Are you thinking about starting a food blog, or any blog? That is awesome, and I think you should do it…and we should be friends and talk blog stuff all day long. Before I started Roots and Radishes, I did tons of research on blogging and what I needed to start out and grow as a blogger. One of my biggest resources? Fellow bloggers! It’s always helpful to learn from others in the same boat as you. So, here is a list of resources and products I currently use and highly recommend. Since I’m always researching and learning, I will update this list when I find new products. Feel free to reach out with any questions, or, if you’re a seasoned blogger and have additional awesome suggestions, I’d love to hear those too!
[Note: This page contains affiliate links for products I genuinely recommend. Thanks for your support!]
Bluehost – In order to have a website, you need to “rent your space” on the Internet, so to speak. You can do this through any hosting company. I recommend Bluehost because of its affordability, simplicity in set-up, and responsive customer support service. Moreover, it’s incredibly easy to set up WordPress after you install Bluehost, you’ll often get a good deal on Bluehost if you’re a WordPress user, and Bluehost offers 24/7 WordPress support. So if you do choose Bluehost, you’ll want to look into…
Genesis Framework – Your website’s framework is the structure underlying the design elements that your readers see. You know, kind of like how a house looks before you add insulation, walls, carpet, paint, etc.? It looks like just a bunch of wooden boards, but they’re necessary to provide structure. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely missing the mad skills required to build a website structure (or a house, for that matter ;)). I have no desire to mess with HTML code and no time to learn to build and maintain a website from scratch. That’s why the Genesis Framework has been a perfect fit, offering a solution that’s secure, easy to customize and update, well-supported by its developers, not to mention search engine optimized. You’ll typically purchase the framework ($59.95) and select a child theme that works for you (prices for child themes vary).
WordPress – WordPress is a blogging platform that you can use to create and publish your content. It runs beautifully with Bluehost, and so far I’ve loved working in WordPress. Not only is it user-friendly, but it also offers many downloadable plug-ins to help you out with SEO (search engine optimization), analytics, performance, social media, content back-up plans, and many other useful blogging tools. There are also plenty of free themes available if you’re not quite ready to purchase a premium theme. For being free, the quality of these themes is impressive.
VaultPress – Back, back, back, back it uuuup. No seriously, though. You’re working hard to create all of this quality content to share with your readers. Whether a hobby or a business, you’re passionate about it, and it’s certainly something worth protecting. VaultPress is what I use to back up all of my WordPress content, and I think it’s one of the most affordable options out there.
Food Blogger Pro – I can’t say enough wonderful things about this membership site created by Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom over at Pinch of Yum. It’s a membership site filled with video tutorials, a community forum with other food bloggers, live vidoes every month, and much more. Enrollment opens a couple times per year, and you can purchase either a monthly or annual membership. This resource has taught me almost everything I know about food blogging, and it’s also super fun to take all the courses! If you’re serious about making food blogging into a business, this investment is, without a doubt, invaluable. You can sign up for the waiting list through the link above.
- Food Blogger Pro Podcast – Sort of an off-shoot of the Food Blogger Pro membership site I discussed above, this is another incredible wealth of information. And guess what? It’s FREE. That means if you’re just food blogging as a hobby, or you just want to test the waters with blogging, you can listen to this podcast for tips. Also, check out Episode 100… ’cause I’m in it 😉 Along with many other amazing bloggers, of course!
How I Made $40K My First Year of Blogging eBook – Given my relaxed commitment to blogging during my first couple years, I didn’t purchase this eBook with the expectation of earning $40K during my first year; however, this eBook by Chelsea from Chelsea’s Messy Apron is undoubtedly worth the read. She goes into detail on what worked for her, and while it may not be exactly what works for you, you’ll learn a ton about what it takes to have a successfully monetized food blog. I always have her eBook open and reference it when I’m researching or doing blog work. My focus right now is more on creating content, but there are plenty of things Chelsea includes that I can implement now, and I just make note of the things that I will implement in the future. It’s also encouraging and inspiring to read about someone else’s success.
When you’re perusing the web for recipe inspiration, what attracts you to a given recipe? I’m willing to bet it’s the pictures! Part of creating quality food-related content means taking eye-catching photos. The best camera really is the one you’ve got with you — even if only an iPhone! — but below I describe my current photography set-up. [Side note: I’ve collected these items gradually over the course of a couple years and made very intentional, deliberate decisions about each purchase. If you — like me — are hesitant to purchase a ton of stuff at once, it’s okay to start small :)].
Canon EOS Rebel T5 – A DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera is undoubtedly a game changer for food photography (and/or any life photography). There are definitely more advanced models out there, but for beginning food bloggers and photographers, it’s an excellent choice and totally worth the price. You can always improve the quality of your photos with different lenses, so as far as a camera body goes, you definitely don’t need to head straight to the four-digit $$ range to get incredible photos.
Memory Card – Potentially forgotten amidst the excitement of buying a new camera… necessary nonetheless ;).
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan – This plan includes Photoshop and Lightroom CC (the most recent updates).
Tripod – At first, I didn’t have a tripod, but I quickly realized that I needed something to hold my camera while my hands held reflectors and adjusted photo subject matter. Also, some of my pictures were turning out the least bit blurry–but enough to bother me–when I looked at them on my computer. A tripod made a world of difference! It holds my camera so that I can have two free hands, and it holds it still so that my pictures are clear. I purchased this basic tripod, which is fairly inexpensive (~$23) and does exactly what I need it to do.
Reflectors – Photography is about mastering light, and light reflectors help you do just that. I love these 5-in-1 reflector sets because each reflector has a different effect on your shot, preparing you for every scenario. Sometimes you need to adjust the temperature of your shot, bounce light back onto your food, or diffuse the harsh sunlight coming in through your window. I bought the 43″ round ones with handles, and I’m really happy with this size.