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If you are looking to start your own food blog then you have come to the right place. Researching the right theme, features and functionalities for a food site can all be time-consuming, so we have done the hard work for you.
In this article, we will look at choosing the right theme for your food blog, and the importance of using a recipe plugin if needed. We will discuss the need for high-quality content and using beautiful images and video, as well as installing an easy to use search function. Lastly, we will consider why you should set up Pinterest’s Recipe Rich Pins for your WordPress website and how to monitor your blog’s analytics. Let’s get started…
Choose the Right Theme
When selecting a theme for your food blog there are two main options; a built-for-purpose theme or a multipurpose theme.
Food blog themes will let you easily add recipes, ingredients, cooking instructions, and more, in an organized layout, making content accessible to your audience. This makes built-for-purpose themes a great choice for those wanting to focus solely on their food creation.
Many people can find built-for-purpose themes restrictive, especially if you are the type who wants total control over the design of your website. If this is the case you then you are better off opting for a multi-purpose theme, that allows you to create a site to your exact specifications.
If you are using a theme that has not been designed with food blogging as its number one purpose, then you will need to install a recipe plugin. Recipe plugins give you the ability to add all the information necessary for each recipe your site displays.
WP Recipe Maker is a free WordPress plugin that does just that, turning your theme into a useable and beautiful food blog. Easy to use, you can quickly add stylish and attractive recipes, ingredients and cooking instructions to your posts and pages. This is a must have plugin for those wanting their food blog to make an impact.
Content is Key
Content, as always, is key to a successful food blog. Firstly, for those just starting out, choose a niche for your blog. For example, focus on vegan food, kids meals, budget eating or seafood recipes. You want to become a go-to blog for your target audience, so stick to your niche, don’t spread yourself too thinly.
Secondly, make sure your recipes are original and appetizing. Include trending foods and cooking methods that your target market are interested in using. And practice each meal at home until they taste truly delicious. If readers try your recipes and love them they will become followers for life. Likewise, a poor tasting dish will quickly lose you your audience.
Lastly, focus on your writing. Use a personable voice, with clear and easy to follow instructions. Food blogs should have a strong and unique identity that your visitors relate to. A well-written blog will help you connect with your visitors and convert them into loyal and regular readers.
Post Beautiful Images
Having beautiful foodie images is another crucial aspect of a successful food blog. Displaying appetizing and inspiring photographs will encourage readers to try out your recipes and become followers of your site.
Investing in photography equipment can be worthwhile once your blog takes off. As you take your pictures, think carefully about how the food and the cooking implements are arranged. Then use a photo editing program like PicMonkey to add filters and effects to your images, ensuring the food is showcased at its best.
Installing a gallery plugin on your WordPress website is another top tip to ensure your images grab your viewers attention. Hugh-IT is a free portfolio gallery WordPress plugin. Show off your images with beautiful, clearly organized galleries. Add as many galleries as you need, displaying images and videos, and select from seven different types of presentational layouts. A great plugin to give your images an edge over the competition.
Using video is a great way to engage with your audience. Walking through how to cook different recipes, or demonstrating difficult cooking methods, can not only help your audience in the kitchen, it can help to build a relationship between you and your viewers.
If you choose to use video on your blog then you should consider starting your own YouTube channel. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and can be an effective platform for growing your blog’s following.
YouTube Embed Plugin lets you easily integrate your YouTube channel with your WordPress food blog. You can embed recent videos from your YouTube channel into your WordPress website, as well as adding a YouTube gallery or live feed to your blog. By linking your website and YouTube channel in this way, you can promote your videos and grow your following.
Get on Board With Pinterest Recipe Rich Pins
Due to the photographic nature of food blogging, Pinterest (with over 100 million users) is an ideal platform to promote your food blog. There is much you can do to get your content shared on Pinterest and grow your Pinterest following, which you can read about in one of our previous articles ‘How Your Business Can Benefit from Pinterest’.
However, as a food blogger, it is important to set up Recipe Rich Pins for your WordPress website. Enabling Rich Pins enhances your Pins with extra information, giving your audience a ‘richer’ experience and helping to improve user engagement with each Pin. This increases the chance of the image being re-shared, reaching a wider audience, and driving traffic to your website.
Recipe Rich Pins specifically add information about the ingredients of a recipe, cooking times, and serving sizes. If you choose to use WP Recipe Maker to add recipes to your food blog, you can easily set up Recipe Rich Pins. This WordPress plugin automatically creates metadata for your recipes. So simply confirm and validate your website with Pinterest and your images will then be posted as Rich Pins.
Add an Easy-to-Use Search Function
Many visitors to your blog will be looking to find a specific recipe, or a meal involving a particular food. So adding an easy to use search function, that has the ability to filter your content and display relevant recipes to readers, is very important.
Search WP is a premium search plugin that scans all indexable content, enabling it to return useful search results that match the requests. This feature is an essential for a food blog, so make sure you incorporate it into your WordPress website.
