Whether you’ve just gotten started with your food blog, or are a veteran food blogger, it’s always nice to find a shortcut to learning about what’s been working for other bloggers. We’re always trying out new products and services, and thought it might be handy for others to read about the tools that have been successful for us:
Hosting Your Food Blog:
Bluehost costs just $4.95 a month, which makes it a pretty low-risk way to get started with food blogging. In addition to the balance of low cost and impressive features, Bluehost also throws in a free domain name (like FromAway.com) when you sign up. It’s a great way to get started blogging, without letting your initial costs get out of hand.
Starting your blog on a shared host like BlueHost is a great way to get rolling, but there comes a point where you may need to consider moving your food blog to a dedicated server. A dedicated server hosts just one website: Yours. That means your site can handle as much traffic as you can throw at it. Media Temple handles every customer support inquiry quickly, and with knowledge and courtesy. They’re an independent company that we recommend for any food blog that is receiving more than approximately 5,000 visitors per day.
We recently moved hosting duties for From Away over to WP Engine, and we couldn’t be happier that we did. Sure, there’s a bit of sticker shock, especially when you compare WP Engine’s services to a free host. But there really is no comparison: WP Engine ONLY hosts WordPress sites, caching and optimizing things behind the scenes so that worrying about the nuts and bolts of your blog is never something you have to waste time on. It just works, perfectly and right away, resulting in reduced page load times and better organic search engine results. WP Engine also provides free backups, and a repair concierge service in the event your website is ever attacked or hacked. As soon as you reach the point where your food blog turns you into a minor celebrity, it’s time to consider biting the bullet, and upgrading to a customized, managed hosting solution from WP Engine.
Themes for Your Food Blog
Elegant themes has nearly 150,000 customers, and sells more than 75 unique themes. Many of them would be a perfect fit for a food blog. Their support is excellent, and their focus on clean, uncluttered themes is on-trend and perfect for a new food blog. You can purchase themes individually, or pay $39 for instant access to every theme in their collection, which makes it easy to try different looks for your site. In particular, be sure to check out these themes: My Cuisine, eNews
WooThemes is arguably one of the top premium WordPress developers out there right now. They do things with WordPress we never would have believed possible, including fully responsive designs that automagically adapt to mobile devices and different screen resolutions. With top-notch support and nearly 100 of the best-looking WordPress themes available, you’re certain to find something that would be a good fit for your food blog. In particular, don’t miss: Delicious Magazine, Fresh News, The Morning After, Bueno
If you want a shortcut to customizing your blog’s theme, with pixel-perfect design and expert coding, there’s nothing better than the Genesis framework. Genesis is a sort of “master theme” that sits on top of your WordPress installation. We use Genesis and the Eleven40 theme on ProFoodBlogger, our food blog about, well, food blogging. Genesis also provides groundbreaking SEO capabilities, without the use of external plugins. There’s custom title tags, custom meta descriptions, and custom meta tags, as well as the ability to add your own custom URL for each individual post. The Eleven40 child theme features a clean design with plenty of whitespace around each element, as well as gorgeous typography.
Tools for Food Photography
The Canon Rebel T3 is a remarkable amount of camera for the money. Sure, it’s a few years old, but that means you can find it for rock-bottom prices. It’s a great introductory camera that allows you to learn photography at your own pace, since the “scene modes” allow you to choose to configure your own settings when you want…or put the camera on autopilot when you don’t.
The kit lens that comes with the Canon Rebel T3 is a great place to start, and honestly, you could go through your entire career as a food blogger using just that lens. Recently, I’ve begun shooting with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens. It’s a super inexpensive “prime” or fixed-focus lens, meaning you can’t zoom in or out…but the bokeh it throws is impressive, once you get the hang of using it. I use this lens when I want to make stacks of cookies seem much, much more interesting. They don’t call it the “nifty fifty” for nothing.
Controlling the way you light your scene is one of the most important parts of getting a killer food photo, and I’ve been using these inexpensive Cowboy Studio full-spectrum umbrella lights for years. Use one to light your scene and the other to fill any shadows, and you’ll get bright, natural-looking photos, even during a Maine winter when it gets pitch dark at three o’clock in the afternoon.
Recommended Further Reading
If you’re looking for a few beginner-level, low-cost tips for how to improve your food photography immediately, using either a point-and-shoot or DSLR, check out the post we wrote for ProFoodBlogger called “7 Beginner Tips for Improving Your Food Photography.” It covers everything from choosing your light, to some easy post-processing tricks you can do to make your images pop.
When you’re ready to take the next step with your food photography, there’s nothing I recommend more highly than Pinch of Yum’s inexpensive e-book, “Tasty Food Photography.” This digital download covers material specific to food bloggers that you just won’t find in most photography books, or guides to photographing food. The proof is in the results that Pinch of Yum has seen: They’ve managed to turn blogging into a full time job with a six figure income.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. We have used each and every one of the products or services listed above, and recommend them based on our positive experiences with them, not because of the commissions that we may earn from your use of their services.