How to Start a Cooking Blog
A Step by Step Dummy Proof Guide
People love eating. Actually, people must eat. What is my point exactly? There’s a huge interest for food. If you don’t believe me, hit your Instagram during meal hours. Starting your own cooking site is one way to tap on to the hunger there’s for food online.
A cooking blog can be anything from an online dump for your favorite recipes to a ranking site of the best hotel dishes in town. You can never run out of ideas with a cooking blog. Blogging about cooking is not only fun but, it also improves your skills. Besides, it is also a good way to connect with other lovers of food.
As one guy who loves cooking, I have compiled an easy to understand guide on how to build your cooking blog from scratch. I know not everyone has knowledge of coding and thus, I have made this guide as simple as possible. You don’t need prior knowledge on web design or web development.
This guide is divided into two parts; part one is a three-step guide on how to build your website and part two is a video tutorial. Without further ado…
How to start your own Cooking Blog in 3 Simple Steps
I promised to make this guide as simple as possible. If you have half an hour to spare, brace yourself, you are about to own an estate in the land of blogging…
1. Name your blog and buy a matching domain name
As easy as it may sound, this might be the trickiest part of building your cooking blog. The name of your blog may double up as your domain name (URL to your website), so make sure you pick one that you don’t mind keeping. A good domain name should be descriptive, easily memorable, short and easy to spell.
The .com and .net are the most popular domain suffixes and thus you should make sure your blog name is available in either of the two suffixes. You can opt to buy a domain name but if you want to save some money, buy a hosting package at BlueHost and get a free domain name.
2. Find a reliable web host.
The availability of your blog depends on the reliability of the web host you choose. A web host is a remote computer that stores your website. When someone clicks on the url to your website, they send a request to the web host and the host server acknowledges the request by sending your blog site. A good host should be reliable and support easy WordPress installation. I always recommend Bluehost for hosting because:
a. It is so easy to use
b. Signing up takes just moments, and they let you register your domain on their site as well.
c. If you purchase a hosting package, you get a free domain!
d. Their service is also very affordable so you don’t need to invest much at all to get your cooking blog started.
e. They offer excellent 24/7 customer support if needed.
[Disclosure] BlueHost gives me a small commission for my referral and it doesn’t add anything to your cost. This helps me continue to provide lots of free information for bloggers.
3. Install WordPress.
Finally, you need to install WordPress. WordPress is the software that powers your website. BlueHost supports easy WordPress installation.
I tried my best to keep it as simple as possible. But I know there are some people who get things better when they are demonstrated rather than when they are dictated. This in mind, I’ve created a simple video that will walk you through each of these steps so you can see how it is done yourself. Watch this video, and then follow the link, which will bring you to BlueHost where you can purchase your domain and hosting.
Tips for the Cooking Blogger
Congratulations on your newly created blog. I am not going anywhere until your blog is up and buzzing with visitors. I have compiled some tips that will help you drive traffic to your site and at the same time keep your visitors engaged.
- Pictures are a virtue – You need to make your website as lively as possible. Make sure you include relevant pictures for every post. If the post is a recipe, make sure you take pictures of the process and the end result. You can also include a video tutorial on the same
- Spread the word – The challenging part of a newly created blog is getting the word out there. After you post your first article, preach the word to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine and all your social networks. Let the people know you have a new cooking blog.
- Be yourself – If you want to make it in blogging, you must write about things that you are passionate about. In any case, you don’t want to get bored of your own content. Also write mostly about the cooking that you can pull.
- Publish Quality over Quantity – Take time to prepare and research your content. As much as new content is welcome, never post an article that you wouldn’t read yourself. With thousands of other similar sites out there, you need to offer your visitors something unique and compelling that will make them come back again and again.
- Give more and more shall be given back to you – Blogging is a game of giving more than you are getting. If you go into blogging thinking that everyone will promote and praise you, you’ll end up disappointed. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Promote other blogs. Link to other blogs. Read their blog posts and respond to their posts.
Top Free & Paid WordPress Themes for Cooking Blogs
A WordPress theme will determine the look and feel of your cooking site, so pick a good one. A good WordPress theme should be:
- Well designed to suite the aesthetic and at the same time offer the features you want.
- Responsive in order to offer optimal viewing experience for your visitors, regardless of the device they are using
- Optimized for search engines
- User friendly
I have compiled a list of WordPress themes that you can use for your cooking blog. They are hundreds of such themes, but here are a few of them.
Foodie Pro Theme
Foodie Pro Theme is a fantastic beginner’s theme for food bloggers. It was designed with food blogs in mind. The theme is seamless and light for both computers and smartphones alike. The built-in recipe page template is a huge plus and a money saver.
I think this Theme looks great, is easy to use, and has quite some customization options. For $69 I feel this theme has a lot of premium features as compared to other premium themes. With plethora of Shortcodes, Page Templates and Theme Options, Elegant theme gives you full control over your website.
Although this theme is not specifically designed for a cooking blog, it has a nice simple design that will go well with a cooking blog. The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress.
iCook is a modern and responsive theme, packed with everything you’ll ever need for a cooking website. Premium features include a filterable recipe gallery, recipe shortcodes, a popular recipes widget and plenty of customization options.
HappyFood is a free WordPress theme with premium features. It has an excellent design for a cooking blog site or portfolio. The theme comes with exciting features like Advanced Editor Options, which means you can enjoy additional editing options while creating posts.
HomeDish is an amazing free WordPress theme, great solution for blogs about cooking. The theme comes with two sidebars, vertical menu, slider, custom widgets and lot of other powerful features that provide a great base to build on.
Recommended WordPress Plugins for Cooking Blogs
WordPress plugins extend the functionality of WordPress in certain areas. I have compiled five WordPress plugins that I believe will improve the user experience on your cooking blog. There are thousands of other web plugins you can use on your site.
- AddThis: this is an essential WordPress theme that lets you add social media buttons at the bottom of all the pages of your blog site. Why not convert your visitors to your social media fans. The plugin also lets visitors share the blog post on their social media accounts.
- Akismet: Everybody hates Captchas, but they are necessary to ward off spammers. This plugin eliminates both captcha images and spam comments.
- Easy Recipe: This plugin optimizes your recipes for SEO. This helps rank your recipes at the top of search engines.
- jQuery Pin It Button For Images: Lets visitors pin your pictures by just clicking on them
- WordPress Related Posts: This plugin adds related posts automatically after every post. If you have this plugin, visitors will be tempted to explore other posts on your website. This can mean more social media sharing and increased views!
Great Cooking Blogs to Network With and Be Inspired By
To be the owner of a world renowned blog, you must succeed where others failed. To learn where others are failing, you need to research on other blogs and work out what you like about your favourite ones and what you hate. Some of my favourites cooking blogs include;
You will need a lot of dedication to make your cooking blog relevant and keep it that way. You will need to stay dedicated and focussed. It is not always smooth, especially at the beginning.
I would want to share more about cooking and blogging in general, but I would like to give you time to work on your new blog. In order to keep in touch and up to date with the latest trends in cooking and blogging, sign up for my free newsletter. Once you sign up, I’ll send you periodic emails with valuable information.