My Top 20 Food Blogging Tips For Beginners

Are you new to food blogging? Overwhelmed and trying to figure it all out? Keep reading to learn My Top 20 Food Blogging Tips For Beginners! 

My Top 20 Tips For New Food Bloggers! Food Blogging Tips.

I’m often asked if I have any tips for new food bloggers. I know it can be extremely overwhelming at first! So I’ve come up with a list of my top 20 tips.

I wish someone had told me these things when I was first starting out. I’m no expert, and there are many out there who have been doing this a lot longer than I have.

In the grand scheme of food blogging, I’m small potatoes. So these are just tips from my experiences over the past several years and you can take them for whatever they’re worth. What has worked for me might not work for you.

My Top 20 Food Blogging Tips For Beginners

1. Be Patient and Persistent

When I began this blog in 2009, Julie and Julia was out in theaters. I had read the book a year earlier. Food blogging was becoming more mainstream, but it was NOTHING like it is today. People were blogging primarily for fun, not money.

Last I checked, there was some ridiculous statistic like 160,000 new food blogs starting every day. If your your goal is to turn a profit, you are entering a FLOODED market.

Buckle up and get ready to work harder than you think. It will be frustrating, and success will not happen overnight. Burnout happens to all of us. This requires patience and persistence.

2. Do Research

I strongly suggest researching the following before you start: blogging platforms (I recommend self-hosted WordPress), hosting companies, types of food blogs, food photography, editing software, how to shoot videos, best social media practices, SEO, and copyright infringement.

You don’t need to be an expert in these things, but you should have at least a novice understanding of them.

I’ve learned a lot about SEO from a monthly course with Hashtag Jeff. I highly recommend it; my traffic has improved dramatically since I began working with him. (Note: this is an affiliate link).

3. Have a Plan

Have a vision for your blog that feels representative of you. Come up with a name, design, and photography style that embodies what you love.

Make sure your site name isn’t under trademark, and that the domain and all relevant social media platforms are available (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter).

If you really want to plan ahead, have numerous posts ready when your site goes live.

4. Know Your Elevator Pitch & Intended Audience

Listen, I hate the term elevator pitch. However, it serves a purpose here. You don’t need to robotically state the same thing every time someone asks what your blog is about, but you need to be able to express your vision clearly.

If you’re not clear, no one will care. Know exactly who you’re trying to reach in your posts. Write like you’re talking to that person. Hello, person!

5. Have a Clean, Easy-To-Navigate Website

Have an easy-to-navigate menu bar and recipe index. Make your recipes searchable and easy to find. Get rid of any unnecessary banners and junk in the sidebar.

Stop linking to places that aren’t on your blog; why would you want people to visit your Foodgawker gallery? Keep readers on your site! Make sure to use clean, easy-to-read fonts.

6. You Need To Spend Money To Make Money

I understand how difficult it is to invest money in something that’s not yet turning a profit. However, there are many instances where cutting corners will harm your ability to earn revenue, so it’s worth investing up front.

Example: hosting companies. Do not use a $10 per month hosting company like BlueHost. Why? You get what you pay for, and they are going to kill your site load time. That, in turn, will kill your Google SEO ranking, which will negatively impact your traffic and ad revenue (once you have ads).

Invest in a solid hosting company that doesn’t throttle your bandwidth. (PS- Are you on a food blog that’s recommending BlueHost? Is it an affiliate link? Think about that for a moment before trusting their recommendation.)

I’m not saying you have to go nuts. But don’t be cheap, either.

7. Build Your Fan Base

Once your blog is live, you need to work on building a foundation of solid content and an audience. This takes time. Post regularly to your social media platforms, even if it feels like you’re shouting into a black hole, and engage with whoever is listening.

Everyone starts somewhere. People say Twitter is a dying platform, but I still say it’s the easiest one to consistently grow. Follow people. Most of them follow back. They even talk to you!  Everyone has to start somewhere.

8. Rewrite Adapted Recipes

If you’re going to adapt a recipe, you MUST take the time to rewrite the instructions. You should also reorganize the ingredient list a bit if possible. This is a common rookie mistake.

It doesn’t take long to do. Not only does it upset recipe developers who spend time coming up with their own wording, but it will harm the page ranking of their website AND YOUR WEBSITE in Google’s search results.

This is a big part of SEO. Google hates duplicate content. Everyone loses if you don’t rewrite, including you.

9. Credit And Link Your Sources

If you adapt a recipe, you need to credit and link to the original author. Adapting doesn’t make it yours. Your mother taught you not to steal. Don’t steal. Check out my tomato bisque for an example of how I link to the original source.

The same goes for photography; don’t post a photo from someone else without crediting and linking (bonus points if you ask, but most bloggers are pretty laid back about this. Other food websites might not be).

Don’t crop it or add an overlay without permission, either.

