Do you want to make your dent in the culinary world?
Becoming a food blogger could be your shot.
Don’t worry — it’s a lot more achievable than you think.
In fact, I want to make a bet.
By the end of this post, you can have your own food blog live in less than 24 hours.
But first, let me have a word about food blogging and why you should do it.
The Ultimate Guide To Food Blogging
- 1. What is Food Blogging and Why Should You Start a Food Blog?
- 2. Getting Your Blog Up and Running
- 2.1 Picking the Right Domain for Your Food Blog
- 2.2 Choosing the Right Hosting Service
- 2.3 Installing WordPress
- 3. Best WordPress Themes for Food Blogs
- 4. Best WordPress Plugins for Food Blogs
- 4.1 WP Recipe Maker
- 4.2 Recipe Card Blocks
- 4.3 Yasr – Yet Another Stars Rating
- 4.4 Smush Image Optimization
- 4.5 Any Contact Form Plugin
- 5. Prepping Up Your Blog Content Strategy
- 5.1 Doing Keyword Research for Your Food Blog
- 5.2 Borrowing Content Inspiration From Competitors
- 5.3 Preparing Your Recipe Page Content
- 6. Marketing Your Food Blog
- 6.1 Setting Up Your Social Media Accounts
- 6.2 How to Make a Food Blog Rise in SERPs
- 6.3 Using Email Marketing to Spread Your Blog Content
- 6.4 Tracking Your Marketing Results
- 7. Monetizing Your Food Blog
- 7.1 Creating and Selling eBooks
- 7.2 Affiliate Marketing
- 7.3 Building a YouTube Channel
- 7.4 Selling Online Courses
- 7.5 Offering Subscriptions
- 7.6 Displaying Paid Ads on Your Food Blog
- 7.7 Publishing Sponsored Content
- 8. Food Blogging FAQs
- 9. Conclusion
What is Food Blogging and Why Should You Start a Food Blog?
Different people start food blogging for different reasons.
Some food bloggers do it simply because they’re passionate about food. These are hobbyist bloggers who don’t really care about monetization or traffic.
But if you want to turn food blogging into a career, then I need to tell you something:
Prepare for the most challenging phase of your life.
Why Should You Start a Food Blog?
Plenty of reasons, actually:
- Grow your network — One of the main advantages of blogging is the opportunity to build and grow your professional network. As a food blogger, you can connect with the food-loving community, chefs, and other authoritative figures in the industry.
- Improve your cooking skills — A self-respecting blogger lends an ear to readers and other influencers who can chip in advice. Listen to their feedback — it’ll help you grow as a blogger, cook, and food enthusiast over time.
- Build a foundation for future endeavors — Food blogging can springboard your other culinary plans, like writing a book or selling your own products. In addition to personal branding, it can also give you the connections you need for these life-changing opportunities.
- Put your creative fuels to use — You never know when a sudden surge of inspiration and motivation will come. But if you run a blog, rest assured that your creative sprees will bear fruit.
Now, you may not see the results you want within weeks or even months of hard work.
But don’t be discouraged.
If you truly love food, then every second of it should be a rewarding experience for you. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be tough, either.
Let’s get down to business.
Getting Your Blog Up and Running
Before you worry about learning how to write a food blog post, there’s one obstacle you should overcome.
In the distant past, aspiring bloggers needed the help of professional web developers to build a site.
Today, anyone with an internet connection and some pocket money can single-handedly accomplish such a task.
To make this happen, here are the steps you need to take:
Step 1: Picking The Right Domain Name for Your Food Blog
Before your food blog can take off, it needs a catchy domain name that can get people’s attention.
That’s why the first step in food blogging is brainstorming domain names.
A word of advice: don’t rush this step.
Your domain name isn’t something you can easily change. While possible, there are implications of switching to a new domain, especially as far as branding and SEO are concerned.
Ideally, the domain name you pick from the get-go is the domain you’ll stick to in the long run.
With that out of the way, here’s a great place to start for a domain name that’s worth keeping:
1. Setting a few ground rules
Some marketing experts may say that there’s no magic formula for the perfect domain name.
There are, however, a few guidelines that can help you fashion the right one for your food blog.
First and foremost, your blog’s domain name must be short and simple.
Trust me — you’re not impressing anybody with long domain names like:
As much as possible, your domain name must be easy to spell and easy to remember. Ditch the hifalutin, pretentious words and come up with something short and sweet.
The second ground rule is to use a “.com” domain name whenever they’re available.
Want to do a little experiment? Search for anything on Google right now.
I bet that most — if not all — of the top pages have the “.com” TLD or Top-Level Domain.
That’s no coincidence.
A “.com” domain is simply more recognizable and brandable. They also appear more authoritative to most internet users — your target audience.
Thirdly, make sure your domain name matches the brand name you want to adopt.
How confused will users be if they come to a website named “Mike’s Kitchen,” but the domain name is “TheBestFoodieBlog.com”?
There are a couple more guidelines you should know about when picking a blog domain name. I explained all of them in this short guide.
2. Starting with a keyword
In case you didn’t know, the value of keywords in a website’s domain name is long deprecated.
That doesn’t mean keywords aren’t helpful in coming up with memorable domain names.
Using any note-taking tool, be it Notepad or Evernote, list down the first five food-related keywords you can think of.
Don’t think about rules for now — anything that comes to mind when you think of the word “food” deserves consideration.
Here are some keywords that popped into my head:
If I were you, I’d start experimenting with these keywords by combining them.
For the sake of this guide, pretend for a second that “Breading the Crunch” sounds intriguing.
The next step is to verify if it’s still available with a tool like Domainr.
To use Domainr, click ‘Search All Domains’ to go to the search page. Alternatively, just enter the domain name you want to use into the “search all domains” field right above.
With Domainr, we can confirm that the domain name is still available.
Domainr also checks the availability of the domain name under different TLDs. Use them only if you’re absolutely sure about a brand or blog name, but its “.com” version is unavailable.
If the domain name you like is labeled as “Taken,” there’s a chance that it’s still up for grabs.
Look at the domain name “WineConnoisseur.com,” for example.
At first look, it might be understood that someone else is using that domain for their own blog or site. But if you click the ‘View Site’ button on the right, you’ll see that the domain is only parked.
Just bear in mind that parked domains can be substantially more expensive than new ones. It’s also possible that the current owner of the domain won’t be willing to sell it yet.
3. Adding more keywords
Don’t settle for the first decent domain name on your table.
I can’t stress this enough, but it’s ideal that your first domain name is also your last.
In any case, you should come up with a handful of domain name variations first and then pick your favorite.
At this point, feel free to add new terms to your food-related keywords list. This time, however, think of terms that are more specific to the personal brand you want to establish.
Below are the factors you need to consider for this:
- Cuisine — What particular cuisine do you want to explore in your blog?
- Cooking Technique — Baking, roasting, frying, or what have you — which cooking technique are you most proficient at?
- Location — A simple way to set your blog apart is to mention your location.
- Food Descriptors — As a cook, what adjective do people often describe your food with? It can be smoky, spicy, salty, sweet, and so on.
- Favorite Ingredient — You can also come up with a domain name using your favorite ingredient.
