6 Steps to Launching Your Very Own Food Blog
If you love to bake, you may have considered sharing your passion with the world. Aside from sending out baked goodies to every adoring fan, a great way to do this is by starting a food blog. It will give you a chance to indulge in your passion, share it with the world, and perhaps even make a bit of money on the side. Follow these six steps to launching your very own food blog.
Choose a Name and Host
First, your website needs a name. It should match up with your domain name—or website address, such as www.example.com. That means it can’t already be in use. You can search WHOis.net to see if a domain name you have in mind is available. Think of names that describe you or your cooking style, and make sure the name you settle on is:
- Easy to Spell
You want future readers to remember you, so keep it short and simple. Once you find an available name, register your domain. You can do this through a number of domain registrars online or through your web host when you sign up with them.
Next, sign up for web hosting. A web host is simply a company that rents out space on their servers and puts your website online. Popular web hosts include:
- Host Gator
Each hosts offers a range of packages, usually starting at around $5 per month for shared web hosting. Since you’re just starting out, you should be okay with the cheapest package. As your blog and traffic grows, you’ll be able to upgrade your account to keep up with your site’s demands.
WordPress is a popular blogging tool that makes it easy to manage your site design and content. We highly recommend using this software because:
- It’s easy to use
- There are endless customization features
- There’s a huge community of users willing to offer help and support if needed
- You don’t need any coding knowledge
- It’s search-engine friendly
- And many more benefits
The web hosts we mentioned above all offer WordPress support, making it easy to install the software on your site to start accessing the content. Here’s an example from the Bluehost dashboard. All you have to do is find the icon that says “Install WordPress” when you sign in to your host, and then follow the directions.
After you install WordPress, your host will send you your site’s login information, and you get started on customizing the design and adding content.
Choose a WordPress Theme and Customize It
When it comes to your website’s look and layout, the customization options are endless in WordPress. You can search theme options right from your dashboard, or you can find premium themes from third-party marketplaces. Premium themes offer better site security and more functionality than free themes.
Luckily as a food blogger, there are many themes designed specifically for you. Our Neptune theme, for instance, makes it simple to lay out ingredients lists, nutritional information, cooking time, and more. With our theme, your readers can also easily bookmark recipes, print instructions, leave reviews, and submit their own recipes.
If you decide to purchase a theme from a third-party site, all you have to do is go to Appearance > Themes in your WordPress dashboard, click the Add New button, and upload the .zip file you downloaded when you purchased the theme. Then, go to Appearance > Customize to tweak your settings and give your site its own unique flair.
Install WordPress Plugins
Plugins are pieces of software that expand your site’s functions. You can browse plugins or upload your own files in your WordPress dashboard.
Several essential WordPress plugins we suggest installing include:
- Yoast SEO: This is the most popular free search engine optimization (SEO) plugin. This makes it easy to manage your SEO needs by helping you focus your keywords and tweak your meta descriptions. That way, more people can find you on Google and other search engines.
- Akismet: This handy plugin is designed to deter comment spam on your site, and it does a great job of it.
- W3 Total Cache: This plugin helps speed up your website by caching your data on user’s browsers so that it downloads faster on subsequent visits and improves the user experience.
Set Up Google Tools
We suggest working with Google’s website tools because they make it easy to manage your website. The two major ones are:
- Google Analytics: This handy tool helps you track your blog traffic. You’ll be able to see how many people are visiting your blog and where they’re coming from. It also shows you statistics like the amount of time people spend on your page and your bounce rate.
- Google Webmaster Tools: This tool gives you insight into your search traffic. You’ll be able to see how many people are visiting your site from Google as well as track what keywords they’re searching to find you and where you rank on the page.
After setting up your account, paste your tracking code you received into your Yoast SEO plugin settings to start collecting data.
Start Adding Content!
Now that your site is all set up to use, it’s time to start adding content to your recipe posts and your pages. These options are on the left-hand side in your WordPress dashboard.
Pages are for static content like an “about me” page or a “contact” page. Posts are for adding a new recipe or article to your blog page.
We suggest publishing several recipes before officially announcing your blog to your friends since this will give them a bit more content to explore. Then, consider creating a posting schedule so your new followers know when to expect new recipes. For example, you might post a new recipe every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to keep readers coming back. Luckily, there’s a “schedule” function in WordPress so that you can write the post beforehand and have it ready to go when your readers expect it.
Once you start adding content and attracting followers, you can monetize your blog by placing ads, selling cookbooks, or offering services—like developing recipes or becoming a food photographer—to start making money blogging.
What are you waiting for? Start your food blog today, and let us know how it goes!