A step-by-step guide for starting your own food blog!
If you are thinking about starting your own food blog, my advice is to read through this entire post and GET STARTED. Like, today! It can seem like such an overwhelming task, but diving in is easier than you might think. When I started blogging I had no idea what I was doing. I would have swooned over a step-by-step guide!
Start a food blog by following these easy steps:
1. Passion, purpose and picking (domain name, not noses).
2. Select a host.
3. Choose a blogging platform.
4. Design your blog.
Passion, Purpose and Picking a Domain
Before starting a food blog, let's make sure you have the prerequisites needed. You absolutely must have a passion for cooking and/or baking and for sharing beautiful content with the world. You must also be adaptable, hard-working and willing to learn and grow. If you eventually want to make food blogging your full-time job, then you will also need to know the true meaning of persistence and perseverance.
You will also need to have a defined purpose. How do you plan to help people or what is it that you hope to contribute to the world by starting a food blog? I love being a food blogger because it fulfills so many different creative outlets (cooking/baking, photography, writing, designing), but ultimately I do it because I love making life easier for others. I love simplifying a complicated recipe, therefore making dinner a breeze for busy parents. I love writing posts like the one you are reading right now so that you can find your way more easily. I love that I've created a place people can come to, knowing they'll find positivity and solid recipes.
Passion, check. Purpose, check. Now for the super exciting part. You get to pick your very own domain name! Choose your name wisely because it's not something you'll be wanting to change willy-nilly. Your passion and purpose should be able to help guide you toward the perfect name. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a name: make sure it is relatively short, has a good ring, isn't already taken and most importantly make sure you love it!
Once you've chosen your domain name you'll want to register it to make it yours, aaaall yours. The easiest way to do that is to find a host such as Bluehost that will include that as part of their package.
Select a Host
A web host will be able to store all of the content that you will soon be creating! You will want to select a host with a good reputation and excellent customer care. I once had a host that shut down my site for sixteen hours for reasons out of my control. I talked to at least seventeen different people over the course of that time, only one of whom was able to help me. It was stressful and upsetting and I promised to never let something like that happen again, which is why I highly recommend Bluehost for web hosting. They are affordable, helpful and efficient. When you use this link, Pip and Ebby readers will receive a significant discount! Once you arrive at the Bluehost homepage, you will see this:
Click on the green GET STARTED NOW button in order to see the hosting plans available. Starting out with the basic plan is a good route to go. You can upgrade at any time, to accommodate your blogging needs as you grow.
Once you have selected a plan, you'll be able to either set up your new domain or enter your domain (if you've purchased one already).
Next you can type in your account info and also determine your package information. To get locked in with that super awesome monthly rate, go for the 36-month plan. You're about to be an awesomely successful food blogger who stands the test of time, so go big!
Enter your payment information.
Click on the green CREATE YOUR PASSWORD button.
Create a password for your account.
And there you go! Hosting and domain, done!
Choose a Blogging Platform
A host stores the information you create, but you will also need to select a blogging platform which will determine how your website looks. There are a handful of web-based software options that will allow you to create that beautiful website you've been dreaming of. The most popular blogging platform for food bloggers is Wordpress, but in my opinion Squarespace is a great option, as well. I recommend using one of these two options and no other platform if you plan to take this food blogging thing seriously. Both of the above are great options and have their own unique strengths, which I will list below:
- There are many plugins/tools available that can potentially make your blogging life easier, but the quality of all of them is not closely monitored.
- It is versatile. Anything you can dream up, you can create (although coding help may be necessary for more complicated designs).
- The Wordpress community is a big one, so there is a large amount of information to find online.
- Cost: Wordpress is free, but you will need to separately purchase a domain, as well as any plugins or premium themes you may want. If you use Wordpress along with Bluehost, you will be able to grab that super awesome deal I mentioned previously.
- There aren't as many plugins/tools available as with Wordpress, but the ones that exist are tested and well-controlled in order to eliminate potential issues.
- There is an endless supply of beautiful templates, so you will never need to hire a web designer. The interface is also extremely intuitive and easy to use, with drag and drop capabilities.
- No special coding knowledge is required to build a blog using SS.
- Customer service and support is top-notch. There is a huge database filled with organized tutorials and the Squarespace team is accessible through email and live chat 24/7. Their support team is dedicated to addressing concerns quickly, usually within one hour of contacting them. In my opinion, their accessibility is one of their best qualities. Questions commonly arise when blogging (especially if you're just starting), so it is super valuable to receive immediate, direct help when needed.
- Cost: $144-216/year (depending on the plan you choose). No additional costs are needed for plugins, developing, designing, etc.
- Squarespace manages all updates, so no ongoing maintenance is required on the user's end.
Whichever platform you decide on, you will be choosing well. I know food bloggers who use both and are happy.
If you decide on Squarespace, click on the GET STARTED button in the upper right part of the screen.
Select from any of their amazing, seriously drool-worthy template and get started! This is the fun part!
You'll want to design an eye-catching logo that you can display as a header on your page, and choose a simple color scheme that displays your brand well. If you do not have designing skills or resources, there are plenty of affordable designers available for hire, such as canva, 99 designs, upwork, fiverr (or simply do a Google search for logo designers/web designers).
Now you can start filling in your very own site with awesome content. Have fun!
Next Steps for Food Blogging
Be consistent. Once you start food blogging, you will want to start grabbing loyal readers which means you will need to show up on your blog consistently. My personal standard has always been to post at least once/week and no less (preferably 2-3 times/week).
Find your voice. Be your truest self as you write and your own unique voice will shine. Your readers will grow to love you for who you are.
Get connected on social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good platforms to use to showcase your work on a consistent basis, so create accounts and start searching for other food bloggers to connect with.
Network with other food bloggers. Visit other food blogs, follow their social media accounts and comment on and like posts that you love. Share others' content when it is fitting, as well. There are currently so many great food blogger conferences across the United States that will allow you to get to know other food bloggers in person.
Consider Advertising. Once you start to see an increase in traffic (by the way, connect your site with Google Analytics asap), monetizing your blog will be feasible. Placing advertising on your site is a great way to do this and there are many options for this!
Don't get discouraged. Food blogging can be overwhelming, as there are a lot of moving parts. My best advice is to dive in, keep your eyes on your own work (no comparing!), move at your own pace, keep learning and do your very best to focus on what you love.
Food blogging is a great hobby/job and I wish you the very best as you get started on this awesome adventure!