A food blog is an exciting business plan that can provide great opportunities to get free products and make money online.
According to recent statistics, over 25% of WordPress bloggers make a full-time living from their blogs, with food bloggers earning a median monthly salary of $9,169 – a number that continues to grow yearly.
These are encouraging statistics if you harbor a love for cooking and consider creating a food blog.
And the best part is that starting a food blog is a pretty straightforward process, even if you’re not a very technical-minded person.
All you need is a step-by-step guide outlining your strategy and the right tools for building, growing, and monetizing your blog – which is precisely what this article is about.
In it, you’ll discover how to start a successful food blog, complete with the actionable tasks you must take each step of the way – from deciding the focus of your blog to choosing your niche, finding the perfect blog domain name, and much more.
This guide is extremely DETAILED and explains everything you need to start a Food blog. I’ve been at this blogging stuff for over 8 years and have built a business making $20,000 per month, so I have a lot of helpful advice for you newbies out there.
How to Start a Food Blog in 10 Steps:
If you just need someone to walk you through setting up your blog quickly and easily in a few easy steps, check out step 5.
As someone who loves food and cooking, you may be considering starting a food blog to express your creativity and have an easy way to share as many ideas as you can with the world.
But, there are many other reasons you might want to start a food blog.
- Get Free Products: As a food blogger, you will likely get tons of free products from brands that want to try them out and recommend them to your audience.
- Make Money: As your blog grows, you’ll be able to monetize it in different ways and start receiving passive income from all your efforts.
- Build a Following: You can use your very own food blog as a way to create a community around your passion. The more engaging content you post, the bigger your following will grow.
- Share Experiences: Some amateur chefs simply want to post pictures of food and recipes to share their passion for cooking with the world.
- Grow a Community: A blog is a great way to grow a community of like-minded people around the food/cooking topics you love.
Step 1: Decide the Focus of Your Food Blog
The food industry has become saturated over the last decade, which means that if you want to create a profitable business, you need to start your food blog with a purpose.
That’s why your first step in learning how to start a food blog is to determine the focus or direction of your new blog.
Overlooking this important step will ultimately lead to failure so take the time to brainstorm a few possible ways to position your new blog to give yourself the best chance of succeeding.
For example, your focus might be to build a community for aspiring chefs, be collaborative, be a moneymaker, etc.
Here are a few examples of possible directions for your food blog to help you get started:
- Food News: One way to share the latest news about the food industry.
- Reviews: You can review cookware, dinnerware, bars, cafés, restaurants, etc.
- Chefs’ Careers: You might choose to follow the careers of chefs in your niche.
- Dining Recommendations and Criticisms: Alternatively, your blog could be used to recommend places to eat (and avoid) in your area.
- Share Recipes: You can use your blog to share your favorite recipes, ingredients, etc.
- Cooking on a Budget: You might focus on teaching people how to cook scrumptious meals without spending a lot of money.
Step 2: Choose Your Niche
Once you’ve chosen the focus of your blog, the next step is to pick your food niche.
As previously mentioned, the food industry is saturated, and if you want to stand out and ensure a successful blog, you need to choose a niche that you’ll specialize in.
A niche is simply a specific topic around which you’ll create content. This includes blog articles, YouTube videos, social media posts, email series, and various other types of content.
The niche you choose will likely depend on the type of food you love cooking, and it is a very important step when trying to learn how to start a food blog and earn while doing what you love.
Listed below are a few examples of different types of niches that you can focus on with your new food blog:
- Family Meals / Meal Planning
- Pro Chef Career Path
- How to Sell Food to Make Money as a Side Hustle
- Exotic Cuisine
- Budget / Casual Dinners
- 5-Minute Meals for Busy Professionals
- Scrumptious Snacks for Toddlers
- Food for Pets
- Recipe Ingredients with Food Photos (Even with no food photography)
- Food Prep / Quick Baking Recipes for Kids
- Reviewing Cookware / Dinnerware / Restaurants
- Cooking Blog for One
- Paleo Diet Recipe Blog
- Cocktail Recipes
- Low Carb Meals / Workout Snacks
- Batch Cooking Blog / Baking / Freezing
- Gluten-Free Recipes
- Salads / Desserts
- Fun / Party Food
As you can see, there are many different niches you can choose from. You can even combine two or more niches to create your own unique niche.
