Hello there, welcome to the official guide to my recommended resources for bloggers! I often get questions regarding the specifics of how I started my food blogging journey. So, I thought it’d be helpful to share some of the tools, applications, and services that I use here on Flour Covered Apron.
If you’ve come to this page, I’m guessing that at some point you’ve considered starting your own blog. Maybe you want to start a food blog too, so you can document your kitchen adventures and share your recipes with the world. Or, perhaps you’ve dreamed up a blog idea on a completely different topic! Either way, below are some simple and relatively affordable resources to help you get started. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Please note that this page contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend tools and brands I know, use, and trust. Thank you for helping to support Flour Covered Apron!
Website Hosting & Tools
Siteground: One of the first things you’ll need to decide when setting up your website is… where to host it! If you’re anything like me, when you’re starting out, you’ll want an affordable, but still very reliable option. And that’s exactly what Siteground has been for me. Siteground provides three reasonably priced plans to choose from, and they all include great customer service! I recommend getting started with their basic plan, and upgrading as your blog grows.
WordPress.org: WordPress is a content management system that will make it simple to build and design your blog. I highly recommend setting up a self-hosted site through WordPress.org, rather than WordPress.com (they are the same company, just different platforms).When I studied abroad in college, I had a WordPress.com blog to record my adventures for my friends and family back home. It was simple, straightforward, free, and just what I needed at the time. However, WordPress.org has been essential to the process of creating a more professional food blog. It is a bit more technical, but the additional customization options are worth it.
Food Blogger Pro: I cannot say enough about how incredibly helpful and valuable Food Blogger Pro has been to me in starting Flour Covered Apron. Bjork and Lindsay’s detailed, step-by-step video tutorials walk you through everything from setting up your website, to food photography, to social media, and more. While their membership site is primarily focused on food bloggers, so much of the content would be helpful to anyone looking to start, market, and monetize a blog. They have set enrollment periods throughout the year, so I suggest getting on their waiting list now!
Vaultpress: Vaultpress (by Jetpack) offers security and backup solutions for your site, and as far as resources for bloggers go, this one is absolutely vital. No joke, I crashed my site as I was working on this very post. I couldn’t even access my administrator dashboard – and it was absolutely terrifying! But after a few moments of panic, I was able to quickly restore my site with Vaultpress. Many people would say breaking your site at some point is inevitable. So make sure you’re prepared ahead of time! Vaultpress is included in a subscription plan to Jetpack, which includes several other valuable security and SEO features.
Yoast SEO: Once you start publishing content, you’ll want people to be able to find it! Yoast SEO makes it easy to analyze and improve your site’s search engine optimization. Best of all, they offer a free version that in my opinion, includes all the essential features.
WP Recipe Maker: If you are posting recipes on your site, you’ll definitely want a recipe plugin. Not only is a recipe plugin helpful for easily formatting your recipes on your blog, it will also help structure your recipe for search engines. That means the search engine will be able to better understand your content in order to guide people to your blog.
Akismet: This plugin helps prevent spam comments on your site, which provides a better experience for you, and for your readers too! It’s easy to implement, and it mostly just runs in the background. So, it’s really a no-brainer to help protect your site from spam.
Photography & Photo Editing
Lowel EGO Digital Imaging Light Unit: Anyone else out there have a full-time job while also trying to start a food blog? If I had my way, I would shoot in natural light 100% of the time, but that’s often not an option. In fact, I’ve been known to do shoots at 11:00PM! This tabletop lighting unit has made all the difference and as of recently, I actually own two of them. Each unit comes with a small reflector to help bounce light back onto your food. I also suggest getting a white t-shirt or two (my husband has sacrificed several undershirts for this cause!) to fit over the light as a diffuser.
Lightroom: Lightroom is a photo editing and organizing software from Adobe. It has a ton of settings you can use to adjust and enhance your photos. It’s not quite as powerful as Photoshop (if you want to do major edits), but this software can do a lot in terms of improving the appearance of your photos. Additionally, all the edits are non-destructive, which means the original file is not compromised.
VSCO: VSCO is another photo editing application that I love. This one is an app for your phone, and it’s super simple. I use it all the time to get my photos looking “Insta-worthy”. The app is free, but you can also purchase additional filters for a reasonable price.
Canva: Canva is an online software tool for graphic design. It’s great for making wordmarks, logos, social media graphics (like long pins!), and more. It’s clean, simple, and again, the basic version is free!
Getting the Word Out:
MailChimp: After starting your blog, you’ll likely want to develop a mailing list so your readers can subscribe and keep up with each new post. It’s a great way to stay connected with your loyal fans. Mailchimp makes it simple to collect subscribers’ email addresses and to send out branded communication. I recommend setting up an RSS campaign, which automatically sends an update to your subscribers whenever you publish.
Tailwind: Pinterest in and of itself is high on the list when it comes to top resources for bloggers. If you use it successfully, it can drive significant traffic to your site. Tailwind is an application which allows you to stay organized, save time, and plan ahead when working with Pinterest (and Instagram!). Through Tailwind, you can schedule pins hours, days, or even months in advance. You can also create or join a “tribe” – a group board with other bloggers – to gain even more exposure. I mostly use their Pinterest features, but they also provide tools for scheduling and hashtag planning on Instagram!