Taking these factors into account, this could be your refreshed keywords list for domain brainstorming:
4. Using a combination generator
I don’t know about you, but a list of 10 keywords should be enough to generate over a hundred combinations.
If you need a little help, you can use this combination generator from PLANETCALC.
Let me show you how it works.
For each variable, click on the “pencil” button to the right and replace the value with a keyword. You can add more variables by clicking the “plus” button on the top-right corner.
Random combinations will be automatically generated at the bottom of the page. You can also adjust the number of words in a single combination by modifying the “Combination size” field.
That’s it — you should now be able to come up with tons of food blog name ideas.
When it comes to setting up your domain, the hard part is actually over. I guarantee that you’ll breeze through the rest of the setup process with the instructions I’ll lay out for you.
Step 2: Choosing The Right Hosting Service
After you decide on the domain name you want to use, you need to register it right away.
Most web hosting service providers offer domain registration services as well. To streamline your domain management tasks, it’s preferable to use a single platform for domain registration and hosting.
SiteGround, for one, lets you register domains on your dashboard with hosting as an add-on.
After logging into your account, go to ‘Add Services’ and look for the “Register a Domain” section. It should be right above the fold.
Go on — enter your desired domain name and select the TLD you want to use.
Upon clicking ‘Check Domain,’ SiteGround will give you a confirmation if the domain is available for registration. If it is, you can choose the “Register Domain with Hosting” option to have your domain name ready in one go.
SiteGround’s pricing for the particular order should be detailed out under “Purchase Information.”
Congratulations — you now know how to register and host your very own domain!
Just be reminded that the domain registration and hosting steps vary depending on your web hosting company.
Step 3: Installing WordPress
Here’s the thing:
After hosting your domain name, it still isn’t a full-fledged website.
You still need to install a good content management system or use your domain with a third-party website builder.
Only then will you be able to start putting together a proper, viewable website.
Of course, there’s the off chance that you’re an experienced web developer. In which case, you can afford the option to do things the “old school” way.
I’m talking about writing all your website codes from scratch — perhaps with a tool like Brackets.
However, the best route for most new bloggers is to install an easy-to-use CMS like WordPress.
To do this, you can manually download and upload WordPress to your hosting account or use a WordPress installation app.
This is normally found in your hosting account’s “cPanel” — short for control panel. In SiteGround’s case, it’s in the “Autoinstallers” section of the cPanel.
Just like domain registration and hosting, the exact WordPress installation procedure also varies from web host to web host. One thing’s for certain, though — everything you need to do will be clearly explained on the screen.
For SiteGround users, the installation process requires you to designate a domain as the installation URL. You may also enter a site name and description right off the bat, but you can change those later.
What’s important is that you choose the right domain name and configure your WordPress administrator credentials accordingly. The latter can be done at the bottom of the WordPress installation page.
There are a few more optional features you can enable in your WordPress installation.
While you can make do without the rest, I do recommend enabling the “Limit Login Attempts” option. This adds a layer of security against brute force attacks to your site.
Best WordPress Themes for Food Blogs
Once WordPress is successfully installed, your hosting account should provide a shortcut to your “admin” panel.
On SiteGround, it’s the ‘Go to Admin Panel’ button next to your domain. Just head over to your account page and navigate to the “Installations” tab.
You can also head to your WordPress administrator panel by adding “wp-admin” to your domain address.
For example, if you registered the domain “BreadingtheCrunch.com,” this is what you need to type in your browser:
If WordPress is installed correctly, you should arrive at the CMS login page, which should look like:
Remember the admin credentials you created during the installation process? Use them as your login information and you should be on your WordPress dashboard in no time.
Here’s what a fresh installation of WordPress looks like:
Introducing WordPress Themes
Alright — you’re ready to install your first WordPress theme.
To get started, expand the “Appearance” sub-menu and click ‘Themes.’ That’s where you can install your very first theme for your food blog.
On your first visit to the themes section, you’ll see a bunch of pre-installed themes that you can use immediately.
But where’s the fun in that?
I suggest clicking the ‘Add New’ button to start browsing WordPress’s expansive library of themes.
The first page you’ll see is the “Featured” themes tab. It includes a diverse selection of versatile themes for all sorts of sites — from online stores to news websites.
In the screenshot above, the featured list only has 15 themes.
Switch over to the “Popular” or “Latest” tab to view thousands more.
Take your time and use the search bar to find themes that may suit your food blog.
I did my share and looked for awesome themes prior to writing this article. And based on my findings, these are the two best food blog themes that are definitely worth a look:
1. Foodie Pro Theme
The Foodie Pro Theme can transform your website from generic to stunning with little work.
It’s a simple, minimalistic theme that makes sure your food blog content stands out.
Below is a screenshot of Code2Cook — a site powered by the Foodie Pro Theme and owned by a friend.
What I really like about the Foodie Pro Theme is the extremely clean look.
Fewer on-screen clutter means easier customizations, which is why I recommend the Foodie Pro Theme for new bloggers.
On the theme customization page, you can switch between different site layouts in seconds. Simply click on ‘Theme Settings’ and then ‘Site Layout’ to view your options.
Not sure what layout to work with?
Give each of the layout presets a test run by selecting them from the drop-down menu. The preview panel should refresh so you know what a layout looks like live.
If your food blog barely has any content yet, you may want to try the “Full Width Content” layout. This will remove the excess widget areas on the homepage, drawing your readers’ attention to your first few posts.
Sure, the theme looks great, but what about its features?
More experienced WordPress users will be pleased to know that the homepage has several widget areas to play with. The Foodie Pro Theme is fully mobile-responsive, which means your site will look great on any device.
2. Brunch Pro Theme
If high-quality food photography is a focal point of your blog, you need to check out the Brunch Pro Theme.
It’s on the same level as Foodie Pro Theme in terms of minimalism, performance, and ease of use. The main difference is, Brunch Pro will put your blog’s visual content front and center.
Just like Foodie Pro, most of the design aspects of Brunch Pro can be effortlessly personalized to your tastes. There’s just one thing you need to remember before you commit to this theme.
See to it that you can provide professional-quality, high-resolution images.
Without them, you can’t take full advantage of Brunch Pro’s layouts and features.
So…should I go with Foodie Pro or Brunch Pro?
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying you should only go for either Foodie Pro or Brunch Pro as your food blog’s theme.
It is, after all, your own food blog. Major decisions such as your WordPress theme should be made solely by you.
There are thousands of other themes out there that can help you achieve the look you want.
All you need is an ounce of imagination and you can use any theme to spice up your food blog.
Nonetheless, I’m always happy to provide you with suggestions should you need some ideas. For more great-looking themes for food blogs, click here.
Best WordPress Plugins For Food Blogs
A good WordPress theme is the foundation of any successful blog, but it’s just a small piece of the puzzle.
True, you can start writing and publishing posts the moment you install a theme. But if you want your audience to have an experience they’ll remember, then you need to reach higher.
WordPress plugins will allow you to integrate various kinds of features into your website.
You can have a functional contact form, booking calendar, sliders, and so on — without writing a single line of code.
