Resources for Food Bloggers, Social Media Blogs and More.

 

Resources for Food Bloggers and Social Media Blogs

 

I wanted to make a useful resource page for food bloggers, social bloggers and also for more techie ones.
As my blog is a social food blog, all these products/services cover a vast landscape, so they are helpful for most of the bloggers on the cyberspace, no matter the niche you’re.

Below you’ll find resources I recommend to grow your blog or your website.

This resource page is a constant work in progress, so expect more useful resources coming!

Disclaimer: Please take notice, that some of the links of below are affiliate links, where I’ll get paid a commission if you buy through those links.
Of course, you don’t get charged anything extra, and certainly, I mention resources that I only trust, I use on my blogs and they can help with your online success.

I’d like to know your experience with them, and if you’ve any doubt or query, just drop me an email.

 

How to Start a Food Blog or any type of Blog

 

Hosting

Hostgator WordPress Hosting Hostgator – is a leader company with an outstanding 24/7 support, really! I had some doubts on different weekends (twice) and I tried their customer support by chat and email – fast and helpful responses. Not all the hosting providers assist you in that way, less in not “normal” working days.

Hostgator has three different plans that can fit your budget and technical requirements. Ideal for WordPress Blogs with a simple 1-click installation. I’ve all my blogs on Hostgator.

 


 

WordPress Themes

 

Headway Themes

No Need For Code WordPress Developers — Drag & Drop Theme With HeadwayThis blog is powered by Headway Themes. Do you like it?
Headway has a Visual Editor that lets you change by “drag and drop” and with easy settings, really in a snap of your fingers.
You can modify the layout, colors, fonts, backgrounds and lot of more, verifying the changes in real time, without coding.

 

Headway Benefits

  • Save time: you don’t need to be a coder to use it. Spend your time creating content and not coding, coding…and more coding, to see some results.
  • Have infinite themes in one package: you choose exactly what you want with the Visual Editor.
  • Improve rankings of your posts and site: Why? Because, Headway Themes is completely SEO-friendly. Also, you’ll avoid many SEO-plugins because their functions are already pre-installed.
  • Headway theme is ideal for bloggers/webmasters that need a premium theme, without being tech savvy.
  • On the contrary, if you enjoy coding, you can have infinite combinations accessible via the live CSS editor, Hooks and more.

In my case I didn’t want to become an “expert coder”, to have my site up and running, in few days.

This is the reason why I chose Headway for this blog. Here is my my first review and the last review about Headway 3.x

 

WPZOOM Themes

WPZOOM - Premium WordPress ThemesWPZOOM provides top quality premium WordPress themes, excellent crafted & SEO optimized code.
The theme collection is flexible, and you can easily customize every detail of your theme to best suit your needs.

Advantages: you’ve an impressive catalog of themes to choose, one for every taste: Business, Magazine/News, Portfolio and Multimedia.

They can include features like Custom menu / widgets / page templates, Featured sliders, Threaded comments and more.

WPZOOM - Delicious premium WordPress themeCertainly, there is lifetime support, full of documentation to help you get started and complete tutorials to shine with your theme.  Read my detailed review here.

I want to mention specifically a theme from WPZOOM interesting to foodies, which perhaps can be involved also in the food business:

Delicious is an elegant premium WordPress theme developed for restaurants, catering, cafes, bars, diners, pizzerias and so on.

 

ThemeFuse

ThemeFuse WordPress themesThemeFuse has gorgeous WordPress themes in other words; it’s like buying a custom made website from a premium web design agency at a fraction of the price.

They have full of possibilities and tailored practically to every need (Blogging, Events, Fashion, Food, Business, Marketing, Portfolio, Travel Corporate and the list goes on)

The themes have been tested on all major browsers and latest version of WordPress.

One click auto install, updates for life and complete documentation. Of course, for any doubt you can have, there are helpful dedicated support forums for that purpose.

