If there’s one thing we all love, it’s eating. If you’re especially passionate about cuisine, you’ve probably thought about starting your own food blog at some point. The problem is, making the jump from the kitchen to the web can be tricky.
Fortunately, starting a food blog has never been easier. Thanks to WordPress, you can set up a website and begin sharing your recipes with the rest of the world in a matter of hours.
Learning how to start a food blog with WordPress boils down to four simple steps:
- Set up a new WordPress website with a web hosting account and domain name, such as Bluehost (free domain with Bluehost, $3-5/month hosting)
- Choose and install a theme for food blogs (such as Kale Pro ($35) or a free food blog theme)
- Install all the plugins you’ll need (mostly free)
- Publish your first recipe or post.
In this tutorial, we’re going to teach you how to start a food blog and publish your first recipe or post using WordPress. Put on your apron and let’s get cooking!
What You Need to Know Before You Start a Food Blog
Chances are you’re already a talented cook, which is perhaps the most important part of starting a food blog. However, running a successful website requires a lot more than just talent in the kitchen. Food blogs come in all shapes and sizes and can cover a variety of types of content including:
- Recipes for your favorite dishes that readers can replicate at home
- Restaurant reviews to highlight your go-to culinary establishments
- Food photo blogging, which involves sharing mouth-watering images of completed meals
- Tutorials on specific techniques (such as separating egg whites or properly slicing vegetables)
- Tips for sharing general nutritional advice or specific diets (such as vegetarianism or the Keto Diet)
You might specialize in one type of content, or mix and match styles to create a more comprehensive blog.
Every successful blog needs a solid foundation, beginning with a proper business plan. With WordPress, you’re off to a great start as it is the perfect platform. However, you also need a theme that makes your work easier. Ideally, you’ll choose one that includes useful attributes for your niche.
For food blogs, some of those features might include unique recipe layouts, Instagram integration to display your latest creations, and more:
If this is your first time starting a blog, then you may not know where to begin with. In the next section, we’ll guide you through the process from the top, going over the basics your blog requires to succeed.
How to Start a Food Blog (In 4 Steps)
Before you can get to work uploading your amazing food pictures and publishing original recipes, you need to take care of the fundamentals of setting up your site. By that, we mean finding a web host, registering a domain, and setting up a WordPress website. Let’s get to it!
Step 1: Set Up a New WordPress Website
For your food blog to be accessible to the public, you’ll need two basic elements:
- A domain name: The address users will type into their browsers to reach your site’s homepage.
- A web hosting account: Provides a server that stores your site and enables browsers such as Google Chrome to access it.
We recommend Bluehost for both of these necessities. Registering a domain is simple, as long as you already have one in mind. To get started, search for an available web address:
Once you find one, you’ll need to pay to register it. As a rule of thumb, .com domains cost around $10 to register for a single year. Keep in mind that you’ll need to renew it annually. It should cost the same each year (unless you originally purchased the domain during a sale).
Next, you’ll need to select a hosting plan. For a basic food blog, a standard shared plan should do the trick.
Many hosting providers, including Bluehost, offer budget plans geared towards WordPress users around the $4-per-month mark:
Once your food blog starts receiving a decent amount of traffic, you may want to upgrade to a more powerful hosting plan. However, there’s no need to break the bank initially.
If you’re using Bluehost, they’ll automatically set up WordPress alongside your hosting plan, so you can get to work right away. For other web hosts, your provider may offer a setup wizard to guide you through the process or you may need to do so manually.
Once WordPress is installed, you can access to its famous dashboard:
This is where you’ll customize your site and write content for your food blog.
Step 2: Choose and Install a Theme for Food Blogs
WordPress themes are style templates that enable you to get your website looking precisely the way you want. Your new WordPress installation will come with a handful of default themes such as Twenty Twenty:
Some themes only focus on style, whereas others offer more comprehensive solutions. Kale Pro, for example, includes features useful for food blogs, such as custom templates for recipe indexes, built-in email signup forms, and more:
There are literally thousands of themes, both free and premium, to choose from. One place to start looking for yours is the WordPress Theme Repository. You can also review our recommended list of free food blog themes.
