Building a great looking food blog or recipe blog website doesn’t have to be complicated and confusing. I see a lot of people recommending food blog tools to beginners that are really designed for professional developers.
In this tutorial I want to show you an easy and powerful way to create a great food blog. A food blog that will help you get started creating a food blogging business.
This is a really in-depth tutorial where I’m going to walk you thru everything step by step.
If you have a question or need help with this tutorial leave a comment bellow and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!
Let’s dive in! Start by watching the video!
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Tools used in this tutorial
For this tutorial there are two basic tools we will be using. A website hosting company which will also give us WordPress and a WordPress theme designed specifically for food blogs or recipe blogs.
Get Hosting for your food blog.
Dreamhost Website Hosting – Dreamhost is the hosting company that I use for Real Website Hints. It’s a hosting company that I really respect.
They are employee owned. They offer fair pricing and provide everything that you need to get started.
Most other companies have tons of up sells dreamhost pricing is much more transparent. It’s a great value for good hosting that is perfect for beginners.
Get an easy to use food blog theme
Foodica Blog Theme – The Foodica theme is perfect for getting started easily and affordably creating a recipe blog.
The theme has a great look and provides you everything you need to get started. Some of the other themes I have seen recommended to food bloggers are really tools that are designed for professional website designers.
Foodica, and the other WPZOOM food blog themes are easy to use, powerful and designed for beginners. The great thing about building your website with WordPress is that later on after you’ve got your blog rolling you can always change you theme to fit your needs at that time. Right now it’s just about getting the tools you need to get started.
Signing up for hosting
If you are completely new to building a website hosting is where your website lives. Hosting is space on a computer server where your viewers will connect to your website.
There are lots of great hosting companies out there and I have personally tested many hosting companies. My top recommendation and the hosting company that I personally use is DreamHost. Their fair pricing and friendly support staff have kept me using them for over a decade!
Signing up for Dreamhost is really easy use this link here: Dreamhost Hosting and then select the WordPress from the top. Either choose WordPress Basic or DreamPress.
Choosing the right hosting plan
I personally use DreamPress, but it is more expensive. It includes the professional version of Jetpack which offers some amazing features to super charge your website. Features like off site backup, spam protection. As well as several things to speed the delivery of your website to your visitors.
If you are just starting out and looking to keep your costs low choose WordPress basic. You can always upgrade when your site takes off! I would recommend the WordPress Unlimited plan under basic. The unlimited plan includes email so that you can have a professional email address at your new website. It also allows you to build as many websites as you want, so if you have a couple of different ideas that you want to try out you can do so!
Choosing a Domain name for your blog.
Choosing the name for your blog will be the most fun and frustrating part of getting started. There are a lot of great names out there that people are just sitting on! Here is my advice for choosing a great domain name.
- Think of a catchy name that is 2, 3 or 4 words.
- Be sure it is easy to say and looks right when all of the words are run together. Word of mouth can still be an important marketing tool even in the digital age!
- Don’t use a companies trademark in your name. You don’t want your website taken down because of a Trademark infringement.
I’d recommend sticking the the top level domain or TLD of .com, it’s still the most widely recognized TLD, but with the right name using a different TLD could be an option for your website.
Have fun and choose a great domain name for your website.
Final settings to choose for hosting
If you are going with the WordPress unlimited there are a few options during check out. First off is the sign up duration. I recommend going for the 1 year plan. This offers the best value. You can also choose to lock in the price by choosing the 3 year plan.
Next up is the option to install WordPress. That’s why we’re here so make sure that is checked.
Uncheck the option for WP Website Builder. I tested it and wasn’t impressed. The best way to keep your website running smoothly is to make sure that you don’t have anything extra installed. You want just the themes and the plugins that you need.
The last item is optional it is the DreamShield Protection. This scans your site for malicious code. This can be a problem for WordPress websites. It’s not something that I would worry about right at the start, so I would consider this optional.
Set up your email
While WordPress is being installed take a few moments to setup your email. From your main Dreamhost dashboard look for the email set up card.
Next fill out the email setup form to create your new email address.
After creating your email address you can check your mail at webmail.yourdomain.com
Set up your SSL certificate
To make sure that you website is secure for your visitors and doesn’t get flagged as being dangerous we will need to setup your free SSL certificate.
An SSL certificate allows for secure encryption between your website and your visitors browser.
To add your free SSL certificate to your website go to domains on the left side of the Dreamhost panel. Click it to open op the Domains menu. Then select SSL/TLS Certificates.
On the next page select the domain name that you would like to add a certificate to. If you only have one domain name you will only have one option to choose from.
Now choose the Let’s Encrypt option. This option is free!
The SSL certificate will now start to be added to your domain.
After signing up for your SSL certificate it can take 30 to 40 minutes for it to be fully activated. During that time you may see a warning when you start editing your website. The warning may say something like “This site is not secure”. It’s not thing to worry about once the certificate is fully activated this warning will go away.
Next log into WordPress and start building!
From the panel choose the home menu item at the top left. You will see a blue card that says, “Log into WordPress”. This will take you to the WordPress dashboard. This is also referred to as the backend of your website.
If you are completely new to WordPress watch the video starting at 18:24. I cover a lot of the basics of getting started with WordPress.
Getting your recipe blog theme
Choosing the right theme in WordPress is really important. Most of the time I recommend generalized themes like the Divi theme. Recipe Blogs and Food Blogs have some very specific features that they need. So using a theme that is designed specifically for that purpose makes the most sense.
