[Beginner - 102] The Guide for Starting a Successful Food Blog

With unique and innovate restaurants popping up in cities around the world, dietary trends making a big shift and now including everything from fat-free to paleo, and the online and Internet world booming more than ever, it only makes sense that starting a food blog is the perfect thing for a food connoisseur. However, eating food and writing about it are two completely different things, and starting a food blog requires a specific skill set and strategy. If you’ve been hoping to break into the world of food blogging but aren’t sure where to start, check out these food blogging tips and content trends to guide you through the process:

Know What’s Hot

We’re not talking about baked rolls and casseroles here—when it comes to blogging about food, it's important to know what’s trending. While you may love the French fries at Applebee’s, writing about them probably isn’t going to get your blog the attention that you’re looking for.  Rather, food blogs that focus on unique and original recipes, undiscovered restaurants and food markets, diet-friendly foods, and food or recipes that people can relate to get the most traffic.

Additionally, it’s important to note that in one study, 90 percent of people stated that they’d use the Internet to find a recipe—which means that if you’re not posting recipes on your food blog, you’re probably getting less traffic than you could.  Additionally, 81 percent of people cook dinner in most nights rather than going out. Again, another reason to include recipes. However, 50 percent of the population say that they go out or get take out at least once a week, and 73 percent of people trust food blogs. As such, you have an opportunity to provide people with some guidance with their eateries of choice. By knowing what people think about food blogs, how people eat, and what’s important to people, you can craft a food blog that’s more in line with your specific audiences’ needs.

Starting a Food Blog: Initial Set Up

Obviously, in order to have a food blog, you’re going to need a domain or blogging forum. You can start your own website, or you can opt to use a blog through a site like Google or Wordpress, i.e, myfoodblog@blogger.com. The type of blogger you are might dictate the platform you opt for, and depending upon your existing knowledge of things like HTML, formatting, CSS, and more, you might go for something that allows you a little more control.
Regardless of whatever domain or forum you choose to host your blog, create a blog with a clever and catchy title, format the blog in a way that’s easy to navigate and easy to read, and update the blog frequently.

Know that Writing Well Matters

Keeping a food blog isn’t just about posting a recipe or picture of the great meal you ate Saturday night; instead, a successful food blog employs great use of the written word. Creating your own voice through writing is important, grammar and spelling matter, sentence fluency and structure can make or break you, and being able to tell a story, create a picture, and write about food in a way that allows readers to nearly smell the gooey-goodness of the dark-chocolate brownie, topped with fine melt-in-your-mouth slivers of white-chocolate and homemade-caramel.
If you’re not confident in your writing, remember that practice makes perfect. The more you write, the more you’ll develop a writing style that is natural and fitting for you. In addition to writing, reading frequently is a great way to familiarize yourself with great styles and writing know-how.

Take Great Pictures

Let’s be honest: we’re all guilty of scrolling through a blog only to stare at the pictures, completely ignoring whatever text is begging to be read. People love images, and the better your images, the more success your food blog is going to have. You don’t need a high-end camera to take great pictures of your food, you just need to know a little technique and you’re good to go. For example, make sure your front flash is off, go for a great angle, and focus on pretty arrangements and colors.

Try to avoid taking pictures of every meal you eat, taking pictures of half-eaten food, or pictures of commonplace or unoriginal food items. The point of your blog is to share something new in the food world with your audience—Domino’s pizza doesn’t really meet that standard.

Original Content is Key

If you’re posting a recipe about how to make green beans, and your two ingredients are green beans and garlic, you’re not really going to wow anyone. On the other hand, if you have a great idea of how to make a “10-Minute Veggie Option For the Busy Mom that Even Your Kids Will Love,” that features green beans, caramelized onions, and toasted almonds, you’re probably going to attract a larger audience. That’s because being original is one of the most important aspects of starting a food blog, and originality requires creativity.

Whether you’re reviewing a restaurant, hitting up your local farmers’ market for samples and groceries, or posting a recipe, write content that’s new, interesting, engaging, and fun. The world of food is exciting and sexy, and your food blog needs to be able to keep up with that. A couple examples of some great food blogs are Eat the Love, which puts a huge emphasis on recipes, and Love and Lemons, which has a range of recipes that focus on different dietary needs, such as gluten-free and vegan. Not only do both of the above blogs have great content, but they’re both beautifully organized, easy to navigate, and include great pictures.

Choose an Audience and Stick With ‘Em

A big mistake that new food bloggers make with starting a food blog is to write about just about everything they eat. They post recipes on cookies, salmon, caramel popcorn, gluten-free pancakes, vegetarian curry, steak, etc. etc. While having a wide range of recipes or restaurants on your food blog is great, remember that people have a wide range of dietary preferences. If you’re set on attracting the gluten-free crowd, don’t waste a bunch of time reviewing the best whole-wheat sandwich you’ve ever eaten.  You audience wants to know that you care about them and about what they’re eating, and writing contradictory posts won’t get you anywhere.

Essentially, choose your niche. Maybe it’s reviewing new restaurants; maybe it’s a focus on farm-to-table eateries; maybe it’s a food blog for stay-at-home dads; maybe it’s meant for those who want low-fat cooking options. Whatever it is, know that your audience will have high expectations—don’t disappoint them by straying from your chosen course.

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