All the Food Blogging Resources You Need
Success at anything starts with selecting the right resources. It's not any different with Food blogging as well. In the long run, a lot of how things pan out for you will depend upon how reliable and useful the resources that you chose, were.
Hence we thought of putting together a page with all the essential Food blogging resources.
Please note that some of the links on this page will be affiliate links and if you order from those links, I will get a commission at no extra cost to you. But none of those recommendations are just because I am getting paid. Instead, all of these are products and services that I am using and you will be able to see them at different points on my blog here.
I will keep adding to these resources as and when I find a good resource and if at any point I find something negative, I will post that as well on this page.
These are some of the absolute basics for your Food blog. You might already be using some of these but, if you are not then I would recommend you to try them out.
WordPress Blogging Platform – If you are a blogger and you are not on WordPress, then you are swimming with your hands tied. WordPress and especially self-hosted WordPress is something you should use for your blog. Why? Because of the flexibility you get. You don’t want somebody else to be telling you what you can do and what you can’t, on your blog. Also what would you prefer- an easier way or, a difficult way to do something?
So switch to WordPress, if you are not already using it. Download it for FREE here!
Yummly Rich Recipes – This plugin is extremely important if you are food blogger. It does two things – firstly, it adds a nice recipe card to your recipes posts, which is printable. And secondly, it adds all the required rich text snippets that tag your posts as recipes. These snippets are required on most social media sites, particularly Pinterest, if you are wanting to drive traffic from Pinterest. Click here to download
Thrive Leads – Building a subscribers’ list is an important part of an online business. A list brings repeat visitors and business. You can keep in touch with them through emails.
How will you capture your visitors’ email address? This is done through an optin form and Thrive leads helps you with that. It gives you a lot of options, has a simple drag and drop optin form builder which is good for technically challenged people like me, helps you with A/B testing and does many more such things that other plugins will charge you a fortune for. Click here to download
Yoast SEO – Optimizing your blog for Search Engines is an important activity, if you want your blog to rank on search engines. Because search engines is where you will get the most traffic from.
But SEO can be overwhelming if you do not understand how that is done. And that is where Yoast SEO comes in handy. With this plugin, you can leave all the technical stuff to it. Just follow some basic steps and instructions and you are all set. Click here to download.
Akismet – One of the things that you would hate when you start blogging is SPAM. And you will find this the most in your comments. And Akismet, helps you get rid of it. Download here.
EWWW Image Optimizer – Images are an integral part of a food blog and since you are going to run and manage a food blog, you will be uploading a lot of high quality images to your blog. These images might be extremely big in size and uploading such big files to your hosting can be a burden on your hosting. Also bigger and bulkier file sizes means longer page load times. EWWW Image optimizer takes care of this problem. It reduces and optimizes the size of your image files and helps you in faster page load times and smaller image file sizes. Download here.
Thirsty Affiliates – If you are planning to promote affiliate products on your blog, you will need to cloak all the affiliate links. Thirsty affiliates helps you with cloaking all those ugly links into simple and easy to remember links. Download here.
Canva – One of the important tools that you need in food blogging is an image editor. You need a simple tool that can help you build your banners, post images, video and blog post thumbnails etc.
And if you are using social media to promote your blog, your editor should also be capable of creating social media images. Remember that each social media site has a different image specification and your editor needs to be template ready with all these specs so that you do not spend a lot of time creating your images.
And Canva does all this for you with simplicity like 1-2-3. Get a free account here!
Essentials to Start and Manage a WordPress Blog
In order to setup your Blog and start blogging, you will need a few resources at the minimum like a domain name, hosting etc. And it is very important that you pick only the most reliable resources when it comes to at least the hosting. Because the quality of your hosting will decide how worry free your blogging is.
And here we have a few of the most reliable resources that we have used and have first hand experience about.
Hostgator – We have been using Hostgator for more than 11 years now. We moved our blog to Hostgator managed WordPress hosting about 2 years back and that was probably one of the best decisions we took.