Step 3: Choose Your Blogging Platform
Once you’ve decided on your niche, it’s time to choose your blogging platform. Again, there are hundreds of platforms to choose from, both free and paid.
You can choose between self-hosted software or hosted options like Wix, Blogger, Squarespace, etc.
I recommend going with the self-hosted option as it comes with many advantages.
In particular, when you choose and install WordPress, it offers an excellent option for a self-hosted blogging platform.
It’s free and open-source software (FOSS) that is easy to install and use, and the platform is among the most popular ways to build a website, including food blogs.
Why Choose Self-Hosted WordPress?
- It’s straightforward to get started. You can install WordPress blog software with one click.
- You are given full control of your web domain when you are your own web host.
- You can monetize your blog in any way you choose
- Self-hosted WordPress blogs are extremely fast, and Google loves them
- You have full customization capabilities to make your blog unique
- Thousands of plugins from a web hosting provider let you extend your website’s functionality, such as a recipe plugin.
- When you install WordPress, you will have instant access to the user-friendly WordPress dashboard, a few options, and free themes- a great help for a good food blog.
- Everything is available on the WordPress dashboard. There is also ample support from developers and a large community of users when you have your own web hosting account from a reliable web host.
In contrast, free or hosted blogging platforms come with many drawbacks. For instance, most free platforms have slow loading speed, and Google doesn’t rank them as premium ones.
Also, free web hosting does not allow you to monetize your blog effectively.
You can’t add supported features to your web hosting to expand your site’s functionality; if something happens to the web hosting platform, you’ll lose all your content. That is why you need a reliable web host.
Furthermore, getting people to trust your WordPress website or blog is hard when using a free version of any blogging platform. So your domain will be something like “MyAwesomeFoodBlog.Squarespace.com,” instead of simply “MyAwesomeFoodBlog.com.”
Step 4: Decide Your Domain Name
Before officially starting your food blog, you’ll first have to decide what you will name it.
Although this may seem like a simple step, it’s essential to take your time with this because the name you choose will define your brand and distinguish your food blog from all the rest.
So, you must choose wisely. And to help you do that, I’ve written a detailed guide on how to choose a domain name.
Here’s a quick look at what you need to consider when deciding on a name for a new food blog:
1. Choose a “.com” Domain Name.
There are many different domain extensions to choose from, including .com, .org, .net, .us, .co, etc.
Some creative domain name extensions are explicitly designed for food blogs, such as .food, .chef, .cooking, .organic, and various other domain name extensions that fall under the food/drink categories.
But, it’s important to choose .com for your own domain name as this is the one the web is built on, and it’s what your audience will most readily remember.
2. Purchase the Domain Name Separately From the Host Provider.
If someone were to hack into your hosting account, they could potentially transfer your domain name over to their own hosting.
If this were to happen, it would be very difficult to reverse and could be a huge security issue for you.
So it’s best to purchase your domain name separate from the hosting provider. But, of course, if you are just getting started with your first site, you can skip this step and move on to the next one.
3. Choose a Broad Domain Name.
Stay broad with the name you choose. If you make it too narrow, you’ll run out of things to talk about on your blog.
On the other hand, making it too broad will make it harder for you to build an engaged audience for your food blog.
So, for instance, instead of calling your blog “GlutenfreeCookies.com, “you might consider something like “GlutenfreeParadise.com, “which would allow you to focus on a broader range of topics and treats besides just cookies.
4. Keep It Short and Sweet.
Keep your website domain name between two and four words. Don’t use long words that are hard to spell, and avoid using any special characters or foreign words.
5. Use Alliteration.
Alliteration is when you use two or more words that start with the same letter or sound the same.
For instance, you might have a website name like “Damn Delicious,” “Smitten Kitchen, “or “Freezer Fiend. “
6. Add Extra Words
If all else fails, and you still can’t get the name you want, add more words like “the, “with, “club, “hub, “etc. For instance, if you wanted a name like “Dessert Dome,” you might consider “The Dessert Dome “instead.
