Starting up a new food blog in today’s crowded digital scene might seem daunting, but with some smart planning and a passionate approach there’s no reason why you can’t be rubbing shoulders with the cream of the crop. Here are our top 10 practical tips to make sure your website is a tasty proposition…
1. Bag your URL and matching social media channels
If your blog name is the same across twitter, facebook, instagram and the rest of your social media channels, it will make you easy to find and follow which is vital for consistency and to maintain a strong brand identity. Don’t rush into a name, and try and get something short, snappy and memorable.
2. Know your niche
It’s tempting to be all things to all people, but write about what you know best. Whether that’s vegan baking, gourmet coffee or creating epic sandwiches, you need to be the authority on your specialty and become the go-to source for people hungry for that content. It’s easy to feel inspired if you love what you’re writing about, and your readers will pick up this enthusiasm and come back for more.
Your website needs to look professional and have a clear message. Research what’s on trend, have a really good think about the kind of content you want to create to inform how you need your blog to be laid out. Will it just be recipes? Or will you be including features, reviews and givewaways? Here at Callia Web we specialise in creating WordPress websites for foodies, and have put together sites for some of the leading Food Bloggers in the UK. We can help you achieve the same great look – check out our portfolio for inspiration.
4. Plan your first set of posts
It’s best to have a few blog posts ready to publish before you officially launch. Make a list of all of things you want to write about with a few lines about what will be in each post. You can never be too organised as a blogger, so why not create a content calendar. Draw up a simple spreadsheet and assign dates to each post. This will help you feel more in control of your blog, get you into a good routine and allow you to see the bigger picture of where you’re going with your blog. Having an editorial calendar like this also allows you to plan ahead with your seasonal content – Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas etc. Look up all of the foodie days and weeks, and plan posts that tie in with these themes. Check out The Food Calendar for inspiration.
5. Beautiful food images
Stunning food imagery is absolutely expected, so get geared up with a camera and learn how to use it. Or if this isn’t an option using your camera phone can work really well too. Just make sure you’re photographing in natural light and set a beautiful scene. This means learning as much as you can about food styling. You’ll find lots of food bloggers have got posts about it, or take one of the many online courses you can do to get clued up. Also get your hands on props for styling your photos – car boot sales are the perfect place to find cheap vintage cutlery, crockery and utensils. Invest in powerful photo editing software like Lightroom, you’ll be amazed at the difference it will make to your photos. YouTube has a wealth of video tutorials to help you make the most of all of the nifty settings that can really transform your photography.
Obviously it’s not just stills you need, but creating video is big and getting BIGGER every day. Keep up! People often get put off by the technicalities of making their own video, but it really is just a question of getting stuck in and giving it a go. Even if you’re just shooting with your smart phone to start off with, and editing the footage using an app – you only get better by practicing and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Check out what everyone else is doing and see how you can stand out and try to be a bit different. Check out this YouTube video for some helpful behind-the-scenes look at how this blogger does it…
7. Creating graphics
You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create fun imagery for your blog. Free web tools like Canva are brilliant for bloggers to use to play around with fonts, create Pinterest graphics and generally just make your images shine! It’s really worth spending time making your imagery the best it can possibly be so that your content gets noticed. When people are scrolling through their social media feeds or scouring Pinterest for inspiration, it’s those stand-out images that get the clicks.
8. Learn the rules and regs
It’s absolutely vital to know the dos and don’ts of blogging. Whether it’s getting across the latest policy on follow/no follow links, or finding out how to approach sponsored posts on your blog and social media channels, you need to make it your business to know it all. Do you know any more established food bloggers? If you’re not sure about something don’t be afraid to ask – most bloggers will be flattered you’ve gone to them for advice and we were all newbies once after all!
9. Be part of the community
There is definitely strength in numbers, so make it your business to know who’s who in the food blogging world. Read, comment on and promote other people’s blogs and they’ll soon hop on over to yours to see what you’re about. Be patient, and if you’re consistent the scene will soon accept you and you’ll start learning all the latest tips and tricks and hopefully bag yourself an invite to one of their secret Facebook groups. Once you’ve earned their trust, they’re a sharing sort. Get yourself known by joining in with recipe linkys – from events celebrating seasonal produce to baking your way through the alphabet, you can find a regularly updated list of these on The Food Blog Diary
10. Get out there!
Step back from the computer and take off to the local food market, soak up the atmosphere, talk to producers and take loads of pictures/shoot videos. Check out the latest restaurant to open in your area to see if it lives up to the hype. If you go out and experience stuff, your blog posts will be lively and engaging and ultimately draw people in. Make sure you’re capturing everything on your social media channels too, so you’re really telling your blog’s story on all platforms.