Starting a Food Blog, the First Steps

If you’re thinking about starting a food blog, you’re in for a delicious ride. Blogging about food can be incredibly fun and rewarding, but it also takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Before you launch your new blog, make sure you have the right tools and knowledge in place. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What you need to know before you start. Loaded grilled potatoes in a foil pack as a decorative food image.

I started my food blog, “The Kitchen and a Latte,” in 2019. I had always loved cooking and sharing recipes with friends so it made sense to blog about it! My food blog became a great way to share my passion with a wider audience and expand my culinary adventures. I started trying foods I never thought I would try – it was for research (especially desserts, I love eating I mean researching desserts!)

However, there are a few things I wish I had known before starting my blog that I want to share with you. First of all, it takes a lot of time and effort to produce high quality content. I quickly learned that it wasn’t enough to just post a recipe; I also needed to take stunning photos and write engaging descriptions. In addition, promoting my blog took up even more time than creating new content. It doesn’t have to be this time consuming, we tend to make it complicated when we start out.

If you’re thinking about starting a food blog, be prepared to invest a lot of time and energy. But if you’re passionate about food and willing to put in the work, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Do not let all of that scare you if you are passionate about starting a food blog (or already have one.) I do want to make sure you understand that it isn’t a quick and easy overnight success. It takes lots of hard work to grow a profitable food blog, but it can be done. Many have succeeded but many more gave up before reaching success.

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Pick the name and niche for your food blog

Before you can start sharing your recipes, you need to choose a name for your blog. Be sure to check that the url for your desired name is available along with social media channels. If not, try to figure out another name you would like to use.

The name you choose for your blog should reflect your personality and the type of content you’ll be sharing. If you’re all about healthy eating, then a name like “Nourish” or “Healthy Eats” would make sense. Or if you’re more focused on gourmet cuisine, then “Gourmet Living” or “Foodie Heaven” might be better suited. Whatever direction you decide to go in, make sure your name is catchy and unique so that it stands out from the rest.

Your food blog will be a reflection of your personal style, so have fun with it and choose a name that reflects who you are. With a little creativity, you’re sure to come up with the perfect name for your new blog!

Niche

Many people recommend that you pick a niche for your blog. I did not, mine is a general recipe blog. It has a variety of foods from different diets, cooking methods and meals.

Do remember that it is a very competitive market now (more competitive then when I started) so you may find more success with a niche then a general recipe blog.

Niche is something that you may decide on later and you can always change your focus later if you are really not happy with the decision you make now. If you are unsure, you can certainly do general recipes until you find what clicks.

Purchasing the domain

Starting a food blog is an exciting endeavor but picking out the name and the domain can be stressful sometimes. Hopefully you listened to my advice and picked the name based around available domains so buying the domain should be pretty easy.

Once you have chosen the perfect name for your blog, you will want to purchase the domain name as soon as possible. This will ensure that no one else can use the name for their own blog.

There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing a domain name. You will need to choose a domain extension, such as .com or .net. I personally prefer and always recommend .com. It is the most common and I feel like people automatically add that .com at the end of urls (I know that I do!)

Once you have found an available domain name, you will need to register it with a web hosting service. You will be able to start working on your food blog shortly after registering your domain!

I like to have my domain registered with a different hosting company then the company that will be hosting my blog. This adds an extra layer of security, but not required. You can do it all in one package, many people do.

Grab the social media names

When starting a food blog you may have a lot going on and don’t want to jump into social media. That really is ok, trust me! You can build content before tackling the social end.

BUT you do want to grab the social media names now for you blog while the names are available. Hoping you listened to my advice above about picking the name based on what you want, what url is available and the social names that are available!

Go onto the main ones you will use and grab your blog’s name for a business account now. The business accounts are free on the major social platforms so do not delay. Whether you use it or not right away, you will eventually use some social media and need your blog’s name for it. Snag it before somebody else does!

Picking the platform

When starting your food blog you need to decide the platform. Before you can start cranking out those mouth-watering recipes, you’ll need to choose the right platform.

We recommend WordPress self-hosted for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it’s incredibly flexible – you can run your blog exactly how you want to. Second, you own your content – with other platforms, you run the risk of having your blog shut down without warning. And finally, WordPress is free – all you need is a domain and hosting, and you’re good to go!

Please note that WordPress.org is the self hosted, .com is not. Your hosting company should be able to help you install WordPress onto your site.

It is not recommended to start on a different platform and switch over. We started this blog on Blogger years ago and files didn’t come over correctly. While it didn’t matter to me much because we deleted everything and rebranded, it will matter to you if this happens.

Picking your hosting company

You’re about to embark on a delicious journey when starting your food blog! Before you get started, there’s an important decision you need to make: choosing the right hosting for your blog.

A good host will provide everything you need to get your blog up and running smoothly, from registering your domain name to setting up WordPress. But you can certainly register domain with a separate company (as I recommended above.)

