I occasionally get asked about the tools I use to create my blog. I thought it would be helpful to pull together my favorite tools in one spot!
Many of the links below are affiliate links, which means if you purchase a product with an affiliate link, I will receive a small percentage of the sale for referring you, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
TECHNICAL SERVICES & PRODUCTS
|BlueHost Web Hosting— I am currently hosted by BlueHost. I used another company (iPage) for the first two years of my blog, and had enough when they started locking me out of my site because of a “virus”. I switched to BlueHost, which is highly recommended amongst bloggers. I love it so far, and the customer service is amazing. You can chat online with a representative 24/7. Learn how to set up a blog using Bluehost here.
| StudioPress + Genesis Themes for WordPress — Genesis is probably the most popular theme for WordPress. It’s easy to use and highly customizable. It does cost $60 to purchase, but you can use the framework on any site you own. You purchase a child theme, which is like a “skin” over the framework to make it look the way you want. I use the Foodie child theme and love it.
| StudioPress Themes: Foodie Pro — I use a customized form (that I did myself!) of Foodie Pro. I love this theme because it is designed for food bloggers. There’s an easy to use recipe index, plenty of widgets, and it has a clean and simple design.
|How to Monetize Your Food Blog— This is such an incredible book for anyone looking to start making an income from their blog. It explains everything from ad networks (which can be VERY confusing) to sponsored posts. It’s clear to read has easy steps for how to increase your revenue and make the most out of your blog.
|Tasty Food Photography— I currently use my smart phone to take pictures of my recipes and this book goes into detail about how to set up a food scene, lighting, props, etc. You don’t need a DSLR for this book, although it does have a long section about shooting in manual.
|Grow Your Blog Traffic with Social Media: The E-kit— This is probably my all-time favorite e-book. I printed out the entire thing and whole punched it for a binder, and spent a couple weeks going through the whole thing. Regina goes through all the social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, G+, and Youtube) and explains in detail what you can do to increase your followers, and ultimately get more clicks to your blog.
PRODUCTIVITY & BUSINESS
|CoSchedule Editorial Calendar— I used to use the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin, which was fine, but I wanted something that could integrate all my social media accounts in one place. Enter CoSchedule! Not only is it a drag and drop editorial calendar, but you can add social posts, schedule them, and color-code posts and tasks. It’s helped me become so much more efficient.
|Dropbox— Ah, dropbox. What would I do without you? Dropbox is amazing because 1) my phone automatically syncs and uploads all my photos to my computer (I take my food photos from my smartphone). 2) I can access my pictures from any computer or mobile device. This makes writing recipe posts easy and hassle-free.
|Evernote— I make many to-do lists for both my blog and private practice. I can access my notes from all devices and with the evernote app. I use it for note taking, post drafting, and everything else in between.
|ViralTag Pinterest Scheduling– This is a new one to me– but it has been increasing my Pinterest traffic. You can schedule pins, promote new posts, and bring up old posts. It does cost money but totally worth it when it brings in traffic.
|CoSchedule Editorial Calendar— It’s on the list twice because that’s how amazing it is. I use this tool for all my blog-related social media updates, like posting new articles on my Facebook, Twitter, and G+, and I love how it’s a plugin right in WordPress, so you don’t even have to leave your dashboard.
All food bloggers wonder how we can increase our traffic. The best way are referral sites like Pinterest, Healthy Aperture, Food Gawker. Traffic increases slowly over time with consistent quality content. Here are some of my favorite ways to increase traffic:
FOOD SUBMISSION SITES
These sites are like Pinterest for foodies. Some require higher quality photography than others, but high quality photos are important. Here’s a list of common ones:
PINTEREST GROUP BOARDS
I’ve recently started delving into Pinterest Group Boards. They’re great ways to get your content re-pinned, quickly. The boards are created by one Pinterest user, who sets the theme and sends invitations. Once you’re in, you can pin your own stuff. Check out PinGroupie for a list of the most common Pinterest boards.
BLOGGING TIPS & TRICKS
There are many experts out there to learn from, who have figured out how to blog right. Here are a few of my favs:
- ByRegina.com— Simply amazing website. Regina offers everything from social media guides, free blogger business plan templates, to style guides.
- Food Blogger Pro— This is a very popular blog school full of tutorials, videos, and support forums. It does cost some money but it will help you build your food blog’s content and income.
- How to Start a Blog — a fantastic free PDF to help you build and grow your blog.