How to start a food blog and make money in 2020

 

Food blogging is a healthy intersection of your creative cooking interest, storytelling and photography skills.

Start a food blog if you are passionate about sharing your food ideas.

Don’t worry about the competition because the market is large enough to accommodate hundreds of new bloggers and entrepreneurs.

You can take the help of this article where I take you through the fundamental steps that you need to start and monetize your food blog.

The recipe for creating a food blog starts with picking the right food niche.

Micro Niches to Choose From for A Food Blog

Why Niche?

Because if you write everything for everyone then you can get lost easily. Your specific cooking interest and brilliant recipes can stand out in the crowd.

Prepare your favorite food and share the process with the world. You just need to find your expertise and pursue it as a blog niche.

#1. Cuisine Type

If you love Chinese or Italian food then the specific cuisine can be the niche. Brilliant food niche idea for the blog are cuisines like;

  • Continental Food
  • Mexican Food
  • Indian Food
  • Thai Cuisine
  • Japanese Food

You can even build a food blog around local food and ethnic dishes.

#2. Based on Ingredients

Frequently used food ingredients are an indication of the niche. Think of such ingredients that you love cooking with or prepare dishes regularly.

Few food ingredients ideas are;

  • Rice-based Food Recipes
  • Foos using herbs like Basil, Mint and Lavender
  • Flour Based Food Recipes
  • Fruit-based Foods
  • Meat-based Food Recipes

#3. Food Preparation Techniques

Pick a niche for your food blog based on the food preparation techniques. Focusing solely on one technique to prepare different types of meals makes you an expert.

To help you I have listed a few of them below;

  • Baked Food Recipes
  • Steamed Food Recipes
  • Sprouted Food Preparations
  • Specialty in Grilled Food
  • Fermented Food Recipes

#4. Food Groups

Food that you often cook and love to eat is the best food blog niche. Because you have a deep interest and can churn a number of lip-smacking recipes.

For example;

  • Vegan Foods
  • Sea Foods
  • Poultry and Meat Preparations
  • Gluten-free Foods
  • Organic Foods
  • Desserts

#5. From Special Foods

Expertise in preparing specific food catering to certain conditions is an awesome food niche. People continuously search for such foods.

Example of special food ideas include;

  • Food for Weight Loss
  • Low carb and Dietary Foods
  • Paleo Foods
  • Food for Diabetes and Body detox

#6. Based on Age Groups

Food requirements of various age groups are brilliant niche ideas. You can take inspiration from a lot of food blogs that focus solely on;

  • Children’s Food
  • College-going Bachelors
  • Elderly Foods
  • Budget-friendly Meals
  • Family-friendly Meals

#7. Food Combination Ideas

If you have still have not got any niche idea, then you can combine the different food ideas to create your niche.

Some ideas for the food blog are;

  • Rice-based Food recipes for Children
  • Vegan Food for Weight Loss
  • Sprouted Food preparation for Elders
  • Budget-friendly Continental meals

Choose Domain Name for your Food Blog

There is no fixed rule to have food-related words while choosing a domain name. But having a food name in your domain name helps build the brand name and makes an instant connection with your audience.

I have analyzed hundreds of food blogs and found that the domain names have wide variation. Some of them do not even relate to food but are by personal names.

#1. Domain

Do not waste your precious time finding a single word food domain name. Because most of the single word domain names have already been taken and can be bought at a premium price.

Try looking for a two-word combination for domain name ideas. The following are some of the existing two-word food blog names.

  • Minimalist Baker
  • Budget Bytes
  • Deliciously Ella
  • Natashas Kitchen
  • Vegan Richa
  • Carrots & Cakes

Play around with such combinations to find out domain names that closely resemble your food niche idea.

The other things which you should keep in mind before finalizing the domain name are

  • To pick up a .com extension – in case if it is already taken then go for any other extension.
  • For a country-specific audience – go for that country’s extension.

For example, for blog audiences in India go for .in extension.

