So you’ve decided to create a food blog? Learn from my mistakes and avoid these seven frequent new food blogging blunders so you can get started establishing your own successful food blog sooner.
So you’re thinking of starting a food blog? That’s fantastic! One of the most artistically fulfilling (and hard) things I’ve ever done was start a food blog. It’s been an incredible journey to watch a small website I began as a fun pastime grow into a flourishing side business that has allowed me to connect and share my passion for plant-based eating and sustainable living with individuals all over the globe.
Starting a blog, on the other hand, might be daunting. The days of posting a few iPhone photographs and a text about your meal on your blog and getting thousands of hits are gone.
To start a successful food blog today, you’ll need to master website administration, content planning, food photography, search engine optimization, and a slew of other talents. It is a difficult task!
That’s why I’m going to share the seven worst blunders I’ve made in my food writing career. I’d like to share some of the food blogging fallacies I believed and mistakes I made over the years so you may avoid them and take your blog to the next level RIGHT NOW.
Are you ready to learn from my errors and avoid the pitfalls that I encountered when beginning a food blog? Let’s get started!
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7 mistakes to avoid as a new food blogger
Mistake #1: Not using WordPress as your content management system for your culinary blog.
Why would you choose old school, clumsy WordPress over something bright and new like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly when there are so many website builders that make drag-and-drop easy?
I’ll tell you about my own food blog, Chez Thao, and how I learnt the hard way how vital it is to set up your food blog properly from the beginning.
I started Chez Thao in 2017, but it was only for fun. I ultimately decided to take things more seriously and created a new WordPress blog. I spent months learning how to get a domain name, install WordPress on my site, and create a food blog theme template.
Then I made the biggest error imaginable: I abandoned WordPress in favor of Squarespace.
I was intimidated by the learning curve of WordPress and needed something simple, so I was drawn to Squarespace’s drag-and-drop features. To be honest, I wasn’t publishing frequently and had no goal of turning my blog into a company, so I didn’t mind that I had little control over my SEO and couldn’t utilize recipe plugins to help my recipes get found by Google.
Mistake: I only wanted something that looked nice because I didn’t realize how important having control over my website’s backend is.
To cut a long story short, I realized that I was spending a lot of time writing content, but my website was preventing me from turning my passion into a company. So I made the difficult decision to return to WordPress, and it turned out to be the finest decision I’ve ever made in my food writing career.
Yes, it took time to migrate my material and much longer to learn the ins and outs of WordPress, but my pageviews have soared by 1000 percent since making the transition over two years ago.
THE TAKEAWAY: WordPress is a good place to start. Begin slowly, learn the platform, and improve each day. You must practice like any other talent, and one of them is learning everything there is to know about creating a food blog (though hopefully this post will help you shave some of that time down).
Mistake #2: failing to select a reputable internet host for your food blog.
Most novice food bloggers don’t have much spare money to spend on what may be a costly (and time-consuming) pastime at first. They go with the cheapest website host available and don’t care if their site is slow to load, which negatively impacts the reader’s experience and signals to Google that your site is difficult to find (which may mean lower search rankings and lower pageviews).
If you’re just getting started, you’ll probably have very little traffic at first, so there’s no use in spending a lot of money on pricey hosting until your site grows and requires more power. However, bear in mind that excellent website hosting is critical to the growth of your site, therefore you may need to invest a bit extra to avoid the website hosting duds.
Recommendations for Website Hosting
Start small with a reliable (but affordable) web host, then as your site grows and receives more traffic, change to a premium web host to ensure that your readers have the best possible experience on your site.
Here are the web hosts I’ve used and recommend:
I recommend it for genuine beginners since it’s quick to set up and inexpensive, which is crucial when you’re just getting started and don’t have any money coming in.
Incredible service. Offers wide range of services, site speed is super-fast and what is most important for me, support is very quick knowledgeable and helpful.
Bluehost is a great website host with very quick and helpful support, and it’s what I’ve been using for my sites.
A step-by-step guide to setting up your Bluehost hosting here.
Mistake #3: Not selecting a reputable food blog. Theme for WordPress from the beginning
Choosing your blog’s theme, or design, is one of the most exciting — and nerve-wracking — aspects of beginning a food blog. It’s critical to pick a good theme that is user (and Google) friendly, not only because it is your brand’s face to the world, but also because it is your brand’s face to the world.
