Creating a self-hosted food blog is a good idea if you are passionate about anything related to food, such as eating, making delicious food, or sharing the recipes of healthy food. Such a blog is especially meaningful for chefs and those who love cooking and would like to share their creativity with the rest of the world.
Due to the full functionality, WordPress makes creating your own food blog easy, but you will still need to spend some time in getting the blog set up before you can write on it and share your passion. If you are going to start from the scratch, you need to deal with the following things.
- A domain name and a web hosting package.
- A new WordPress install.
- A food theme.
- Plugins that make your life easier.
In below, we will show you the important steps to create a WordPress food blog, and offer several suggestions you can follow to make your blog a better place to stay and share.
The Preparations for Creating a Food Blog with WordPress
If you have prepared nothing yet, then there are some things to do before you can get your own WordPress site, and below are the necessary tasks.
Purchase a domain
The domain of your food blog must be highly associated with your blog name, and it should include two or three words. Don’t make the domain too long. Besides, .com is suggested most, followed by .net and .org. After choosing a good domain name, purchase it from your web host or a reliable domain registrar. The cost should be around $12 per year.
Purchase a web hosting package
The selection of web host is kind of complicated, but you can refer to our best WordPress hosting recommendations to save your time. All these providers offer reliable services with which your food blog can be accessible to visitors at all times, and they can guarantee fast page loads, which is important because you will add a lot of images to your blog. More importantly, buying a web hosting package from them can cost less than $4/mo.
Install and set up WordPress
After getting your own domain and web hosting package, you can install WordPress on your server immediately. The process is quite simple as most web hosts offer a 1-click installer which doesn’t require any technical skill. Also, you can install WordPress on a local server for development and testing, and then move the site from localhost to a live server.
After WordPress is installed, make sure to log into the new site, go to Settings > Permalinks, and select “Post name” as the permalink structure.
Select and Install a WordPress Food Theme
Installing a well-made food theme is the easiest way to make your food blog look pretty and professional. However, there are a lot of features to look for when selecting a good WordPress theme for your food blog.
- The theme must be responsive, so that your visitors can read your posts and recipes on any device.
- It needs to come with an attractive design which helps your blog stand out.
- It should include rich customization options so that you can make your own customizations, such as uploading a logo and changing the color scheme, without editing code.
- The code must be clean and secure.
- The theme must not slow down your site, so a clean and minimalist theme is suggested.
- It is good if the theme comes with pre-made recipe templates.
There are numerous free and paid WordPress themes out there. Using a free one is acceptable, but we will suggest you purchase a premium theme with a cost of about $50 if you are not very experienced in setting up and customizing your own blog. A premium theme usually comes with demos, training videos and good support from the developer, which helps you get started more quickly.
Below are three good choices of premium WordPress food themes. You can also find more by searching them on the Internet. Make sure to read user reviews before making a purchase.
- Dessert – It is a premium theme good for bakeries, cupcakeries and dessert cafes that want to share desserts on a food blog. It includes custom post types for cakes, services and testimonials, and you can embed YouTube and Vimeo videos easily with it. Dessert is priced at $49.
- Food Recipes – This theme is one of the best sellers at ThemeForest, recommended for the professionals in cooking. It makes sharing cooking experiences and recipes very easy. Its features include frontend recipe submission, a built-in recipe listing page, recipe rating, recipe search, and more. The cost is $49/mo.
- Chow – This recipe theme is a clean choice for anyone who wants to share cooking tips with an audience. It supports Schema.org, frontend recipe submission and editing, recipe reviews, and many more features. The price of this theme is $59.
Select and Install a Recipe Plugin
If you have installed a theme like Chow or Food Recipes which comes with built-in recipe support, you don’t need a separate recipe plugin anymore. But if you use a multi-purpose theme that is not specially designed for food blogs, you will need a recipe plugin which is:
- Convenient to use. It should include recipe templates that make the uploading, submission and editing of recipes an easy and time-saving thing.
- SEO friendly, making your food blog properly indexed and ranked. A plugin that is hRecipe or Schema.org compliant is sincerely recommended.
- Optimized for user experience. It should make recipes searchable, easy-to-read and printable, or meet other needs that you have.
In the case that you need a good recipe plugin offering the features that your theme lacks, below are some of the best choices. All of them are easy-to-use.
Recipe Card is a popular food plugin which you have several reasons to use. For example, you can mix and match the over 100 colors, fonts and layouts in a recipe template and upload your own background for complete customization. Besides, the plugin is both hRecipe and Schema.org compliant, which helps achieve the best possible search engine visibility of your recipes.
WP Ultimate Recipe
WP Ultimate Recipe is an essential plugin for food blogs. Rated 4.8 stars in WordPress plugin directory, this plugin comes with built-in optimization for Google Recipe Search, and allows adding multiple recipes to WordPress posts or pages by using shortcodes. Besides, ingredients, cuisines, ratings and course types are all supported as taxonomies so you can display them in a tag cloud widget. The basic version of this plugin is free to use, while if you need the premium features or priority support, you have to pay.
Just like other plugins recommended here, Zip Recipes is SEO-optimized so that it helps your recipes rank better in Google Recipe Search. Since the plugin has dealt with all the complicated things, you can add recipes, insert images, copy and paste recipe ingredients, add affiliate links to ingredients, change styling and add notes easily. Besides, all recipes created with this plugin are printable, and you can add copyright statements at the bottom of the printed recipes.
Suggestions for Making a Successful Food Blog
As soon as you have added all the functions you need to your WordPress food blog, you can start writing posts to share your tips and experiences, adding video courses, showcasing recipes, and doing any other thing you want.
However, to make your food blog a success, merely adding content is not enough because you have to make some more optimizations to improve the user experience and search engine visibility. Below are some good tips to follow.
- Make your content sharable. Adding social sharing buttons to your posts and recipes would definitely help to get more traffic and build up a reputation.
- Make your content printer-friendly. After reading your recipes, some readers will possibly want to print them and have a try. Good recipe plugins come with built-in printer-friendliness. However, if the plugin you use doesn’t, you have to figure out a way to make your content print-ready so as to deliver a better user experience.
- Optimize images. Food blogs are usually full of images. To make your blog professional, you need to use high-quality images while not slowing down your blog. In this case, image resizers are good helpers.
- Improve your blog’s SEO. Be sure to follow the important WordPress SEO guidelines to improve your blog’s overall performance in search engines. Installing a good SEO plugin would simplify your tasks.