By now, you should already have a blog setup, congratulations! If not, please check out how to start a blog step-by-step guide. I’m sharing all these tips as I’m learning them along the way. Below is a list of useful blogging tools – WP plugins , tools & etc. to make your life easier. I’m not a coder so these tools are helping so much. I didn’t pay anyone to make my site and I started off with by fixing and adding stuff. If you are new to this, I’m sure you are wondering what tools will save you lots of time and money when it comes to creating a blog. I do believe in outsourcing, so I will be looking for someone to help me revamp my blog layout/design. In the mean while, hope these tips will help and good luck! Some might have an affiliate link, thanks for your support if you end up clicking them to sign up. 🙂
USEFUL WORDPRESS PLUGINS FOR YOUR FOOD BLOG
Simply go to your plugins section in the WordPress home to search, install and activate these plugins:
Ziplist Recipe Plugin – this is a very useful recipe editor that already has a built in template. All you need to do is plug in your ingredients and instructional steps (no adding bullet points or numbers are needed).
JQuery Pin It Button For Images – this plugin adds a “pin it” button on your hovered images, it is super useful as Pinterest is so popular these days.Simple Share Button Adder – this plugin adds all those goodie social buttons on your site so random people can share your lovely blog post.
WordPress SEO (Yoast) – this brilliant tool allows you to do a bit of seo yourself, they make it easy for a non-seo person to undrestand and fill in all the important bits of info (keywords, add names to link and etc.)
FaviCon – this will allow you to upload your own cute icon next to the url field.
MailChimp – you can get their basic membership which will allow you to manage 2k worth of email list subscribers, they will also give you an easy script to add “subscribe me” as a widget too.
TOOLS FOOD BLOG PHOTOS & VIDEOS
Having good photos is so important for a food blog. You’ll need a good camera to take awesome photos to attract readers to catch their first 5 “impression” seconds, and getting your photos accepted to submissions to foodie photo sites (this will generate lots of income for you, read free traffic accumulation section below).
Photography Tips: If you do not know anything about a SLR cameras or taking food photos, you can sign up to get awesome food photography courses from Minimalist Baker. Their photography school is created specifically for food bloggers that want to take beautiful photos, so “food porn” sites like FoodGawker (you will see what I mean) will accept your photos.
SLR camera (Nikon D3200) – this is the most inexpensive basic SLR camera. This camera works with all types of Nikon lenses. I find this very easy to use, they even have a guided with pre-setting functions for non-photographers to use.
Nikon Lens (35mm or 50mm) to go with your Nikon – either of the lens is fine, they will make you photos look professional by creating that depth of field and sharp image. If you don’t know about basic photography such as aperture or ISO, don’t worry too much. Your Nikon D3200 has a guided setting, you simply select a function before snapping photos.
Adobe Photoshop – this tool will do you wonders for your photos! I don’t always get the best natural light because of the unpredictable weather here in London. So this saves me so much headache because I am able to brighten up my photos via Photoshop. They now have a monthly subscription plan. If you have an old version (which is what I have) that is a one time purchase, it still works wonderfully.
iPhoto – if you have a Mac and do not have Photoshop, this tool is easy to use and offers lots of basic functions Photoshop offers.
PowerPoint – yes, you heard right! I find that PowerPoint is very easy and quick to put something nice together. If you have used this for many presentations for your work, you probably know what I am talking about.
iMovie – this is to edit videos. I don’t have fancy Adobe video editor so I just use iMovie to edit my videos. You can even upload your videos directly to your YouTube channel too, how convenient is that?
YouTube video editor – if you don’t have iMovie or other video editing software, don’t fret! YouTube offers very easy and simple video editing function within YouTube too. All you need to do is record your videos with your phone camera, upload them to YouTube then edit before publishing.
TRAFFIC ACCUMULATION SITES FOR FOOD BLOGS
I think taking advantage of free marketing tools is very important especially if blogging is your hobby and you don’t want to break your bank over this. So here are some free sites you can use to accumulate traffic. Since I am all new to this, most of my inorganic traffic comes from below sites. I haven’t had much success on Facebook or G+ yet, so will add a tip about it when I figure it out.
Tips: Before you publish all these, make a spreadsheet or Google sheet with all these details by columns: title, recipe description and keyword tags. This will save you a tons of time from typing everything over, you can simply copy and paste them onto these food gawker sites. You can even make columns for each site then put an x next to uploaded ones. Sorry, that’s the OCD old analyst side of me thinking. 🙂
FoodGawker – this is a very popular source to submit photos. I was getting a lot of traffic in the beginning but it stopped now. They are picky with photos so get ready to get some rejections. But when you get accepted, you’ll be amazed how much traffic it produces.
TasteSpotting – They currently bring in a good amount of traffic. Just like FoodGawker, they are utterly picky with photos. I have heard from other blog posts that FoodGawker is supposed to be the pickier one, so might as well place your bets on this one too.
Instagram – I love posting my food photos on Instagram because Instagrammers are very supportive and some are legit foodies!
Pinterest – They are wonderful, the community is extremely active and loves to share. I love the fact that they are very easy to use and repin.
I will add more sites onto this list after I experiment further…hang tight… 😉