How to Start a Food Blog: 10 Tips from a Veteran Blogger
Here are 10 easy steps to follow to start a food (or other) blog. Food blogging can be easy if you start out right.
- Keep it simple at every step, because it won’t end up being simple no matter how hard you try to make it so.
- Decide on your niche and your subject. Your subject should be specific and something you know about and feel comfortable writing about. If you’ve worked at a French bakery, perhaps you know a lot about baking French pastries. For example, I studied French cuisine, so I mainly write about French cuisine. It comes easy to me; it’s within my range of knowledge. If you want your readers to be passionate, you have to be passionate yourself. If you want them to build confidence in you, you have to write with authority.
- Who is your audience? Are there enough people interested in your subject to justify all the hard work? Do you have an idea of who these people might be? Go on Amazon and see how many books are published on your subject. Do a few Internet searches to see if anyone else is covering the same topic.
- Define a budget. Can you afford a developer? a webmaster? I recommend both, but if you’re computer literate, it’s possible to build a website on your own.
- Choose a platform. The platform you choose has a lot to do with how computer literate you are. This is not a judgment. It’s just a factor that can determine how much unnecessary frustration you risk experiencing while running your blog. If you have limited experience using computers and you want a simple, carefree site, Tumblr, Typepad and Blogger are good choices. Another advantage is that they are free, but they have their limitations. If you know Microsoft Word, know how to use a stylesheet, and feel comfortable with computers, WordPress offers more flexibility in terms of layout and functionality. It is also free. None of these platforms requires knowledge of computer coding. Wix and Medium are also free, but have limitations. None of these platforms requires knowledge of code, with the exception of a few of the cutting-edge WordPress themes. (If you don’t know code, this is a question you should ask when choosing a theme.)
- If you have a hefty budget, you can make life easier by hiring a website developer and a webmaster, so you wouldn’t need the free platforms. A developer can custom build a site in code to your specifications, giving you the possibility of a beautiful, unique look, but making it necessary to have a webmaster or the developer make changes and additions, which can be costly. Think this over before starting. It will not be a one-time expense; it will be an on-going one.
- If you’re building a website on a free platform, choose a theme. A theme is what you will use as the basic layout or presentation of your site (a paid web developer would do all this in code). It is what you use when you don’t have a budget for a coded website and you plan to use the free platforms. Free or low-budget themes are available for all the free platforms listed above, and allow you to browse examples before choosing. Wordpress offers free themes here.
- Choose a host. The “host” is the place where your website resides. They will offer various packages at various prices. The host provides a server on which to store your blog files, as well as other necessary technical services including technical support (ask for details about this before choosing: how much time, availability, etc.), email, domain name registration, FTP access, and various other services and tools. They will offer different bandwidths (250 GB is usually the least) and disk space (5 GB is usually a minimum). How much you need depends on how many images and articles you post, of course, but a basic package usually suffices at the outset. You can always upgrade later. Ask what their average uptime and downtime are; this is what determines part of the reliability of your website. Ask how often your blog will be backed up on their servers.
- Choose a name and register it as a domain name (your host may offer this service). Otherwise, you can do this directly with the free online platforms or with an online domain registration company. This reserves the name for you and you only and prevents anyone else from using it.
- Take a few hours to familiarize yourself with the technical aspects of creating blog posts. If you’re using WordPress, do some research on the plugins you can use to enhance site capability. The Beginner’s Guide for WordPress is an excellent resource.