How To Start a Recipe Blog

Starting a blog is one of the best ways to build an audience, get your ideas out into the world, and possibly make some (or a lot) of money while doing what you love. Everyone has different reasons for beginning a blog and different goals in mind when they do so. Your personal path will dictate some of the choices you make along the way. One thing that is true for everyone, however, is that the only way to succeed is to get started.

Taking that first step can be a huge challenge, but by the end of this article, you should have the tools you need to feel confident and prepared to start your recipe blog today.

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This article is a great place to learn the strategy of a recipe blog. If you want step-by-step instructions on how to start your own recipe blog, check out our free blogging course. 

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What Is Your Blog About?

Since you are reading this right now, you probably have a good idea of the basic subject your blog will cover - you are creating a recipe blog! But you need to dig a little deeper to decide what you want your blog to really accomplish. Are you writing a vegan recipe blog? A paleo recipe blog? A fast and easy recipe blog? 

Knowing on a deeper level what you want your blog to be about will help you focus and make deciding on what content to write much easier. 

There’s a quote that fits this situation perfectly:

"If you try to be everything for everbody, you will be nothing to no one."

Establish Your Niche

When creating a new blog, you need to find your niche. This is the corner of the market that you have the most knowledge about, the place you can establish yourself as an absolute authority. If you try to take on Pinch of Yum all at once, you will find yourself squarely outmatched and very disappointed.

You need to find the Goldilocks niche - one that is not too broad and not too narrow. “Recipes” is too broad, which means you are unlikely to stand out from the crowd. “Recipes for the first week in October” is too narrow - you will run out of things to write about or never find a big-enough audience to sustain your blog. 

Some examples of niche recipe blogs are:

Name Your Blog

Once you’ve found your niche, it’s a great time to start brainstorming a name for your blog. You’ll want to pick a name that’s brandable and available. Use our domain name tool to check if your name is available. If it is, scoop it up before someone else gets to it first.

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Finding Your Audience

Having a good sense of who is going to be reading your blog is one of the best ways to know what type of content to create, how to shape it, and, ultimately, how to grow your following. With a clear understanding of your niche, understanding your audience should come more naturally.

Finding your target audience - the people you want hanging out on your blog - isn’t only statistics and demographics. It requires a deeper understanding of who these people are and what they want. Your target audience is the people you’re writing to when you write your blog.

Are you writing to home cooks who are just learning how to turn on the stove, or are you writing to retirees who are trying to simplify their time in the kitchen? No matter how you choose to focus your content, you need to know who you are writing for so you can use the right tone and write blogs they will care about.

Create a Persona

One way to understand your audience is to create a persona of your perfect target audience member. This essentially means creating a mock-up of the ideal person you hope to reach with your blog.

Here is an example of a target audience persona:

Gabby Graybell Persona

Having a persona for your perfect audience member helps you to visualize and understand who you are writing for and provides important direction to your content.

Be Your Own Persona

Another popular way to find your perfect target audience is to be your own persona. Many of the best products and services come from scratching your own itch. It’s possible you’ve searched for the perfect recipe blog to read, came up short, and decided to create it yourself. This makes you the perfect audience member for your own blog.

This can be a great strategy for creating highly effective content. If you’ve noticed a meaningful omission in blog content, chances are you are not alone. By writing personally satisfying content you are likely to reach an audience in search of the same things.

Where Is Your Audience Hanging Out?

No web content exists in a vacuum. While you should strive to create uniquely entertaining content for your blog, your target audience is almost certainly already out there reading other blogs, engaging on specialized forums, and using social media. Finding the sites where your audience already mingles is a great way to discover what topics they are most interested in, what language they are using, and what valuable content you can add to that mix.

Some examples for your recipe blog may include:

  • PinchofYum.com
  • DamneDelicious.net
  • GimmeSomeOven.com
  • IAmAFoodBlog.com

Visiting these sites is also a great way to begin engaging with your audience before your blog has even gone live. Jump into conversations on forums and in comments sections and get to know the people you’ll be writing for. This is a great, organic way to build relationships and direct people to your blog in its early days. Sharing your passion with like-minded people will make them more excited and passionate about supporting you in your blogging endeavor.

How Will You Present Your Work?

Traditionally, when most people think about a blog they picture written content on a page. However, there are several different ways to present your ideas on your blog, depending on your subject matter and target audience. Every blog will thrive with different formats, so it’s important to think carefully about how to best showcase your content before you start.

There are several effective methods of presenting the material on your recipe blog. They include:

Evergreen Articles

As the name suggests, evergreen articles are composed of content that lasts. These articles are designed to have a long shelf life and continue drawing readers to your blog over time. They are typically long-form, text-based articles that delve more deeply into a particular topic.

