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Do you want to start a food blog and monetize it to earn money online? Are you putting your dream project on pause because you’re not sure how to get started?
I understand. It can be frustrating to have the motivation and ambition to pursue a passion project or a side hustle, but not know what the first step even is. That’s why I created this step-by-step guide that will walk you through how to set up a WordPress food blog so you can start sharing your favorite recipes and eventually monetize your blog.
Step-by-step guide to starting your own food blog
A few years ago I started my own recipe blog dedicated to cocktail recipes (a passion of mine). I learned as much as I could about blogging and SEO and eventually I found myself with a food blog that gets more than 12,000 visitors every month from search alone.
So I put together this guide to starting a food blog to help others who have some killer recipes to share. In this step-by-step guide I will cover the following:
- How much it costs to start a food blog
- How to pick a niche
- Naming your blog and choosing a domain name
- Finding a reliable web host
- How to install WordPress with Bluehost
- How to install WordPress themes
- How to install WordPress plugins
- Tracking and webmaster tools
- How to monetize your blog
How much does it cost to start a food blog?
Not knowing where or how to start is usually the biggest barrier to entry to launching a food blog, but not knowing how much it’s gonna cost is also pretty high up on the list. So let’s go over what it’s going to cost you to start a food blog.
Following this guide you can start your own food blog today for as little as $3.95 / month with Bluehost.
If you’re new to Bluehost then you’ll get a free domain name for the first year and a free SSL certificate will be included.
There are plenty of free WordPress themes to build your food blog and free plugins that extend the capabilities of WordPress. There are premium options as well, but if you’re on a budget then the free options will suffice.
So let’s review. You can start your own food blog today in under 30 minutes by signing up with Bluehost for only $3.95 / month. Not bad, right?
How to pick a niche
These days finding a niche is really important. Rather than creating a general food blog filled with all kinds of different recipes, instead you should try to find a competitive edge. See if there’s a gap somewhere that you can take advantage of.
If you’re able to niche down to a category or better yet a subcategory and you fill that blog with food recipes that solely revolve around that category then search engines will consistently turn to your blog when people search for recipes in that category. It’ll position your blog as having the most expertise and authority because of its narrow focus.
My advice is to choose something you know and love. It’ll be that much easier to stay motivated to publish new recipes and content on a regular basis if you’re sharing something you love.
Name your blog and choose a domain name
You’ll need this for the following step when you’re setting up your blog (that’s right, this is happening!). Try to come up with at least 3 in case some of them are already taken.
You want a domain name that is descriptive, memorable, and ideally has a keyword from your niche in it to signal to search engines what your food blog is about.
Find a reliable web host
Bluehost is a hosting company that provides top-notch service and reliable hosting for beginner bloggers and professionals.
Bluehost is the #1 hosting service recommended by WordPress so you can’t go wrong with them as a reliable web host to launch your food blog.
I recommend Bluehost for starting your food recipe blog because they are affordable, reliable, and they make it super easy to start a blog with their streamlined WordPress installation process.
To get started setting up a hosting plan visit bluehost.com and on the home screen click Get Started.
From here you’ll be guided through a process of choosing a hosting plan, setting up basic information about the website, and finally Bluehost will take care of installing WordPress on their servers for you. Super easy and convenient!
On the next screen choose the plan that best fits your needs. I recommend the basic plan which will give you everything you need to launch your food blog.
Next up you’ll be able to choose a domain name for your website. Type in the options you came up with earlier to see if they’re available. When you land on one you’re happy with then you can proceed to the next screen.
On this screen you can select the terms of the account plan. There are usually 3 different options for different lengths of time and the best bang for your buck is definitely gonna be the 36 month option.
The package extras are totally up to you to choose from. If you feel like you’ll benefit from any of them then select the ones you need as part of your plan. Scroll down and enter your credit card information and you’ll be on your way.
On the next page follow the prompt to create your Bluehost account. When finished you’ll be logged into your account automatically.
Install WordPress with Bluehost
After you’ve set up your account and have a domain you’ll be guided through a process to set up your new WordPress blog.
Follow the prompts provided by Bluehost to give them information about the website you’re setting up.
You’ll be asked:
- If you need any help
- What kind of site you’re creating
- How comfortable you are with creating websites
- Who are you creating it for?
- What theme you want to apply
Once you finish answering all of these questions then Bluehost will automatically start installing WordPress for you with the information you provided.
When WordPress is finished installing you’ll be redirected to your account dashboard where you’ll be able to manage various aspects of your newly installed WordPress website.
Congratulations! Just like that you now have a fully functioning WordPress website. That was fun!
Before you start writing
Before you publish anything on your blog, first we have to take care of something really important: permalinks.
Log in to your WordPress admin and on the left hand menu hover over Settings then click Permalinks.
On the next page select the Post name option then scroll down to save changes. This option will make your URLs SEO friendly.
