The Truth About Starting a Food Blog or Recipe Blog
There is so much information online these days and it’s a great source for learning new stuff. But, I thought I would give you the truth about starting a food blog right here. I’ll try and help you out as much as I can for my experience level but, above all, I will give you my honest opinion. I'll answer things like;
- Is it worth starting a blog?
- Is it too late to start a blog?
- Can I make money from a food blog?
- How do I actually start?
There are a few affiliate links in this post too. Which means i may receive a small commission if you click on the link then later make a purchase. More on that later!
First, let me tell you how my blogging journey began...
I contemplated a food blog back in 2012 when I had my first baby. Unfortunately, it took me 4 years to actually get my ass in gear and do it. Probably my biggest regret is waiting so long, but hey, better late than never.
An avid cook, I love anything to do with food and always wanted to find a way to be involved with food without actually being a chef. I knew I would never have been able to cope with the stress of a commercial kitchen. Tried it a couple of times, but, it definitely wasn't for me.
I decided that food and cooking would be my hobby and that’s how it stayed for many years (check out my blog diary to find out more about me and my families story).
After the birth of my second child...
I decided it was the time to really concentrate on forming a career that would allow me to work from anywhere in the world. It was our dream to move abroad so I needed to create an income for the whole family in the future if need be.
So the decision was made I indeed, was going to start a food blog. I had no idea what on earth I was doing, I didn't even know how these blog things make money. But, what I did know is that I was going to find out! And, with hours upon hours of research, that's what I did.
I have always heard influences like Jim Rhone and Tony Robbins say if you follow your passion instead of focusing on making money, you will find ways to be financially successful along the way and you will be a whole lot happier too. Let me tell you these are the truest words ever spoken.
I enjoy every part of my work now, from creating recipes, photography, filming videos, and all of the technical stuff too. I actually get excited to get up in the morning and get on with everything that needs to be done.
One thing about starting a blog, there is a lot to learn. You need to be prepared to wear many hats and learn the whole process inside out! And, let me tell you something else! You will never stop learning. Because, if you do, you might just get left behind. What worked 5 years ago (or 5 months ago for that matter) may not work now.
So that brings me swiftly on to the next question...
Is it still worth starting a cooking blog (or any other blog for that matter)?
You need to ask yourself this 1 question. Is your blog subject a true, deep down, in the bottom of your belly passion? If yes then I say go for it! If not I recommend a re-think. So much hard work and time go into building up a blog. I firmly believe if the subject is not something that truly excites you then you are going to struggle to keep up the daily grind that is required to be successful.
You must remember that it takes daily work for months and months on end with very little reward to get a niche website up and running and gaining traffic. That being said if you do work hard and stick around for the long haul then it can be very very rewarding.
Is it too late to start a blog?
Hell no! Is it too late to become a plumber or a cook? This is one of the main reasons for me to write The Truth About Starting a Food Blog. Just because the internet has been around for a while now does not mean it is too late. There are thousands of new users every day and current users consume more and more media online. It’s definitely not too late!
Can I make money from a food blog?
Of course, you can make money from any type of blog. You have to be smart about it though, the days where you can just slap some ads on a website and earn a living are well gone. Advertisers are being pickier than ever and ads are just not the most effective way to earn money online.
A better way is to sell your own products or indeed someone else’s products and have them pay you a commission. This is known as affiliate marketing and is the most lucrative way (at the time of writing) to earn money online without having to have a massive audience. Which is clearly beneficial, especially in the early years.
If you are looking for some numbers I know of food blogs earning up to $80,000 - $120,000+ per month. They have generally been up and running for 7-10 years to get to this stage. There seems to be a pattern that around the 2-year mark after starting a food blog is when most people start to make a decent income (anything from $2000-$5000 per month) all very decent figures I know, but please don’t underestimate the work any of these people have put it. (these figures are not typical, but they are possible!)
Personally, my favourite food blog is Pinch of Yum. If by some miracle you haven't visited that site yet, I suggest you do so now. There is so much to learn from Lindsay and Bjork (the creators). So much so, they have made a whole other website called Food Blogger Pro, which is dedicated to helping people just like us to create a Food Blog and to be successful in every aspect of the process and to be honest I don't think I would have got this far so quickly without it.