Coffee Lounge WP ThemeFuseFor foodies, you can try Coffee Lounge WP theme. A perfect bar WordPress theme for anyone that owns a coffee shop or bistro and wants their website to make an amazing impression on the visitors. Or better yet, leave them drooling over the offers.

Coffee Lounge of ThemeFuse has a creative homepage slider to showcase your coffees, cocktails or cakes.

Also, it has short codes that enable you to let your imagination run wild and create countless different pages and templates for your website.

 


 

WordPress Plugins

These are some the plugins used on my blogs that improve functionality, design and other functions.
Certainly, this list is a constant task, then stay tuned.

Be aware, that you can upload and activate plugins, only, at WordPress.org.
At WordPress.com, you don’t have access to your internal files, and therefore you can’t add plugins.

 

Author hReview plugin - Add Rich Snippets to WordPress Author hReview plugin is ease to use. This plugin adds boxes where you can insert your review, more rating information on blog posts and pages.
Technically, the plugin adds Google’s Rich Snippets for reviews, but in simple words, it adds those stars that you see in search results.

Brilliant to leverage the ranking of your posts, then you have more traffic and conversions :)
Those stars shine your content in a notable way. Here is my full plugin review.

 

CommentLuv Premium, 8-1 Multi-Plugin CommentLuv Premium allows spreading “luv” to your commenters, showing their recent posts. It’s another way to reward your readers. A win-win situation for all the parts because for blog owners it helps also to have a clearer landscape of the person that just commented.

 

This is an 8-1 multi-plugin that allows controlling spam, more social shares, controlling keywords in your name @ keywords, etc. etc. Visit my full article about this great multi-plugin.

Save plugins, improve the loading time of your blog, incentive your readers, and you can have two links with a more detailed bio in your external comments on other blogs.

 

IM Graphics Plugin IM Graphics Plugin, is a full premium pack of amazing PSD & PNG graphics, plus WordPress functions that make it simple for anyone to insert high-quality Internet Marketing type graphics into their posts and pages (I use it in both cases)

You can build landing pages, squeeze pages, sales pages and opt-in pages in an easy way, without any type of additional knowledge and even more, without hiring a web designer / programmer. Here is my plugin review.

 

WPHypnoLinks plugin for your WordPress blogWPHypnoLinks plugin allows you to auto-insert affiliate links or normal links, only seeing by humans, plus not being indexed by the search engines. You can highlight keywords with “Jedi” effects, to avoid link-blindness and to convert more (see my plugin review).
There are available subtle link effects and without overloading your server, for the quantity of keywords/key phrases you want.
It’s ideal to improve your bouncing rate.

 

Maxblogpress Ninja Affiliate Ninja Affiliate plugin is a big time saver, auto converting keywords into money-making links in your posts, pages and even in comments, yes in comments too. It has an advanced cache system, to not affect the load of your blog.

You can create sub-campaigns; seeing clearly which are receiving clicks, and where of those clicks are coming from. A full ninja plugin review is available on my new blog.

 

  • Broken Link Checker – finds permanently broken links in your own site plus outgoing links, notifying you on the dashboard.
  • Contact Form 7 – you can test it in my contact page. It’s a contact form plugin full customizable more Captcha protection – I recommend to allow Captcha to avoid spam and it’s more secure.
  • G.A.S.P. – Add a simple checkbox to your comment area and you’ve to check it to do a comment. No need of Captcha. ( (included now on CommentLuv Premium)
  • Google XML Sitemaps – generates an active sitemap to help your site to become more search engine friendly.
  • KeywordLuv – allows commenters entering their keywords with a specific anchor text like: Your Name@Your Keywords. A precision, don’t put only keywords as your name, because you’ve a name, right? Don’t make these social media mistakes. (included now on CommentLuv Premium)
  • ReplyMe – it’ll send you an email when someone has replied to your comment directly.
  • Subscribe to Comments – commenters will receive by email, all new comments added to the posts they have commented. For the blog owner has the benefit of seeing for each post the comment subscriptions.
  • Top Commentators Widget – reward people who comment on your blog. It’s customizable, reset period every week, month, etc.; number of names to show, links and many more.
  • W3 Total Cache – helps to speed up your loading time and necessary in high peaks of traffic.
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – looks for related posts on your site to display in every post, to improve the visits of your readers and encouraging visitors to read more other articles related you’ve written.

