Thinking about starting a food blog? It’s the most rewarding project I’ve ever undertaken. These are the food blogging resources I wish I'd started with.
I started my website in 2013 and learned everything along the way. I do all of the website building and technical development at Delicious from scratch, all the design, photography, editing, writing, SEO, recipe development and promotion. Phew! This year I completely overhauled the site, rebuilding everything from the ground up.
- cleaner design and navigation
- fully responsive, AMP-friendly pages
- radically reduced the page load speed
- up-to-date user analytics
- effective email capture
- semi-automated newsletter system
- geo-targeted affiliate links
- planned and improved SEO tactics
These are my best resources – food blog advice, web hosting, WordPress themes and plugins, user analytics and newsletter system – for undertaking such a task.
Food Blogger Pro
Oh how I wish, wish, wish that I had signed up for Food Blogger Pro earlier! The financial outlay put me off for ages. I felt that as I wasn't earning anything, I shouldn't be laying anything out either. I guess I also thought that I wasn't really a 'pro' yet, so the site wouldn't really be applicable to me. All these things were proved entirely wrong the first day I looked round the site after signing up for my first trial month. To be honest, I thought I would sign up for the first month, get as much information as possible during that month and then cancel my subscription. I was wrong about that too.
If I had signed up earlier, I would have done so many things differently. I wouldn't now be laboriously editing all my previous posts for SEO. I would have my hyperlinks set up differently. I would have loads more information about who my readers were. I would be connected to so many helpful, interesting bloggers going through the same trials, tribulations and unbridled joy that I am every day I blog.
Not only is there an incredible amount of beautifully organised useful information, much of it joyously specific to the ins and outs of food blogging as a genre, the forums are an incredible resource. What ever your problem is, someone there will be able to answer it. That's one of the things you pay for really, targeted access to invaluable advice specific to you and your blog. No trawling Google for solutions that may or may not be applicable to your issue. They also have an extremely useful podcast for free tips and advice. Highly, highly, highly recommended.
Web host: Siteground
I strongly encourage you to go the self-hosted, WordPress route when starting your site. All the other options are mere imitations. By building and hosting your own website (it's never been so easy), you have complete control over how you create, organise and and present your work – and you learn essential digital skills along the way.
I used to use 1&1 to host my site and it was fine, but when I renamed and redesigned my blog, I decided to upgrade my hosting. This is not my field of expertise, so I did my research, read all the reviews and finally settled on Siteground for the best mix of features, reputation and value.
The monthly fee includes a domain, site transfer if you’re moving from another host (I did, it was easy), 1-click WordPress installer/autoupdates and webmail. 30-day backups of your site are also included (very important!). SSD hosting, a dedicated SuperCacher tool and free CloudFlare CDN mean fast loading websites too. With 99.9% uptime. I have had plenty of help from support so far and that has been great too – very patient! I recently helped my sister set up her first site with them and it was extremely easy – my help, I am happy to say, was superfluous. Check out their plans.
WordPress theme: Genesis + Brunch Pro
This blog is a self-hosted WordPress site and I have used a few different premium themes since I started. How my blog looks, as well as what I write in it, are fundamental to my enjoyment of blogging. I truly love beautiful, carefully crafted websites, where style, design and colour have all been truly thought through. I aspire for my blog to fit this ideal.
Although there is always more to work on, more elements to tweak, right now my blog looks the best it has ever looked. And this is primarily thanks to Brunch Pro.
Brunch Pro is a child theme that runs on the Genesis framework. Meaning that Genesis is a piece of structural software that lays over the core WordPress software and Brunch Pro is what makes it look pretty. More than that, Brunch Pro is what makes the layouts you see on my site possible. I love the magazine-style layout – I think it gives readers a true overview of all the different content that is available on the site.
These fabulously flexible layouts are one of the things that makes this theme so special. That and the endless possibilities for design customisation. And the fact it is designed specifically for food bloggers (although I have seen other non-food websites using it to great effect). For an in-depth look, check out my detailed Brunch Pro theme review.
WordPress Plugins: Free & Premium