HOW TO START A FOOD BLOG AND BE A FOOD BLOGGER?
It was a casual conversation over a cup of tea, that made me a food blogger. After pregnancy, I had quit working and I was looking for something I could do from home so that I don’t compromise on the time I give to my baby. That was when my husband started off with this discussion of blogging.
I instantly asked him. Can cooking be a blog niche? His reply was instant, “Anything that you are passionate about can be a blog niche”.
My next question was, “How to start a food blog?”. And then started my journey with The Tastes of India.
Are you passionate about cooking? Or, for that matter.. anything?
Do you want to put that passion of yours into a blog?
Then, you need to just go do it. And to do it.. we will help you. While this mini-course will teach you how to start a food blog, this is more than a food blogging guide. You can use this information to start blog in whatever niche you want to.
Okay. So if you are ready, then let’s start off..
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you decide to buy from those links, I will earn a commission. Over the last 8 years, I have used most of these products and I am standing by them because I trust them and their quality.
This “How to start a food blog” course has a lot of videos, because videos tend to explain things better and in detail and I am sure you will love watching over the shoulder as it is done. I had my husband record these videos because who better than him to explain the entire process..
Things to Keep in Mind Before Starting
I am assuming that your interest in starting a Food blog stemmed from either of the 2 below reasons –
- You are very much interested in cooking and want to share your love with the rest of the community and would love, if you could make some money with it
- You saw a few food blogs that were earning like crazy and hence felt that this is the best niche to make some decent money in
In either of the case, you need to understand that, money will not start flowing in from the night after you start your blog. Blogging requires a lot of perseverance and consistency to become a profitable business. You might have to invest some time of yours into building it, without thinking about the returns and getting frustrated.
So start with that frame of mind. Start as if you are doing it just for fun. Provide value to your readers and you will slowly find your blog making it big in the niche.
I have had some of my students ask me, “How long before I start making money?”. That’s a good question.
You might not like the answer though. This question is similar to asking me, “How long before my stomach is full”? Only you are the person who will be able to answer it and it entirely depends upon your appetite and how much you can eat.
Similarly in blogging, your success entirely depends upon how much time you can invest and are you really taking action or, just bench warming.. While some of my students have tasted success in less than 6 months, it might necessarily not be the case with everyone.
Resources Required to Start a Food Blog
Okay! First things first. If you are planning to start a food blog, then bear in mind that there is some investment required. While there will be people who might tell you that you can start off for FREE, you need to understand that at some point later, you might want to move to a paid option because of the limitations you will find with the FREE options. And when you want to do that, you will find yourself in a lot of problems.
At this point, I should also mention that, while the term “Investment” might sound as if you have to invest a lot of capital into starting a food blog, it actually isn’t that complicated. You might want to keep aside about $100-$150 as investment. That is the most that you will need. And then you need to invest some time of yours, as I said earlier in this article.
There are some absolutely essential resources that you will need to start a food blog.
- A Domain Name – Order from Stores4Domains
- A Web Hosting service – Order from Bluehost
- A Good Theme for your Blog – Generatepress (the theme we are running on our blog and the most economical theme), Genesis (Foodie Theme) or, Themeforest (Theme-x)
- An Autoresponder Service – Aweber
- Some Photography tools (You can start with a simple point and shoot camera. Even a good Phone camera will do)
- A Complete Plan
We will discuss each of these in detail in a while.
I will be using videos where ever possible, because that is a medium most of my students recommended for trainings and I too like using videos for all my trainings. Videos provide a clear and detailed view of each step and is easier to understand. If you still find something difficult, feel free to write to us and we will help you with it.
DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION
Every blog starts with a name and so will your food blog. A domain name is the name of the website or, blog that you know it with. The domain name of my blog here is thetastesofindia.com.
A domain has 2 parts to it. The first is the name, which in my case is “thetastesofindia”. The second is the part after the DOT, which is called as the TLD or, top level domain. You can decide as to what you want that to be. The most common TLD is the .com and that is what I will recommend. In most of the instances the decision on what TLD to go with depends upon what is available. You might want a name XYZ. But XYZ.com might not be available. Instead XPZ.net might be available and you might just decide on going with it.
But I will recommend that you choose a name that has a .com available. This is because it is the most used TLD and is also the easiest to remember.
You can go to Godaddy.com which is the largest domain registrar and search for the domain availability. If you are looking for low cost domain names, you could also try out http://stores4domains.com.
Once you have registered your domain name, we can go straight to one of the hosting companies and buy a Web Hosting.
Note: If you do not want to spend on a domain name, then get a free domain with your purchase of Hosting from Bluehost.
WHERE TO BUY A WEB HOSTING
Web hosting is one of the most important aspects of a successful website. If your hosting server is not fast and doesn’t provide you some of the basic features like regular backup, spam protection and an easy to use interface, then the hosting server is of no use. Hence it is important that you choose your web hosting wisely. We at thetastesofindia.com use Bluehost as our web hosting because of a lot of unique features and benefits that we get from Bluehost. It is hence that we recommend them as well.
