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How to Create a Fabulous Food Blog & Drive Traffic to Your Site

By Aug 24, 2011May 2nd, 201850 Comments

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Chances are that even if your site is not a food blog, you have (or will) publish a recipe or an article about food sometime. And when that time comes, we want you to have the tools in your blog bag of tricks to make your food blog or food related post as eye-catching and well read as possible.

That’s why we encourage you to join us as we delve into the fine art of defining your blog niche and understanding how to maximize your potential for success within a blog category. In our on-going how to make money online series, Natalie recently posted about how to find your niche. Starting today, we are expanding on that topic and examining the elements that make up a successful niche blog. We’ll look at food blogs, beauty/fashion blogs, craft blogs, and several other niches…all in an effort to make you the best blogger that you can be!

First up, the food blog!

how to drive traffic with food blog

10 Tips for a Fabulous Food Blog

In recent months, I have had the pleasure of contributing over at Tip Junkie. One of those contributions includes regular recipe round-up posts where I gather and post 6-10 recipes within the same category. (For example, the recent 8 Scrumptious Sliders post). As I continue to work on these posts, I have noticed certain food blogging practices that draw me in and “sell” me on a recipe. So, with this experience in mind, I have ten tips for all food blog (or just food/recipe posts) out there.

1. Use Quality Pictures

If you have a grainy photo taken in poor lighting of your feature dish – no matter how mouth watering it sounds – you lose it’s potential for use by sites like Tip Junkie who love to feature others. In addition, a poor photo will cause you to lose your audience’s attention immediately, especially for those of us who are visual learners.  As a result, the potential for a return visit from a reader dramatically decreases.

An eye-catching food blog does not require fancy camera equipment. Instead, focus on great lighting (natural or otherwise), like in the picture below by Lisa at the Gonzo Gourmet. Also consider reading some basic photography techniques, like the ones posted as part of #SITSPics, and honing the skills that will enhance your readers’ experience.

The time and commitment will be worth it,  I promise you.

food blog

In addition, consider a bit of staging when you photograph your dish like Lisa did when plating these delicious Peanut Butter Blondie Brownies.

Using garnishes and careful plating techniques will make your food blog more appealing to readers. The photos that accompany your recipes are a part of your portfolio and should not be overlooked when putting together your posts.

2. Be Clear About Copyright

I recommend having a clear statement as to whether you are OK with your photos and recipes being used on sites that enjoy featuring and promoting other bloggers. If you do not include a copyright policy, our practice at Tip Junkie is to contact you and ask. However, when I’m on a tight deadline, having a clear statement like, “It is OK to use one of my photos provided a link back and/or proper crediting is given” is helpful. When I see those words, I’m golden! It means I can feature your fabulous recipe without jumping through too many hoops.

3. Get To The Point

When you are writing a food blog, leave out the paragraphs and paragraphs telling me about your beautiful fall walk prior to sharing the recipe.  If you are looking for your fabulous food dishes to be shared with a larger audience, then less is more in the back-story or random-tidbit-that-is-seemingly-unrelated-to-your-dish department. We are looking for advice for how to create flavorful dishes, so stay focused on the food.

4. Clearly State Your Content Sharing Policy

If you have a policy clearly stating your feelings on sites using your content, it makes it so much easier for us to feature you. Decide how you feel about others sharing your recipes and publish that policy. Place it in your About Me or Contact Me section because that’s where I head when I’m looking to figure out whether I can share your oh-so-tasty recipes.

5. Use Blog Categories Effectively

Those of us hunting down recipes are looking for one-stop locations for all things food. If you have a general food blog, then work on building your blog categories so that they are clear and cover a variety of common food dishes. Some general categories to get you started include: Meat, Fish, Pasta, Soup, Salads, Vegetables, and Desserts. Once done, you can move onto sub-categories within these primary food blog categories.

6. Use a Step-by-Step Approach

There are a variety of ways you can put a food post together, but a food blog that has clear, step-by-step instructions will draw in more readers. Explain each step and include multiple pictures throughout the process whenever you can. Sure, it takes more time, but you will quickly become a “go-to” food blog for recipes. Including additional photos also meets the needs of your visual learners, which many of us who are online often tend to be.

7. Make Contacting You Easy

A contact form serves a purpose, but consider your readers before using one on your food blog. When finding bloggers for Tip Junkie’s recipe round-ups, I like to have a direct email address. If you do not want to share your personal e-mail address, then create an account just for your food blog such as: myrecipesarefabulous {at} your domain.com. An e-mail address gives someone like me a direct way to contact you. I can also incorporate your contact info into my records easily for future reference.