What do you do when there are hundreds of blog themes to select from? As someone who has changed their theme a dozen times since starting (no joke), I’ve discovered that the following factors are crucial when selecting a theme:
Is the theme created by a respected and accommodating designer? Nothing is more frustrating than getting your food blog up and running only to discover that the theme creator hasn’t updated it in a year and is no longer available for help. There are many lovely designs out there, but without assistance, you’re merely setting yourself up for future headaches.
Is the Gutenberg theme ready? WordPress just upgraded their blog editor to the Gutenberg block editor, which is similar to the Gutenberg block editor used by Wix and Squarespace. This implies that all themes created before the end of 2018 (when Gutenberg was launched) must be updated. As a result, make sure that any food blog themes you’re considering are Gutenberg compatible.
Is the theme designed specifically for food bloggers? Food blogging is distinct from other sorts of blogging, and using a theme designed specifically for recipe bloggers may save you time (and money) by removing the need to engage developers to add features like recipe indexes and other food blog features. While you may certainly choose a non-food blog theme for your site, a food blogger theme will save you time and effort.
Do you want to see designs for food blogs? I strongly suggest:
17th Avenue Designs: I have used and suggest the Mia theme and the Vivienne theme.
Blossom Themes: I have used and suggest the Cookery theme and Blossom Recipe Pro theme.
Select a design that is SEO-friendly.
I’m no SEO guru, but there are a few things I’ve learned along the way that are SEO best practices when it comes to picking a blog design.
Is there sufficient stuff above the fold? When a reader lands on your website, the content of your blog post (text and photographs) is shown above the fold, without them having to scroll down. When your site’s header picture is huge, it pushes the content down the page, forcing the viewer to scroll to get to the material they want to read. Enter your website’s address to see whether it has any material above the fold. Make sure you test on mobile, as mobile will likely account for around 75% of your traffic.
Is there a sidebar on it? Although most food blogs feature sidebars, more current designs are deleting them. While attractive design attracts visitors, a sidebar allows them to see who you, the blog owner, are as soon as they arrive on the page. It’s also a good place to point your reader to other relevant parts of your site, which helps with SEO. A sidebar is also a great place to put adverts that will make your site money if you’re monetizing through display ads.
Is it compatible with mobile devices? Search engines have shifted to a mobile-first ranking system, which means they will rank your site and content depending on how well they perform on mobile devices. This implies that your site must be mobile-friendly, speedy, and simple to use. Always test a food blog theme on a mobile device to ensure it functions properly.
THE TAKEAWAY: Choosing a web design for your food blog doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow the guidelines above. So pick a topic that you like and start sharing your finest culinary creations!
Mistake #4: Excessive use of plugins
One of the most common errors made by beginner food bloggers is downloading all of the plugins. While plugins are a great way to add functionality to your site, having too many of them might slow down your site and cause problems with how it performs.
When I originally launched Chez Thao, I made the error of having too many plugins. I learned about plugins that other bloggers were using and downloaded them all without knowing what they did or how they affected my site.
Too many plugins caused poor site speeds and damaged functionality, which I didn’t notice until I spent hours uninstalling and reactivating them to determine out which of my 30 plugins was causing the problems.
THE DELIVERY SERVICE: Keep your plugins to a bare minimum, and take a few minutes every month or quarter to make sure they’re up to date and running correctly.
Mistake #5: Starting your email list from scratch right now.
If you’ve been reading blogging how-to manuals, you’ve undoubtedly heard that building an email list is crucial, but you’ve probably never done it. If you have, you’ve probably just used it to send out an RSS feed to your subscribers. It’s a blunder to do so.
When I initially started writing, I made the mistake of not correctly setting up my email list. I was collecting emails using a sign-up form in my sidebar, but I never contacted individuals who had opted in to get additional information from me, and I never made an attempt to actively increase my list or establish a community around the site.
Unlike social media, where your followers seldom see your material owing to algorithms, email lists are vital since readers join up to hear more from you directly. Email allows you to engage with readers in a more personal way (to their inbox), establishing a personal relationship and fostering a feeling of community around your site.
