How to start a successful cooking blog
A cooking blog is an excellent idea for those enamoured with cuisine and food preparation. The following guide will highlight the most important steps for setting up a cooking blog, building an audience and monetising it in the future.
How to Start a Cooking Blog
1) What Will You Be Writing about?
The first thing to decide is exactly what sub-topic your blog is going to focus on.
Do some competition research to find out what others are already doing. If there’s a blog similar in style, tone and content to what you have in mind, you may have to modify the idea in search for originality.
There’s no need to label it just a “cooking” blog. You can dedicate the website to your favourite dessert recipes. You can write about travelling the world and testing signature meals in some of the most prominent restaurants. You can share your recipes with the world, dedicate the blog to food photography or to cooking videos.
If you’re an expert in a certain type of cuisine, this should be your focus. Are you familiar with Arabic, Thai or Balkan foods? The more niche your cooking blog is, the less competition you’re going to have.
2) Choose the Right Name and Set Up Your Website
A good cooking blog name is reflective of the niche you’ve chosen and it also lets your personality shine through.
The Diary of Gastro Traveller tells the world who you are and it also provides indication of the fact your blog will discuss travel and tasting foods in different cities or countries.
Your blog’s name will set the tone of all your branding efforts. Don’t rush the process and think carefully about how you’d like to be known. If you’re stuck and a brainstorming session doesn’t produce anything, try using our blog name generator for some inspiration.
Once the name is chosen, you’ll have to move on to setting up your blog. Don’t worry, this is much easier than it sounds and can be done in less than an hour! Check out our full guide on the best and easiest way to set up a WordPress blog here.
3) Plan Your Cooking Blog Content and Marketing
Cooking blogs can benefit from a wide range of formats. There’s no need to limit yourself to text only. Videos and image galleries are ideal for instructional blogs that aim to simplify complex recipes.
Always do a bit of content planning in advance. Choose the right topics and think about the ways in which each blog post is going to be crafted. Will you use diagrams? Infographics? Food photos? If so, you will need to acquire the equipment, hardware and software required to create such multimedia.
Successful blogging is also heavily dependent on a strong marketing presence.
Think about the digital channels you’re going to utilise to reach a target audience.
Facebook and Instagram are absolute essentials. You should also consider setting up your YouTube channel or trying Periscope for the purpose of sharing live feeds with your viewers. Live cooking and answering questions on demand are great choices for building a community of loyal followers.
What content do cooking bloggers create?
Cooking blogs generally produce how-to guides and inspirational recipe publications.
You can approach the content creation task in several distinctive ways.
A cooking blog can start with basic step-by-step guides that highlight the process of making a specific dish.
Alternatively, the posts can come in the form of an image diary. A complicated recipe will be much easier to understand when it’s presented in a visual form. A picture accompanied by a short caption describing the specific step will give visitors all of the information required to test the recipe on their own.
Cooking blogs can also benefit tremendously from video content. You can create footage of the entire food preparation process or have short clips that highlight specific techniques, the manner in which ingredients are to be handled , how food should be plated and served.
Create engaging and relevant content
Take some time to conceptualise and execute your content strategy. This is the most important preparatory step, the one that will make or break your blog.
Don’t rush it. You need to have a clear idea of the niche and the characteristics of the blog posts that will win and keep a targeted audience interested in your cooking portal.
Start by doing some competition research. How are other cooking bloggers approaching the topic? What do you like about their strategy? What is it missing? By doing a bit of competition analysis, you can pinpoint the best elements and build upon them.
Good cooking content is thorough, detailed and it provides simple steps that people can follow at home. It is visual and it shows the glory of delicious food. The more visual it is, the better. To create good content in this field, however, you will need a good camera and an eye for detail (on top of some writing talent).
How to grow your traffic
To grow your audience, you have to be a leader rather than a follower. Offer something innovative and stick to your own concept. Don’t attempt to replicate the work somebody else is doing just because it’s highly liked.
In addition, you have to be diligent and consistent.
Quality content creation is the first staple of growing your audience. Publish regularly and make sure your cooking posts are original, well-researched and of sufficiently high quality. Some focus on the elements of search engine optimisation (SEO) will also be required.
Growing your audience is also about establishing a community. You can accomplish the goal via social media like Facebook and Twitter. You can easily feature a forum on your blog. If there are comments enabled for posts, make sure that you reply and moderate those. A safe space for the exchange of ideas and cooking inspiration will keep people coming back to your pages time and time again.
How to make money with your cooking blog
Cooking blogs can be monetised in multiple ways.
Joining Google Adsense and the Amazon Associates affiliate program are two of the simplest possibilities. To make decent money with these, however, you will need a high traffic cooking blog. Thus, you’ll have to focus on regular content creation and marketing to earn enough from affiliate programs and display ads.
If you build your reputation and you become a go-to name in the culinary world, you’ll eventually start having food companies approaching you.
Writing paid reviews or testing out products you were sent for free are both viable options. Many cooking bloggers receive ingredients, utensils and even appliances to test out. For the purpose, however, they need to be influencers whose names are readily recognised in the community.
Turning a cooking blog into a career takes time and a lot of work but it is doable. You can eventually begin selling your recipes or cooking tutorials. You can add ebooks to the mix for a chance to generate some passive income. You can sell your food photos to image banks. These are just a few of the options to test out and with time, you’ll certainly discover additional ways to monetise your cooking blog.
Top #3 Cooking Bloggers
The beautiful visual details turn I Am a Food Blog into a wonderful experience for every foodie out there. The blog has been online for six years and it’s the result of the efforts of a husband and wife duo.
Not only does it feature wonderful recipes, I Am a Food Blog also highlights travel and city guides.
The recipes are organised conveniently on the basis of the amount of preparation time. There are also simple five-ingredient recipes newbies will love. Each recipe comes with spectacular food photography, a step-by-step guide and a bit of humour showing the personality of the two blog creators.
Serious Eats has long been recognised as one of the most prominent food and cooking blogs.
The blog was founded in 2006 and ever since, it has grown exponentially. Serious Eats won several awards, including the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Food Blod and Best Video Webcast.
The content is rich and truly diversified. There are recipes, culinary techniques, reviews of cooking equipment, cocktail recipes, a large video section and even a culinary podcast. If you want to see what some of the best in the niche are doing, this is the go-to blog.
Dana started the Minimalist Baker in 2010 and in the process, she discovered a passion for both recipes and food photography.
The Minimalist Baker is a niche, plant-based baking blog. The recipes require 10 ingredients or less, simplifying the baking process even for people who have never tried it before. The preparation time is also 30 minutes or less, thus, the recipes appeal to all of the busy foodies out there.
The blog features an extensive range of recipes, how-to guides and technique explanations. The Minimalist Baker even has its own online shop where everyone interested in replicating the recipes can acquire the necessary ingredients.