In a food blog, you don’t really need to implement anything fancy. The following plugins should be enough to breathe life into your food blog:
1. WP Recipe Maker
How do you intend to share recipes on your blog?
Bulleted lists? Tables?
One word: boring.
WP Recipe Maker lets you present your recipes in an organized and aesthetically pleasing manner.
With WP Recipe Maker, every detail of your recipe will be fused into a shareable visual.
I particularly like the default “Compact” template, which will let you show off recipes like this:
2. Recipe Card Blocks
If you want a simpler and more straightforward alternative to WP Recipe Maker, I suggest you try Recipe Card Blocks.
Recipe Card Blocks accomplishes what WP Recipe Maker does, but with different end results. The design of the recipe panels is, as expected, the key factor.
3. Yasr – Yet Another Stars Rating
If you’d rather keep things simple with a traditional blog post format, at least get yourself a star rating widget.
Yasr is a WordPress plugin that will let readers rate your recipes with star ratings.
Using it is simple — install the plugin, configure its appearance, and add it to posts using shortcodes or Gutenberg blocks.
We’ll look at this WordPress plugin a little closer in a while, so hang tight.
4. Smush Image Optimization
One thing you can count on in food blogging is the fact that you need truckloads of high-quality images.
This could cause a hit on your page’s loading speed — negatively affecting user experience and your website’s rankings.
With a plugin like Smush, you can put an end to your image optimization worries once and for all.
What makes Smush so useful is the “Automatic compression” feature. This allows the plugin to work its magic on every image you upload to your WordPress library.
5. Any Contact Form Plugin
Lastly, every blogger worth their salt would be open to two-way communication.
A contact form plugin is an essential piece for any food blog. This way, readers can voice out their opinions, give suggestions, and ask questions more directly.
There are several contact form plugins that are suitable for food bloggers. These three are among the most popular choices:
Don’t you worry about the integration procedures for these plugins. They all work right out of the box with versatile templates for any site.
The only thing you need to learn is how to add the forms to a WordPress page or post. This is usually done by pasting a shortcode, which you can find on the plugin’s settings page.
For a more complete list of WordPress plugins, I’d recommend to food bloggers, check out this post.
Prepping Up Your Blog Content Strategy
By now, you now have all the tools you need to create a beautiful, professional-looking food blog. But then again, people won’t come to your site just to appreciate its design.
What your readers really care about is your content — the juicy meat of any site.
Unfortunately, writing and publishing posts on your food blog is a bit more complex than it sounds.
Before you type a single word, you have a long list of preparations to make. This will ensure that your content creation efforts will lead to a steady, profitable stream of web traffic.
Let’s start with keyword research.
Doing Keyword Research for Your Food Blog
Keyword research is a blogger’s steppingstone to online relevance.
Since you own your blog, you do have the right to write about whatever you like. But in order to capture the attention of readers, you must tackle hot topics and dole out in-demand information.
That’s where keyword research comes in.
We’re now in digital marketing territory, so pay close attention.
I’m about to teach you how to perform keyword research like a pro.
Keyword research lesson #1: Get yourself a reliable keyword research tool
It’s not rocket science: no keyword research tool, no keyword research.
I spent a long time using and reviewing keyword research tools throughout my career. As a matter of fact, I recently revamped a post of mine about the top 10 keyword research tools today.
For a comprehensive discussion about keyword research, I decided to use one of the top-tier platforms in all things marketing.
SEMrush is just about as good as it gets if you need a keyword research tool.
Its “Keyword Magic Tool” brings together everything you need to find lucrative keyword opportunities for your food blog.
To use it, start with a seed keyword or any relevant term and click ‘Search.’
If you need seed keywords, refer to the keywords list you made during the domain brainstorming part of this guide.
After you plug in your seed keyword, the Keyword Magic Tool will generate a massive list of potential keyword ideas. Valuable metrics like the keywords’ average monthly search volume, cost per click, and keyword difficulty will be included.
Let’s say you have an amazing carrot cake recipe that you’d like to showcase on your blog.
Naturally, you want to find keywords that can lure in people who are also into baking carrot cakes. With that in mind, you can start with a seed keyword like “carrot cake recipe.”
Here are the keyword ideas that the Keyword Magic Tool sent back:
Lesson #2: Keyword research also leads to content ideas that can beef up your blog
An important thing to keep in mind is that keyword suggestions also often point to new topic ideas worth exploring.
With the results above, you may consider covering variations of your recipe — from carrot cupcakes to carrot cakes with pineapples. If not, how does “vegan carrot cake recipe” sound?
There are literally thousands of ideas right there to keep your content strategy fresh.
This begs the question: how do you pick the right keyword opportunities for your blog?
Since I already discussed this topic before, I don’t want to delve too deeply into the nitty-gritty of keyword research. Instead, allow me to slide in a link to my post called “How to Do Keyword Research” for beginners.
Lesson #3: SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages are also an excellent source of keyword ideas
Make no mistake that I wouldn’t let anyone take on the challenges of keyword research without a platform like SEMrush.
Still, sometimes you don’t have to look far to find keyword opportunities that can provide your blog with traffic.
No — I’m not just talking about “Autocomplete” suggestions like the ones that Google provides.
Autocomplete suggestions may be a goldmine of content ideas for budding bloggers. However, they lack crucial pieces of data that allow you to decide which keywords are worth pursuing.
We can fix this issue by installing a browser extension like Keywords Everywhere.
It is available for both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. If you’re still using default browsers like Edge or Safari, you may need to step out of your comfort zone.
With Keywords Everywhere installed, let’s check what’s new in Google’s Autocomplete suggestions.
Typing the search phrase used above, Keywords Everywhere immediately gets to work.
Next to the Autocomplete suggestions, you can now see the average monthly search volume and CPC for each keyword.
That’s not all.
If you load up the entire SERP, Keywords Everywhere will also show you bucketloads of related keyword ideas. Pertinent metrics for each new keyword idea are also included.
Using Keywords Everywhere as an alternative to robust keyword research platforms will significantly speed up your workflow.
Imagine — you’re searching for new recipe ideas to write about in your next post. Keywords Everywhere makes it possible to look for those recipes and garner keyword ideas at the same time.
Finding the best keyword ideas for food and cooking blogs
Excited to do your keyword research?
Slow down — here are a few guidelines you need to live by first:
- Understand Keyword Difficulty — As a new player in the food blogging niche, targeting high competition keywords may spell trouble for your growth. Read this post to learn more about keyword difficulty and how to find the sweet spot for your blog.
- Go for Long-Tail Keywords — Unlike broad and unprofitable keywords, long-tail keywords have three or more terms. They are tied to more specific topics and sought out by a narrower audience with clearer intent.
- Don’t Starve Yourself — There’s no point in optimizing for keywords that barely get any searches per month. As much as possible, hunt for keywords with an average search volume of over 100.
Let’s face it, the food blogging industry isn’t the most beginner-friendly.
If you’re struggling to find viable keywords for the topics you want, maybe it’s time to target a smaller niche.
I wrote an entire post dedicated to those who still haven’t nailed down their ideal niche here. As a bonus, I listed down a total of 104 niche ideas that aren’t crowded with competitors yet.