 

 

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Analytics

  • Google Analytics. Free, popular and tremendously flexible when you need to know about what’s “cooking” in terms of traffic of your blog or website. You can use GA even if you use other stat-services.
  • Clicky. I use Clicky and the most important characteristic is their real-time stats – so handy to see sources and traffic coming to your site. Match perfect with GA because it supplies different and intuitive interface data.

 

Keyword Research

Google Keyword Tool – You can research keywords for create blogs, websites or to improve your blog posts.

 


 

Driving Traffic to Your Food Blog

You know the importance to drive traffic to your blog and, specifically for foodie blogs, is submitting your quality food photos to aka “food porn” sites.

In the list detailed below, some of them are pretty exigent in terms of accepting “professional food photographs”, evaluating the lighting, composition, presentation, cropping, etc.

Normally, the traffic from these foodie sites is huge, but at the same time, this traffic spike doesn’t last very long, ending in a few days.

I’m including the most popular food photo submission and community sites:

 


 

Overall: How to Get Even More Traffic to Your Food Blog

Most of bloggers try to find the appropriate ways to achieve quality traffic, however sometimes isn’t an easy practice ;)
There are different techniques on how to drive traffic to your blog, and it’s a continuous process, therefore you must test and test. Sorry, did I say to test?

Let’s move to the social media traffic and other techniques.

There are well-known sites where you can engage and post your links generating interesting traffic (post useful links and not just only from you, my advice is an 80/20 ratio, 20% or less from you)   – Use social media etiquette.

So, here we are – I’m putting my own social sites – connect with me.

 

Mainstream Social Networks:

  • Facebook – really, do I need to explain it? ;)
  • Twitter – really, do I need to explain it? ;)
  • Google Plus – a newcomer in the social scenario, but it can influence a lot the +1 in the SERP (search engine results page)
  • Pinterest is an obvious choice to drive traffic, when you have good looking photos. Members can see your pins, thus they might go to your site. It’s better if they are classified in food boards, social boards or the topic of your images.Pinterest works best with food, fashion, shopping, beauty, lifestyle, photography, etc. Most of the users are women.
    For technical themes the impact is less, like Internet Marketing, SEO, WordPress and so forth.
  • Linkedin – the social site for professionals, but a good way to get traffic.
  • StumbleUpon – great traffic in waves, maybe not the ideal but traffic, anyway. Read my review.
  • Tumblr – great community and you can find interesting people there.
  • Bloggers – tons of bloggers belong to them. You’ll find people from the entire world.
  • BlogEngage – a powerful community with all types of topics, but overall technical topics work better.
  • Blokube – a social media network and blogging community.
  • Delicious – bookmark your posts in this bookmarking site, although the links are nofollow, are counted anyway by search engines. Tag properly your articles.
  • Bizsugar – share small business news, tips, blog posts and information with BizSugar’s community of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
  • Quora- is a question-and-answer website created, edited and organized by its community of users. It aims to be the easiest place to write new content and share content from the web.
  • Gentlemint - in a few words is the “Pinterest” for men. Understand the idea, right?

 


 

Social Media Free Tools

The tools I’m mentioning have free options. Certainly, there are paid social tools galore, but I’m not including them right now.

  • HootSuite - my preferred, you can have until 5 social sites for free and monitor them in one place.
  • MarketMeSuite -social media management & marketing for small business.
  • Bufferapp – a smarter way to share on social media, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Scoopit – easily curate engaging magazines. Effectively feed your web presence.
  • Twylah – to drive deeper engagement with your Twitter followers. Twitter marketing and Twitter brand pages for companies, small businesses, nonprofits, and celebrities. Get more followers, engagement and results.