I started my blog in 2014 and have been learning new things every day! I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but everything below is something I have used and loved. This page will be constantly updated as I find more blogging related products and services that could be useful for you!
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and if you purchase through the link I will earn a commission (yay!) All products below I either use currently or have done in the past and would recommend. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
WordPress.org – I originally started my blog as a free hosted site on wordpress.com. While it is a great place to start, I love the freedom you have with wordpress.org in terms of site design, plug-ins available (see below for my favourites) and the ability to place advertising on your site to earn some side income.
Bluehost – When you switch to a self-hosted blog you require a web host. I chose Bluehost based on recommendations from several other bloggers and on their extremely competitive pricing starting from US$3.95 per month. It was super easy to set up and so far I have had no problems! (Update 2018 – I have recently changed from Bluehost but would still recommend Bluehost as a fantastic place to start! I only changed due to increased traffic volume on this site and needing a faster host to keep up.)
Cloudways is the hosting company I switched to in 2018 and I am extremely happy with them. Fast loading times on my site and fantastic support for if anything goes wrong!
2. Genesis Framework from StudioPress. Think of the Genesis Framework as the engine of your website – this is the functionality of the site and Genesis is the best. Studiopress also have a heap of fantastic themes and if you can’t choose which one, you can get 25% off the Pro Plus All-Theme Package! The Divine Theme is what I use.
Canon EOS 600D – I bought this camera in February 2015 and I LOVE it!! It’s an entry level DSLR which was perfect for me because I had never used one before. Since I started using it and learning how to use it properly my photography has improved hugely. You can definitely still take really good photos with a point and shoot or phone camera but I would never go back now!
EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS – this is the standard lens that came with my camera. I used it originally for all my food photography and it is a really great lens. It is the only lens I used when we were travelling in Vietnam and it’s the one I use daily for photos around the house and on the farm.
EF 50mm f/1.8 II – this is my favourite, my little baby lens. I bought it when we were overseas (tax free!) but I would have bought it anyway. For the price (about NZ$180) you get a lot of lens for not much cash. I now use this almost exclusively for my food photography. It is a prime lens which means it doesn’t zoom in or out, which is fine…you just have to get nice and close!
San Disk 16GB Extreme SD Memory Card – buying memory cards is hard. There are so many to choose from and it seems like a lot of money to spend on something boring! This memory card is great though – lots of room on it and nice and speedy.
Tasty Food Photography – BUY THIS BOOK!! I can’t believe how much I have learnt from this book. It was written by the extremely talented Lindsay from Pinch of Yum and if my photos even look even half as good as hers, I will be happy! It is US$29 (about NZ$45) and it is worth every penny. I read it cover to cover in about an hour and refer back to it all the time. It covers all the basics from understanding your camera, to lighting, props and editing. Highly recommend!
Photoshop – I have just recently purchased Photoshop and I LOVE it. I used to think that editing photos was cheating, but now I realise that it is just putting life back into the photos. Photoshop is not cheap, but I think it is worth the cost. There are so many cool things you can do that I am still figuring out. You can get a 30 day free trial which is a great way to decide if you like it or not and then you can pay month by month.
PicMonkey – This is a fantastic option for online photo editing if you don’t want to spend any money. The free version allows you to do all sorts of cool things to photos including making collages and adding text to photos. I used this all the time before buying Photoshop and would use it if I didn’t have my computer with me.
There is so much to learn when it comes to blogging in general, and specifically food blogging!
Food Blogger Pro is a membership site that teaches you LITERALLY everything you need to know about food blogging and all that comes along with it – social media, videos, technical things and so much more! Plus the community forum is a fantastic place for information and support and they have real experts on board. They open enrollment twice a year and you can sign up monthly or for the year. They also occasionally do boot camps on a certain topic which are so valuable!
Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduling tool. If you’re a content creator you know how important Pinterest can be for driving traffic to your site. Tailwind allows you to set up a whole heap of pins at one time to go out at the ideal time for your audience. It means you don’t need to be constantly thinking about getting on Pinterest and it saves you a ton of time, which we all need!
Yoast SEO – this is a super helpful plugin that prompts you to use keywords in all the right places to get your content found online.
WP Recipe Maker – This is the plugin I use to create my recipe cards. I started using it in 2018 after changing from another plug in that was no longer being updated and I am so happy with it. It’s easy peasy to use – put in the ingredients, the method, the time and the servings and it formats it all nicely for you. It is also fully optimised for SEO which is a huge factor. You can upgrade to a paid version for more bells and whistles
but I find the free version perfect which I did not long after I started using it so that I could add nutritional information to my recipes – something else Google rates highly.
Akismet – keeps nasty spam comments away. It does stop legit comments here and there so I still check through the spam every couple of days to make sure nothing has been hidden from me by mistake.
Comment reply notification – I love this plugin! I really like it when I get an email letting me know that someone has replied to my comment on their blog, and this is exactly what this plugin does. When I reply to your comment you will receive a notification. It’s a great way to keep in touch and keep the conversation going!