So, you’re ready to start your food blog?
Now, this part of the process is incredibly subjective: it’s all about aesthetics and design.
Don’t be put off if you don’t have an eye for design though: WordPress themes generally are a done-for-you option in terms of the overall look and feel of your site. Some are far more customisable than others, but generally, you can add your own branding (colours, fonts, logos, etc.) to really make your food blog your own.
I am by no means an expert on this stuff. I’m completely self-taught over the last few years, and I don’t have formal training in web design or WordPress. A few people have asked me recently how to set up a website or a blog for small food businesses in WordPress, and this is part of that process of starting a food 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 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.
Things to consider when choosing your WordPress theme
- Is it mobile ready? The number of people browsing the internet on a mobile device has already surpassed those browsing on desktop, and search results are based on the mobile version of your site before they’re based on the desktop version. Having a mobile responsive website is just non-negotiable. Google has a really thorough guide on ensuring that the WordPress theme your choose is mobile-ready – specifically to look out for themes marked as having a ‘responsive design’.
- How customisable is it? You probably want to be able to add your own branding to make it your own and fit with your business.
- Do You want a static front page? For business sites this is the norm, so choosing a site with a static front page might be the best option (instead of a magazine or blog style site, with recent posts making up the bulk of the home page content).
- What are your goals? You need to keep this in mind when picking a theme. Your theme should ideally be as clean & simple as possible, whilst getting your message across.
- Does it have a drag and drop visual editor? Especially for people who aren’t familiar with platforms like WordPress, drag and drop visual editors can make setting up your layout and design even more simple.
- Is it Gutenberg ready? Gutenberg, the native drag and drop editor for WordPress, is coming. You can already use it by downloading the plugin, and the latest says that it’ll be a core part of WordPress in the next major release (WordPress 5.0), currently set to be released later in 2018. Using a theme that’s compatible with Gutenberg could negate the need for a drag-and-drop visual editor, as uses a system of blocks, like other vesual editors do. Theres a great guide to building a site with Gutenberg from CodeInWP here.
Where to find WordPress themes for food businesses
- For free themes, I’ve used Colorlib (that’s not an affiliate link. I’m just recommending them because I like them). My first food blog used Activello, and Colorlib also has some great resources for anyone looking for free themes, like this list of free themes for recipe sites and this list of free themes for restaurants.
- If free themes aren’t floating your boat, I recommend (affiliate link) Creative Market for paid themes starting at just a few quid. I bought the theme for this site from Creative Market, and you can find more themes especially suited to food businesses here.
- A lot of bloggers also recommend (affiliate link) Divi by Elegant Themes. I’ve never used it myself, but it is a great option for anyone looking for a drag-and-drop site builder.
- Gutenberg-ready themes are also being released. I’ve used this free Gutenberg-ready theme, Atomic Blocks by Array Themes in a test site and it seems to be working really well and is really easy to use so far.
How to decide on a theme
Once you’ve worked out what’s important to you and found a few viable options, it’s time to decide which one to use.
You can check themes out in their demo environment to see what they look and feel like
As long as they’re free, you could also try them out on your site (and many paid themes also have a free version for this very purpose).
Make sure to read reviews of the theme, and check out their support pages too. This is usually a good indicator of how helpful they’ll be if and when you encounter a problem or have a question
And finally, don’t worry. You can (and probably will) change themes again as new functionality and features are released.
I’m no expert, but I think this is a good place to get started for anyone new to WordPress looking to launch their first food blog or website. Work out what’s important to you, look around and shortlist a few options, then get stuck into their demos to test them out. Install the one you want and start making it your own.
More importantly though, don’t worry. You can always change themes again later.