You can read our guide on choosing a web hosting server to learn about some of the important things that you need to keep in mind when you buy a hosting server.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of hosting your website with Bluehost –
- Bluehost is very economical and you can get an unlimited plan for as low as $3.99/month
- Their support is exceptionally good. You can use their ticketing system, chat or even telephone customer support to get instant response to your queries.
- They have one of the best cPanel interfaces and is hence easy to use.
- You can get a free domain name when you purchase a hosting server from Bluehost
- Bluehost also has some very handy add-ons to their hosting service
Okay, now that we have seen how to choose your website hosting service let’s move on to a detailed tutorial on how to host your domain name.
HOSTING YOU DOMAIN NAME
The first thing to do in order to host your domain name with Bluehost, if you have registered it with a different registrar is to change the nameservers for your domain name. If you picked your domain name while ordering your hosting service with Bluehost, then your domain is directly hosted with them and you don’t have to go through this process.
Here is how to change the nameservers for your domain name –
Now that you have seen how to change the nameservers for your domain name, let’s move on to see how to install WordPress on your hosting and complete the setup of your blog.
Most of the hosting services comes with a one click install feature for WordPress. But I don’t recommend using this one click install primarily because of the fact that this kind of installation has a security vulnerability. Such installations have an un-secure database structure and are easy prey to hackers. So here I will be showing you the detailed step-by-step instructions on how to do a custom WordPress install.
For custom WordPress install, we will start with creating a database.
Now head over to WordPress.org to download a fresh copy of WordPress. Click here to go to the download page.
Once you have downloaded the WordPress files, you need to upload them to the domain root directory on your hosting server. Let’s see how it is done.
Now that we have uploaded the WordPress files to our hosting server, let us start with the installation of our WordPress blog. The below video will show you how to install your WordPress blog using the five minutes WordPress installation method.
INSTALLING A THEME & OTHER CUSTOMIZATIONS
So that completes our WordPress installation. Now we need to beautify our WordPress blog by installing a beautiful theme and also install some plug-ins to customize the way our blog works.
It is entirely up to you, if you want to go for a premium WordPress theme or, you’re happy with a free one. We tried a lot of different themes for our recipe blog, but finally settled for this free theme that we are currently using on our recipe blog.
If you want a premium theme, then we recommend the Genesis theme along with the Foodie child theme which gives your blog a nice look and also has a lot of customization options.
Let me show you how to install a theme and customize it.
The above video is common for installing any WordPress theme and hence you can follow it irrespective of which theme you have decided to install.
Now let us see the plug-ins that we need to install in order for us to complete our WordPress installation. These are some of the basic plug-ins that will help you in SEO for your blog, SPAM Protection and some other basic things for our recipe blog to work. You can search for these plugins inside the WordPress dashboard because they are all available in the wordpress plugin repository.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast
- Easy Recipe
- Thristy Affiliates
Most of the plug-ins above can be installed directly from your WordPress dashboard.
So that completes our WordPress installation and we are ready with our food blog. All you need to do now is to start adding a lot of contents to your blog and do a little bit of social media and other promotions in order to generate traffic to it.
You can download our guide on “how to generate traffic to your blogs” for more information.
EMAIL MARKETING AUTORESPONDER
An autoresponder is a service that sends out scheduled emails to your subscribers. If you are interested in marketing your blog and building an audience, then you definitely need an email marketing service. You need to capture email addresses of people visiting your blog and store them somewhere. You will then, need to send them periodic emails so that they remain in touch with you and you can market your blog.
An autoresponder takes care off all the pains involved in storing, managing and running an email marketing campaign. Most autoresponders let your store about 1000 emails in their starter plans. You can schedule your email series in advance so that they go out on specific days, automatically. You even get a lot of analytics data for you to study how your emails are performing.
Even if you are not a hardcore marketer, you need the help of an email autoresponder, so that you can inform your readers when new recipes are published. Autoresponders, basically helps in maintaining the connect with your readers.
We recommend aweber, because of the their simplicity in usage and other factors like the features, pricing etc.
THE BUSINESS PLAN
So, now we are onto the most tricky part.
Most people ask me, why do I need a business plan, if my objective of running a food blog doesn’t have anything to do with business. So here is the response that I give everyone.
When I started my blog here at thetastesofindia.com, I never thought it will go onto become a business for me. As I started to see money rolling in and when I started getting advertisement offers, I felt like I could just run it as a complete business.
You too might just start your food blog as a hobby. But, sometime down the line you will still need a definite plan on what you want to do with the blog. You will just not be adding recipes after recipes and spend a lot of time promoting your blog, just for fun. There will be something that you might be expecting in return. This business plan is for that day.
What should go into your business plan?
Here are 3 things that your plan must definitely have –
- Your content calendar – when will you be posting to your blog and how frequently
- Your promotion strategy – how do you plan on promoting your blog. What strategies are you planning to adopt to increase the circulation of your blog.
- Your monetization strategy – How do you plan on monetizing your blog?
Your business plan can be in the form of a rough, hand-written document or, you might want to do it in the form of a PDF or, whichever other form you wish to have that in.
That completes our “How to start a food blog” mini-course. I am sure you will have learned a lot of things in here. But if you still have any questions, don’t hesitate to write to me and I can help you.
Just in case you are finding all this a little overwhelming, you can checkout our blog installation and management packages, which are probably the most economical in the market today!