You started a food blog! Congratulations! It is an exciting journey, I hope you love it as much as I do. As you figured out by now, food blogging is so. much. more. than writing about your delicious recipes. I wish it was as simple as just pouring your soul into a wordpress post, but it turns out food bloggers have to wear many many hats in order to have a successful website.
So I put together a list of over 100 tools and resources for food bloggers. Everything from technical help with your blog, to tools for social media and pin creation, to recipe submission sites, to tax and legal stuff, to a long list of ways to monetize your blog. I did a brain dump so that you can see a list of all these resources at once.
This list of food blogging tools is literally everything I've heard of in my 5 years of blogging. Some of these I use religiously. Some of these I am saving up for. Some of these I tried out, but they are not for me, even though I know other bloggers rave about them. I included them all on the list so you can make your own decisions about what you like.
The best part is most of these tools are free!! And most of the paid tools have a free month-long trial or are fairly inexpensive and extremely useful. It's up to you to decide what you think is worth paying for at each point in your blogging career. For me, I will pay for anything that 1) frees up my time and my brain space and 2) helps my blog traffic grow.
For full disclosure, some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I earn a commission if you click on the links and decide to sign up for the product. This is all at no extra cost to you. It's a nice way of saying "thank you for sharing these resources, Kate!"
The best way to use this list of blogging resources
This list is huge. What I recommend is quickly skimming through it all just to know what's on here, and bookmarking or pinning this page. Then set aside time every week (perhaps on Monday morning?), pour yourself a cup of coffee, and go through one section at a time. Don't try to do more than section or you might get overwhelmed. Open all the links. See what each tool is about. Do some research and figure out which one is the best for you.
Then please let me know which ones you find useful! If you had a bad experience with any of these, please let me know as well so I can remove it from the list. If I missed something, please let me know as well. I'd love to hear your feedback on this list.
And now, without further ado...
SEO and Keyword Research
If you want your blog to show up in Google searches and get organic traffic growth, then you can't avoid doing keyword research. Here are some tools:
Google Analytics - make this your best friend! Track your growth and traffic sources.
Google Search Console - make this your other best friend. See which Google searches lead to your blog and where you rank in Google.
Yoast - a must-have WordPress plugin to help you optimize your posts for SEO. The free version is great, the paid has even more features. Search for "yoast" in WordPress plugins.
Keywords everywhere - a free Chrome or Firefox browser extension that shows the number of monthly searches for each search as well as related searches. This is what I use 99% of the time since it is the easiest and I don't always feel the need to snoop on my competition. (read below about Keysearch)
Ubersuggest - a free online tool to show you month search volumes, what the top 10 results are for that keyword, and some keyword suggestions. Nifty, but a bit limited.
SEMRush - the ultimate tool for keyword research. It's pricey. A lot of bloggers work out a plan where they share one account and split the cost, but you need to commit to only using it at certain times of day since it only allows one log-in at a time.
Keysearch - a very easy to use comprehensive tool for keyword research. Much more affordable than SEMRush. I love that you can see very detailed analytics about any website and specific posts, it's a great tool to also do research on your competition in addition to checking on your blog.
Answer the Public - a website that shows what people are searching for and asking on Google. Use this to help you write content that answers people's questions.
SEO Site Audit with Casey Markee - Casey is hands-down the most helpful, knowledgeable SEO expert focusing specifically on food blogs. He is always sharing SEO advice and answering questions in the Food Bloggers Central Facebook group, and he is the SEO expert at Food Blogger Pro. His site audits are pricey, but blogs have seen tremendous growth after implementing his advice.
Help! My website is broken. Who can help me?
This list alone is worth bookmarking this page. Someone hacked into your site. Or you tweaked some code and site suddenly goes blank and you can't even log in to WordPress. Or you'll install a new plugin and it will be incompatible with your theme and your site will break. This will, without fail, happen late at night when you don't know what to do. You host will blame the theme. Your theme developer will blame your plugins. The plugin developer will blame the host. If you can't figure it out, you might need someone to take an in-depth look at what went wrong. It is good to have a reliable list of people on hand. Here are a couple of suggestions.
Or maybe it's not that serious and you just want to have someone edit some custom CSS code to tweak the look of your site, or want someone to take care of all the tech stuff for your side, so you can focus on recipe creation. Either way, these people can help.
Grayson Bell at iMark Interactive - contact Grayson for any wordpress issue you have. He is highly recommended by food bloggers.
