When I started my blog Healthy Food Tribe several years ago, I simply wanted to share my thoughts on nutrition with other like-minded people. I had little technical understanding of the Internet and I was very far from making any money with my blog at the time.
But what started as a hobby slowly grew in a part-time job that generates a modest little income stream. Readers, friends and family now often ask me how to start a food blog like Healthy Food Tribe.
While starting a food blog – or any type of blog – isn’t too complicated, it is very easy to make mistakes. And these mistakes can become little nightmares down the track. For example, you can choose a bad hosting company, you can pick the wrong name for your food blog, or you can even get your website hacked if you’re not careful.
To make it easier for you, I’ve created this guide into starting a food blog that you can use as a reference if you’re interested in starting your very own blog.
HOW TO START A FOOD BLOG (AND MAKE MONEY):
How to Start a Food Blog and Make Money in 8 Steps
In this article I am recommending products that I have personally used myself and that I have been very satisfied with as a blogger. These products are all of very good quality and will make your life as a blogger much easier.
This guide explains how to start a food blog with WordPress, in my opinion the best blogging platform available. Let’s get started!
STEP 1: CHOOSE A NAME FOR YOUR FOOD BLOG
The most important step in your blogging adventure is to actually find the perfect name for your blog. What often happens is, people get excited about the idea of starting a food blog and the too quickly decide on a name without properly going through the pros and cons.
Here a few tips for finding that perfect name for your food blog:
Short, Catchy and Unique
You want to make sure your blog name is easy to remember so that visitors will come back for more. The best way to choose a name memorable is to keep it short and catchy. Ideally your blog name would consist of only two or three simple words that together form a unique and memorable brand name.
The other reason why short blog names are good (and this is what new bloggers often forget!) is that the name should be part of the title in every page of your blog. The title is the text that appears in your browser tab.
For example, the title of my article about turmeric supplements consists of the subject of the article plus my blog name: “Best Turmeric Supplements with Curcumin | Healthy Food Tribe”.
If my blog name was something along the lines of “Donna’s Amazing Healthy Food Adventures” then there simply wouldn’t be enough space in the title tag to properly describe what the article is about.
The title of a web page is very important, from a user perspective as well as from an SEO perspective. And you probably wouldn’t be able to remember that super long blog name either.
Consider Your Niche
When starting a blog, you probably already have a good idea of what you’re gonna write about. In other words, you have chosen a niche. You need to make sure that the name of your blog covers that niche and not something entirely different.
For example, if you’re going to blog about all sorts of recipes, it would be a good idea to have a word in your blog name that reflects what you’re blogging about. In this case you could include words like “recipes”, “cooking”, “kitchen”, and so forth.
Similarly, it’s best to avoid words that have nothing to do with your blog. Using this same example, no matter how much you love traveling, you shouldn’t be writing about your travel adventures on your recipes blog nor should you be using words related to traveling in your blog name.
Using Your Personal Name
A lot of new bloggers decide to use their personal name for their blog. I strongly recommend against this, unless you’re a famous person or you’re someone who provides services. For example, if you’re a writer and you want to promote your books, using your personal name (or your writer’s pseudo name) makes sense.
For a food blog however, I don’t believe it’s a wise idea to use your name. If you do prefer to give your blog a personal touch, you can simply write an about page about you and and why you started your blog. And you can use your personal photo and name in your author bio.
If you do want to use your personal name as part of the blog name, you could consider using your first name, for example “Donna’s Cooking Adventures”.
I can’t stress enough to take your time choosing that perfect name for your food blog. Changing the name later on when your site is a bit more established can be quite a painful process that also carries risk of losing authority from Google and Bing.
One last tip I can give you is to ask help from friends or other people around you. Tell them the names you had in mind and ask them for their feedback. This can actually lead to some really helpful insights!
STEP 2: REGISTER A DOMAIN AND CHOOSE HOSTING
With so many domain registrars and hosting providers on the market, it’s hard to actually find one that suits your needs. Most of them roughly offer the same hosting packages and pricing, but that doesn’t mean they all offer the same level of quality and customer service.
I’ve had a few poor experiences in the past that I don’t want you to go through, which is why I am recommending DreamHost. I have always been very satisfied with the quality and services they offer ever since I signed up.
Quality Hosting with DreamHost
This website, Healthy Food Blog, is hosted with DreamHost and I honestly couldn’t ask for a better website host.
The thing I love most about DreamHost is that they have a huuuuge online wiki that literally has an answer to every single question you may have.
This wiki really makes DreamHost unique in the very competitive world of web hosting.
And if you do have a burning issue or question that you can’t quickly solve through that wiki, simply create a support ticket in the admin console and your issue wil be resolved promptly. Excellent customer service!
Signing up with DreamHost is easy:
- Choose Unlimited shared hosting on the DreamHost website ($50 discount offer).
- Create an account.
- Choose your domain.
- Select your desired hosting plan (shared hosting).
- Select additional options (such as SSL certificate).
