Are you looking to start a food blog? From plugins to photography tools, this post lists some essential resources for food bloggers.
When I started blogging, I felt a little overwhelmed.
Okay—I felt very overwhelmed.
I had this vision of what I wanted The Baker’s Almanac to be, but I had no idea how to get there. I spent hours and hours scouring through tons of food blogs, looking for inspiration.
Slowly but surely, I starting implementing certain tools and products, and I began to learn what leads to success in the food blogging niche.
For others hoping to grow their food blogs, I wanted to share everything that I personally use for The Baker’s Almanac from WordPress plugins to photography tools. I hope that you can use this post as a resource in growing your blog or business.
Website and Hosting
If you're just setting up your blog, you should definitely start here! Here's a breakdown of what I personally use for The Baker's Almanac:
There are a few blogging platforms out there, but I personally use WordPress.org for my blog. It's really easy to use and has lots of customization options.
A lot of the resources listed below are specifically for WordPress blogs, so I'd definitely recommend setting your website up on there.
I recently switched my hosting over to BigScoots, and I'm so happy I did! BigScoots actually handled the entire migration process for me, and my site speed has dramatically increased. If you're looking for a good option for hosting, I'd definitely recommend checking them out.
When setting up your blog on WordPress, you need to use a framework. Frameworks contain the core code that covers the basic features and design elements for your website.
For my blog, I use the Genesis framework, and the creators of it have lots of tutorials that can help you get started. In terms of the theme for my blog, I use the Feast Plugin and love how it looks.
Essential Plugins and Tools
Once you have your blog set up, there are a few essential plugins I would recommend installing, including:
When publishing content online, it's really important to think about SEO (search engine optimization), and that's where Yoast SEO comes in.
This plugin helps you optimize all your posts to ensure that they are SEO friendly. For my blog, one of my biggest sources of traffic is Google, so I really make an effort to optimize my posts as much as possible.
In case you're interested in learning more about Yoast SEO, this article goes into a bit more detail.
This is one of the first places you should look at when building your blog. Google Analytics lets you track your website traffic, demographics, and more, and it's completely free to use. They also have an app, and I love to check up on my stats on my phone from time-to-time.
If you're a food blogger, you need to be using a recipe plugin! And this is hands down the best recipe plugin I've found (and I've tried a few). This plugin is made by the same team behind Food Blogger Pro, so I guess you can say I trust them with my whole blog.
I love this recipe plugin because it is completely optimized for Google and SEO. The plugin also has a lot of other cool features that I love like recipe scaling and print options.
In my opinion, this tool is essential for food bloggers making recipes. With Nutrifox, you can easily import a recipe, and it creates a nutrition label for that recipe within seconds.
I then easily embed this nutrition label onto my recipe, and readers can see it when reading the blog post. I love being able to provide this kind of valuable information to my readers, and Nutrifox offers the best solution I have seen.
Over the course of my blogging journey, I've quickly learned how important site speed is. And when I first started blogging, I was uploading images that were waaaaay too big.
But that's where ShortPixel comes in! This plugin automatically optimizes the images that you upload to your site, which helps improve your site speed and your website's SEO ranking.
Here on my blog, I have a few blog posts that include tables. I searched for a long time to find the best plugin for this, and I finally settled on TablePress.
Besides letting you create and manage tables on your website without any coding knowledge, TablePress also has some cool features like live sorting, pagination, searching, and more.
Here are a few posts that showcase how the plugin works:
When it comes to food blogging, Pinterest is the place to be.
I've done a lot of research about Pinterest, and it seems that the experts generally agree you should be pinning new content at least 10-15 times per day. But who has time to do that all day, every day?
To keep on top of Pinterest, I love using Tailwind. It's a Pinterest scheduling app, and it lets you decide how often you want to pin, which makes life that much easier!
One of my big goals for 2020 was to get accepted into Mediavine, and I'm so happy to say that I did! In case you're not familiar with Mediavine, it's a full-service management ad network that you can join to start monetizing your blog with ads.
Right now, the bulk of my blog income comes from ads, and that's all thanks to Mediavine. If you're interested in applying for yourself, you can do so here.
I recently added Slickstream to my blog, and I've been loving it so far. It creates a more streamlined search process, and it recommends content to users in various areas (such as in the top bar and below individual posts). Overall, it helps readers stay engaged and clicking around on your site for longer periods of time.
Resources to Grow and Learn
One of my personal goals in life is to never stop learning. And when it comes to blogging, there is so much to learn! That's where these awesome platforms come in:
Out of everything, I think joining FBP was the best decision I ever made when it came to my blog. I started off by listening to the Food Blogger Pro podcast in my spare time, and I quickly became obsessed.
After signing up for a FBP membership, I spent hours and hours going through their 300+ informational videos, and I loved reading through the threads on the forums. Honestly, it's just nice to feel like I'm not alone in this blogging world, and FBP exposed me to lots of people who understood what I was going through.
In 2020, I joined the FBP team as their Member Success Manager, and it's been so cool to see how everything runs on the other side. It's such an incredible community, and I can't recommend joining it more!
Above everything else, food photography has been the #1 thing that I've struggled with.
I decided to go through Foodtography School earlier in 2020, and I found it really valuable. It's a bit expensive, but it covers a lot of essential topics like composition, lighting, and pitching yourself to brands. Since going through the school, I definitely think my photos have improved, but I know I still have a lot more to learn.
Food Photography and Video Tools
Last but not least, I wanted to share some of my favorite tools for photography and video. Here's what I personally use for The Baker's Almanac:
Last year, I upgraded from a Canon EOS Rebel T3 to a Canon EOS 6D Mark II, and it was such a good investment for my business. This camera is a bit pricey, but the level of quality is amazing—I think it's a good option for intermediate photographers who want to level up their photography game.
On the topic of cameras, I personally like to use this 50mm lens for all of my food photos. It's not too expensive, and it lets you capture great overhead shots and lovely blurred out photos.
This is my go-to editing software! I use Lightroom to edit my photos, Premiere Pro to edit my videos, and Photoshop for graphics. Adobe offers a monthly subscription for all of their products, and it’s a really affordable option.
I also love using the Lightroom app on my phone when I’m on the go and editing photos for Instagram. There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to all of these programs, but I recommend just watching YouTube videos online if you’re doing it on a budget like me.
Everyone talks about how essential good cameras and equipment are for food blogging, but good memory cards are just as important. RAW files and video clips take up so much space, and you need a good memory card like this to hold it all.
I always like to have a backup memory card on hand if I run out of space. Nothing is worse than going to shoot a recipe and realizing I can’t do it because my memory card is full!
What About You?
I'd love to know — what are your favorite tools and resources for food bloggers?