7. Think of the Concept
To help you brainstorm ideas for your food blog name, try to think of the concept around your food blog. Then, ask yourself what it could be branded as and how it could grow in the future.
You can have a personal and meaningful conversation with your friends and family before you start writing your own blog, and you can also learn helpful tips and video tutorials, such as what you can see in this blog.
This will help you think of great ideas for names when you open yourself up to possibilities of where your food blog could go.
8. Use Name Generation Tools
If you find yourself stuck, plenty of free online tools help you develop an excellent domain name. Some tools I like to use include Lean Domain Search and Instant Domain Search.
9. Don’t Buy a Domain Name
You might find a name for your food blog content that you’ve fallen in love with, but it’s available for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Don’t be tempted to buy it. It’s not worth it at this point. Instead, look for a different name or variation of that name available for purchase at the regular price and use that money to create content to grow your new blog.
10. Don’t Get Stuck Here
Most people obsess over getting the perfect domain name that they never move past the stage. Avoid falling into this trap.
This should be a reasonably fast decision, and there’s no need to spend more than a couple of hours on this task. So instead, pick a name you are happy with, and move on to the next step.
Examples of Popular Food Blog Names
To help you jumpstart your brainstorming process, here are a few examples of food blogs already out there, with a short explanation of why their domain names make sense.
1. Love and Lemons
This blog name comes from the fact that the creator, Jeanie Donofrio, loves making vegan seasonal food, often finished off with a squeeze of lemon
2. Closet Cooking
This website’s name uses alliteration to make it more memorable and accessible for the food blog to stand out.
3. Green Kitchen Stories
This domain name was chosen to express that this food blog focuses on healthy vegetarian recipes.
4. Minimalist Baker
This name explains the type of blog this is. Here you’ll learn to create savory and sweet dishes requiring ten ingredients or less and 30 minutes or less to prepare.
5. Budget Bytes
This name clarifies this website’s value for planning meals on a budget and shopping wisely to keep the grocery budget low.
Step 5: Buy Your Domain Name and Hosting
Once you’ve chosen your platform and domain name, your next step in learning the technical stuff on how to start a food blog is to purchase the name and hosting.
Your domain name is the online address or URL visitors will type into their browsers to visit your food blog. For example, the food blog Serious Eats domain is “SeriousEats.com. “
With your domain, you also have to get a domain hosting account. Avoid the free domain name from web hosting platforms since you will not personalize your name after you register the domain name.
This service will host your website files on their servers and ensure that your food blog can always be found by visitors online.
I’ve created a walk-through to help you through the process of purchasing your matching domain name and hosting plan.
Below is a YouTube video and screenshots showing you the exact step-by-step instructions on the process.
First, click this link to visit Bluehost and follow along with the tutorial below:
Step 1: If you haven’t yet, click on this link, and you’ll be brought to the WordPress Hosting page you see below.
Step 2: Next, you’ll be brought to the hosting plan page that offers automatic WordPress installation. You could choose to get a “Plus” or “Choice Plus” plan, but that’s not a requirement.
The Startup plan is the cheapest at $3.95/month through my link vs. the normal $8.99/month.
This plan has everything you need including 50GB of webspace (plenty of room for your files), a free domain for a year, plus other standard features like a free SSL and a secure WordPress install.
Feel free to browse to decide on the right plan, but rest assured that the Basic plan will work just fine if you want to minimize your investment.
Step 3: After clicking on the plan, you’ll be brought to the next page where you will type in your new domain, or you can choose “I’ll create my domain later” if you haven’t decided yet. The domain is the URL people will type into a browser to view your website in the future.
Step 4: The next page will ask for your information once you submit. That will start with your account information, which is self-explanatory.
Step 5: Next, you’ll have to input your Package Information. This is to choose how long you want the plan to go. I advise you to choose 24 months to get the discount and save money, but you can go as low as 12 months.
Step 6: You’ll have to choose what “Package Extras” you want. You can scroll over “More Information” to understand each of these items, but here is my advice.
I would get the “Domain Privacy + Protection.” This makes it so that no one can tie your name to the domain name you create. The only other one worth considering is “Codeguard Basic.” The other two I wouldn’t personally get. But choose what is best for you.