Monitor Your Analytics
As a food blogger, it is imperative that you know what recipes are resonating with your audience and which ones aren’t. Use Google Analytics to find out which recipes are attracting big crowds, being shared on social media and increasing your readers time-on-site.
Posts that draw large crowds are the types of recipes, ingredients, and cooking methods that your audience is interested in, so you should focus on publishing variations of this type of content. By understanding your target market in this way, you can create a content strategy to help you grow your food blog’s following.
Final Thoughts on Creating a Food Blog
Once your food blog is up and running, promoting your content should be your next mission. Aside from the generic tasks like building an email list, and growing your social media following, try and market your blog specifically on other ‘foodie’ websites.
Guest posting on other food blogs, speaking as a guest on food related podcasts or vlogs, and sharing recipes on food sites like FoodGawker, are all effective ways to reach out to your target audience. Building a powerful food blog with a strong following can take time, but if you persevere then the rewards can be worth it.
What features do you think are key to a successful food blog? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…
As your website grows, and the number of visitors you receive increases, making improvements on your live site isn’t sensible. Instead, you should consider creating a test site, where you can work on your site without the changes being affecting your user experience.
In this article, we look at what exactly a test site is. We then consider the different ways you can create a test site, and the benefits of these options. Once you have finished reading, you will be well equipped to set up your own WordPress website’s test site.
Why You Should Use a test Site
A test site is simply a copy of your WordPress website that isn’t available to the general public. Once created you can work directly on your test site, make improvements, trial plugins, and generally tinker, without it affecting any aspect of your live WordPress website.
If you don’t use a test site, then every time you want to make changes to your website you run the risk of greatly impacting your user’s experience. If your website visitors encounter frequent changes and interruptions, slow load times or even an unavailable or broken site, then this can damage the reputation of your business. And ultimately lose you leads, customers, and revenue.
Using a test site, or staging environment as it is often referred to, enables you to make changes to your website without time pressure. You can decide what tools and features work best on your site, without worrying that whilst you are working you are hindering the usability of your site. This will result in you being able to produce the best version of your website, which you can then ship to your live site when it is ready.
So now we know why you should use a test site. But how do you set one up?
How to Create a Test Site
There are a number of ways to create a staging area for your WordPress website. Let’s take a look at them…
Staging Provided by Your Web Host
A number of hosting providers offer a staging area as part of their hosting service. WPEngine offers managed staging with all their plans, enabling you to create a copy of your site in their staging area. Here you can test any code, design, or more, and then push changes across to your live site when you are ready.
If WPEngine prices are a little high for your liking, SiteGround’s premium plan ‘GoGeek’ also offers a ‘one-click’ staging environment. Here you can create a copy of your site in a staging area with just one click. Improvements to your live site can be sent with again just ‘one-click’, and SiteGround automatically backups up your site first, in case you want to reverse the changes.
These aren’t the only web hosting providers that offer staging options with their hosting services. Always check out what features are offered, and if staging is included, before choosing a web host and plan for your WordPress website.
Use a Staging Solution
If your web host doesn’t offer a staging feature, then using a hosting solution may be a good option for you. WP Stagecoach is a quick and easy way to create a test site. Working with any host, WP Stagecoach provides a staging environment where you can access and work on your test site. Then push your updates live with just ‘one-click’.
WP Stagecoach also uses a ‘database merge’ feature. This is not an ‘overwrite’ feature, ensuring that your data is never lost. Prices start from $10 a month, and a free trial is also offered, enabling you to be sure this is the solution for you before committing financially.
Using a staging environment provided by your web host or by a staging service, is by far the easiest way to create a test site. However, it will also cost you. Let’s next look at a few free way to create a staging area for your WordPress website.
Manually Set Up a Local Installation
Manually installing WordPress on your desktop, is an approach used by many. Although this may not be the best option for those with limited WordPress experience, once set up, this is a free and easy way to access and work on your test site. To install WordPress directly on your computer check out the WordPress Codex step by step instructions.
Manually Set Up a Subdomain on Your Web Host
Setting up a subdomain with your web hosting service is another straightforward and free option for creating a test site. Your test site will use a similar URL. For example, my personal test site for http://jonesblogs.com is wp.jonesblogs.com. Manually duplicating your site to your subdomain is relatively easy, and most hosting providers provide clear instructions on how to do so.
Use a WordPress Staging Plugin
There are a number of WordPress staging plugins that will enable you to clone and move a site from one location to another. Duplicator is a free WordPress plugin that will copy and move your site to any location you wish. You can move your site between domains on the same server, or between hosts, all with zero downtime. However, using this plugin does require some technical skills, so if you are looking for an easier way to create a test site then WP Staging might be a better option.
WP Staging is another free WordPress plugin that allows you to create a staging area for your website within a few minutes. Extremely straightforward to set up, simply migrate your website in just one-click, and then start working on your test site. WP Staging is great for those who don’t need all the extensive features of Duplicator, but still want to create a test site where they can tinker away in peace.
