How to become a food blogger in 2020 is a popular question I receive. This post is the first in my Blogging as a Business series that will break down the steps you need to take in order to turn your hobby blog into an actual career. Let’s work together to launch the blog you’ve been dreaming about!
Blogging as a Business Part One: How To Become a Food Blogger in 2020
I recently found myself stepping into the role of a blogging business coach by accident. I’ve had a handful or two “bloggers” (I’m using quotations here because some of these people don’t actually have blogs yet, just Instagram accounts) approach me and ask for advice on building their existing blog or future blogs.
I’ve also been approached by influencers on Instagram about what to charge, how to connect with brands, how I grew my Pinterest traffic and some other general blogging questions, so I decided this series was necessary. There is clearly a lot of confusion when it comes to blogging.
“How do you become a food blogger?”
“How do you make money as a blogger?”
“How do you set up a blog?”
“How do you ‘get’ followers?” That question really grinds my gears.. you can read more about it here.
“How do you find brands to work with?”
…you get the point.
Although the blogging space is becoming more popular (some would say it’s too saturated), I believe there is plenty of room for anyone to launch their blog today and make it a successful one. This first post is going to start with the basics on how to start a food blog, but also touch on some of my favorite business tips I give people that are just starting out. Let’s get into it!
How To Become A Food Blogger in 2020
Step One: Choose a Niche
I like to give the visual of an upside-down triangle (I learned this from Lauryn Evarts) to people when they say they want to start a blog. What I mean by this is pick ONE thing to focus on and, little by little, expand outward.
If your goal is to become a lifestyle blogger, it’s better to start in a specific niche and introduce new elements to your blog as time goes on. You want to evolve into a lifestyle blogger rather than start off by talking about a little bit of everything.
Don’t cast your net too wide. You want to go an inch wide and a mile deep with your audience, not a mile wide and an inch deep.
For example, if my goal was to become a “wellness blogger” and each day I was tackling something new, I’d never find my community. No one can form close relationships (online or off) if they’re constantly hanging out with a new crew.
Instead of bouncing from the foodies to the gym rats, to the herbalists to the dietitians. Choose ONE thing to focus on in the beginning and as time goes on, start dabbling in the others.
Rather, dive deep into the foodie community and once that’s established (say 6-8 months), start incorporating workouts, then your essential oils, then your morning routine, etc. Treat it like dating. You wouldn’t share every element of your life on the first date, would you?
Step Two: Purchase a Domain
Listen up y’all… YOU DON’T OWN INSTAGRAM. You’re on borrowed time and renting space on their app and guess what? They have total control.
If they want to ban you, block you, delete your account.. they can. They don’t even have to explain why because it’s their app.
This is why purchasing a domain and building a blog that YOU OWN is so crucial. I could go on about this forever, but I’ll spare you.
I purchased my domain through SiteGround and it was a breeze. Thankfully no one had taken my domain, but I also purchased it back in 2015. If you’re on Instagram without a blog, I recommend buying your domain ASAP. If it’s a catchy title there’s a chance someone has already snatched it up. There is a business in flipping domains just like flipping houses, so catchy domains get bought quickly.
Step Three: Become Self-Hosted
Basically, having your own self-hosted site allows you ultimate flexibility and customization. You completely own the content and the site and you can do whatever you want with it. Pretty much the reason we don’t want to rely on Instagram, right? I’m tired of hearing about the dang algorithm.
I use SiteGround and haven’t had ANY problems with them. They’ve truly been fabulous! I recently signed onto an AdNetwork and needed some coding done and SiteGround fixed it within 30 minutes of me sending the e-mail.
Some details on Siteground:
They offer three tiers of hosting: Startup (offers hosting for one website), Grow Big, and GoGeek (these last two offer hosting for multiple sites).
They promise excellent website speeds and live up to that promise. My website has never crashed in the last two years.
The backend (also called the cPanel) is clear and easy to use. AKA — easy set-up.
It’s important to be self-hosted so you can have more control over your website. When I first started out I was using a free hosted site (wordpress.com) and there were tons of limitations. As my traffic grew I decided to switch over to Squarespace.
Squarespace was fine but was still limiting. Since I knew I wanted to ultimately turn my blog into a business, getting self-hosted on SiteGround and migrating to wordpress.ORG was the best decision for me.
Because you are reading this, I’m assuming you want your blog to become a business which is why I recommend getting self-hosted on SiteGround and using wordpress.org.
Step Four: Get Set Up on WordPress.Org and Pick a Theme
I already touched on this in step two, but since some people just read the headlines, I wanted to make it bold. WordPress.com is NOT wordpress.org. The two are very different. You want to get set up on wordpress.org. You can read about it here.
Next up: Pick a blog theme!
This is where your personality can begin to show. There are free templates on WordPress, but I recommend grabbing one from Creative Market or Etsy.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a web designer to have a cute, stand-out site. My theme was $30 and I’ve been able to customize it with widgets, colors, fonts and more.
