aka Things You Need to Run a Food Blog
I thought it would be helpful to create a central resources page to list the very best and most useful tools that I use to run my website. I separated things by topic so it doesn’t get super overwhelming! I’ll continue to add, delete and update as my knowledge and business evolve so make sure to check in with this page every once in a while.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. My recommendations are based on my experience with services I’ve used and found helpful.
If you don’t find what you are looking for, leave a comment and ask or feel free to email me!
You need a domain name. These are the companies I have used, haven’t had any issues with and can recommend. I use all both of these companies to buy domain names (not for hosting!) and switch between them depending on who has a better sale or coupon available.
You need a website host (to park your domain on and build your site). I’ve since moved to a Virtual Private Server with WPopt but if you are just starting out, Bluehost is the way to go. Easy, affordable and plenty of room to grow.
You need a “theme” – this is what you use to give a blog / site a design. These are usually very customizable. When I first started my site, I picked a simple theme from ThemeForest that didn’t need much customizing (mostly just colors, fonts and some little tweaks). I’ve since done a major site redesign and now use Genesis Framework with a StudioPress ChildTheme.
You need good plugins but you don’t want too many – they bog down your site and can really affect your load times and open security loopholes. I’ve listed my favs below.
Security, Maintenance and Tweaks. This is never ending. You need to get someone you can trust!
SOCIAL + MARKETING TOOLS
Social Media Management
This means using a third party service to schedule pins to Pinterest or posts to Facebook or Twitter.
Email List Management + Marketing
This is a third party service you use to store the names, emails and more of people who want to be signed up to your email list. MadMimi is a great starting point and is even totally FREE up to 100 subscribers. They have pretty good functionality and are much less expensive than MailChimp but when your list gets large or you want to get really detailed into how you segment and provide information, switch to ConvertKit.
Ever wondered how bloggers instantly provide you with eBooks, meal plans and other PDF and digital materials? They usually use a service like this. It’s very cheap to get started and since they did a little makeover last year, I think easy to use!
Design + Videos
I used to outsource all of my graphic design work but it got very costly and I didn’t like not having control of the timelines. I’ve since started using Canva and it’s super cheap, easy to use and really versatile. Love it.
Video is everything right now and I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. I am a very visual person and LOVE watching both short form (think Facebook cooking video teasers) and long form (think YouTube cooking videos) videos. Learning how to shoot, edit and process videos is out of my league right now timewise so I hired someone. If you live in the Seattle area and want video of any kind, I can’t say enough good things about working with Tamara from Emerald Media.