Food blogging can be rather scary when you first start out. So much to do, very little knowledge of what needs doing and various to do lists going on in your head.
I have made it a bit easier for you and share with you the first 10 things that we did at Recipe This, that we feel every food blogger should do. This will also help you if you’re normally a information overload kind of person and you simply just want pointing in the right direction!
Here are the ten first stages of food blogging that I did:
#1 – Search & purchase a domain name
This is important that you do this first. Your domain name is a big deal because you’re going to be carrying it around with you for the lifetime of your blog. You can’t just turn around next month and think “I hate this and I want to change it!” because doing so would be like starting again from scratch.
It is also a question about what niche you want your food blog to be in. There are of course several different micro niches to get involved in. You might have decided to start a vegetarian blog, a slow cooker blog, clean eating or even a chicken blog. Or you may not have specific plans and you just want to take it one step at a time.
Many would just take the easy option and just go on and register their name. But the problem you have is that you’re building a long term business and its value goes down if it is named after yourself.
So then you hit a stumbling block over what domain name to choose and whether its available or not. Forget niche calculators I have a simple way of achieving this. I go to the Godaddy Auctions (a site that lets you buy old domain names that nobody wants) and you buy one from there.
You go to auctions.godaddy.com and then they have a search facility:
Then hit the advanced search option. Then like me you would put in a search for a keyword associated with having a food blog. For example in my search I have used the keyword “recipe”.
You want your advanced search to include:
- The main domain extentions i.e. .com and .net – there are a few low quality ones so only go after those in bold
- Contains – make sure your keyword is set to include the word contains and then it will produce the order in any order.
- Auction type – must be expiring domains otherwise you could end up with an overpriced or bad quality domain and your only interested in bargains!!!!
Then when you’re done filling in your search requirements then run your search:
From my results you can see that I have searched by largest traffic volume rather than when the auction is ending. You might just get a domain with some traffic, which will give you a head start on your blog.
As you can see from the results below there are some really good catchy domains that you could purchase:
I love ones like easymeatlessrecipes.com as it is really catchy and would make the perfect domain name if your niche is vegetarian cooking.
You can of course do other searches on Godaddy until you find a domain name you really like. And this is EXACTLY how I got RecipeThis.com. I simply searched “recipe” and this was the one that jumped out at me.
Then when you have made a decision over your domain and have bought it, you have ticked the first stage off in your food blogging journey!
#2 – Get hosting
Now that you have done the hard part and chosen your domain name, then you’ll need hosting. I have done a much better more advanced tutorial on choosing hosting on our “how to start a food blog page” but in a nutshell you just need decent hosting to get you started.
I like BlueHost the most when I am starting a new site. This is because it is cheap, easy and you haven’t got loads of traffic that you need a specific type of hosting for.
Have a look here at their prices:
My favourite bit is the bit at the bottom. It says that they’re “powering more than two million websites” and I am rather surprised as I know a lot of people on Bluehost and thought this figure would be higher!
You can sign up for your hosting by clicking here.
#3 – Choose your blog theme
Now this is the fun bit. You want an amazing looking food blog and you don’t really know where to start. There are lots of amazing food blogs out there and you want yours to stand out.
But to begin with you want something simple that you’ll find easy to get your head around and then you can be working on the content side of things and have your design side of things all sorted out.
We have Recipe This on the StudioPress Framework with the Daily Dish theme. We love it and it is perfect for food bloggers with all the sections it has and the attention to detail.
You can get the look by clicking here. Plus they also have some other great food themes in case you don’t like mine!
#4 – Get your logo made
Now this is exciting but super important. You’re branding your business from day one. It is important that you are thinking of your brand and creating a logo that people will think of you when they see it.
I find that for someone starting out (that doesn’t have access to a graphics designer) that the best place for them is on Fiverr.com. It is full of sellers offering really good quality logos.
They also share their portfolio so you can see what work they have previously done and use it for ideas and brainstorming.
Then when you get it make sure you have it in PSD so that you can reuse it and alter it at a later date if you wish.
#5 – Open up social media accounts & brand them
Now for the boring bit…….it can be really annoying having to open several social media accounts, but it needs doing and once they are open you can concentrate on marketing on them.
I suggest you start off with the following so that you’re not stretching yourself too thin:
These are the four that work out the best for food bloggers and then it just gives you four to concentrate your time on.
Once you have them open you need to add a bio, website url and your logos to the sites. I would also recommend getting a nice header to go with your logos for each of the channels. You want to create a really good impression to your future blog readers.
#6 – Put up your design and make modifications
This is when you get to play with the design that you have on your blog. Here is our site before we did anything:
I am sure you will agree that our food blog looks horrible!!!! Fast forward a week and this is how it looks now:
It still needs content but it is a big improvement than how it looked before.
This is exactly what you need to be working on. Taking it from its blank canvas and making it part of you. Adding a nice header, adding some widgets to make it look nice and generally making it so that all it needs is content.
#7 – Write your page content
You need to start your blog with a few pages of content. These are pages that you have probably seen on every blog you have ever visited.
They are of course important and have a real purpose on your blog:
About page – this is often your most visited page on your site so it is important that you make the effort.
Contact page – Brands often contact bloggers from a very early point on a blog so its important that they can get hold of you. The same applies for blog readers and other visitors to your site.
#8 – Write your first months blog posts
This is the hard part but you want to get your content moving as soon as possible. At the same time you may be nervous because you haven’t blogged before and you don’t really know what to expect.
It can also be really hard work getting your content up, especially if you’re following my blog post a day for 60 days rule.
I find the easiest way to do it is in sections. For example I will write my welcome post first, then my recipe posts, then my food blogging tips posts (what you’re reading now) and then my food tips posts. Then finally once I have a months blog posts done I will move onto creating the podcasts for the site.
#9 – Post your blog posts to social media
Now this is important and what you are doing here is A) starting your social media branding B) creating SEO backlinks and C) promoting your blog.
Social media is very important and it is really crucial that you are active on social media from day one.
Some blogs have built up 100,000+ backlinks to their blog just by sharing every post on social media and not doing any other marketing. These are sites that have gone on to have millions of monthly visitors. So do pay close attention of social media and if you can dedicate more time to social media then please do so as you’ll reap the rewards later!
#10 – Join Reddit
Reddit.com is fantastic and it is a bit like a social media site and because of how big it is the chances are that you’ve already heard all about it.
You can’t just do your think and then walk away though, as they have a lot of anti-spam policies. I find that the best way to go about it is to follow the 20% rule. For every five things you post one will be a promotional update to one of your blog posts.
Connect with people and get chatting to them and you’ll soon find that they will then share your content and bring you a lot of traffic.
You may even find that because Reddit traffic can spike that you can end up with a 3000 traffic day in your first couple of months of blogging, thanks to a particular Reddit post going viral!
There you go 10 things to do first when you plan to start a food blog. So there is no reason now for you not getting started and making it happen!!!!