Does this sound familiar?

You’ve been writing your food blog for a while and are building up a decent set of recipes. You’ve been using categories and tags on each one (well, when you remember) and now the long list is starting to look overwhelming and messy.

What do you do?

Is there a better way to organize recipes which makes sense for your readers and helps them spend more time on your site exploring recipes that interest them plus makes it easy and clear for you to know how to quickly categorize and tag your future recipes?

Yes there is!

One of the first things we look at with food bloggers is how they want to organize recipes.

This will affect:

  • how the recipe index templates are designed
  • what types of navigation options to use, and
  • how to present related content to readers.

Twenty ways to organize recipes on your Food Blog

Here are twenty ways to organize recipes on your food blog. You don’t need to use all of these, but you should consider which ones will be of use to your readers based on the type of recipes you post and the number of recipes you have. The larger your collection of recipes, the more these different ways will help readers find exactly what they’re looking for.

And, you can categorize all your recipes by one of these items without showing it to your readers until you’re ready (e.g. you have enough recipes to make it worthwhile for them to use).

Main ingredient

e.g. Beef, Chicken, Egg, Pasta…

This is a handy categorization to use on any general food blog. Of course, if your food blog only specializes in pasta recipes, this isn’t needed! Use a grid of images, or an alphabetical list, or a tag cloud (to quickly show people what you post most about) or a drop down list or a checkbox filter.

Ingredient

e.g. Apple, Apricot, Asparagus, Avocado…

This will end up being a long alphabetical listing page. Use a bar of letters across the top to help people jump down to the letter of interest, include the letters again as you scroll down the page and generally use multiple columns to keep the page more compact. Perhaps you wish to highlight seasonal ingredients in your sidebar (for those in your local area!).

Type

e.g. Curry, Pasta, Soup, Breads…

Some food bloggers have a big category index called “Categories” or “Course” which includes these different types of food, but it can be quite overwhelming to see Courses and Types mixed together. Use a grid of images, or an alphabetical list, or a tag cloud, or a drop down list or a checkbox filter.

Course

e.g. Breakfast, Lunch, Appetizer, Snacks…

Use a grid of images, or a list ordered by time of day (probably putting snacks at the end), or a tag cloud, or a drop down list or a checkbox filter.

Season

i.e. Spring, Summer, Fall/Autumn, Winter

This is a recent trend amongst food bloggers and I am glad about this! Being in the Southern Hemisphere, our seasons are the total opposite of the food blogs I follow in the US and Europe. This categorization system makes it easy for people like me to find recipes to suit the produce which is currently in season. Latest recipes on food blogs often don’t make any sense for me to make. Use a grid of seasonal images, or a time-ordered list, or a drop down list or a checkbox filter. Or, perhaps you wish to primarily highlight the current season and its opposite in your sidebar.

Special Occasion

e.g. Christmas, Easter, Super Bowl, Thanksgiving…

This is a really helpful way to categorize recipes and give people inspiration for a holiday or event. Use a grid of images, or a time-ordered list or a drop down list or a checkbox filter. Or perhaps you wish to highlight the next upcoming special occasion in your sidebar.

Style

e.g. Comfort Food, Kid-friendly…

Some blogs only focus on one particular style of recipe and wouldn’t need this sort. For others, being able to show kid-friendly recipes can be super helpful. (And maybe even with subcategories such as weaning, toddlers, kids, teens.) Use a list or a grid of images or a drop down list or a checkbox filter.

Cooking Technique

e.g. Baking, Barbecuing, Canning, Grilling…

Some blogs only focus on one type here too and wouldn’t need this. For others, this can be a great way to find a collection of recipes. Use a grid of images, or a list, or a drop down list or a checkbox filter.

Special Diets

e.g. Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Dairy-Free…

This is a huge area these days and even if your blog doesn’t have a focus on a particular dietary consideration, you’ll end up getting a lot of questions from readers about this. It can be handy to help readers find your recipes which suit their requirements. Use a grid of images, or a list, or a drop down list or a checkbox filter.