Some of them are in the food landscape, like cheese making, homebrewing, making wine, diets, and Indian recipes.
If you happen to find a smaller niche, do restart your keyword research.
Don’t forget to jot down the keyword ideas you find on an accessible list, including their metrics. A spreadsheet application like MS Excel or Google Sheets should do.
There is no right way to do this. Just see to it that your keywords list is readable and scannable, like this one:
Borrowing content inspiration from competitors
Early on in creating a food blog, you should have no problem thinking of blog post topics.
I bet you wanted to be a food blogger because you want to share some of your own recipes.
So, go ahead and do keyword research for the unique recipes you want to talk about. The next question you need to ask is, how do you put together an engaging blog post with keyword ideas?
That’s when the skill of competitor research will come in handy.
Wait, what’s competitor research?
Competitor research, in general, is the practice of observing the strategies of similar brands.
The goal is simple: figure out what works for your competitors and use them in your own strategy.
Before you put hours into your first blog post, it would be wise to inspect how competitors do it.
For instance, I looked into the keyword “simple carrot cake recipe” earlier.
This particular blog looks like it’s doing pretty well.
To learn what makes this website get high search engine rankings, we need to pay it a visit.
What should you look for on your competitor’s page?
The page itself should give away a number of things in your competitor’s content strategy.
For example, the page starts with a star rating widget that measures how well the recipe is received by readers. That’s something you can easily replicate with the right WordPress plugin.
By the way, star ratings can also appear as eye-catching rich snippets in SERPs.
Speaking of SEO, experienced bloggers should also spot the expertly inserted keyword in the post’s introduction.
The page also features a recipe video that give readers a firsthand look at how the recipe is done.
A recipe video may not be something a food blogger can produce on their first day. But, at least, it’s a milestone you can add to your to-do list.
Other than that, here’s a list of aspects you should focus on when investigating your competitor’s content strategy:
- Content Types — Apart from written text, what other content types does your competitor throws in the mix? Are there videos, infographics, downloadable PDFs, interactive tables, and such?
- Word Count — It’s a known fact that longer articles tend to rank higher in SERPs than shorter content. Verify if it’s the case with the keyword you’re looking into.
- Subtopics — Lengthy blog posts usually cover a lot of ground. By spying on your competitor’s content, you can learn about related subtopics that are worth mentioning.
- Meta Data — Going back to the SERP, review how your competitor writes their meta descriptions. Also, identify the rich snippets they use to earn more organic click-throughs.
- Keyword Placement — When going over your competitor’s content, notice how they weave keywords into their posts. Chances are, focus keywords can be found in the post’s title, subheadings, image alt text tags, and main body.
Looking at your competitors’ keywords
Sometimes, the content factors you can borrow from competitors are beneath the surface.
Their target keywords, for example, can only be unearthed with the help of keyword research tools.
For such a task, I only trust premium platforms like SEMrush, which I’ve covered multiple times in this blog.
It’s easy — just enter your competitor’s content URL and click ‘Search.’
It shouldn’t take long before SEMrush can pull up in-depth insights on your competitor’s content. To collect keyword ideas, scroll down to the “Top Organic Keywords” box.
You can also start with the organic keywords of your competitor’s whole domain.
This should yield a new batch of in-demand content ideas that you can also blog about.
If you’re having trouble finding their keywords list, just remember to look for the “Organic Research” page under “Domain Analytics.”
Snagging keyword ideas from the organic research report is just the beginning. You still have ways to go before you can convert your competitor’s organic keyword data into tangible plans of action.
Preparing your recipe page content
You can’t learn how to become a food blogger without knowing the art of creating recipe pages.
Sadly, being able to write high-quality blog posts won’t be enough.
You see, recipe pages need to have something a little extra in order to stand out. How else do you plan to compete against posts with star ratings, videos, and other graphics?
Taking food photographs
Since you’re new to food blogging, it’s understandable if you want to start small and skimp on your expenses. But whether you like it or not, you need to get your hands dirty in food photography.
How do you expect readers to take you seriously if you only use stock photos?
By taking your own food photographs, you have the right to add your social media handle as an overlay. This will protect your images from content freeloaders and help spread your brand to everyone who views them.
The good news is, you don’t need to invest in an expensive, professional camera for publish-worthy food photography. With the right techniques, a smartphone camera should get you covered during your first few months as a food blogger.
Do note that I said “a” smartphone camera, not “any.”
Why? Because, even though most smartphones in this era have built-in cameras, not all of them can take quality food photos.
What you need is a smartphone camera that has depth-of-field features.
This will allow you to take photos with blurry backgrounds and sharp subjects.
Additionally, you need to familiarize yourself with lighting, its role in photography, and how to work with it.
I may not be able to sit you through the fundamentals of smartphone photography. Joanie Simon of The Bite Shot, however, will be happy to teach you what you need to know.
You can watch her 13-minute video tutorial below:
What photos should I take?
I believe the right question should be: “What photos shouldn’t you take?”
Your utensils, ingredients, workspace, yourself — anything that your readers would like to see have a spot in your recipe posts.
You can even add a photo or two for each and every step. Just try to be to-the-point and focus on visual information that can benefit your readers.
For your reference, Code2Cook diligently photographs every step of the recipe to help readers understand the instructions:
If you want to go the extra mile, use image editing tools to create custom blog graphics for your recipes.
Believe it or not, the internet has dozens of cloud-based tools that could help you create something like this:
Would you believe me if I told you that it only took five minutes for me to make that?
Sure, it would take at least double that time if I wanted the graphic to be more original. The point is, you don’t need to be a professional graphic designer to create something eye-catching.
All you need is a pinch of inspiration and the right tool in hand.
Photo editing tools for food bloggers
Your would-be readers can probably forgive you if the quality of your images isn’t exactly top-notch. This is especially true if you’ve only started blogging for a few weeks.
Nevertheless, your food blog deserves images that make people’s mouths water.
If you have zero experience with photo editing software, consider spending some time to learn any of the following:
- Canva — This online image editing tool supplies the basic tools you need to create vibrant food photos. Apart from filters and color adjustment features, it can also help you whip up social media graphics with ease.
- Photoshop — You can’t say “photo editing” without thinking about the most popular software in the industry. It may be on the expensive side and has a somewhat steep learning curve, but it’s definitely worth the investment.
- GIMP — Next up, GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program is an open-source Photoshop alternative. I advise you to try this first before you purchase a premium photo editing app.
Things to remember when uploading photos to your recipe pages
Suppose you already have your food photos — waiting to be inserted in your post.
Do you simply upload them to your WordPress site and call it a day?
If I need to upload images to a post, the first thing I’d do is give them a better filename.
Don’t even think about uploading them to your blog with names like “20190304_553532.jpg.” Instead, give them descriptive or keyword-optimized names like “simple-carrot-cake.jpg” or “how-to-slice-onions.png.”
Here’s a sneak peek at how Code2Cook names their food photos:
Before you upload your images, you should also use an image compression tool like Kraken.io to make them load faster.
Kraken.io is a user-friendly tool that offers lossless image compression. This means you can reduce the file size of your images without any noticeable changes in clarity.
I could go on and on about optimizing images for blog posts, but that’s a topic for another article. Luckily for you, that article is already published right here.