I see many other food bloggers recommending the StudioPress themes for a food blog. The StudioPress themes are absolutely high quality, but they are designed for professional developers who are familiar with code. If you are not a developer and you are just starting out you need something that is easy to use, flexible and creates a great looking food blog website. That’s why after testing I recommend one of the Food blog themes from WPZoom.
In this tutorial we are going to be setting up the Foodica theme, but I also like the Gormand theme which is very similar. These themes are inexpensive and offer the features and look that will help you create a great food blog.
Getting the Foodica theme
We need to purchase and download the Foodica theme from the WPZOOM website you can use the button below to get the foodica theme
After purchasing the theme you will want to download it to your computer and make sure that the file stays zipped. We need to upload the zipped theme file to your website in order to install the theme.
Installing the Foodica theme
To install the theme from your WordPress dashboard go to Appearances > Themes
At the top of the themes page choose add new.
Now at the top in the same location as the add theme button you will see a button that says, “upload theme”. Click on the upload theme button. Below that choose the zipped Foodica theme file that you downloaded to your computer and click “install theme”.
Once the theme has been uploaded you will see a new page with the option to Activate the them. Click on activate to make this theme the active theme for your website.
Once the theme is active you will be taken to the WPZOOM setting page. You will see a card on the setting page to add in your license key. Go ahead and do that now.
Setting up the Foodica theme for a new Food Blog
There are several things to set up and configure to get started with this theme. In the video I walk you thru everything starting at 52:10. Here I’ll walk you thru the most important settings to get your food blog started.
Install the recommended plugins
The Foodica theme has several recommended plugins to be activated. Not all of the plugins are necessary to make your website work. The key to having a fast website and a good experience with WordPress is to only install the plugins that you need for your website. There are the plugins that I recommend for most people starting out with a new recipe blog.
After you have activated the Foodica theme you will see some notifications at the top of your dashboard about installing the recommended plugins. Click on the begin installing plugins button.
Select the plugins that you want to install. I recommend you install these three plugins. The Recipe Card plugin, Instagram widget and Social icons widget. Click install plugins.
The Recipe Card plugin will allows you to create recipe cards in a format that will be recognized by Google search, Pinterest and other locations. It will help give your recipes a better chance of getting found and standing out.
If you plan on using instagram to share images of your recipes you can add the instagram widget which will allow you to show your recent instagram posts on your website.
The social media icons widget plugin will allow you to add links to your social media profiles in the side bar of your website and even in the top menu of your website.
Activate the plugins
To activate the plugins choose plugins from the dashboard menu on the left and then click on installed plugins.
You will see the plugins that we just added to this list. Click the check box next to each of the plugins that we just added. The recipe card plugin, the instagram widget and the social media icon widget.
Look for the bulk actions dropdown menu at the top of the plugins list and choose “activate”. Then click the apply button.
The plugins are now installed and ready to go.
Setting up the look for your blog’s home page
In the video above I walk you thru many of the features and looks that can be achieved with the Foodica theme. If you want to learn all of the different looks check out the video starting at 1:03:54. Here Here I’ll go thru my recommendations for a new blog. One where you only have one or two posts to start out with. Later on you can fill out the home page with featured posts and your most popular posts.
WPZOOM theme settings
We need to turn of the default structured data settings. Since we will be using the recipe card for our website we do not need the default structured data settings included with the theme.
Turn off the default structured data
To turn off the structured data go to the WordPress Dashboard > WPZOOM > General > Theme options > Structured data and uncheck the “Enable structured data” check box and press, “Save all changes” at the bottom.
Turn off the WooCommerce Cart
The Foodica theme is compatible with WooCommerce for building an online store, but since we don’t currently have an online store we do not need a link to the shopping cart showing in the top menu so we need to turn this feature off.
From the Dash board go to WPZOOM > General > Theme settings > look down to miscellaneous and uncheck the, “Display Woo Commerce Cart Button in the header” Click save all changes at the bottom.
Setting up the important first Widgets
The Foodica theme uses widgets for various display options on the home page. For our basic page look we will set up a couple of widgets to add some more content to the pages of our website.
You will find the WordPress widget settings from the WordPress Dashboard under Appearances > Widgets
On the left side of the Widgets page is an area called, “Available Widgets”. On the right had side are the different locations that you can put widgets on your website.
Set up the WPZOOM author bio widget.
Drag the WPZOOM Author Bio widget from the left in to the Sidebar. Place the widget as the top item in the sidebar. Here you can fill out information about yourself. Entering in your email address will pull your image from Gravatar. If you have not set up your Gravatar yet you can do it at Gravetar.com. It’s a great way to have your image auto populate when you make comments on other peoples websites and other places on the web.
Be sure to click save at the bottom of the widget settings
Social Media Icons Widget setup
From the left hand side drag the Social Icons by WPZOOM widget just below the Author bio widget. Choose the settings that you would like for the way that your social icon links display. Near the bottom there is a box where you can add the correct links to your social media profiles.
Don’t forget to click save at the bottom of the widget settings.
Set up the Instagram Widget by WPZOOM
From the left had side grab the Instagram widget by WPZOOM and add it where you would like it on the side bar. I have mine near the bottom of my side bar items. This widget will display the most recent posts that you add to your instagram feed.
You can connect to your feed either by adding your user name in the provided box or what is better is clicking on the link to the plugin settings and following the connection instructions there.
A great start to building a food blog website
So that is a run down of how to easily build a great food blog or recipe blog website. I cover each step in a lot more detail in the video so if you haven’t watched the video make sure you do! If you have questions about setting up your food blog leave them in the comments bellow!