If you want to start a food blog or a website for your business, it won’t have escaped your notice that there are a bunch of options out there for blogging and website platforms.
WordPress. SquareSpace. Wix. Shopify. Magento. Weebly. Blogger.
Or is the modern way just to stick to microblogging on Social Media?
Yeah, it’ll come as a surprise to absolutely no one that I do not think that’s the way to go. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are great platforms for spreading the word about your blog/business/product/event. But you don’t own the profiles (or the content) you publish to social media.
If Social is your storefront, luring people in off the busy streets of the internet, your website is the selling point of your business. its where the real information lives (your menu) and where the transactions actually happen (your counter).
But I guess you don’t need persuading. Generally, a business should have at least a basic website – and it should work in tandem with social media, not as an alternative.
So, what’s the best platform to start a food blog?
I’m recommending a self-hosted WordPress site (that’s WordPress.org, not WordPress.com – here’s a breakdown of the difference between the two) as the perfect way to start a food blog or website for a food business.
That’s not to say WordPress is the be-all-and-end-all in blogging sites, but its ease-of-use, security and flexibility, make it the ideal candidate as a CMS for food blogs & websites.
What is a CMS?
CMS stands for Content Management System.
WPBeginner.com (a great resource for all things WordPress), defines a CMS as:
“a software that facilitates creating, editing, organizing, and publishing content “
Its the platform (like WordPress.org or SquareSpace) that you use to manage and publish your website.
This post is part of my series on starting & building your food blog. Other posts in the series include:
- How to set up a food blog in WordPress (in just an afternoon)
- How to choose a name (and a domain) for your food blog
- How to pick (& set up) hosting for your food blog
- 10 Reasons to use WordPress.org for your Food Blog
- How to Install WordPress on your blog with SiteGround
- How to quickly set up a business email address (& use it in Gmail)
Affiliate disclosure: this post uses affiliate links. If you purchase products or services via an affiliate link I’ll get a small commission (which supports the running of this site) and it won’t cost you anything extra. I’ll specifically point out each affiliate link in the post. You can read my full policy here.
10 Reasons to use WordPress.org for your Food Blog
- First of all, the WordPress.org software is free. WordPress.org is open-source software, which means that is is “developed as a public collaboration” and, more importantly, “made freely available“ . That’s not to say that you won’t spend anything at all to set up a site on WordPress.org, but you’re only paying to buy and host your domain (and, of course, you can spend money on premium themes too) – you’re not paying to actually use the software.
- You own your content on WordPress.org. Another huge benefit of WordPress.org being open source software is that, once you’ve downloaded it & installed it with your domain & hosting, you ‘own’ it. The convenience of done-for-you services (like WordPress.com, Wix or SquareSpace) comes with a major caveat: these sites all note in the smallprint that they reserve the right to reproduce, modify, remove and/or revoke access to your content (See that info for SquareSpace, WordPress.com and Wix). With WordPress.org, on the other hand, you own everything you put on your site – no one can take it away from you, or police your content
- WordPress.org is the most common blogging platform. Around 60% of the of the CMS market belongs to WordPress – literally, 28% of “the entire internet” is run on the platform. This makes it incredibly easy to get support & advice about WordPress, and it also means that any other systems you use (POS systems, eCommerce platforms or table-booking software) can probably be integrated easily with WordPress.
- WordPress.org is also the fastest growing CMS. Not only is it incredibly popular now, it will almost undoubtedly continue to be popular – so those tutorials and integrations we just talked about will likely continue to be updated and will stay relevant to you.
- There are more options for customisation on WordPress.org than on other platforms. The popularity of drag-and-drop style sites like SquareSpace and Wix is growing, but honestly, from what I know of them (which is, admittedly, limited) you don’t get the level of customisation with those sites that you do with WordPress – so its hard to make them look and behavle exactly how you want them.
- WordPress.org gives you more flexibility, too. There are almost limitless combinations of themes, plugins and custom styling that let you make your WordPress site your own – and suit it down to your own needs. You can do almost anything with your WordPress site, and it can grow and evolve with you and your business.
- WordPress.org is actually incredibly easy to use and learn. If the main appeal of the likes of Squarespace and Wix is the ease of use of their drag and drop functionality, you’re in luck. There are drag-and-drop editors available on WordPress – and drag and drop functionality is being built into the core of the platform with Gutenberg. If you’re worried about ease-of-use, try a drag-and-drop WordPress theme like (affiliate link) Divi instead. You keep all the customisation options and control that come with using WordPress, but with the super user-friendly interface that’s the main differentiator for the likes of SquareSpace and Wix.
- WordPress.org grows with you. While WordPress is the perfect solution for beginners just starting their blog or a website for their small biz, it can also be used at scale. Obviously, some of the setup and infrastructure will be different, but 14% of the world’s top 100 sites are built on WordPress, with big guns like The Walt Disney Company, The New York Times Company and The Facebook Newsroom built on the WordPress.org CMS.
- WordPress.org sets you up for SEO. SEO (search engine optimisation – the magic/science that moves you up the Google search results pages) is important for any online business, and WordPress.org gives you a headstart in getting the on-page basics right. Out-of-the box, WordPress.org is created in a way that helps with SEO – from how the source code is written to the way urls are structured. Additionally, you can (and should) choose an SEO-friendly theme, and add plugins (like (free) Yoast) that give you even more of a helping hand in the SEO game.
- WordPress.org is a safe & secure platform. The WordPress security team “works to identify and resolve security issues in the core software available for distribution and installation at WordPress.org, as well as recommending and documenting security best practices”. So long as you take precautions like keeping WordPress and plugins up-to-date, installing backup and security plugins (I’ve used both iThemes and WordFence in the past, and would reccomend the free versions of either) and keeping user details and passwords secure, WordPress is a very safe platform to manage your blog or website (check out this massive guide to WordPress security from WPBeginner for more details). Additionally, as mentioned earlier in this post, using open source software like WordPress.org means that you own your content – and your CMS can’t just remove or revoke access to your site.
Using the WordPress.org CMS as a platform for you blog gives you the security and flexibility of a platform used by millions of professional sites. At the same time, WordPress.org is easier than ever to use – you don’t have to touch a single line of code to get a beautiful, professional website – that you own yourself. If you’re ready to start your food blog, or a website for your food business, WordPress.org is definitely the way to go. Get my full guide to starting a site for your food blog or business here.