One excellent option for evergreen content on a recipe blog is reviews - of cookbooks, cooking equipment, and anything else that fits your niche. People are always looking for reviews, especially from writers they trust. While you can and should review new products, try to take the time to review older, more classic products as well. There will always be people searching for reviews of the tried and true products that everyone tells them to use, which is what makes reviews of classics great evergreen content.

Videos

While the video format is not new, the explosive growth of YouTube and the advent of new and innovative video-based tech like Snapchat and TikTok have shown the true power of video as an online medium. While you may think that creating video is much more difficult and expensive than writing your content, you have access to all the technology you need to make high-quality video content right on your smartphone.

As a recipe blogger, you have the perfect niche for creating compelling video content. You are already teaching readers how to make recipes, so it is not much of a stretch to add video how-tos to your repertoire. Don’t stress out too much about trying to make the perfect video, either. You will get better with practice, so take the plunge and start making video how-tos for your favorite or most popular recipes. Many of your readers will love having a chance to see you in action, mistakes and all!

News-type Articles

News articles or other “announcement” type content can be a great way to gather new readers. One benefit of news content is the short-term but powerful increase in search volume during an event. While this bump may be temporary, it can be a great tool for grabbing new readers who end up coming back for more.

Writing about current events or new happenings also means there will typically be less competition for readers. Other blogs and media sources are all getting the information as it develops. Since the base of knowledge available is smaller, this gives you a good opportunity to add your own flavor to the article.

The downside to news-type articles is that they tend to lose popularity much more quickly than evergreen content. While the interest for an event may be very large one day, the next day people may already be moving on to the next shiny object.

The news-type content you make for your recipe blog can be based on the topics that you are regularly searching for - like-new kitchen products coming out soon, new cookbook announcements, and cooking events that you are interested in. You are already reading about news-type topics, so you now all you have to do is write about the ones that you find the most interesting and share them with your audience.

Image-heavy Content

While most people expect to be reading when they visit a blog, image-heavy content can be very appealing and break up your text-focused posts to keep people’s attention. Depending on the topic of your post, displaying multiple images per page on a single subject can give your audience a better sense of what you are trying to convey.

While some topics may take to images very easily, like a car blog or a celebrity gossip site, others may require some deeper thinking to make this strategy work.

A recipe blog is a perfect place for image-heavy content. In fact, it would be quite unusual for you to not use a lot of images as part of your standard blogging process. 

Many recipe bloggers start out collecting images online for their blogs because they do not have strong photography skills. But the most successful recipe bloggers tend to be good at food photography, so it would be worthwhile for you to try your hand at it if you haven’t already. You can learn how to take stunning images of your recipes, including the various stages of creating the recipe. Your audience will love seeing the images you create of your recipes.

Mix and Match

Your recipe blog needs variety to attract a big audience. Even if you enjoy creating one type of content over another, which is totally normal, it is best to stretch yourself regularly by trying new content types. You can gain skills in making videos, taking photos, and writing different types of content for your blog. Not only will trying new things help you grow as a recipe blogger, but it will also make your blog more attractive to your audience and anyone that has just found your blog. Try out some new content delivery strategies regularly to keep things fresh.

How To Make Money From A Recipe Blog

One of the main reasons people start blogs is to generate some sort of profit. Whether you’re looking for a few hundred dollars per month or a job-replacing income, blogging is still an excellent way to make those dreams a reality.

There are a few great ways to make money from a recipe blog:

Display Ad Networks

Display ads are the simplest way for websites to generate any sort of income. Ad networks, like Google Adsense, are fairly simple to be accepted into, and implementation onto your site is streamlined and clean. If you’re just beginning to see some traffic to your blog and want to turn this into dollars, display ads are where most people start.

There are a few downsides to display ads, however. The first is that some feel they detract from the user experience on your blog. Most people have been to a site where large ads pop up and block the content in the middle of reading. This can be distracting, frustrating, and even drive people away from your blog. While it’s possible to clean up and control the type of ads you use, it can be a constant battle to balance effective ad placement with aesthetics and readability.

The other main downside is that they don’t pay a lot. These networks generally use a pay-per-click (PPC) model which, depending on the niche, can pay anywhere from $0.01 to $1.50 per click, most on the lower end.

While display ads are a great way to make your first dollars, you’ll want to make sure any negatives they bring are worth the profits they provide. Once you develop a solid following, you can consider moving on to more lucrative and effective profit-making options.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing programs like Amazon Affiliate have become much more popular over the past few years, as they take the payment model from pay-per-click to cost-per-acquisition (CPA). This means you can refer as many users to an advertiser’s product as you want, but will only get paid when the user makes a purchase.