  • Avoid domain names with hyphens and special characters. Because your audiences may find it difficult to spell and remember.
  • Avoid words which are difficult to spell and hard to remember

Use domain name finding tool Leandomainsearch.com if you are still struggling to find a good domain name.

Adding niche words in the tool will give multiple combination name suggestions.

If you are still not able to find a suitable domain name then you can start with any domain name. I too started my blog with the domain name “wisebaniya”, then I changed it to “moneysparkle” but still unsatisfied.

Finally, I got the right combination in the domain name “CashOverflow”.

Next, you will require online space (i.e. hosting) to place your blog. Hosting is similar to your physical shop where you carry your business.

#2. Hosting

You should avoid free hosting because in free hosting you do not own the site.

You are given a subdomain. Which will look like “mysite.yourfoodblog.com” – an unprofessional look.

In free hosting space, you do not have access to the control panel. On top of that, the server speed slows down with an increasing number of blogs getting hosted.

There will be NO help and support options. To make things worse, free hosting does not give you the flexibility to design and has restricted functions.

The best idea is to buy hosting space from a safe and reliable hosting service provider having quality customer care.

You can pick hosting services from Siteground hosting.

Siteground gives you safe hosting space on their high-speed servers. Your website loads faster on their solid-state drives (SSD) and free content delivery network (CDN).

All the shared hosting plans from Siteground are protected from hackers and brute force attacks using HTTP/2 tech and AI security bots.

You get a FREE SSL “Lets Encrypt” certificate. Plus at all times you are assisted by quality customer support agents.

Steps To Buy Hosting From Siteground

Step 1 – Go to Siteground website and select ‘Web Hosting”

By purchasing web hosting you get hosting services for your blog on the Siteground’s shared servers. You can also select WordPress Hosting if you want to host your blog on WordPress. Siteground would give you pre-configured optimised options for installing WordPress quickly.

Step 2 – Select GrowBig Plan

Startup plan is good if you want to host a single website but if you can save money by picking GrowBig plan where you can host unlimited websites.

You will have 20GB of webspace and up to 25K server visits which is enough to accomodate the website traffic upto 1,00,000 if you use caching plugin and CDN service like CloudFlair.

The good news is that Siteground has every option. In case of any doubt, just contact their customer support and they would configure for you.

Step 3 – Choose OR Enter Domain Name

If you already have a domain name from any registrar like NameCheap, GoDaddy or Dynadot – then select the option ‘I already have a domain’

Otherwise you can register a new domain from Siteground.

Step 4 – Select Plan Period and Complete Purchase

Here you can select the hosting plan period from 12, 24 or 36 months. Siteground has transparent pricing without any hidden charges. You can lock in the discounted price for 36 months if you want to save money on the annual renewals. The discount is available only for the first time.

Next, you will require a word press setup to see your blog live on the internet.

Complete the Technical Steps

Installing WordPress, Themes and essential Plugins makes your website live and functional.

If you find the technical steps to be challenging, then here is the video to help you with the process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_QWNAcb_LM

Install WordPress

I believe that even non-technical users can easily create beautiful websites using WordPress’s free content management system.

You just need to go to the control panel and click on “Install WordPress” in order to create a blog.

Some hosting services provide a pre-installed WordPress, but that entirely depends upon your hosting provider.

Use WordPress to create web pages, posts and add images. Further, WordPress lets you install themes & plugins, to help you customize and change the appearance of your blog.

Setting Themes

Themes include layout, style elements and color schemes. They provide the overall look and feel of the website.

You have two methods to decide on the themes for your food blog

  1. Directly installing Food Blogging Themes
  2. Installing General Theme + Plugin for recipe builder functionality

You can pick any of them.

The food blogging themes have helpful in-built functionality like

Recipe Builder

To have easy to view layouts for showcasing recipes and ingredients.

Advanced Search Function

To locate favorite recipes and ingredients.

Food Gallery and Video Support

To engage meaningfully through visuals and videos

Reviews and Ratings

To collect feedback.

