Get a beautiful food blog designed

We’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of food bloggers, including:

David Lebovitz:

David Lebovitz - Food Blog Design

The Naptime Chef:

The Naptime Chef - Food Blog Design

Dramatic Pancake:

Dramatic Pancake - Food Blog Design

What Would Cathy Eat:

What Would Cathy Eat - Food Blog Design

Small Kitchen College:

Food Bloggers

Here’s some common threads from the various food blogs we’ve worked on and for others we have talked to who have wanted to improve their blog throughout the year, and also via some food bloggers I reached out to for comment, including Suzie the Foodie, Your Lighter Side and Forkable Blog:

  • The design should cater for large photos and decent white space so photos are the central focus.
  • Adding recipes is often problematic. Some paste in recipes while others use plugins which aren’t often suited to their specific needs.  Food bloggers do wish to have their recipes turn up in Google’s recipe search and this requires using a plugin or typing in special formatting code – not so user-friendly.
  • The ability to nicely print recipes is very important but often not easy for food bloggers to get working in the way that they’d like (especially when a recipe is part of a longer post).
  • Organizing their recipes archives is crucial.  There’s many different ways people organize their recipes: by course, occasion, main food type, season, time, cost, difficulty, diet etc.  Tagging is often used for key ingredients but can get unwieldy in a tag cloud so a cookbook type index in alphabetic ordering is usually easier to scan through. A  visual grid of main categories that visitors can drill down into is desirable. A cookbook style table of contents or restaurant menu is on other’s wishlists.
  • Default blog search functionality for past recipes doesn’t work as well as they’d like it to.
  • Adding the ability for others to recommend recipes is wanted on some blogs.
  • Simple is better. Less sidebar clutter, more focus on discovering recipes.

Below are the most commonly quoted food blogs by people completing our blog design survey as sites they love and would like their site to be inspired by.  These sites come up time and time and time again, they really are trend setters for keeping their focus on elegance and simplicity rather than gimmicks which is often what I’ve found on free/premium generic food blog themes:

Smitten Kitchen:

food bloggers

101 Cookbooks:

food bloggers

David Lebovitz:

Food Bloggers

The food blog which was most talked about last year was Food Sense, primarily for its adaptive design features (resize the page, or view it on your mobile device to see how it adapts):

Food Bloggers

There are a number of generic food blog themes available online.  All the ones we build are custom designed to our client’s specific content and needs. I keep wondering if perhaps I’ll see a generic theme out there which will suit a new food blogger’s needs where it is:

  • Easy to add in recipes and have them appear in Google’s recipe search
  • Have a nice printer friendly format for recipes
  • Provides very functional and beautiful recipe archives, with intelligent options for display depending on the way the author categorizes and tags their content.

I have pondered creating our own generic theme for food bloggers which is flexible in terms of design requirements, but very functional for food bloggers – born out of our specific experiences working with food bloggers.  I go back and forth on this: for a new food blogger without a high budget who doesn’t need to have a totally unique design but does value a user-friendly way to add, organize and display their recipes this might work well.  For the fantastic food bloggers we have worked with, it’s all about creating a unique experience: just like their recipes are.

I would love to hear your thoughts on your favorite food blogs. And, if you are a food blogger, what are the things you find most frustrating and would want to change about your blogging processes today?  What are the things you think work really well on a food blog?  

Update: Jeff recommends the new plugin: ReciPress

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