A few people have been asking me what I use to run my blog. I have a pinterest board where I pin articles on blogging that I have found helpful – feel free to have a gander.
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For things like themes, host, plugins etc I use the products listed below. A few of the links are affiliate links so if you click on them and decide to purchase, I get a small percentage of the sale but there is no additional cost to you. I am only an affiliate for products I have used personally.
- WordPress Themes: I use the tasteful theme from Restored 316 Designs. It uses the Genesis Framework which lots of people rave about and I found it straightforward to set up now I have a bit more of an idea of WordPress – just the basics though. All the themes designed by Restored 316 are gorgeous and I struggled to pick which one to use. What sold me on the tasteful theme is that it has a category index to use for a recipe page. When I first started this blog I used the Elemin theme from Themify Me. It is a drag and drop wordpress theme and I found it very easy to set up but it just wasn’t quite as pretty as my current theme, mainly because it is more reliant on you to be the designer and that is not me! But if you are are just starting out I think they are great for the beginner. Click here to see their themes.
- LiquidWeb Web Hosting: I am currently with liquidweb for my web hosting and I have to say that while they are not the cheapest on the block, their support is fantastic. In setting up some new things on another website they have been super helpful and super quick to respond when I have made silly mistakes. They also migrated my site at no cost.
- Web Hosting Hub Hosting: Prior to liquidweb I was with web hosting hub and aside from one glitch it has been very reliable. The one glitch was when they upgraded something but they had very clear instruction on how to fix it on the website. I think you have to expect a glitch every now and again – the important thing is that it is clear how to fix it. One thing I like about web hosting hub is that they do have a very comprehensive set of guides available on their website. The possible downside is that they don’t offer virtual private servers or dedicated servers. I moved from them because of another website I run but if I didn’t have that site I would probably have stayed with web hosting hub.
- Camera. I use an Olympus OMD-E5 with its standard lens. It is a mirrorless camera and I went with it because it was lighter than some of the other cameras around. I wanted a camera that I could use when out bush walking as well as taking photos of food. It has more than enough options on it given my photographic knowledge. Though I would like to get one of those fandangly macro lens.
- Photography book. I have read a few food photography books but the one that has made the most difference to my photography is The Food Photography Book by Nagi of Recipetin Eats. Click here to check out this amazing book. I have finally gotten my camera on to manual and am working on improving my lighting. Nagi has a genius secret lighting trick that is so cheap and easy to implement yet makes such a difference to understanding lighting. I am slowly working through her book but already I am feeling more confident with my camera.
- Lowell Ego Light. Nearly every good food photographer will tell you that natural light is the best. But I just could not get a good spot in my house (well maybe the bathroom but eww) and I am often photographing at night. I ended up getting one of these Lowell ego lights and it has made a world of difference to the quality of my photos. My photos are now getting accepted fairly regularly to sites like foodgawker.
- Easyrecipe plug in. One of the things I think is key on a food blog is being able to print the recipe. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a good recipe and it being difficult to print. I like to print out my recipes as I don’t trust myself and my tablet near a hot stove. I don’t regularly post recipes but when I do I use the Easyrecipe plug in. It has a free version and a premium version – I am using the free version but thinking about upgrading to premium. It is reasonably priced. The plug in helps Google identify you have recipe on your page and best of all it has the coding for the recipe rich pins on pinterest. The developers are also working on a recipe index which I sorely need.
- Backup for your blog. There is a lot of my time and effort sitting there on this blog and I didn’t want to lose it. So I back up regularly. There are a few options out there for backing up your blog. I ended up using Vaultpress to back up mine. I went with their back up daily plan as I don’t get masses of comments but you might want to go for a more regular backup plan if you do. Another popular plugin is backupbuddy.
- Back up for your computer. So you might be sensing a theme here. I have a lot of photos etc on my laptop and I knew I should be backing up regularly. I had an upgrade go a bit pear shaped and I had to wind back my computer. Luckily (?) the upgrade pretty much stopped my computer completely so I hadn’t much to lose by winding back but it made me get my act in to gear in terms of finding a better back up solution to the separate hard drive I had but wasn’t using (mainly cause I am super lazy). I tried a couple of different back up options and found that crashplan was the easiest to use. It is not the cheapest out there but not the most expensive either and it automatically backs everything up without me having to do anything. Perfect! Quite a few of the options including crashplan offer trial periods to see if you like them.
- Shareaholic plugin. In building traffic you want to make it as easy as possible for people to share your content. I don’t think I have this quite sorted yet but the Shareaholic plugin has certainly made it much easier that it initially was.
- Epic Blog: One-Year Editorial Planner I have started getting myself more organised with my posting and what I want this blog to offer to my readers. I have been using the epic blog planner from ByRegina to focus my thoughts and get clear on what I want to achieve with my blog. It has been so useful.