I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that food bloggers can use to see the products and services that I use with my blog. The list will be continually evolving as I find different resources that are worth mentioning.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use all of the products listed below and recommend them because they are helpful and are companies that I trust, not because of the commissions that I may earn from you using these products. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything listed below. I’ll do my best to follow up with you and answer your question.
Getting Started with your own Food Blog
Bluehost – Bluehost was our hosting company for the first two years of Pinch of Yum. They offer a slick and easy way to get up and running with your blog on WordPress. Bluehost has free domain name registration, is priced amazing, and offers great costumer service. The whole hosting-domain-Wordpress-website-language-stuff can be kind of confusing at first. Check out the How to Start a Food Blog page if you want a step-by-step run down of how to start your own blog using Bluehost.
MediaTemple – MediaTemple is the hosting company we switched to after Pinch of Yum started to get 5,000+ visitors a day on a consistent basis. We are hosting Pinch of Yum on a dedicated virtual server. I know that sounds like mumbo-jumbo if you’re not a tech person. The important thing to know is that a dedicated virtual server means that your blog can handle more traffic. We are on the plan that has 512MB of memory. MediaTemple calls it the “(dv) Dedicated-Virtual 4.0 – 512MB” plan.
The Thesis Theme for WordPress – The Thesis Theme has been a winner for us! My husband and I went back and forth on what we should do when we were considering updating Pinch of Yum. Should we hire a designer (expensive!) or use a theme? After a lot of research we found that The Thesis Theme was one of the best themes out there. It’s great for improving page ranking in Google and making easy updates and changes to your blog. It also has a great forum to call on if you ever need any help.
Free Themes for WordPress – WordPress has thousands of free themes available if you’re not interested in purchasing a “premium” theme right away. It’s a great place to start if you’re looking to start your blog without spending a lot of money right off the bat. Be sure to do some research and check the theme’s rating before you download it and install it onto your blog. I’d pass on any theme with three stars or less.
CrashPlan Plus – When I was a senior in college my computer crashed and I lost everything. Papers, lesson plans from student teaching, and worst of all, every single picture I had taken over the past two years (including all the pictures from my 3 month trip to Spain). Needless to say, I’m pretty intentional about backing up all of my files now. CrashPlan is a super slick program that runs in the background of my computer and creates a backup every 15 minutes. Now, if my computer crashes (or I spill a mug of coffee on it), I don’t have to worry about losing my documents and photos. I use the CrashPlan+ Unlimited plan.
Vaultpress – Vaultpress is the company we use to backup the Pinch of Yum WordPress account. Pinch of Yum has over 300 pages and posts that we’ve written over the past three years. The blog has also helped us generate some extra income as well. My point? It would really stink if something happened where Pinch of Yum was wiped out and we lost everything. Vaultpress ensures that if that something like that did happen we’d be able to recovery everything from a backup. If you’re looking for a more cost effective solution check out BlogVault.
Tips for Monetizing – Every month we write a post about the different ways that we’re making money with this blog. If you’re interested in monetizing your blog you can click here to check out our monthly reports. We’re not going to get rich (we earned $21.97 in our first month), but it’s nice to make some extra money from an enjoyable hobby!
Food Photography Tools
Adobe Photoshop – Photoshop isn’t cheap, but it’s an amazing tool! If you’re interested in getting it I’d suggest getting the free trial first to give it a test run. If you’re still a little hesitant on purchasing the software you can always purchase a month-by-month subscription until you know you’re ready to purchase the software outright. If you’re a teacher (like me!) be sure to check out the Adobe Education Store.
Canon EOS 7D – I recently upgraded to the 7D camera after using a Nikon D40 for a few years. Not only does the 7D shoot incredible pictures, but it also shoots really incredible HD video. It’s an expensive camera, so if you’re just getting started look first at purchasing something like the Canon EOS Rebel T3i.
Canon 50mm f/1.4 – An amazing lens! It isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for with a lens. I shoot 99% of all my food photos with this lens. The Canon 50mm f/1.8 is almost as good for $200 dollars less.
Indoor Lighting Unit – Lowel EGO – Lighting a shot at 6PM in December in Minnesota isn’t easy! This light is a life saver.
SanDisk 32GB Extreme CompactFlash Memory Card – A really fast memory card with tons of space. This is especially important if you’re shooting in RAW mode.
Tasty Food Photography – Photography is an incredible tool that can have a profound impact on the life of your blog or website. I’ve learned a lot of things – both big and small – in the last few years, and this book is my way of sharing all that with you. My hope is that these tips and tricks will be practical, easy to read, and ultimately help you take food photos that make people say, “I am dying to eat that right now!”
Driving Traffic to Your Food Blog
Here is a list of the food photo submission sites I like to use. It can take some time to go through the process of entering a submission, but the traffic you gain from getting a submission accepted can be great! It’s not uncommon to see 1,000 – 1,500 people visit your blog in a day if you get a submission featured on the right site at the right time.
Easy Recipe – This is the WordPress Plugin I use to enter in my recipes. The name says it all, it’s an easy plugin to showcase your recipes!
Akismet – Spam comments stink! Akismet is a like a comment guard, making sure that no spamming comments get through to your site.
Sharing is Caring – This is the plugin I use that automatically puts the social media buttons at the bottom of the posts and pages.
WP to Twitter – A slick little plugin that automatically tweets whenever I put a new post up.