Setting up the rating system for your blog
Previously, I briefly discussed the features of Yasr and how it can boost reader engagement.
This time around, let me walk you through the actual steps of integrating it into your blog.
After installing and activating Yasr, click ‘Settings’ under the “Yet Another Stars Rating” sub-menu. This will take to the “General Settings” area of the plugin.
That’s where you can configure how your star ratings widget should function and look.
At the top of the settings page, be sure to set the “Auto Insert Options” toggle to ‘No.’ Otherwise, Yasr will display star ratings on every single post — regardless if it’s a recipe article or not.
Below the Auto Insert options, you can edit the labels that appear on the star ratings widget.
The only required change you need to make is to change the word “post” into “recipe.”
There are a few more things you need to adjust to personalize the Yasr plugin on your website. You can change who can leave their votes, set the display setting of ratings on your archive page, and more.
Whatever you do, see that you select ‘Recipe’ in the “Rich snippet options” section. This will tell search engines that your star ratings widget is used on recipe pages and nothing else.
Adding star ratings to recipe pages
Nice — you’re just about ready to add a star rating system to a recipe page.
With Auto Insert switched off, you need to manually paste a shortcode to your recipe pages. If your version of WordPress has the Gutenberg editor, then you simply need to add a Yasr block.
Remember, implementing a star rating system is a great way to get your audience’s feedback on your recipes. Use the ‘Yasr: Visitor Votes’ option when adding the star rating widget to get your readers involved.
For the shortcode, use “[yasr_visitor_votes].”
You can then set the size of the stars as you see fit. Just select the size you want to use from the drop-down menu.
Here’s what your star rating widget should look like on your recipe page:
Creating Food Videos
There comes a time when bloggers — not just food bloggers — need to make a decision.
Will you add another generic blog to the pile, or create a brand that will get recognized in your industry?
If you choose the latter, you have no choice but to replicate what the top brands do.
In food blogging, that’s producing your own recipe videos.
I won’t pressure you to get up and shop for video recording equipment this very day. Only you will decide when you’re ready for this frontier.
When you are, here are some pre-production tips that’ll help you ace your first recipe video:
- Start with Your Best Recipe — To effectively incorporate video content into your long-term strategy, you should give your 100% to every video you produce. And since you need to make a solid first impression, make your first video something you’ll be proud of.
- Videos Should Stand on Their Own — You can maximize the value you get out of videos by sharing them on other platforms, like YouTube and Facebook. To make this work, a video must be able to deliver complete instructions without relying on a complimentary article.
- Break Down the Steps — Before you start recording, you must have a clear idea of the steps you want to demonstrate. Don’t skip anything and try to include cooking tips based on your personal experiences in each step.
- Show Multiple Angles — You can use the same, top-down camera angle when filming instructions for your recipe. But once the dish is done, show it off from multiple angles and let viewers appreciate your creation.
If you’re dead set on mastering video production, you can learn a lot from courses like Food Blogger Pro. They have an entire section for food video production you can sink your teeth into.
Outsourcing Your Content Production Needs
Don’t have the bandwidth to learn photography and video editing?
There’s always the option to outsource someone who can do the heavy lifting for you.
Freelance marketplaces like Upwork have a massive lineup of eager freelancers who can help you with any task. A single keyword like “photographer” should do the trick.
Another advantage of hiring freelancers is the competitive nature of these marketplaces.
It doesn’t matter if you need a photographer, video editor, or web developer. You should be able to find qualified professionals at a rate you’re comfortable with.
Aside from that, remember the following tips when hiring freelancers to help with your food blogging activities:
- Always Ask for Samples — Now’s not the time to take a risk with people who don’t have proof of their proficiency. To ensure outsourcing success, always opt for freelancers with an established online portfolio or links to their previous works.
- Set Realistic Expectations — When arranging your collaborative project, give your freelancer ample time to get the job done. It’s perfectly acceptable to set intricate job details, but don’t compel them to overdeliver — that’s something they’ll figure out themselves.
- Convince them to Connect — If you want your requirements to be met, don’t communicate solely through emails. Encourage your freelancer to communicate directly via instant messaging or Skypevideo calls.
- Organize Your Workflow — Now might be a good time for you to learn how to organize your workload with productivity tools. Visit my guide on blogger productivity for the tips and tools to do things more efficiently.
- Discuss Revision Allowances — A healthy, positive mindset shouldn’t stop you from planning ahead in case things don’t go your way. That said, discuss the number of times a freelancer can perform revisions for free.
Putting it all together
Got your food photos, plugins, and videos ready?
Your next task is to put them all together.
Like a tasty dish, creating a recipe page is an art form that requires planning and technique. Most importantly, you need to know what makes a blog post stellar.
The next thing you need to focus on would be the structure of a brilliant recipe page.
Here’s a quick rundown of the must-have elements:
- Featured Image — As the first thing readers see, you can’t afford to use subpar featured images in your recipe pages. Don’t hesitate to add text overlays and filters with tools like Canva — even the tool’s free version should suffice.
- Hook — So, let’s assume that your featured image was able to generate some clicks. A “hook” is a short paragraph that highlights the recipe and gives readers a reason to stay.
- Ingredients and Utensils List — To improve the experience of your readers, always include a complete list of ingredients and utensils in your recipe pages. Put this in your introduction so readers can decide if they still want to read the entire post.
- Call-To-Action — When marketers talk about the word CTA, they often position it as the “final push” needed to encourage reader action. But with creativity, you can use a CTA whenever you give actionable advice in your articles.
To better understand the elements above, the best approach is to look at real-world examples.
Code2Cook, for one, utilizes all of these content components, including standalone recipe videos.
Later in this post, there’ll be a longer list of the top food blog sites. Pay each of them a visit and list down parts of their content strategy you want to adopt.
Marketing Your Food Blog
Creating recipe pages and other types of content for your food blog is a time-consuming challenge.
You may be able to finish writing a 2,000-word post in one day. However, you’ll need another day for the tasks that follow.
That includes proofreading your post, optimizing your visual content, and saving the draft on WordPress.
Even then, you still don’t have time to relax.
What comes after content development is actually the most tedious obstacle every blogger should face — marketing your food blog.
Time is of the essence, so I’ll just cut to the chase.
Setting up your social media accounts
As a greenhorn blogger, you need to grab every opportunity to generate traffic to your site.
Social media is a can’t-miss channel since it can supply your new blog with visitors from day one.
Let’s talk about the social media networks you should focus on.
If you’re a go-getter who’ll take on video production for your food blog, building a YouTube channel is a no-brainer.
YouTube lets you utilize the influential power of video to build a presence and potentially reach masses of viewers. The best part is, you don’t need to spend a single cent to get started.
Just log into the platform with your Google account and you should be able to upload videos right away.
Growing your YouTube channel
Similar to blogging, the growth of your YouTube channel depends on the quality of content you produce.
There are also a few things you need to do to put your channel’s growth on the fast track:
- Give YouTube a hand using other marketing channels — After you upload your video on YouTube, make it a point to promote it via other marketing channels as well. This includes your website and other social media networks.