- Submit payment details.
What’s great is that DreamHost can install WordPress for you during the process. Simply select that option and it will all be taken care of.
And that’s it, just wait while DreamHost sets everything up for you, keep an eye on your mailbox, and before you know it your first food blog will be live on the Internet!
STEP 3: PICK A PREMIUM WORDPRESS THEME
Once you have registered your domain and your site is live, it’s time to dive deeper into the wonderful world of WordPress. The first time you log in, you’ll notices that there are some dummy pages and posts to help you understand the WordPress structure. WordPress will also have activated a free theme for you, just to get you started.
Why Buy a Premium WordPress Theme?
You can keep using this free theme (or any other free theme), or you can purchase a premium theme. I strongly recommend you invest in a premium WordPress theme to make your food blog look more professional and to take advantage of the features premium themes offer.
With new WordPress blogs popping up everyday it’s no surprise that premium themes are big business. There are literally thousands of premium themes to choose from!
Choosing the right theme for your blog is perhaps the second most important step in the process of setting up your own blog. You want to make sure that the theme is top quality and that the look and feel matches what you had in mind for your new blog.
My blog, Healthy Food Tribe, uses a theme developed by Thrive Themes. Before this theme I had actually used two other themes that I just wasn’t satisfied with for various reasons.
The most important reason was the lack of support and updates. In addition, those themes included too many features that just weren’t necessary, causing the theme to slow down my website.
Changing my blog over to Thrive Themes was the best decision I ever made. If you’ve never heard of Thrive Themes, they are one of the most highly regarded WordPress development companies out there. Some of the biggest bloggers use a theme from Thrive Themes.
Why does Thrive Themes stand out:
- They provide continuous updates which is important as technology evolves very fast.
- Clean themes without any unnecessary bells and whistles that slow down your website.
- Compliant with the latest CSS and HTML standards.
- Designed with quality, performance, usability and simplicity in mind.
- Free one year technical support.
- Great set of optional plugins available.
STEP 4: INSTALL AND CONFIGURE WORDPRESS PLUGINS
When you start a food blog with WordPress for the very first time, it’s tempting to install all sorts of plugins to make your life as a blogger easier.
There are countless WordPress plugins available and they all solve some sort of WordPress problem.
I strongly recommend to be very cautious when it comes to installing WordPress plugins. Each plug you install can make your site run slower.
Also, each plugin means an extra security risk for your blog. I always tell others to only install the plugins you really need and that add value.
WordPress plugins can be easily installed via your WordPress admin console. There is no need to download any software from the plugin manufacturer’s website.
List of Useful WordPress Plugins
The following list of plugins are the ones I am using for Healthy Food Tribe. Believe me, I have tried many, and the ones I have listed here are really the only ones that you will ever need.
All these plugins are highly regarded in the blogging community and are regularly being updated. If you do decide to install more plugins, make sure the reviews are good.
Once your blog is up and running, you will get exposed to one of the biggest nuisances in the blogging world: spam comments! Some bloggers literally get hundreds or thousands of spam comments per day! The best WordPress plugin to counter spam is Akismet. The free version comes standard with any WordPress installation, you just need to activate it.
Securing your site is crucial and installing an SSL certificate just isn’t enough. Your blog needs a scanner, a firewall and protection against brute-force attacks to make sure it does not get hacked or even attacked. There are several decent security plugins out there, but we recommend Wordfence as they offer a good set of features in the free version.
One of the most popular social media sharing plugins out there, Social Pug adds pretty, lightning-fast social share buttons to your WordPress blog and is very easy to configure. The paid version is very affordable and comes with a few more useful options.
The popular Yoast SEO plugin helps to structure your blog posts in a way so that the search engines like them too. Very important! But keep in mind that using Yoast SEO is just one small step to take in the complicated world of SEO, but a very important step that is. If you want to take your blogging adventure to the next level, it’s important to learn more about how SEO works and what you can do to make it work for you.
WP Recipe Maker:
If you’re planning publish a lot of recipes on your food blog, I recommend you install a recipe plugin. The main benefits of such plugin is that it creates a nice layout for your recipe with the useful option to print. There are lots of recipe plugins available, some free and some paid, but the best one I have found to be WP Recipe Maker. I love the simplicity of this plugin, without all the unnecessary bells and whistles. It’s also very easy to install and configure.
W3 Total Cache:
Website performance, such as page load speed, is very important. The longer it takes for your blog to load, the sooner your visitors will drop out. The best plugin to help improve the performance of your website is W3 Total Cache. It is a bit difficult to configure but it’s very much worth it in the end.
Contact Form 7:
This plugin helps you to create simple website forms such as a contact form. Very easy to use, Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular plugins to create these forms and integrate them into your web pages. Check out my contact form here!
STEP 5: CREATE ABOUT AND CONTACT PAGES
Once you have WordPress with a nice theme all set up, it’s time to start writing content! The first thing you should do is publishing an about and a contact page.
