The backend of The Salty Tomato has been a very nerdy and fun labor of love for me. With my husband being a software engineer, I am very lucky to have a help desk right at home. Despite Sean’s expertise, blogging is it’s own beast that presents unique challenges that I have had to slug through on my own. Credit is due to the amazing online community of bloggers and passionate coders that share their trials and solutions on the web. The Salty Tomato will always be a work in progress and it is my goal is to continue to share high quality flexitarian recipes, resources and food musings through a professional website. I hope that this Blogger Resources page helps my fellow blogger to find high quality services and resources to start their own websites. I will make every effort to keep the blog resources page updated as I make changes. Disclaimer: I use affiliate links on this page and I will earn a commission at no cost to you. I promise to only link to products I think are of the highest quality. Enjoy!
Just getting started or thinking that food blogging might be something you are interested in? Start with a book! I took the other approach of jumping in feet first, floundering and then turning to a book. You can find all of my reading and viewing recommendations about blogging, food, cookbooks and photography in The Salty Tomato Bookstore . Food Blogging For Dummies, by Kelly Senyei is a fantastic beginner to expert book. The flow of the book lends itself to building a blog from the bottom up with easy and humorous instructions. Food Blogging For Dummies has a tremendous amount of resources that will save hours of time. She also has an excellent food blog called Just A Taste.
Will Write for Food, by Dianne Jacob is the soul source of what sparked my passion and interest in writing. This might be hard to believe but I hated writing before starting The Salty Tomato. What I learned through reading her book and practicing her writing “assignments” is that I LOVE writing about topics I like, and food in particular. I am still in shock at the amount of words that have flowed from my head through my work on The Salty Tomato. Dianne Jacob writes as if you are having a mentor session with her over coffee. Thank you for your guidance and clarity Ms. Jacob!
Now that you know how to cook, write and take amazing food photos try your had at making a little money! Kiersten Frase of Oh My Veggies has written an excellent and concise book on the basics of monetizing your site with ads. How to Monetize Your Food Blog is a must have reference if you want to take the next step toward blogging becoming an income.
First and foremost I have to thank Lindsay and Bjork Ostrom from Pinch Of Yum. The tremendous amount of information on their website and monthly income reports have been invaluable and have guided most of my backend services so far. If you are just starting I have to recommend their Food Blogger Pro service as a top blogger resource. It is a separate website with over 300 videos on how-to start and refine a food blog. I do not subscribe myself but I wish I had started with them. I unfortunately found Food Blogger Pro after learning a lot the hard way on my own.
You don’t know what you don’t know! Rachel (the lawyer) and Ash (the entrepreneur) are in tune and hip to all things legal in the jungle that is online business. They have completely zeroed in on what is the future of entrepreneurship and have created an amazing resource, Small Business Bodyguard, that is a must read for anyone starting a food blog or business online. I love their candid stories and their willingness to open up about their lives and share what they have learned along the way. I will caution that this reference does have alot of curse words so it is not for the faint of heart.
Using Word Press (.org) requires self-hosting from a separate provider. I chose BlueHost and I have been very happy. Their service is highly reviewed, works seamlessly with Word Press and has a fantastic track record. Their affiliate program is fantastic and one of the highest returns at $65.00 per referral. If you access BlueHost through a hyperlink on The Salty Tomato and purchase self hosting I say thank you!
I have just about tried all the blog platforms. WordPress.com, Blogger, and ultimately WordPress.org I started out with a free WordPress.com, got incredibly frustrated at the lack of customization I could do so I moved to a free Blogger site and after only three weeks I switched to WordPress.org. As frustrating as this process was I am a big proponent of starting with Blogger if you are slightly tech savvy and brave enough to jump in and try to learn some coding. It allows you to start with the basics of website customization through CSS and HTML before graduating to WordPress.org. If you would like to learn more about the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org this link provides some more detail. Bottom line is you must have a well designed website for your amazing food content to be accessible to your audience and WordPress.org is truly the best platform available. I hope to attend a Word Camp seminar in the next year to learn more about maximizing Word Press and I will follow up with how it went.
I use the Genesis Framework and love it. To put it in simpler terms I would describe the Genesis Framework as working like an operating system. You still need a theme for your layout and web design. It is a little costly so if you are just starting I would recommend waiting until you are comfortable with manipulating and customizing your blog before you move up to Genesis. If you are ready for a truly professional looking and running blog, then Genesis is a fantastic framework!
Shay Bocks does beautiful web design. She is the mastermind behind the Foodie Theme. It is a Genesis theme that is sleek, customizable and responsive (adjusts to any screen size). She also offers personal web design.