So you’ve started a food blog (yay!) and now you’re learning all the ins and outs of what it means to be a food blogger. You’re learning how to shoot stunning food photos, write like a pro, design and maintain your own website, and you’re quickly becoming a wiz at social media. Go you! But if it’s not all coming as easily as you’d like, don’t worry! Here are some of my favorite bloggy resources that I’ve found helpful in fine-tuning my blogging skills.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a commission if you make a purchase using those links. All of the products and services listed below are ones I personally use and recommend. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything listed here!
Food Photography Tools
Canon Rebel Series: The Canon Rebel series, whether it’s the T3i or the T5, is a great place to start for food photography. These cameras give you the ability to control all the important manual settings you’ll want to control without giving you so many options that it’s overwhelming. If you want something just a little more powerful, I’ve used and really liked Canon’s EOS 600D as well.
Sunpak Digiflash 3000 for Canon: Shooting food photos with natural looking light is always a challenge when you’re working with an artificial light source. My personal preference is an external flash synched to my camera with Pawn’s Wireless Flash Trigger by Pixel Enterprises Limited for Canon. For more details on my external flash set-up, check out my post on shooting food photos at night.
Manfrotto Tripod: I shot photos for a long time without a tripod, but now that I have one, I wouldn’t want to go back! The extra stability as well as freeing up that hand to do other things makes it worth every penny! There are a lot of options out there, but this is my personal favorite because of how light weight it is, how compact it packs up, and how many different ways you can swivel and set it.
Photographing Food: There are a lot of ebooks out there about photographing food, but this is by far my favorite! Each issue addresses a different facet of food photography and contains plenty of photographs to give you side-by-side comparisons and illustrate important concepts.
Ink and Elm: Having some nice photography backdrops can really give your food photos a boost, and Ink and Elm is my favorite photography backdrop company! They have such a wide range of backdrops and they come in perfectly small sizes for us foodies like 2ft x 3ft.
Starting Your Own Blog
Bluehost: When I decided to move my blog to a self-hosted site, I chose Bluehost. Not only were they my first self-hosting service provider but they still are! They’re really responsive and helpful, and I would highly recommend them. I know all of the blog mumbo-jumbo tech speak can be confusing, and maybe even a little daunting at first, so if you’re looking for some more resources, you might have a look at my post on how to start a food blog.
The Genesis Framework: Buying all the pretty bells and whistles for your new blog can be exciting. Theme: fun. Graphics: fun. Framwork: probably not so much. But let me make a case for why you should really consider getting the Genesis Framework. 1) It’s already search engine optimized. 2) Unlimited support, updates, and websites (oh hello convenient one time fee). And 3) Custom widget and layout options. I know that last one might not sound so exciting, but it’s the mechanism that allows you to put those fancy-smancy sliders on your blog. Awesome sauce, right?
Restored 316 Designs: You have a self-hosted site with a good framework. Now let’s make it pretty! There are a lot of options out there for themes and although you definitely have to shop around and find something that fits your style, I would highly recommend having a look at Restored 316 Designs. I personally use their Tasteful theme and love it! On top of that, they’re super helpful when it comes to setting up your theme and have a ton of fantastic tutorials to help you get everything up and running.
Viraltag: Pinterest is a fantastic platform for promoting your blog. However, to get the most out of it, you really need to pin throughout the day, not just in mass the 2-3 times you happen to log onto Pinterest. So you’re left with two options: strap yourself to your desk and spend your day pinning content or find a pin scheduling service like Viraltag. Pssst, I recommend the latter.
Driving Traffic to Your Food Blog
Now that you’ve got your blog up and running, and maybe even a few posts under your belt, it’s time to do some promotion! Although creating great content is key to a successful food blog, so is promotion. In addition to promoting yourself across social media (Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and StumbleUpon, just to give you a few ideas), there are plenty of food specific sites to tap into. Here are a few you might want to check out and consider submitting your posts to:
And as tricky as social media and promotion can be, here are a few of my favorite food blog resources for navigating social media:
5 Useful Programs for Scheduling Social Media
The Best Foodie Hashtags to Grow your Instagram Following
Getting Started with Pinterest for Bloggers
7 Resources for Tracking your Social Media Presence
How to Grow your Blog with Google+
One way to make your blogging life a little easier is by utilizing plugins. Plugins do all sorts of things, from formatting posts to protecting your site from spam. Personally, I like to use: