Throughout January we will be running our 31 Day Blog Challenge: 31 days to clean up, grow and improve your blog. What better time than the start of a new year to get things sorted and ready to go for a brand new year of blogging?
We'll be sharing 31 tips, ideas, and strategies for you to get things in order and make blogging easier. This is Day 23.
If your food blog is mainly recipes then you probably want to look at installing a recipe plug-in, if you haven't already.
There are a few reasons why recipe plug-ins can be useful:
- they give you, the blogger, an easy way to make your recipes stand out in your posts without a lot of messing about with CSS
- they usually have built in Print capability, making it easy for your readers to print off your recipes and use them in the kitchen
- they come with the fancy H tag markup and rich snippets that make your recipes work nicely with Google's recipe search so you don't have to hand code it yourself
- ever seen recipes come up in search results with the little thumbnail image next to them - a recipe plug-in is doing that!
There are two standard recipe plug-ins that seem to be in regular use by food bloggers: Easy Recipe and ZipList.
If you're a WordPress user, then you have the luxury of choosing between the two. If you're on a platform that's not WordPress (ie, Blogger, TypePad etc) it gets trickier (but ZipList does offer a list of tips that can make it easier for you to work with them!).
Easy Recipe Plug-In
Developed by two food bloggers for WordPress, Easy Recipe has a free and plus (paid) version. The free version gives you the basics - an easy place to pop your recipes into your posts with all the fields you'd expect: ingredients, directions, notes, cuisine types, servings, prep time, nutrition info etc. It also has limited layouts (if you're handy with CSS you can customize it yourself).
The paid version gives you more bells and whistles including more customization options, the ability to add images and links, easy guest posting capability and multi-recipe capability. At $24.95, it's a good investment if your blog is heavy on recipes. We posted a review of EasyRecipe with some tips on using it a while back. While the plug-in has grown since then, there's still some useful information there!
ZipList Recipe Plug-In
ZipList is also a WordPress plug-in but it connects to a larger community of ZipList users who aren't necessarily bloggers but could become new readers! The ZipList site offers the ability to browse recipes from contributors (that could be you), create shopping lists based on the recipes they save to their Recipe Box, and there's a mobile app that let's them take it with them to the grocery store. By using their plug-in, you can add a "Save to Recipe Box" button and the reader can save your recipe to their recipe box on the ZipList site and access it from their mobile devices.
While they don't have a plug-in for Blogger or other blogging platforms, they do offer a handy resource guide to help you structure your recipes properly for SEO and so that they can work with you at ZipList.
What about you? What are you using for your recipes? If you're on a platform other than WordPress, have you found any tools that have helped you with your recipes?