This page contains a list of blogging resources I use for No Plate Like Home food blog. I have found these blogging resources to be helpful and trust worthy. If I haven’t listed a resource I currently use, I may not be happy with them or am still trying to understand their product and its benefits.
Disclaimer: This page and my website contains affiliate links. That means I will collect a small commission if you make a purchase through the links. I do NOT recommend products that I don’t trust.
Before I begin, if you have not yet started a blog and are seriously thinking about it, read my The Hard Truth About Blogging first! You’ll get my honest perspective on blogging and what bigger bloggers don’t want you to know.
You can either start a free blog on WordPress.com where the hosting is done for you (used more for hobby blogs) or you can start your blog and choose your own hosting, which I recommend after you’ve decided you definitely want to blog for a career. You have more control.
Siteground Web hosting
I happily use Siteground for my web hosting and am very pleased with their level of customer support. They have live chat sessions for customer support! You can get immediate answers to your questions and you will have questions, concerns and problems. My site also doesn’t go down. I don’t even think it’s ever been down.
You can sign up for Siteground web hosting here.
I’ve used WordPress since day one of starting this blog and have been very pleased with their customer support and quality software. I started with a free WordPress hosted blog using he premium package (which cost $99) and then moved to self hosting WordPress.org blog within my first 60 days of starting the blog. I used two free WordPress themes (Dyad and Olsen Light) at the beginning before purchasing a third-party theme. There are many great free WordPress themes but, make sure to research them first. I found this article about 65 Best Free WordPress Themes informative.
Now I have a custom theme designed by Laura Nicholson at Pixel Me Designs. It looks more professional, cleaner and is helping me grow faster.
I use Vault Press for daily back ups and security on the No Plate Like Home website. I chose Vault Press when I moved to self hosting as not to be required to do back ups myself.
Food Photography Tools
Cannon EOS Rebel T6 Digital DSLR Camera
Before purchasing the Cannon EOS Rebel T6 Digital DSLR Camera , I was using a Nikon point and shoot with a zoom lens for several months. It was sufficient for the beginning of my blogging journey but, now that I’m using a DSLR camera with prime lens, my photos have improved notably. Being able to use the camera in manual mode and select the settings, is very helpful. I find this camera easy-to-use and a good beginner camera.
Cannon 50mm F1.8 Prime Lens
I purchased Cannon 50mm f1.8 lens (it has auto and manual focus settings) to use with my Cannon Rebel T6.
The Food Photography E-Book by Nagi Maehashi (Recipe Tin Eats)
I purchased The Food Photography Book for only $29 to learn as much as I can about food photography in order to significantly improve my food photos. This e-book is 180 pages of organized, well-written, step-by-step, illustrated tips that show you how to use your camera settings. It includes lighting, food styling, angles and just about everything you need to know to improve your pictures. I saw an immediate improvement in my pictures from implementing Nagi’s instructions and tips along with my new Cannon Rebel T6 and Cannon 50 mm F1.8 Prime Lens DSLR camera. I feel this Food Photography e-book is well-organized and detailed but, you must practice, practice, practice!
Are you thinking of starting your own blog?
If you are thinking about starting a food blog or are a beginner, read my 7 Tips to Get Your Photos Finally Accepted on Foodgawker where I explain why you need your photos on Foodgawker, explain what some of their decline reasons mean and great tips to improve your overall food photography even if you don’t have a DSLR camera.
How I increased my Website Traffic
When I first started this blog on Sep 14, 2016, the first three months was difficult getting traffic to my blog. I had 30-40 page views per day. I then found out in a free blogging seminar that Pinterest and SEO should be the focus of a new blogger. Being that I knew nothing about SEO (I’ve since put more focus on SEO), I turned to Pinterest. I started pinning 100 or so pins per day to my boards. Within about 6 weeks, I had more than doubled my traffic! Then it tripled and quadrupled as I started pinning to group boards. I’m expecting my monthly page views to reach 20K-30K over the holidays.
I was also reading about how automated pinning tools helps increase your page views. Yes, this is true. Once I built up my Pinterest Boards manually, I started using Tailwind, a Pinterest approved automated pinning tool, to pin to group boards with automation. I pay $15 per month for this service and it enables me to spend less time on Pinterest pinning, so I can focus on my content.
It is worth the cost as it also helps you build your brand over time and extend your reach.
I bought the Genesis Framework to help with SEO and installed the Yoast plugin. I wish I did both of these right from the start. Oh, how much I’d change if I’d had known from the start. The first six months, my blog received little organic traffic (page views generated from search engine search results. This is normal as Google ranks new websites low until it sees you as a trusted site. Now, I’m getting more organic traffic which, is exactly what you want. You don’t want to depend on social media alone.
In the summer of 2018, nearly two years blogging, I’ve grown my following to 4000+ conclusively. My content has gotten much better especially my photography as proven by getting on the first page of FoodGawker multiple times and doing 12 sponsored posts, from brands such as as Kellogg’s and 3M Scotch, from Jan – Aug of 2018!
I have REALLY BIG PLANS for this blog now! I can’t wait to share my blogging and life experiences with you! It’s been a bumpy, fun and challenging ride! Come with me!