Starting a food blog can be intimidating. I remember semi starting one on blogger back in 2009. Then I used Tastebook for years which was not a blog but at least let me store my recipes in one place online. Then I tried a different food blog through blogger again a couple of years ago but was fed up that options for formatting recipes there were so limited. Ugh. And then I finally found out about WordPress through another food blog’s blogging resources page (because I live under a rock and had never heard of it before – it’s okay if you are in the same boat).
So I wanted to create a resource page just for blogging to share the products and services I have used to create House of Nash Eats. I will update this page as I find more resources that I think could be helpful if you are thinking of starting any kind of blog, not necessarily just a food blog.
Food Blogger Pro – Without question, this is my favorite resource if you want to start a food blog. FBP was created by Lindsay and Bjork over at Pinch of Yum and it is all about learning how to start and grow your food blog, with hundreds of excellent videos with step-by-step instructions on everything from using WordPress to build your blog, DSLR food photography, monetizing your blog, and tons more. Also, there is a FBP community forum with 1,000+ bloggers who are really supportive of each other. The only catch is they only open enrollment twice a year, so I would recommend clicking the affiliate link here to join the waiting list if you are even considering starting a blog so that you will be notified when open enrollment is coming up. And here is a link for a coupon code on either your first month or a full year membership.
Foodie Pro Theme by Shay Bocks – This is the theme I use for House of Nash Eats. It’s a child theme of the Genesis Framework and I purchased both on StudioPress. Genesis is used by many, many bloggers in general and Foodie Pro is especially popular among food bloggers for it’s streamlined, clean look. It is beautiful, easy to navigate, and has a recipe page built-in. It’s also mobile and tablet responsive. I love this theme.
Mailchimp – This is the email marketing app I use to send out blog posts and updates via email. It’s really easy to use, they have awesome customer support if you ever need it, and the best part is they have a free membership option! They also hate spam as much as you and I do, so you never have to worry about that.
These are all plug-ins that can be installed on your WordPress blog that will make it run smoothly. Each of the plug-ins below are installed on House of Nash Eats and provide the behind-the-scenes functions that keeps the blog secure, makes it pretty, and help me manage traffic to the blog.
Akismet – Protects your blog from comment spam and trackbacks – totally worth it. In the first couple of weeks of blogging I have already seen spam comments being blocked by this dandy little plug-in.
Broken Link Checker – Sometimes a link will end up broken because it was deleted by you, or if you linked from another source, they deleted it or changed it. This plug-in will alert you so you can fix it. Nobody likes when they click on a bad link.
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights – This plug-in allows you to easily add Google Analytics to your site.
Simple Share Buttons Adder – The pretty, colorful little share buttons for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc. that you see near the recipes on this blog are managed by this plug-in. There are lots of plug-ins for adding share buttons to your blog to allow you and your readers to share posts to social media, but this one is great because it has a “Yum” button for Yummly, which is super beneficial as a food blogger (more info on this in the “Driving Traffic to Your Food Blog” section below). You can customize how the share buttons are displayed, which is another great feature of this plug-in.
Wordfence Security – This is an excellent security plug-in that’s totally free.
Yoast SEO – SEO (search engine optimization – basically how google or another search engine reads your blog and how high up your content appears on search results) is a huge thing to manage. This plug-in does the hard work for you.
Driving Traffic to Your Food Blog
Yummly is a huge recipe database. You can create your own recipe box and save recipes from your favorite blogs (similar to Pinterest except just recipe focused and you can easily search for recipes by ingredient, allergy, diet type, time, etc.). Yummly is a great app for someone looking for recipes, but it’s especially great for a food blogger because having your recipes published on Yummly means more people coming to your blog. They will see a photo of your recipe, a list of ingredients, and a link to direct them to your blog for the full recipe. This is why the Simple Share Buttons Adder plugin is a necessary one because it’s the most highly rated plugin with a “Yum” button.
Foodgawker – This is the primary food photo submission site I use. They have pretty demanding standards for the photos they accept for publication on their site, but once you get a photo accepted you will start to see a bump in traffic.
Pinterest – Everybody says that Pinterest is a huge traffic driver for food blogs. So far that isn’t the case for me but I am working on getting better at Pinterest and creating pins that will be more “pinnable” to hopefully gain some traction. As a food blogger, you might want to consider joining group boards where you can pin your own content and re-pin stuff from there to your own boards. Group boards are kind of like food bloggers helping each other to reach a wider audience with their pins when you don’t have a very large Pinterest following to start with.
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