How to Start a Food Blog (and Make Extra Income on the Side) in 2019
Do you want to start a food blog and make money from your recipes? Starting a new food blog can be challenging for beginners, specially when you are not a techy. Having helped over 100,000+ users start their own blogs, we are often asked about how to start a food blog and successfully earn money from it. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to start a food blog and make money from your recipes without any technical skills.
We have broken the process down, so it’s easy to follow whether you’re 20 years old or 60 years old. However if you need help, our expert team will help you setup your blog for free. → Click Here to Get Your Free WordPress Blog Setup! ←
What do you need to start a food blog?
There are three things you need to start a food blog using WordPress:
- A domain name (this will be your blog’s name that people will type to find your site e.g. wpbeginner.com)
- A web hosting account (this is where your website files are stored on the internet)
- Your undivided attention for 30 minutes.
Yes, you can start a brand new food blog in less than 30 minutes, and we will walk you through the whole process, step by step.
In this tutorial, we will cover the following:
- How to Register a Domain Name for Free
- How to Choose the Best Web Hosting
- How to Install WordPress
- How to Find the Perfect Theme (website design) for Your Food Blog
- How to Write Recipes with SEO Friendly Formatting
- How to Make Money from Your Food Blog
- How to Get More Traffic to Your Food Blog
- Resources to Learn WordPress and Grow Your Food Blog
That being said, let’s get started.
Step 1. The Right Setup
The biggest mistake new users make is starting off with the wrong blogging platform. You’ll not be making this mistake since you are already here.
We recommend using WordPress.org for your blog because it gives you access to all the WordPress features, and most importantly you can make money from your blog without any limitations.
It’s important you don’t confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com. They are actually two different platforms. WordPress.com, which is a hosted blogging platform and WordPress.org is a free self-hosted platform. (See our comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for more details)
Now you might be wondering, why is WordPress.org free? What’s the catch?
There truth is that there’s no catch. It’s free because you have to do the setup and host it yourself.
In other words, you need a domain name and web hosting. See our guide on the difference between domain name and web hosting to learn more.
A domain name is what people type to get to your website. It’s your website’s address on the internet. Think google.com or wpbeginner.com.
Web hosting is where your website files are stored. It’s your website’s house on the internet. Every website needs web hosting.
A domain name typically costs $14.99 / year and web hosting normally costs $7.99 / month.
That’s a lot for beginners who are just starting out.
Thankfully, Bluehost, an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name and over 60% off on web hosting.
Bluehost is one of the largest hosting companies in the world, and they host millions of WordPress websites including some of our own.
They’re committed to giving back to the WordPress community since 2005. They have promised us that if you cannot get your blog setup within 30 minutes by following this tutorial, then our expert team will complete the process for you without any cost. They will compensate us, so you don’t have to. Simply contact us for free blog setup help.
NOTE: At WPBeginner we believe in full transparency. If you sign up with Bluehost using our referral link, then we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you (in fact you will save money and get a free domain + free SSL). We would get this commission for recommending just about any WordPress hosting company, but we only recommend products that we use personally use and believe will add value to our readers.
Now that we have covered that, let’s go ahead and purchase your domain + hosting for your food blog.
Open Bluehost website in a new window and follow along.
First thing you need to do is click on the green ‘Get Started Now’ button.
On the next screen, you need to select the plan that you want (basic and plus are the most popular).
After that, you will be asked to enter the domain name for your website.
Tip: Make sure your domain name is brandable. It’s also a bonus if it uses keywords you think your users will search for. This will help you get more traffic from search engines like Google. For more details, see our guide on choosing the best domain name for your blog.
Once you have selected your domain name, click on the next button to continue.
Now, you will need to add your account information and finalize the package information to complete the process. We recommend going with the 36 month plan because that’s best value.
On this screen, you will see optional extras that you can purchase. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you purchase these, but we generally don’t recommend purchasing them right away. You can always add them later on, if you decide that you need them.
Once completed, you will receive an email with details on how to login to your web hosting control panel (cPanel). This is where you manage everything from support, emails, among other things. But most importantly, this is where you install WordPress.
Step 2. Install WordPress
In your hosting dashboard (cPanel), you will see small icons for different hosting features and services. You need to scroll down to the website section and click on the WordPress icon.
On the next screen, click on the Get Started button. You will be asked to select your domain name. Choose the domain from the dropdown and then click Next.
After that, you need to enter your Site Name, username, and a password for your site. You also need to check all the checkboxes and then click Install.
The QuickInstall will start installing WordPress. You will be prompted to browse WordPress themes, while WordPress is being installed.
No need to do that right now. We’ll show you how to find the best WordPress theme for your food blog later.
Once WordPress is finished installing, you will see the success notice in the top header bar.
Click on the Installation Complete link, and it will take you to the screen with your WordPress login URL and password.
Congratulations, your WordPress website is now ready. You can continue login to your website by visiting the WordPress admin area.
Don’t forget to replace yoursite.com with your own domain name. Once logged in, you will see the WordPress admin dashboard.
Now you are ready to customize your food website’s appearance and start adding recipes.
Step 3. Choosing a Theme for Your Food Blog
WordPress themes control your website’s design and appearance. There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes that you can install on your website.
However, not all of them are suitable for a food blog. You will need a theme that matches the look and feel of a food blog. Our expert team has hand-picked the best WordPress themes for recipe and food blogs that you should try.
Once you have found a theme that you like, head over to our guide on how to install a WordPress theme for step by step installation instructions.
