Find my blogging tips and tools here. I use all of these products or services to run My Korean Kitchen.
Please note that some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I only link to products I trust and recommend. Thank you for your support.
Build your blog
Website Domains and Hosting
I recommend you keep your domain registration with a separate company than your host company, that way you keep more control and can switch hosts easier when necessary. For domain registration, I have always used Namecheap and have been very happy with it.
It is a managed host and is really fast.
More expensive than shared hosting, but it is worth the cost.
In recent years it has become one of the top recommended theme frameworks for making fast loading websites
Essential WordPress Plugins
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – This plugin makes search engine optimisation easy for non-techie people like me. It helps you to structure your blog post so that it is search engine friendly hence potentially bringing more traffic to your website. It has been downloaded over 1 million times. That should tell you something! I use the premium version but that is just for some time saving features I wanted. The free version is still great and covers all the SEO things you need.
Grow your traffic
Food Blogger Pro is a central hub for people who want to learn how to start and grow their own food blog. Its monthly subscription service offers instant access to video tutorials related to food blogging, from how to set up a food blog, to growing traffic, monetisation and food photography and so much more! You also gain access to its community forum where your questions can get answered by fellow food bloggers. Forum members are really active and helpful, so you can connect with them and learn from each other.
Tailwind – I use Tailwind app to schedule pins to my Pinterest account. This service allows me to spread out the pins over a day and week period so I don’t need to stay up all day and night to pin to keep my content feed active! It is such a time saver! They recommend the best time to share your pins based on your past pins performance. Also it is very easy to use and their support team is one of the best I have worked with – very approachable and they really do try to help with your problem. One other thing I really like about them is their analytic tools. It is very easy to see and understand how I am performing with growing my audience and also building traffic to my blog. I highly recommend it! (You can try it for free for up to 100 pins but I signed up after only using it for 3 days.)
Convertkit is the email marketing system I use to distribute My Korean Kitchen newsletter (you can see the sign up form at the top or bottom of most pages on My Korean Kitchen). I can easily create “Welcome” and “Follow up” emails, which allows me to create a queue of emails that are delivered to subscribers at certain intervals. I can also schedule the time I send out my newsletter and it also provides analytic tools – click-through rate, conversion rate etc. You can also customise your email template. But the thing I like most about it is that Convertkit allows me to automatically send different emails to different subscribers depending on what they signed up for, where they came from etc. It also only counts each email address once, even if that person subscribes to different lists I have on My Korean Kitchen, so it costs less than many other email marketing systems. Convertkit has had the biggest positive impact on My Korean Kitchen of all the systems I use.
Photo submission websites – There are several photo submission websites, where you can submit your best food photography photos. Editor’s of these websites are fairly selective in which photos they will accept, but once your photo gets accepted, you can expect some free exposure and some increase in your traffic. Foodgawker, Tastespotting and HealthyApeture are the most well-known ones.
Monetise your blog
I use Mediavine to handle all the advertising (ads) on My Korean Kitchen. They are not ad network, they are an ad management company, and they handle all the ad management that I used to have to do myself.
They are constantly improving their systems, especially regarding things like lazy loading the ads, deferring the ads until the rest of the site is loaded etc.
I can see exactly how many visitors and page-views they have counted (i.e. that the ads have been shown to), the income by day and by month, and have great tutorials and support to help you make your website work better.
I used to spend hours each week managing the ad systems I had, swapping out ads and networks and generally getting frustrated. Now Mediavine handles all that and I can concentrate on creating great recipes instead.
Food Photography Tools
Canon EOS 5D Mark III – I’ve been using my Canon 5D for almost 2 years now and I love it! (You can make a video with it as well.) It creates beautiful photos even though my skill lacks a bit. When it detects an inferior shooting environment it automatically compensates for it well (e.g. auto responsive ISO setting). Before this, I used a Canon 400D (also known as Rebel XTi). When you choose a camera, read lots of reviews and choose the one that suits your needs and budget.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM – At present this is the only food photography lens I’m using. You can’t zoom in or zoom out with this. But it doesn’t matter as your food won’t be going anywhere. I love this lens as it makes the image standout. This is also a good portrait lens. A cheaper but nearly as good alternative would be the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8.
Tasty Food Photography – This e-Book is written for a food blogger who wants to take their food photography skills to the next level. It contains helpful tips and tricks that will make your food photos stand out. Over 6,000 people bought this book. That just sums it up. It comes with video tutorials.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop – Post processing is just as important as taking a photograph. I used to use Picasa (free) to do the editing and photograph management but now I use Adobe Lightroom (99% of the time) and Photoshop (1% of the time) for all my photos. Lightroom is very easy to use and organising photographs is much easier with this. With the monthly subscription option, you get access to the latest version of Lightroom and Photoshop.
PicMonkey – I use PicMonkey when making a collage and to add my copyright watermark. This is free (though they do offer a paid premium service) and easy to use.