Top 20 Tips for Food Bloggers

Top 20 Tips For Food Blogging

I wish I had some magic secrets or shortcuts to share, but the truth is that food blogging is hard work. I receive questions about the subject fairly often, so I sat down to compile my best tips for food bloggers and ended up with an even twenty. You’ll be more likely to develop a successful food blog if you follow these guidelines.

1. Be authentic.
Post about what you love and produce the best content you possibly can.

2. Don’t give up.
Blog growth is slow at first and gains momentum as time goes on, assuming that you stick with it and do your best.

3. Post original content.
If visitors like what you do, they will keep coming back for more.

4. Show your personality!
Enthusiasm is infectious, so don’t be afraid to show it. One of the coolest things about blogging is that you can connect with people who share your undying love for, say, avocado on toast.

5. Make friends and help each other.
In other words, network! Connect and cultivate friendships with other bloggers who share your interests. Leave thoughtful comments on their blogs, chat with them on social media and promote their content.

6. Make yourself accessible.
Be present and responsive on social media as best you can.

7. Keep your site design clean and easy to navigate.
Clutter detracts from your content.

8. Make it easy for visitors to follow your blog.
Place links to RSS/email subscription and social media prominently on each page.

9. Make it easy to comment on your blog.
No CAPTCHAs or required logins, please. Find a way to let your commenters know that they are appreciated, whether that’s by emailing them privately, responding to their comment publicly or by commenting on their blogs.

10. Make it easy to share your content.
Provide social media sharing buttons at the end of each post. Say thank you when others promote your work.

11. Post fantastic recipes only.
You don’t want visitors to invest their time and ingredients into a recipe and end up disappointed, right? Better to let the blog go quiet for a few days than to post a recipe you can’t stand behind.

12. Cite your sources.
Always. Not cool: reposting recipes verbatim, posting other bloggers’ photos without permission. Cool: original recipes, sharing links to your inspiration, linking to further resources on the subject at hand.

13. Don’t sell out.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to make money off your blog, but don’t align yourself with a brand or project that isn’t a good fit. You are the company you keep. Focus on producing your best content and building your audience and the opportunities will come.

14. Post on a regular basis.
Whether that’s every day, once a week or once every other week, don’t let your blog look abandoned.

15. Get your own domain name.
If you want your blog to be taken seriously, just do it. You can buy a domain name for less than twenty dollars a year through GoDaddy.

16. Build a self-hosted wordpress blog.
That is, if you want full control over your design and content and plenty of room to grow. If you don’t know how to do these things, pay someone good to do it for you or shower your geeky friend with homemade cookies until he agrees. Find a step-by-step guide (and food blog design and web hosting tips) here.

17. Learn about search engine optimization.
SEO isn’t black magic; it’s about making your quality content findable. It’s important to understand and implement the basics. Here is Google’s SEO starter guide [PDF] and ZipList’s SEO tips for food bloggers [PDF].

18. Submit your posts to recipe submission sites.
It’s a great way to get new visitors to your blog. I submit my posts to Foodgawker, Tastespotting, Tasteologie and Finding Vegan (when applicable). Keep a text file that contains the submission information so it’s easy to copy and paste it onto each site. If your photo is rejected the first time around, edit it or choose a different photo and resubmit.

19. Learn how to take appetizing photos.
People are much more likely to want to eat, make, share and pin your recipes when they are presented alongside appealing photos. Find my food photography tips and equipment recommendations here.

20. Do what your mama told you.
This should go without saying, but be nice, be constructive, be respectful, be appreciative, be humble. Work hard.

 

Questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

More resources for food bloggers on Cookie and Kate

Additional food blog resources

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for all the great information! Two girlfriends and I just got a food blog started last month, and it can be so overwhelming. So nice to find this kind of info from people who have been there! :)

  2. says

    All great tips. Original content & great photography is so important, at least that’s what I care about when I look at other people’s food blogs. I need to be better with comments & SEO for sure!

  3. says

    Thanks so much for this. I’ll be spending time looking at all the links as well. Having just started my food blog, this is extremely helpful!

  4. says

    Can I add, make it easy to print out a recipe. It frustrates me to no end to find a recipe I really like the looks of, but there isn’t any easy way to print it out without all the extra stuff down the sidebars of a blog. I know there are sites I can copy the link into and then print from there (like Printfriendly), but in reality, chances are I’m not going to take that step.