Why? Because, managed WordPress hosting takes care of everything related to your hosting. It is truly managed because, all plugin updates are taken care of, automatic site backup ensures peace of mind and security features keeps your site protected from Hackers and Malwares. Pricing is affordable with Hostgator and you get more value that the price you will pay for it. Get Hostgator Now!
Bluehost – Bluehost is the hosting service provider we use for all our shared hosting needs. They have amazing low priced plans, a great support team and a robust infrastructure. While they could be slightly costlier than other Hosting providers, their reliability is second to none and hence we recommend them, if you are starting off and don’t plan to pay a slightly higher price for a managed WordPress hosting. Get Bluehost here.
Aweber Autoresponder – You might have heard all those marketers saying that the “money is in the list“. In fact, the money is not in the list but, it is in the “way you manage your list“. And to store and manage a list, you need an autoresponder who is reliable, friendly and gives you the flexibility and ease of managing your subscribers’ list.
Aweber is a complete package. It is light on your pockets, has a friendly customer support team and gives you some nice options to manage your list, including a mobile phone app to manage your subscribers on the go. You can start a free 30-day trial before you decide to go with them. Click here to try them out for 30 days.
Thesis Framework – The Tastes of India is running the Thesis theme Framework and the “Bake Store” child theme from BuyThesisSkins.com.
While you can use any FREE or, Premium themes available online, we recommend using something that is robust, SEO friendly and loads fast. Google gives a lot of weightage to websites that load fast and the last thing you need is a theme that is not built right and consequently loads slow.
Thesis is a robust theme built for people who do not want to fiddle with HTML. There are a lot of beautiful skins which are customizable and can give your blog the unique look you need. Get Thesis now!
Genesis Framework – Before we switch to Thesis, we were running the Genesis framework which is a WordPress theme framework that a lot of the top bloggers use.
We were pretty satisfied with Genesis and a lot of our other blogs run on Genesis even today. But for our food blog we felt Thesis was better because of the customization options and hence we switched to Thesis.
If you are somebody who will want to fiddle with themes and customization, then we would recommend Genesis which is a pretty simple theme but at the same time is very robust. It is created and managed by Brian Clark’s team, who is a known name in Blogging. Get Genesis now!
Foodie Pro Theme for Genesis – Foodie pro is a skin that is built for Genesis. You will find most food bloggers using this skin on their blog. Because a lot of the things that you as a food blogger will need is taken care of in this theme.
So if you are planning to go with Genesis, then we will recommend Foodie Pro as a recommended theme. Get Foodie Pro!
Vaultpress – One biggest mistake that most newbie bloggers make is to ignore backing up the contents of their blog. We learnt it the hard way, when our blog here (The Tastes of India), appearing on the first page of Google for over 85 keywords, crashed one fine day and we were left with no backup. More than 300 posts were all gone overnight. We had no way of restoring all of the content and managed to do it for only a handful of posts.
Don’t let that happen to your blog. Ensure that you blog is always backed up. And in the unfortunate event of your server crashing or, the blog being hacked, you can at least restore everything.
Vaultpress is an amazing solution to backup and automatically restore your blog. And since it is created by the same guys who created WordPress, you wouldn’t have to think twice on how it will work. Get Vaultpress Now!
Photography and Photo Editing Essentials
The success of a food blog depends upon the photographs. Your photographs have to be attractive and should hold your visitors on the spot. You will see this on all the successful food blogs. The one thing that is common in all of them is the quality of the food photographs.
Do you need an expensive DSLR camera to shoot good photographs? What if you do not know, how to operate a DSLR camera?
Let me tell you that you do not need a full featured DSLR camera to click beautiful photographs. You can also do it with a point-and-click camera which is what I have been using for long now. I use a Fujifilm Finepix S 9600. I recently bought a Nikon D 5500 but haven't been using it a long.. Still learning!
Here we have listed a few good point and click cameras that do not require a lot of learning. You should be able to shoot beautiful food pictures using these. So if you do not want to invest in a DSLR camera which will be about $250 more than these point and click cameras, you can pick one of these and start shooting.