Nerdpress - Andrew Wilder is really well known and trusted in the food blogging world. He can take care of all the technical stuff for your website so you can focus on content creation.
Note: do NOT go to WP Fixit. I've heard some awful things about them consistently - if it's a more complicated request and they can't do it and you want a refund, they threaten to hack your site, make your disappear from Google, etc. Super unprofessional, so steer clear.
Tailwind Pinterest Scheduler - I wrote an in-depth description of everything Tailwind can do in my post about how I grew my blog traffic 5x in under a year. In short, tailwind is amazing. It is my #1 tool, and I would not have been able to grow my Pinterest traffic without it. It also has options for scheduling Instagram, though I don't use that part.
Coschedule Social Media Manager and Scheduler - a very powerful system to organize everything about your blog: your content schedule, social media sharing and re-sharing, and everything in between. They promise to "eliminate the endless email threads, sticky notes, and the dozen and half open tabs." It actually has too much functionality for my needs, but I know people who use it and can't live without it.
Buffer Social Media Scheduler - another social media scheduler. I use the free plan to schedule Twitter, it allows up to 10 scheduled tweets per day. It has options for other social media too.
Hootsuite Social Media Marketing and Management - another powerful platform for social media scheduling. A lot of companies use this, and if you look at some social media or marketing job descriptions, Hootsuite is often listed as a "preferred skill."
Link Tree - Creates a landing page for your Instagram account so you can add several links to your recipes, the free plan is good enough.
Link in Profile - Another option for a landing page in Instagram. 30 day free trial. This was created by a guy for his wife who is a food blogger, and it just took off because it's a really useful feature.
Milo Tree - a Google-friendly pop-up that tells your readers to follow on social media, and it can also collect email addresses for your email list. This was created by Jillian Leslie, who also runs the Blogger Genius Podcast.
Tasty Pins plugin - from the maker of WP Tasty and the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. This plugin helps you add the correct description for your pinnable image (because you do know that you shouldn't put your pinterest description into your alt tag space, right??).
Social Blue Book - this is a good starting point to see how much you should be charging for a sponsored post or social media post, based on the size of your following and the amount of work. You can connect your analytics and social media channels to social blue book and it will calculate a rough rate. Just remember this is a starting point, and you can adjust up or down based on the amount of work, how much your love the brand, whether it is a one-off post or a long-term partnership, etc.
Getting Started with Pinterest as a New Blogger - I wrote a detailed step by step guide for setting up your Pinterest account, creating and scheduling pins, and other helpful tips to grow your blog traffic with Pinterest
100+ Instagram Story Ideas for Food Bloggers - I wrote about why you should be using Instagram stories and listed over 100 EASY ideas to get your started.
Instagram 101 Webinar from Tailwind - a free webinar for getting started on IG with lots of tips.
Instagram Playbook from Pinch of Yum - a free webinar, I loved hearing Lindsey's approach to IG.
Graphic design and photo editing
The days of being able to take one quick picture with your phone or point and shoot camera and stick it on your blog are long long gone. Blogs today don't succeed without professional-level photos and graphics that are well-lit and well-composed. Luckily there are a ton of options for editing your photos and creating designs without having to be a pro in photoshop.
Canva - create graphics, logos, pretty pins, has both free and paid options. I signed up for the paid version just because it is so easy to resize your images and create different versions for different social media (long pins, square instagram images, etc).
Stencil - create graphics, logos, pretty pins, has both free and paid options. I find Stencil easier to use than Canva, but it has less options. Depending on the pin design, I go to Stencil instead of Canva.
PicMonkey - this is the OG (that's original gangsta!) of photo editing and designing images for your blog. It used to be free and EVERYONE loved it. They started charging, so some people moved away from it, but it is still the only super straight-forward option I know where you can both edit your photos AND design pins/collages/graphics/etc. And their monthly fee is much lower than Canva.
Lightroom - Lightroom is the gold standard in photo editing. Edit your RAW files and adjust the lighting, white balance, fix that random cat hair that got in the photo, remove your reflection from that shiny spoon, etc. It's professional-level photo editing yet it is easy to learn. You absolutely need lightroom.
Fotor - Fotor is a great (free!) option for editing your photos and making collages/graphics for social media. I find it less straight forward than PicMonkey or Canva, and it opens a million tabs in your browser which drives me crazy, but a lot of bloggers love it. And also, it's free!
