People love to eat. And when we’re not eating, we certainly enjoy talking about food or looking at pictures of food. There is a huge interest for food online – just look at all the attention pictures of food are getting at Instagram, Pinterest and other picture sharing platforms.
According to a study from Google cooking is one of the most popular topics people search for when needing advice and instructions.
Starting a food blog is a great way to document your recipes, share your love for food and cooking with others and become an even better and more creative cook. It is also a great way of getting in touch with other foodies, and exchanging tips and ideas.
Choosing the content angle
Christine Chitnis recommends: “Write about what excites you, and what is authentic. Don’t try to be someone else, or try to be something you are not. Be yourself, and people will appreciate your honesty and come back for more.”
In order to stand out in the sea of food sites, make sure you think about your own niche. What is it that you want to cover? Do you want to post about easy cooking? How about healthy eating? Maybe you’re a master at making desserts? Or is baking your specialty? You may even be an all around chef who perfects a dinner from start to finish and would like to teach others how to create dinners for parties?
What’s important to note is the narrower your niche is, the easier it is to make yourself stand out and be different compared to all the other foodies out there. Catherine McCord says: “Find your passion and niche and stick with it. Keep your interest narrow at first and build an audience. After that you can venture out and those who love reading your site will follow as you branch out.”
Sarah Zinkel says: “Be true to yourself. There are so many blogs and bloggers out there and it’s easy to try to imitate someone’s style. Really listen to your gut and do what feels right to you. That’s how you will get the most out of your blog and so will others!”
Think hard about what you can bring to your site and then put everything into making it happen. Blogging doesn’t work if it doesn’t contain a piece of you. Readers want to know there’s a human being at the other end.
So think about what you want to write about and that will lead you onto a name for your site.
Starting your food blog
Starting a food site is actually a pretty simple process after you know what you want to post about and you know how to name it. You should use WordPress, the most popular publishing platform, to run your site. WordPress is an open-source platform that powers more than 60 million sites. It allows you the complete control over the look and feel, features and other aspects of your site. I love it and run all my projects on it.
You need a domain name and a hosting account to be able to run WordPress. A domain name is the address people will type to access your site and a server space is where your images and other files are hosted. I recommend Bluehost as your host. It is simple to use, offers a free domain name, an affordable hosting account with unlimited space and WordPress officially recommends it. Click on the image below to get your site started:
You can find full step-by-step instructions for this process here.
Disclosure: I do earn a commission if you signup to Bluehost using my link at no additional cost to you. Please know that I only recommend products and services that I find helpful and useful. If you do choose to purchase through my affiliate link, thank you for your support!
Start cooking, taking pics and typing
So now that you have your site online what is the next step? Blogging is all about doing, and not thinking or planning too much. Just think about Julie Powell from the movie Julie & Julia who posted her way through a cookbook and became a huge success. She didn’t spend much time planning about starting and dreaming too much about success, she just started cooking and typing. Start cooking, taking pictures and typing yourself!
So, what exactly should you cook and how should you write about it? Many new food writers may be insecure about whether or not they’re bringing something new to the table, but writing about food doesn’t have to include inventing a new dish every day. There’s only so many ways a person can make a tomato sauce. Food blogging is also about putting personal touches on traditional dishes or maybe serving them in a new and interesting way.
Kiersten says: “Never publish something on your site that you wouldn’t read yourself. You need to be willing to look at your site with a critical eye. Would you subscribe to it? Would you like it on Facebook? With millions of other sites out there, you need to offer your readers something unique and compelling that will make them want to come back again and again.”
Michael Natkin says: “Focus on quality. There are lots of things you can do to bring people to your site once. But if you want them to keep coming back, they have to think that they will find something wonderful and relevant to them whenever they visit.”
Deeba Rajpal says: “Once you’ve established your niche, find ways to improve the content. Listen to your readers and build that most important relationship. Read other related sites, blogs, magazines, look at trends, or set a trend. Innovate and post regularly.”
Jenny McGruther says: “Make your work meaningful. Before you write about random things in your life, focus on how it might sincerely help and support someone else. Take the time to write well and grow your audience before jumping ahead of yourself to monetization strategies.”
Pictures are a virtue
Like with many other topics, when it comes to food, pictures are a virtue. You want to present your food recipes in such a way that it makes your readers hungry, hungry to share your pictures – and hungry for even more recipes. Make sure you showcase the process and make fun photo series about the making of a certain dish.
Deeba continous: “Be original and find your niche. Take inspiration yet build your own style, and do add photographs. Nothing holds the reader more captivated. Good pictures must connect to well written prose. Please respect copyright. There is no room in the world for plagiarism.”
Christine Chitnis says: “If you take good pictures, join Flickr, once there, link your pictures back to the post where you posted them, join groups, get your pictures out into the Flickr world. Again, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs. And finally, keep at it….building an audience takes time.”
Get into videos
You should also consider getting into the video format. People love watching videos with cooking tips and instructions. People want advice on how to cook better, how to make it easier and how to make cooking more exciting. For example “food hacks” are some of the most widely used searches. Making a video of you cooking, or showing a certain technique is a great way to attract the reader’s attention.
Think how can you create beautiful, interesting and instructional videos from your blog post recipes? Identify different topic areas and moments you think people struggle with and want advice on. Be their resource and answer their questions in your videos and blog posts.
Check here for my complete guide on starting with YouTube videos.
Promote your content
After you have published your recipes and pictures, don’t forget to also spread the word about them. Without you spending some time in marketing it will be difficult to attract at audience so this is an important task of a food blogger. There are many great websites that you can use to promote your food site.
Anne-Marie Nichols says: “Find time to promote content on social media sites like Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook by being active in those communities as a helpful person, not a promoter. If people like you and what you’re saying, they’ll come to your site for more.”
Other than of course heavy weight champions Twitter and Facebook, FoodGawker and TasteSpotting are two of the most famous that are relevant to you. Pinterest is a photo network that is a perfect platform to connect with people interested in your food niche – there are many foodies on Pinterest sharing their content, sharing recipes and pictures of other people and ready to connect to new bloggers.
Debi Wayland says: “When I first started blogging I would post and no one would see it. I didn’t really understand what being involved in the community would do for me. Play around on Facebook and get to know other bloggers; they’ll be the ones who help you grow your site the most. Go to linky parties. Submit to websites like FoodGawker. Make comments on other people’s sites. Link to others sites. Share.”
For more advice from all these popular foodie bloggers take a look here.
It’s time to tighten your apron
Now, it’s time to tighten your apron, cook something nice and write about it! Michael Natkin says you should be patient: “Those first few months are hard, when you are lucky if you can get your brother-in-law to read and comment. You have to be in it for the long haul, be consistent about posting, and don’t be in a rush to monetize.”
And remember, the hardest part about being a food blogger is not about coming up with new things to cook, it’s having patience to take photos before digging in!
Thanks to Milana Saric from TastyPrettyThings for contributing to this post.