The Food Blogger Pro website provides training videos on every aspect of starting, growing and monetising a blog. There is loads of support available, and a forum so you can discuss anything from social media to food photography with people who have all been there at one time or another. They only open registration every now and again but it’s well worth the wait. Register your interest now if you want to learn Blogging fast!
The Truth About Starting a Food Blog - How do I actually start?
Well definitely, Food Blogger Pro will see you through the whole process but if you wish to go it alone there are few steps and recommendations I can give you.
- Set up a wordpress.org account - If you are really serious about your blogging as a way to make money you defiantly want to opt for this option. There are cheaper and easier routes but they will not give you the functionality and vast options you have with a WordPress site. If you want to be able to take care of SEO, add ads and add links for affiliate marketing WordPress is the absolute best option.
- Find a host service - I recommend starting a food blog with Bluehost, they may not be where you stay forever but for beginners, they are definitely the best out there at a decent price. I’ve now upgraded and that will be a natural step for you too, but most people find Bluehost a great place to start. Simple to set up and fast enough for the first year or 2 blogging. Check out my next blog post on How to Start a food blog with Blue Host
- Build your site (or have someone else build it) - I guess this option depends on how serious you are about starting a food blog. And, of course, your skill set. To be honest I built my first site by myself but failed to secure it well and then ended up paying someone else to do it. Needless to say, I now wish I had just done that in the first place! I highly recommend Codeable. The service I received from the freelancer who built my website was amazing and I still work with him now. I spent more money than I should have done to have my site designed and built but, I’m so glad I did.
- Write good content - and more importantly publish on your website on a regular basis. I find most bloggers recommend 2-4 posts per week. Some people say daily is too much for a blog as the quality might suffer. However, I really feel viewing numbers soar when I'm putting out daily content. I guess this depends on the length of your posts as well as many other factors. This is something that you will get a feel for once you start publishing your posts. Food bloggers opinions vary massively on this subject, so find your own sweet spot.
- Practice photography and Videography - let's be honest the first thing any of us notice, whether in magazines, books, or any other media for that matter is the photographs or even more so now its video. When starting a food blog I would say this is the number one requirement to get people interested. You need to stand out from the crowd on Social Media to entice people to click on your recipes and read your content. I was a complete novice in this area and the best advice I can give is Practice Practice Practice. If you need some help YouTube is a great place to find tutorials and again, Food Blogger Pro saved my blogging life with their amazing tutorials. Producing Food Videos is something I offer on a freelance basis to top up my income while growing my food blog. Offering a service like this can give you extra cash and flexibility while improving your skills too.
- Grow your audience - This is when it might be good to settle for less content each week and focus your time on pushing your content wherever you can. This topic deserves a whole other post in great detail which I will provide later. In short, you need to get your content out there online on as many platforms and websites as possible. Personally, I WhatsApp all my friends and family with my post first they are like my proofreaders. Then I share across all social media platforms. I will then apply to a few food sharing websites like Food Gawker etc. And if I can find some time after all of that I will drop in on some forum conversations and get my links out there. Please, no spammy messages. You want to build connections so people actually care who you are and what you do.
- Monetise your site. I’m sure you have heard of making money from advertising on blogs and YouTube etc. However, the truth is you need like a gazillion readers to make much money this way. I think this is why most people give up on starting a food blog far too quickly. I made a grand total of $7.68 in ad revenue in 6 months when I built my first blog. Sure, some people earn money quickly but ads are not the best way to do it. As mentioned previously affiliate marketing is one of if not the best way to earn money from your website at the moment. It's also essential for to mention, you must start building your email list NOW! This is so important as no matter what happens with google or social media you will have your list forever. Then, you need to find an amazing product you know and love and sell it to your list. Simple, but not always easy!
So that's all folks, The truth about starting a food blog! As well as a very basic outline of all the steps required to start and grow your own food blog. I hope you are inspired to begin. If nothing else it's wonderful to have a record of all your thoughts and favourite things. However, what you could end up with is a career doing something you truly love every day! Not too bad at all!