Congratulations on making the decision to start a food blog! Blogging has opened up so many opportunities for me in my professional and personal worlds, and I’m so excited that you have also decided to take a chance and start one too! Starting a blog is great because it works as a portfolio piece when you're in between jobs, or it can be a much-needed creative outlet that connects you with other like-minded people, and it can even make you quite a bit of money and bring you new clients if you work for yourself or have a small business.
There are just too many perks to starting a blog for me to list – and best of all, building your own website is not at all expensive or technical. You just need to know where to start!
Below I will show you how you can start a blog in a matter of minutes – all you need is a laptop, a big cup of coffee and some step by step instructions. Good thing I've got your back, right? 😉 Being a blogger has led me to so many great opportunities, like a paid Huffington Post column for one, and it's also been an amazing way to connect with others online and feel less alone in this unstable economy. It's harder than ever to find work, but when you create opportunities through yourself and your connections…it's a feeling like no other, trust me. 🙂
There are 4 steps to starting a food or lifestyle blog:
- Choosing a domain name
- Getting hosting for your website
- Installing your WordPress Blogging platform
- Selecting a theme for your website (aka what makes it pretty!)
1. Choosing a Domain Name:
Choosing a domain name will be the hardest part of setting up your blog, because you will need to make sure that your chosen name is available, and then you need to determine the spelling. Even just figuring out your name in general will be difficult, and this is the one thing that you really cannot change, so make sure you really think out what your blog's name is going to be before you commit to the domain. Also, make sure that you end up getting the .com version of your domain name – it is considered by search engines to be the most authoritative.
Pro Tip: If you purchase 1 year of hosting in advance through Bluehost, you’ll actually get a one year domain name registration for FREE – that's a $25 + savings!
2. Get hosting for your site:
Now that you’ve decided on your blog and domain name, you’ll need to get website hosting. Hosting is basically a (sometimes) shared space on a server on the internet where all of your content (pictures, text, code) will live. Every professional blogger I know uses Bluehost, and that was one of the main reasons I signed up over 2 years ago. Bluehost is a very reliable company with fast website loading speeds and flexible packages, and I love that they have a customer support service available around the clock.
I once got a nasty virus on my website that was redirecting to another domain, and Bluehost's customer support team was able to look through my space on their server and get rid of the problem within a matter of hours. It's very user-friendly and prices are reasonable. The bonus? When you sign up with me, you get a special introductory offer!
When it comes to Bluehost hosting options, there are three options:
- Starter package is $3.25/per month (12 month option)
- Plus package is $5.95/ per month (12 month option)
- Business pro package is $13.95 per month (12 month option)
When you are just starting out, definitely go for the lowest priced package. You will only need an upgrade when you have a decent amount of traffic and more space on the server. I would highly encourage that you purchase an annual hosting plan because you will get a better monthly price, and you will also not have to think about paying for the blog each month. You'll also save money on a domain name.
3. Install WordPress Blogging Platform onto your hosting account:
One of the reasons I recommend Bluehost is because it has a very simple way to install WordPress. Do yourself a favour and consider only WordPress when starting your site – Blogger doesn't have the same capabilities, and you can only customize so much with Squarespace. Also, if you're looking to get into the marketing/communications/journalism/digital media industry, employers are looking to hire those who know WordPress in and out. Trust me when I say that WordPress is by far the way to go. In order to start blogging you will need to install WordPress by following these steps:
1. After you've signed up for Bluehost, you will get an email with a link to your CPANEL (this is the dashboard to your hosting account). Click on the link to go to your CPANEL.
2. Once you are logged into the CPANEL, click on the “Install WordPress” button & from there click the “Install” button.
3. Next, you will have the opportunity to select which domain name you’d like associated with your WordPress installation. Click on the drop-down menu and select your newly purchased domain name.
4. Click on “Advanced Options” and create a username & password for your blog.
5. After all of that, click install!
6. Once you get the message that says “Your install is complete!” you’ll want to click on the “View Credentials” button for your Admin URL, Username, and Password.
7. Type your Admin URL into your web browser. You’ll see a login screen like the one below. Enter your Username and Password – this is how you'll be logging onto your site from now on! Another easy way to remember is by typing in your blog's URL, backslash login. (eg. www.thegirlonbloor.com/login)
4. Select a WordPress Theme for your blog:
Yay, you've made it through the boring parts of setting up your blog! Give yourself a pat on the back, because the hard work is now over. Okay, who are we kidding, it's just beginning! But at least now you're into the fun stuff. Before you start posting any content, you'll want to make sure your website is pretty. The best part about WordPress is that there are literally so many themes that are FREE & easy to customize, but there are also Premium WordPress themes available for purchase right on the site. You can also do what I did and get a complete custom design by researching some designers off of WordPress. My site, for instance, is by Restored 316 designs. You can find out more about my web design on my Blogger Resources page.
Once again, because you are just starting out and need to figure out if this whole blogging thing is for you, then I recommend that you choose a free WordPress theme to get started. You can always change it later as your blog evolves and grows into your own personal brand!
If you’d like to upload a new theme, click on “Add New” right near Themes. This will bring up a grid of all the available FREE themes. You can use the advanced search feature or keyword search to find a certain theme that fits your site. Once you have found a theme that you like, click install. Once the theme is installed, you must click on Activate to make it your main theme. And there you are, you're blogging!
*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase on this page, I will keep a percentage of the sale – this is money that keeps The Girl on Bloor up and running. Thanks for the support!