Food Blogger Resources
To build your own Blog, you can either choose an all in one website builder like Squarespace or use a hosting like Bluehost and set up a Wordpress Website with it. I started with Bluehost and Wordpress, but switched to Squarespace after one month. Squarespace is more expensive but allows you to focus on your Blog instead of the technical site on how to start a website from scratch.
Squarespace is a website builder which comes with a lot of beautiful themes. Build your website from scratch with very little knowledge as it is straightforward and has a step-by-step introduction for every setup. Customised style and CSS can be implemented. It's more expensive than Wordpress but worth the money.
Bluehost is a web host which most new Food Bloggers are choosing. The basic plan starts with an inexpensive monthly payment and therefore ideal if you just want to get started.
Wordpress is also used by most Food Bloggers as it is very individual and you can code and adjust almost everything. It comes with a tremendous amount of templates and plugins. As it is open source, it's better to have a little knowledge of CSS and HTML.
Canon EOS 6D is the DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera which I am currently using.
Adobe Lightroom Classic CC is what I use to organize my pictures on my MacBook and to make adjustments to them. It's, in my opinion, a must-have for every Food Blogger as it makes a massive difference to your pictures if you do edit them or not. It allows you to make local adjustments, brighten up your food, minimize noise, add some vignetting and much more.
Food Photography Training by William Reavell is the best training to take your food pictures to the next level. I attended the weekend combined course level 1 and 2 in London back in May when I just started with my food pictures on Instagram. It's quite an investment, but totally worth it. You learn how to shoot in manual mode, which background works the best, the best light to shoot and so much more. If there is any chance, you can come up with the money, just go. For those of you living far away or cannot afford it, he just released an ebook. I didn't read it, but having learned so much from him, I have the feeling you can take a lot out of it.
ImageOptim is a free tool to optimize your images for your website. It reduces image file sizes and removes invisible junk. I compromise all my pictures with it before I upload them to my website. A file size around 100KB is perfect for the web and your page speed.
Grum is the only automatic Instagram scheduler for your computer. Upload your image, caption, and comment with hashtags directly from your computer and schedule it for the time when your followers are most engaged. Grum automatically post on behalf of you. I am so thankful for Grum as I prefer to work from my MacBook and can schedule my posts in batches and do not need to remember to post them at a particular time.
Iconsquare is a great tool to analyze your Instagram account. You can see the engagement rate of your posts, growing statistic of your account, best posting times, the performance of your hashtags, follower information and much more. Plus, it comes with a comment tracker which is super useful if you have a high engagement rate.
Mosaico is an app for your smartphone to preview your feed. You can upload all your images you want to post on Instagram and see how your feed is going to look. Arrange your images within Mosaico to plan a beautiful looking feed. The great thing about Mosaico is that it comes with a ghost view, you can see how your feed would look like if you are going to delete specific images which are already posted on Instagram. It's also possible to write captions, hashtag templates, and schedule posts. Mosaico will then send you a reminder and copies your image and section so that you only have to paste it into Instagram and post it.
Preview comes with the same functions as Mosaico. Unfortunately, the ghost view is missing. But instead, it offers you an image editor and an analytic overview of your profile. There is a spy function to analyze the engagement and following rate of your competitors, which is not free. As I do not see a benefit of this feature, I prefer to go with the free version.
Followers+ is an app to keep track of your followers and unfollowers. It comes with a chart where you can look at your follower growth over the last days. If you do like to have an easy to understand overview of your followers on your iPhone, the monthly price of only USD 1 is worth it.
Tailwind is a must have for every Food Blogger if you want to drive traffic to your blog using Pinterest. Schedule all your pins using Tailwind. It suggests you the best time slots when most people are online and arranges your scheduled pins during the day. There is also a whole bunch of analytic tools for your profile. It comes with a Google Chrome extension to easily pin everything you like on Pinterest or the web and scheduling it through Tailwind. The first 100 pins are for free, which means for me two weeks of pining. Therefore, I recommend you to try it out and decide whether it helps you to work smoother or not. Still not sure after 100 pins? Get your first month for free with this link: Free Month of Tailwind
General Blogger Tools
Canva is a great software to make stunning designs. Create your logo, beautiful Pinterest pins, business cards and much more. I use the free version as it comes already with a lot of features and is sufficient for what I use it.
Grammarly is my best friend when it comes to writing blog posts. It automatically detects grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in your writing. Add it to Google Chrome to use it on every website or write your documents directly in your Grammarly documents. As I am not a native English speaker, it's an absolute must for me. It looks very unprofessional to have language errors on your blog. I started with the free version but switched to the Premium edition after one month, totally worth the money.
Mailchimp is what I use to design and plan my newsletter. You can integrate it into your website, and every subscriber will automatically be added to your Mailchimp list. They have beautiful templates for all kind of emails and allows you to schedule your email campaigns in advance. It's free until you hit 2'000 subscribers, which is quite a big number for newbies.
Google G-Suite is what you need to set up a business email address. It also comes with various other apps such as Google documents, to keep all your documents and blog post drafts in one place and have it always with you, no matter where you are. I love that with Google G-Suite everything is in one place. They are also very user-friendly with step-to-step introductions and a valuable customers service.
Wave app is a free financial software for bloggers. You can track your expenses, send invoices, get paid and balance your books with Wave. A little knowledge of accounting is an advantage, but not necessary. Great tool to always have an overview of your expenses and income.
Monetize Your Blog
ShareASale is an affiliate marketing network with loads of affiliate programmes. Once you have signed up for their affiliate network, you can browse for the different merchants. There is no threshold to apply, and you will get paid when your account balance is USD 50.
Gourmet Ads is an advertising network, which is specialized in food. You just have to place ads, which are food related, on your blog and can start to earn passive money. They pay for CPM; this means for every thousand impressions you will receive a certain amount of money. In simple words, you earn money when your blog readers see the advertisement, but they do not have to click on it. If you have no idea how to place the code for ads on your blog, you can provide Gourmet Ads with an admin login, and they will set it for you.
* This site contains affiliate links. It doesn't cost you more if you buy a product through my links, but it helps me to buy more food for awesome free recipes. I only recommend products I love and use.