8. Get Listed At Food Blog Search Sites

Head to sites like Food Blog Search and Google Blog Search and add your blog. When I’m looking for new bloggers and seasoned bloggers to feature, I often use those sites. In addition, my goal is to create posts that feature both seasoned and new food bloggers. Spend the time to get yourself listed.

9. Educate Yourself On SEO

If you keep SEO in mind when creating your food blog or food post, it will make finding your recipes easier. Remember that Google does not have a sense of humor! Titling your post “My Cat Hates Me” is not search-engine friendly. Save that tangent for another post. By making sure Google and other food blog search engines can find you, recipe seekers like myself can find you as well. So, educate yourself on basic SEO practices and your traffic will improve.

10. Write Well

If your food blog or post is riddled with errors, you will lose your readers. Call it a pet peeve, call it a part of my ADD, but as soon as I start seeing errors, as in plural, as in so many errors I am distracted – it immediately detracts from my potential interest in your recipe. Take the time to edit your content before hitting publish.

More Tips On How to Create a Fabulous Food Blog:

So there you have it! If you are looking to gain exposure for your fabulous food blog, consider my blogging tips.

Questions: Who are your favorite food bloggers? What do they do well that draws you into their site on a regular basis?


  • angela says:

    Thank you so much, Nicole, for sharing this post! I’ve been blogging food for a while but it was a perfect refresher, with some great ideas I hadn’t considered.

  • Thank you for the great information. It is so helpful!

  • Michelle says:

    Thanks for the tips! Pictures are definitely the most important aspect; they belong at #1.

  • Julie M. says:

    Last I checked Food Blog Search wasn’t accepting new blogs. Not sure if they’ve changed that recently or not. I’ll have to check into google blog search. I didn’t realize they even had a blog search. Thanks for the tips!

  • These are great tips. I do write recipes from time to time, but sometimes, I don’t do as much about food because my photos even though the meal was great, wouldn’t want me to try the recipe. Food photography is certainly a talent.

  • Liza says:

    Love the food blog focus in the series – wonderful tips. Thank you! 🙂

  • Christal says:

    This is waaaay cool for me to come to this site and see what other women like me are thinking and doing…Rock On!!!!


  • taryn says:

    i couldn’t agree more – having pictures in a post is key – especially when you are trying to highlight delicious food! i recently got bit by the photobug and picked up a nikon d90 as well as three too many lenses!

  • Marie Cole says:

    Awesome tips, thank you.

  • Great article! Photography is SO important. Not everyone wants to make what you write about, they just want to see the pretty pics 🙂

  • I’m not a food blogger, but do occasionally post a recipe (usually, if I do, it’s GFCF) or a food idea. And these are great tips to keep in mind! :>

  • Jessica says:

    I am really thinking of adding a weekly Recipe post on my blog, so these tips are so great!! Thanks a lot!

  • Good post Nicole! Very helpful! I would love to have you visit my blog: it’s not primarily a food blog, but I think we’re doing some good things moving in that direction. Please drop by and make a suggestion on a first place to start.

    • Hi Susan! I will definitely do that! On my way…..

    • Susan! Your food posts are great. I love that you use humor as an element of your posts. It makes a potentially boring food discussion light and fun. It looks like you are improving your photography in every post, so keep that up! I like that you have small snippet of information that relates to your food post but not too much. Because like I said, sometimes, we just want to get to the recipe. But adding your humor and lightness to it really drew me in so I didn’t mind your short stories leading up to the recipe. I think you are off to a great start! I didn’t see a disclosure as to how you prefer to have your content shared, so you’ll want to add that into your Contact/About Me section – that will make it easier to get you featured and shared around the web. Also, look into getting listed at Food Blog Search and be sure to educate yourself on basic SEO. Start doing some serious keyword tagging to help people find your wonderful recipes. 🙂 Best of luck!!! You have a ton of potential.

      • Thanks a MILLION, Nicole. I will get right on making those changes.

        • Well, shoot! It looks like Food Blog Search is not taking any new submissions at this time. 🙁 Unless you know of some other way I might try getting in. My blog does show up on Google Blog Search, however. Unless there’s something more I need to do there.

  • Lady Jennie says:

    This is GOLDEN. I am delving more into food blogging, although I can’t see myself abandoning life blogging as well (or blogging about France). But I can see several things I need to change based on what you said, primarily getting to the point and not going on and on about other unrelated things. I just recently added a recipe page, so that’s a step in the right direction.