You also own your email list, unlike your social media followers. So, regardless of what happens to Instagram or Facebook’s algorithms, you’ll always have your list of genuine followers with whom you can communicate personally.
What’s the best way to grow your email list?
Connect your opt-in forms to an email service provider, such as MailChimp or Convertkit (for genuine novices) (which should be built in to your website if you chose a solid theme). You can also provide a free recipe e-book or guide that solves an issue that your ideal reader has — I use a free weekly meal planning guide — as an incentive for people to join up.
After that, give your viewers something useful to read. Write material that your ideal reader would appreciate, and then invite them to join your inner community by sending out free resources, essential blog post updates, and other information that they wouldn’t ordinarily discover on your site. Check in with them on a regular basis, and you’ll discover that creating a blog community is well worth the effort!
THE TAKEAWAY: Don’t put it off, start building your email list now. Consider it an integral element of your blog’s content rather than something you do on the spur of the moment. Decide how frequently you’ll email your list, what you’ll send them, and how you’ll add value beyond your blog articles to make your email subscribers feel like insiders.
Mistake #6: Not registering for Food Blogger Pro right away.
One of the most common mistakes rookie food bloggers make is going it alone and not asking for support from other food bloggers. Because the majority of your work is likely done in your sweats on the sofa, blogging can be a rather isolated business.
Mistake #7: Having a sporadic posting schedule
You’ve completed all of the steps necessary to launch your food blog, including securing a website host, installing WordPress, selecting a food blog theme, and creating an email account. So, what’s next?
It’s now time to start writing content for your culinary blog. But what should you post, and when should you post it?
One of the most common blunders made by beginner (and even experienced) food bloggers is to “post and ghost,” or to publish a few recipes or articles and then vanish. Inconsistency in your blog post schedule is a guaranteed way to lose followers and stifle your site’s growth.
In my food blogging career, I’ve been guilty of the “post and ghost approach” several times. I’ll publish frequently for a month or two, and my traffic and email list will begin to expand. Then life gets in the way, and the blog gets pushed to the back burner, and I go weeks without updating.
However, over the previous five years, I’ve learnt that consistency is crucial. Building a blog takes time, but the best way to accomplish it is to provide high-quality content on a regular basis that solves problems for your target reader.
There’s no faster way to lose your audience than to disappear for weeks, if not months.
How do you keep your food blog material consistent?
Make a content schedule! There are a variety of methods to achieve this, either on paper or using a scheduling application like Asana or CoSchedule, but the idea is to:
Decide on a posting schedule: Many people ask me how often they should post in blogging forums, and my answer is that the optimal post frequency is one that you can maintain on a regular basis without losing your sanity or sacrificing article quality. It’s up to you and your blog whether you post once, twice, or seven times a week. When life becomes chaotic and blogging isn’t feasible, I’ve found that working a week or even two ahead (in an ideal world, I’d be a month ahead!) helps.
Make a list of subjects for your posts: Make a list of all the conceivable subjects that someone who wants to learn more about your niche would need to know about the sort of cuisine your blog is about or the recipes that match your specialty. While recipes and other food-related content will most likely take up the majority of your blog, don’t forget the non-recipe-related themes.
Make a timetable for working on your blog: If you’re a rookie food blogger, you’re probably working full-time or have other commitments, and blogging is something you do on the side. It’s critical to schedule time to work on your site every day or every week if you want to see it expand, so do so and treat it like any other appointment or job.
Know when to take a break: Because there is SO MUCH to do to develop a great site, blogging fatigue is a real thing. Learn to see the signs of burnout before they happen and take a break from your work. Taking a mental vacation from work will allow you to return rejuvenated and ready to continue generating fantastic material.
THE TAKEAWAY: Make an effort to be structured and consistent. Determine how frequently you’ll post and set up time to prepare ahead of time. When it comes to material, go beyond the box; there are many things you may cover that aren’t recipes. And recognize when it’s time to take a break; take a break so you can return refreshed and ready to face even more expansion.
Last but not least, stay the course.
As you begin your food blogging adventure, keep in mind that it takes time to develop a successful blog, and you will make errors along the road, but you will also learn a lot and grow as a company owner. Consider your inevitable blogging difficulties as learning opportunities on your way to becoming a professional blogger!