American ExpressAmerican ExpressAmerican ExpressAmerican ExpressAmerican Express

How to Start a Food Blog: 8 Tips for Success

If you love studying recipes by day and dreaming of new dishes at night, you might be a food blogger in the making. Sure, there are lots of food blogs out there already, but there’s always room for a fresh, new and inspiring destination. Whether you want to start writing about vegan food, healthy cooking or another food-related topic you love, it’s easy to get started. Here’s our recipe for starting a food blog.

October 29, 2020 in Life

Couple eating popcorn in bed

Food blogging tip #1: Find your niche

“Niche” is just another way of saying “area of focus.” Of course, you can be a generalist and post whatever you feel like, but the general-recipes space is very crowded. Within a niche, there’s a good chance you’ll stand out — and never get bored.

 

To discover your niche, take a minute to write down your cooking strengths. Do family and friends rave about your vegan desserts? Maybe a vegan food blog is your thing. Are you passionate about nutrition? A healthy food blog will attract people like you. Obsessed with 1950s recipes? Go for a retro feel. Inspired readers will come back to your blog again and again, and you’ll build a loyal audience.

Food blogging tip #2: Research the competition

Now that you’ve narrowed down your niche, it’s time to look at who else is publishing a food blog on this topic. Search the web for your area of focus, such as “vegan food blogs,” and click on the first five or 10 results you see. Now answer these questions:

 

  • What do you like about these successful food blogs?
  • What do you dislike?
  • Is their branding (i.e., their emotional impact) clear or confusing?
  • Are their visual aspects (photos, colours, logos) consistent or scattered?
  • Do you know what you’re supposed to do on the site or are you lost?
  • Is the blog a pleasant overall experience? If not, how would you change it?

Use your answers to decide how the food blog you start will stand out from the competition. Focus on finding ways to show your strengths and create a website you and your readers will enjoy coming back to.

Food blogging tip #3: Find the right platform

Before getting technical, you need to get the terminology right. Learn these phrases before you shop around.

 

  • Platform: a system that manages your content (often called, not surprisingly, a content management system, or CMS)
  • Web hosting: a.k.a, the host provider, a business that helps your blog “live” on the internet, and where all your files are stored
  • Domain name: your food blog’s “www” address, or URL — like examplefoodblog.com

The best way to decide on a platform is to ask yourself if you’re confident in your website-management skills. If downloading a blog platform, uploading it to a host provider and managing your own backups and security sounds doable, then this method gives you the most control over your food blog’s look, feel and performance. A web host provider can usually help you register your blog’s domain name, too.

 

If all of the above sounds like a headache, don’t sweat it! Many platforms can do the web hosting, storage, security and everything else for you for an all-in-one fee. (Consider paying for it with your American Express Membership Rewards®–enrolled Card and you could earn points on eligible purchases.)

 

How do you start a food blog for free? Several platforms offer an introductory level. Two drawbacks of a free plan are limited storage space (which food photos can fill up fast) and restricted options for look and feel. However, free platforms are a risk-free way to test-drive the process. Many paid platforms also offer a trial period for free, so you can try out your food blog in their system before committing.

Food blogging tip #4: Choose a catchy name

Your food blog’s name should reflect your branding, or the emotional impact you want to have on your audience. It could be clever or funny, or a simple statement. Make sure the name is easy to spell and remember. And, above all else, make sure you love it. A unique name that no one else is using for their food blog is a plus, too, so there isn’t any confusion. Simple is best: Try to avoid hyphens or numbers, and remember that the shorter the name, the better.

 

Consider your food blog’s username on social media platforms, too. Try to keep your usernames consistent everywhere so there’s no mistaking who you are.

Food blogging tip #5: Find the readers you want

When you’re starting a food blog, a good way to share your content and find readers is by posting on social media platforms. Don’t forget to use hashtags your niche audience might be following, like #healthyfood, #veganfood, #baking or #southeastasianfood. It’s also a good idea to comment under your food blog’s username on other social media accounts. Creating a successful food blog isn’t just about posting your stories — it’s about connecting with readers and other food bloggers. The internet just is a big community after all, so why not be neighbourly?

 

Another way to keep people coming back to your food blog is to offer an e-newsletter. This can be as easy as repurposing a blog post into a snippet so readers will click through to your site for more, or you can give readers an entire post to show them an example of what to expect. Both approaches work well.

Food blogging tip #6: Define your goals and measure them

Success in food blogging can mean different things. Most blogs and websites measure it by the amount of traffic, or visitors, to the site. Tens of thousands of visitors won’t happen overnight (usually), but a steady uptick month over month is an attainable goal. Your chosen platform might offer analytics tools to help you see how many readers your food blog has and where they come from.

 

Bonus: You can use existing blog posts as promotional material to boost traffic. For example, if you published an amazing cookie recipe earlier in the year, promote it widely over the holiday season, when readers are actively searching for this kind of content.

Food blogging tip #7: Create good content

Readers want to trust that what you’re publishing on your food blog is accurate. This means focusing on the basics, like spelling and grammar, and making sure you get your facts right when you’re writing about people, products or other topics. Successful food blogs perform well because readers learned to trust that their recipes work out and taste good. Good-quality recipes usually have these things in common:

 

  • An organized ingredient list with precise measurements (offer both metric and imperial measurements to help widen your food blog’s audience beyond Canada, too)
  • Detailed instructions that walk readers through each step
  • Ingredients that match up with the instructions and vice-versa
  • A great photo of the final product
  • They’re easy for readers to replicate at home

Test and retest recipes for your readers to keep them coming back for more. With the American Express CobaltTM Card, you can earn 5x the points on eligible grocery purchases in Canada up to $30,000 annually1, making it easy to do just that.

Food blogging tip #8: Make a publishing schedule you can live with

Figure out how long it takes you to develop a new recipe, test it, enter the text into your blog template, edit and upload the photos and write a friendly post to accompany it. Can you do all this once a week? Or is once a month more realistic?

 

There’s also promotion, such as sharing your new food blog post over social media or sending out an e-newsletter. Can you fit this in daily? Weekly?

 

Don’t forget to build in holidays, sick days and life-happens days. Create a workflow that will keep your content fresh and fit into your lifestyle but not burn you out, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful food blog!

Explore Our Cards

American Express offers a range of Cards with different rewards and benefits tailored to your lifestyle and interests.