Examples of Food Blogging Themes are

  • Foodica
  • Cookely
  • Foodie Pro
  • Neptune
  • Recipe Press

On the other hand, if you plan to have a generic blogging theme then you need to install a recipe builder plugin. For example, Free WP Ultimate Recipe plugin.

Use WP Ultimate Recipe to add multiple recipes to any post, display ingredients, and add photos. Here is an example of how a demo recipe would look with the WP Ultimate Recipe plugin;

Demo recipe with WP ultimate recipe plugin

Other best recipe plugins are

  • Tasty Recipe
  • Cooked
  • Zip Recipes

You can pick a free food theme and focus on important things like content & traffic.

Make sure that whatever theme you choose, the website should

  • Have a responsive design
  • Open with the help of any browser.
  • Be easy to Navigate
  • Give a professional look and have a proper structure

Steps to Install a Free Food Theme

  1. Go to Dashboard through the WP admin login.
  2. Click on the “Appearance” menu.
  3. Click on the Theme.
  4. Select the theme
  5. Click on Add New

Steps to Install a Paid Food Theme

  1. Download the theme file from the Theme website
  2. Click to upload the theme
  3. Choose the theme file
  4. Click on Install

In both cases (free or paid theme) after the installation, click on the “Activate” button to make the theme functional.

Installing Necessary Plugins

Plugins give you the much needed additional features. They are helpful for having extended functionality. For example protection against spamming, incorporating SEO features, creating an e-store and many more.

Further, as you grow you may require advanced plugins for email marketing and affiliate marketing.

In the initial phase, you can start by installing only necessary plugins

  • Akismet
  • JetPack
  • Yoast SEO
  • TinyMCE Advanced
  • WP Smush
  • Shortcodes Ultimate
  • Mammoth .docx converter

10 Different Ways To Monetise Food Blog

#1. Display Ads Through Google AdSense

The empty website spaces on the right side and bottom of web pages can be used to display ads. Google pays for your allotted space through the AdSense program.

When you register for Google display ads, then the blank space will be used by Google to show ads like below;

example of display ads

You earn money when visitors view or click those ads. Which can range from $0.5 to $10 depending on the geographic location. The US location gets higher earnings than the India location.

Use Google AdSense for monetization when you have a news, entertainment or media website. You won’t make much money from Adsense for small niche websites. 

However, you do not have control over the displayed ads, all will depend on Google. Many times the ads are totally irrelevant to the post.

Irrelevant display ads

For example, the ad above of “Western Union” is irrelevant to the food blog.  

#2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing opens up an opportunity to promote lots of products through the food blog.

Affiliate marketing explanation

Here, you are the publisher, who will be promoting products to blog readers/ customers. In case of a sale, you will receive affiliate commissions from the merchant.

To promote products, you will need to place affiliate links received from the merchant on your food blog. The products can be a food, ingredients, the cutlery and equipment used to prepare the foods.

Affiliate marketing example

The affiliate network which you can look are

  • Amazon Associates
  • ShareASale
  • Rakuten

But remember that, you should not put affiliate links all over the blog and try selling everything. Carefully choose the products which can be beneficial to your audiences.

#3. Sponsored Post

Through the sponsored posts, you create a recipe and promote the food brands.

Example of sponsored post

Businesses operating in the food e-commerce, hotels and restaurants would be willing to pay if you have a good traffic and brand of your blog. Companies pay for promoting their products and creating brand awareness.

Before you publish a sponsored post, make sure that the products are in line with your blog theme. Do not promote totally unrelated products and services because that will annoy the audience and make you look cheap.

#4. Selling Recipe Ebooks

Writing Ebooks and Guides help you to share your thoughts on food, their recipes, benefits and experience.

Like the blog “OurBestBites”

Example of blog listing cook books

And below is another example from the food blog “LoveandOliveoil”

cookbook example

You can also help other food bloggers set-up their blog through E-books.

Plus, you build an authority figure when you publish an e-book.

