How to Start a Food Blog
A how-to guide for starting a food blog with tips for how to work from home and make an income from your blog.
I started food blogging in April of 2010. When I started Kristine’s Kitchen, it was purely as a hobby. I had no idea how to grow a blog. I never thought I would someday quit my job as a teacher and make more money blogging part-time than I ever did teaching.
To start, I simply shared recipes that I loved. If blogging itself and helping others through sharing your content are your end goals, that is awesome. But if you also want to bring more traffic to your website, reach more people, and earn an income online, then keep reading.
I made so many mistakes in my first few years of blogging. Looking back, I wonder where my business would be today if I had been intentional about growing my brand and business from the start.
I’d love to help you get off to a running start with your food blog. I’ve compiled these tips and resources to help you start a blog that is professional, continuously growing, and has the potential to earn a full-time income.
The Four Steps to Starting a Food Blog and Making Money Blogging:
Step # 1 – Get WordPress Hosting
First, you have to start your blog. That brings us to my first mistake. I started my food blog for free at WordPress.com. Bad idea. All the bloggers I know that make money with their blog do not use a free blog site. Free blog sites, even with paid add-ons, severely limit the functionality of your blog and your ability to make money from it.
Instead, I recommend that you spend a few dollars a month on a web host that will run the full-featured version of WordPress for you.
To get web hosting and start your blog today, you can follow this easy guide that I helped write on how to start a blog. It should only take about 15 minutes to get your blog set up. After the initial setup, the guide will walk you through the basics of themes, plugins and even writing your first post and marketing it on social media!
Step # 2 – Creating Content for Your Blog
After you have your blog set up, the next step is to start creating content. Don’t make the same mistake I made when I started my blog. I started by making recipes out of a magazine and linking to the magazine. My content was unoriginal, uninspiring and no one really came to my site to read it.
Make unique content that you will be proud of from the start. Try to create content that other people (not just you) will be interested in.
Quality content is better than the quantity of content. Visual appeal is very important for a food blog so, practice with your camera and take great pictures to include in your posts. This food photography ebook is a great guide to lighting, composition, and editing of your photos even if your blog isn’t about food.
Resources to jump-start your content creation:
Step #3 – Promoting Your Content
Social Media Promotion
It takes time for a new blog to rank in Google. According to a study by Ahrefs.com, only 22% of pages in the top 10 results on Google are less than a year old. The average time it took those new pages to start ranking in the top ten was between 61 and 182 days.
How did those pages break the top ten in Google? Most are quality content AND the author promoted the content frequently across social media. Content promotion earns links from other sites which helps new content rank in Google.
You absolutely have to get out there and promote yourself and your blog on social media and to other bloggers.
Can you guess who was the last person among her blogging friends to make a Facebook page and a Pinterest account for their food blog? You guessed right! Mistake number 3 by me.
Don’t make the same mistake I did. Promote early and promote often. Network with other bloggers in your niche. Make social media accounts for your blog name and tirelessly promote your blog content on social media. Comment on other blogs in your niche. Join Facebook groups and Pinterest group boards.
Help with Promoting your Blog on Social Media:
Also critical to promoting your content is to start building an email list from the start. Email lists do cost money so you may be reluctant to start one. I have great news, you can start an email list and collect up to 1,000 subscribers and send them thousands of emails a month for free with Mailerlite! Mailerlite also gives you tools to design email capture forms, landing pages, and beautiful newsletters.
About a year ago, I migrated my email list to another service called ConvertKit. I chose ConvertKit because it focuses on selling products such as eBooks and that is a focus of mine. You can read about my experience switching to ConvertKit and you can sign up for a free trial of ConvertKit here.
I don’t recommend that you start with ConvertKit unless you already have an established blog with an email list or products to sell.
Mailerlite is my recommendation for a new blogger to build their list. You can start your list with Mailerlite for free here.
Try to keep in touch with your email list two to three times a week. Provide value in every email. Even if you don’t have three new pieces of content, you can provide value in other ways. For example, I send out an email every Friday with meal planning ideas for the next week with links to all the recipes. This not only brings more traffic to my website, it also engages and helps the people on my email list.
Make a plan to engage your email list with these helpful tips:
Step # 4 – Making Money Blogging
There are four common ways most food bloggers make money. Diversify your income with multiple strategies.
The easiest and most common way for a food blog or any blog with some traffic to make money is with ads. Advertising income is directly proportional to how many visitors your site receives. This income is passive. Even if you take a month off from blogging, you still make money from the ads shown on your blog.
When I started out, I tried to manage the ads myself from self-serve networks like Media.net and Google Adsense. It was a headache, highly technical and I was not happy with the money I made.
Then, I discovered there were companies out there that specialized in managing WordPress advertising. While these companies do take a cut of the revenue as a fee, their management and optimization have resulted in every blogger I know doubling, tripling or even quadrupling their income versus trying to manage the ads themselves. It’s really a no brainer: don’t try to manage the ads yourself.
Currently, most bloggers that I know or have met at a conference (hundreds of them) that are making money blogging are using an advertising partner like Mediavine.com or AdThrive.com. My site uses Mediavine advertising. You need to apply to Mediavine or AdThrive and should have around 30,000 page views a month before applying.
Mediavine’s application is located here.
The second way most food bloggers make money is through sponsored work from brands. This can take on many forms, all of which include promoting a brand’s product on your site and/or across your social media accounts. Compensation varies and somewhat depends on your traffic, but even a modest blog could receive $1,000 for a single branded post with social shares. Top bloggers command much much more.
Affiliate Links and Commissions
A third common way food bloggers make money from their blogs is through affiliate links. Affiliate links are links that earn a commission when a visitor follows the link and buys a product from an online retailer.
By far, the simplest way to affiliate the links on your site is to signup for an account at Viglink and follow their instructions to install their WordPress plugin. Once the plugin is installed, any time you link to Amazon or hundreds of other retailers the link will be automatically affiliated and you will earn a commission if your visitors use your link to make a purchase.
I am looking at my Viglink Dashboard now and it looks like $300 worth of products were purchased on Amazon from my links yesterday earning me $10 in commissions. So easy, so passive, and it is no work beyond the initial set up of the plugin.
Digital Products and eBooks
Finally, many bloggers make money by selling eBooks, printables, subscriptions or other digital products.
You can see my eBooks here.
By far the easiest way to get started is to publish an eBook as a PDF file and sell it through Gumroad which is what I use for my eBooks. Gumroad handles all of the payment collection for you and deposits weekly into your bank account. All my eBooks are
If you are interested in digital product sales I recommend you either take Jeff Walkers PLF course (very expensive) or buy a copy of his book, Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online. I was able to increase my eBook sales several hundred percent just by reading his book and implementing the ideas discussed in it.