  5. says

    “And then blog gods from the heavens above, thanked you for writing this post.” (Lol).

    I’m so new to blogging and have so much to learn. I feel like such a moron, at times. Thanks again.

  6. says

    Hi Kate, thank you so much for all your great advice! If you have a chance to check out my new blog, I would love that. Also, what is that delicious-looking stuff in the photo with the title of this post? Is it lemon curd?

  7. says

    Thanks for the tips Kate, really useful as a new blogger! Love your recipes, recently went vegetarian for a month and they were such an inspiration!

  8. says

    Thanks so much for sharing these tips! You inspired me to really start focusing on social media and accessibility. I haven’t really kept up with the times (how sad, right?) as far as Twitter, Instagram, BlogLovin, etc., but I know that in order to do this right, I need to figure that out and stop living in my own little blog bubble! This weekend is dedicated to tip #8 on this list. Thanks again for your thoughtful post. If you do have a chance to check out tastylittlecrouton.com, I’d love to get your feedback (I know my photos need a lot of work… I’m budgeting for a DSLR but working with an iPhone at the moment. Oh gosh!).
    Hope to talk to you soon,
    Katy

    • says

      Hey Katy, thanks for the comment! To be honest, I have the hardest time keeping up with social media and other blogs. I try, but some bloggers are so much better at it. I checked out your blog and it’s looking good! Your iPhone shots look good to me. I noticed a few of the featured post images on your home page are pixelated, so they aren’t being viewed in their full glory. That might be something worth figuring out. Stuffed poblanos, yum!

  9. says

    Kate, thanks so much for putting this list together and sharing. I just started my own food blog a few months ago, and there is so much to learn! Really great links on SEO in #17. I’ve been putting that off a little bit, but it’s time to tackle the bull by the horns!

  10. says

    These are great tips!
    I think people are so focused on promoting themselves that they forget to give back to the community so I really liked that suggestion :)

  11. says

    Thank you so much, Kate, for these awesome tips! I’m a *newish* food blogger and am looking to amp things up ;) I really appreciate all the advice, I’m going to go browse around some more now! Kelley

  12. Karie Fraley says

    This was really helpful thank you. I was feeling really discouraged this morning after being banned from veggie boards, apparently you can’t use it for promotional reasons. I should’ve done what my mama told me! Lol

  13. says

    Thank you so much for these amazing and fully comprehensive tips! It is all such useful info even though the thought of SEO is a bit daunting! Thank you, thank you

  14. Amanda says

    Hi Kate! I just found you via an internet search for food blogging newbies…and instantly fell in love with your blog. Thank you so much for these great tips! I’m looking forward to jumping into the food blogosphere soon :-)

  15. says

    Thank you for your tips! I love your website. I have one question, what program do you use/suggest for writing different word/styles on your photos? I love to post recipes and would like to mix up my fonts/styles on my photos. And I also post workouts, but haven’t been able to find a program to write workouts (in a cute font) on a photo. I hope that makes sense ;) thank you!
    Jordie

    • says

      Hey Jordie! I use Photoshop to add text to my photos. Photoshop Elements might be a more affordable option but I haven’t used it before. A free option is PicMonkey.com.

      • says

        I just published my first blog post after several weeks of putzing around with setup and using trial versions of numerous photo editing softwares. I found that the new Adobe Creative Cloud offerings can be a fairly affordable way to use a full featured photo editing package. I believe it is subscription based, so you pay fees per month to use 1 or all of the Adobe offerings. I used Lightroom and Photoshop, but I agree with Kate, there are cheaper and easier alternatives if all you require is editing your photos to add text.

  16. says

    Hi Kate!
    This page was one of the first pages I came to when looking at starting my own blog! I bookmarked it, and now I’m back again :)

    After being at this for a few months, I can see even more how important these tips are. Thanks for what you do!

    And what? You have an undying love for avocado on toast? ME TOO!!!!

  17. says

    Kate.. How sweet you are.. Really these 20 tips are highly helpful.. the files which you linked are amazing.. Keep helping new bloggers like this.. Hats off to you :)

  18. says

    Kate, thank you so much, you shared very useful tips for rookies. I have recently started my own website. Initially I developed 2 language versions, and while my Russian-speaking audience is growing, the English is at the same position, which is close to zero. I had no clue how to promote my website internationally, but now I have some ideas. Thanks again!

