Theoretically, starting a blog is a manageable task for anybody. Once registered on a blogging platform, you are just a few clicks away from sharing your first entries. Those looking to operate a professional blog with the goal of making a profit are advised to invest a bit more time and money into their electronic enterprises. Deciding to self-host a blog allows users to exercise greater control...Free blogging service or hosting on your own?
If you love to cook (and/or eat) and want to share your passion with others, you could start a food blog. When setting up it’s not only the content that matters, but also your structure and how you manage your blog long-term. Read on to learn how to make a food blog step by step.
- At the heart of a food blog: the love of food
- What does it mean to create a food blog?
- Important skills to create a food blog
- Can you make money with a food blog?
- How to start a cooking blog – the right CMS
- What content and pages are important for a food blog?
- How to start a food blog step-by-step
- Conclusion: Seven tips for a good food blog
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At the heart of a food blog: the love of food
Food, preparation, and presentation are huge topics of conversation on websites and social media. In addition to the hottest chefs presenting their crazy new food creations, many private individuals are showcasing their kitchen skills. Homespun creations aren’t any less delicious or high quality. Healthy, diverse, and conscious nutrition is an increasingly important topic in our lives. And as with many topics, we turn to the Internet for inspiration, opinions, and the discovery of new possibilities.
What does it mean to create a food blog?
When starting a food blog, you’ll want to focus on a topic or niche that you are truly passionate about and one that’s based on plenty ofpersonal experience. Presenting vegan cuisine when you love steak lacks credibility and won’t be sustainable in the long run. Fun is a major driving force behind any food blog.
Another important factor is the creation of high-quality content. “The eye eats first!” as the old saying goes and this applies to food blogs all the more. To ensure smooth operation, you’ll want to use a content management system that lets you focus on the content and not have to grapple with technical issues.
Important skills to create a food blog
Speaking of systems and technology, you don’t have to be a programmer to create a blog. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of blog or web building kits that guide you through the setup and design process. You don’t need any programming knowledge to get started with these. In combination with other useful blogging tools that help you to find stock images, create graphics, optimize text, etc., you can launch a professional food blog fairly quickly.
Food blogging combines personal insights with aesthetics which means you’ll require a few additional skills (aside from the use of technology). On the one hand, it’s important that you enjoy making new dishes and preparing foods, like to be creative, and have a desire to try new things. On the other hand, you should have or be willing to develop the ability to produce high-quality photos. Food blogs don’t rely on stock images. You will need to manage your product photography. For some inspiration, check out restaurant and café product photos.
The ability to write good content is less important when it comes to food blogging. However, you’ll want to be able to explain recipes in an easy-to-understand manner which requires some practice. It’s best to start with simple, quick recipes that contain only a few steps and ingredients.
Can you make money with a food blog?
The short answer is: yes. In principle you can earn money with any blog, even a food or cooking blog. But if cash is your only motivation, failure is likely. Financial success is never guaranteed when blogging and this applies to all types of blogs, whether you blog about travel or fashion.
To earn money from a blog you’ll need to build and maintain a large readership. Several approaches to help you grow your audience are listed below. Once you’ve got an audience, there are various approaches to monetize your blog:
- Sponsorship and cooperation: Seek out manufacturers of cooking and baking utensils, grocers, and other companies that could send you products for free which you in turn promote on your blog. Sometimes payment comes in the form of products. Other times a brand may pay you for mentioning their product in your blog post. It’s important to know that promoting sponsored products is considered advertising and must be denoted as such. When collaborating with brands in this manner, make sure that the company or product matches your own branding (keyword: credibility).
- Adverts: You can offer up areas of your blog as advertising space. Banners and other advertising formats can be automatically integrated and evaluated via advertising networks such as Google AdSense. You receive a small compensation for each click.
- Affiliate marketing: A bit more subtle is the integration of so-called affiliate links, although these must be marked as ads too. In this case, you add links to stores, partners, products on your blog and for each click (or purchase), you receive a payment. By means of a unique identifier, it can be clearly assigned that the contact came through your food blog.
Implementation of the measures described above will depend on the blog system or CMS you use.
How to start a cooking blog – the right CMS
Before you get started selecting the CMS for your food blog, you should be aware of the differences between individual offers. There are classic website providers, which may include a blog function, but are otherwise intended for more static content, CMS providers – content systems to implement websites, blogs, and stores – and pure blogging software to publish images and text. The differentiation isn’t as clear cut. For example, you can use WordPress to create a website too.
Consider the following functions or features to decide on a blogging system:
- How advanced are your programming skills? How much of the blog do you want to design yourself?
