How to Start a Food Blog: 5 Steps to take FIRST
There are lots of tutorials explaining how to start a food blog – but you’ll want to take these five steps before doing ANYTHING else!
As promised, I plan to write about blogging related topics occasionally on Rachel Cooks. The blogging community is rapidly growing and my personal growth has been partly due to the help and guidance of other more experienced bloggers. I answer a lot of questions over and over again both via email and in face-to-face conversations. I wanted to build a space here for people to come and be able to access the information at any time.
I’m starting today with the basics but will cover lots of topics throughout the year. But you have to start somewhere — and here it is.
Note: Some links are affiliate links – meaning I get a small cut if you sign up for certain services. No added cost to you, and earnings go towards the costs of running this site. Thanks for supporting my blog while growing your own!
How to Start a Food Blog: 5 Steps to take FIRST
1. Pick and buy a domain and secure social media handles.
Okay. Put a lot of thought into your domain name ’cause it is kind of a pain to change. (Take it from me, I did it twice. Total novice move. Learn from my mistakes.)
Some things to keep in mind when choosing a domain name:
- Make sure it’s available. Use the checker below to quickly see if your desired name is up for grabs.
- Make sure it represents what your blog is about. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as obvious as “Rachel Cooks,” but make sure it kind of fits. For example – my friend just started a food blog called Chocolate Slopes. She loves chocolate and she loves to ski, hence the name. But I just love the imagery it conjures up – I just envision a mountain made of chocolate when I think of her blog. It’s a catchy name, fits who she is, and is related to food. She nailed it in my mind.
- Make sure it’s catchy. I think I kind of failed in this area but you can’t win them all, right? Should I go for a 4th name change? (Answer: NO.) Some catchy blog names that I just love: Gimme Some Oven, Oh My Veggies, and Bake Your Day.
- Avoid dashes. Rachel-Cooks would be harder for people to remember than RachelCooks. If you’re telling someone your blog name, you don’t want to have to say “Rachel dash Cooks dot com.” People are going to be confused and not want to visit your site. (That’s my own personal opinion, I’m sure there are some very successful blogs with a dash in their name.)
Grab your handles/screen names on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and even all those other small random ones. You never know what is going to blow up and becoming the next Facebook.
2. Figure out who you’re going to use to host your blog.
At the beginning, this doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
On a related note, I’d highly recommend using Wordpress.org (not WordPress.com) to as your blog platform. This isn’t the hosting, but where you actually build your blog. This way you can have a shorter more concise URL. In other words, if I hosted on WordPress.com, my URL would be rachelcooks.wordpress.com. That’s a lot of unnecessary typing and is much harder to remember. You don’t want any extra hurdles keeping people from your site.
In terms of hosting, I started on Bluehost. Bluehost offers very reasonable hosting services, an easy to use dashboard, and you can also purchase domains through Bluehost. They served me very well for 2 years.
As my blog traffic grew, I decided to switch to SiteGround. I’ve been very happy with their hosting, speed, and support.
3. Start writing.
I recommend writing 10 posts before even thinking about promoting your blog. This might sound weird – why would you write if no one is reading? Imagine for a minute if you saw a great recipe on Pinterest. You click on that Pinterest image, are directed to the blog where that recipe lives. You then see that that mouth-watering recipe is THE ONLY recipe or post on that site. Do you think you’re going to subscribe to that newsletter or follow that person on social media? Probably not!
By having ten posts on your blog, you’ll also potentially be able to link to related posts within your posts. This is not only good for search engine rankings, but it keeps people on your site longer so that they can see what you have to offer. You never know who might be your next loyal blog follower.
4. Sign up on Gravatar.
This one might seem silly, but once you set up a free account with Gravatar, any time you comment on a blog (using the same email address you signed up to Gravatar with), your profile picture will show up. This is important because it helps establish your brand, it helps people start to recognize you, and it will encourage people to click through to your blog and see what you are all about.
5. Start sharing recipes and posts from other food blogs.
Might sound counterintuitive if you’re new to all this, right? But the truth of the matter is that one of the strongest driving forces of the food blog is the food blogging community. Get right out there in Facebook groups, on Twitter, on Pinterest, etc. Any way you can find to promote and interact with other food bloggers. Once you get on their radar and even potentially become friends with them, they’ll also promote your content in return. Plus you’ll make some pretty awesome friends in the process.
I just barely scratched the surface with these 5 points — there will be more coming! What topics would you like to learn about?
Looking for more personalized, one-on-one assistance with building your blog? Make sure to check out my blogging consulting services. I still have available spaces for new clients!
Disclosure (in case ya missed it the first time): Some links are affiliate links – meaning I get a small cut if you sign up for certain services. No added cost to you, and earnings go towards the costs of running this site. Thanks for supporting my blog while growing your own!