Ok food bloggers, time to have some fun! Let’s assume that you’ve done all the “hard stuff” and bought the domain name, web hosting and signed up to WordPress (or another publishing platform). The next job is the “pretty stuff” – the look and functions of your website. It’s time to think about choosing a theme.
By the way, this post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on them and/or buy something, I may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you. If I’ve listed the product on my website then you can be damn sure it’s something worth having or I wouldn’t recommend it. For more information, check out my disclaimer.
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First of all
Earlier, you chose a generic food theme with which to set up your food blog. But now it’s time to change that if you want to, to one that really “speaks” to you and suits your niche.
Go into the dashboard of your WordPress site, click on Appearance >>Themes. There will probably be a small number of boxes with featured themes for you to choose from, and you can search by keyword such as “food” if you like.
Adding a new theme
BUT the fun doesn’t stop there. Because you are self hosting, you have the ability to upload ANY theme you like – as long as it’s compatible with WordPress (which most of them are). Either click on “Add New” and scroll through until you find one you like or go to good old Google and start looking for one you like. I quickly Googled “best food blog themes” when writing this article and it came up with more than 6,000,000 results.
You really don’t need to look through many to get an idea of what you want and, as a food blogger, there are many, many themes that are designed with you in mind and come equipped with everything a food writer could possibly want.
Think about the following factors and how important they are to you:
Lots of white space on the website to show off your stellar food photography.
A search bar for ingredients to make it easy for your visitors to find what they want.
A calorie/fat/sugar etc. counter for the nutritional info of individual recipes.
A meal-planning function so that visitors can drag and drop recipes to their own tailored plan.
Ability to switch between US and UK measurements for ingredients.
Ratings systems for recipes.
A reading mode to remove all extraneous information when cooking.
Grid formats for displaying recipes.
Featured-recipe boxes to showcase your best work.
Related-recipes functions to guide your visitors through your site.
Easy sharing of recipes for social media.
Overlays, side bars and those little extras that make your page “pop”.
Ability for users to register and sign in to your site to bookmark their favourite recipes.
Compatibility with Woo Commerce if you intend to sell anything in the future e.g. cook books and kitchen products.
Remember – food is a visual medium and you’ve only got the visuals to “sell” your recipes to the public. Choosing a theme that’s eye catching (for the right reasons), professional and EASY TO USE will ensure your visitors come back again and again.
I really love the themes by ThemeIsle which is why I have their advert in my sidebar over there
They have hundreds of themes suitable for food bloggers; I really like the look of Oblique Pro and Belise, and for just £79 you can get access to ALL their themes – so you can change your mind as much as you want!
A purpose-built recipe theme
I must admit that when I set up my food blog, I chose to pay the extra for a premium recipe theme. I didn’t want to write paragraph after paragraph of text and then tag a recipe on in a little box at the bottom of the page; I’m one of those people who always skips straight to the recipe anyway so I certainly didn’t want to be a hypocrite there.
Think about what you want your focus to be and whether a purpose-built recipe theme is right for you. I use Neptune Theme by Osetin for my food blog and a ThemeIsle theme (Theme Mag) for my meal-planning work.
Still not sure what style to go with? Think about what would best suit your niche. And if you haven’t got a niche yet, then check out:
Related: 100 Tasty Niches for Food Bloggers
Adding extra plugins
A plugin is an extension to your website – it basically enables the site to do something extra, something new. For example, you might want to display recipes in a certain way, add nutritional info, have a Pinterest “pin it” button on your pictures or allow visitors to comment on your recipes. And for every aim of yours, there are hundreds of plugins that fit the bill. I have compiled a detailed list of recommended plugins for your site here, but to get you started, you will need to choose a recipe plugin.
Recipe plugins such as WP Ultimate Recipe, EasyRecipe and Recipe Box are perfect for all kinds of food bloggers. They enable quick and easy publication of your recipes – everything from the amounts of ingredients used to cooking times and step-by-step instructions. To upload one, go to Plugins >> Add New in your WordPress dashboard. Type “recipe” into the search bar and just pick your favourite!
Adding a recipe plugin
This includes the colours, logo, layout, fonts and so on. Every theme allows you to customise to a certain degree (some have countless combinations) and you can really improve the look/feel of your website and the overall visitor experience if you take some time up front.
Still want help choosing a theme? Here is a list of the most up-to-date and beautiful food themes for 2018.
Which theme do you use for your food blog? Leave me a comment and let me know!