Foodies can learn how to start a food blog in as little as one day. When starting a food blog, you’ll need some equipment, such as a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera or high-quality smartphone, plus editing software for your photos and blog hosting. According to ZipRecruiter, the average food blogger earns $40,935 per year.
For as little as $2.59 per month, you can get started with your very own food blog using DreamHost. It has a 100% uptime guarantee, provides a free domain name, and has preinstallation of WordPress. Get started with DreamHost today.
The five steps to starting a food blog include choosing a food blog name, picking a reliable web host, installing a theme, adding plugins, and creating blog posts.
1. Choose a Food Blog Name
When deciding on a food blog name, you’ll want to choose a name that will grow with you. For example, if you know that you’re quick to jump on the latest diet and fall off it just as quickly, you probably don’t want to use the name of a particular diet in your blog name. This means you shouldn’t name your blog “Mama Does the Green Eggs & Ham Diet” or “Keto Recipe Heaven.”
However, if you want to stick with the diet angle, you can name your blog something such as “Kate Goes on a Diet,” where you showcase recipes from the new diet you’re trying that month. It’s also important to note that your blog’s name is usually your domain name and URL. For example, our site is Fit Small Business, and our domain name is fitsmallbusiness.com.
When choosing a food blog name, be sure it is:
- Unique: You might be a fan of the food blog, Serious Eats, but it can cause confusion if you name your blog Serious Meats. When spoken verbally, it’s easy to confuse the two blog names. Choose a relatively unique name for your blog.
- Consistent: Before deciding on a blog name, search for the name on every major social media platform. You’ll want to keep your social media handles the same on each platform. If your blog’s name is already a username for someone’s social media handles, choose a different one.
- Simple: If you have to spell your blog’s name out to someone, it’s too complicated. Choose an easy-to-spell name that’s also not one that’s easily misspelled. For example, avoid names like “Byte of Thyme” or “Cookr” where you intentionally misspell the word to sound clever.
- Future-minded: Your blog’s name should grow with you. You might be single and have no children, so the name “Table for One, Please” may work now. However, within a few years, you may be setting the table for your spouse and two children.
2. Pick a Reliable Web Host
You can migrate an established blog to a web host down the road. However, it isn’t always easy to do so. Your best bet is to pick a reliable web host and can grow with your blog. Your web host should have several tiers to choose from so that when your blog is growing, you can use a hosting package that supports it. Each web host will have tutorials on how to get started quickly, and some even have one-click installation of WordPress.
DreamHost is one of the best blog hosts for brand new blogs. The host makes it easy to set up your food blog, and it even provides free templates to customize the look and feel of your site. It also has an unusual 100% uptime guarantee. This means that if, for some reason, your site is unavailable because of an issue on its end, you’ll get a credit on your monthly bill. There are multiple web hosting packages with DreamHost, and those packages start at $2.59 per month.
Another popular web host for brand new food blogs is Bluehost. For just $2.95 per month, you get a 99.9% uptime guarantee and support via chat, phone, or through a support ticket system. The ability to chat quickly with the support team is an invaluable service and is available 24/7. You’ll also get a free domain name and up to five email addresses with its base package.
3. Install a Theme
A theme changes the way your food blog looks and functions. Some themes allow you to change the color scheme and display of your blog. For example, many themes give you an option for having a landing page that looks the same no matter how many blog posts you create. Traditionally, you can have a blog that shows only your most recent blog posts on the front page.
If using a landing page, many bloggers choose to list their most popular blog posts or categories on the front page. Others have a combination of both a landing page and a traditional blog list. No matter which option you choose, you can install a theme very easily, whether you’re using an all-in-one platform like Squarespace, or a more traditional blog using WordPress.
Choose any of the free WordPress themes available. Otherwise, you can purchase a premium theme. These premium themes typically provide a more customized look to your blog and start as little as 50 cents. You can purchase a premium theme through a site such as ThemeForest or WPZoom.
If you stumble across a theme that you like from another blogger, there are theme detection tools you can use to see not only what theme a blog uses, but also which plugins a site has installed. A plugin expands the functionality of your blog, which we’ll cover later.
When you find a theme you like, you’ll download a zip file that contains every piece of data for your theme. From there, you’ll navigate to your WordPress dashboard by signing into your administrative panel. This is typically www.YourDomainName.com/wp-admin. When signed in, click on “Appearance” and then “Themes” to upload your new theme. Once uploaded, you can customize the theme to fit your blog’s desired aesthetic.
It’s incredibly simple to select a theme for your Squarespace blog. You can select some of the free options available, or you can purchase a premium theme from a marketplace such as Etsy or Creative Market. When using a free Squarespace-provided theme, you’ll click “Start Here” on the theme you want to upload it onto your blog.
It’s important to note that when you’re ordering a premium theme outside of Squarespace, the seller is just walking you through how to make a Squarespace free template look like a custom one. There’s no real way to upload a custom template.
4. Add Plugins to Expand Your Blog’s Capabilities
You can expand the functionality of your food blog by using WordPress plugins, without needing to know coding such as HTML, CSS, or Java. You won’t find plugins for Squarespace, however. There are thousands of available WordPress plugins, and having too many on your blog can slow it down. You’ll want to stick with just a handful of plugins, such as those that help improve search engine optimization (SEO), reduce spam, and give sight performance analytics.
Popular WordPress plugins for food bloggers include:
- Akismet: Using the Akismet plugin helps detect known spammers and keywords they use.