- Understand YouTube keyword optimization — To make your videos searchable on YouTube, you need to conduct video keyword research tailored to the platform. As for the optimization process, I recommend this YouTube SEO guide by Brian Dean.
- Watch your top competitors — There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to growing a YouTube channel, but your top competitors probably have some idea of what works. Check out their channel and watch their videos to crack the code yourself.
Pinterest is another popular platform that food bloggers use to reach their audience.
Just like with YouTube, you don’t need to be a social media expert to set up a Pinterest profile. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if some of you already have one.
If not, these tips can help you build a follow-worthy Pinterest profile in minutes:
- Pick a more descriptive name — To improve the discoverability of your Pinterest profile, don’t just use your plain brand name as your username. Add a few keywords that describe what users should expect, like “Code2Cook – Indian Vegetarian Recipes.”
- Write a fun “about” message — While your Pinterest username should get your audience’s attention, your “about” message is in charge of getting them absorbed. Keep it concise and don’t forget to throw in a keyword or two.
- Insert your contact information — Not all food blogs do this, but you may also include your contact information in your profile description. This may encourage certain users to share their feedback even if they chose not to visit your site.
- Get a business account — If you already have a personal Pinterest account, your first objective is to get a free business profile. You can follow the steps in this post to make this happen.
- Add your website — Pinterest lets you link your domain to your business profile, which will help funnel traffic to your blog. This requires you to add a tag to your website’s HTML or upload a different one to its root directory.
Sharing your recipes on Pinterest
You can get more attention by sharing original graphics on Pinterest. If you don’t have those yet, your food photos along with a link to your blog will do.
Also, try to learn how to add recipe pins to your website as soon as possible. This will tell Pinterest to grab information — from star ratings to ingredients — and embed them in the pin.
Do it right, and you’ll be able to share informational pins like this:
So, that’s it? Just share your recipes on Pinterest and hope for the best?
To maximize the value you get from Pinterest, you also need to schedule your posts and analyze your results.
Tailwind is the perfect tool for food bloggers who want to establish an authoritative brand on Pinterest and Instagram.
Its main uses include being able to schedule pins. This can exponentially increase the exposure of your blog if you know your target audience’s Pinterest activity patterns.
Don’t know when Pinterest users go online?
CoSchedule already did the math and mapped the ideal posting times on Pinterest:
- 8 PM to 11 PM (9 PM as the peak hour)
- 2 AM to 4 AM
- 1 PM to 4 PM
- Fridays and Saturdays
If you think about it, Instagram can be seen as a toned-down version of either Pinterest or YouTube.
Like YouTube, you can share videos on Instagram to build traffic. The catch is, videos can only be up to a minute long for regular feed uploads.
Instagram is also a premier platform for sharing images, but you can’t upload rich content like recipe pins.
However, you can’t deny that spreading food images on Instagram can considerably boost your brand’s presence.
It also won’t take as much work to gain traction with your new food blog’s Instagram account.
The guidelines for a healthy Instagram profile are really simple:
- Know the purpose of your Instagram account — Sharing food photos on your account to reel in traffic shouldn’t be your only goal. Each post you share must contribute to a user-oriented goal, like improving your followers’ cooking skills and teaching new recipes.
- Switch to a business account — Similar to Pinterest, Instagram also lets users switch to a business account. This will grant access to features like post analytics and Instagram ads.
- Create a brand hashtag — Embracing the hashtag culture is a huge advantage to food bloggers visibility-wise. It’ll help make your profile and posts more searchable to the users who appreciate what you have to offer.
- Insert a link to your website in your bio — On Instagram, the only section of your profile that accepts clickable links is your bio. Capitalize on this opportunity and insert a link to your homepage or pillar content.
- Pick a color palette — If you look at popular Instagram accounts, you’ll notice that most of them stick to a specific color palette. For food-related brands, this typically means using the same background color and lighting in all photos.
Keeping your Instagram account on-brand
The tips above may sound easy, but some steps may take immense brainstorming.
Choosing a brand hashtag and color palette, in particular, may leave you scratching your head for hours.
My only advice is to study your own blog and your competitors.
For branding purposes, using the same color palette for your website and Instagram account makes a lot of sense. As for your brand hashtag, your website must be laden with keywords and taglines that you can build on.
If you haven’t finished developing your site yet, you may start with a competitor’s Instagram profile.
Healthy Twists, for example, uses the same, clean and rustic color palette between their Instagram account and official site. You may also observe Pinch of Yum using the tyrian purple and white combination in their blog and Instagram infographics.
If I’m writing a guide that involves social media networks, there’s no way I’m leaving out Facebook.
With over two billion active users and growing, Facebook has become the go-to social media platform of bloggers and businesses.
Not only is it an effective content distribution channel, Facebook also cultivates two-way communication between you and your readers.
Take it from me and be genuinely involved in engaging and managing your community.
That’s how you can win their trust and encourage them to share your posts to their own circles.
Reading this post will help get your Facebook page growth to a running start. It sheds light on foundational Facebook page promotion tactics, like creating your blog page and preparing a posting schedule.
How to make a food blog rise in SERPs
Think establishing a brand through social media is a lot of work?
That’s nothing compared to launching a full blown SEO campaign.
For those who never encountered the term SEO or Search Engine Optimization before, know this:
SEO is, by no means, a weekend project.
A successful SEO campaign requires you to do everything right — from website development to content marketing.
In return, SEO will reward you with free, organic traffic and a brand that people will turn to for information.
Spoiler alert: I won’t go too in-depth when discussing some SEO strategies.
SEO simply isn’t a topic that you can squeeze into any post. You’ll need to read other, full-length blog posts to understand how SEO’s many moving parts work.
On the bright side, I will include links to the learning resources you need.
Starting with on-page optimization
If you’re thinking about postponing SEO while you prioritize other aspects of food blogging, you’re too late.
You’re actually done with the first step of SEO.
Keyword research is an integral stage in SEO that can make the difference between success and failure.
Now that you have a list of target keywords for your blog content, you can shift your focus to on-page optimization.
Below is the list of on-page optimization strategies your food blog needs:
- Proper Target Keyword Placement — To make your posts rank higher for your target keywords, you need to know when and where to use them. This includes content elements like the page title, URL slug, and subheadings.
- Performance Optimization — In addition to compressing images, you need to perform several more tweaks on your site to improve its loading speed. A performance optimization tool like PageSpeed Insights will point you in the right direction.
- Internal Linking — Creating an SEO-friendly internal link structure sounds complicated, but it’s really simple once you fully grasp the concept. In a nutshell, internal linking is the practice of inserting links to related pieces of content within your own blog.
- External Linking — It may seem counterproductive to insert links that take readers away from your website. But when done right, external links are effective relevancy signals to search engines.
Looks like a lot to take in, right?
I’ll let you learn on-page SEO at your own pace. While you think about it, this guide to on-page SEO optimization might prove useful to you later.
Capping it off with off-page optimization
If there’s on-page optimization, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’s also off-page optimization.
As you can see, on-page optimization strategies are things you can do within your domain to improve SEO rankings. Off-page optimization, on the other hand, pertains to strategies that take place outside your domain.