Step Five: Create 10-20 Pieces of High-Quality Content Before Launching
If you launch your food blog and only have one post saying “Heyyy guys! Welcome to my new blog!” no one is going to take you seriously. You need to have 10-20 compelling, high-quality pieces of content on your blog so people stick around know you’re legit.
For example: If I were starting out today, I’d shoot for 10 recipes with 5 high-quality images per post, 5 long-format wellness/nutrition-related articles, and a few fun posts that capture my personality.
Think: “5 Books I’m loving lately”, “10 Amazon Favorites this Month”, “My Morning Routine”, etc. Things that make you, you!
Step Six: Invest in a Good Camera (or iPhone) and Learn How to Use it
No matter the genre of your blog, photography and images are key… but ESPECIALLY with food blogging.
If your delicious Strawberry Cheesecake Overnight Oats look like a pile of mush, no one is going to want to make them. Plain and simple. We eat with our eyes first, so making sure you know how to capture pretty images is crucial.
I’m not saying you have to go out and buy the most expensive, complicated camera out there, but the quality of your images matter. A lot.
Take a class on Skillshare and learn how to work your way around a camera. Skillshare has helped me learn so many tricks with graphic design and other areas I’m not as proficient in. You can sign up for 2 free months and see how you like it. Trust me when I say it’s GREAT.
I still shoot mostly with my iPhone, but I do use this camera and lens from time to time when brands request it. Photography is something I’m working at every day, but I also had to learn how to capture images properly on my iPhone as well. Just scroll back in my feed and you’ll find some interesting photos. Mostly oversaturated from my editing style…Whoops!..but I also didn’t always have the best lighting. This was something I had to learn through trial and error (and skillshare or google).
This leads me to my next step…
Step Seven: Learn How To Edit Photos in Adobe Lightroom
I resisted purchasing an Adobe subscription for WAY TOO LONG. I was intimidated by it and thought using the apps on my phone were fine enough. And they were! Until I was doing five shoots in one day and had thousands of photos on my phone that needed editing.
I use the photography plan from adobe because it’s only $9.99 a month. It has lightroom and photoshop which are the two I most frequently use.
If you’re a student, you can also sign up for Adobe’s Student Plan and receive the entire adobe suite for $19.99 a month. Seriously such a killer deal.
It’s so much easier and convenient when you have photos on your computer. Editing takes half the time (or less) than it did when I was getting headaches from staring at my phone all day trying to edit hundreds of tiny photos.
Step Eight: Invest In Your Business!
You have GOT to treat your blog like a business from the very beginning if you truly want it to become one. This means purchasing food styling props, a tripod, taking courses, and putting all your hard-earned money BACK into your blog.
I was so terrified to purchase courses in the beginning because I was making such little income. I wanted to see that my business was profitable, but that’ something I really regret.
The first thing I purchased was a membership to Food Blogger Pro which was SO helpful. I’m still a member and find it super helpful.
Food Blogger Pro has courses on photography, writing an e-book (I launched mine in September this year!), growing your traffic, SEO, and everything else you need to know when asking how to become a food blogger. It’s only $297 a year and WELL worth the price. Honestly, I’d pay more, but don’t tell them that haha.
I also purchased Julie Solomons Pitch it Perfect course and it was incredible. You can take her masterclass for free if you’re curious about the course. The masterclass shares strategies to book brand collabs, negotiate deals, & monetize platforms for influencers and bloggers. She’s a wealth of knowledge when it comes to pitching brands, media, negotiating brand deals and more. I still look back on the course and the free masterclass occasionally for reminders.
The latest course I bought was Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate marketing is something I will go more into depth on in part three of my Blogging as a Business series where we will talk about monetization.
I love the saying “Those that pay, pay attention.” because it’s SO true. When I pay for a course or e-book vs, watching or reading a free one, I get so much more out of it because I’m paying to be there. We don’t want to see our money go to waste, so when you take a course the likelihood you actually implement what you learned is MUCH higher than if you learned it for free.
Step Nine: Experiment and Have Fun!
It’s important to have fun and remember you’re building your blog out of a passion for something, rather than just an income. When you’re passionate about something, it’s obvious. When money is your only motive, it’s obvious.
Even though you’re blogging with the intention of turning it into a business, you still need a work-life balance. This is something I did horribly wrong when I started out. I was overly concerned with analytics, landing brand deals, making sure everything was perfect and not a minute was spent on anything but my blog.
Remember to have fun and play around with it. You might stumble upon a different passion you didn’t even know you had.
How To Become a Food Blogger Recap:
- Pick a Niche
- Purchase your domain
- Get self-hosted
- Register with wordpress.ORG
- Create 10-20 pieces of high-quality content before launching
- Invest in a quality camera or iPhone and learn how to use it
- Learn how to edit photos efficiently
- Invest in your business through courses, online learning, props, and more
- Experiment and have fun!
Was this helpful in learning how to become a food blogger?
Let me know in the comments and join me for part two all about How to Grow Your Blog Traffic!