With more than 130 million active blog readers in US alone right now, there is no other better medium to share information online than a blog.
In this guide I’ll walk you through the steps on how to setup a food blog that you can use to…
- share some healthy eating tips
- review restaurants or cookbooks
- share some shopping guides
- reveal hot deals and coupons
- reveal awesome recipes
Exclusive Bonus: Want us to setup your food blog for you for free? Contact us here. Exclusively for our readers. That’s YOU!
Let’s dive in…
#1 Choose A Perfect Food Blogging Niche
A ‘niche’ basically means a subject or a topic. This is the area of interest that your blog is going to focus on and it’s what you’ll be writing about for your blog posts.
There are many topics that are related food. To do well with your food blog, you will have to choose one that is ultra-specific, focused and defined. This way, you target a specific audience.
Here are some good examples of food niches to consider…
- Healthy eating
- Ethnic dishes
- Restaurant reviews
- Low carb
- Budget friendly meals
- Pet foods
- Gluten-free baking and cooking
If you finally decide on the niche you want to blog about, you now move on to the next step…
#2 Pick A Good Domain Name
This is the address that people will type in their search bar in order to find your blog and as such it will probably also act as the name of your blog. It’s the www.example.com of your blog.
Your domain name should be short, memorable and catchy. A domain name that is too long and hard to remember makes it difficult for people to directly access your blog. A good domain name should …
- Be short and memorable
- Have no punctuation marks
- Descriptive and easy to spell
Domains usually cost around $10 to $15 a year. On this guide, I will spill the beans on how get a good .com domain name for free.
Finding your domain name ideas shouldn’t be difficult. Just brainstorm and jot down all your domain name ideas you will want to use. There are many domain extensions like .com, .net, .org, .info but .com is the standard domain suffix. I will advise you to settle for a domain that is available in .com.
After you have gathered a good list of potential domain names, you can check their availability here.
Once you’ve settled for a good domain name, you can move on to the next step…
#3 Purchase A Reliable Hosting Service
This is the home of your blog where all your blog files are stored. Even though you can choose free hosted blogging platforms like Blogger.com, you will be highly restricted in monetizing and customizing your blog. In short, you don’t own your blog.
Hosted blogging platforms hardly show up on Google first page simply because Google favors self-hosted sites. Self-hosted blogs are taken more seriously by Google.
Here, we shall use the best blogging platform – WordPress. WordPress is a free blogging software that is the home of about 30% of all the sites in the world. It gives us fool control of our blog.
You can customize your themes, install plugins to increase functionality or even make money with your blog without any restriction. It is highly customizable blogging software that offers unlimited creativity. More beautifully, WordPress is free.
Installing WordPress is a breeze. Almost all major hosting services offer one-click WordPress installation.
WordPress is available as both a hosted and a self-hosted CMS option. The hosted option is wordpress.com while the self-hosted option is wordpress.org. Here, we are talking about the self-hosted option, which gives us full control of our blog.
Let’s now answer the question we get asked frequently…
“How to choose the best hosting service?”
When choosing a hosting service, look for one that offers:
- cheap shared hosting
- at least 99.9% uptime
- offers additional features without extra charges
- offers 24/7 customer support
- free SSL certificate
A good hosting service does not have to be expensive. There are many good hosting services that offer cheap shared hosting that is tailored to the needs of new bloggers. Most of the time, hosting will cost around $5 to $10 or even more.
Before you purchase any hosting make sure that your hosting service provides at least 99.9% uptime. This is the time your blog is online.
Hosting services provide many additional features but most of the time these are in the form of add-ons that requires additional $$$. This is what you will want to avoid at all cost as a beginner.
If you’re torn between hosting services, I’ll take professional pride in recommending the best hosting service for your WordPress blog.
Our hands down favorite is Bluehost.
- Officially recommended by WordPress
- Low price (as low as $2.95/month)
- Super-fast servers
- Trusted by millions
- Good uptime (99.9%)
- Great support (24/7)
Bluehost love Sitemass readers and decided to offer a good discount. If you sign up using any Bluehost link here, you will automatically qualify for 62% discount ($3.95 a month) and a free domain name (you save $15).
Now let me show you how to get started with Bluehost in less than five minutes.
Step 1: Click here to go to Bluehost (62% off applied automatically)
Step 2: Click ‘Get Started’ and you will be taken to where you will enter you desired domain name. Click ‘Enter’.
Step 3: A form will show up where you will enter all the required details. This is a must on all hosting services. Fill the form and check for any errors.
Step 4: blah blah blah
You have now hosted your blog and grabbed your free domain!
Let’s move on…
To the next step – installing WordPress
#4 Install WordPress
Bluehost provides you with a program which makes it super easy to install WordPress script to your hosting account.
- Log in to your Bluehost Cpanel Account.
- Find the Website section
- Select Install WordPress
- Click the Install button
- Choose the domain name to install it to
- Go over the license and service agreements
- Check the boxes
- Select the Install Now button
- Your blog is ready!
You have finally installed WordPress on your hosting account!
If you want a more detail guide on how to install a theme on WordPress, check this guide.
#5 Install Your Food Theme
The theme of your blog is the graphical interface that provides the overall design and layout of your blog.
There are thousands of free themes to choose from. You can install a free theme especially if you are on a budget but they can present some issues.