Both advertisers and publishers benefit from an affiliate marketing setup. The advertiser pays nothing until a sale is made and the publisher enjoys much higher commissions than the pay-per-click model.

The Amazon Affiliate program is ideal for a recipe blog because you can link to so many different products on Amazon, ranging from cookbooks to cooking gear, cleaning supplies to apparel. Depending on your niche, you may write about a wide variety of topics related to food and cooking, all of which can incorporate Amazon product links. 

Including Amazon links into your recipe blog is expected by your audience, and often appreciated. They don’t want to have to go searching for the products you are writing about. Instead of having to google it or go to Amazon, they can just click on the link and get the product they want and need. And you get a small commission every time that you facilitate a sale. 

Many recipe bloggers start with the Amazon Affiliate program and stay with it for years. It is so easy to set up. When your blog is small, you may only make a few dollars a month. When your blog gets big, you could bring in thousands with the program.

Sell Digital Products

Digital products are an online entrepreneur's dream. You create the item once, then sell it as many times as you can, with little to no cost of reproduction. This means that you can scale your business to infinity.

Examples of digital products are:

  • Ebooks - A piece of writing, generally in PDF format. These can contain literally anything that your audience would want. They can either be true book-length all the way down to a few pages of content. Depending on your niche, audience, and subject, these can run from $1 to $100 per sale fairly easily.

  • Gated Content - This is content that is served on your website just like any other article, except that is behind a “paywall”. If you are creating content that you don’t want to be released to anyone but your true followers, you have them sign up for an account on your site and charge them a subscription fee for access. Generally, authors charge anywhere from $5 to $200 per month for access to gated content.

  • Online Courses - If you can teach a skill that your audience wants to learn, you can create an online course to sell to them. These courses can be formatted in whatever way makes the most sense to you, but most nowadays are video courses. Online courses can sell from $10 to well over $10,000 per course, obviously depending on the subject matter and audience.

You can come up with digital products that your audience will jump at, it just takes some thought and consideration of your niche and your audience demand. Many recipe bloggers begin with creating Ebooks for their recipes. You can write a cookbook, take all your own photos, and sell it to your blog audience. You could sell your cookbook for $10-$20 or more, depending on the size and quality of the cookbook.

Sell Physical Products

Selling physical products is the original money-making strategy. You gather an audience that is hungry for something, you sell it to them, and everyone wins. You don’t have to be an inventor, designer, or manufacturer to sell products. Sites like Alibaba and AliExpress import already-made items into the United States and sell them for a markup.

The two main methods for the distribution of these items are: dropshipping and self-fulfilled.

Dropshipping is a method where you advertise a product on your site that you do not own. Once you make the sale, you inform the manufacturer, who will handle the shipping and handling to the end-user. While this is simple because you don’t have to worry about storing or shipping any items yourself, you’ll find that the margins can be quite slim.

Self-fulfilled sales are much more of a hands-on approach to sales. You buy the item from the manufacturer, store it, then ship it to the end-user once you have made the sale. While there is much more work involved, you’ll find that the margins per sale are much higher.

Product sales through a recipe blog can seem difficult at first, but they don’t have to be. Many recipe bloggers start with inexpensive products like recipe journals, which can be bought for a few dollars and marked up significantly for sale. Once your audience grows, you could write a cookbook and have it printed and sell it to your readers. Many recipe bloggers make good money off of big, beautiful hardcover edition cookbooks - you just need the audience to ensure strong sales.

While it can be very profitable when done well, selling products is not generally recommended for the beginner blogger. It’s best to secure an audience that you know will be receptive to the product before making a large investment in product development or acquisition.

Create A Service

Providing a service is another very basic money-making plan. If you can provide a service that you know your audience needs, you have a viable business on your hands.

Whether this service is delivered through one-on-one interaction with the user, through a piece of software that you develop, or by directly completing a task for the user, this is a great way to monetize your skillset and your blog.

You can sell services based on your skills and your niche, such as cooking workshops or one-on-one coaching for readers who want to revamp their diet. 

Your blog is what drives your traffic and the demand for your services, so make certain you are putting in enough time to keep the blog going strong. Depending on your popularity, the demand for your services may be quite high, even when you charge a  premium. Try to avoid overcommitting yourself early on - it is easy to do! Balance your blog, your services, and your personal life to maintain momentum and ensure you get the most out of your life as a recipe blogger.

Next Steps To Get Your Recipe Blog Started

Now that you have the strategies in place to build and grow your own blog, check out our free course: How To Start A Blog.

This course includes all the essentials on how to get your blog out of your head and onto its own website. Starting a blog is simple and inexpensive, so there’s no reason that you shouldn’t start today!

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