arrangement and styling.
Take some time to think about the type of food blog you want to start. While you can expand your topic range in the future, you’ll want to have a specific niche with targeted keywords to stand out from other food blogs. Deciding on a niche will also help you know what type of research you need to do to create winning content for your new blog.
Once you know what you want to talk about, it’s time to decide on a name. Brainstorm ideas on your own or with friends, and then research these ideas to see if there are already food blogs or similar blogs that use the same name. Check a domain name registry to make sure you can purchase a URL with your chosen blog name and with the domain name ending you feel is best for your business.
Now that you have a name for your business, it’s time to set up a website. Most sites use a .com ending, but it’s not the only or even the best option for a food blog. New endings such as .food, .drink, .thai, .swiss, .pizza, and .cooking can enable you to create a unique brand name that will resonate with potential customers.
Once you’ve purchased your URL, you’ll need to find a web host for your new site and blog. Popular, easy-to-use options include WordPress.com and Weebly, but these aren’t your only choices. Do careful research, consider the annual cost of hosting and other services, and makes sure the host you pick offers good customer service and all the features and amenities you need for your site. For instance, if you want to eventually create a “members only” section for your site, you’ll want to make sure the host you pick can handle this feature.
Additionally, bear in mind that some hosting services disallow certain income-generating features unless you pay extra for the use of these services. WordPress.com, for instance, will require that you pay an extra fee to run Google AdSense or lock some of your content behind a paywall. Keep this in mind when calculating the cost of monthly hosting to ensure you’re getting the services you need at the best possible price.
Design Your Logo
A logo defines your business, showing people who you are and what you offer at a glance. People process images far faster than words, so your logo is more likely to stick in someone’s mind than your blog name.
There are several factors to consider when designing a logo. Your chosen image should accurately represent what you offer now and what you intend to offer in the future. It should be unique, so your blog won’t be confused with that of a competitor. Color choice is also important, as colors convey subconscious messages to potential consumers, telling them what you’re about and what they can expect from your blog.
Online logo maker platforms offer a range of images and fonts as well as free editing services so you can check out various options, design sample logos that could suit your company’s needs, and then show potential new logos to others to get outside input. Alternatively, you may want to hire a designer via Upwork or Fiverr or find a branding company that can help you create a unique, winning logo.
Design Your Website
Choose a theme and unique, high-quality images that will appeal to your target audience. Make sure your text is attention-grabbing, in a clear font, and easy to read. Your call-to-action button should be easy to see at a glance, and you’ll likely want to include an “about me” blurb to help people forge a personal connection with you. Furthermore, your site should not only look good on a computer but also on a mobile device. It needs to load quickly for mobile users on a weak Wi-Fi connection. The text should be easy to read even on a small screen, and links and the call-to-action button should be large enough to click with ease. Choose a responsive template for your new blog, shrink the file size for images you upload to your blog and keep the background simple and clutter-free.
There are also great plug-in options you may want to consider for your site. WP Recipe Maker and WP Ultimate Recipe, for instance, allow you to create a recipe card without coding. Yoast SEO will help you optimize your blog for search engines. Contact Form 7 makes it easy for readers to get in touch with you (and provide you with their email address for your email marketing campaign), while the Google Analytics plug-in will help you keep track of visits, bounce rate, most popular posts, and other important stats.
Additionally, your site should have SSL security, as denoted by the lock icon before your URL. If you institute a paywall, sell a cookbook on your site, or engage in any other venture that requires you to process readers’ personal and financial information, SSL security will protect your site from cybercriminals.
When you first start your blog, you’ll need to focus on building a following. You can’t make money from something that people aren’t familiar with. Once you have a following and people recognize the worth of what you have to offer, you can start considering monetization options. Even so, it’s helpful to have a plan for how you’ll monetize your blog in the future, as this may affect the type of content you create right now.
There are many ways you can make money from your blog. You can run Google Ads, become an Amazon affiliate, or approach food and beverage companies to ask if they would like to sponsor blog posts in exchange for links. You can also use your platform to promote your own cookbook or even a catering service, or set up a paywall or members-only section for your site. In fact, you can use more than one monetization option to generate revenue from different sources.
Bear in mind each of the options outlined above has pros and cons. Writing a cookbook, for instance, can be time-consuming. Too many Google Ads can turn off potential visitors. Setting up a paywall can decrease traffic to your blog as people may not want to pay extra money to see additional content. Consider each of your options carefully before monetizing your blog, and keep an eye on your stats to ensure you’re not losing money and influence.
Optimize Your Blog
One of the best ways to bring traffic to your blog is to optimize it for Google and other leading search engines. Think about the words or phrases that would best describe your blog, and do some research to see which ones are the least competitive; that is, aren’t overly used by millions of other food bloggers the world over. Use these keywords on your home page, in blog post headers, and in image tags.
Links also play a role in boosting your blog on Google. Reach out to other blogs in similar industries to see if you can write a guest post. Contact an influencer in your field to ask for an interview; this will not only generate traffic for your blog but also a link from the interviewee’s blog.
Keep tabs on your statistics to see the type of content that generates the most traffic from search engines. You may even want to monitor competitor food blogs to see which pages are most popular and why. You don’t want to copy their content, but you can glean ideas and create unique content on the same theme.
Start Creating Your Content
Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to make a content creation schedule. Do you want to post content weekly, twice a week, daily, or three times a week, on certain days? Bear in mind you’ll need to stick to your schedule so people know when they can expect to hear from you.
Create various types of content for your new blog. Long recipes may appeal to many users, but others will want short, easy to prepare recipes and simple tips. Video content is great for users who want to see how something is made, while images are attention-grabbing and generate shares on social media.
Collect material you can use for inspiration for your blog posts. Competitor sites, cookbooks, sites in a similar industry to yours, news articles, and even images on Pinterest and Instagram can help you collect ideas for future posts. Keep your inspirational material in an easy-to-access, organized manner, so you’re never stuck for content creation ideas and options.
Social media platforms offer great organic marketing opportunities, but you don’t need to use all or even most of them to effectively promote your content. Rather, pick out the ones that are most commonly used by your target audience and that get the most traffic overall.
YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are ideal platforms for just about any food blog. Pinterest is great for visually appealing dishes, as is Instagram. TikTok may be ideal for your blog if you are appealing to young people, while LinkedIn could work well for you if you want to promote your expertise in the food industry in order to be hired as a caterer, consultant, or speaker.
Paid marketing options can help your business get off the ground and earn fast traffic. Consider Facebook ads and Google AdWords to help you spread awareness of your new blog. Monitor these platforms to ensure you’re getting the results you need and expect, and to find which keywords work best in your advertising campaign.
A food blog can be a fun yet profitable way to share your expertise with the world. Consider the pointers outlined above, tweak them to suit your needs and budget, and enjoy sharing your knowledge with the world and making money doing work you enjoy doing.