    But the thing I’m most curious about is when does a recipe become yours? Do you have to site sources every time you post a recipe – I mean, almost every recipe is based on something. I would never want to infringe on someone else’s copyright, but I rarely follow a recipe to a T without adding my own touch.

    Any thoughts? Also, to be a food blogger, do you need to have some expertise other than experience and skill?

    • Hi Jennie! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences thus far. I think as far as recipes are concerned and copyright, if the bulk of it was taken from somewhere, then just make mention of your source of inspiration to cover yourself. Also, there are some recipes – like Bruschetta that are pretty much straightforward and maybe you have a simple technique or ingredient that makes it unique to you – so then I wouldn’t think you would need a disclaimer. Use your best judgement. When in doubt, cite the source if it’s something you are working from. As for expertise….many food bloggers just grow in their “expertise” over time – sure classes and training are ways to make yourself more credible, but if your posts are professional, detailed and show obvious knowledge, I think your “expertise” will speak for itself. Just make sure you post your best work and that the recipes are delish! And I must say, I’m not a food blogger, I’ve just been studying them for months now. There will be more posts in this niche though and one where I will be interviewing seasoned Food Bloggers, so be sure to watch for those for additional insight. 🙂

  • Luci says:

    P.S.: I agree with Vinobaby – When I put up a blog post on food, it seems to take a lot more prep than I anticipate. Especially getting those good pictures. I think I need to invest in a camera with a flash… instead of relying on my iPhone all the time.

    I would like to have a photographer, videographer, editor, PR agent, and accountant soon – so that I can stick with the meat (content) and let others do things that I’m not trained in!

    • Food posts are definitely time intensive – which is why I think you have to have a serious passion for sharing your love and experience with food on a regular basis. Definitely consider a regular camera if you decide to make food blogging a regular part of your site – it will yield better photographs and look more professional. I noticed that you are a healthy living blogger – I think you could easily tie in a food element and they would definitely compliment your exercise posts. Good luck!

      • Liza says:

        Agree – a regular camera will help, but don’t focus on having a flash. Natural daylight works great – better!, especially in the late afternoon when the sun is muted a bit. A flash tends to be a little harsh, unless you have good working knowledge of how to diffuse it, etc. Food photos are definitely more work, but it gets to be fun!

  • Sherry says:

    Great article with great tips, Nicole!

  • Luci says:

    Thanks, Nicole, This was super helpful!

  • Jo-Anna says:

    Thank you for all the tips! My blog is changing all the time, but I seem to be headed into more of a Foodie blog! These are very helpful!

    • So glad the tips were helpful! Food is glorious! And if you have a passion for it, I say go for the Foodie Blog! My husband will thank you for sharing your expertise with the likes of me. 🙂

  • Kristen says:

    I think I need to be more deliberate about which recipes I want to photograph the prep of. It’s so much easier if I have the pretty prep bowls and a clean counter before I start.

  • Vinobaby says:

    Lots to think about — thanks! I’ve been playing around with food blogging — mostly just once a week on Fridays, and it is far more work than it seems. Much more too it than just good food!

    • I love that you call it “Flippant Foodie Friday” SO fun! And once a week is a great way to draw in readers to your blog. I’ll have to check it out and join in on your linky!

  • Some new things to put into practice, thanks!

  • Debra says:

    Great tips Thanks ….

  • Bibi says:

    Great tips! I’ve been waiting for my new camera for a year now, but the wait is over and hubs is getting me a new one in few weeks so I am all excited taking great food pics and take my food blog to the next level.

  • Olga P. says:

    I agree with all 10 tips, especially N3is to my liking:)

  • Leslie Limon says:

    Great tips! Can’t wait to see how I can incorporate them into my food blog. 🙂

    As for favorites, I have two. Lick The Bowl Good (blogspot) and Girlichef.com Stunning photography on both! 🙂

  • Thank you for featuring my photos on your post! I definitely need to work on SEO, thanks for the tips and article link.

  • I think I will write a post tomorrow on making my homemade salsa! I think I can do this!

  • Jocelyn says:

    You have definitely given me some things to think about regarding my food blog…now I am wondering what I need to change:-) Thank you so much for the tips. It will help so much as I post recipes.

  • Carol says:

    I’m passing this along to my friend who writes a food blog.

    In the spirit of tip #10, you’ll want to correct the “it’s” in tip #1. 😉

  • Some great tips, thank you.

    One of my favorite food blogs is Smitten Kitchen – gorgeous photos and lovely easy-to-follow recipes.

  • Jenna says:

    great tips! Thanks for the info!

  • Great tips, thank you!