Fujifilm Finepix S9800 – This camera is the upgraded version of the camera that I have been using. Since these are fixed lens cameras, you don’t need to bother about changing lenses. This is a fully featured camera and you will get everything that you need to click beautiful pictures.
Just learn how to operate the manual mode and you should be ready to click beautiful food photographs. Buy it here!
Fujifilm Finepix S8600 – Another fully featured point and click camera from Fujifilm, this is an automatic zoom camera unlike the S9800 which is a manual zoom.
These cameras are some of the best range of cameras from Fuji. They use the Fujinon lens which is known for its bright colors. Your food photographs are sure to stand out. Just learn the basics, point and shoot. Buy it here.
Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera – If you are ready and intending to buy a DSLR camera, then this is a nice budget camera. In fact it is one of the beginners’ range camera and comes with all the features that you would need to shoot beautiful pictures.
You can buy it along with the 2 lenses – AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED. Buy it here.
But if you want to buy it as a completed package along with a memory card, a basic tripod, Lens filters, a Flash accessory, Cleaning kit and some other useful accessories, though I wouldn’t recommend that, you can buy it here.
Nikon D5500 DSLR Camera – This is our latest camera though we haven’t started using it for our food photographs, as we write (call it lazy). But we have been using it for all our outdoor photography.
This is a slightly advanced camera and I would only recommend this if you are okay with shelling out about a $1000 on a camera and if you are ready to spend that extra few hours to learn ho to use it. Buy it here!
Sandisk Extreme Pro – I used to shoot my photographs in JPG format when I started shooting. I slowly realized that JPG images offered very little options of editing and consequently I had to stay with the photograph I clicked even if I knew I could slightly edit it and make it more attractive.
I then switched clicking photos in RAW mode. RAW mode gives you a lot of options to edit your photographs. Even if it is a little low on light, you could correct the exposure. It offered a lot of flexibility but came with a caveat. The RAW files were very big in size. Hence data transfer took more time and my memory card would very frequently show me the “No Memory” message.
That is when I ordered this memory card from Sandisk. The best part about this one is the data transfer speed. There is a lot of space to shoot as many photos as you need and since data transfer speeds were very high, transferring your photographs or, in camera processing was very fast too. Get it here!
Adobe Creative Cloud – Photo editing is an integral part of photography and since a Food Blog is all about photography, you would also be spending time on editing your photographs.
We use Adobe lightroom for all our editing needs. We have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription and hence have both photoshop and lightroom. Unless you want to edit your photographs extensively, you wouldn’t be using Photoshop. Lightroom does pretty much everything when it comes to correcting photographs.
Social Media and Promotion Tools
It is not enough to just write posts. You will need to work on promoting itself. And when it comes to niche hobby blogs like a food blog, social media is going to be your biggest source of traffic.
We use some handy tools to automate our social media activities so that we can free up some time. If you plan on doing all of your social media promotion activities manually, you will end up spending hours in front of your computer and the results might not be as satisfactory. Hence we recommend automating your social media activity.
Buffer – Buffer is our favorite tool when it comes to social media. You can schedule your posts to pretty much every social media channel – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.
Buffer also helps you do all the social media activity while you are browsing the internet, with the help of the browser extensions. It saves us a lot of time and we keep our buffer queue filled for about 60 days in advance. Get Buffer here!
Boardbooster – Boardbooster is the best Pinterest scheduling and management tool you could find. This tool has saved us hours of work on Pinterest.
Pinterest is our biggest source of traffic and if you are planning to run a food blog, then this is the site you need to focus the most on. And Boardbooster will prove to be a life saver for you in the long run.
You can schedule pins, automate repins and get a ton of followers using Boardbooster. Get it here.
Grum – Our second biggest traffic source is Instagram. Instagram is a powerhouse for niches like that of food blogging.
But Instagram comes with a lot of limitations and the biggest one being that it is an app only social media. Hence posting consistently becomes a big challenge. But Grum has proved to be a savior.
Grum is the only tool that offers handsfree scheduling for Instagram and it can save you a lot of time. Get Grum Now!