Cuisine

e.g. Chinese, French, Indian, Mexican…

Some blogs only focus on one type, but most cover different world cuisine. Use a grid of images, or a list, or a drop down list or a checkbox filter.

Expense

e.g. Budget/Inexpensive, Medium Expensive, Expensive

If your blog is only a budget-focused one, this won’t be needed. And, you may not need all these categories if your blog is a more general one. Perhaps you may wish to only indicate if something is a budget recipe using a icon for people reading your recipes, rather than it being a way to explore your recipes. However, for others this could be a great way for people to find recipes which suit their budget.

Difficulty

e.g. Basic, Intermediate, Advanced

If your blog teaches a lot of concepts to readers, or is generally focused on beginner cooks (maybe even for kids), then this could be a handy label to include on your recipes. Use icons, or a list, or a drop down list or a checkbox filter.

Servings

e.g. 1, 2, 4, >4

Most bloggers include this in the recipe itself, and of course recipes can be adapted for different numbers of servings, but it could be useful for your readers to be able to quickly filter your recipes to only see those which are meals for one. Use icons, or a list, or a drop down list, or a checkbox filter.

Time

e.g. <10 minutes, 11-30 minutes, 31-60 minutes, >1 hour…

Again, most bloggers include this in the recipe itself, but if you’re hunting for a recipe which can be put together in less than 10 minutes this could be a great way to navigate through your recipes too. Use a list, or a drop down list, or a checkbox filter.

Popularity

e.g. Highest rated, Most pinned, Author favorites, Most commented, Trending now

There are many different ways of defining what “popular” is. It could be based on star ratings people have left on your site, number of pins (using Pinterest analytics), your own favorite recipes (or ones you wish to promote especially), number of comments or ones which are suddenly popular (e.g. you get a link up from Buzzfeed and the comments are going crazy on there). Use a grid of images, or a list.

Author

If your blog is written by multiple authors, and the authors are known for their unique styles, allow your readers to explore recipes by author. Use a grid of photos of the author, or a list, or a drop down list.

Publication

If your recipes have been featured elsewhere and given special recognition, such as in a printed cookbook of yours, or in a food magazine or an industry website you might like to allow readers to filter by these too. I often see grids of logos of “As Seen In”, but not being able to see the recipes which were seen in that publication on the food blog itself. Use a grid of logos of the publications, or a list, or a drop down list.

Source

If your recipe is adapted from another source, perhaps you might like to provide this as an alternate way to explore your content. You may not wish to give these sources too much prominence on your site though!

Nutrition

e.g. Calories, Fat, Protein, Fiber…

While these are usually included in the recipe itself, it might also be useful for people to explore your recipes for ones which match certain criteria, such as calories less than a certain amount, or a minimum amount of fiber. These filters could be quite complex, with boxes to enter in the amounts, or a drop down or checkboxes with ranges for each nutritional aspect.

Equipment

e.g. Slow Cooker, Deep Fryer, Thermomix, Magic Bullet…

This is rarely used but could be incredibly useful if you have specialized equipment in your kitchen which you use in recipes such as a Thermomix. That way, people can select recipes which match the equipment they’d like to try out using, or avoid if they don’t own a microwave (like me!). Use images of the products, or a list or a drop down or checkbox filters. Your category archive page could have affiliate links to purchase your recommended brands for those which do not have them already.

Combining them all together…

Where this starts to become powerful is by allowing your readers to find recipes which match multiple criteria – e.g. “Show me all chicken recipes which are dairy-free and recommended for Christmas“.

The key factors to how you organize recipes are to:

  • know your food blog’s focus and target audience – what their needs and interests are
  • think ahead for when you have a whole lot more recipes on your site than you have now – what will help people explore them all?
  • have a clear system in place for categorizing recipes as you go (and fixing up old ones)
  • ensure that it’s easy to explore rather than complex and confusing.

How to organize recipes on your food blog

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