- Social Media Presence — Search engines like Google have adopted social media presence as a ranking signal. The more social media engagements your content generates, the higher it can rank in SERPs.
- Influencer Marketing — Being able to connect with popular influencers in your niche is yet another benefit of social media marketing. By collaborating with them, you can leverage their social media reach to push your blog’s exposure through the roof.
- Link Building — Lastly, link building is the bread and butter of any off-page SEO campaign. One example of a link building strategy is guest posting, which involves research, outreach, and content creation.
What makes off-page SEO tricky is the grueling amounts of research and preparations needed before you get measurable results.
Link building through guest posting is particularly daunting. After you spend hours on keyword research and email outreach, you still need to create content that exceeds expectations.
I can teach you the ins and outs of guest blogging in this post. Just bookmark it for now — it’ll be a long read!
Thankfully, you don’t have to pin your hopes on guest posting to build backlinks to your food blog. I have here 19 more link building strategies that will help you get the ball rolling.
Using email marketing to spread your blog content
Let’s see — we’ve already covered Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and SEO.
If you can convert everything I wrote above into action, you now have the makings of a thriving food blog.
Yet, there’s still no reason to celebrate.
There are still plenty of opportunities you can take to accelerate your food blog’s growth.
Email marketing could be the missing piece in your strategy that can take your blog to the next level.
Getting to know the email marketing tools you need
What a lot of bloggers don’t realize is that email marketing actually has a low barrier to entry.
We’ve established that integrating a contact form into your WordPress site is easy-peasy. You probably have a working contact form on your blog right now.
The question is, how are you going to transfer the user information you can collect to an actual email marketing platform?
It all depends on the tools you end up using.
If you want baby steps, you can rely on free tools like Contact Form 7 and MailChimp to boot. To make things easier, you can easily connect both tools with a WordPress plugin called Contact Form 7 Extension for MailChimp.
You know the drill — both Contact Form 7 and the extension plugin can be installed straight from the dashboard. For MailChimp, just sign up for a free account and you’re good to go.
With all three tools at your disposal, you can design an email marketing workflow from start to finish.
To wrap up, here are the things you need to do before you proceed to the next step:
- Install the Contact Form 7 plugin
- Install the Contact Form 7 Extension for MailChimp plugin
- Create a free MailChimp account
Got everything checked?
Then let’s get a move on.
Configuring your WordPress plugins
You can’t have an email marketing campaign if you don’t have any email addresses to send to.
A contact form will enable you to collect the email addresses of users who reach out to you on your website.
Just a warning: the GDPR may require you to present consent notifications to users whenever you collect their data. This applies to everyone, including bloggers and online businesses, who cater to EU-based users.
Now — back to business.
Building your first contact form
To access Contact Form 7 after installation, click ‘Contact’ on the main menu. This will load the list of contact forms you’ve made with the plugin.
If you haven’t created any yet, click ‘Add New’ from the sub-menu or the button above.
The contact form builder itself uses code, which may be intimidating to those who are totally new to WordPress.
However, the form builder is actually really easy to get into — thanks to the pre-made form template.
Basically, the “label” tags enclose all text shown in the contact form. For example, the first line of the template tells the plugin to display “Your Name (required).”
The “[text your-name]” code inside the label tag then tells the plugin to display an input field. Contact Form 7 calls these bits of code as “form-tags,” as explained on their official website.
With the default template, all the necessary form-tags for a standard contact form are already filled in. This includes the “submit” button denoted by the “[submit “Send”]” form-tag.
Planning to create an original contact form from the ground up?
You don’t need to memorize the form-tags you need to use.
Simply clicking on the buttons above the editor will paste the codes for you.
Once you’re happy with your form, give it a name in the “Enter title here” field and hit ‘Save.’ The shortcode you need to use the form should appear below its name.
To test this, let’s plug in this shortcode into a blank post.
If your WordPress is updated to the latest version, the Gutenberg editor should detect that it’s a shortcode upon pasting.
One of the reasons Contact Form 7 is favored by bloggers is that it automatically adopts the current theme’s fonts. This means the forms will always blend well with any theme.
Using the Contact Form 7 integration for MailChimp
Got the contact form working?
The next order of business is to configure the Contact Form 7 Extension for MailChimp plugin.
When installed, the plugin should add a ‘MailChimp’ tab to the Contact Form 7 plugin interface.
Right away, you should see that the plugin needs a MailChimp API key to be functional.
You can generate this on your MailChimp account by going to your “Account” page and clicking ‘API Keys’ under ‘Extras.’
Scrolling down to the “Your API Keys” section, click ‘Create a Key’ and give MailChimp a few seconds.
A brand-new API key should be ready for use next to your account name.
Copy your API key and head back to the Contact Form 7 plugin interface in your WordPress dashboard. There, paste the key to the “MailChimp API Key” field and click ‘Connect and fetch your mailing lists.’
If the integration is successful, the “Error: API Key” notification should change to “API Key” with a check mark.
You should also see your MailChimp mailing lists in the drop-down menu directly below the API key section.
If everything checks out, you should now have a fully automated workflow that collects email addresses using your contact form.
There’s just one tweak left to do, which will help you manage your email list as it grows.
In the “Subscriber Name” sub-menu, select the ‘[your-name] – type :text’ option.
This will send the text added by the user to the “your-name” form-tag to MailChimp’s subscriber information.
Take note that picking another option will cause MailChimp to pull the wrong data. Say, if you choose ‘[your-message] – type :text,’ MailChimp will assign the user’s message as their name.
You can only imagine the disaster if that happens.
Testing your workflow
After saving our plugin settings, why don’t we test it real quick?
On our contact form, I took the liberty of filling in my details.
The integration ran like clockwork when I sent my details using the contact form.
Almost instantaneously, MailChimp added me as the first-ever subscriber to my freshly minted test account.
Remember that even seasoned email marketers test their workflows after creating them.
If your workflow also succeeded on the first try, then good for you. If not, double-check the API key and the form-tags you used in the integration.
That means you’re now capable of launching awesome email marketing campaigns.
What emails should you send your subscribers?
Just because someone gave your email address, doesn’t mean you can send them whatever you want.
If you don’t play your cards right, your emails may end up in their spam or junk folder.
That’s why you need an email marketing strategy that prioritizes the value your subscribers get.
You don’t just send email blast after email blast that regurgitates every piece of content you publish on your blog. What you need are value-packed emails that will leave your subscribers wanting more.
Here are six ideas:
- Welcome Email — One could argue that the “welcome” email is the most important message in an email marketing campaign. It lets subscribers know what to expect and gives you the opportunity to share links to your pillar content.
- Weekly Newsletter — If you publish posts on your food blog regularly, a weekly newsletter will enable subscribers to catch on. Avoid inserting ads and product promotions in your newsletters as it may give the wrong impression to your audience.
- Exclusive Content — To attract more subscribers, some bloggers use newsletters to distribute exclusive content not published on their website. This can be special recipes or drip-fed cooking videos — content that you can round up and sell later.
- Giveaways — Promoting your blog with giveaways can result in a short-term spike in audience engagement. It’s one of the best blogging tips I mentioned for email marketing.
