Building your very own food blog doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you use WordPress.
The experience is actually comparable to playing with Lego bricks.
You just visualize what you want, find the blocks that fit, and piece them together.
For my comprehensive guide on how to start a food blog, click here.
This time around, we’ll only focus on the best plugins for food bogs.
Allow me to start with something you’re probably already familiar with.
Best WordPress Plugins for Food Bloggers
1. WP Recipe Maker
If you’re an avid follower of Master Blogging, the name WP Recipe Maker should ring a bell.
I have mentioned WP Recipe Maker a couple of times in my previous posts about food blogging. It’s considered by many as the cream of the crop recipe plugin — way ahead of competitors like WP Ultimate Recipe.
WP Recipe Maker is also known to work well with premium food blog themes like Foodie Pro. For more information about this combination, read my official Foodie Pro theme review here.
Basically, WordPress recipe plugins let you add visual recipe cards to your posts without any coding.
Here’s what your recipe card could look like if you use WP Recipe Maker:
WP Recipe Maker Features
- Nutrition Facts Label — To make your recipe cards more informative and compelling, you can use WPRM to add a custom “nutrition facts” label. However, this is only available if you have the “Premium” version, which I highly recommend.
- Call to Action — With WPRM Premium, you can insert CTAs into your recipe cards to boost conversions. CTA links can take readers to your social media accounts or a specific landing page.
- Fully Customizable Template — Although WPRM comes with beautiful, ready-to-use templates, it’s still important to have some degree of customizability. The built-in template editor makes it possible to modify every aspect of your recipe cards.
- Mobile Friendliness — In addition to being fully customizable, WPRM templates are also fully mobile-responsive. That means your recipe cards are guaranteed to look great on any device.
- Video and Image Attachments — Want to include clickable images and videos in your recipe cards? WPRM can make that happen.
To learn more about WPRM and why I’m convinced that it’s the best recipe plugin for WordPress, read this post.
Let’s face it, not a lot of food bloggers understand the importance of website backups these days.
On top of potential server outages and cyber-attacks, the WordPress CMS itself isn’t exactly unbreakable.
VaultPress is an automated backup service that saves pertinent website data on a daily basis. This includes your posts, media uploads, dashboard settings, and so on.
One of the best things about VaultPress is its usability. It is a turnkey solution that only requires you to install the plugin and create an account.
- Unlimited Storage — As part of your subscription, you get unlimited data storage for your site backups. Your backup archive is kept indefinitely with a business plan, otherwise, they only remain on the cloud for 30 days.
- Cybersecurity Features — Apart from backups, VaultPress also performs a daily scan of your website for malware and other cybersecurity issues. If threats are detected, you can fire up the plugin’s automated file repair tool.
- One-Click Restore — VaultPress makes backup restorations simple with their one-click restore feature. You may also choose the specific items you want to restore, be it your plugins, themes, uploads, or database.
3. Yoast SEO
It doesn’t matter if you own a food blog, marketing blog, e-commerce store, or small business website.
If generating traffic is important to you, Yoast SEO deserves a spot in your WordPress ecosystem. It equips any site with everything they need for on-page SEO optimization.
Yoast SEO integrates with the WordPress post editor — helping you maximize the SEO-friendliness of your content as you work.
Yoast SEO Features
- Readability Analysis — To increase your search engine rankings, a great user experience is a must. Yoast SEO helps you achieve this by scanning your content for readability issues and providing actionable advice.
- On-Page SEO Analysis — On top of inspecting your content’s readability, Yoast SEO also analyzes its on-page optimization. It takes into account factors like internal links, outbound links, keyword density, title optimization, image optimization, and more.
- Built-In Sitemap Generator — A sitemap helps search engine crawlers explore and index your pages more efficiently. With the Yoast SEO plugin, your sitemap will be generated automatically — you just need to submit it to search engines.
- Snippet Preview and Editor — If you want a higher organic click-through rate, you should tweak your content’s title, URL slug, and meta description. You can fine-tune all of them using Yoast SEO’s “Snippet Preview” tool.
4. Yasr – Yet Another Star Rating
How do you win your target audience’s trust as a food blogger?
It’s not always about the quality of your blog content — it’s also about your community-building skills.
Yasr, short for Yet Another Stars Rating, is a lightweight plugin that’ll enable readers to contribute to your site’s content. As the name suggests, it lets you implement a star rating system in any post or page.
Below is a screenshot of what the plugin looks like in action:
- Customizable Stars Appearance — To make sure the star rating widget blends with your site’s aesthetics, you can customize the way it looks. You may choose a different theme, use custom CSS, and adjust their size when adding them to your site.