Recipe card plugins
An up-to-date recipe card is a must-have for properly marked up recipe schema that tells Google what your recipe is all about. If this all sounds complicated, don't worry. A recipe card is just a template where you put in your ingredients, instructions, cook time, etc. You add your info and then the recipe card tells Google everything Google needs to know to help you rank higher in searches. Plus it looks nice.
WP Recipe Maker - this is the recipe plugin I use. I love it, it's super easy to use and definitely helps with SEO. You can customize the recipe card however you want, add nutritional information, embed video, etc. The free version is good. The paid versions are even better with all their features.
WP Tasty - from the people behind Pinch of Yum, Food Blogger Pro (the membership site and the podcast), and the Tasty Pins plugin.
Create - a free(!) recipe card from Mediavine. It is a little more cumbersome to use than the other two, but hey, it's free! Search for "Create Mediavine" in the WordPress plugins section.
Must-have WordPress plugins:
In addition to the recipe card plugins, there are a few WordPress plugins that are super helpful. Here are my favorite ones:
Yoast - mentioned above: a must-have WordPress plugin to help you optimize your posts for SEO. The free version is great, the paid has even more features. Search for "yoast" in the WordPress plugins area.
Akismet - filters out spam comments on your blog. I deactivated it once to see whether I really need it, and yes, yes I do. Search for "akismet" in WordPress plugins.
Ultimate Nofollow - makes it easy to add the nofollow tag to your affiliate and sponsored links, which is an FTC requirement! Search for "Ultimate Nofollow" in WordPress plugins.
Social Warfare - a pretty controversial plugin to add social media share buttons to each post. I used it for a year and had absolutely no issues, plus they've always been super helpful when I have questions. Some bloggers have had their sites crash or get hacked because of Social Warfare (I never ran into these issues). I decided to switch to Social Pug since my annual renewal for Social Warfare was coming up. Social Pug slowed my site down a bit compared to Social Warfare, but it has all the same features - customizing the color of the social share buttons, selecting which image to share on Pinterest ("force pinning") and the Pinterest descriptions.
Ultimate Social Media - another option for social share buttons.
Social Pug - yet another social sharing plugin - a lot of bloggers are switching over to Social Pug lately. It has very similar features as Social Warfare.
WP Rocket - I mention this one below when I talk about site speed. It's a must-have plugin to get your site loading faster on mobile and desktop.
ShortPixel - food blogs rely on lots of gorgeous images to captivate their readers. Unfortunately those gorgeous images are often large files that slow down your site. I use ShortPixel to compress the images into files that are < 100kb.
Growing your mailing list
They say that your mailing list is the only thing you really "own." Meaning that Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, even WordPress, can go away one day. Google can change their algorithms any day. But if you have people's email addresses, you have a way to get in contact with them and bring them to your site. Growing your email list from the start is also a great way to build a strong following in case you want to sell a product down the line. I just started mine recently after 4+ years of blogging, and I regret not starting sooner.
Mailchimp - free for the first 2000 subscribers. This is where I started. You can set up a welcome series, write personalized newsletter emails, or set up your RSS feed so it automatically emails your subscribers whenever you have a new post.
ConvertKit - from what I hear it's the most versatile email marketing platform out there, and that it's pricey. I'll be looking at it when I hit 2000 subscribers!
Milo tree - a Google-friendly pop-up to help collect email addresses. It also has options to gain social media followers, or send people to your shopify store. Two birds, one stone. This one was developed by the woman behind the Blogger Genius podcast, which I love.
Hello Bar - another option to collect email addresses or create any other Call to Action in a nice little bar on top of your site. The free plan allows for 5,000 views of the "hello bar" which is a good place to get started.
It seems that every day site speed is becoming more and more important. Google has almost impossible standards for site speed, because it wants users to access the websites they click on as fast as possible. Here is a list of two must-have WordPress plugins to speed up your site, as well as three different options for testing your site loading speed. Pro tip: Don't just test your homepage (which most new users don't visit), but test your most popular recipe urls to see how quickly they load.
WP Rocket - the #1 most recommended caching plugin to make your site load faster. I am not even going to mention other ones I tried because they are not as good. This one is $49, but it's a one-and-done purchase (so not a recurring subscription) and the investment you make in this plugin will pay off for itself when your site loads faster and Google picks up on that.