How to install WordPress themes
WordPress comes with a number of pre-installed free themes you can use. You can see all of them by hovering over Appearance on the left hand menu of the WordPress admin and clicking on Themes.
If you’ve opted for a different WordPress theme then you’ll need to upload it via the admin. At the top of the page in the Themes selection page you’ll find a button that says Upload, click it then on the next page click Upload Theme at the top of the page and now you’ll be able to upload the theme’s .zip file and click Install Now to install it.
Recommended premium WordPress themes
If you have the extra cash then I recommend opting for a premium WordPress theme for the free ones. Premium themes often have more functionality and ongoing developer support you can reach out to in case you encounter any issues. Below are a couple of premium themes I recommend for your food blog.
I use the Divi WordPress theme by Elegant Themes almost exclusively for any web project including my own food blogs. Divi is easily one of the best themes available for WordPress. The best part is that it comes with an intuitive visual design interface. With their drag and drop page builder you can build your food blog exactly how you want.
GeneratePress is described as “the perfect lightweight theme for your next project.” The theme focuses on optimizing for speed and it delivers! By allowing you to choose what components to add you can strip out anything your food blog doesn’t need and maximize its performance.
How to install WordPress plugins
WordPress plugins are additional bundles of software you can add to your WordPress website that extend its functionality. Installing plugins couldn’t be easier!
In your WordPress admin dashboard hover over Plugins on the left-hand menu and click on the Add New option. Look for the Search Plugins input field and search for a plugin by name and when you find the one you’re looking for click Install Now. You’ll then be able to configure the plugin settings as needed.
Recommended WordPress plugins for food blogs
There are some plugins that a food recipe blog simply can’t go without. Below are some of the plugins I recommend to get you started with your food blog.
- WP Recipe Maker – With WP Recipe Maker you’ll be able to add recipes to your blog to display on your website. This is my go-to recipe plugin and I absolutely love it.
- Tasty Recipes – Tasty Recipes is another premium recipe plugin that has similar functionalities as WP Recipe Maker.
- Bloom – Bloom is an email opt-in and lead generation plugin you can use to add forms on your website that encourage visitors to sign up to your mailing list.
- AddThis – With AddThis you’ll be able to add social share buttons on every page of your food blog so visitors can share your yummy recipes with their friends and family.
- Yoast SEO – Yoast SEO is the #1 WordPress SEO plugin. With it you’ll be able to add essential meta data to each page like title tags and meta descriptions that help search engines understand what your blog is about.
- WP Rocket – WP Rocket is the best premium caching plugin for WordPress. With this plugin you’ll be able to optimize various aspects of your website to dramatically boost its performance.
- Insert Headers and Footers – With this plugin you’ll be able to drop in code snippets like tracking codes that are required to track visitor data on your website.
Set up tracking and webmaster tools
With Google Analytics and Google Search Console you’ll be able to track your food blog’s performance.
With Google Analytics you’ll be able to see everything from how much traffic you’re getting, where it’s coming from, bounce rate, geography, and. So. Many. More. Data. Points. It’s nuts! And by “nuts” I mean super useful.
With Google Search Console you’ll be able to track what specific keywords your food blog is ranking for and how high up it is in search results. Again, it’s nuts… I mean super useful.
How to monetize your food blog
There are so many ways to monetize your food blog. Here I’ll go over a few options you can try.
Google Adsense is one of the best and most popular ways to monetize any blog. This program allows website publishers (that’s you!) to serve various media advertisements on their blog. You don’t have to do anything except drop a code snippet on your website and Google will start populating your website with ads.
A note about when to monetize your food blog with Google Adsense… It’s important that we first talk about when it’s a good time to monetize your blog.
After all you’re unlikely to get the amount of traffic you need to really make any money at launch.
Ads will slow down your website so if you start adding them from the start then your blog will have a harder time improving its search rankings due to the emphasis Google places on speed.
Focus on creating content on a regular basis and making sure that content is the very best it can be and satisfies the searchers query. Speed is important, but the quality of the content itself is really what it’s all about at the end of the day.
When you’re ready to get started with ads on your food blog then make sure you have the very best caching plugin to help you optimize as much as possible to make up for the ads.
You can get started with affiliate marketing right away without having to worry about slowing down your website.
With affiliate links you can simply add links to your recipes that link to a related product or service you’re promoting or endorsing.
You can sign up for Amazon Associates – Amazon’s affiliate marketing program and start dropping in links to products that will help your readers make the recipes on your blog. If they click on those links and buy anything from Amazon before the tracking cookie expires then Amazon will pay you a commission. It’s effortless!
Once you fill your food blog with enough content you can take that same content and repackage it as an ebook that you can then sell or use as a lead magnet to build your mailing list.
You can use free online tools like Canva to create a PDF of a collection of recipes for your visitors to buy from your website.
Welp! There you have it. Hopefully this guide helped you set up your very own WordPress food blog. You’re ready to start publishing recipes on your food blog!