- Require User Login — If you want, you can require readers to log in before they can leave their ratings. This can help encourage visitors to sign up and prevent trolls from abusing the star rating system.
- Rich Snippet Options — Another reason why star ratings are ideal for food blogs is that they can also appear in SERPs. That will surely get the attention of your target audience.
5. WP Rocket
A food blog typically contains truckloads of high-quality photos and infographics — recipe videos in some cases.
If left unoptimized, too much visual content can significantly reduce the performance of your website.
WP Rocket is a WordPress caching plugin that can improve the loading speed of content-heavy websites.
WP Rocket Features
- Comprehensive Performance Optimization Features — Although WP Rocket markets itself as a caching plugin, it does a slew of other optimizations as well. Its extensive feature set includes code minification, GZIP compression, lazy loading, and database optimization.
- Seamless Integration with CDN Services — A CDN or Content Delivery Network improves website performance by utilizing a group of proxy servers. The WP Rocket is designed to work exceedingly well in tandem with CDN service providers, like MaxCDN, Cloudflare, and KeyCDN.
- Developer Friendly — WP Rocket is coded with developer-friendliness in mind. It’s perfect for advanced users who’d like to do some serious customizations.
I’ve been exposed to dozens of social sharing plugins throughout my career.
That’s why I can confidently say that SocialSnap is among the best in this arena.
It lets you embed social sharing buttons to over 30 networks, has multiple display options, and is incredibly user-friendly.
In case you didn’t know, I use SocialSnap right here in Master Blogging.
- Image Sharer — Sometimes, readers just want to share an image of your recipe — not your entire blog post. SocialSnap lets you insert a share or pin it button into your images to encourage them to act.
- Creative Display Options — Aside from sharing buttons on images, SocialSnap comes with a bunch of other display options. My favorites are the floating sidebar and the sticky bar that follow readers around.
- Advanced Customization Options — SocialSnap offers a degree of customization for sharing buttons that outshines similar plugins. You can create your own combination of animations, button shapes, colors, layouts, labels, and many more.
- Share Counters — Once your post racks up enough shares, you can leverage that number as social proof using SocialSnap’s share counters. This process can be automated by configuring a minimum share count rule.
- Social Meta Tags — Social meta tags let you use custom images, titles, and descriptions for posts whenever they’re shared on social media. SocialSnap can walk you through the steps with its user-friendly interface.
An effective email marketing strategy is one of the cornerstones of a successful food blog.
Email marketing is the key to a healthy and ever-growing reader base — and it always starts with lead generation.
Contact Form 7 is a free plugin that will help you build functional contact and registration forms in minutes.
In a nutshell, a contact form elevates the communication between you and your audience. Rather than just being readers who receive information, you enable them to reach out and give their two cents.
More importantly, you give them a reason to hand over their email addresses — the lifeblood of an email marketing campaign.
Contact Form 7 Features
- Minimalistic — Contact Form 7 works well with any WordPress theme — thanks to its simplistic and stripped-down design. It automatically adapts to your theme’s colors, typography, and layout.
- Integration with Email Marketing Campaigns — With the help of additional plugins, you can integrate Contact Form 7 with email marketing platforms like ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, etc. This means you can instantly send the emails you collect through form submissions to a designated mailing list.
- Custom Feedback Messages — Contact Form 7 makes it easy to create custom feedback messages for specific situations. Some examples of are “message sent successfully,” “this field is required,” and “you must accept the terms and conditions.”
As your website grows, so will the number of spammers trying to abuse your website’s comment sections.
Akismet works by proactively monitoring comment submissions and filtering out spam.
The plugin also requires very little setup. All you have to do is install the plugin, create an account, and paste the API key generated for you.
You do, however, have the option to set the level of “strictness” that Akismet uses when handling spam. You could either set spam comments to be discarded immediately or kept in a spam folder.
- Option to Display Privacy Notice — If regulations like the GDPR apply to you, it’s important to display a privacy notice whenever you collect user data. Akismet can lend you a hand with this by displaying a notice right below your post’s comment forms.
- Account Spam Statistics — Akismet can show you a bird’s-eye view of your account’s spam history. Its statistics tool is account-wide — meaning it collects spam data from all websites linked to your Akismet account.
- Free Version — If you’re yet to make money with your food blog, you can start with Akismet’s free, “Personal” plan. This gives you the opportunity to test the plugin before you upgrade to a “Plus” or “Enterprise” account.