Short Pixel - image optimization plugin that will resize and compress the images on your blog to improve your site loading speed. If the images you upload into WordPress are over 100kb, you need this plugin. Just like WP Rocket, I tried others and this one is by far the best. I purchased a one-time plan to compress my existing images, and going forward the free monthly plan is more than good enough for my needs. You can also just drag and drop images right into the browser on their site to compress for free.
GTMetrix - a free tool to test your site speed. No account required, but you can create a free account if you want to get ahead of the queue.
Google Page Speed Insights - another free tool to test your site speed.
Think with Google - another free tool, to test your mobile site speed.
Learning and education
Food blogging is a constantly evolving industry. It is important to keep up and to always keep improving your blog, your photography, and your business.
Food Blogger Pro - a membership site created by Pinch of Yum that has a ton of resources and tutorials on how to build your blog, improve food photography, make videos, etc. They have a super helpful discussion board where they hire experts to answer questions on different topics. They also hold free "bootcamp" workshops, so you definitely want to sign up for their email list at least to get notified of these.
Food Bloggers Central Facebook group - a super helpful and very active group on Facebook where food bloggers ask questions and help others out with their replies. I found out about most of the resources on this list from following along everything in the group. There are tons of other Facebook groups, but this one is by far the most helpful, useful, and active.
Tasty Food Photography by Pinch of Yum (ebook) - learn about your camera settings, how to use natural and artificial light, and how to style your food.
Tech Star Zone - down to earth blogging advice from a blogger who understands the technical stuff, yet understands that it's a struggle keeping up with everything.
Display ads are a great way to earn income as a blogger or a website owner. It's a major source of income for most bloggers. Mediavine and AdThrive below are both considered the absolute best ad networks. But there are a few other options available if you don't have the blog traffic for them.... yet!
Mediavine - this is my ad network and I love love love them. They are always helping bloggers get better at blogging and SEO, and they are creating free products such as the Create plugin, and working on fast themes. They have a 25,000 monthly session minimum to join them. I spent a few months growing my traffic just so I could qualify for Mediavine. Read about how I grew my traffic.
AdThrive - another ad network, this one has a 100,000 monthly session minimum. Some bloggers see higher RPMs on AdThrive, some do better on Mediavine. If you've got the numbers for both, I recommend talking to both of them before joining one.
Chicory - this adds a little "Get Ingredients" button into your recipe card so your users can add those ingredients to their online shopping cart at many stores around the US, and you can earn a little extra money this way. (Take a look at how it works on my Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Alfredo recipe). Sometimes there are bigger campaigns and chicory will insert ads right into your recipe card for specific ingredients. If you are part of Mediavine, you can enable this with just one click on your Mediavine dashboard. If not, get in touch with Chicory and set this up. If you do decide to give Chicory a go, just let them know I sent you. 🙂
Gourmet Ads - an ad network specifically for food websites. Sounds good, right? Well, their RPMS are not as high as Mediavine or Adthrive (no one's is!), but they do only have a 10,000 session minimum and they're flexible with that. They do slow down your site a little, so think about whether the extra few hundred dollars per year are worth it to you. It was worth it to me for a while, then I decided to remove Gourmet Ads and focus on growing traffic so I could quality for Mediavine. If you do decide to give Chicory a go, just let them know I sent you. 🙂
Ezoic - another option for an ad network that doesn't require high monthly page views. This one also has its downsides, but I know several bloggers who use this. Any income is good income, right??
Momunetric - another ad network. This one has a $99 set up fee for blogs that have less than 80k page views per month. Obviously, their pay must be worth it because otherwise no one would join it! Talk to them to figure out if it's right for you before you invest money.
Google Adsense - another option for placing ads on your site. This one doesn't require any minimum page views, so you can monetize your blog right from the start. The pay is not nearly as good as other ad networks, but it is an option if you want to play around with adding ads to your site.
Sponsored post platforms and influencer networks for food bloggers
Creating sponsored posts on your blog or social media is a great way to monetize your blog. Of course, you can pitch brands directly, but if you want someone else to take care of finding brands, reporting the campaign results to the brands, etc., then you can start with one of these options below.
Social Fabric - Social Fabric is a good place to get your feet wet with sponsored posts if you have a smaller following. They pay approximately $190-$230 per sponsored post with social shares, and there are usually plenty of opportunities for food bloggers. They do often require shopping in specific stores and getting an in-store photo. I've done a lot of sponsored posts through them. Even though the pay is not that high they often select posts for social media amplification, so some of my posts have gotten tens of thousands page views that the sponsor paid for, and I ended up earning a lot through ads on those posts.