We also regularly share theme roundups on our blog, so keep an eye out if you’re in the market for one. Throughout the rest of this tutorial, we’re going to use Kale Pro.
Once you’ve chosen your theme, you need to install it. To do so, navigate to Appearance > Themes in your dashboard and click on the Add New button. Here you’ll see an Upload Theme button:
When you download a theme from the WordPress Theme Repository or a developer’s website, you’ll get a .zip file which you can upload here. There’s also a search bar on the Themes page of your dashboard that you can use to browse the free theme options.
Once you upload your theme, you can activate it from the Themes page by clicking on the Activate button next to its name:
With a theme up and running, the way your site looks should change right away. However, you can tweak almost every element of most themes using a WordPress tool known as the Customizer. After a little tweaking, here’s what our food blog homepage looks like:
Now that our food blog is starting to take shape, let’s talk about plugins before we move on to publishing your first recipe.
Step 3: Install the Plugins You’ll Need
With plugins, you can easily add features that WordPress doesn’t include. Depending on which theme you use, you might already have some of the niche functionality your food blog needs. For example, Kale Pro includes a custom recipe shortcode builder.
However, for it to work, you’ll need to use the WordPress Classic Editor:
The latest versions of WordPress use the Block Editor by default. With the right plugin, you can switch to the Classic Editor in minutes. To do so, go to the Plugins page in your dashboard and click on the Add New button. Then, use the search bar to look for the Classic Editor plugin, as seen below:
Click on the Install Now button under its name, then click on Activate to complete the process. The Classic Editor will then become available for any posts or pages you work on.
That same process applies for any other plugin you want to set up. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the options, you might take a look at some of the most common plugin categories, including:
- Security: Plugins that scan your site for malware, prevent hackers from stealing data, and other similar tasks. We recommend WordFence.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Tools that share suggestions on how to improve your content to make it more likely that it will rank highly in Google results. We recommend Yoast SEO.
- Performance: These plugins will help you optimize your media files and code so your pages load faster.
- Backup: Some hosts take care of backups for you, but you should also take matters into your own hands. A good option is VaultPress and UpdraftPlus.
Most people spend a lot of time browsing plugins when they first set up WordPress. We recommend you do the same.
Step 4: Publish Your First Recipe or Post
Now you’re ready to get to work on your first recipe. In your dashboard, navigate to Posts > Add New. If you’re using Kale Pro and you have the Classic Editor plugin active, here’s what you’ll see:
The field at the top of the page is where you should add your headline. Just beneath that is the post’s ‘permalink’, or URL. You can change it by clicking on the Edit button to the right.
Below that you have the main text editor and toolbar. Clicking on the carrot icon shown above will open a shortcode generator, which you can use to put together a recipe using Kale Pro’s custom styles:
With the shortcode builder, you can add images, serving size and prep time information, difficulty level, and of course the steps readers need to carry out to recreate your dish.
When you’re done, you can preview your recipe before publishing it by clicking on the Preview button at the top of the Editor. Here’s a quick glimpse of what Kale Pro recipes can look like:
The level of detail you put into your recipes is up to you. However, with a food blog, the more specific you are, the better. After all, readers can’t smell or taste the dishes you’re featuring. They rely entirely on your instructions and the photographs you upload, so more information is always appreciated.
Of course, at the beginning of this post, we described several types of content you can publish on your food blog. Apart from recipes, you can easily create most other posts you might want to write in the Classic Editor or the Block Editor. In either case, all you have to do is start typing.
If you’re using WordPress, creating a food blog isn’t all that complicated. You can spend a lot of time getting your blog looking precisely how you want it, but at the end of the day, what matters is how appealing your recipes and your images are.
What’s the first recipe you’ll write about once your food blog is up and running? Share your creations with us in the comments section below!