As a food blogger, high-resolution food photography is a crucial piece of your content strategy.
Unfortunately, more images lead to bigger bandwidth usage. And bigger bandwidth usage could, in turn, result in a slower website.
ShortPixel can ensure that your visual content strategy doesn’t affect your website’s loading speed in any way. It’s an image compression tool that can shrink the size of your entire media library in a snap.
To use the plugin, you can either run an optimize command in your media library or use the ‘Bulk ShortPixel’ tool.
- Multiple Optimization Modes — ShortPixel lets you choose between three different compression methods. Both the “Glossy” and “Lossless” options can reduce the size without any noticeable changes in image quality and clarity.
- Flexible Pricing — If you need to compress over 100 images a month, you can take advantage of ShortPixel’s flexible pricing model. You can either pay a monthly fee or choose a one-time payment if you don’t publish content that often.
- Automatic Optimization — Just like Akismet and VaultPress, ShortPixel only requires a one-time setup. It automatically optimizes images based on your preferences as soon as they’re uploaded to your WordPress site.
For a newbie food blogger, it’s completely understandable if you aren’t well-versed in digital marketing.
I can totally forgive you if you have no idea what internal linking means and does for a website.
Besides, I already published this guide about internal linking for SEO. Just give it a quick read and you should understand what we’re about to do.
With LinkWhisper, you can build a robust internal link structure for your website without much planning. It literally spoon-feeds internal link suggestions to you — along with recommended anchor texts — while you focus on building your content.
(maybe screenshot of link suggestions)
- Add Internal Links to Old Posts — You can add links to any old post from LinkWhisper’s internal links report page. This will save you hours upon hours of intense research as you look for internal link opportunities yourself.
- Find Orphaned Content — If you haven’t really paid attention to internal linking until now, chances are you have “orphaned” content. These are posts that don’t get internal links at all — and LinkWhisper can quickly find them for you.
- Configure Internal Linking Settings in One Page — To get more relevant internal link suggestions, you can tell LinkWhisper to ignore numbers and specific words. In one click, you may also configure all internal links to open a new tab.
Before You Install WordPress Plugins…
Great — we just covered 10 WordPress plugins that can take any food blog to the next level.
The question is, should you install them all?
Keep in mind that using WordPress plugins isn’t without downsides.
Let’s briefly explore the disadvantages of using too many plugins:
- Slower Loading Times — WordPress plugins may help you expand the functionality of your blog. But if you cram too many plugins into one WordPress site, you may end up hurting its performance.
- Potential Security Vulnerabilities — Although plugins from authoritative publishers are generally reliable, they’re still subject to hacks that will compromise your site’s integrity. As such, limiting the number of active plugins on your website effectively mitigates the risk of cyber-attacks.
- Site Crashes and Instabilities — Lastly, plugins — particularly the free ones — are known to cause crashes and other issues when misconfigured. Having a huge list of plugins can make it extremely tricky to pinpoint the culprit.
How many are too many?
10 plugins are still manageable even if you only have an entry-level, shared hosting plan. Whatever you do, try not to exceed 20 active plugins on your site — that’s just asking for trouble!
In any case, a rule of thumb is to only install plugins that you absolutely need. Use one at a time to verify if it’s essential to your food blog or not.
Also, make it a habit to check your website’s performance with tools like PageSpeed Insights whenever installing plugins.
PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that analyzes websites and identifies performance-related issues. It also generates a list of performance optimization recommendations.
Avoiding outdated plugins
Finally, you should always pay attention to when the plugin was last updated before you install it.
This should be easy if you’re installing straight from the official WordPress plugin repository. Just look at the “Last Updated” date in the plugin’s summary.
While you’re at it, look for the confirmation if the plugin is tested with your version of WordPress. If it isn’t, the plugin’s summary should display this message:
If that’s the case, check the plugin’s reviews and see if users are getting issues with it.
Should you decide to install the plugin, monitor the performance of your website. If issues arise, temporarily disable the plugin to check if it’s the one causing problems.
Putting together a WordPress website from the feet up is a different experience for different people.
Some learn the ropes quickly and create an amazing site within a few days. Others, however, make a lot of mistakes before they achieve the outcome they want.
Whatever happens, the important thing is that you enjoy the learning process.
It doesn’t matter if it took days or months to build your food blog. As long as you poured your heart and soul into it, the results will always be exceptionally rewarding.
What did you think of the list above? Do you want me to review a particular plugin in the future?
As always, the comments section is at your disposal — type away!