The Best Way to Grow a Food Blog
If you’re hoping to start a food blog, either as a side hustle or because you want to make it a full time income, one of your goals will definitely be getting more web traffic. More traffic = more ads revenue, or more sales of printables or recipes, or more email subscribers. Having a blog can be a great way to create passive income, or create an income working from home with some flexibility. Here are some ways you can grow a recipe blog and make an income from blogging.
How to Start a Food Blog and Make Money
The first thing to do is start your blog the right way. It’s easier to get things set up properly from the start rather than having to go back through and redo everything when your site grows!
Choose the right host. I have a few blogs and host them all with Siteground. I’ve used Siteground for a few years now and have always been really happy with them. They are a bit expensive when it comes to renewing, but for me they’re worth the expense. Choose a package that will allow you to grow your blog.
Pick a domain that reflects your blog name and doesn’t include any weird or unusual spellings – you want to be as discoverable as possible, so spelling things in a quirky way won’t do you any favours.
Using WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com will mean you can customise the look of your site and when your traffic levels grow you’ll be able to monetise by adding in ads. With WordPress.com you’re very limited to what you can do. Head here for more in depth advice on how to start a blog this year.
Choose the right recipe plug in. I started a baking blog and bought a theme from Etsy which came with its own recipe plug in. The plug in looked really pretty but the functionality was really lacking – the “Print Recipe” button didn’t even work! I didn’t notice this until I had something like 30 recipes up – talk about a face palm moment! The best recipe plug in to grow a food blog is WordPress Recipe Maker. I’ve switched all my recipes over to this one now. The free version is great, but the pro one means you can customise the plug in even more. This recipe maker is a great favourite with many of the top food bloggers as it’s SEO optimised and works really well with Google.
Set your permalinks up correctly. Don’t include the date – it’s best for them to be recipesite.com/easy-chocolate-cookies than recipesite.com/2022/08/03/easy-chocolate-cookies. Use keywords in your URL if you can to improve your chances of being found in a search. This is also great for Pinterest SEO, which I’ll come onto later!
Easy Ways to Grow a Food Blog
When you start out blogging it can see a bit overwhelming. There are a few easy ways to grow your recipe blog though, which I’ll go through now.
Amazing Food Photos
People eat with their eyes first of all. If your recipes look amazing, people are more inclined to make them. Really concentrate on taking the best food photos you can – use natural light and a clear background to really show off your food to it’s best. Photos with a messy, cluttered background won’t do as well and don’t look as appetizing – your recipe can be the most delicious thing ever, but if your photos look amateur you won’t get the readers. Learning the basics of good photography is a must. You can use these photos on your website and social media to draw in more readers.
SEO for Food Bloggers
The biggest way to grow your blog is to really nail your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). SEO takes time to gain traction, but it’s the way that will bring you the most traffic in the long term. In a nutshell, SEO is making your blog more discoverable to search engine users by including relevant keywords (the words people search Google for, eg vanilla cake recipe, easy cinnamon cookie recipe etc). Using these words strategically, and writing blog posts which help your readers, will mean Google will show your blog to more people, and your traffic will grow.
Social Media for Recipe Bloggers
Social media is one way to grow your food blog.
Create static posts, videos and Reels on Instagram. Engaging content like Reels showing cookies straight from the oven, all warm and gooey, or step-by-step how to make a cake tutorials work really well, as does behind the scenes stuff. Make sure your photos are top notch (see below) and show off your food to its best.
Create a page on Facebook to share your blog content to and invite your readers to follow along.
Facebook is also a great place to connect with other recipe bloggers and VAs. Getting your photos and recipes included in recipe round ups can be a great way to get backlinks which in turn is great for SEO and getting more blog traffic.
Social media can be a powerful tool to grow your blog while you’re waiting for your SEO to kick in, but I’d advise against going all in on social media. You can spend hours and hours creating Instagram content, as an example, engaging, following people, making Reels and Stories and gaining followers only for your account to be hacked, or Instagram to shut it down for no reason. Often you can’t get it back. Also, you’ll find that Instagram sends you a relatively small amount of traffic compared to other mediums.
Some recipe bloggers love TikTok as a way to share their recipes. I’ve never used it, so I can’t comment too much unfortunately!
The Best Recipe Sharing Sites for Recipe Bloggers
If you have great photos of your food, you can submit the photos to recipe sharing sites. These are great for getting more eyes on your beautiful recipes! Some great ones to try are:
- Healthy Aperture
Pinterest for Recipe Bloggers
Now, as this as predominantly a Pinterest strategy blog, of course I’m going to mention Pinterest. This has to be up there with the top ways to grow your blog. Recipes are big business on Pinterest!
First of all, you’ll need to create a Pinterest business account. Once this is all set up and your Pinterest account is optimised, you’re ready to create pins. Create scroll stopping pins which have relevant keywords in the pin titles and pin descriptions, and pin them to correctly optimised boards. Use group boards if they are relevant and work for you, but don’t spend too much time searching for group boards – they’re nice, but definitely not essential.
Create a regular and consistent stream of pins. Pick a pinning schedule you can stick to and that will work for you and the amount of content you can create. I see the figure of 10 pins a day doing the rounds in Facebook groups, but you should do what works for you. If it’s 1 fresh pin a day, do that. There is no magic number of pins that will grow an account – different strategies work for different accounts. There’s no point burning yourself out, making 10 pins a day, when you only have 3 recipes or blog posts. Start slow and make a sustainable schedule that works for you.
Also, creating and scheduling 10 pins a day for a DIY Pinterest strategy is a lot when you have the content creation, recipe development and all the other blogging tasks to do!
You do need patience with Pinterest. Because it’s a search engine, similar to Google, it takes time for your pins to start ranking and sending you traffic. It’s definitely not an overnight thing, and a lot of recipe bloggers get frustrated when pins don’t immediately take off and start sending traffic. Pinterest can take up to 45-60 days to index a pin and then it’s up against all the other pins already on there, so it will take some time before you start to see the traffic gains. It’s a snowball effect though, and the pins are evergreen, sending traffic to your site year after year.
Pinterest can send you massive amounts of traffic if you are consistent and patient. It can be overwhelming, and hard to keep up with the demands of pin creation and scheduling, so if you need to outsource your Pinterest account to free up your time to focus on recipe creation, get in touch or check out my Pinterest Management Services. I love everything Pinterest, so would be happy to have a chat about your Pinterest account!
When you get enough traffic you’ll be able to earn money from placing ads on your site. Ads networks such as Mediavine are great but have strict entry requirements (50,000 page views a month!). I’ve used Ezoic before as they don’t have a minimum page views requirement and have a decent rate of pay.
Starting a food blog can be rewarding, and watching it grow is very satisfying, but it is definitely not a quick thing. It takes time for Google to index your recipes, and then they need to start to climb up the search engine results listings. At first you’ll feel a bit like you’re making recipes for no-one, and no-one will ever see them, but don’t give up. It can be hard work to grow a food blog, but keep going and have patience, and the rewards will come.