Step 7: The next step is Payment Information, which is self-explanatory.
Step 8: The last signup step confirms that you read and understand the Bluehost Terms of Service, Cancellation Policy, and Privacy Notice. Click the check button and then click “Submit.”
Step 9: Next, you’ll be prompted to create an account and password. You’ll use this information to log in to the Bluehost platform to manage your site and account info.
Step 10: At this point, Bluehost puts you through a short questionnaire to better understand your scenario. You can answer all of these questions or click “Skip this Step” at the bottom. If you’re a newbie, I advise you to answer the questions as it’ll help your onboarding experience.
Step 11: After you’re done with that, you’ll be advised to choose a theme. For now, you can decide to use a free theme. You can always replace the theme with a Premium Theme later if you’d like.
Step 12: You’ll be brought into the backend of WordPress in the admin panel. This is where you’ll manage your site from. You can add posts/pages as you see fit, but when you’re ready, click on the blue button that says “Launch Your Site.”
Step 13 (Final): Your blog is LIVE. Just go to a browser and type in your domain name. Once you do this, you’ll be able to access your website!
Congrats! You officially have a website.
Now on to the next step.
Step 6: Choose and Install a Theme For Your Food Blog
Once you’ve got your basic website setup, it’s time to choose a theme for your new blog. There are thousands of WordPress themes to choose from, but you want to choose one specifically for food blogs.
As an alternative to choosing WordPress themes, you might use WordPress recipe plugins (WP recipe maker) that add recipe builder functionality to any theme, turning it into a food blog.
However, while using food WordPress plugins (like WP recipe maker) together with a generic theme might offer more flexibility, it also makes setup a bit more complicated.
For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend it to beginner food bloggers. In this case, a purpose-built WordPress food blogging theme is the way to go.
It will come with a wide range of built-in features and functionality specific to food blogging, including things such as:
- Recipe Builder: This feature allows you to display your recipes and ingredients in an easy layout for your visitors to view.
- Gallery and Video Support: This allows you to upload stunning visuals and instructional videos to engage your audience.
- Advanced Search Function: Allow visitors to search using recipes and ingredients to find what they need on your blog quickly.
- User Registration/Login Functionality: This user-friendly feature will allow you to create a members-only section to build a community around your food blog.
It would help if you also considered the following factors before choosing the best theme for your blog:
What to Look for In a Good Theme:
Speed: You want a premium WordPress theme built for speed to maintain a fast-loading website.
Beautiful Design: Choose a WordPress theme with beautiful templates and layouts that will allow you to showcase appealing videos and images of your food.
Mobile Responsiveness: The WordPress theme you choose should be mobile-friendly and look good on all devices.
Full Customizability: Make sure you can customize your WordPress theme to make it look and feel precisely the way you want with many WordPress plugins
Well-Established Brand: Choose a theme from a well-known brand like Themeforest, Thrive Themes, StudioPress, Envato, etc. and fair it with a WordPress plugin.
Online Reviews: Opt for a WordPress theme with lots of positive ratings and reviews from users online that can be used with your recipe plugin.
Reliable Support: Check out the theme’s support options to ensure that you’ll be able to get assistance anytime you need it and even assistance using your chosen WordPress plugins.
Food Blog Theme Options for WordPress
Now that you know what to look for in a great theme, here are a few food blog WordPress themes to choose from.
This foodie theme is designed with all the features you need to showcase your food creations in a captivating way.
There are pre-designed templates for cooking, baking, cookbooks, recipe cards, etc.
This means you can have your blog up in no time by simply using one of the templates and swapping in your own content and images. You also get to use all the images with the theme free of charge.
This theme is highly customizable and comes with an extensive admin interface. It also offers quick one-click demo content import and requires no coding knowledge to build beautiful, responsive, and retina-ready pages.
Creating a food blog is a cake with the number-one selling TinySalt theme. It comes with 12 predesigned demos, and all you need to do is select a demo, import it to your site with a single click, and be ready to go.
The different layouts in the demos can be combined to create your own unique layout, and there are 32 blog variations for you to choose from, including Grid, Classic, Masonry, and List layouts.