- Personal Messages — My favorite way to use a mailing list is to develop a much closer relationship with my readers. If you’re a Master Blogging subscriber, you’ll know that I encourage my readers to personally reach out to me.
- Answers to Questions — In time, there will be reader comments pouring into your food blog posts. If you find a frequently asked question, broadcast the answer to your subscriber list — they should thank you for it.
Tracking your marketing results
The marketing side of food blogging may not be fun, but it sure is rewarding.
Nothing is more satisfying than watching your website’s traffic grow after weeks or months of marketing.
How will you know if your marketing tactics are working? That’s what analytics tools like Google Analytics are for.
This part can get pretty technical, so I’ll just jump straight to the point.
Google Analytics is a free platform that helps website owners monitor their traffic data. It explores aspects like the website’s average session duration, bounce rate, traffic acquisition channels, and conversions.
To set up Google Analytics for your food blog, do read my ultimate guide to Google Analytics. I covered everything from how to set up your Google Analytics account to ways to translate data into action plans.
It’s also worth noting that other third-party marketing platforms like MailChimp also generate their own set of analytics data. You just need to familiarize yourself with the tool you’re using to know where to locate the right reports.
For MailChimp, the section you need can be accessed by clicking ‘Reports’ on the top menu bar.
Hopefully, you were able to generate some traffic by the time you finish setting up your tracking tools. But you shouldn’t feel bad if you don’t — there’s no such thing as overnight success in blogging, anyway.
Monetizing your Food Blog
With all the work we’ve done so far, it’s only fair to start thinking about the payoffs.
Reviewing your food blog monetization options is, indeed, an exciting phase in your career.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect to rake in millions of dollars in your first months. However, you don’t need millions of traffic either to start making money with a food blog.
Just take monetization one step at a time — starting with strategies that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Creating and selling eBooks
You know what, I have a hunch:
Because you wanted to learn how to be a food blogger, I wager you enjoy writing to a degree.
That should be reason enough to write and sell your own recipe eBooks for a profit.
Do you have any idea how many people dream of making money doing what they love?
In this opportunity, you get to monetize something that involves both writing and cooking.
Best of all, eBooks provide evergreen business value to your blog. No need to worry about stuff like printing and distribution — just sell them over and over again at zero cost.
If this isn’t your first time on Master Blogging, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of affiliate marketing.
In layman’s terms, affiliate marketing is when you promote products manufactured and distributed by another company on your website.
Bloggers can then earn a commission for every sale made through their website, which is tracked via an “affiliate link.”
I’m going to spare you all the jargon and share a link to my official guide to affiliate marketing. That’s where you’ll learn the fundamentals, such as the relationship between the merchant and affiliate along with tips for success.
Building a YouTube Channel
Creating a food channel on YouTube can be just as huge a project as food blogging.
It involves nearly just as much work, which is why many bloggers dismiss the opportunity altogether. The ones that thrive under pressure and reach the top, however, do not let anything slip by.
Besides, if you plan to use video content, might as well upload them on YouTube first and embed them later. This, in turn, will allow you to earn passive income in the form of ad revenue.
In short, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain with this strategy.
A good example would be Pinch of Yum’s YouTube channel, which serves as an extension of their own website.
Rather than directly uploading videos to their site, they publish them on YouTube instead. They then embed the videos in their blog posts.
Selling online courses
Just like with eBooks, selling online courses on your food blog can be done in two ways.
The first one is to create your own cooking course using a platform like Skillshare.
Secondly, you can be an affiliate of another brand that offers food-related courses.
Rouxbe, for instance, is a culinary course formulated for students, professionals, and home cooks. They also allow website owners to become affiliates and passively earn commissions for selling their course.
Not a lot of bloggers do this, but you can actually charge for the content on your website.
There are several WordPress plugins that let you put your content behind a paywall, like Paid Member Subscriptions.
To make premium subscriptions work, the only rule is to don’t overdo it.
Your website should still offer a good selection of free content to win your audience’s trust and build your authority.
Furthermore, be sure that your premium content offerings are marginally better than the free ones. Write them as if you’re writing an eBook — each piece must bring something new to the table.
Displaying paid ads on your food blog
In the online world, traffic can translate into money.
Wherever there are people, ad revenue can be made with the help of programs like Google AdSense. That includes high-traffic blogs and even platforms like YouTube.
The pros? Not only will ads provide a steady stream of passive income, they’re also easy to implement on your website.
On the flip side, your blog needs a tremendous amount of recurring traffic to generate significant profits with ads.
Without proper optimization, ads can also noticeably diminish the performance of your website. As a result, some of your loyal readers may express their displeasure or refrain from visiting altogether.
Regardless, it’s an effective monetization tactic that food bloggers need in their arsenal.
Publishing sponsored content
As you build your reputation in the food blogging sphere, don’t be surprised if businesses start approaching you.
There are brands out there that’ll gladly pay bloggers to promote their products through content sponsorship.
Pinch of Yum, for example, accepts content sponsorship offers from brands that manufacture food products. A usual format is a recipe post that highlights the brand’s own product as a key ingredient.
In exchange for their payment, Pinch of Yum helps boost a brand’s online exposure through three content distribution channels.
Food Blogging FAQs
How much does it cost to start a food blog?
If you want to build your blog at a slow pace, you can launch your website with only around $60. That should pay for an entry-level, $3.95-a-month hosting plan plus domain registration.
Other expenses, like premium themes and freelancer fees, are optional for beginners — can pay for them later when you’re ready.
How do food bloggers make money?
Most food bloggers leverage a combination of ads, affiliate marketing, and premium content to monetize their efforts. None of these strategies require a hefty capital, which is why they’re accessible to almost every food blogger.
How much does a food blogger make?
This depends on a number of factors, including their website’s traffic, monetization channels, and brand authority.
A certain food blogger, for example, once told Yahoo Food that she can make $5,000 for one sponsored post. That rate enabled her to make over $150,000 in a year.
To give you a better idea of food blogging’s income potential, take a look at the income reports of other food bloggers:
- Fit Mom Journey made $98,393.92 in 2018
- Piping Pot Curry made over $5,000 monthly in a year
- Salted Mint made $1,145.90 in June 2018
What are the most popular food blogs?
Need more ideas for your food blog content? Here’s a list of five famous food bloggers on the planet today:
- Ella Woodward of Deliciously Ella — @deliciouslyella
- Kevin Curry of Fit Men Cook — @fitmencook
- Dana Shultz of Minimalist Baker — @minimalistbaker
- Lindsay Ostrom of Pinch of Yum — @lindsaymostrom
- Natasha Kravchuk of Natasha’s Kitchen — @natashaskitchen
I admit — out of all my years blogging, this has to be one of the most challenging posts to write.
It’s also one of the most comprehensive and detailed, so I hope you learn a lot from it.
To a lot of people, learning how to start a food blog and make money is just a distant dream. And, to be honest, failure and disappointments are likely to become a huge part of your blogging career.
But both are vital ingredients of the blogging journey.
Think of failure as an important mechanism that defines the potential blogging superstars from the subpar ones. It all boils down to how you’ll consistently handle setbacks and sustain success from this day moving forward.
Finally, if you have any suggestions, questions, or opinions, please leave a comment below. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!