#5. Integrate E-commerce Shop

You can create an e-commerce store on your blog using a Woo-commerce plugin. Through your store, you can sell foods like bakery and certain desserts.

For example, you can look at

e-commerce food shop example

Later on, with experience, you can create your own brand of kitchen equipment.

wonderchef e-store example

Like what Sanjeev Kapoor of “wonderchef” is doing.

#6. Launch Meal Plan Services

If you have experience in preparing home-cooked meal plans then that can be used to earn money. The plans can be 1-week, 4-week, or even 12-month long.

There is a demand for specific meal plans requirements for health patients, children and old persons.

You can have a look at the meal plan service from the blog “Skinnytaste”

Meal plan service example

Your expertise of creating such meal plans services can be an additional income source.

#7. Exclusive Membership Area

Think of creating an exclusive membership area that

  • Teaches professional cooking,
  • Gives personalized advice related to food, health and life.
  • Where you help with your extensive knowledge & experience

Below is the membership website of “Food Blogger Pro”;

example of membership site

and details of the member plans are under;

example of membership plans

 

Another example of a membership site is Ketoconnect

example of membership site

Offering membership helps to increase engagement levels and create a community of food-loving audiences.

#8. Cooking & Food Photography Courses

You require good quality food images for your blog as part of the content. Because your audiences cannot taste food.

Have a look at the courses offered at the blog “Thebakehousenola”

Cooking courses example 

You can use your experience of taking quality food pictures to teach other food bloggers. A food blog can be monetized through courses like

  • Cooking
  • Food Styling
  • Food Photographer

#9. Collaboration with Other Food Bloggers

You get access to new audiences when you collaborate with other food bloggers. Collaboration brings in a fresh perspective to your blog and helps you build a professional relationship.

The best example of collaboration is “Baked-the blog”, by Canadian food bloggers.

collaboration with other food bloggers

As a food blogger you can do group cooking projects, mastermind group brainstorming and joint product reviews to monetize your blog.

#10. One to One Food Coaching

Example of food coaching website

The experience and knowledge that you have gained as a food blogger can be used to help other aspiring bloggers. Like what Cheryl is doing at her food blog “40 Aprons”

The one-to-one coaching programs which can be offered are

  • Food Styling
  • Recipe developer
  • Food Photography
  • Starting a food blog

Get First 1000 Visitors in 30 Days

You can pull traffic to your food blog in two different ways – Social media and Google.

You can get initial blog visitors from social channels because your blog may take some time to rank on Google.

Getting initial readers and collecting their feedback is important to understand user intent, their expectations and establishing connections.

#1. Get Visitors Through Social Media

You should explore various social groups and forums to find initial audiences. In the beginning, you need to provide value to the group by helping people and solving their problems.

Then only you can expect things in return. Your primary aim should be to build relationships and not spamming the group with your blog promotion.

You can use the Facebook group to find initial audiences. For that, you need to login and search for “Food” in groups section.

FB food groups

You will get a list of food groups on FB. Choose the group that is relevant to your food blog.

FB food group example

For example, when you click the “Home Made Food” group, you will find the FB group page with a tab to join the group, description of the group with set of rules and member details.

You can join the group using the “+Join Group” tab and start helping people/ participating in the group.

#2. Using Email Marketing

The email Ids which you have collected are the medium to find engaged audiences. Use it to reach out to food-loving people.

Deliver useful personalized content. In return, politely ask them to share information about your food blog with other foodies.

#3. Publish Regularly

While you are promoting on social channels, do not forget to blog post regularly. You cultivate the habit to be creative when you publish regularly.

By the time there will be a good number of articles that Google indexes. That helps in getting intent-based organic traffic to your blog.

Conclusion

Food and the blog is a great way to connect with like-minded people. Through the food blog, you get the opportunity to express your inner chef and creativity.

Learning Resources/ Further Readings

Find Profitable Keywords for SEO to rank higher in Google

Become Better at Blog Writing

List of Food Photography Blogs

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