With this easy-to-use theme, you’ll be able to create a mouthwatering food blog with spectacular pages and remarkable features explicitly designed for chefs, bistros, restaurants, and anyone else looking to start a food blog.
This is the perfect theme for personal or community food blog WordPress websites. It has all the features you need in one convenient place, including a powerful admin interface, an extensive collection of templates, and a range of helpful shortcodes, including Social Share, Pricing Table, Product List, and Highlight shortcodes.
You can also customize each page to your liking by switching colors fonts or dragging and dropping different elements onto the page, including videos, text, images, etc.
Step 7: Create Essential Pages and a Logo
Every website needs essential pages, and the same goes for a new food blog. Listed below are some of the pages you must have on your site, but you can add more depending on your needs.
This page provides your readers with information about you, such as who you are, why you started your blog, and the value they can get from it.
In addition, you can include an image of yourself on this page. And make sure you use a style and tone of voice that lets your foodie personality shine through.
You need to add all the information your readers might need to get in touch with you on this page.
This includes your email address, phone number, social media profiles, Skype (avoid giving your personal address and responding to spam comments), etc.
Choose whatever makes sense for your audience. You might also include an FAQ section on your Contact page with all your most commonly asked questions.
Create a Logo
At this point, it’s also a good idea to create a logo for your food blog. There are many different ways to go about this, especially if you have graphic design skills. But I am a big fan of using this free logo maker.
This intuitive platform will guide you through the process of creating a high-quality, unique logo for your blog, even if you have zero graphic design experience.
Note: If you require high-resolution logo files, you can pay a minimal amount to access the files and a few other things that will help you with your branding efforts.
Step 8: Begin Blogging
Once you have your essential pages in place, it’s time to start blogging. As a food blogger, you can blog about tons of things.
Inspiration is everywhere, but simply take your main topic and divide it into subcategories to make things easier for yourself.
So, for instance, if your niche is exotic food, you might break it down by the different countries or regions you intend to cover. Alternatively, you might break it down by type of meal, e.g., lunch, dinner, snacks, party food, etc.
Here are a few ideas and writing categories you might consider:
- Welcome Post or Series: You can write articles on why and how you started your food blog.
- List Posts: Create lists of resources your readers will find helpful, such as “Top 10 popular food blogs”, “25 food bloggers you should follow this year”, etc.
- How-to Guides: Create in-depth how-to posts that answer many of the commonly asked questions in your space. For instance, you might create guides on “How to plan meals for your family for the whole month,” “How to batch cook and freeze meals in advance,” etc.
These are just a few ideas of the types of posts you can create. You can also have the following:
- Checklist articles
- Holiday treats/seasonal food articles
- Problem and solution posts (e.g.
- Personal stories are a great post
- Interviews with chefs
- Latest industry news
- Raving about your favorite places to eat
… and so on.
It’s always best to stick with the niche you’ve chosen and write cooking/food articles around that topic and informational content that will help attract a bigger audience and keep them engaged on your blog.
Important Note: You get at least ten blog posts written before promoting anything on your new blog. This is because it will make your new blog look more populated.
It will also help to give new visitors to your blog enough variety to appeal to different tastes and make them want to come back to read more.
Step 9: Promoting Your Food Blog
Now it’s time to spread the word about your new blog. Here are a few ways that have been proven to be highly effective for promoting food blogs.
Food Blogs Need Friends and Family
Sharing with those you care about is a good way to get initial traffic. Start with your friends and family. Let everyone know about your blog and ask them to visit it and read your posts. Then, after referring traffic, ask them to share your blog with others in their own networks and encourage suggestions on how you can make improvements that will help you create better quality content and bring even more people to your site.
Social media is an important part of starting a food blog. It’s a great blog traffic generator.
Whether you choose to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Channel, Pinterest, Instagram, or any other social media platforms, there are a few tips to help you effectively grow your following.
- Add Social Media Share Buttons: This will encourage your visitors to share your food recipes, pictures, videos, paid and free ebook recipes, etc., on their social channels.
- Enable Pinterest Rich Pins: This feature allows you to display your recipe details directly on your pins, increasing the number of repins you get.
- Embed Your Instagram Feed: Embedding interactive social media channels and feed on your food blog will help you get more attention and increase your following.
