Do you love to cook?
Have you been carefully perfecting your favorite dishes?
You’ve already decided to take action on your recipe website, so let me help you with the next step: building your site!
I’m not sure if you expect your site to be a side hustle or a full-time job, but here are the best reasons to make your own recipe website regardless of your goals.
Why you should make a website
The biggest benefit?
You get full control over your website.
You see, social platforms like Instagram actually control your followers. They set the parameters for how you can communicate with your audience and when you get more followers, you’re helping them build their business as much as your own.
With your own website, you get to control every aspect of the design and decide exactly how you want to communicate with your fans.
The thing is, Instagram has a built-in audience and it’s hard to get traffic to your site at first. However, there’s one thing most new webmasters don’t realize.
Websites tend to hold onto their traffic for a long time once established and can consistently grow year after year.
In other words, it might take you a long time and a lot of work to make your first $1,000 from your site, but the next $1,000 will be so much easier.
With some elbow grease upfront, you can build a really great asset for your financial future.
Here’s a sneak peek
You’re probably itching to get a look at the site I’ll help you build, so here’s a little preview.
The colors, fonts, and layouts are all completely customizable. If you want to see what else you can do with this template, click here to explore Neptune.
I’m sure looking at Neptune is very exciting, but don’t get too distracted! Keep reading to find out how you can build a website with WordPress using the Neptune theme (or any other theme you like).
One more thing!
Let me make something clear before we move on…
Some people reading this guide will want to make a food blog that promotes their personal brand. Others will want to make a recipe platform site that other home cooks can submit recipes to, favorite, and share like Allrecipes.
The tools I’m going to recommend here will let you do all of this. You’ll have the freedom to expand your food blog into a full-blown recipe directory site if you want.
How to make a recipe site
There are five general steps to make your own recipe website.
- Pick a domain name
- Get a web host
- Install WordPress
- Choose a WordPress theme
- Customize your site
I’ll walk you through each of these steps so that you choose the best tools and strategies to create the website of your dreams.
Get an awesome domain name
You’re probably familiar with domain names.
A domain name is simply the address you type into your browser to visit a site. This website’s domain name is competethemes.com.
What you may not know is that finding available domain names is incredibly challenging. This is one of the reasons why hundreds of generic top-level domains were added last year.
For instance, you can get domains that end in .academy or .blog instead of .com.
If this is all a bit confusing don’t worry, I have a complete guide to finding an awesome domain name you can follow along with.
That guide will help you find a domain you love for just $10-15 so you can avoid paying a domain squatter thousands of dollars.
Websites are made up of files.
The files that make up your website will be stored on a server. When someone visits your site, the server will send the files to their computer (or mobile device) via the internet, and then their browser will render the site.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to buy a server!
Only the largest tech companies in the world actually buy and manage their own servers. Most companies, and blogs, simply rent space on someone else’s server so that their website loads when people visit it. This is called “hosting.”
In order to get a working website online, you need to get a host.
Which host should you choose?
Hosting will be your biggest expense, but there’s no way around it. You need space on someone’s server.
The good news is that hosting is an extremely competitive market, so there are affordable options.
For a new food blog or recipe site, I recommend using Bluehost.
They’ve been around a long time and I used them to create my first WordPress site in 2010. You can also register your first domain name for free when you signup with them.
You can signup for $2.95/month instead of the usual $3.95/month price using this link: Click to get the discount.
Full disclosure, I no longer use Bluehost because I moved all of my sites (including this one) to WP Engine. WP Engine is great but the prices start at $35/month and I pay much more than that these days. If I was just starting out with a brand new website, I would use Bluehost again and that’s why I recommend them here.
Installing WordPress sounds technical.
Most hosts include an auto-installer so all you need to do is fill out a short form with some info like the name of your site and your password to login.
Bluehost takes things a step further and actually auto-creates a WordPress site for you when you first make your account. In other words, you get to completely bypass the installation.
Why use WordPress?
For something as simple as a food blog, you might be tempted to try another platform like Squarespace. WordPress is better for a few reasons, but here’s the most important point.
WordPress is capable of way more than other site builders. For example, the Neptune theme will let you create a searchable recipe index, add formatted nutrition information for each recipe, include user reviews, and much more.
You simply cannot do these things on another platform. That is, without paying developers to build a custom site for you that costs 30x as much as what I’m sharing here (and they’d probably use WordPress too!!).
Take a look at the free video course in my WordPress site tutorial if you need more guidance.
Install a WordPress theme
A WordPress theme is basically a template that changes the design of your site.
In this case, the theme you select is also going to add a ton of functionality to help you build an amazing recipe website.
As I mentioned already, the Neptune theme is my top recommendation for your site.
Why use Neptune?
The Neptune theme has a crazy amount of practical features and customizable theme options included.
There are five different recipe layouts, but here’s an extended look at the “left image” recipe layout.
It has so many cool elements like the nutrition info, the ingredients, and a great design for the steps. And there are loads more features.
You can add videos for each recipe, create a fully searchable recipe index, let visitors post reviews, and visitors can even register and submit their own recipes.
When it comes to marketing, Neptune supports rich snippets which means the user ratings will show up in the Google search results. This is extremely important for recipe sites.
I’m still just scratching the surface. You can click here to see what else Neptune is capable of.
Alternative WordPress themes
While I think Neptune is awesome, it’s not the only recipe theme WordPress worth considering for your website.
Check out this collection of the top recipe themes for more great options.
How to customize your site
With your WordPress site online and a new theme installed, you’re nearly done with the initial setup work.
Installing a new theme only takes a minute. You can follow this installation tutorial to get your theme activated on your site.
You’ll find that your site is pretty empty at first. Often times, it can be tough to learn exactly how your theme works without any content to test with. Neptune and most of the themes I recommended in the other collection have a demo data file you can import. Follow this guide on importing demo content and you’ll be done in no time.
Next, you’ll want to do a few basic site customization steps to get your site ready for the world.
Lastly, you can brand your site with the customization tools provided by your theme. Now, the tools included will depend on which theme you select, but here’s a look at the documentation for Neptune. You don’t need to read all of that! Most of the features are intuitive enough on their own, but it’s nice to know you can find help if you need it.
Launch your recipe site
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never created a website before.
There are more tools than ever before to make a site, and you don’t even need to write a single line of code.
Better still, there are some outstanding site building tools you can use to build a simple food blog or complex and feature-rich recipe directory.
To summarize the steps one last time:
- Choose a domain name
- Signup for hosting (Bluehost)
- Install WordPress
- Get a WordPress theme (Neptune)
- Customize your WP site
I hope this tutorial has opened your eyes to all the possibilities at your disposal!
If you have any questions about how to make a recipe website, please leave your comments below.