Massive Sway - another great option for sponsored posts and social media shares. I got to attend a paid event in NYC through them (read about it here in my Linguine Shakshuka post!), and I often do social media amplification campaigns for them, which is an easy and fun way to earn a few extra bucks. They often have social media only campaigns which is kind of fun too, and the pay for those is pretty great, considering it's just one photo on your account.
Muse Ahalogy - some bigger bloggers really like the Ahalogy sponsored post platform and say it pays well. I have yet to get accepted to work on a campaign for them. I keep trying though!
Blog Meets Brand - when I was first starting out I was accepted to do my first sponsored post through Blog Meets Brand (here is the Blackened Chicken with Rice Pilaf recipe I posted, which is still one of my more popular recipes years later). To be honest, a lot of the opportunities don't align with just a straight-up recipe blog, but if you write about travel or other food experiences it is worth joining to see if anything is for you.
Linquia - this platform is quite different than the others in that they pay you only if you reach a certain number of clicks through to their specific links that you add to your post. Personally, I wouldn't like that kind of pressure so I declined a few campaigns that they asked me to do. But I know bloggers who've done a lot of work with them because the more sponsored posts you create with them, they higher they pay you for the same amount of clicks.
Activate - this is another one that has never accepted me for a sponsored post, but I know some bigger bloggers who love Activate and say they pay is great.
Clever - I just joined this one on a recommendation from another blogger, so I don't know how it will go yet. I do like that you can see all available opportunities in their dashboard easily. Sadly, none of them seem relevant for a food blogger at the moment. Will report back soon!
Mavrck - Mavrck is an influencer network that I just recently heard great things about, so I am about to join them after I finish writing up this post. I'll report back if/when I get any work through them!
BabbleBoxx - another influencer network I heard good things about but haven't tried out. I just signed up for them, waiting to hear back about my application.
Affiliate marketing is a great way earn some passive income. You can find whole books about affiliate marketing and different strategies, but here's the gist of it: Different companies and websites have different affiliate marketing setups - from creating an account directly on their website, to going through a separate service, such as Share a Sale. Affiliate sale commissions range from a flat rate to a percentage, and some programs only pay out if a customer is retained for at least 2 months. So pay attention to the details so you know what to expect. Some affiliate programs have restrictions on whether you can include their affiliate links on social media or in email marketing. And make sure you properly disclose affiliate links on your blog and on social media. And one last tip: if you are interested in affiliate marketing, go to the bottom of your favorite products' websites and see if they have a link to their affiliate program! That's how I found affiliate links to most of the plugins and services that I use for this blog.
Amazon Affiliate Program - this one is a classic go-to for most bloggers. The great thing about the Amazon affiliate program is that you earn a commission from any purchase made through clicking on your affiliate link, even if your reader ends up buying diapers after clicking on your gourmet olive oil link. Just be careful and make sure you use their exact recommended disclosure text so you don't get kicked out of their program.
Share a sale.com - this platform has a LOT of useful vendors and products that food bloggers can earn affiliate income from. A high portion of the links on this resource page (such as Tailwind, Food Blogger Pro) are from there, actually. 😉
E-junkie - another website where you can find blogging courses and ebooks to promote as part of your affiliate marketing strategy. This one doesn't have as many of the most popular reputable courses, but it's so easy to sign up for and use it's worth mentioning. Nagi's Food Photogtaphy Book is on e-junkie. 🙂
Food photography for food bloggers
Camera - there are a few blogs that somehow take gorgeous professional pictures with their smartphone, but most food bloggers upgrade when they can. A DSLR camera with a 50mm lens is most commonly used, but I use this Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless camera for my food and travel photography. It's just so much smaller than a clunky DSLR camera and I wanted one I could easily take with me when I travel, or when I go to restaurants to do reviews. I use the 50mm lens for most of my blog photos, and sometimes use the 35mm lens when I need to zoom out.
Most food bloggers uses the Canon Rebel T6i with the 50mm lens (often called the "nifty fifty"). Do your own research and figure out your own camera needs based on the type of photos you take and your budget.
