For many passionate cooks and diners, food blogging is the perfect creative and social outlet. Having your own blog means you can share your passion with kindred foodies...

How to become a food blogger

For many passionate cooks and diners, food blogging is the perfect creative and social outlet. Having your own blog means you can share your passion with kindred foodies who already have food blogs as well as your family, friends and online fans. And it could become a highly emotionally-satisfying hobby whilst having the potential to become profitable if you do it well and often. But possible fame and fortune aside, many bloggers simply do it for fun and to let off some steam created by their passion for food albeit planning the menu and buying, gathering, preparing, serving or eating the food!

The blogging world is a fabulous place in which to exchange ideas, information and learn about each other’s habits, traditions, beliefs and way-with-food. It would be wonderful if we could have more men and more cultures joining this world. As food is central to a culture’s traditions, many of us crave knowing more about other cultures’ habits and traditions and of course, their yummy recipes.

To start blogging is easy, there are six stages to begin with and you require just a few skills: the ability to write well, to cook well and to take (at least) recognisable pictures. You probably have the tools already: a digital camera (a cell phone with a good camera facility will do), a laptop, PC or tablet and of course, access to internet. And then, this is how you go about it: prepare a dish that you are crazy about, style it nicely and take picture of it. Transfer the pictures to your laptop or PC or tablet (you can even take the pictures with your tablet) and then choose the nicest one. On your laptop or PC you can use a program as simple as Microsoft Office 2010 to crop your picture the way you like and then to resize or compress it to a smaller, online-friendly size. Then you type out the recipe, add some information or a little personal story, check your grammar and spelling and finally, save it on your system. You now have a saved document with your yummy recipe-story and a saved picture that you love.

The hardest thing is probably thinking of a name for you blog. And be cautioned, ‘cute’ is not always sellable. People looking for wonderful recipes online will not search on Google for (say) ‘Monica’s Hot Chows’. No, they will more likely use words and descriptions like ‘best’ or ‘easy recipes’ or ‘quick’ and ‘easy cooking’ and ‘simple’ and most probably also ‘delicious’ and ‘tasty’. So make sure you give your blog a descriptive name that will ‘sell’ online when people use words on Google or other search engines looking for great meals and recipes. Think of the food that you love and love to eat and will now write about: Is it delicious? Is it easy? Is it Italian? Mediterranean? African? Asian? Homely? Budget beaters? Baking? Pickling? Once you are sure that the core word you have chosen for your blog’s name is a popular search engine term, use that word in your blog’s name. Create a simple free account for yourself with Google Adwords and play around with your own words (click on Tools and Analysis and then select Keyword Tool on the drop-down list) until you find the word(s) that Google says is most popular. Now use your findings as clue to a name for your blog.

Whatever name you choose, know that your blog is about you, your food, your way of cooking and what your food ‘voice’ is. So also decide on your blog’s ‘food voice’. Is it going to be homely, fancy, using local ingredients, using only fresh ingredients, low-fat, vegetarian, wheat free, diabetic cooking or whatever? Whatever it is, is has to be authentic and be your own sincere lovely voice. It’s good to know that the general public who reads blogs are people who love to eat and want ideas. But beware, they can and do ‘read between the lines’ so, if you are not true in your food passion and not sincere in your intentions and (actually) want to promote your home catering or hubby’s toaster-repair business, your pony will only have one trick and it will be a short show. Blog visitors know their oats, literally.

Right, one last thing before you can start: you need to decide which online blog platform you are going to use to showcase your talents and share your passion. Although there are many, with the biggest being WordPress.com, Blog.com and Blogger, we highly recommend that you start with Food24 as your blog platform. It is the local meeting place of most of our food bloggers and this is where you will get warm and enthusiastic acceptance, meet loads of other passionate foodies, get great advice and support but above all, get traffic! Always remember that traffic to your blog (traffic means people reading or looking at your blog) is what you want because it creates loyal followers and fans which could turn into fame which may lead to fortune  and if not and over and above that, you will have a lot of fun getting all that traffic.

It’s simple to create our own blog on Food 24. You just need to create an account for yourself. On their home page you click on ‘Blogs’, and on the blogs page, you click on ‘Create an account’ and fill in the easy-peasy form. Your account needs to be approved so be patient, within a day you’ll be able to upload your first post.

Finally, once you have

 

  • figured out how your digital or cell phone camera works,
  • written a good, original recipe in your own words (!) (cutting and pasting somebody else’s work will land you in trouble faster than you can say Pick ’n Pay),
  • decided on a name for your blog that will attract traffic to it,
  • created a free and easy account with Food24 and
  • had a little look-see how the buddy WordPress within Food24 operates, then you are ready to rock and roll, sister! Or brother ...!

 

And then you blog. The more you do it, the better you’re going to get. But there is a 6th step – social networking As soon as you are comfortable in your blog space and know that it is something that you want and can do forever, begin social networking – Facebook and Twitter for sure. Be active and proactive and tweet and post a lot on Facebook. Post and tweet what you blog about including lots of hints and tips and food-newsy stuff. And finally, when you have found your blogging and love it to smithereens, then start doing some serious SEO (search engine optimisation) to improve the traffic to your blog and to showcase your beautiful work to more people. But, more about that another day ...

First, just start. Eveeeeeentually when you’ve fallen deeply in love with your blog (and other people’s blogs) and know for sure you want to be a blogger forever, you can start thinking about upgrading your camera and even go for photography course. And if you are sincere and serious about food blogging, always remember that bread dough does not keep, you need to make fresh dough often… and it is the same with blogging. You have to do it often to maintain the online attention and momentum to your blog.

And finally, when you are an established food blogger – you may want to consider migrating to your own big, unique blog. But never let go of Food24, continue to post your recipes and pictures on their platform. It will keep your traffic alive and your beautiful face and unique blogging voice and work under the foodie and advertiser spotlight.

Just believe it: if you consistently produce great, original work in your own authentic voice that people find safe, useful, fascinating, or entertaining and amusing, you will make a pretty big name for yourself, it’s almost guaranteed. And, who knows what doors your blog can open for you? The future lies online and consistently good, creative and strategically-thinking bloggers will richly enjoy the fruits of their labours.

Written for I Love Cooking.
October 2012