- Create by Mediavine: The Create plugin allows bloggers to share their recipes in a beautiful, printable fashion. The plugin is optimized for the user experience, monetization, and SEO.
- Jetpack: The Jetpack plugin prevents malicious login attempts. It also notifies you if your site is down so that you can work with your blog’s host to rectify any issues.
- Google Analytics by Yoast: You might want to make money with your blog. To do this, brands need to know your traffic demographics and how many visitors you get to your blog. This plugin makes it easy to determine that information.
- Yoast SEO: This plugin gives actionable tips to make your blog posts optimized for search engines. By using this plugin, you’ll get higher-quality traffic.
5. Create Your First Blog Post
Before you share your recipes with the world, you must have optimized them for a blog post. Those who love cooking and baking often whip up creations in their kitchens without using measurements. You’ll want to test your recipes using exact measurements so that your readers can replicate your recipes at home.
After you’ve thoroughly tested and documented your process, you’ll write a blog post containing step-by-step instructions with photos. To create a new blog post within WordPress, you’ll click the plus sign at the top of your WordPress dashboard. If you’ve downloaded the Create by Mediavine plugin, you’ll select Create Card instead of “Post.”
The WordPress post editor works much like Microsoft Word in that you can upload photos, insert links, use bold or italics, and you can even insert HTML. You might want to use HTML to insert Google AdSense ads within a blog post. You can also use HTML to have an opt-in form within the text of your blog post to collect emails through email providers such as ConvertKit or Mailchimp.
Many food bloggers then take the time to add a story to the post or include key details about certain ingredients or steps. The reason for this is because search engines like when bloggers provide details, and a blog post should contain at minimum 300 words as a result.
How to Make Money Food Blogging
To make money with a food blog, you’ll monetize it by creating online courses, sponsorships, and e-books. Some food bloggers even host in-person workshops to teach fans cooking techniques, mastering a recipe, or even food photography.
Ways to make money food blogging include:
- Ads: Many large food blogs use ad networks such as Mediavine or AdThrive, but those have minimum requirements to join. Brand new bloggers typically start with an ad network like Google AdSense. They’ll then place ads within blog posts and in the sidebar and will share in any revenue generated from sales.
- Workshops: Whether in the form of a retreat or a one-day workshop, food bloggers can teach on many different subjects. Examples include natural light food photography, monetizing your food blog, creating the perfect croissant, or making Italian macarons.
- Sponsorships: You can pitch a brand directly, or you can join an influencer network. A network will post opportunities for collaborations, and food bloggers can request to take part in a campaign. You’ll usually get paid from the network within 60 days of the campaign close.
- E-books & books: You’re more likely to make a higher profit on an e-book than a physical book because there are lower overhead expenses. However you choose to make your book, you can self-publish using Kindle Direct Publishing to do so.
- Online courses: An online course usually teaches on a specific subject, such as mastering a certain diet, or even mastering the top five French recipes. Anything you teach in a workshop can typically work well in an online format, too.
The Importance of Food Photography for Food Blogs
If you’ve ever sat at a restaurant as a waiter goes by with a beautiful sizzling plate of fajitas and thought, “I’ve got to have that,” then you know why food photography is important. You may have already decided on ordering the chimichanga del mar—until that waiter passed you. Those fajitas look too good to pass up, and that’s exactly why having attractive photos can make all the difference. It’s why a reader might choose to make your recipe over another.
You don’t necessarily need a fancy DSLR camera to take great photos, although many choose to get one eventually. Most smartphones can take great photos, and to the untrained eye, might look just as attractive as a photo shot with a fancy camera. It’s important to understand that taking great photos doesn’t just involve having a good camera.
You will need to become skilled at composing your shot, adjusting lighting conditions, and post-processing. There are many free tutorials on YouTube that teach you how to each of these food blog skills. Otherwise, you can invest in a premium online course such as Food Blogger Pro.
If you don’t necessarily want to master a particular skill, you can always outsource it. There are entire Facebook groups full of experts for hire in food photography, recipe development, and photo editing. You can also hire someone using a freelancer marketplace such as Freelancer.com.
Starting a Food Blog Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This section includes the most frequently asked questions about how to start a food blog. If you don’t see your question, head over to our Fit Small Business forum, and post your question there. We have a whole team of industry experts who answer questions from entrepreneurs and small businesses every day.
How much does a food blogger make?
You might not make anything as a food blogger, or you could even lose money. The amount of money you make depends entirely on your resources, skills, and dedication to your craft. However, you could potentially make a full-time living food blogging.
Can I have a food blog on Instagram?
Many food bloggers write only on Instagram rather than having their own website. However, since you’re limited to 2,200 characters, this is considered microblogging.
Is it too late to start a food blog?
New food blogs get created every single day because people continue to need to eat food and look for recipes. There’s no reason they shouldn’t go to your food blog to find a recipe for dinner tonight.
Bottom Line: How to Start a Food Blog
You can share your first food blog post within just a day of getting started since you don’t need any fancy equipment. You can also work with freelancers to help you create great content to post on your food blog. After you’ve established your blog, you can even begin to make money through writing e-books, teaching workshops, and working with brands.
As a food blogger, you’ll need a reliable web host. With its 100% uptime guarantee, free domain name, and preinstallation of WordPress, DreamHost is our pick. It costs as little as $2.59 to get started, and it even has a support team to migrate your blog if you’re already with another host. Get started today.