Lighting - in addition to a camera with a good lens, artificial lighting is a must if you don't have good natural light (especially during the dark winter months). I have these softbox studio lights and I love them. Before I had a baby, I had them set up in the corner of a spare bedroom. Now I do have to take them down in between photo-shoots. I also have this Lowel Ego light that is much more compact. Sadly it is not available on Amazon now.
Tripod - you definitely want a tripod to get steady, non-blurry shots. This one by Vanguard Alta is the one I have, and it has the overhead arm you need if you want to take overhead shots or make overhead tasty-style videos.
Remote Camera Trigger - you might also want to look into a remote camera trigger / shutter release that works specifically with your camera.
Photography surfaces or backdrops - unless you happen to have the perfect rustic wooden table or a gorgeous concrete countertop with good lighting, you will probably need some kind of backdrops for your food photography. These Erickson boards are so gorgeous and dreamy - I am definitely saving up for one of these! These backdrops by Lucy are also incredibly pretty. Of course, you can also search on Etsy or try to create your own - there are a ton of tutorials out there! Or use a tablecloth, sheet, or large kitchen towel as your background to start with.
The Food Photography Book by RecipeTinEats - Nagi, the lady behind the super successful food blog Recipe Tin Eats created this food photography book. Because all this equipment won't help much if you don't know the basics about lighting, camera settings, food styling, etc.
Tasty Food Photography by Pinch of Yum (ebook) - a great option if you're getting started on food photography. This ebook will teach you a lot without overwhelming you.
Food blogging podcasts
Blogger Genius - my favorite podcast out of all of these. This one is hosted by Jillian Leslie, who also created Milo Tree. I get so much inspiration and and learn so many actionable tips from every single episode. I love the Jillian is not afraid of asking the questions that we all want to know without beating around the bush: "how much are you making from this?" "how much did you invest in this?" She just gets right to the point.
Do You Even Blog? - this podcast is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I love Pete's relaxed, conversational tone. And it's nice to hear about blogs on other topics, not just food blogs.
Food Blogger Pro Podcast - this blog is hosted by Bjork from Food Blogger Pro, and he covers topics specifically applicable to food bloggers (though the topics are often applicable to other bloggers as well!). He also likes to give useful productivity tips throughout the podcasts. I definitely learned a LOT from this podcast when I was starting out.
Theory of Content - this podcast is hosted by one of the creators of the Mediavine ad network. They answer questions from listeners and often get into SEO and other important topics. They often have a very different point of view than other professionals (not surprising - different companies/people have different intentions!), and it is refreshing to hear two different opinions and think about which way you want to go with your blog.
Dishing with Delishes - this podcast is hosted by a fellow food blogger, Elaine from Dishing with Delishes. Elaine interviews other food bloggers and talks about the blog's stories. It is AWESOME to get to know food bloggers who I've been following for years and hearing about their blogging mistakes, lessons learned, and advice.
Recipe submission sites for food bloggers
Below is a pretty comprehensive list of sites to submit your recipes to so you can get some extra traffic. Big websites such as Buzzfeed or Huffington Post often peruse these when looking for recipes for their posts.
Foodgawker - Foodgawker used to be super selective and getting a photo accepted by them was sort of a right of passage. They are less selective now (pretty much all of my photos get accepted, and I am not that good of a photographer), but at the same time you don't get as much traffic from them as in the past.
Foodyub - I love foodyub and it sometimes brings in a good deal of traffic. They are also great about promoting bloggers on their social media.
Fridgg - Fridgg sometimes brings in a nice amount of traffic, and they're also great about promoting bloggers on their social media channels.
Kitchen Thyme - this is a new site, and the lady running it seems super sweet. She does a great job promoting bloggers on social media.
Healthy Aperture - Healthy Aperture is great because once you submit several posts to them and they see that you are submitting healthy posts, they will approve your account to submit posts without having to have them reviewed. I don't get a lot of traffic from them often, but every little bit counts.
Finding Vegan - if you have any vegan recipes, it's definitely worth submitting them to Finding Vegan, I always get a nice traffic bump from my few vegan recipes.
My Recipe Magic - this is a huge recipe website, and I've heard bloggers say they get lots of traffic to their sites from here. I've never had any luck with this site and to be honest, I find it such a pain to submit recipes to them that I've stopped doing it. Supposedly they have some kind of one-click button to submit recipes to them, but I've never figured it out. Let me know if you have any luck with this one!
