Interested in blogging? Here are the best resources from my experiences to help you get started!
Setting Up Your Blog
- WordPress.org The best blogging platform out there. If you want to look professional be sure and register your own domain, use your own hosting, and install the platform to your hosting server. If your looking to do a really casual blog or try the whole blogging thing out try wordpress.com for a free blog with hosting.
- Bluehost.com I use Bluehost.com for my hosting services. They are cheap, but you get quality hosting for the price. The staff is quick to respond to questions and friendly. The user interface is really easy to use even if you are not experienced with websites. They also offer a one click install of WordPress which is really cool. It’s not that hard to install WordPress yourself (I’ve done it.), but why not enjoy someone else doing it for you. If your a real beginner this saves you a lot of learning and gets you to the fun part much faster. You can also register your domain name with them.
- StudioPress.com On my site I run the Genesis framework and Foodie child theme. I ran the Prose child theme for about a year before chin aging it up too Foodie. I can’t not express how impressed I am with both Genesis and my themes. Genesis is the BEST of the best for framework. It does almost everything for you, and it does it right. Child themes are very easy to customize to make your site unique, however they are very attractive right out of the box. They allow you to start with a professional caliber website design and framework right off the bat. If your serious about blogging one of the best tips I can give you is to use Genesis. (Also I should add, customer service is fast, friendly and amazing! I have worked with themes from other places where I can’t say the same is true.) I will never again use any other framework or theme for WordPress that doesn’t come from studioPress!
Check out my page Start Your New Food Blog Now! a step by step guide to starting YOUR blog today.
How To Write Well
- Copyblogger.com Really, really good writing advise! This is geared from a business stand point but so true for any type of writing! And honestly if you don’t learn how to write well your blog will not succeed. I read the blog regularly and always find after reading a post I am intrigued by the title of at least two more posts and have to read them too! Doesn’t that speak for itself? Check out How to Write Magnetic Headlines to get started.
- Will Write For Food This helpful book is specifically about food writing, all types of food writing. As I said above, if you don’t learn to write your blog will not succeed. This book offers exercises, advice from the pros and more. Well worth your time.
Amazing Food Blog You Should Be Reading (In my humble opinion.)
- Smitten Kitchen
- Food 52
- Pinch of Yum
- David Lebovitz
- The Kitchn
- Half Baked Harvest
- I Am A Food Blog
- Pioneer Woman
- Completely Delicious
- Joy The Baker
- The Girl Who Ate Everything
- Local Milk
- Sally’s Baking Addiction
- APT 2B Baking Co.
- V.K. Rees Photography (Amazing food photographer, you can learn so much from studying these photos!)
Other Food Writers You Should Read
- Jeffery Steingarten – The Man Who Ate Everything and It Must’ve Been Something I Ate
- Ruth Reichl – Garlic and Sapphires
- Julie Powell – Julie and Julia
- Molly Wizenberg – A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table
- David Lebovitz – The Sweet Life in Paris
- Kathleen Finn – The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry and The Kitchen Counter Cooking School
- From Plate To Pixel a real photography book that happens to be focused on food. You’ll learn about real photography basics like lighting with this book.
Really Useful Plugins
- Akismet- This plug in handles spam, both of the comment and email variety depending on the plan you so choose. This is a pay-for-plugin. But, when you get to a certain point, i.e. getting 1000+ spam comments on your site a day it will be invaluable.
- Recipe Card This is my favorite recipe plugin, and I’ve tried quite a few! You can really customize what your recipe will display looking like, with point and click ease. Another really important feature is that it saves the recipes you enter into your database so that if you ever choose to stop using the plugin you won’t loose all the recipes you entered! Plus the plugin is 100% free and still has great support! When I had a question late one evening I had a reply early morning with three possible solutions to my problem and an offer for additional help if the problem wasn’t fixed by the suggestions! I’m very impressed!
- VaultPress- Back up for your blog. After you’ve got everything set up just the way you want it, have written and published posts, especially once you’ve passed the 100 post mark you’re going to be seriously bummed if your site crashes for some reason, you break something messing with the code, whatever. Protect yourself. Back up! (This is a pay-for-plugin.)
Other Useful Stuff
- Apparently the little icon next to your web address is called a Favicon. Who knew right? Anyway here’s a cool site where you can generate a Favicon for your site.
- What food blogger wants to have a blog that’s super slow, right? Check out this article for tips about keeping your WordPress.org hosted blog spry.
- Another thing you may want to start thinking about as a new blogger is how you’ll be getting in touch with your readers to let them know about new posts and other things going on with your blog that may be of interest to them. The main method for staying in touch – an email list. The beauty of the email list is that it is a direct connection with your readers, that isn’t subject to the whims of a third party like Facebook. However, to successfully manage your email list you are going likely going to want to sign up for an email marketing service. This article from Quicksprout will gives you a run down of ten different email marketing services you may want to choose from. (Also- Quicksprout is a great site full of numerous resources on how to start growing your blog, so take some time and poke around!)
Other General Help For Food Bloggers
- Food Blogger Pro This is a great, great resource! Basically an all in one stop. Filled with tutorials on all aspects of food blogging created by incredibly successful blogger Lindsey from Pinch of Yum. Unfortunately, the food blogger pro team has decided to limit enrollment for Food Blogger Pro to twice a year, so if you happen to be looking at this during one of those two times, I highly recommend joining now before enrollment closes.
Advertising/ Affilate Programs
- LinkShare is a legit advertising network that works with tons and tons of companies to provide advertising on websites. You don’t have to be a large site to join. Simple application process. Companies that need advertising are divided by category so that you can easily find advertisers that FIT with your blog. Terms vary from company to company. LinkShare works with both US and UK bloggers.
- ShareASale This company manages all kinds of different programs where you make a commission selling others products.
More Resources to come as I try, read, and use!!