Don’t underestimate the power of an about page. More than often this page gets neglected, but it’s a great opportunity to connect with your audience and share your story with the rest of the world.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to reveal all your personal secrets, but it’s important to use the about page to explain things like who you are, what your blog is about and why you started your blog in the first place. It’s also a good place to direct visitors to some of the more popular articles on your website.
The contact page can be very basic. A simple contact form with a little introduction is enough to get the job done. You do need to make sure though that your contact form is connected to an email address, ideally an email address that belongs to your website domain.
For example, my email address is [email protected]oodtribe.com. You can easily create an email address in the DreamHost admin console.
STEP 6: SET UP GOOGLE ANALYTICS AND SEARCH CONSOLE
Now that you’ve set everything up and your blog is live for everyone to see, it’s important to tell Google and Bing about your new adventure too!
The best way to track visitors to your website and how long they are sticking around for is by installing Google Analytics.
This becomes increasingly important in the future as your site grows as it can give you a clear understanding of what type of audience you have. You can then align your blog content with your audience.
Signing up is very easy. Simply follow the steps, verify that you own your website and install a little piece of script in your website. Your WordPress theme typically has a feature available that lets you copy in that piece of script without any hassle
Google Search Console
Google Search Console, previously known as Webmaster Tools, is a suite of tools that assist you as a webmaster with the technical side of things. If there are any technical issues with your blog, such as duplicated content or sitemap errors, Google will notify you via Search Console.
Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing also has a similar suite of tools available for webmasters. I do recommend signing up with the Microsoft version of Bing too, just to keep them happy too. You can try it out here.
STEP 7: SET UP SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
Love it or hate it, a blog without social media channels can hardly be called a blog anymore.
Using social media with your blog is a great way to promote your content to a wider audience and to engage with the community.
In addition, social media accounts can have a positive impact on your search engine presence too, as it increases the credibility of your brand.
For a food blog I would recommend using Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Especially Pinterest is a great way for a food and nutrition focused website to attract a bigger audience. There are lots of online courses available that teach you how to effectively use Pinterest to promote your blog.
One piece of advice I would like to give you is to not rely too much on your social media presence. The most important aspect of blogging is to publish quality content that serves your readership well. Social media comes second.
Managing your social media channels can actually be quite time consuming but not always very rewarding, especially not in the beginning of your food blog journey.
STEP 8: MONETIZE YOUR FOOD BLOG
Most people start a blog because they are passionate about something and they want to share their views and experiences with as many others as possible.
As your blog grows and you learn more about blogging, you will also find ways to actually earn money with your food blog. And that’s the exciting part!
However, monetizing your blog should never be the main focus. You should always stay focused on publishing good quality content on your blog. If your content isn’t good enough, most likely your social media channels won’t get much traction either.
I would recommend to start monetizing when your blog is attracting a consistent amount of traffic, which typically takes at least six months.
How can you monetize your food blog?
1. Affiliate Marketing
One of the most common ways to make some dollars is to promote or review products. If you happen to sell a product through your blog, you will receive a commission. Sounds easy, right? The reality is that this is actually really difficult.
You need to make sure that the products your promote are products that you have used yourself or have at least properly researched. Your site will also need to get a good amount of visitors in order to achieve a decent conversion rate.
Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate networks out there with lots of products to choose from. For example, in my article about top juicers, I receive a small commission each time a visitor purchases a juicer via one of my links. It’s best to wait a little while with signing up until your blog has settled in and receives some traffic.
Another easy way to monetize your blog is by placing ads in your articles or in the sidebar. The biggest and most reliable advertising network is Google AdSense. Signing up is easy but it’s best to wait until your blog has matured a bit.
If you have enough monthly page views, you can also sign up for an ad network such as Mediavine or AdThrive. These networks handle all advertising for your site, so you can focus on blogging rather than worrying about how best to optimize ad revenue.
At the time of writing, Mediavine requires 25K sessions per month and Adthrive has set 100K sessions per month as a minimum requirement. On Healthy Food Tribe, I am happily using Mediavine for display advertising.
Final Thoughts on Starting Your Very Own Food Blog
I do hope this step-by-step guide explains the process of starting a food blog well enough and that it motivates you to kick-start your own blogging adventure. If you’ve never created a website before, it may all be a bit overwhelming, but that’s only temporary. It doesn’t take long before you get the hang of it.
Don’t underestimate the amount of work involved to start and manage a food blog. Setting up is relatively easy but to keep going and to compete with so many other blogs out there, you will need to put in the hard work and perseverance. It’s also important to learn from others and to avoid making the same mistakes. I have made lots of mistakes myself, but that’s also a good way to learn.
The products recommended above are all top quality. If you do decide to go ahead with some of them and you get stuck somewhere along the process, I am only an email away. I love helping people out, so if you do have any questions, please do email me.
Are you ready to start your new food blog and make money?
Affordable domain registration and hosting.
Top quality premium WordPress themes and plugins.
Google Search Console:
Technical website insights offered by Google.
Essential website tracking statistics.