10 Steps to Start A Food Blog!
Do you love to cook? Have you ever thought about starting a blog?
When I started my blog in 2013 I knew I wanted to earn some money from it, but I had no idea that in just 3 short years it would become our family’s primary income source. Ok, I realize 3 years doesn’t seem fast, but I had no idea what I was doing. And if I can go from zero to full-time income in 3 years, you can do it too, and probably a lot faster!
Blogging is so much FUN. And so much WORK. And a great career option for people looking to work from home, have flexibility, and make some money, whether that is a full time income (like me), or fun money to fund hobbies.
There are two questions I get asked frequently about blogging. The first is, “How do you start a blog, or get into blogging?” And the second is, “How do you make money with a blog?”
I finally decided to answer these questions on my site. This is the simple guide to starting a blog, and monetizing it.
How to Start a Blog
1. Choose a Domain Name
Check out more details for choosing a domain in this post with the 5 things I wish I had known before choosing, but in general, make it searchable, give yourself room to grow, keep it simple and memorable.
2. Get Hosting
This is how you rent your internet space. Gives you more ability to customize, and freedom for monetization.
Bluehost is really inexpensive. You could get a plan for under $4 a month to start, and gradually increase as needed. I started with Blue Host!
Check out this post on How to Set up Your Blog in 15 easy steps with Bluehost (includes picture tutorial). It is super easy, you could literally have a blog in less than an hour!
Another great option is A Small Orange. They offer Fast Cloud Servers at a fraction of the price of others. SSD driven cloud plans starting at $20/month.
3. Choose a Platform
I recommend WordPress. It is what I use, and tons of other bloggers. Unless you want to spend thousands on a custom design, and coding, WordPress is the way to go. And it is super easy to set up by using your C-panel, and just clicking a few buttons. You can find a full picture tutorial for doing this with a Bluehost C-panel in this post for setting up a blog in under an hour.
4. Choose a Framework and Theme
It is time to set up your blog, but before you can get into the pretty stuff like headers and logos, you need a framework, a theme, some plug-ins, and the like. This is what makes your site functional, as well as pretty.
- A framework: I use Genesis, StudioPress It is well supported, really easy to use, and super pretty to! And there are lots of Genesis specific plugins to make it really awesome.
- A theme: I use FoodiePro and love it, so do many, many others. But it is easy to customize and call your own. It is the #1 selling Genesis Child Theme.
5. Put in your Plugins
- Plugins: Check out my list of recommended plugins here.
6. Design your Site
- Design: You want a nice header/logo image, and cohesive site. You can hire someone, which I recommend if you can’t do it yourself. I used Stephanie from HowSweetDesigns.com, but a great budget option is Fivrr.com which starts at just 5 dollars for a logo design.
7. Create Content
Now you get to do what you do best! Write about food, or I guess whatever you want to blog about. Write smart, but also be sure to take great photos. And start building up a bunch of content to share!
Learn Photography: This is critical to success. If you want to grow and earn an income your photos have to stand out. Invest a little in learning how to style, shoot, and edit, and it will pay off in multiples.
My top recommendation: The Food Photography Book It is $29, and is worth 1000 x that. This is my friend Nagi’s book, and I can not say enough good about it. It took my photography to a whole new level. Literally, people asked me what I was doing different because the change was overnight. It is 180 pages, and shows you literally everything. What to set your camera to. How to style your photos. And even how to edit. It is a game changer. Whether you know nothing about photography, or have a good grasp on ISO, shutter speed, etc. this is the book for you! Best money I ever invested in my blog.
Tasty photography: Pinch of Yum $29 Lindsay of Pinch of Yum is like a food blog idol. The Pinch of Yum team (Lindsay and her hubby Bjork) publish monthly income reports, and they make bank, like what some people make in a year. And Lindsay wrote this book. After I learned my camera, and knew more about light, and camera settings I found this book to be very helpful. Not for beginners.
Plate to Pixel (price varies, but about $27) This was one of the first photography books I ever bought, and it was so intimidating. I am still not sure I understand it all. But what I do love, and why I highly recommend this book is that it is amazing for food styling, and once you grasp the basics of aperature, shutter speed, and ISO, it can help you understand how they work together to get the kind of image you want. I often flip it open when I run into a styling wall.
8. Promote that content
9. Network with other bloggers
You can meet other bloggers through: Conferences, FB groups, and industry events. You can also just comment on their blogs or social media pages, email them, and strike up a conversation.
10. Further Learning
Food Blogger’s Central: This is a site and a Facebook Group where you learn to blog, and help each other. It is a great resource. The admin of this group also wrote the best food photography book out there.
Food Blogger Pro: This is run by the people over at Pinch of Yum, and is a great way to learn about blogging. They only open registration a few times a year, so check it out and see if you can sign up!
When you are ready to monetize your blog, check out this post for how to make money with a blog!