FOOD BLOGGER RESOURCES
Hi there! And welcome to the Little Spice Jar’s food blogger resources! My name is Anees and I’m Marzia’s
husband official dessert eating maestro. This is the part of Little Spice Jar that I help with (aside from dessert of course!). I’ve worked as a web developer and studied IT in my undergrad degree, but I’m FAR from being an expert. I use the teensy bit of knowledge and experience that I have, to help.
Little Spice Jar is Marzia’s baby, and in-spite of it being her very first blog, it’s come a long way in a short time. We’ve learned a lot along the way: from how to just set up a blog, to taking pictures, to designing themes etc.
So, we had this brain genius idea of sharing what we’ve learnt with you guys! I know what you’re thinking, why should I listen to someone who’s just started themselves? Well, we would love for you guys to learn along with us, as we learn. That way, you can learn from our mistakes without having to go through them yourselves! 🙂 Good deal? Great, so let’s get started!
Our starting point is to provide a good list of food blogger resources that we’ve used ourselves or are familiar with, that we can recommend. We actually went through this step ourselves when we first started, by reading others’ resources and tips for food blogging. And so, without further ado, let’s begin our ever-evolving list of food blogger resources <drumroll>:*Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase anything from those links, we get a small percentage of the cost of the item purchased (small meaning half a gallon of gas small, if we’re lucky). We’re primarily recommending these items because we’ve used them or are familiar with them.
For those of you pure souls that are very new to creating blogs and websites, hosting is referred to as the process that allows the site/blog to reside somewhere. The place is called a ‘server’, and it has nothing to do with someone bringing you food to your table at a restaurant! It’s just a place the files of your site are stored. Even for a proper WordPress blog, you need to have someone ‘host’ the blog for you (ie. store the WordPress files). We did a little bit of research before starting and we found that BlueHost had a very affordable package and was very reliable in their reviews. It’s been used by numerous bloggers to host their WordPress blogs.
It’s a great way to get your blog/site off the ground. BlueHost has a very easy-to-use WordPress installation panel, that installs WordPress onto their server for your site. Bottom line: it’s easy, affordable and quick to set up and get going.
By now it must be fairly apparent that I’m a big WordPress fan and that Little Spice Jar uses WordPress. It’s a fantastically robust blogging platform (say that 5 times fast!) that allows you to just hit the ground running. It’s one of the most important of food blogger’s main resources! Once your hosting is set up with WordPress installed, you’re ready to go. At this point, you’ll want a nice theme that works with the type of blog you will be creating. The theme is what your visitors will see first, as that’s how people will identify your blog. If your content is great, but your theme is not very attractive, people won’t visit. Think of it like trying to sell your house; you want the outside to look great as well as the inside. Without a pleasing exterior, even the best interior won’t lead to success. So enough lecturing from me, let’s get to the actual themes. We used a theme from Blu Chic. They have a number of themes that are more centered around female bloggers. There are several good themes to choose from, like the Le Breindel theme. We found it important to make some custom modifications to the theme for our own tailored look. To modify a theme, you’ll need a bit of web development/design experience. Easiest thing would be to hire someone who has experience. Other than that, there are millions (billions!) of free WordPress themes. Just check their ratings before using, and also check that the theme is responsive (meaning it can be used on any mobile device as well as a computer).
Undoubtedly, one of the most useful features of WordPress is the amount of plugins that you can use for your blog. Plugins help add extra functionality to your site. Here are some of the best ones that we’ve used or are currently using:
- Akismet: A staple among anyone using WordPress. It helps stop comment spam on your blog posts as well as other types of spam. A must have!
- Contact Form: If your theme doesn’t come with a built-in contact form, you’ll need to get this plugin so that your adoring public can contact you directly from your blog.
- Google Analytics / Dashboard: I honestly don’t know how people lived in the past before Google Analytics existed. Safe to say, this plugin connects your site to Google Analytics so you can see your traffic to your blog in many different ways. You’ll need to create a Google Analytics account first though. Trust me and get this!
- Instragram Picture: A very handy plugin that shows your Instagram pictures on the side of your blog. Nice little touch to your blog
- Pinterest ‘Pin It’ button: Another social media plugin that allows people to ‘pin’ any pictures you have on your blog. That’s how stuff goes viral!
- WordPress SEO by Yoast: This, ladies and gentleman, is THE best SEO plugin out there. It will really help your posts show up higher on search engine rankings by optimizing keywords in your post
- Jetpack by WordPress: Gives you a ton of stats and addons to your sites, like: site stats, which post are doing good, referrals, click throughs, notifications, etc. A fantastic tool for any blogger looking to understand their site. A plugin that combines a bunch of other plugins. Takes your site to a whole new level. Get this!
Little Spice Jar has a heavy focus on high quality photography, and there’s a lot that goes into that. Here are some of the most valuable resources that we’ve found help us with photography:
Ahh, the ever-loved SD card, where would we be without you? If you’re planning on taking high resolution pictures of anything at all, you’ll need a ton of space on that SD card to save them on. I’d recommend at least a 64 GB one like this.
Now, in order to get those extremely close up, detail shots of food (or anything else for that matter), you’ll need an awesome lens. For the camera that Marzia uses, this lens has worked perfectly for our needs, and hopefully the pictures on the site reflect that!
Plate to Pixel is by far, one of the best guides out there for food photograph. The author, Dujardin, starts of explaining the 101 of photography, composition, styling and some wonderful tips and tricks to creating the most appetizing pictures! It provides wonderful instructions that are easy to understand and can help make anyone into a good food photographer.
If you’re going to be writing a food blog, an article, a recipe book, or any type of food writing for that matter, you need to have a proper guide on how to write specifically about food. Will Write for Food is a fantastic guide on how to do that. It’s a must-have for any foodie wanting to start a blog! Jacob really explains how to captivate an audience and keep them coming back for more!
These clamps are super handy when you need to hold up reflectors or diffusers and you don’t have two extra hands attached to your body to do just that!
Pictures require good lighting, and these screens are great at reflecting or diffusing the light so your shot comes out just right. Use the clamps (above) to hold these screens together.
Last, but certainly not least, you need to have good lighting to take good pictures. On days, that the sun doesn’t cooperate with you, this is your ideal backup plan. These lights provide almost natural light that makes it look like there was plenty of sunlight in your shot. They are really amazing! Quite a few pictures on Little Spice Jar have been taken with these bad boys!
That’s all we have so far folks! We’re still learning as we go, so we would absolutely LOVE to hear your suggestions in the comments below. If you’ve used anything that would be a valuable addition to this list or you happen to know something that works better than what we’ve suggested, you have the floor! 🙂