And as your blog grows, a good host will be able to provide the resources you need to keep things running smoothly. So take your time and choose wisely – picking the right hosting now will help you grow your food blog into a delicious success story.

While some of our blogs are on TMD Hosting (and they have been great), we really love Bigscoots for food blogging. While we are affiliated with these companies, we are customers as well. We do not recommend them based on commissions but based on our personal experiences.

You do not have to start out on the managed hosting when just starting. Both hosts have shared hosting for an affordable price until you are ready to start on a managed plan. Managed plans are great but expensive. Upgrade after you are making money!

Picking the theme

Completely Customizable Feminine WordPress Themes

Another important decision when starting a food blog is picking the theme. There are so many themes to choose from, which one do you choose? I have a couple of recommendations that we love, but ultimately this is your decision!

WordPress has some free themes to choose from but I recommend buying a reputable theme. Free themes are often not updated or may not be easy to customize. You can also pay a designer, but I don’t recommend that before you are making money.

Our favorites are Restored316 themes which run with Kadence and Feast themes that run on Genesis. I know this sounds confusing, but Kadence and Genesis are the parent themes. Basically the framework of your theme. Any Restored316 or Feast themes would be the child theme.

There is nothing complicated about using the parent and child theme. The parent theme gets uploaded and installed first. Then activate it. After activating it, install the child theme. Activate the child theme and you are good to go!

We have a whole post about why we love these 2 themes – the best WordPress themes for food blogs.

Customize your theme

When you purchase a premium theme, they usually have some pretty good tutorials to customize it. Feast is amazing with their documentation and their support is great too!

Lauren from Restored316 has amazing tutorials as well to set up any of her themes. Both of these themes have great customer service and also Facebook groups where others can help with suggestions.

Do not go too crazy with customizing, be sure to keep every accessible to everybody. Keep the font big enough so people like me can read it (seriously I cannot read the small text) and be sure screen readers can easily access your site. Your font should not be too fancy. Fancy can be cute, but fancy can be hard to read on some devices.

Colors should be easy to read with contrast, follow ADA guidelines to make your site accessible for everybody.

Set up legal pages

Whether you are starting your food blog as a hobby or plan to turn it into a business, it does require certain legal forms to be in place. You are required to have a privacy policy on your site.

You are also required to comply with GDPR laws and CCPA laws. I recommend using a plugin like Cookie Bot or Cookie Consent. These add a banner to your site that gives your readers the option to opt in to cookies or only select the necessary ones.

Please see legal pages for your blog made easy for more information about your legal pages.

Setting up Google on your blog

Google Analytics is great to help you keep track of how many visits, sessions and pageviews you get to your food blog. You can find out how many visits came from search results, social media and so many more details! It is definitely recommended to set it up now. Please note that at the time of this post, Universal Analytics is less then a year from being taken down and replaced with GA4.

I am not sure how long we will be able to set up an account with Universal, but you definitely want to create an account with GA4 even if you have a Universal account.

To get started go to Google Analytics and create your account. It is completely free and you will benefit greatly from the information about your visits!

Another amazing tool that Google gives us for free is Google Search Console. Trust me, you need this! Search console gives you information about your rankings, if you have any errors and so much more.

Frequently asked questions

Is it ok to start a food blog on a free platform with free hosting?

I do not recommend it, but this is a personal choice. We started this blog on Blogger in 2009. When we moved it to self hosted WordPress in 2018, many files didn’t transfer well. Images were not the right format and we could not add alt text to them.
For us it’s ok since we deleted every file and rebranded, but you certainly do not want to go through this.

What social media channels should I grab my food blog’s name for?

I would grab your name for the big ones (even if you end up not using it.) Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are the ones I would start with for sure. You will almost definitely be on at least 3 of these.

Am I stuck with the theme I choose now for my food blog?

No you are not! You can always change your theme on any self hosted WordPress blog. Is it always easy? Not always, but it is doable. We recommended sorting through and making your decision now because it is easier to switch before you have a lot of content, but you can always change later. There are pros that can help you switch after having a lot of content if you cannot do it safely on your own.

Am I stuck with the hosting company I choose now?

No you are not stuck with them! We were fortunate to find 2 great companies, but I would switch if I wasn’t thrilled with them.

Many hosting companies offer help in getting your blog over on their platform. When we switched to Bigscoots, they handled the whole migration process for us and let me know when it was complete. No downtime and no stress!

Conclusion

While it may seem confusing and a lot of work starting a food blog, it is fun and can be very rewarding! Yes it is a lot of work to get one up and running successfully, but determination and hard work can set you on the right path.

Please note that I cannot guarantee anybody will succeed. Food blogging is tough, fun, hard work and highly competitive. While it CAN be very rewarding when you put a lot of work into it, you are not guaranteed to succeed. Many food bloggers give up before success. My advice here on this blog is to try to help you succeed and not give up, but there is no guarantee of any level of success.

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