How to Start and Profit from a Food Blog
9 Steps to Making Money from Your Recipes
Do you like food? Not just eating it, but also trying new recipes and reading about it? Then a food blog might be right up your alley. Food blogs are popular and easy to monetize. But like all other work-at-home options, it takes planning and action to be successful.
Pros to Starting a Food Blog
- You can turn your enjoyment of food into income.
- You get to be creative with your food creations.
- It's easy and affordable to get started.
- It's easy to monitize through ads, affiliate programs, and sponsorships.
- You can build a community around food and eating.
- It can lead to other opportunities such as books, or if you're really lucky, a cooking show as Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman did.
Cons to Starting a Food Blog
- Successful blogs need new content often, which means a lot of cooking and coming up with new ideas.
- You need to be able to take great photographs of your cooking process and end results.
- It can take time to build up a readership that leads to a good income.
How to Start a Food Blog
Here are tips to starting and making money from a food blog:
1. Decide what type of food blog you want to start. Niches always do better than general topics, even when it comes to food. Niches to consider are gluten, carb or sugar-free, vegan, or frugal cooking. Or you can specialize in a type of food such as chocolate or side-dishes.
2. Create a blog name. Choose a name that describes your blog and is available as a domain name.
When coming up with your name, be descriptive, but not too limiting that you can’t expand on your idea. For example, a chocolate candy blog is too narrow and instead you might want to have a name that would include chocolate cookies and cakes, and even meals (i.e. mole sauce).
3. Purchase your domain name and webhosting. You can create a blog on free sources such as Blogger or Weeby, but the most successful (and profitable) bloggers, have their own hosting.
Many web-hosts will include the purchase of your domain name when signing up for service. Or you can buy them separately. Choose a web-host that offers easy WordPress install. There are other content management platforms, but WordPress is the most used and one of the easiest to learn.
4. Install WordPress on your webhosting account. Check with your host provider on how you can do this from within your hosting account. Once installed, choose a theme that works well with food. From within your WordPress dashboard you can search “food” themes and click to install. For best results, choose a theme that is responsive (adjusts for easy reading on tablets and smartphones), optimized for search engines, and is easy for readers to navigate. You can get themes for free, but you might want to consider purchasing a theme for greater customization and features.
5. Install plugins to maximize the site. The basic plugins you should install include Askimet for comment spam filtering, social media tools so people can share your content, caching to make your site load faster and be less of a drain on your host, contact form (don’t put your email address on your blog or you’ll get spam), and Google Analytics.
Also, consider adding foodie plugins such as EasyRecipe, which makes it easy to enter and print recipes, as well as optimizes your recipes for Google.
6. Set up an email list. Email lists will help you generate more income. How? You can email your list to let it know about new recipes, reminding people to return to your site so they can then click on your monetization options. You can also email special offers and promotions. Use an email service and paste a sign-up form on your blog. Offer a freebie such as recipes or cooking videos to entice visitors to subscribe.
7. Add recipes. You should add 10 to 15 recipes right away so readers have several to read. After that, create a blogging schedule to add several recipes a week. When you add your recipes, take appetizing photos and write clear, step-by-step instructions.
Don’t be afraid to add personalized information such as changes you made to the recipe or stories about the recipe’s history (i.e. if it’s grandma’s recipe).
8. Promote your blog. One myth many have is that by building a blog, people will read it. But that’s not true. People can’t read what they don’t know about. While you want to optimize for search engines, you can’t rely on search engines alone to drive traffic to your blog. Set up social media accounts such as Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter to share your recipes. Make videos that you can post on your blog, but also publish on YouTube. Develop an online marketing plan to reach your target market. Don’t forget to consider off-line marketing strategies as well.
9. Monetize your blog. Making money requires having traffic, which is why you need to market (#8) before you monetize. But once you have visitors to your blog, start adding money-making resources. A few options include contextual advertising such as Google AdSense and affiliate programs, such as promoting cooking tools. As you grow, you can write your own cookbooks or sell training videos.