Step 4. Choosing a Recipe Plugin that’s SEO Friendly
If you want your recipes to get traffic from search engines, then you need to make them search engine friendly.
The best way to write recipes is by using Schema.org formatting. Schema.org formatting allows search engines to display extra information like rating, preparation time, etc.
Now, we know this might sound a bit too geeky for beginners. Don’t worry, we will make it super easy for you to add recipes in schema.org formatting without any special skills.
First, thing you need to do is install and activate the WP Recipe Maker plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
You can also use the premium version of the WP Recipe Maker plugin to take full advantage of its extensive features like enhanced SEO, ingredient linking, user ratings, taxonomies, and more.
Once you have activated the plugin, you need to create a blog post or edit an existing one. On the post edit screen, click on the WP Recipe Maker button.
This will bring up a popup where you can enter your recipe details. You will start by adding an image for the recipe, recipe name, description, serving, duration, and other information.
After adding general information, click on the ‘Ingredients & Instructions’ tab and start adding ingredients and instructions.
You can add ingredients and instructions as plain lists, or you can divide them into groups as well for different parts of the recipe.
Next, you need to switch to the Nutrition Facts tab and click on the calculate nutrition facts button.
The plugin will now fetch Nutrition facts for matching ingredients. Once you are satisfied, you can click on the calculate nutrition facts button again, and it will calculate the values.
Now if you are satisfied with the recipe, you can go ahead and click on insert and close button.
The plugin will now add the required shortcode to your post editor. You can now save or publish your post and then click on the preview button to see your recipe in action.
The plugin comes with extensive settings including several styles and templates to display your recipes. You can go to WP Recipe Maker » Settings page to change the appearance of your recipes and other settings.
Step 5. How to Monetize Your Food Blog
After you have added a few of your best recipes, it is time to start making money from your food blog. There are plenty of ways to monetize your food blog and start earning from your recipes.
Here are some of the most effective ways to monetize your food blog.
1. Selling eBooks with Your Recipes
The most effective strategy to make money from your recipe blog would be to sell your own products or digital downloads. These products can be physical goodies and merchandise such as t-shirts, printed books, mugs, or they can be digital downloads such as ebooks.
To sell things from your WordPress blog, you will need WooCommerce. It is available as a WordPress plugin and will add an online store to your existing food blog.
You can also sell memberships on your website, allowing paid members to download ebooks, videos, secret recipes, or submit their own content. If you want to go the subscription route, then you will need MemberPress. For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to make a membership website.
2. Display Ads Using Google AdSense
The easiest way to instantly start earning from your website is by using Google AdSense. It allows you to display advertisement on your food blog and earn money when your users click on those ads.
Adding Google AdSense to your website is super easy and requires no coding skills at all. See our guide on how to properly add Google AdSense to your WordPress blog for step by step instructions.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another way to generate an income stream from your food blog. Basically you add links to affiliate products from your recipes and blog posts. Every time someone purchases those products using your link, then you will earn a commission.
You will need to find food related affiliate products first. Many top websites in the food industry offer affiliate programs. You can also join Amazon’s affiliate program and start recommending products from the world’s largest eCommerce store.
See our list of the best affiliate marketing tools and plugins that you can use on your food blog to boost your affiliate earnings.
For more monetization tips, see our article on how to make money online from your WordPress blog.
Step 6. How to Get More Traffic to Your Food Blog
Your food blog’s earnings directly depend on your website’s traffic. More users visiting your website means more earnings, brand recognition, and success for your website.
Here are some tips to get more visitors to your website.
Start Building an Email List
More than 75% of visitors who visit your website, will not come back again. There is nothing wrong with your website. It’s just that there is so much content on the internet that your website disappears like a needle in the haystack.
Email marketing allows you to capture those users as subscribers, so that you can reach them via email and bring them back to your website.
See our guide on why you should start building your email list right away. Once you set up an email marketing solution, then check out our guide on how to do lead generation in WordPress. It will help you grow your email list like a total pro.
Create a YouTube Channel
When it comes to food, videos are a lot more engaging than text. This is where YouTube comes in. It is not only the largest video sharing website in the world, it is also the second biggest search engine and the second most active social media platform in the world.
Creating a YouTube channel not allows you to add video recipes to your blog, it also helps you find new users who can become active subscribers, and your most engaged fans.
Utilize Instagram to Drive Traffic
Food pics are instant hits among Instagram viewers. The popular photo and video sharing platform is rapidly growing and has very high engagement.
Upload your food photos and use hashtags, so that Instagram users can discover your photos. Easiest way to grow your Instagram following is by sharing your Instagram photos in WordPress.
There are many ways to bring more users to your food blog. See more tips to drive traffic to your new WordPress blog.
Step 7. Learning WordPress with More Resources
As you start using WordPress, you will quickly discover new things. Some of these new things may look too technical or complicated. That’s where we can help.
WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site in the world for beginners.
Our goal is to provide helpful content that is easy to understand for beginners, business owners, and bloggers.
To expand your WordPress knowledge, you should check out:
- WPBeginner Dictionary – The best place for beginners to start and familiarize themselves with the WordPress lingo
- WPBeginner Videos – New to WordPress? Watch these 23 videos to master WordPress.
- WPBeginner Blog – The central place for all our WordPress tutorials.
You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel where we regularly share video tutorials to help you learn WordPress.
We hope this article helped you learn how to start a food blog and make money from your recipes. You may also want to see our complete step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.