Depending on your budget, paid ads can be an excellent way for you to drive a steady stream of visitors to your new food blog.
You can start with social media ads, such as Facebook ads or Instagram ads, to drive targeted visitors to your WordPress blog, where you can then convince them to sign up for your email list or read more of your posts.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) effectively drives targeted visitors to your blog for free using keyword research and having optimized blog post.
All you have to do is focus on essential keywords in your niche or industry, embed them within your content using Search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, and Google will rank your content, making it discoverable to the people who are searching for it from search engines giving you customers and readers via Google traffic.
Use Rich Snippets
While on the subject of SEO, you must also use rich snippets on your food blog.
Rich snippets are those additional pieces of information that you see together with the meta-description of a listing on Google and other search engines./
They are a great way to boost your click-through rate, and once you’ve built your food blog, you can add rich snippets to enhance your search engine results.
Doing this can also get your website featured on rich cards that only appear on mobile devices.
Guest Blogging with Other Food Bloggers
Also known as guest posting, this blog promotion method involves finding other popular websites in your food blog niche with an audience similar to yours and then reaching out to them with an offer to write posts for their blog.
You can then link back to your own website either in the body of your content or within your bio at the end of the post, and this will lead people back to your new food blog.
Step 10: Start Making Money
After all the hard work you’ve put into creating and growing your food blog, it’s finally time to start reaping the rewards. But for you to be able to do so, you must find effective ways to monetize your food blog.
Here are some of the most commonly used (and profitable) ways to make money from your blog audience, and keep in mind that I’ve written a whole blog post dedicated to how to make money blogging.
Affiliate marketing is where you recommend other people’s products or services and receive a commission for each sale you generate.
You can join up with affiliate programs like WP Tasty, Home Chef, Vital Choice, and Food Blogger Pro and then search through their products to find recipe books, cooking products, and other things to recommend to your blog visitors and instantly find your suggested or own recipes in search results.
Create Your Own Cookbook
Another great way to make money from your food blog is to create your own cookbook, digital or physical.
You can sell it on your website or on more significant marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. An example of a website that uses this monetization method effectively is 101Cookbooks.com.
This site offers different cookbooks in various categories that you can also filter by ingredients, season, etc., to find the right cookbook for your needs.
Accept Sponsored Posts
You can charge people to post on your blog (although I don’t recommend this monetization method).
These days, many people have begun to ignore traditional banners and ads, which is why sponsored content is becoming more and more popular for brands to build trust and credibility with their target market.
As your audience grows, you’ll be able to help businesses increase their brand awareness by posting creative and engaging content on your site.
Just make sure that the content aligns with your target audience’s interests or needs. Otherwise, you risk alienating them.
Sell Advertising Space on Your Own Food Blog
You can also make money by selling ad space on your site. Charge brands to advertise their products or services to your audience.
Selling advertising space directly to brands has many advantages. For instance, you get to keep 100% of your revenue compared to working with ad networks that keep the portion of your earnings for themselves.
Also, food bloggers can typically charge a higher rate by negotiating directly with advertisers.
At the same time, you also can build working relationships with advertisers, which usually leads to lucrative future ad campaigns with them.
Sign Up for Google Adsense
Yet another easy way to monetize your food blog is to join Google AdSense. Signing up is quick and easy from this Google tool, and once your new Google account has been approved, Google will begin to display relevant ads to visitors on your blog. In return, you will be paid for each ad view.
Over time, this can create a steady stream of passive income that grows as your blog audience grows.
In addition, you can also access Google tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics for analyzing your website’s statistics in search results to reach your target audience in a much more effective way.
Of course, there are many other ways you can make money from your blog, but the recommendations above are particularly beneficial for food blogs.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this step-by-step guide on how to start a food blog and make money doing it. If you follow this simple strategy, you’ll have a fully functional and profitable blog.
There are always additional steps you can take from here to set up your business properly in the area where you live. In most states, this would require the formal creation of a sole proprietorship and getting a registered agent (which is a requirement in many states for business formation).
But don’t get hung up on all the legal issues. Instead, focus most of your time on creating an online presence and do the bare minimum to satisfy legal requirements so you can write off your business expenses as you grow.