If you are an aspiring chef, passionate about healthy living or just love eating, you may have thought about writing a food blog. But while writing about something you love seems obvious, you may not know how to get started.
It may not seem as simple to you as whipping up your trademark meal in the kitchen, but starting a food blog is easier than you think. WordPress is the perfect Content Management System (CMS) for food bloggers because it’s easy to set up and there are loads of resources available to get you started.
In this article, we will take you through the necessary steps to set up your own food blog and start sharing your passion with the world. But before that, we’ll start with a couple of examples of excellent food blogs in the wild.
Two Food Blogs That Show How It’s Done
There are so many food blogs available now that it is difficult to choose a couple of favorites. The best food blogs all have a few things in common though: They are beautiful to look at, with great photography, and are filled with passion.
The Minimalist Baker is all about quick and easy recipes with few ingredients and Pinch of Yum shares practical, interesting, and delicious recipes of all kinds. These two alone can offer all sorts of inspiration, and naturally, they both run on WordPress!
What You’ll Need for Your Food Blog
Now that we’ve given you some added inspiration, let’s take a quick look at what you will need:
- WordPress. This is an obvious one – you’ll need it installed either locally or on your web server.
- A Theme. Below we will list some of food blog specific themes and a multipurpose option, all of which could work for you. Just choose one that suits your taste.
- Plugins. We’re going to tell you what plugins you should consider adding to your website.
- Beautiful Photography. You’ll want plenty of pictures of your food, and we will show you how to make sure they don’t bog down your site.
Sounds simple, right? Let’s go!
Setting Up Your Blog
We have other articles about setting up a blog, but here’s the short and sweet version. The first step is to get an instance of WordPress running either locally or online.
If you want to jump right into getting WordPress hosting, we highly recommend WPEngine for managed hosting. They deal with the server including installs, backups and updates so you don’t have to. Their packages start at $29 per month. Flywheel is another managed WordPress host with similar features, but priced at $15 per month, so it’s great if you are on a budget. If you are really strapped for cash and want to start small, check out Bluehost, which starts at $3.49 per month and includes a quick install option for WordPress.
If you’re interested in trying out your food blog set up on a local installation (i.e. without hosting), check out the following articles:
- Install WordPress locally on Mac using MAMP
- Install WordPress locally on Windows using WAMP
- Install WordPress locally on Ubuntu using LAMP
Once you’re happy with your blog, you will want to move it online to your web host, at which point you’ll need this article:
Now you have WordPress set up, what’s next? Let’s take a look at themes.
Choosing a Theme
To save yourself some trouble down the line, be sure to look around at a few different themes before starting, rather than picking the first one you see.
When looking for a theme for your food blog, consider the layout, how customizable it is, and how it uses images. If you are thinking about purchasing a theme (which we recommend), check out our tips for buying the perfect WordPress theme. Here are three premium themes you could consider:
- Chow Recipe & Food Blog Theme. This minimal theme includes a built-in recipe editor and enables readers to submit their own recipes.
- Daily Dish Food Blog Theme. This clean and simple theme is based on the very powerful Genesis framework.
- Total. This is a more general theme framework, but it is designed to be multipurpose and can easily be used to create a beautiful food blog. Check out our food blogger theme demo!
One of the best things about using WordPress is the wide range of plugins available to add functionality to your site. We recommend some basic plugins that you should consider installing and activating to get the most out of your site, such as Yoast SEO for search engine optimization and Akismet for spam protection. We cover a few other options in our article on how to get started blogging.
You can start a food blog and just write about food, but depending on your website goals, you may want to consider offering detailed recipes. WordPress, unsurprisingly, has some plugins that can help you do just that:
- Cooked. This premium plugin offers a unique drag-and-drop recipe builder to create beautiful recipe layouts
- WP Ultimate Recipe. Easily add recipes to WordPress posts and pages and enable your visitors to adjust the number of servings, print the recipe, and find other recipes using a specific ingredient.
- Zip Recipes. Add elegant recipes that automatically use a search engine friendly format making them easier to find.
A huge part of enjoying food is the visual presentation, which is why food styling is a real thing. No food blog is complete without images of food – even if it’s brand new – so you need to make sure you have lots of beautiful images to show off your culinary treats.
The challenge with including images is that they can take a up a lot of space and slow down your website. And with many people browsing on their mobile devices, websites need to be small and fast. Luckily for you, there are ways to optimize images so they take up as little space as possible.
In a nutshell, image optimization starts with using the right dimensions and the right format for your needs. It’s a pretty big (but not overcomplicated topic, so read here for more info. There are also several WordPress plugins you can use to help optimize image performance.
Creating a food blog isn’t hard, and using WordPress makes it even easier. You can get started very quickly and have a beautiful site in no time. We’ve given you the first steps to get you started:
- Set up WordPress
- Choose a theme
- Install the right plugins
- Use beautiful optimized imagery
If you followed along with us, you should be just about ready to launch your magnificent food blog to the world. Of course, we will leave the food part to you.
If you have any questions or suggestions or think we left out something, please let us know in the comments. Did you set up a food blog based on our tips? We would love to see it, so share the link below!