Some of the problems associated with free themes…
- They are usually associated with poor quality of coding. This problem usually occurs with free WordPress themes that are not part of the themes on the official WordPress themes directory.
- Features in free themes are limited. You don’t expect free WordPress themes to cut through in features and functionalities. They don’t offer extra features that you comes with premium themes.
- If you face problems installing your free theme, you won’t get any support. If the developer updates the free theme in the future for bugs and advanced coding, you won’t get any updates and your food blog will be at risk.
Why you should choose premium themes for your food blog
Premium themes are super dynamic, offer more functionality and customization features. Support is also provided in case you face problems with your theme. If you are serious about your blog, my honest advice is to get yourself a premium theme. This is just a one-time investment that will save you time and hassle in the long run.
How to choose a good WordPress theme for your blog? Choose a theme that:
- is optimized for speed so that people don’t get bored and leave
- is responsive, meaning it looks good on any sized display
- looks good and professional and is easy to navigate
- replaces some plugins so that you don’t overload your site
The best themes for a food blog are…
- Foodie Pro Theme
- Brunch Pro Theme
- Foodeez lite
- Food blog
Their themes are responsive so they can offer optimal viewing experience for your viewers, whether they viewing from a computer, tablet or phone.
If you have decided on your theme, then we now discuss how to install your WordPress theme from your WordPress admin dashboard.
- Access your wordpress dashboard using yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Where yourdomain is the domain name you have chosen earlier.
- In your wordpress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes > Add New.
- At the top of the screen you will see an option for “Upload”. Click the “Browse” button and navigate your computer files and select the .ZIP file of your downloaded theme.
- Click “Upload”. You theme is uploaded.
You have successful installed your theme for your food blog. You now have a nice looking blog.
#6 Install Plugins
You now have a nice looking blog. You are eager to publish your first post to the world!
But in order to increase your blog’s functionality, you need plugins. Using plugins, you can do almost anything on your blog without knowing a single line of code.
For a new blog, you will want to:
- convert visitors into subscribers
- build stunning and beautiful pages
- protect your blog from security attacks
- backup and restore your site just in case
- find easy-to-rank keywords to plan your blog posts
- optimize your blog for search engines
- make your blog laser fast
This is where plugins come into play. There are lot of plugins but we shall choose the must-have plugins for every WordPress blog, and the ones that are specifically tailored to the needs of a food blog.
Install all the must-have plugins for every WordPress blog.
- Thrive Leads to convert visitors into email subscribers
- Thrive Architect to build any type of page on WordPress
- Sucuri to protect your side from security attacks
- BackUpBuddy to backup and restore your site
- Long tail Pro to get easy-to-rank keywords for your content
- SEOpressor to optimize your blog for search engines
- W3 Total Cache to make your blog 10x faster
- Ads Pro to manage your ads on your blog
- Social Warfare to add social share buttons on your blog
These are not all the plugins you need for your blog but as a beginner, these are more than enough to get you started. We’ll now add all the recommended food plugins.
- WP Ultimate Recipe
- Easy Recipe
- Nextgen Gallery
As a beginner, you only need the free version of these plugins to start with. When you grow bigger, you will need the premium versions.
Download of all the plugins listed above, click here.
#7 Start an Email List
Most of the people who your blog will it will read it, enjoy it but then never to be seen again. This is why building an email list is so important.
An email list is the ATM of your blog. This is where you can cash in easily. Money aside, email list provides you with the opportunity to communicate with your loyal readers effectively. It can help bring back readers to your food blog, promote affiliate products to them and also provide them with value which in turn helps you build relationships and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
With the countless email marketing service providers on the market, it can be crazy at times when you want to decide the one that suits your needs and pocket.
Exclusive Bonus: Download and use our free guide on how to setup an email marketing service on your WordPress blog.
We had countless requests from our readers on how to choose the best email marketing service for their blogs. That is why we have done the handwork for you.
After multiple tests and research, we finally break a long list down to the following favorites:
- 1st Getresponse
- 2nd Aweber
- 3rd Convertkit
To create an email list, you will need to use an autoresponder along the lines of one of the platforms above.
Getresponse is our favorite.
They’ll manage your contacts, allow you to send e-mails, use autoresponders to automatically send emails and also automate the process of signing up or unsubscribing.
Once you’ve chosen a platform and signed up, you’ll then be given the opportunity to create an ‘opt-in form’. This is where your visitors will enter their details if they want to sign up to your list.
If you want to get more subscribers then you should incentivize your mailing list with an e-book, a free report or some other kind of freebie. That is, you give your readers a valuable incentive in exchange of their email addresses.
#8 Promote Your Blog
Since your blog is new, you should not rely only on search engine listings to get your blog found. You have many ways to spread the word and reach your target audience.
As a blogger, social media is the very best tool for promoting your site. You can use it to directly engage with your audience and to grow your list of fans and followers.
To do this you need have an account on all the major social media and across all these accounts so that every time you write a new post you can share it across all your social media profiles.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to add social sharing buttons right into your content. Many themes have built-in social sharing features but if yours doesn’t have one, you can download and use the Social Warfare plugin.
Social sharing buttons helps your visitors share your content with their contacts easily if they should enjoy it.
Well that’s all for now. It was a long tutorial. You can download the additional resources below to help you in setting up your food blog.