Final Thoughts on Setting Up a Test Site
As you can see, there are a number of ways to create a staging area – something to suit everyone’s needs. The importance of not working on your live site, and taking the time to create a test site, where you can trial changes and upgrades, cannot be underestimated. So now you know what to do, it’s time to get your test site set up.
Which method will you select to create your test site? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…
If you have recently started a new business, focusing on SEO is paramount. Improving your website’s SEO will help your business rank well in the search engines, reach new customers and drive traffic to your site. But SEO is complex and involves implementing a variety of tools and strategies. So where should you start?
In this article, we share a range of SEO top tips for businesses. We look at what you should already be doing and discuss a number of checks you can run to see how well optimized your site actually is. We will then consider what you can do going forward to help your business become more visible online. Let’s get started…
Basic SEO Practice
There are a number of basic SEO strategies that all websites should incorporate that we have written about previously. Here are a few tips that even as a new business you should already have implemented…
Install Yoast Seo
There are a number of WordPress SEO plugins, but Yoast is by far the most advanced. This free plugin will help optimize your content, tell you what you need to improve, help you add metadata, create a sitemap for your website, and much more.
So now we know what you should already be doing on your website, let’s look next at some SEO top tips to give your new business a boost…
Check Your Website’s SEO Score
It is important to know how well optimized your website is. SEO SiteCheckUp offers a free and in-depth tool enabling you to analyze what still needs improving on your WordPress website. The results are broken down into the categories of General SEO, Speed, Server and Security, Mobile Usability, and Advanced SEO, giving you actionable tasks to help you make the necessary changes needed.
Write a Blog
Whatever your business, adding a blog to your website is a must. Posting interesting and relevant articles regularly to your blog will appeal to your audience and encourage them to return. It will also encourage a steady stream of new visitors, drawn to your site to read specific posts. The regular updating of your site, and the increase in traffic, will help to improve your site’s rankings in the search engines.
Create a Content Strategy
Creating a content strategy for your business is vital, so each article you publish has a purpose. And do your keyword research, so every article you write includes terms that your audience is already searching for in Google.
Writing an assortment of evergreen articles is important as this is content that is ‘ageless’ and will still be searched for and useful for years to come. Always make sure your content is original and top quality, so your visitors will stay and read an article and not just bounce within seconds of arriving on your site.
Also consider writing a number of ‘how to’ articles that help people solve problems. This type of post generates high levels of traffic, and the more traffic your site receives the higher your pages will climb in the search engines.
Keep Visitors On Your Site
Positive metrics like low bounce rates, time spent on site, and pages viewed all help with SEO. Once visitors have arrived on your site to read an article you want them to stay, so make the navigation of your site easy. An effective way to do this to use a popular posts plugin.
Bibblio is an impressive SaaS product that has recently launched a WordPress plugin. This solution will enable you to add stylish popular posts sections to your blog. By displaying relevant content to that already being viewed, your visitors are more likely to click through to continue their reading, increasing page views and time spent on your site.
Encourage Visitors to Return to your Site
Adding an engaging comments section is an effective way to create a community of regular visitors. Google wants to see your site is interesting to your audience and being used, so having returning visitors will impact on your SEO.
Use Disqus, a third party solution that will add a dynamic and interactive comments section underneath each of your blog posts. Let readers add images and videos to discussions, vote, recommend, create their own threads and much more. Becoming engaged in interesting threads will encourage visitors repeatedly visit your site, helping to improve your SEO data.
Backlinks are important, but not easy to achieve. Backlinks are links to your site from other websites. These links help the search engines find your site and index your content. To get started creating backlinks, begin by commenting on blog discussions and forums. The more ‘high profile’ the sites the better, so concentrate on linking to large popular websites that are big names in their niche.
Guest blogging is another great way to receive backlinks. Contact site’s that are relevant to yours and ask if you can publish an article on their site. Although you don’t get paid for this, you will be able to add your bio underneath with a link back to your site. Guest posting will also enable you to reach a new potential audience, helping to drive traffic to your site.
Get Busy on Social Media
There is no direct evidence that the sharing of content on social media is taken into account by the search engine algorithms. However, the larger your social media following and the more your content is shared on the social platforms, the more traffic your website will receive. Not only are high levels of traffic good for your business, Google also monitors traffic levels and will reward your site accordingly.
Local SEO is a big deal and if your business wants to rank in local searches there is much you can do. Yoast has developed two premium WordPress plugins, Local SEO and Local SEO for WooCommerce. Both these plugins will enable your site and business to get better search results in local searches, as well as enhance your contact pages with Google Maps. opening times, store locators, and more.
It is also important to join up with Google My Business. By creating your own free listing with Google My Business, your business will appear on Google Search and Google Maps. This will help customers quickly and easily find your website and get in contact.
Final Thoughts on SEO Top Tips for New Businesses
As you can see, there are many SEO top tips that you can implement. By dedicating time and effort to SEO, and incorporating the tools and strategies mentioned in this article, you should soon see positive results. And as your site rises in the search engines, the increase in traffic to your website will help your business grow. Good Luck!
Which SEO top tips are you going to introduce? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…