resources for food bloggers, softwares and tools for food bloggers

I often get queries on topics like How to start a food blog or how to increase blog traffic or good hosting company etc so I am creating this detailed guide to share my views on these frequently asked questions.

This post is divided into three parts:
1. wordpress blog theme + hosting
2. Speeding up the wordpress blog
3. softwares and tools I use

WordPress theme:

Many smart bloggers like myself have wasted countless hours in changing their blog theme every fortnight or some times every week. This resulted in time wastage as well as losing loyal traffic. As most of us became less smart with time, we decided to choose one premium theme and stick to it. We still change the blog layout but that is not so often !!!

Two premium themes I would suggest you is Genesis and Thesis.
If you like more names then you can think about headway and woo themes.
We have used Thesis theme version 1.8.5 till april 2014 and they have excellent support forum and now we have moved to Genesis theme.

Now if you ask me which is a better theme than Genesis and Thesis. then honestly speaking I have not used woo themes or headway theme. These are the themes which many top most bloggers recommend. As far as comparison between thesis and genesis is concerned, lately few big bloggers who were using thesis theme have moved to genesis theme. We took a lot of time before moving to genesis as we knew a lot about the working of thesis theme.

According to most big bloggers thesis and genesis are top most wordpress premium themes and rivals for past few years. Its like the competition between samsung and apple smart phones.

Thesis/genesis tips:
1. If you are not a techie and plan to use thesis theme then use the version 1.8.5 and avoid thesis 2.0 version.
2. If you are a techie or your hubby or friend is a techie who are aware of programming concepts like objects and classes, containers etc then thesis 2.0 can do wonders for you. You can give unique design to each category or page.
3. Genesis has many free child themes and many of them are responsive designs and that is one of the big plus point of genesis over thesis.
4. Thesis and genesis both have 30 days money back guarantee so you can try them with out any worry.

WordPress hosting:

For shared web hosting solutions there are many good hosting companies. go with a reputed hosting company. Don’t save money on hosting. I won’t recommend any particular name as the hosting companies experience depends upon many factors.

Managed wordpress hosting: in managed hosting you don’t need to worry about server speed, taking backup of your site, virus or hacker attacks. Many of these features are managed by server end team but the flip side is that they don’t allow you to use all wordpress plugins, they usually don’t provide nameserver records and email program which comes with hosting. if you are looking for managed hosting then check the plans of Wpengine and Pagely.

Speeding up the wordpress:

1. Use a cache plugin like Wp super cache plugin or W3 total cache plugin. we use w3 total cache plugin as it provide more features than wp super cache plugin.

2. Maxcdn – use their services to speedup the download of images or ebooks etc on your site. Highly recommended. There are many cdn service providers but maxcdn is the one of the most recommended.

What cdn service does is that your media content like images or ebooks will be downloaded from a server which is closest to the location of the visitor of your blog. E.g. Maxcdn has more than 20 servers spread all over the world and now if a reader is accessing my site from India then my site images will be downloaded from a maxcdn server which caters to asian traffic.

It greatly speed up the site and is appreciated by google. There are many plans of maxcdn and approximately you have to pay 40-45 USD for 1000GB of data downloaded via maxcdn. The setup process for integrating maxcdn with your site is easy. On top of that their customer support team is very good. You can use w3tc or wp super cache plugin to integrate maxcdn in your site. You can click in this link to avail Maxcdn coupon 25% off

3. Cloudflare: it can take the much load off from your server and will also protect your server from hacking attacks. Its kind of free CDN service.

4. Remove unnecessary plugins and widgets which you are not using. Do not clutter your sidebar unnecessary. Minimize the use of plugins

5. Use asynchronous codes e.g. You can use it for google analytics.

For food bloggers:

If you are a food blogger and you are showing step by step photos then hosting cost increases as step by step photos takes lot of time to load and to increase the site speed we need to upgrade the server. so to minimize this hosting expenses, I suggest:
A) use the one high quality main image (size under 250Kb) and all other step by step images should be under 40-50KB.
B) few bloggers host their images on flickr. I have not used this method till now and mentioning it for your information,  in case you would like to try.
C) always reduce the photo to the dimension size which you are going to show in your post before loading it to server.
D) yahoo plugin – use this plugin to remove unnecessary data from the images and thus reducing their size further.

Remember: faster the webpages load, more traffic google will send to your site. Readers also like fast loading pages.

Softwares and tools I use:

1. Madmimi: we are using madmimi email subscription program to send free recipes update. Previously we were using Aweber for managing our email subscription. I don’t recommend aweber or madmimi to everyone. As they are expensive programs and will not suit everyone.

If life gives me a second chance then I would like to go back and continue with feedburner email subscription. Feedburner might close down in future (2014) but I would prefer to use feedburner as long as it is working than using paid email programs. Our reason for leaving aweber and moving to madmimi was just to cut costs. Otherwise aweber is a great program.

Few people who wants to launch their own ebooks, products or offer services can benefit from Aweber or Madmimi or mailchimp etc. Otherwise, if I have to just send emails of recent post updates then I feel feedburner is doing a great job.

