Do you dream of one day becoming a successful food blogger? Do you want to learn how to start a food blog and make money doing it?
Cooking at home, creating recipes, capturing those drool-worthy photographs of your delicious food to share with the world - and having it pay the bills sounds like a dream come true, right?
It's funny, when I first started The Cagle Diaries, that was actually not my intention. Not right away anyway.
It was April 2020, right before the pandemic hit hard. I decided to step off into it and see what I could do with it. I had another business that I had to shut down and was kind of in-between doing anything really anyway.
In the beginning I really didn't realize it could be such a big deal. It was going to be a side-hustle more than anything, not one of the important things.
Boy was I wrong. Good job too, because it wasn't 5 months later and my husband was laid-off due the pandemic.
Now neither of us were working...
Believe it or not, this little side-hustle I started was able to pay all our bills. Hard to believe right?
Keep reading, I'm going to explain how you can start your own food blog then I'll go into detail on how to make money doing it!
The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
📌 Choose Food Blog Niche and Name
When you're starting a blog, one of the first things you will want to decide on it what niche you will fit into. If it's a food blog, then the niche will be something like; party food, soups and salads, southern food (that's my niche), but you get the picture.
It's a good idea to pick something that you will be able to get passionate about, because your audience will be able to feel that. You will have a greater chance of success if you are sincere and passionate about your niche.
Once you're decided on a niche you're going to need to pick a blog name with a reliable web host.
In doing so, you're also going to need to check if the domain-name is available. A domain is basically the website address, or URL. You want to check to make sure it's not already in use with a web hosting site.
Click the button below then scroll down to Domain Names (see below example).
I pulled an example using my own domain name thecaglediaries.com - you'll want to try to use a .com extension as there is more authority and trust in that extension.
The price shown is an annual recurring fee that you will need to pay for that domain name.
Once you have that you're ready for the next step. Setting up your site.
🛠 Set Up Your Food Blog
- Step 1: DOMAIN (DONE). You have your domain name already reserved using Bluehost right? In the section above.
- Step 2: WORDPRESS - is the best blogging platform to use. If you are familiar with a WordPress site - great. If not, it is very user friendly and you can get used to it very quickly. The most popular setup is to use what's known as a Genesis Framework in conjunction with WPEngine. A good way to think about it is, it's a content management system.
There are also plenty of WordPress Plugins (and recipe plugins) too that you can use to build out your site.
- Step 3: THEME - You'll need a WordPress theme, which is basically how your blog will look aesthetically. I recommend using a FEAST Theme. It's the most popular theme and designed specifically for food bloggers. There are free themes out there but you will eventually need to move over to premium themes. Question is, do you mind paying for it now while you're still growing it, or do you want to use a free theme in the meantime with the intention of swapping later?
- Step 4: KEYWORD RESEARCH - What is a keyword. One of the most important topics any blogger will ever understand. I use Keysearch to do all my keyword research. It's an important step.
- Step 5: GET CREATIVE - There's a lot of design-work you'll need to do along the way - from creative Pinterest Pins and Facebook Images to adjusting image sizes etc for your blog. I use CANVA to do this. Their site pretty much offers everything you'll need to get creative.
💻 Create Content & Start Blogging
It's time for your first post. So what recipes are you going to add? When deciding your specific niche you should have been able to come up with 20 blog posts / new recipes right off the bat. If you couldn't, maybe it's the wrong niche.
When deciding you also need to check on keyword information for that recipe for the search engines to find you.
There's so much that goes into creating a successful food blog, that happens behind the scenes that a lot of people don't realize.
If it's all new to you don't worry. It was to me too! There's nothing that you can't learn and understand yourself. The good news is there is a wealth of information out there, including some great training tools.
I joined an invaluable group, called "Own It, Darling". It's a group headed up by successful blogger Marye Audet-White. The information I have learned while being a member of this group is incredible and I know I couldn't have gotten as far as I have already without the wonderful support and tools this group offers.
You should check it out too, as I know for a fact there is no better training/education than this. There's hundreds of hours of training as well as a new weekly live training to attend. It's really the right place to be if you want to learn about best practices and high quality content creation.
📣 Promote Your Blog & Grow Your Audience
Once you have launched your own blog you will need to be shouting it from the rooftops. Below are a few of the most common social media platforms (the best ways) for getting your content out there to your target audience.
- Pinterest - remains one of a food bloggers favorite resources for getting traffic from social media. However, as other platforms start to become more popular Pinterest is starting to lose traffic for some.
- Facebook - having a group or a page for your blog can bring great traffic, but it's slow going. You have to be commited.
- Tiktok - this is a new platform but some bloggers are having some success at getting traffic using the new Whisk integration.
- Instagram - a very popular and easy to grow way to get traffic.
- Twitter - not as popular as it is more geared toward the media however, twitter can be great for traffic when using the right hashtags.
- Youtube - Maybe not right away, but a Youtube channel is definitely a way to go in the future. You're going to need to be making videos for your food blog.
- Email list - you'll also want to start curating an email list - I recommend using Convertkit to do this. It's simple to use and all you need for creating sign up forms and landing pages to curate your email list.
💵 Make Money Food Blogging
Down to the nitty-gritty. How I am making money doing this and how I made enough to cover all our bills in such a short period of time.
- ADVERTISEMENTS - Once you get to a certain threshold you will be able to get onboard with an ad agency that will host ads on your site. Yes, they're annoying but most people are so used to them now that it doesn't affect your audience at all.
I was able to qualify for Mediavine not too long ago, they have a threshold of 50K per month in traffic (sessions) to your site. It's so exciting when you get to this point!
- FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHY - This has been the biggest game changer for me. No, I'm not a photographer, at least I wasn't when I started on this journey. Did you know that food bloggers will actually buy photography for their sites? I learned how to photograph food professionally enough to be able to sell it with the Pretty Focused course.
If you want to learn more about my food photography journey click the button below:
- VA WORK - if you are particularly good at content creation, like writing posts or creating Pinterest Pins etc, you could also make money as a freelance content creator!
- AMAZON AFFILIATES - You can make money with Amazon affiliate links in your recipes, it's a small income, but it all adds up.
💰 My Typical Monthly Income (averaged)
Advertising Revenue - $1,500
Freelance Food Photography - $8,500
Amazon Affiliate Sales - $20
Total Average Monthly Income (as of 04/16/2022) - $10,020
I wasn't making that right away. Of course, I had to learn about the photography thing, but I was making this income within 6 months of starting.
If you want to learn more, or sign up for some one on one coaching see below. I can walk you through any aspect we discussed about how to start a food blog and make money.
Good luck to you!