10. Post Quality Content

Be consistent with your recipe formatting. Write clear instructions and don’t abbreviate. Consistency will make people feel comfortable. Proofread! Mistakes happen to the best of us.

If a recipe is bad or just ok, don’t post it. Rework it. If someone tries one of your recipes and they don’t like it, chances are they’re not going to trust you again. They might spread the word.

11. Make It Easy To Share

You want people to share your content, right? Make it easy. Offer ways for people to share within your posts, such as Pinterest buttons and various other social media icons.

Embed a hidden Pinterest collage in your post. Share new content across all of your social media platforms.

12. Link Within Your Own Site

This is another way to encourage people to stick around. Link to older posts! Did you know I have a Pinterest-like gallery of all my recipes? You should check it out. See what I did there?

13. Network With Other Bloggers

Networking can be an extremely helpful part of growth. Reach out to other bloggers whose work you admire or who share your niche. Make friends. Comment on blogs.

Attend a conference if that sounds interesting to you. I highly recommend starting with a smaller conference that has less attendees so you have a chance of getting to know more people.

There are a ton of Facebook groups devoted to brainstorming ideas and sharing new content on social media. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. (On the flip side, don’t take advantage. Spread out those questions, be willing to learn on your own as well).

14. Food Photography (and Editing) Matters

You need to make your recipes look appetizing. Having mediocre food photography isn’t an option anymore, not when there’s so much competition. Learn to use your camera and ditch the “auto” setting. Learn to use Adobe CC or something similar.

There are tons of free tutorials online. For beginners, I’m a fan of the book Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin. If you are more of a visual learner, Lynda.com has fantastic video tutorials.

If you live in the MD/DC/VA area, I teach lessons! I’m planning on adding tutorials to the blog soon as well. Stay tuned.

15. Let People Get To Know You

People want to know you. I’m a bit shy and introverted in real life; it took me a long time to post a photo of myself on the blog. For years I was still hiding half of my face behind large sunglasses.

Readers want to know who you are. They also like responses to comments and questions. Make sure you have a plugin set up where they get an email response to their comment.

16. Don’t Be a Sell Out

It’s a rush when you first start hearing from PR companies and brands who want to work with you. Do not sell out yourself or your readers for a free pound of sugar. Don’t even do it for money.

You are worth so much more.

Figure out what type of brands align with your content, how much you want to charge and on what conditions. Always keep the copyright, never give away the RAW images.

If the brand is not authentic to who you are, you will lose your audience (or fail to build one). Do not blog about how you don’t eat carbs and then write a sponsored post for Hot Pockets. People will see through that.

17. Remember The Reader

I have ads. They’re a great way to earn passive income from traffic, and this is my primary source of income. However, I do my best not to go overboard, and I make sure that the ads aren’t invasive. I make sure there are no autoplay sounds on videos.

When I visit a website that floods me with ads and popups, I usually leave. It negatively impacts the user experience. It also drastically slows down the load time. Always remember the reader.

18. Try New Things

I think that when you’re starting out, it’s a smart idea to check out what other bloggers are doing. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t try something completely new and unique! Be bold and daring.

Think you have a new idea? Be a trendsetter and let others follow you.

19. Comparison Is The Thief of Joy

Much easier said than done, right? Every creative person is guilty of comparing their work to others. I struggle with this constantly. That doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Go ahead, check in on what others are doing and try to feel inspired.

But you’re not them and they’re not you. No one will ever have your exact creative vision or be able to bring your personal life experiences into the puzzle.

You do you and try not to worry about what others are doing. Simply be inspired.

20. Love What You Do

When I’m excited about my recipes, my photos, and my work, it shines through everything I do. When I’m feeling burnt out, it shows.

Don’t be afraid to slow down when you need to, and be willing to reevaluate if your current strategy isn’t working (after you’ve tried that whole patience thing I discussed earlier).

Additional Resources

(Note: These are NOT affiliate links. I was not paid to promote these companies. )

Recommended Blogging Platform: WordPress.org
Current Hosting Company: OrangeGeek
Current Ad Network: Mediavine

Are you new to food blogging? Overwhelmed and trying to figure it all out? Keep reading to learn My Top 20 Food Blogging Tips For Beginners!

About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

Affiliate Disclaimer: Posts may contain affiliate links. I am a participant in the rewardStyle and Amazon affiliate programs, which help support Savory Simple by providing me with a small commission fee when you shop through my links, at no additional cost to you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • great list, Jen! I think recipe proofreading, testing it and re-making it if you’re not sure, i.e. if it’s a fussy cookie or a fussy cake, and you’re feeling ‘iffy’ about it – retest it, yes! Some things are not forgiving and a person not trusting you again, so true, if they have a flop.

    And no abbreviations, either. Great point. T vs t. vs T. <– Is that tablespoon, teaspoon, what is that? And to intl readers, they get even more confused b/c it's T to t to metric!