- How important are design templates and/or your own design elements?
- Which functions or page types do you need?
- How important are extensions for you (for example, the ability to add a web shop)?
- What monetization or marketing options do you have?
- How much should a website or blog cost?
The following table provides an overview of five common service providers for blogs and a brief assessment of their most important features:
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Blogs and websites for everyone
Beginners, advanced, and professionals
Professionals, for websites with blogs (rarely pure blogs)
Beginner, private use
Ease of use
Can get quickly overwhelming for beginners
More suitable for advanced users
Intuitive and easy
Very easy to use
Thousands of templates (additional charges may apply)
Solutions available for most requirements
More features than Pro version
Diverse, but often subject to charges
Free or subscription
Free in basic version
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What content and pages are important for a food blog?
When planning the structure of your food blog, you should think about your topic in depth and how you want to present it. Are you planning to use mainly photos and galleries, and step-by-step instructions for recipes? Understanding the type of content you’ll be posting helps to plan the structure of your pages. Depending on the strategy you pursue with your blog and whether you want to optimize your food blog for search engines, content formats such as encyclopedia entries or FAQs may be interesting.
Besides content, the following pages should be included on all food blogs:
- About: Blogs usually have an “About me” section where you can introduce yourself and your project to readers and potential partners.
- Contact: Most CMS or blog systems offer contact forms that can be linked to an email program.
- Terms and conditions and revocation policy: If you offer subscriptions or sell things on your blog or an affiliated store you should add T&Cs.
One more tip regarding functions: As you continue to post more recipes and stories, your readers may find it confusing to find your latest content. Structural features such as tag assignment and tag clouds beside or below a navigation panel, the categorization of recipes within the navigation, and a well-functioning search are important.
How to start a food blog step-by-step
Step 1: Find a topic
Whether it’s a local cuisine, grandma’s home recipes, all-things cabbage, or a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diet: the world of food is incredibly diverse. There’s something for all tastes. As people become ever more health-conscious, recipes for healthy, quick-to-make or meatless dishes tend to be popular. Baking and the art of the cake can also be presented well on food blogs.
Step 2: Choose a name
Your theme or food specialism will likely influence the name of your blog. Bear in mind that your chosen name is also often the URL of the food blog. It should be fairly easy to remember and spell.
Step 3: Hosting and domain registration
Depending on the system you use to create your food blog, you may need to purchase hosting. Many CMS providers include the webspace in their offering. Register your desired domain and depending on your reach, domains with different extensions (.us, .com, ...).
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Step 4: Install and set up CMS
Once you’ve chosen your blog software, it’s time to set up the basic framework of your food blog. Define page types or templates, navigation panels, and other features (according to the capabilities of your selected system).
If you run a blog together with others, you can usually create several authors and assign different rights and roles.
Step 5: Design food blog
Once the features are in place, it’s time to add the visuals. Use templates to design the header, navigation, and other areas of your blog. Determine colors, fonts, sizes, etc.
Lastly you should think about the style of your food photography. Are there certain shapes and colors that could become a trademark of your blog?
Step 6: Create quality content regularly
Take time to post regularly to your food blog: pictures, videos, recipes, and texts. If you want to become a serious blogger, you can work out a (long-term) editorial plan. You can also hire support to edit professional photos, and proofread your texts or marketing materials.
Step 7: Spread the word
Use social media, such as Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram to promote your content. And seek out forums and communities related to your cooking or food topics to take part in and link your content to. Blog tools such as SEO, affiliate marketing, etc. can help boost your blog and spread the word about your website.
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Conclusion: Seven tips for a good food blog
- Follow your passion. Your blog will only be credible and more importantly you are more likely to keep going if you enjoy doing it long-term.
- Focus on what’s important. Put your energy to taking good photos and creating delicious recipes, and not toward optimizing or mastering the blogging technology. There are professionals and plugins to this end, and most of them are super easy to use even for beginners.
- Join an active community. Food and cooking is a sociable activity that thrives on communication with others. That’s why you should spend time on forums and social media to swap ideas with others.
- Allow feedback and comments. This is part of the community aspect. Many bloggers allow users to comment on their posts. You can moderate comments to stimulate discussions.
- Stay up to date. In the food world, much like on social media, topics are trending and it’s worth staying up-to-date on trends and taking advantage of them.
- Try new things. This does not only apply to new recipes, but also to formats. A food blog needn’t only be made up of photos and text; videos work well too.
- Track and analyze your success. Whether Google Analytics or another (free) tracking tool: Use technical tools to find out as much as possible about your site visitors and which content is the most popular. This way you can analyze your blog content and optimize it accordingly.