2. Codeguard: i use codeguard service to take daily backup of my site. Another backup service is ideally, you must have a backup plan for your site to protect your site from any disaster. You can create backup file from your control panel too. Its an automatic service or you can take manual backup of your wordpress blog too. I suggest don’t rely on your server side backups. Have a copy of your site with you after every major updates.

3. Wp recipe maker plugin To show rich snippet in google search results.

4. Akismet : to block spam comments.

5. Filezila ftp program : to upload and download files in server.

6. Notepad++ : to edit the html code in files. Don’t edit files in notepad. Use this easy software instead. Using notepad to edit your files can break your wordpress site.

7. Avast antivirus: but I might choose kaspersky or norton antivirus once my subscription plan with avast ends. Avast is working fine but my techie friend has highly suggested these two anti virus programs.

8. photography tools and programs that I use:
A) Canon dslr 600 D

I just love my canon camera. Its been more than a year since I brought my camera. Canon also has good after sales customer service.

B) lens : i use the Canon lens 18-55 mm, 3.5-5.6 and this came with the canon kit. Apart from it, I also use  Canon f 50mm f/1.8 lens. I suggest you to not buy the lens with the camera kit/body. Buy the lens separately as per your photography requirement.

C) photoshop 5 : the program that I use for editing all my photos in RAW as well as JPG format is photoshop. Its been 2 years since my foray into photoshop and I just love it.

Disclaimer: The links in this post are my affiliate links.

Dassana Amit

Dassana Amitnamaste and welcome to which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

Comments are closed.

22 comments/reviews

  1. Hey amit! I really love your recipes and the site but somehow the ipad version of your app doesn’t work in mine…i tried downloading so many times but it never worked.please help me

    • supraja, we are facing this issue since yesterday evening. even i am trying. have taken up with the tech team. we are working on this. let me know if you are looking for any specific recipe.

  2. Hi Dasana,

    I am trying to comment from many days.But it is not getting posted. I follow your recipe and love your garlic bread recipe. I am keen on starting a food blog and your resources have proved to be very helpful. I have a question. There are many recipes that are traditional.I am taking my own pictures and drafting my ow recipes.But waht about some traditional Recipes like idli. If i post a recipe like idli or dal which is common, will it become a copyright issue..I will be very grateful if you can guide me…

    • amitha, i have not received your comment till now. firstly wish you all the best. coming to your query, for traditional recipes like idli and dal, each person and each family makes it their own way. so the kind of ingredients, measurement/proportion, method of preparation will always vary. so if you add the way the recipe is originally made by you or by your family and write in your own words, then there is no scope of any copyright issue. copyright issues only happen when the recipe or the content of the recipe or pics are copied.

  3. Hii dassana,

    I always follow all ur recipes n it turns out quite well!!ws jus goin thru dis post ven i ws coining with the idea of bloggin..its a detailed post with al d required information.. With the lil information dat i understood i installed wordpress in my cellphone.. But i dnt seem to understand anythin.. As in how u write a new post.. How u add themes? M soo blank abt all dis but I desperately want to try bloggin ??? thnks agn for the wonderful efforts u r putting in to help all d ppl around u with ur food n ur knowledge!!

    • thanks anu. explore the wordpress dashboard on a desktop or laptop. you will get a better idea. if you check youtube videos, you will get tutorials about the how’s and why’s of wordpress. its very easy. you just need to explore.

  4. Hi Dassana Amit,

    I was going through your post and got stuck on the Cloudflare topic.
    I am using cloudflare, I also have ads from google adsense on my blog.
    Should I stop using cloudflare?

    • when i wrote the post, that time there was conflict between them. now i don’t know. cloudflare may have updated their system. you can find out with them or search in google.

  5. Brilliant information! Thanks for this educating post. New to your space and blogging. So, I am sure to use your help 🙂

  6. Dassana, your recipes are wonderful. I stumbled across your blog where researching food blogs and think it’s Possibly the most comprehensive vegetarian food blog around. Please keep blogging!

  7. I find you inspiring! Thanks- I was searching around for a ginger tea recipe that my yoga teacher gave me (wanted something written) and found your beautiful and informative site!

    This is a foodie question-my teacher was drinking milk with rose syrup and chia like seeds added but they weren’t chia. She did not know what they are called in English-do you know?

    Thanks again and I will be back here often!

  8. thanx aton dear.. you not only saved my time but also gave me mental peace , i was going restless 🙂 but ya after reading your these two sections on blogging i must say you are doing immensely great work. doing such a thing besides looking after your family needs a lots of effort . you know what now i m worrying how will i handle my 2 year old kid if i start this 🙂
    🙂 once again thank you so much.

    • thanks amrita. you can opt for google adsense and ads. google adsense is one of the best and widely used. additionally you can give referral link to products or books you have mentioned in your post. e.g. amazon or flipkart links etc. many food bloggers also try other advertising network like blogherads and foodie blogroll.