  • Fantastic tips – thanks so much for taking the time to share! One thing I’ve been learning to do is loosen up and not be such a stiff, instructional writer. I need to remember to include personal stories or references in my posts so they are more fun. There’s a fine line between writing so much you lose the reader and being so dry that readers just aren’t interested from the start.
    Again – thank you for this post.

  • This is such a helpful list – thanks so much for being generous with this and sharing your experience. I wish I knew about some of these things before I started – but never late than never

  • Wonderful tips and I wish I read this post when I started 1.5 year ago! It took me some time to figure that out on my own. You’re generous and I’m sure a lot of people appreciate your tips. I need to get Google task app now thanks to you! I use Note but want to see different app for a change…

  • This is extremely helpful! I’ve been blogging for about a year now (not very consistently) and have not heard of some of these options, like LinkWithin – I will definitely put these tips to use!

  • Thanks a lot for the tips! I am trying to improve on pictures a lot, and planning on investing in Photoshop. But in the mean time I use an online solution: http://www.pixlr.com. It is very easy to use, does not offer all the possibilities of Photoshop, but the bascis are there: balance, luminosity, contrast, cropping, saturation, automatic corrections…A good tool at the start! I’ll focus on this & offering more on my facebook page for a start!

  • Thanks for all the great tips! While I’m not a food blogger, I just started blogging last month and a lot of these tips applied to me too!

  • GREAT tips Jenn! And thank you for taking your time to share them with us and all the links too. You ROCK sista. :)

  • These are awesome tips, and a good reminder that even “veteran” bloggers like myself need to keep things fresh!

  • Great tips for those of us getting the hang of this blog stuff! Thanks for sharing.

    ps – I love your super foods power smoothie! I’m a fan of kale but never thought I’d be drinking it in a smoothie. Healthy and delicious!

  • Thanks for listing the Top 20 blogging tips. I truly can relate, and I still struggle to keep up on posting.
    Plus I tend to change my style until I find something that works. I believe I may have found the way I want to show case my posts now, and hopefully I am able to improve further. Also, I’m glad I stumble upon your blog. Do stay in touch and have a great week ahead! Cheers, Jo

  • Hi Jennifer, thanks so much for these informative tips! I’ve been blogging for about 10 months and I love it. However I’m really struggling to feel part of the wider blogging community, I would appreciate any advice that could help me! Thanks and happy blogging, Anna

    • Hi Anna! I read that at first as you’ve been blogging for 10 minutes and got a good chuckle. Your site is really nice! I’d say the best way to get started is to visit other blogs and comment. Find those people on Twitter and connect. From there you can start branching out- see what recipes they share, etc.

  • I’m so glad my boyfriend found your site and sent me this post since I’m a new blogger! He noticed that I was already trying to do some of your tips to begin with so this is a great resource and makes me feel like I’m heading SLOWLY in the right direction. I definitely need a lot of help in the photography/food styling side which I guess most beginner bloggers don’t understand how crucial those skills really are. Blogging is definitely a big time committment. Thank you for writing such a great post. I’m following you on twitter too. =) I hope one day to learn enough so my photos can be even half as great as yours.

  • P.S. I actually just read through some of your comments and have the same issue with WP since I started my blog a few weeks ago. Since I knew nothing about blogging other than people suggesting I use WP, I bought a bundle package that included hosting and a domain name but now have run into issues with flexibility and functionality since I’m not self-hosting it. I neve realized that it’s actually not that user friendly and you don’t have capabilities for any cool plug in features. I can’t do a recipe index, I can’t even add a Pinterst buttong…etc. =( I went from only having a few follower to over 300 in one single day because a celebrity friend tweeted and FB’d her followrs to follow my blog. Now I feel stuck!

    • Thanks for stopping by! Regarding WordPress, it’s a tough call. If you stay on .com for another year you might have the same concern with 3000 followers instead of 300. I waited 3 years to make the move and lost a ton of email subscribers. It looks like you bought your own domain? As long as your friend pointed people there it won’t matter whether you’re on self-hosted wordpress or not. You can also set up domain forwarding. If someone goes to savorysimple.wordpress.com they’re automatically forwarded to savorysimple.net. I think forwarding is around $15 a year.

      Are you or your boyfriend good at coding websites? If so, I recommend just buying a self-hosted domain now before you gain any more followers. If you’d need to hire a web designer, wait a while to see if you still enjoy blogging in 6 months. As you’ve already noticed, it’s a big time commitment!

      • Thanks for responding so quickly! I also saw your recent recipes. I’m amazed at how you successful bloggers manage posting so many recipes that look incredibly delicious with incredible photography AND working full time. WOW! I wish I was half as talented. Unfortunately I don’t or anyone I know have coding abilities so I was thinking that I may have to hire someone if it ever gets to that point. For now, it’s a fun hobby but I liked your advice for new bloggers to wait a few months to make sure that we can put the time investment to blog. Thank you again!