  19. says

    Hi Kate! I’m Leah. Thank you so much for having a post on blogging tips. This is very helpful for me considering I just started my blog a few days ago. I, however, have no content yet besides an “about me” section. I’m still working on the desin and set up. I have to say I love your blog and your dog, Cookie, is adorable!

    I will definitely use all of these tips when it comes to progressing my blog.

    Thanks again!

    -Leah
    “Gourmet After Dark”

  20. Nicah Santos says

    Thanks so much for posting these tips! I’m in the process of conceptualizing a food blog I want to get started, but I’m a bit concerned about the ethics of it all. I have a few questions:

    1. What’s the proper etiquette for posting a recipe adapted from another food blogger or the results of trying out another blogger’s recipe (assuming the results were stellar)?
    2. Is it okay to post personal reviews of restaurants?

    Thanks, and I hope to hear back from you!

    • says

      Hey Nicah, great questions. 1) The general rule is to change at least three significant aspects of the recipe and type up the instructions in your own words. Always give credit where credit is due. If you don’t want to change the recipe, you can always just write about your experience making it and link over to the original blog post instead of providing the recipe on your blog. 2) This isn’t my arena, but I don’t see you you couldn’t post reviews of restaurants! You might want to google that subject to be sure.

  21. Carolina says

    Thanks for putting all these resources together. I appreciate your desire and passion to help others. Having these resources from you is really helping me to start my own food blog journey.

  22. says

    Hi Kate,

    You’ve got such a thoughtful, well planned site, so I appreciate you sharing your wisdom here. I am a new blogger, finding my way. SEO is a mystery to me but am working on understanding it. Your resource links for SEO optimization are very helpful! Thank you for sharing your practical advise!

  23. Clare says

    Just found this after it was suggested I combine my love for local, quality, natural, sustainable food, travel amd storytelling into a food blog. Lovely that you want to share your knowledge and experience and great to have some practical tips. Thank you!

  24. says

    Thanks for the tips and reminders! It can be tough to stick through the growth period, but very well worth it in the end… I really need to get out there and network more often with other food bloggers. You’ve inspired me to get busy doing that! :)

  25. says

    Hi, I just found your blog today and I LOVE IT
    I am new to blogging and am not computer tech-y at all and have been feeling somewhat lost and in the few posts of yours that I have read, I feel so much better. They/you are so helpful

  26. says

    These are excellent tips! I have a bad habit of abandoning my blog every time I get busy with “real life” stuff – sometimes for several months at a time! It’s always taken a back seat but recently I decided to get serious and commit to posting at least every other day. Even when I don’t have a recipe to share, I find myself writing about life in general, and it’s an excellent way to let out some steam and sort my thoughts :)

    I’m thinking of investing in a self-hosted WP site with my own domain (right now I’m on WP.com) but I don’t think I’m quite ready to make the jump/write the check. I’m wondering if I should just do it now – will it be a huge pain to try to move my whole site later on? Any thoughts?

    Thanks for the tips!

    • says

      Hey Erica! I have definitely been guilty of letting my blog sit stagnant when life gets busy. If you’re serious about blogging, I’d say there’s no time like the present to make the switch. I think the bigger your blog gets, the more tricky it becomes. That said, you could totally just buy a domain name and hook it up to your current blog. Then you’d have a .com name for $20 or less per year—might be a great compromise.

  27. Megan B says

    Thank you so much for your advice! I have been wanting to start my own food blog for a long time now, and have had no idea where to start. I’m mostly having trouble coming up with a name. But I think I have a good idea now of where to go once I figure that out. And your blog is great! Thank you for sharing!

  28. says

    The feeling is mutual Kate! I LOVE avocado on toast too <3

    Thanks for this post, there are a lot of pages that you named that I'm going to have a good look at, and although this is the first time that I visit your page I think I'll come around soon! Nice stuff. Congrats!

  29. Kate G says

    What a succinct and honest description of the blogging process! Thank you for your encouragement…you do make it sound easy and have helped eliminate any excuses I may have had preventing me from just starting. Now on to Step One….

  30. says

    Thanks for the informative article, Kate. My wife just started her very own Personal Chef business here in Connecticut and we’re currently building the website/blog for it now and these are some really great tips. This piece has been saved for maximum viewing so we can use it as a resource.

  31. says

    Hey Kate,

    I can’t argue more on those tips and I think they are essential not just for food bloggers. Easy tips but their vital.

    Keep up the great work.

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