These are the service providers, tools, resources and gear that I use to run my blog, as of 2023.
With over ten years of blogging behind me, I've gone through a lot of trial and error in trying to find tools to make my blog better.
Some things have worked out great, and others were a waste of time and money!
I'm hoping that this resource page will help you find tools that work for your blog, without some of the hassles that I went through!
I am only recommending the tools that I use myself and enjoy, and I'm happy to answer any questions you might have. Just send me an email and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!
Disclosure: Almost all of these links are affiliate links which help to support this website. If you buy something through one of these links, I may get a tiny commission at no extra cost to you.
- Where to Register Your Domain Name
- The Best Web Host for Bloggers
- The Best Wordpress Theme for Food Bloggers
- My Favourite Email Service Provider
- The Easiest Way to Back Up Your Website
- Reliable Security Service for WordPress
- The Best Anti-Spam Plugin
- The Best Recipe Plugin for WordPress Sites
- Which Camera Should You Buy?
- Recommended Courses
- Recommended Books
Where to Register Your Domain Name
I have always purchased my domain names from GoDaddy, which is a reliable domain registrar. They are affordable and their customer service has been great.
The Best Web Host for Bloggers
If you're looking for fast and reliable web hosting check out Big Scoots.
I do not recommend BlueHost. I know they're extremely popular (and cheap) but my site was constantly down when I was using their web hosting.
If you're just starting out, EZP.net is another great option. They have good customer support, and can bill you in Canadian dollars (they are located in Vancouver), which is nice if you're Canadian.
I outgrew EZP over time and now I'm with Big Scoots. Their hosting plans are more expensive, but it's worth it.
They have outstanding customer service and my site loads much faster now.
The Best Wordpress Theme for Food Bloggers
If you're a food blogger, the best WordPress theme that you can use right now is the Feast Plugin by Feast Design Co.
I know what you're thinking, it's a plugin. How can it be a theme?
Well, technically the plugin runs off the Genesis theme, and when you buy the plugin it gives you Genesis plus 5 different styled themes to choose from. So you install one of those themes, and then the Feast plugin runs alongside it.
The benefit of using the Feast Plugin is that the team behind it keeps it up to date with the latest recommendations from Google. So your site will be SEO optimized and mobile-friendly, which are both super important.
My Favourite Email Service Provider
MailerLite is my favourite email service provider so far. I'm using their free plan, and it has a ton of tools that lets you check on how your newsletters are performing. It's also extremely user-friendly.
I've used MailPoet, Mad Mimi, MailChimp and Flodesk in the past.
MailChimp is another good option and it's free if you have less than 2,000 subscribers. I personally think that MailerLite is easier to use, though.
Flodesk isn't cheap, but if making pretty newsletter is important to you, it's a good choice. It's very easy to use their design tools.
The Easiest Way to Back Up Your Website
If your web host doesn't do nightly backups, you'll want to invest in another service that does. Before I moved to Big Scoots, I used VaultPress to back up my website.
VaultPress integrates with WordPress seamlessly, because it's made by the same company (Automattic).
Unlike other services (like BackupBuddy), my website would back up on a regular basis, without any work from me. Then when I needed to restore my website from a backup, all I had to do was click a button. Easy!
There are many free plugins and services available to help you back up your site, but I don't recommend any of them. When it comes to WordPress backups, you really do get what you pay for.
Reliable Security Service for WordPress
Again, if you're not with a quality host like Big Scoots, you may want to consider some kind of security for your WordPress site.
Sucuri prevents hacks, detects malware and the Sucuri team will clean up your site if you have had a security breach.
My website was hacked several years ago and it was a horrible experience. Once I bought a plan with Sucuri, they were able to fully restore my website and I used their services after that for several years until I moved to Big Scoots.
The Best Anti-Spam Plugin
No one wants to deal with spam comments! Akismet does an excellent job of catching most spam comments, so you don't have to moderate each one manually.
This is another Automattic product, and it's free for non-commercial use. If you're making money from your blog, though, you will need to pay for it.
The Best Recipe Plugin for WordPress Sites
The best recipe card plugin on the market right now is WP Recipe Maker by Bootstrapped Ventures.
The plugin developer, Brecht, provides top notch customer service, and the plugin is recommended by SEO experts.
Which Camera Should You Buy?
There's a saying that “the best camera is the one that's with you" (said by famous photographer, Chase Jarvis). This is so true.
It doesn't matter if you're shooting with your iPhone or a DSLR. At the end of the day, what matters is that you enjoy shooting with it, and understand the basic principles of photography.
Tip: never photograph food with the flash setting on your phone!
I started shooting back in university with a Nikon D60. It was a great camera, and I used it until it died.
Then I moved on to a a Nikon D5100 which is also a DX format camera (not full frame). It was the best option for my budget at the time when I bought it, and I used it for 10 years before upgrading again!
I shot on this camera with just a 40mm micro lens for years! Usually experts recommend a 50mm prime for food photography, but unfortunately Nikon doesn't have one of those for their DX format cameras.
Fun Fact: Did you know that DSLR cameras eventually get shutter death? Basically, the shutter can only go off so many times before it stops working. This doesn't really matter when you're buying a new camera, but you'll want to know the shutter count on a used camera before buying it!
I have taken MANY courses, free and paid, over the years. Honestly, not all of them have been worth my time.
I don't want you to waste your time or energy on anything that isn't great, so if you're looking for courses to start with, these are the best ones that I've taken.
Eva Kosmas Flores Courses (Photography & Videography)
If you want to improve your food photography skills, you should definitely check out the Photography + Styling + Branding Course by Eva Kosmos Flores! I really enjoyed this course (and the monthly live calls), and it has made a huge difference in my work.
Get 15% off the Photography + Styling + Branding Course with my affiliate code: SHAREBA
Another great course by Eva is her Vertical Video Course. We all know that vertical video is HUGE right now, and if you're ready to level up your skills, this course is for you.
Get 15% off the Vertical Video Course with my affiliate code: SHAREBA
Other Useful Blogging Courses
If you're looking for ongoing support and education, you should take a look at Food Blogger Pro (run by the masterminds behind Pinch of Yum).
I think enrolment is limited to a few times a year now, but they may have a waiting list that you can join.
If yo're new to SEO (search engine optimization), you need to learn the basics of keyword research.
I highly recommend taking a course from Keywords with Aleka. Keyword research will help you how to grow your organic search traffic, which can eventually mean more revenue!
These books have helped me improve the quality of my work over the years. I have the physical editions of these books.
Plate to Pixel is a great introductory guide to food photography. It's very easy to follow, making it perfect for anyone who is new to food photography. The book is also full of photos, which I love! If you can only buy one book on photography, this is the one to get.
Focus On: Food Photography for Bloggers is a neat little book written by my friend (and professional food photographer) Matt Armendariz. The book is very visual (as you might expect) and includes a chapter on how to photograph difficult foods (reflective foods like soup, brown foods like stew etc.).