    • :::butting in, sorry::: after just 150+ posts, I decided to move from wordpress.com to self-hosted and i regret not doing it sooner. i have spent countless hours transferring photos that are still hosted at wordpress.com and re-formatting my posts. (OLD posts) BUT it would drive me nuts if they didn’t all look perfect.

      I recently hired web designers to re-design the graphics and layout of my site and I have no regrets (even though I feel like I spent my life savings.

      If you think you are going to get serious about blogging, I would recommend you JUST DO IT! Don’t wait.

      Anyway, it IS a time + $ commitment….. I guess you have to decide if it’s worst it for you.

      xoxoxoox

  • Thanks for these helpful tips! I’m going to have to check into LinkWithin to improve my bounce rate. The plugin I use currently doesn’t include pictures from other related posts. I definitely think that we are all visual people, and pictures really are the bread and butter of food blogging.

  • Thank you SO much for this post. I’ve been blogging for a while now, but I’m looking to REALLY getting to the next level. I’ve been Googling the past few days looking for tips and advice. My list of changes keeps growing! Again, thank you for posting these tips.

    -Chad D.

  • These are really great tips.very helpful.
    Previously I did not schedule or plan my posts when I was away for a holiday.So,it was bit hard to make the blog active once I came back.
    Recently I was away for holidays,but I scheduled few posts using some of my old posts and linking them into a new post.When I came back few days ago,I was very happy to see that my blog is active with new comments,followers and also increased traffic…..Also most of my old posts got more attention.

  • I realize this was posted last year, but I’m going to comment anyway. I’m working on setting up my own food blog (more of an eating blog as I’m not a big cook :D) and I’ve been searching for some good tips before I go live – I think your post is the most helpful list of tips I’ve read so far! One of my biggest worries is the ‘socializing’ part, but after reading all the friendly comments here I’m feeling a little less shy.

    • Wait, you don’t like it when blogs don’t include nutritional information? I can see why that’s important on health blogs but I don’t even want to know the calories on some of my desserts. The reader can take care of that :)

  • Hey Jennifer, thanks so much for these – they are very helpful. I started my blog only a few weeks ago and up to now I’m enjoying it big time. It’s always great to get some feedback and know that people actually read what you’re writing about so passionately, so thanks especially for your advice on getting the blog noticed.

  • Thank you for the great tips! I just started my blog Borrowed Salt this month, and your tips have been awesome for getting some eyeballs on it. I was wondering, what has been your experience with Rich Pins and coding for Google Recipe searches? Have you started coding for these yet and has it been worth the effort?
    Thanks,
    Amy

  • Wow you are so sweet and generous! Thank you a ton to share your experience and what you must have learnt over long time with us! It is really impressive, not easy to meet such a good and genuine person!
    Very happy to have come across your blog on pinterest!
    Ciao ciao

  • Great tips! My favorite is to be yourself. I am often tempted to be like the other foodies out there, but I am a strong believer that no one can play you better than you. Thank you so much for sharing your tips with us newbies…{by the way, you’re pictures are amazing…}

  • Thanks so much for the tips Jennifer. As a new blogger sometimes i am not so sure if i am doing things right but after reading what you said i know i’m on the right track

  • Absolutely fantastic tips… I could’ve used hearing all of these when I was first starting out. In fact, sometimes I need a reminder on some of them, even now. :)

  • Jen, wonderful tips for a beginner like myself! You’ve definitely have given me a positive outlook on food blogging (a lot of blogs I can give me fears and nightmares about blogging)! But I feel much more confident after reading this post, thank you!

  • I can’t agree more with you Jennifer. I know most of food bloggers don’t like to optimize their content and definitely I agree with that but just keep writing about the same recipes as your neighbor won’t take you that far.
    Keep up the great work.
    Cheers from Toronto

  • Thank you for these tips! I’m just starting, and I’m excited but nervous. 2questions for you: 1-which is the best host sure? WordPress I’ve heard mixed thins about..is bluehost better? Or do thou recommend a different of? And 2- if I can’t afford a new camera now, will my camer on my phone be sufficient?
    Thank you!

    • I can’t speak from personal experience, but lately I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about squarespace! I believe it’s free, and it has some very elegant blog designs. I also know plenty of people who use their phone cameras at the beginning. Best of luck!

  • These are very useful tips, especially documenting things. You would not believe the amount of times I have experimented in the kitchen and then wishes I wrote down the recipe or even took a picture before i devoured the whole meal.

    I’d definitely put these into practice.

  • Thanks so much for these tips! I am a culinary graduate who no longer works in the industry and I have decided to start a food blog as a way to make use of my education. I have blogged before but never about food so thanks!!