YumGoggle - another great recipe submission website run by a wonderful lady, who loves promoting your content on social media and interviewing bloggers to spotlight them!
Yummly - Yummly is a huge recipe website, and they have a neat little chrome extension button so you can submit your recipes to them with just one click. They've featured my recipes a few times on their front page or in their newsletter and that has always brought in thousands of visits to those recipes.
Food blogger conferences
Blogging can be a lonely business, working from home in our pajamas while watching Netflix in the background. Get out and go to a conference if you can swing it!! You'll make invaluable connections with other bloggers, meet brands and have a higher chance of scoring sponsored posts, and will learn so much from the speakers and workshops at the conferences.
Everything Food Conference - EFC, just like IFBC below, is an industry classic. If you can swing the trip, it is absolutely worth attending this conference.
International Food Blogger Conference - IFBC, just like EFC, is an amazing conference to make connections with bloggers and brands, and to learn more about this blogging business.
Tech Munch - Tech Munch is a series of smaller one-day conferences all over the US. It might be much more affordable and logistically feasible to attend one of these.
Mediavine Conferences - Mediavine is one of the top ad networks, and they started hosting blogging conferences recently. They limit the conferences to 200 people and always reserve a number of tickets for bloggers who have never attended their conferences. Update: I just bought tickets to their November 2019 conference in Austin, TX!! I will write about it after I attend.
Finances, taxes, and legal stuff for food bloggers
Quickbooks - a great system to keep track of your expenses and get yourself organized for tax-time. A lot of accountants who work with bloggers strongly prefer you to have a Quickbooks account so they can easily access all your tax documents when it comes to prepare your taxes. A great option if you want to go paperless. Me? I still use the "shoebox" method and then just upload pictures of my receipts to Google Drive.
Shoeboxed - another great option for getting rid of stacks of paper receipts while still keeping track of everything for tax season.
Businessese - Businesses offers a ton of legal and business services to bloggers, small businesses, and Virtual Assistants (VAs) such as contracts and business forms. You might need their services if you are starting to work with brands on sponsored posts, want to hire a VA, or want to hire out your skills as a food photographer or recipe video creator.
Mazuma - Mazuma is a firm specializing in bookkeeping, payroll, accounting help, and tax prep for bloggers and small businesses. A lot of traditional CPAs have no idea how to handle our taxes. These people do.
Bright Water Accounting - another accountant option specializing in entrepreneur taxes.
Pixsy - find out if anyone has stolen your photos and is using them on their website. Upload your photos to Pixsy, or connect your social media accounts, and it will scan the internet for your images. From there, you can choose whether to ignore it and move on with your life, ask the site owner to take the photo down or to give you a do-follow link, or send the site-owner and invoice for photo licensing (that's common advice to get them to take you seriously and take the image down), or use Pixsy to pursue legal action to get the site to remove your photos. Pixsy only gets paid if they win the case, and it saves you the trouble of having to find lawyers and spend time on this. Pretty neat idea, right??
A fast reliable host is a must have for a food blog. A fast host will help your site load faster, which will lead to a better user experience and higher rankings in Google. So why is this section all the way at the end?? Well, switching hosts can seem overwhelming. Obviously you have a host already if you already started your food blog. So just stay with your current host and give yourself some time to breathe, since starting and managing a blog is a lot of work. Here is a list of hosts highly recommended by food bloggers. Just come back to this list and do some research when you feel like you have the bandwidth, or if you started with Bluehost or another slow host and you feel like it's holding you back.
All of the hosts below are good. Ultimately I went with Cloudways because it is the cheapest. But I do have to admit their customer service is a bit more hand-off. If you have a question, they'll help you immediately over chat, but they do expect you to at least try doing things yourself by following their tutorials. I switched over 5 sites to them, installed free SSL certificates, and even learned how to create staging sites without any issues, and I am not technically savvy in this area. So think about whether managed hosting is worth the extra cost to you.
Choosing a host is a big decision. Get in touch with each one first, chat about your monthly traffic and hosting needs, then choose the one that feels right to you.
Cloudways - this is my host. My site speed sped up immensely after I switched from Bluehost. You can read more about the switch in my post about how I grew my blog traffic. It is the cheapest option and you are not tied into any contract - I pay month to month.
Agathon - highly recommended host.
WPOPT - this host has GREAT customer service in case anything ever goes wrong.
BigScoots - highly recommended by many people who are part of Mediavine.